Stephen Hawking’s Universe, Channel 4

Stephen Hawking’s Universe is Channel 4’s answer to the BBC’s documentary might, and while it was hard to see how they were going to make the programme engaging, they have managed to pull it off quite well.

Having read Hawking’s The Universe in a Nutshell, I had a good idea about the concepts rattling around his head, but it was great to get more of a visual insight into these. One of the cleverest aspects of the show is the shifting between Stephen Hawking’s computer voice and the imagined voice he has inside his head, which is brilliantly narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock BBC). It’s introduced with touching emphasis on the fact that inside his mind, Stephen Hawking is a real person who has contributed significantly to the popularisation of advanced science.

While there are a small number of ropey aspects of the show, for example some of the CGI for the first in the three part mini-series is a little ropey, it is on the whole fairly entertaining, thought provoking and educational. The blending of science fiction into the possibility of science fact is interesting and not too heavy on the “conspiracy theory” / aliens are here and they’re going to probe my adze type of thing that can stifle a documentary like this.

With some stunning visuals, eclipsing (har) the occasional weak CGI animation, a well written and read script and some excelling info about the possibility of life in our own solar system and beyond, Stephen Hawking’s Universe is well worth watching.

Stephen Hawking’s Universe, Channel 4 review: 3.7/5