Stargazing Live

Well that was odd.
I was quite excited by the prospect of “Stargazing Live”. I love looking at the night sky; it fills me with awe and wonder and all those other cliche words and with Dara O’Briain presenting with Brian Cox? Winning formula!

But hang on. Live Astronomy? What is the point, exactly? And how much of a misnomer was the title of that show?

There was little point in the show being live. 90% of it was filmed inserts and the only actual ‘live’ parts were the links and one section where O’Briain looked at Jupiter and then later some guy showed Jonathan Ross how to point a telescope at, again, Jupiter. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe that Jupiter is a star. We got a live feed from somewhere in Hawaii from a large crater that illustrates a point about Vulcanism on one of Jupiter’s moons. Again, not stars.

Admittedly we got some information on the sun and a bit of information about galaxies colliding but I don’t think there was a single item on that show that warranted the words “stargazing” or “live” and unless there’s something interesting going in the night sky at the time of transmission – there’s a partial solar eclipse today, but the programme is on at the wrong time of day to cover it live – there’s no reason for this programme to be live at all.

Now, bitching aside, I actually rather enjoyed the programme. The content was, perhaps, spread a little thin – I’m not sure why we had two separate people finding Jupiter in a telescope when once was more than enough – but when there was content, it was interesting.
We just didn’t get to gaze live at any stars.

The problem, I think, is that at the level most people would ‘stargaze’, nothing really changes. Jupiter is Jupiter, Orion is Orion. They skirt across the sky, but nothing really changes. Does this warrant a live show when ‘The Sky At Night’ has been doing this sort of thing quite successfully for nigh on 50 years? Well, okay The Sky At Night *is* a bit fuddy-duddy; the subject does, perhaps, need a bit of jazzing up and the Cox/O’Briain presentation team is rather good and more than capable.

If the show was ongoing, pre-recorded, 30 minutes long and cut out the pointless celebrity stargazing sections, it would be one of those rare beasts, an entertaining and educational TV show. As it was, they were just a bit hamstrung by the baffling format.

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2 thoughts on “Stargazing Live

  1. My Mum was quite keen on the old astronomy lark and that rubbed off on me, so I too had high expectations of this programme. There's something about Brian Cox that grates – he treats his audience as if they are all 12 years old. That aside, decent idea, but the prog should have been half an hour long, as it really struggled to fill an hour. Love the "non" coverage of the eclipse this morning on BBC Breakfast. Clouds? In the UK? In January? Quelle surpirse!

  2. Brian Cox probably treats his audience like 12 year old because he looks and sounds like 12 year old. He also has the same wide eyed wonder as a 12 year old which I find quite endearing. But yes, he can grate at times. THis is why he and Dara O'Briain worked so well because as soon as Cox said something even vaguely condescending, O'Briain was in there with a gag to deflate the pomposity. BBC's coverage of the eclipse was indeed hilarious. "Now we're going to Bognor! Okay lets try Sunderland!". My favourite was "but that's the sea!"

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