Tomorrow's World

BBC and partners launch year of science and technology

We’ve come together behind a simple, and very bold ambition - to equip all of us with the knowledge and understanding we need to make sense of our lives and the future.Tony Hall, BBC Director-General
Date: 02.05.2017     Last updated: 02.05.2017 at 12.48
The BBC is launching a year long season of science and technology programming under the banner of Tomorrow’s World.

It will take science out of the lab and into peoples’ homes, as we seek to address how science is changing peoples’ lives, reshaping the world, and rewriting the future of healthcare. Our aim is to make science personal with the biggest scientific partnership we have ever convened to answer the big questions relevant to everyone.

Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, says: “We’ve come together behind a simple, and very bold ambition - to equip all of us with the knowledge and understanding we need to make sense of our lives and the future. Whether it’s the rise of robotics or the demise of antibiotics, travelling to Mars or the arrival of 3D printed food. Science is changing the world at an extraordinary pace.

“The campaign will connect audiences with the brightest minds and institutions in science and technology, producing more than 40 hours of television, a range of programmes across our radio networks, a series of podcasts, and digital offerings, made in collaboration with partners, including the Science Museum Group, Wellcome, The Open University and the Royal Society.”

Highlights being announced today include:

  • A Digital Hub - at the heart of the campaign - will bring together the most respected science institutions from across the UK for the first time. Curated daily, and featuring content from across the partnership, it will engage audience interest in the broadcasts, topical events and social media
  • Britain’s Greatest Invention - a live show presented from the Science Museum Group’s stores by Dr Hannah Fry and Ant Anstead for BBC Two where the public will vote, from a shortlist, for the invention which they feel has been of most influence and importance in their lives
  • 10 Things You Need To Know About The Future, presented by Dr Hannah Fry for BBC Two, where she and top science experts investigate the questions the British public wants to know about the future
  • Professor Stephen Hawking will present his predictions that the human race only has one hundred years before we need to colonise another planet in Stephen Hawking: Expedition New Earth for BBC Two
  • A brand new medical series for BBC Two, Operation, focuses on the pioneering scientific work taking place in the operating theatres of Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, pushing at the edge of what is possible in the world of surgery
  • We will follow 12 men and women as they undertake elements of the astronaut selection process in Toughest Job In The Universe for BBC Two
  • Fixing The Future: The Great Village Green War for BBC Four, follows green energy enthusiast Robert Llewellyn’s year-long campaign to persuade the residents of a Cotswolds village to generate their own power
  • Horizon: Being Transgender will explore what it means and what happens when a person transitions psychologically, physically and biologically for BBC Two
  • Michael Mosley will be studying what can be done to combat resistance to antibiotics in Fixing The Future: Michael Mosley Vs. The Suberbugs for BBC Four
  • Angela Rippon and Chris van Tulleken will return to BBC One for the second series of How To Stay Young, in which they and a team of experts apply scientific knowledge to help volunteers slow down the ageing process
  • Big Life Fix will return for a second series on BBC Two after the huge digital success of the first series, where the best scientific brains in Britain use science and technology to change the lives of those in need the most.
  • The Innovators, a new series for Radio 4 presented by Sarah Montague, in which she interviews pioneers in their chosen fields of health, technology, science and the environment

To engage people who want to know more and debate these topics, the digital hub at www.bbc.co.uk/tomorrowsworld, will feature a range of content made by our partners and the BBC. This is the first time a digital space will have been recreated to bring the most respected science institutions from across the UK together. Curated daily, it will reflect interest in the broadcasts, topical events and social media.

The hub will also offer short films, a series of citizen science opportunities to engage with the audience, interactive calculators and many other interactive features. Our goal is to leverage digital engagement and scientific expertise to encourage a greater and more profound understanding of science in the wider public. The content will take the Tomorrow’s World themes such as contagion; artificial intelligence; sleep; and use science to help people better understand themselves

There will also be Twitter Q&As with some of Britain’s most eminent scientists; online debates about the biggest scientific questions of our time; and a Facebook community where even the most colossal concepts are accessible, relevant and personal.

Taken together, this creates a truly ground-breaking season of science, that is relevant to peoples’ lives, and enables them to engage with the big topics of the present and future.

Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum Group says: “The marriage of our world-class collections, expertise and rich programming with the BBC’s worldwide reach is a truly exciting prospect. The Tomorrow's World partnership is already bearing fruit with Britain’s Greatest Inventions, a 90-minute live broadcast from our stores that will air on BBC Two. The BBC’s TV cameras have been granted exclusive access to our stores to explore our incredible objects and reveal the stories of some of the greatest inventions in history.”

Simon Chaplin, Director of Culture and Society, Wellcome, says: “Public engagement is crucial to our mission to improve health for everyone and we’re delighted to be working with the BBC and our collaborators on Tomorrow’s World on a project which makes science accessible and contemporary. As an organisation which supports scientists and researchers to take on big ideas, we know that working together makes great things possible. Wellcome will be creating original content which will bring different perspectives to themes including mental health, sleep and contagion based on current research and recent discoveries. These are some of the key health issues of our time and we are looking forward to creating content which starts conversations and uses new voices.”

Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, says: “We live in a world in which our lives are increasingly shaped by science and technology, from keeping us healthy and connected to creating jobs. The pace of change can be dizzying and all of us need to understand the basis of how decisions are made by both corporations and governments on issues of science and technology. It is also great fun to explore the nature of the world around us. Tomorrow’s World is all about linking enquiring minds with trusted sources of knowledge in an engaging and enjoyable way.”

Dr Caroline Ogilvie, Head of Broadcast and Partnerships at The Open University says: “The OU has been at the forefront of creating and producing engaging content to inspire people to learn about STEM subjects. We are delighted to be part of the Tomorrow's World partnership and campaign.”

Tom McDonald, Head of Commissioning, Science and Specialist Factual, says: “Science broadcasting has an extraordinary history at the BBC. I'm delighted we're continuing the legacy of Tomorrow's World with this brilliant range of titles. They underline our commitment to innovation within science programming and our commitment to working with the very best science communicators and experts in the UK and beyond. These titles sit at the heart of the BBC's year of science and are possible only because of the strength of our partnerships and our relationships with the best producers of science content in the UK.”

TD