Volcano Live – Kate Humble is an adrenaline junkie and lava looks good enough to eat

Last night's opening instalment of BBC2's new science show was revealing and appetising in equal measure, says Paul Jones


Kate Humble may appear mild-mannered and unassuming but it’s becoming increasingly clear that beneath the surface she’s a total adrenaline junkie. 


I base this not so much on the fact that Humble spends half her time hanging about on icy precipices or scuba diving to the bottom of the ocean, but because it’s clear she no longer gets the buzz she’s looking for from pre-recorded television, and will now only acccept work on shows with “Live” in the title.

Sure, I can understand how the lack of inherent danger in Springwatch and Lambing Live might prompt a seasoned broadcaster to up the ante, but if you can’t get your kicks from standing on the edge of a roiling mass of thousand-degree lava without insisting on doing it live as well, then it’s possible you have a problem…

Of course, Humble was just the job for a show like last night’s Volcano Live, putting both her educated-non-expert persona and broadcasting nerves of steel to use.

Her co-host Professor Iain Stewart was good too. He had Professor Brian Cox’s knack of making rocks seem exciting, as well as his habit of using everyday items as props (although he looked a bit mad waving half a pineapple around while he talked, after realising it made an unconvincing planet Earth). 

My only problem with Volcano Live was that after watching molten lava rolling down a hill, exposing that cinder toffee interior while the surface cooled and wrinkled into a custardy skin, I was left wondering what was for pudding. Ahead of tonight’s instalment, I’ll be paying a visit to the dessert aisle of the nearest supermarket…


Volcano Live continues Tuesday to Thursday at 8:00pm on BBC2