As well as astronomy being the oldest known science, UK astronomy programme ‘The Sky At Night‘ also held the distinction of being the the world’s longest-running TV series with the same original presenter.
However, the fate of the astronomy show which first broadcast in 1957 hung in the balance after its presenter Sir Patrick Moore died last year aged 89. Rumours soon surfaced that the BBC was planning to pull the plug on the long-running science show, until an online petition signed by 52,000 avid fans was sufficient to get the public service broadcaster to change its mind.
Consequently, The Sky at Night’s last BBC1 outing on 6th October will not be its last and the show is set to return in an extended 30 minutes monthly format come February, albeit at its new home on BBC4, with a repeat on BBC2.
Commenting on the welcome news for stargazing enthusiasts, Kim Shillinglaw, head of commissioning science and natural history, said: “Sir Patrick Moore inspired generations of astronomers and I hope that alongside the BBC’s other astronomy content, such as BBC2’s Stargazing Live, The Sky at Night will enthuse further generations about the wonder of the night sky.”
Following Sir Patrick Moore’s death, the astronomy series has been presented by various presenters including cosmologists Dr Chris Lintott and Dr Lucie Green, as well as Pete Lawrence, Dr Chris North, Dr Paul Abel, and Jon Culshaw.
Further reaction to the show being saved can be found on twitter here.