Wonders of the Solar System

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Empire of the Sun

Series 1 - Episode 1 Empire of the Sun



Back in 2010 Professor Brian Cox wasn’t the phenomenon we know now. He had done a handful of Horizon docs, and shown a knack for explaining the big, chewy bits of physics in a way that was both precise and oddly poetic.

He was also very cool. BBC2 knew a star when it saw one and commissioned this series – a portrait of the solar system and our place in it using the familiar toolkit of “landmark television”, but used to visually stunning effect.

Cox’s sense of wonder and awe became easy to parody but it’s worth rewatching the original – complete with rhapsodies on “the fiery sphere of tortured matter” that powers our part of the galaxy – to see him at his finest.


Professor Brian Cox embarks on a globe-trotting quest to explain how the galactic forces that formed the solar system also shaped Earth's landscape. In the first programme, he examines the sun's rule over the planet, heading for India to witness a total solar eclipse, and viewing the Northern Lights in the Arctic Circle.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Brian Cox
Director Gideon Bradshaw
Executive Producer Andrew Cohen
Series Producer Danielle Peck