I’ve been watching the Royal Institution Christmas lectures on FIVE, with Professor Chris Bishop: Hi-tech Trek – The Quest for the Ultimate Computer. The lectures are fun, and especially great for kids. Unfortunately, they seem to have been scheduled at the worst possible time. The lectures are broadcast from 7:15pm-8:00pm. Whilst this may be a prime-time slot, it is unfortunately competing with two major soap operas. I wonder what most people will choose to watch….
I much preferred the old scheduling: These lectures used to be aired over the holiday period (25th-29th) at around noontime. As such, families tended to be sitting around, doing jigsaw puzzles, with the only competing TV being some old film or other. I think this worked. People need a bit of gentle encouragement to engage with science programmes. Pitching them against Coronation Street, alas, will not work.
The 2008 Christmas lectures aren’t available online yet (not sure they should be anyway!), so here’s some Carl Sagan from the 1977 batch for your delectation:
or if you prefer, some Richard Dawkins from 1991: