Preview – The Planets

The Planets
Picture Shows: In 1982, the Soviet spacecraft Venera 13 became the first probe to take colour pictures of Venus' surface. CG illustration. Image Credit: BBC Studios.

This isn’t the first high-profile BBC documentary about the planets. The last one was back in 1999 and narrated by Samuel West – although back then Pluto was then counted as a planet too.

This new series, presented by Prof. Brian Cox, gives us a much more up-to-date guide on our own world and our neighbours. In the first episode, he looks at the history and future of the terrestrial plants: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.

Cox asks why life on Earth has been able to flourish while it failed to do so on the other worlds, despite all four originally having Earth-like conditions. Cox also looks at what happens when the Sun turns into a red giant, making Earth uninhabitable but possibly making Saturn’s moon Titan a new home.

The Planets is on BBC Two at 21.00.