The Infinite Monkey Cage

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The Infinite Monkey Cage
Robin Ince and Brian Cox, the hosts of the programme
Running timeapprox. 30 minutes
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Home stationBBC Radio 4
StarringBrian Cox
Robin Ince
Produced byAlexandra Feachem
Executive producer(s)Deborah Cohen
Recording studioRadio Theatre, Broadcasting House, London
RADA Studios, London
Original release30 November 2009 (2009-11-30) – present
No. of series19
No. of episodes114 + 2[1]

The Infinite Monkey Cage is a BBC Radio 4 comedy and popular science series. Hosted by physicist Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince,[2] The Independent described it as a "witty and irreverent look at the world according to science".[3][4] The show's eighth series was broadcast in June and July 2013 and the podcast, published immediately after the initial radio broadcast, features extended versions of most episodes starting with 1 July 2013 Glastonbury Special episode in Series 8.[5] The programme won a Gold Award in the Best Speech Programme category at the 2011 Sony Radio Awards,[6][7] and it won the best Radio Talk Show at the 2015 Rose d'Or awards.[8] The name is a reference to the infinite monkey theorem.

Each show has a particular topic up for discussion, with previous topics including the apocalypse and space travel. There are normally three guests; two of these are scientists with an interest in the topic of discussion, offering an expert opinion on the subject. The other guest is usually a comedian, who takes a less serious view of the subject, and often makes the show more accessible by asking the 'stupid' questions that the other guests may have overlooked.

Ince and Cox headed an Uncaged Monkeys live tour in 2011, and toured the United States in 2015.[9]

In April 2018 a book titled "Infinite Monkey Cage - How to Build a Universe" was released. Its audiobook was read by Brian Cox and Robin Ince.


The programme features a number of running themes and gags. Robin Ince regularly pokes fun of Brian Cox's hair, good looks, and former career as a rock musician. Ince often imitates and quotes Carl Sagan. Cox often ridicules chemistry, astrology, Creationists and occasionally returns to the subject of how and when a strawberry can be considered dead.[10]

Theme song[edit]

The programme's theme song was written by Eric Idle and recorded by Idle and Jeff Lynne.[11] Idle and his band performed the song live on the show when it toured in Los Angeles in 2015 and it appears in the 2016 TV show "The Entire Universe".

List of episodes[edit]

The following is an episode list of the BBC radio series The Infinite Monkey Cage. As of July 2018, there have been 103 episodes spanning 18 series plus 6 specials; two responding to viewers questions and Christmas Specials in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. All episodes are available to stream via the website and as podcast downloads.[12]

Since 2013, podcasts are longer than the broadcast episodes at around 45 minutes, frequently adding mild spats between Cox and Ince, and occasionally language unsuitable "for the 4:30pm school run slot".

In addition to the regular programmes, a special entitled "An Infinite Monkey's Guide to General Relativity" was broadcast in two half-hour episodes on 8 and 15 December 2015.[13] Their 100th Episode (according to their own manner of counting which differs from the one listed on Wikipedia), simply titled "Monkey Cage 100", was also recorded on Video and is currently watchable on the BBC iPlayer.

Series One[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
11"Science and Comedians"Dara Ó Briain and Dr Alice Roberts30 November 2009 (2009-11-30)
22"Extraterrestrial Life"Jon Ronson and Seth Shostak7 December 2009 (2009-12-07)
33"Quantum Physics"Ben Miller14 December 2009 (2009-12-14)
44"Science and Religion"Chris Addison, Victor Stock and Adam Rutherford21 December 2009 (2009-12-21)

Series Two[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
51"Popular Science (Cheltenham Science Festival)"Ben Miller and Robert Winston14 June 2010 (2010-06-14)
62"Trust me, I'm a Scientist"Ben Goldacre and Dave Gorman21 June 2010 (2010-06-21)
73"Science Fiction, Science Fact"Jonathan Ross, Alan Moore and Dr Brian Greene28 June 2010 (2010-06-28)
84"Things Can Only Get Better?"Colin Blakemore and Mark Steel5 July 2010 (2010-07-05)

Series Three[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
91"Apocalypse"Adam Rutherford, Andy Hamilton and Dr Lucie Green with Matt Parker15 November 2010 (2010-11-15)
102"Modern World"Paul Foot, Aleks Krotoski and Professor Tony Ryan with Matt Parker22 November 2010 (2010-11-22)
113"Randomness"Tim Minchin and Alex Bellos with Matt Parker29 November 2010 (2010-11-29)
124"Philosophy"Alexei Sayle, Julian Baggini and Professor Raymond Tallis with Matt Parker6 December 2010 (2010-12-06)

Series Four[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
131"What Don't We Know?"Paul Foot, Marcus Chown and Professor Steve Jones30 May 2011 (2011-05-30)
142"Six Degrees"Stephen Fry, Simon Singh, and Aleks Krotoski with Matt Parker6 June 2011 (2011-06-06)
153"So You Want To Be an Astronaut?"Chris Riley, Dr Kevin Fong, and Helen Keen13 June 2011 (2011-06-13)
164"Is Cosmology Really a Science?"Alan Moore, Dallas Campbell, Professor Ed Copeland and Helen Arney20 June 2011 (2011-06-20)
175"Is There Room for Mysticism in a Rational World? (Glastonbury Special)"Billy Bragg, Graham Coxon, Shappi Khorsandi and Professor Tony Ryan27 June 2011 (2011-06-27)
186"Science vs the Supernatural: Does Science Kill the Magic?"Andy Nyman, Richard Wiseman and Bruce Hood5 July 2011 (2011-07-05)

Series Five[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
191"What's the North Ever Done for Us?
(Manchester Science Festival)"
Jon Culshaw, Jeff Forshaw and Matthew Cobb21 November 2011 (2011-11-21)
202"A Balanced Programme on Balance"Sir Paul Nurse, Katy Brand, Simon Mayo, and Professor Steve Jones28 November 2011 (2011-11-28)
213"The Origins of Life"Tim Minchin, Dr Nick Lane, and Adam Rutherford5 December 2011 (2011-12-05)
224"The Science of Sound"Tom Wrigglesworth, Professor Trevor Cox and Professor Chris Plack12 December 2011 (2011-12-12)
235"I'm a Chemist Get Me Out of Here"Dara Ó Briain, Professor Tony Ryan, and Andrea Sella19 December 2011 (2011-12-19)
246"The Science of Christmas"Professor Richard Dawkins, Mark Gatiss and Roger Highfield with Helen Arney26 December 2011 (2011-12-26)

Series Six[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
251"Oceans: The Last Great Unexplored Frontier?"Dave Gorman, Lloyd Peck and Bramley Murton18 June 2012 (2012-06-18)
262"Science Mavericks"Marcus Brigstocke, Professor Barry Marshall, Kevin Fong, and Aoife McLysaght25 June 2012 (2012-06-25)
273"Does Size Matter?"Andy Hamilton, Mark Miodownik and Eleanor Stride2 July 2012 (2012-07-02)
284"The Science of Symmetry"Marcus du Sautoy, Adam Rutherford and Alan Moore9 July 2012 (2012-07-09)
295"Parallel Universes"Professor Sir Martin Rees, Dr Lucie Green and John Lloyd16 July 2012 (2012-07-16)
306"Science v Art (Latitude Festival)"Al Murray, Sara Pascoe, Andrew Pontzen and Jon Butterworth.23 July 2012 (2012-07-23)

Series Seven[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
311"Space Exploration"Sir Patrick Stewart, Ben Miller and Monica Grady19 November 2012 (2012-11-19)
322"Improbable Science"Katy Brand, Matthew Cobb and Marc Abrahams26 November 2012 (2012-11-26)
333"Secret Science"Simon Singh, Sue Black and Dave Gorman3 December 2012 (2012-12-03)
344"Brain Science"Jo Brand, Sophie Scott, and Brian Butterworth10 December 2012 (2012-12-10)
355"Creating Life"Ed Byrne, Adam Rutherford, and Philip Ball17 December 2012 (2012-12-17)
366"Christmas Special"Mark Gatiss, Professor Steve Jones, Richard Wiseman, Victor Stock, and Jonny & The Baptists24 December 2012 (2012-12-24)

Series Eight[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
371"What is Death?"Katy Brand, Dr Nick Lane, and Sue Black24 June 2013 (2013-06-24)
382"Glastonbury"Marcus Brigstocke, KT Tunstall, Fay Dowker, and Jeff Forshaw1 July 2013 (2013-07-01)
393"Space Tourism"Brian Blessed, Kevin Fong, and Steven Attenborough8 July 2013 (2013-07-08)
404"What Makes a Science a Science"Ben Goldacre, Sophie Scott, and Evan Davis15 July 2013 (2013-07-15)
415"Alfred Russel Wallace"Steve Jones, Aoife McLysaght, and Tony Law22 July 2013 (2013-07-22)
426"Science Museum"Neil deGrasse Tyson, Josie Long, Ian Blatchford, Richard Holmes and Doc Brown29 July 2013 (2013-07-29)

Series Nine[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
431"Risk"Graeme Garden, David Spiegelhalter, and Sue Ion18 November 2013 (2013-11-18)
442"Through the Doors of Perception"Claudia Hammond, Beau Lotto, and Alan Moore25 November 2013 (2013-11-25)
453"Science Rocks!"Hermione Cockburn, Ross Noble, and Eric Idle2 December 2013 (2013-12-02)
464"To Infinity and Beyond"John Lloyd, Colva Roney Dougal, and Simon Singh9 December 2013 (2013-12-09)
475"Should We Pander to Pandas?"Sandy Knapp, Simon Watt, and Sara Pascoe16 December 2013 (2013-12-16)
486"Science and Spin"Matthew Cobb, Sheena Cruikshank, Helen Keen, and James Burke23 December 2013 (2013-12-23)
497"Brian & Robin’s Infinite Inbox"None9 March 2014 (2014-03-09)

Series Ten[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
501"Numbers Numbers Everywhere"Dave Gorman, Dr Vicky Neale, and Alex Bellos7 July 2014 (2014-07-07)
512"Are Humans Uniquely Unique?"Keith Jensen, Katie Slocombe, and Ross Noble14 July 2014 (2014-07-14)
523"Does Science Need War?"Katy Brand, Philip Ball, and Kevin Fong21 July 2014 (2014-07-21)
534"Can Science Save Us?"Stephen Fry, Dr. Lucie Green, Prof. Tony Ryan and Eric Idle28 July 2014 (2014-07-28)
545"Before the Big Bang"Carlos Frenk, Fay Dowker, Ben Miller and Richard Vranch4 August 2014 (2014-08-04)
556"Irrationality"Josie Long, Paul Foot, Richard Wiseman and Stuart Ritchie11 August 2014 (2014-08-11)
567"2014 Christmas Special"Rev. Richard Coles, Chris Hadfield, Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Brian Blessed25 December 2014 (2014-12-25)

Series Eleven[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
571"Deception"Richard Wiseman, Sophie Scott, and David Aaronovitch19 January 2015 (2015-01-19)
582"Fierce Creatures"Steve Backshall, Lucy Cooke, and Andy Hamilton26 January 2015 (2015-01-26)
593"Solar System"Monica Grady, Jo Brand, and Carolyn Porco2 February 2015 (2015-02-02)
604"When Quantum Goes Woo"Ben Goldacre, Jeff Forshaw, and Sara Pascoe9 February 2015 (2015-02-09)
615"What's The Point of Plants"Jane Langdale, Jim Al-Khalili, and Ed Byrne16 February 2015 (2015-02-16)
626"Serendipity"Lee Mack, Simon Singh, and Andrea Sella23 February 2015 (2015-02-23)

Series Twelve[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
631"The Infinite Monkey Cage USA Tour: New York"Bill Nye, Janna Levin, Tim Daly, and Lisa Lampanelli6 July 2015 (2015-07-06)
642"The Infinite Monkey Cage USA Tour: Los Angeles"Sean Carroll, Joe Rogan, David X. Cohen, and Eric Idle13 July 2015 (2015-07-13)
653"The Infinite Monkey Cage USA Tour: Chicago"Peter Sagal, Julia Sweeney, Paul Sereno, and Jerry Coyne20 July 2015 (2015-07-20)
664"The Infinite Monkey Cage USA Tour: San Francisco"Dr Seth Shostak, Dr Carolyn Porco, Greg Proops, and Paul Provenza27 July 2015 (2015-07-27)
675"Speed"Alexei Sayle, Andy Green and Professor Danielle George3 August 2015 (2015-08-03)
686"Forensic Science"Professor Sue Black, Dr Mark Spencer and Rufus Hound10 August 2015 (2015-08-10)
697"2015 Christmas Special"Ross Noble, Paul Franklin, Simon Guerrier and Victor Stock25 December 2015 (2015-12-25)

Year-end specials[edit]

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein's theory of General Relativity, two special episodes were added in December 2015:

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
Special1"Episode 1: An Infinite Monkey's Guide to General Relativity"Ben Miller, Dara Ó Briain, Richard Vranch, and Carlos Frenk8 December 2015 (2015-12-08)
Special2"Episode 2: An Infinite Monkey's Guide to General Relativity"Sean Carroll, Richard Vranch, Tim O'Brien, Sarah Bridle, and Carlos Frenk15 December 2015 (2015-12-15)

Series Thirteen[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
701"Artificial Intelligence"Jo Brand, Anil Seth, and Alan Winfield11 January 2016 (2016-01-11)
712"What is Race?"Shappi Khorsandi, Adam Rutherford, and Mark Thomas18 January 2016 (2016-01-18)
723"Invisible Universe"Jon Culshaw, Sarah Bridle, and Tim O'Brien25 January 2016 (2016-01-25)
734"What is Reality?"David Eagleman, Sophie Scott, and Bridget Christie1 February 2016 (2016-02-01)
745"Maths of Love and Sex"Paul Foot, Hannah Fry, and David Spiegelhalter8 February 2016 (2016-02-08)
756"Climate Change"Dara Ó Briain, Professor Tony Ryan, and Dr Gabrielle Walker15 February 2016 (2016-02-15)
767"Brian & Robin's Infinite Inbox"None22 February 2016 (2016-02-22)

Series Fourteen[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
771"The Sound of Music (Glastonbury)"Matt Kirshen, KT Tunstall, Nitin Sawhney, Lucy Cooke, and Trevor Cox4 July 2016 (2016-07-04)
782"The Recipe to Build a Universe"Rufus Hound, Andrea Sella and Lucie Green11 July 2016 (2016-07-11)
793"Science of Sleep"Russell Foster, Richard Wiseman and Katy Brand18 July 2016 (2016-07-18)
804"Battle of the Sexes"Sophie Scott, Steve Jones and Sara Pascoe25 July 2016 (2016-07-25)
815"200 Years of Frankenstein"Noel Fielding, Nick Lane and Sir Christopher Frayling1 August 2016 (2016-08-01)
826"The Universe: What Remains to Be Discovered?"Ben Miller, Charlotte Church, Paul Abel and Tim O'Brien8 August 2016 (2016-08-08)
837"2016 Christmas Special"Neil deGrasse Tyson, Mark Gatiss, Deborah Hyde and Nick Baines27 December 2016 (2016-12-27)

Series Fifteen[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
841"The Science of Everyday Life"Russell Kane, Helen Czerski and Danielle George16 January 2017 (2017-01-16)
852"How to Beat the House and Win at Games"Hannah Fry, Alex Bellos, Richard Wiseman and Helen Zaltzman23 January 2017 (2017-01-23)
863"Science's Epic Fails"Rufus Hound, Professor Alice Roberts and Dr Adam Rutherford30 January 2017 (2017-01-30)
874"Oceans: What Remains to Be Discovered?"Andy Hamilton, Professor Jon Copley and Helen Scales6 February 2017 (2017-02-06)
885"The Human Story: How We Got Here and Why We Survived"Ross Noble, Professor Danielle Schreve and Chris Stringer13 February 2017 (2017-02-13)
896"Making the Invisible Visible"Katy Brand, Carlos Frenk and Matthew Cobb20 February 2017 (2017-02-20)

Series Sixteen[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
901"What Particles Remain to be Discovered?"Eric Idle, Jon Butterworth and Catherine Heymans3 July 2017 (2017-07-03)
912"Astronaut Special"Sandra Magnus, Terry Virts, Claude Nicollier and Charlie Duke10 July 2017 (2017-07-10)
923"Oxygen: A Matter of Life or Death"Sara Pascoe, Andrea Sella and Dr Gabrielle Walker17 July 2017 (2017-07-17)
934"Will Insects Inherit the Earth?"Dave Gorman, Tim Cockerill and Amoret Whitaker24 July 2017 (2017-07-24)
945"Are We Living in a Simulation?"Phil Jupitus, Nick Bostrom and Anil Seth31 July 2017 (2017-07-31)
956"The Mind v the Brain?"Katy Brand, Uta Frith and Sophie Scott7 August 2017 (2017-08-07)
967"2017 Christmas Special: The Science of Magic"Andy Nyman, Diane Morgan, Richard Wiseman and Francesca Stavrakopoulou25 December 2017 (2017-12-25)

Series Seventeen[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
971"When Two Stars Collide"Dara Ó Briain, Sheila Brown and Nils Andersson8 January 2018 (2018-01-08)
982"The Secret Life of Birds"Katy Brand, Steve Backshall, Professor Tim Birkhead and special guest Brann the Raven15 January 2018 (2018-01-15)
993"Antibiotics"Chris Addison, Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies and Martha Clokie22 January 2018 (2018-01-22)
1004"Teenage Brain"Rory Bremner, Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and Professor Matthew Cobb29 January 2018 (2018-01-29)
1015"How Animals Behave"Rufus Hound, Lucy Cooke and Professor Rory Wilson5 February 2018 (2018-02-05)
1026"Volcanoes"Jo Brand, Tamsin Mather and Clive Oppenheimer12 February 2018 (2018-02-12)

Series Eighteen[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
103TV–Special"Infinite Monkey Cage 100"Katy Brand, Brian Blessed, Eric Idle, Dave Gorman, Andy Hamilton, Alice Roberts, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Sue Black, Fay Dowker, David Spiegelhalter, Richard Wiseman, Professor Tony Ryan and Andrea Sella11 July 2018 (2018-07-11)
1041"Big Data"Danny Wallace, Hannah Fry and Timandra Harkness16 July 2018 (2018-07-16)
1052"Invasion!"Phill Jupitus, Kate Jones and Mark Spencer23 July 2018 (2018-07-23)
1063"Immune System"Shappi Khorsandi, Professor Dan Davis and Professor Steve Jones30 July 2018 (2018-07-30)
1074"The Human Voice"Beardyman, Professor Trevor Cox and Professor Sophie Scott6 August 2018 (2018-08-06)
1085"GCHQ"Katy Brand13 August 2018 (2018-08-13)

Series Nineteen[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
1091"Microbes: Secret Rulers of the World?"Jon Copley, Monica Grady and Ed Byrne7 January 2019 (2019-01-07)
1102"The Future of Humanity"Chris Addison, Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees and Baroness Cathy Ashton14 January 2019 (2019-01-14)
1113"The Origin of Numbers"Matt Parker, Dr Hannah Fry and Professor Brian Butterworth21 January 2019 (2019-01-21)
1124"Are Humans Still Evolving?"David Baddiel, Professor Aoife McLysaght and Dr Adam Rutherford28 January 2019 (2019-01-28)
1135"How to Build a Bionic Human"Dr Kevin Fong, Noel Fitzpatrick and Lucy Beaumont4 February 2019 (2019-02-04)
1146"How to Measure the Universe"Jo Brand, Professor Jo Dunkley and Dr Adam Masters11 February 2019 (2019-02-11)


  1. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - The Infinite Monkey Cage - Series". BBC. 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  2. ^ Ince, Robin (27 August 2010). "A cat in a wheelie bin can help us ponder how the universe works". The Telegraph.
  3. ^ Maume, Chris (21 November 2010). "The Infinite Monkey Cage, Radio 4, Monday; Take one boffin. Mix with comedy writers, and hear them gently fizz". The Independent.
  4. ^ "Radio GaGa: Infinite Monkey Cage, Moyles & Bacon!". Tim Minchin. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  5. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - The Infinite Monkey Cage". BBC. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  6. ^ "Frank Skinner and Jason Byrne win at Sony Awards 2011". The British Comedy Guide. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  7. ^ "TV scientist scoops top radio award". Express & Star. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  8. ^ "54th Rose D'Or Awards Honour the Best in TV and Radio Entertainment". 9 December 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  9. ^ "Uncaged Monkeys, New Theatre Oxford & touring, review". 3 May 2011.
  10. ^ "Infinite universes and dead strawberries: an interview with Brian Cox and Robin Ince". 4 March 2015.
  11. ^ The Infinite Monkey Cage, season 10, episode 4. Eric Idle states that Jeff Lynne played all the instruments on the recording.
  12. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - The Infinite Monkey Cage - Episodes". BBC. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  13. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - The Infinite Monkey Cage - Episodes 2010s > 2015 > December". BBC. Retrieved 19 July 2016.

External links[edit]