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BBC Darwin season

The BBC has announced a season of landmark content to mark Darwin’s bicentenary.

Evolution for all

David Attenborough, Andrew Marr and Jimmy Doherty are just some of the well-known names who will be helping the BBC and the nation to mark the life and work of Charles Darwin on the BBC during winter 2008-9.

The season sets out to explore evolution which is regarded as one of the most far-reaching and influential scientific ideas ever. It is an idea which has robustly stood the test of time. A wealth of content on this theme will be delivered across television, radio and online for a range of audiences.

TV special

Television highlights included a BBC One one-off special programme from David Attenborough and the Natural History Unit in Bristol, called Tree of Life, which explores the origins of Darwin’s great idea. This is followed by Life, a ten programme series which captures the most extraordinary and awe-inspiring animal survival behaviours ever shown on TV.

On BBC Two, Andrew Marr fronts a series examining the radical impact of Darwin’s theory not only on science, but also on society and religion. In Darwin’s Garden, a three-part series, Jimmy Doherty recreates many of Darwin’s plant experiments at Down House, Darwin’s family home in Kent.

On BBC Four two documentaries have been commissioned. What Darwin didn’t know explores a new field of genetics, ‘evo devo’ - the combined study of evolution and development in the womb - which is allowing us to solve some of Darwin’s unanswered questions. Darwin: In His Own Words will use newly released documents from Cambridge University to chart Darwin’s thoughts during the long period before he made his theory known to the public.

On the radio

Radio 3 is presenting a series of programmes which explore the roots of Darwin's ideas and their subsequent influence across the intellectual spectrum, in the science, arts and philosophy. In The Origins of the Origins, historian Andrew Cunningham investigates how Darwin's thinking was a product of the scientific ideas of his time. And in Darwin’s Conundrum, the Reverend Angela Tilby looks at how Darwin wrestled with religion through his letters to scientists, clergy, friends and family.


‘There is grandeur in this view of life... from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.’ Charles Darwin