The Planets (TV miniseries)

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The Planets
Take A Journey To Worlds Beyond Your Imagination
Genre Documentary
Directed by David McNab
Composer(s) Jim Meacock
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 8
Cinematography Simon Fanthorpe
Running time 390 min. (8 episodes)
Original channel BBC Two
Picture format 1.78:1
Original run 1 April – 1 June 1999

The Planets is an educational miniseries produced by the BBC and A&E and released in 1999. It documents the Solar System and its nature, formation, and discovery by humans during the space age. The series of eight episodes includes a substantial amount of archival footage from both the United States and Soviet space programs. It also depicts the Solar System through computer graphics. There were a total of eight episodes produced for the series. The series featured appearances from famous pioneering space scientists and explorers, and was narrated by Samuel West.


Number Title Description
1 Different Worlds The first episode covers the early attempts at space travel and the development of rocket technology.
2 Terra Firma The story of the terrestrial planets and their exploration.
3 Giants Looking at the giant planets of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and the journeys of Voyager 1 and Voyager 2.
4 Moon Detailing the moon and the race to reach it during the "Space race" years.
5 Star Concentrating on the Sun, the early belief in it being a god and the science behind its behaviour.
6 Atmosphere A look at the atmosphere of our planet and those in the rest of the Solar System.
7 Life A journey into looking for life on other planets and trying to find if life elsewhere really does exist.
8 Destiny The final episode explores the future of the solar system, plus research into extrasolar planets.

Commentators in episode 1 include Hal Levison,George Wetherill, and David Levy.

Commentators in episode 5 include Douglas Gough. Angelo Secchi is said to pioneer the field spectroscopy.

DVD release[edit]

The DVD of the series was released on 24 January 2000.[1]


A hardcover book accompanying the series broadcast was released on 22 April 1999.[2] The Planets. David McNab and James Younger. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-08044-5

External links[edit]