|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
Local Heroes is an award-winning science and history television programme in the United Kingdom, presented by Adam Hart-Davis.
Made by Screenhouse Productions and directed by Paul Bader, it was first aired on the ITV regional network Yorkshire Television in 1991. In the show, Adam Hart-Davis, dressed in the pink and yellow cycling clothes that would became the show's trademark, rode around the YTV region (including Yorkshire, Norfolk and Lincolnshire) on a matching pink and yellow bicycle, stopping in a particular area to tell the stories of scientists that lived or were born there. These stories were embellished by experiments, performed on the street by Hart-Davis, generally using bits of wood and junk from a trailer on his bike.
This hobo-meets-Johnny Ball style approach to science-education proved appealing, and after two series, the show was sold to the national BBC2 network in 1994. The move saw two changes: the scope of the show was expanded nationwide, with a different region visited each episode; and the theme tune was changed from No More Heroes by The Stranglers to a twee and plinky number, more in keeping with the programme genre. Eventually this was replaced by a more upbeat theme, by Wallace and Gromit composer Julian Nott, played by a Czech orchestra.
Since then, the series has covered over 200 'heroes', and has seen several special episodes. The first special saw Hart-Davis visit Egypt to investigate ancient heroes, while another took him to Italy for a Renaissance special. Another notable show was the finale of the last series (to date), which was performed in front of a live audience at the Royal Institution, much in the style of the Institution's Christmas Lectures.
The show continued until 2000. Since then, Hart-Davis has moved on to other shows, and the bbc.co.uk Local Heroes pages have now been deleted, suggesting that no further series are planned.
1 South West: Sarah Guppy: Patented the exercise bed, breakfast urn and the suspension bridge. William Watts: Invented Lead shot. Humphry Davy: Discovered laughing gas, started electrochemistry and made patients breathe gases from cows. Edward Jenner: Introduced vaccination against smallpox. Mikael Pedersen: Designed a beautiful and curious bicycle. George Pocock (inventor): Inventor of spanking machine and pioneer of kite locomotion.
4 Midlands: John Barber (engineer): Patented the gas turbine. Matthew Boulton: Host of the Lunar Society, a gathering of scientists. William Withering: Made heart cure from foxgloves (digitalis). William Murdoch: Invented gas lighting. James Watt: Invented the copying machine and greatly improved steam engines. Dennis Gabor: Invented the hologram on a tennis court - before it was possible to make one. Alexander Parkes: Produced plastics, two generations ahead of its time. Frederick W. Lanchester: Built the first all British four wheel petrol driven car.
5 Northern Ireland: John Boyd Dunlop: Invented the pneumatic tyre. William Coppin: Invented the diving suit and pioneered salvage operations. George Garrett (inventor): Invented a submarine, powered by steam and called 'Resurgam'. John Getty McGee: Invented the Ulster Overcoat as worn by Sherlock Holmes. John Thomas Romney Robinson: Invented the cup anemometer and measured the position of Armagh with rockets. Harry Ferguson: Pioneered the modern tractor system.
6 North West: John Mackereth: Invented the pneumatic mud corer for taking samples from lake beds. John Gough (natural philosopher): Blind naturalist who could identify any plant by taste and touch. Thomas Edmondson: Inventor of the railway ticket. John Dalton: Meteorologist and pioneer of atomic theory. James Prescott Joule: Devised modern ideas about heat. Joseph Whitworth: Revolutionised engineering by defining standard screw threads.
3 East: William Harvey: Reformed incorrect thinking about the circulation of blood. Robert Fitzroy: Pioneered storm warning system and invented the weather forecast. Benjamin Wiseman: Patented a Windmill in 1783. William Hase: Modified prison treadmills to take power outside the prison. William Gilberd: Discovered the earth is a magnet. John Jeyes: Invented a unique three-function toilet cleaner Jeyes Fluid. William Hyde Wollaston: Invented a clever mirror-and-prism device (Camera lucida) that lets you see your subject superimposed on your sketch pad.
4 North East: John Walker (inventor): Invented the friction match. Charles Algernon Parsons: Invented the steam turbine. Joseph Wilson Swan: Invented the incandescent light bulb. Lewis Fry Richardson: Inventor of sonar and the understanding of the mathematics of the weather. Thomas Wright (astronomer): First to understand the Milky Way. Gladstone Adams: Invented the windscreen wiper.
5 Wales: Thomas Telford: Developed a system for road building & built bridges. Alfred Russel Wallace: Devised theory of natural selection jointly with Darwin. William Price (physician): Pioneer of cremation. Harry Grindell Matthews: Invented a portable radio, and supposed Death Ray inventor. Richard Trevithick: Ran world's first steam locomotive at Merthyr. Robert Recorde: Invented equals sign. Hugh Owen Thomas (and the bonesetters of Anglesey): Four generations of bonesetters and founder of orthopaedic surgery.
6 South East: Samuel Morland: Invented giant megaphones and was master mechanic to Charles II Hertha Ayrton: Invented way of clearing trenches of Mustard Gas. Eleanor Coade: Her artificial stone was used for many landmarks. Henry Maudslay: Founder of precision engineering and first production line. Thomas Young (scientist): Discovered how the eye works and translated the Rosetta Stone. Liborio Pedrazzoli: Inventor of swimming umbrellas. Ralph Wedgwood (inventor): Invented carbon paper. William Willoughby Cole Verner: Invented cavalry sketching board to enable cavalrymen to make accurate maps whilst on horseback.
1 Devon and Cornwall: Thomas Newcomen et al.
2 London: Cornelius Drebbel et al.
3 South: Robert Hooke et al.
4 Special - Egypt
5 Special - Italy
6 Special - Science Week
1 South: Henry Cavendish et al.
2 East of Scotland: James Dewar et al.
3 Cotswalds: William Henry Fox Talbot et al.
4 St Pauls: Heroines