Archive for July 15, 2012

To “boldly” go…

Posted in Biographical, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , on July 15, 2012 by telescoper

I thought anyone reading my rather gloomy recent posts could probably do with a laugh so I thought I’d put this up. It’s something I posted a while ago, in fact, but the video links on that have long since evaporated; a newer version appeared recently on Youtube so I thought I’d update it and re-post the piece.

This clip contains a short item  I did about twelve years ago for the BBC series Space, which was presented by Sam Neill. It was subsequently screened outside the UK with an alternative title, Universe. Originally we were going to demonstrate wormholes using a snooker table, clever editing and reversed video. However, the producer, Jeremy,  decided that wouldn’t look spectacular enough so instead we went to St Anton in Austria: I was flown over the Alps in a helicopter and then driven through the Arlberg tunnel in an impressively fast car. Well worth the cost to license fee payers, I’m sure, even if the three-day trip to Austria by me and a crew of six as well as the hire of the helicopter ended up as a mere three minutes of screen time…

The episode I was in, the last of 6 in the series, was called To Boldly Go. I remember suggesting to the producer that the only way to travel faster than light in the manner required was with a split infinitive drive, but they didn’t use that in the final script.

The segment I’m in starts at about 18:00 on the video. Notice how, in the helicopter sequence, I give the appearance of being completely terrified. A fine piece of acting by me, I thought. *Cough*

The item is daft, I know, and I don’t really believe any of that stuff about wormholes, but it was great fun doing it and I have to say the camera guys took some amazing footage of the mountains from the helicopter.

P.S. The next sequence, after mine, explains how the Anglo-Australian 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey was done in order to provide a map for future generations of intergalactic space travellers. Really?