The Planets (miniseries)

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The Planets
Take A Journey To Worlds Beyond Your Imagination
Genre Documentary
Directed by David McNab
Narrated by Samuel West
Composer(s) Jim Meacock
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 8
Executive producer(s) John Lynch
Cinematography Simon Fanthorpe
Running time 390 min. (8 episodes)
Original network BBC Two
Picture format 16:9
Audio format Stereo
Original release 29 April (1999-04-29) – 17 June 1999 (1999-06-17)

The Planets is an educational miniseries produced by the BBC and A&E and released in 1999. The series was remastered in 2004. 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 Original airdate Description
1 Different Worlds 29 April 1999 The first episode covers the early attempts at space travel and the development of rocket technology.
2 Terra Firma 6 May 1999 The story of the terrestrial planets and their exploration.
3 Giants 13 May 1999 Looking at the giant planets of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and the journeys of Voyager 1 and Voyager 2.
4 Moon 20 May 1999 Detailing the moon and the race to reach it during the "Space race" years.
5 Star 27 May 1999 Concentrating on the Sun, the early belief in it being a god and the science behind its behaviour.
6 Atmosphere 3 June 1999 A look at the atmosphere of our planet and those in the rest of the Solar System.
7 Life 10 June 1999 A journey into looking for life on other planets and trying to find if life elsewhere really does exist.
8 Destiny 17 June 1999 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. It also talks about Angelo Secchi who pioneered the field of astronomical 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]