The Human Face

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The Human Face
The Human Face DVD cover.png
Directed byJames Erskine
David Stewart
Written byJohn Cleese
Produced byProducer:[1]

Executive Producer:

StarringJohn Cleese
Elizabeth Hurley
David Attenborough
Candice Bergen
Pierce Brosnan
Mali Finn
Charles Fleming
William Goldman
Kevyn Major Howard
Michael Palin
Joan Rivers
Michael Rix
Release date
Running time
50 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States

The Human Face is a 4-part BBC series that examines the science behind facial beauty, expression, and fame. Actor and comedian John Cleese investigated identity, perception, creativity and sexuality and their relation to the human face, combining art, technology and human interest stories. Paul Ekman served as scientific adviser.


Part One: Face to Face[edit]

Original airdate: 7 March 2001[2]

This episode looks at how the face communicates without speech, focusing on expressions, disguise and the mysterious art of face-reading.

Part Two: Here’s Looking at You![edit]

Original airdate: 14 March 2001[3]

This episode investigates family resemblances, facial recognition and the purpose of the face and its features, going back to five hundred million years ago. It also speculates about the multi-racial face of the future and showed surgeons in Kentucky preparing for the world's first facial transplant.

Part Three: Beauty[edit]

Original airdate: 21 March 2001[4]

This episode studies whether human physical attractiveness is a matter of personal taste, looking at standards of beauty that are shared worldwide: a pretty face suggests fertility, while ugliness suggests poor health. Big eyes, smooth skin and symmetrical features are valued, and can lead to a better job, more money, and better sex.

Part Four: Fame[edit]

Original airdate: 25 March 2001[5]

This episode looks at the ubiquity of famous faces on billboards, magazines, and movie screens, and the messages they carry about sex, politics, glamour and power. Considering Diana, Princess of Wales, Jackie Onassis, Marilyn Monroe, it tells the story of the face as icon, from Egyptian mummies to Hollywood stars.



  1. ^ "The Human Face with John Cleese". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
  2. ^ "The Human Face Episode Guide". BBC. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  3. ^ "The Human Face Episode Guide". BBC. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  4. ^ "The Human Face Episode Guide". BBC. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  5. ^ "The Human Face Episode Guide". BBC. Retrieved 20 November 2012.

External links[edit]