Eric Idle and Professor Brian Cox to star in BBC Two musical Christmas special

Science, Monty Python style


Man of Science and perfect hair Professor Brian Cox is joining forces with Eric Idle for a one hour Christmas Special for BBC Two.


Its name: The Entire Universe. Its premise: a scientific Christmas lecture gone weird (and musical).

Brian Cox will start the show with a festive science class before heading to Rutland Weekend Television, the same RWT featured in Idle’s 1970s sketch show of the same name.

Completely naturally, this sets in motion a lesson where Cox tries to fill Idle’s considerable gap science knowledge with full Spamalot-style songs (remember, Cox was the keyboard player in rock band Dare).

Alongside Cox and Idle in this, shall we say, Python-led story arc, Warwick Davis will appear as The Big Bang (spot the joke), and Noel Fielding will take on Einstein. And all that happens why Robin Ince – who currently co-hosts The Infinite Monkey Cage science podcast with Cox – tries to keep order. Seamless.

“I’ve made many television documentaries over the years, and a constant complaint has been that the music is too loud and obscures the science,” said Cox. “This undermines my credibility as a serious scientist. I expect The Entire Universe to be the final nail in the coffin.”


However, Idle is looking on the bright side: “I am very pleased that Rutland Weekend Television is back on BBC TV with a Christmas Special only 41 years after its last one. The world’s smallest TV station takes on the world’s largest subject: the entire universe.”