Bang Goes the Theory

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Bang Goes the Theory
BangGoesTheTheory.png
Genre Factual, science and technology
Format Magazine
Presented by
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 8
No. of episodes 64 – plus 3 specials (List of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) Paul King
Editor(s) Dermot Caulfield
Location(s) Sussex
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) BBC
Open University
Broadcast
Original channel BBC One
BBC HD
BBC One HD
Original run 27 July 2009 (2009-07-27) – present
Chronology
Related shows Tomorrow's World
External links
Website

Bang Goes the Theory or 'Bang' (as it is often referred to by the presenters) is a British television science magazine series, co-produced by the BBC and the Open University, that began on 27 July 2009 on BBC One. Originally presented by Liz Bonnin, Jem Stansfield, Dallas Campbell and Dr. Yan Wong, the show employs a hands-on approach to test scientific theory and demonstrate how science shapes our world. From series seven, Maggie Philbin replaced Dallas Campbell as a main presenter[1] and Yan Wong no longer appeared.

Production[edit]

Creation[edit]

The co-production between the BBC and the Open University was announced in June 2009 and was commissioned by Jay Hunt, controller of BBC One, for ten 30 minute episodes. It promises to "put scientific theory to the test" and examine "how science shapes the world around us".[2] During the announcement, Hunt stated that the series "brings popular science back to the very heart of BBC One",[2] referring to the long-running BBC series Tomorrow's World, which ran from 1965 to 2003 and was cancelled following falling ratings.[3] Comparing Bang Goes the Theory to Tomorrow's World, series editor Dermot Caulfield said,

Rather than simply be a reporting vehicle on what’s new in the world of science, we want to roll up our sleeves, stick our hands in the dirty gubbins of the engine and find out why, what, or where science is happening.[4]

Dr. Stephen Serjeant (Reader in Cosmology at the OU), and Dr Ian Johnston (Lecturer in Engineering for the OU) are the two academic team leaders for the production, covering disciplines including geology, astrophysics, neuropsychology and zoology.[2] The studio elements of the series were initially recorded in a building that housed the supersonic wind tunnel fans at RAE Bedford in Bedfordshire and was also the testing facility for the first prototype Harrier Jump Jet V/STOL aircraft.[5] They were later recorded in the old linear accelerator building on the University of Sussex campus near Brighton, where Jem Stansfield has his workshop. As of Series 6 (from March 2012) no studio is used and linking sections are filmed on location.

To "inspire the audience to get hands on with science", the series is being supported by a number of free events across the country organised by BBC Learning.[2][6]

Over time, the programme has moved from being an educational entertainment format in which short films were interspersed with "street science" demonstrations (mainly presented by Yan Wong) and stunts (mainly presented by Jem Stansfield), to a current affairs-style format. Distinct changes occurred in series 6, when each episode explored a single theme, the studio setting was dropped, several guest presenters appeared over the course of the series (one of whom, Maggie Philbin, subsequently joined the show as a regular presenter), and Jem Stansfield's stunts were phased out, with his attempt to build a pedal-powered flying machine (featured across two episodes) being the last such item to date.

Presenters[edit]

Yan Wong, Dallas Campbell & Liz Bonnin

Bang Goes the Theory was originally presented by Dallas Campbell (series 1–6), Liz Bonnin, a biochemist with a Masters in wild animal conservation; Jem Stansfield, an aeronautical engineer, inventor and designer of museum exhibits, and Dr. Yan Wong (co-author of The Ancestor's Tale), an Oxford-educated evolutionary biologist.[2] Both Campbell and Wong left after series 6, and were replaced by Maggie Philbin, a science television presenter. From series 6 onwards, some segments have also been fronted by one-off guest presenters. Maggie Philbin initially appeared as a guest presenter in series 6 before becoming a regular.

Live trailer[edit]

Ahead of the start of the series, BBC One aired a live three minute trailer on 14 July 2009 before EastEnders. Described as a television first and emulating the Honda television advert Cog, it featured a continuing chain of scientific experiments, with one triggering the next and so on. The sequence included Bonnin using a bicycle to power a Van de Graaff generator and Stansfield then using the 250,000 volts generated to, amongst other things,

  • light a Bunsen burner,
  • inflate a large inflatable bunny,
  • trigger a thermal switch,
  • repel Wong away from Campbell along a track (using electromagnets attached to both presenters), and
  • power a robotic hand

The sequence did not quite complete as expected: the bunny did not fully inflate and manual intervention was required to break an infrared beam to allow the experiment to continue – the rest of the experiment was executed without problems. Prior to the broadcast, over 10,000 people voted online for Wong to be propelled using magnetic forces. The live BBC 1 trailer was directed by John Rooney.[7][8]

BBC One ident[edit]

As of 2014, Bang Goes The Theory is the only programme on BBC One to have its own ident. It depicts a group of people using bicycles to generate electricity to illuminate a ring of lights, into the centre of which the BBC One logo is superimposed.

Live Tour/roadshow[edit]

In 2010 a Bang roadshow happened, and in 2011 a Bang Live toured the UK with an exclusive live show and interactive tent.

Symphony of Bang Goes The Theory[edit]

This is the name of a 'song' created for the BBC by musician John Boswell using clips from the Bang Goes The Theory shows and website. It features distortion of the presenters' words using pitch-correction software, over the top of original music, in the same vein as Boswell's popular Symphony of Science series. Although conceived originally as a web piece, the song is also used at the end of the Bang LIVE roadshows. Watch The Symphony of Bang video on YouTube.

Episodes[edit]

Series 1[edit]

The first series consisted of ten episodes. At the end of the last episode, it was announced that the programme would return in March 2010.[9]

No.
overall
No. in
series
Topics Original air date
1 1 Gait recognition, vortex rings, genetic engineering and an uncooked egg.[10] 27 July 2009 (2009-07-27)
2 2 Bugs as food, planet discovery, water powered jet pack 3 August 2009 (2009-08-03)
3 3 Submarine rescue, plastics, vacuum gloves 10 August 2009 (2009-08-10)
4 4 Magnetic cows, psychological priming, underwater fireworks, space race 17 August 2009 (2009-08-17)
5 5 Thrills, non-lethal weapons, snakes and perception, squeaky voices 24 August 2009 (2009-08-24)
6 6 Helicopters, Brain-Training, Space Entrepreneurs, Melting Glass in a Microwave 7 September 2009 (2009-09-07)
7 7 Braking Systems, Origins of Speech, British Summers, Optical Illusions 14 September 2009 (2009-09-14)
8 8 Microwaves, Nature v Nurture, Gyroscopes, Infrared 21 September 2009 (2009-09-21)
9 9 Multitasking, Hot Ice, Spider Silk, Magic 28 September 2009 (2009-09-28)
10 10 Toffee powered rocket, sense of smell, electricity and magnetism, fusion 5 October 2009 (2009-10-05)
11 SP1 Human Power Station Note: This was a special hour long episode, also shown in HD. 3 December 2009 (2009-12-03)

Series 2[edit]

The second series consisted of eight episodes, plus another hour long special, starting on 15 March 2010. It was also broadcast on BBC HD.

No.
overall
No. in
series
Topics Original air date
12 1 Fire extinguisher go cart, global crude oil supply and exploration, and solving crimes with Forensic science. 15 March 2010 (2010-03-15)
13 2 Human g-force tolerance, Sport Relief, the atom, and snorkel length. 22 March 2010 (2010-03-22)
14 3 Darwin's dilemma, Human powered hydrofoil, Lie detectors 29 March 2010 (2010-03-29)
15 4 Steel making, Eternal life, Dolphin flipper on a human swimmer 12 April 2010 (2010-04-12)
16 SP2 Can You Train Your Brain? An hour long special 14 April 2010 (2010-04-14)
17 5 Volcanic ash, Power stations, Skiing 19 April 2010 (2010-04-19)
18 6 Happiness, Burying carbon dioxide, Avalanches 26 April 2010 (2010-04-26)
19 7 Horsepower, Free diving, Anti-matter 3 May 2010 (2010-05-03)
20 8 Smell, Coffee fueled car, Origins of life 10 May 2010 (2010-05-10)

Series 3[edit]

The third series consisted of six episodes, starting on 8 September 2010. It was also broadcast on BBC HD.

No.
overall
No. in
series
Topics Original air date
21 1 Gulf of Mexico oil spill and Einstein's theory of relativity. 8 September 2010 (2010-09-08)
22 2 Sunburn, psychological priming and shapes of wheels. 15 September 2010 (2010-09-15)
23 3 Jet lag, the size of the solar system and a square-wheeled motorbike (continued from previous episode). 22 September 2010 (2010-09-22)
24 4 The origin of weather and seasons, wave power (involving the Pelamis Wave Energy Converter) and the theory of evolution. 29 September 2010 (2010-09-29)
25 5 The 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland, gambling in Las Vegas and solar furnaces. 6 October 2010 (2010-10-06)
26 6 A (failed) recreation of Project Habakkuk, making a boat from 'Pykrete', fibre-reinforced ice.[11] 13 October 2010 (2010-10-13)

Series 4[edit]

The fourth series commenced with an hour long special, starting on 10 March 2011. It was also broadcast on BBC HD.

No.
overall
No. in
series
Topics Original air date
27 SP3 Bang Goes The Winter Weather – an hour long special 10 March 2011 (2011-03-10)
28 1 Japan Earthquake Special 14 March 2011 (2011-03-14)
29 2 In vitro fertilization and 360 degrees on a playground swing. 21 March 2011 (2011-03-21)
30 3 A 1000mph car, stuff sticky, and homemade glues. 28 March 2011 (2011-03-28)
31 4 Calories and antibiotics. 4 April 2011 (2011-04-04)
32 5 Lasers, the speed of light, and citizen science. 11 April 2011 (2011-04-11)
33 6 Genetically modified foods, House dust mite vs Asthma and allergies, and shattering glass with music. 18 April 2011 (2011-04-18)[12]
34 7 A Royal Wedding theme and Liz uses Genetic genealogy to track her family tree right back to the earliest humans.[13] 25 April 2011 (2011-04-25)[14]
35 8 The future of Recycling and how GPS works.[15] 2 May 2011 (2011-05-02)[16]

Series 5[edit]

The fifth series began airing on 15 August 2011 on BBC One and in HD on BBC One HD

No.
overall
No. in
series
Topics Original air date
36 1 Making Diamonds, the science of Popcorn and curing Cancer. 15 August 2011 (2011-08-15)[17]
37 2 Liz hits the beach with the RNLI to experience the power of rip currents. 22 August 2011 (2011-08-22)[17]
38 3 Jem witnesses the awesome power of rockets with the Bloodhound land speed record project. 29 August 2011 (2011-08-29)[17]
39 4 Topics include new stem-cell research and the Nocebo effect. 5 September 2011 (2011-09-05)[18]
40 5 Bedbugs, statistics, visit to Caltech. 12 September 2011 (2011-09-12)[19]
41 6 Causes of tooth decay and gum disease, why food refreezing should be avoided, sleeping problems caused by electric lights. 19 September 2011 (2011-09-19)[20]
42 7 Helium shortage, public knowledge about radiation, airport security technologies. 26 September 2011 (2011-09-26)[21]
43 8 Nuclear reactor, clean-up of nuclear waste, radiation influence on the human body. 3 October 2011 (2011-10-03)[22]

Series 6[edit]

The sixth series began airing on 12 March 2012 on BBC One and in HD on BBC One HD, in England and Scotland. It is shown a day later, on BBC Two in Northern Ireland and Wales.

No.
overall
No. in
series
Topics Original air date
44 1 "Fuel for Free". The team investigates why petrol costs so much, and whether we can use science to make fuel for free. Liz experiences life on an oil rig, Jem and Dallas compete to make their own DIY fuel alternatives, and Jem discovers the link between fossil fuels and a recent earthquake in Lancashire. 12 March 2012 (2012-03-12)[17]
45 2 "Is Life Too Loud?". The team asks whether modern life is damaging our ears. Dallas explores how safety-conscious scientists are putting the noise back into driving, Liz learns to like the sound of being sick, and Jem sets out to record the sound of a centipede's footsteps. 19 March 2012 (2012-03-19)[17]
46 3 "Cyber Security". Liz finds out how safe digital storage formats such as DVDs and memory sticks are, and whether the Cloud answers all our problems. Dallas and Jem see what it takes to properly wipe your computer memory, and Maggie Philbin revisits a Tomorrow's World feature on phone security after nearly 30 years, investigating how hackers can access your smartphone. 26 March 2012 (2012-03-26)[17]
47 4 Dallas finds out how crowds can co-operate subconsciously, Liz sees how architects control the flow of crowds, and Jem meets scientists trying to understand how crush injuries can occur. Plus, 80s number cruncher, Johnny Ball, demonstrates just how biologists measure population size. 2 April 2012 (2012-04-02)[17]
48 5 Wireless energy transfer, wi-fi health concerns. 16 April 2012 (2012-04-16)[17]
49 6 Jem dreams of flying under his own power by pedalling a homemade plane into the air. 23 April 2012 (2012-04-23)[17]
50 7 Jem heads for his workshop to build a solution to traffic jams: a man-powered aeroplane. 30 April 2012 (2012-04-30)[17]
51 8 Philippa Forrester takes her pet to a lab to find out how dogs can be good for people's health. 14 May 2012 (2012-05-14)[23]

Series 7[edit]

The seventh series began airing on 4 March 2013 on BBC One and in HD on BBC One HD, in England, at the same time but on BBC Two in Scotland, and a day later on BBC Two in Northern Ireland and Wales.

No.
overall
No. in
series
Topics Original air date
52 1 The Bang team reveal the science behind plastics.[24] 4 March 2013 (2013-03-04)[25]
53 2 Liz explains bacterial resistance. Maggie finds out about catching infections inside an aeroplane, and reveals a new technique for prescribing antibiotics. Jem heads to a scrapyard to demonstrate the difference between viruses and bacteria.[26] 11 March 2013 (2013-03-11)[25]
54 3 The team investigate whether sugar deserves its bad health reputation.[25] 18 March 2013 (2013-03-18)[25]
55 4 Road safety, heart attacks in young people, and a burns dressing that could reduce the risk of scarring.[27] 25 March 2013 (2013-03-25)[25]
56 5 How much do we really know about what's on our dinner plate?[28] 8 April 2013 (2013-04-08)[25]
57 6 The team report on how scientists and engineers are working to reduce the strain on Britain's ageing infrastructure.[29] 15 April 2013 (2013-04-15)[25]
58 7 Maggie puts online diagnosis tools to the test against a real doctor, and reveals how personalised medicine can help young asthma sufferers. Jem checks out the latest self-monitoring gadgets. Liz finds out about a new technique that can correct a rare genetic condition that causes blindness.[30] 22 April 2013 (2013-04-22)[25]
59 8 The team investigate air pollution.[31] 29 April 2013 (2013-04-29)[25]

Series 8[edit]

The eighth series began airing on 10 March 2014 on BBC One and in HD on BBC One HD, in England and Scotland. Jem Stansfield did not appear in episodes 4, 6, 7 and 8 but was still credited as "Engineering consultant".

No.
overall
No. in
series
Topics Original air date
60 1 Energy – The team investigate how close Britain might get to running out of electricity.[32] 10 March 2014 (2014-03-10)[33]
61 2 Cancer – Liz explains how cells turn cancerous, Jem builds his own radiotherapy gun, Maggie looks at the latest drugs, and Tommy Walsh looks into screening for bowel cancer.[34] 17 March 2014 (2014-03-17)[33]
62 3 Big Data – Liz looks at how big data monitors Rolls Royce jet engines, Jem creates a low-tech computer and storage system, and Maggie examines the dark side of big data: privacy.[35] 24 March 2014 (2014-03-24)[33]
63 4 Ageing – The team look at how our bodies change as we get older. Sir Terry Wogan investigates whether any drugs are available which could reduce the risk of dementia.[36] 31 March 2014 (2014-03-31)[33]
64 5 Flu – Jem explains flu on a cellular level, Liz witnesses vaccines being made and Maggie visits a flu research lab.[37] 7 April 2014 (2014-04-07)[33]
65 6 Flooding – Did global warming play a part in the recent floods? Maggie investigates the threat of storm surge, Liz looks at how nature can 'slow the flow' and Charlie Dimmock considers how urban flash floods might be linked to patios and decking.[38] 14 April 2014 (2014-04-14)[33]
66 7 Trains – The team report on how engineers are keeping Britain's ageing rail system on track.[39] 28 April 2014 (2014-04-28)[33]
67 8 Disaster Relief – Maggie visits the Zaatari refugee camp, Liz reports on cholera, and the team are joined by Dr Chris Van Tulleken, maker of a peanut-based paste that has saved tens of thousands of famine victims.[40] 5 May 2014 (2014-05-05)[33]

Episode on nuclear power found 'misleading' by BBC Trust[edit]

The 8th episode of series 5 looking at nuclear power was found to be 'not accurate' and 'misleading' by the Ethical Standards Committee of the BBC Trust. The review of the episode was prompted by a complaint registered by 50 co-signatories, which included MPs and nuclear experts.[41] [42]

DVD release[edit]

A DVD set containing the first two series of Bang Goes the Theory was issued in 2010. None of the subsequent series have been issued on DVD.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tomorrow's World presenter Maggie Philbin signed up to host Bang Goes The Theory". London: The Independent. 5 February 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "New series, Bang Goes The Theory, puts popular science at the heart of the BBC One summer schedule". BBC Press Office. 3 June 2009. Archived from the original on 6 June 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2009. 
  3. ^ Michael Rosser (3 June 2009). "BBC1 revives spirit of Tomorrow's World". Broadcast. Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2009. 
  4. ^ Bambury, Adam (24 June 2009). "Meet Dermot Caulfield". OpenLearn. Retrieved 19 July 2009. 
  5. ^ BGTT: Janet Sumner gives a brief intro to the show. The Open University on YouTube. 4 June 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2009. 
  6. ^ "Roadshow and hands-on events". BBC. Retrieved 19 July 2009. 
  7. ^ Video accessible at "Bang Goes the Theory". BBC. Archived from the original on 8 June 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2009. 
  8. ^ Wardrop, Murray (14 July 2009). "Bang Goes The Theory: BBC braves potential disaster with live scientific experiments". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 19 July 2009. 
  9. ^ "Episode 10". 1. Series 1. Episode 1. 5 October 2009. 28:05 minutes in. BBC. BBC One.
  10. ^ "Network TV BBC Week 30: Monday 27 July 2009". BBC Press Office. 15 July 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  11. ^ "Ice boat sinks at sea". The Daily Telegraph. 30 September 2010. 
  12. ^ "BBC One – Bang Goes the Theory, Series 4, Episode 6". Bbc.co.uk. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  13. ^ "BBC One – Bang Goes the Theory, Series 4, Episode 7". Bbc.co.uk. 4 August 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  14. ^ "BBC One – Bang Goes the Theory, Series 4, Episode 7". Bbc.co.uk. 4 August 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "BBC One – Bang Goes the Theory, Series 4, Episode 8". Bbc.co.uk. 11 August 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  16. ^ "BBC One – Bang Goes the Theory, Series 4, Episode 8". Bbc.co.uk. 11 August 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "BBC One – Bang Goes the Theory, Series 5, Episode 1". Bbc.co.uk. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  18. ^ "BBC One – Bang Goes the Theory, Series 5, Episode 4". Bbc.co.uk. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  19. ^ "BBC One – Bang Goes the Theory, Series 5, Episode 5". Bbc.co.uk. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  20. ^ "BBC One – Bang Goes the Theory, Series 5, Episode 6". Bbc.co.uk. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  21. ^ "BBC One – Bang Goes the Theory, Series 5, Episode 7". Bbc.co.uk. 6 October 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  22. ^ "BBC One – Bang Goes the Theory, Series 5, Episode 8". Bbc.co.uk. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  23. ^ "BBC One – Bang Goes the Theory, Series 6, Episode 8". Bbc.co.uk. 15 May 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  24. ^ "Bang Goes The Theory 7: Episode 1 – OpenLearn – Open University". Open.edu. 22 February 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i "BBC One – Bang Goes the Theory – Episode guide". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  26. ^ "BBC One – Bang Goes the Theory, Series 7, Episode 2". Bbc.co.uk. 12 March 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  27. ^ "BBC One – Bang Goes the Theory, Series 7, Episode 4". Bbc.co.uk. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  28. ^ "BBC One – Bang Goes the Theory, Series 7, Episode 5". Bbc.co.uk. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  29. ^ "BBC One – Bang Goes the Theory, Series 7, Episode 6". Bbc.co.uk. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  30. ^ "BBC One – Bang Goes the Theory, Series 7, Episode 7". Bbc.co.uk. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  31. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01s7twg
  32. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03y65xx
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03y63p2/episodes/guide
  34. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03yz84n
  35. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03zjwqw
  36. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0400dx6
  37. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b040ldcp
  38. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b040yzmf
  39. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b042lrnm
  40. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b043byyd
  41. ^ http://www.broadcastnow.co.uk/news/broadcasters/nuclear-experts-debunk-bang-goes-the-theory/5049868.article
  42. ^ Sweney, Mark (11 December 2012). "BBC1 science show 'downplayed impact' of Chernobyl nuclear disaster". The Guardian (London). 

External links[edit]