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Saturday 06 Jun 2009

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New series, Bang Goes The Theory, puts popular science at the heart of the BBC One summer schedule

Bang Goes The Theory

This summer BBC One launches Bang Goes The Theory, a new series that looks at how science shapes the world around us.

From exploring the world's most advanced technological breakthroughs to learning how we can test and manipulate scientific principles in our own backyard, this series will put scientific theory to the test.

From late July 2009, four presenters – Dallas Campbell, Liz Bonnin, Jem Stansfield and Dr Yan Wong – will pool their knowledge and their curiosity to put science into action in a series co-produced with The Open University (OU). With a PhD, a collection of science degrees and an enduring passion for all things scientific, the four presenters are the perfect group to bring cutting-edge science to the nation.

Jay Hunt, Controller of BBC One, says: "Bang Goes The Theory brings popular science back to the very heart of BBC One. The four presenters have a passion and knowledge for their subject that guarantees to bring science alive in an entertaining and engaging way."

Dallas Campbell (Gadget Show) is an experienced TV presenter with a passion for popularising science.

Dallas says: "Let's face it, dream jobs don't get much dreamier than this. In fact, my left arm is still slightly sore from pinching myself. For anyone who is remotely curious about life, the Universe and pretty much everything, this is the show. In fact, sometimes I wish I wasn't working on it so I could just sit and watch it!"

Dallas will be joined by Liz Bonnin (Science Friction, RI:SE), a biochemist and wild animal biologist; and Jem Stansfield (Men In White, Scrapheap Challenge) who will turn the team's imaginative ideas into workable experiments.

Rounding up the group will be Dr Yan Wong (co-author of The Ancestor's Tale), who will use his academic expertise to demonstrate the fundamentals of science in a weekly segment.

Liz Bonnin says: "Bang Goes The Theory is quite literally my dream job! I get to spend my time finding out about the science that makes our world go round, as well as meeting the people behind incredible discoveries and ground-breaking innovations.

"The icing on the cake is working with Dallas, Jem and Yan who are thankfully as nutty around the edges as I am – I love them to bits. We are truly passionate about science and I hope this show will make our viewers equally so."

Jem Stansfield says: "All of us on the show have a slightly different take on science and as much as I love the theory, that's all it is. For me, its making and playing with stuff that gives the clearest insights. On this series I'm lucky enough to have been given a free rein to take ideas from the frontiers of science and to show they can be tested with the stuff that's hanging around in your backyard."

Dr Yan Wong says: "I love trying to understand the world around me – there's so much I still don't know. We find the world exciting from the moment we are born, and as children we explore it all the time. Now I've got the chance to get everyone to do that too. What a brilliant job!"

The team will be based at a high-tech Bedfordshire HQ and will travel the world to test ideas and meet experts from fields as varied as geology, astrophysics, neuropsychology and zoology.

The OU's academic experts have helped develop the experiments and exploits for the series.

Dr Stephen Serjeant, senior lecturer in astrophysics at the OU, says: "We've been delighted and amazed to see the extremes that the presenters are willing to going to go to in order to show science in action.

"Science is so important to our economy and we're surrounded by inventions and progress, yet sometimes people still feel science is too hard for them. It isn't! We want to trigger people's curiosity about the world – that's what science is all about."

Bang Goes The Theory is set for transmission in July 2009 (10 x 30-minutes).

The series was commissioned by Jay Hunt, Controller of BBC One.

Bang Goes The Theory will be supported by a website, interactive resources and free events (organised by BBC Learning) to inspire the audience to get hands on with science – more details will be available later this year.

Notes to Editors

Dallas Campbell presented The Gadget Show and Dallas Campbell's Guide To The Impossible (in which he investigated how to become an astronaut).

Liz Bonnin made her name presenting Ri:SE, Science Friction and Wild Trials. She has a Masters in animal conservation and currently volunteers at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Jem Stansfield is a trained welder, with a degree in aeronautical engineering. He has worked on both sides of the camera for shows including Scrapheap Challenge, Men In White and Planet Mechanics and has experience in film special effects and building exhibition design for science museums.

Dr Yan Wong is an Oxford-educated evolutionary biologist. He spent three years as Richard Dawkin's researcher and co-authored The Ancestor's Tale.

Science programming remains at the heart of the BBC schedule. In 2010, the BBC's Year Of Science (a year that marks the 350th anniversary of the founding of The Royal Society) will feature two landmark series: Seven Wonders Of The Solar System (BBC Two) and The History Of Science (working title; BBC Two).

Bang Goes The Theory is an Open University/BBC co-production. The Open University and BBC have been in partnership for 40 years, providing educational programming to a mass audience. In recent times this partnership has evolved from late-night programming for delivering courses to peak-time programmes with a broad appeal to encourage wider participation in learning. For more information, visit www.open2.net/banggoesthetheory.

The academic adviser to the series is Dr Stephen Serjeant, senior lecturer in astrophysics. BBC Commissioning Executive for the OU is Catherine McCarthy. The Broadcast Learning Executive for the OU is Janet Sumner.

You can find out more about associated OU courses at www.open.ac.uk/study.

VAA

Information for viewers

More content about Bang Goes The Theory will be posted, as transmission approaches, on this page:
www.bbc.co.uk/tv/comingup/banggoesthetheory

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