Brian Cox

Brian Cox

Brian Cox has had one of the oddest careers in entertainment. Firstly the keyboardist for chart-topping band D:Ream (their song Things Can Only Get Better would famously be used as a talisman by Tony Blair), then becoming a doctor in the field of particle physics and has over the last few years become one of the most popular TV presenters around.

Now we see him move from the stars and the origins of the universe itself to something a little more down to earth, as Wonders Of Life sees him look at the unseen aspects to life on planet Earth. But how has Brian Cox gone from occasional scientific contributor to becoming one of the BBC's biggest and best weapons in the war for TV ratings dominance?

Well, let's get it out of the way nice and early. He's not too hard on the eyes is he? OK, he's not Tom Hardy, but in the world of factual TV, the field is usually dominated by older gentlemen, it makes a real impression.

So, the serious bit. The real reason why we've all grown to love Brian Cox is twofold. The first is that he has a wonderfully natural scene presence. Too often presenters are just trying too hard to be engaging or, particularly in the field of scientific experts, look slightly uneasy in front of the camera. This is where Cox's unique entertainment background comes in to its own. His dealings with the entertainment world during his stint with D:Ream has obviously rubbed off on him, as he is exceptionally natural on camera. That quite nicely filters in to the second reason, his boundless enthusiasm.

You can always tell when a presenter's not passionate about their subject. Be it a hollowness of tone or a slight lost look in their eyes, even the best presenters struggle when they've been crowbarred into something they would usually give a second glance. This is defiantly not the case when it comes to Brian Cox. Physics is clearly his passion, and his boyish delight in telling you all about it is wonderful to watch. Ok, he may have a habit of hyperbole, but who doesn't when they're describing something that excites them?

It also has the wonderful side effect of making some scientific matters that might in other hands need to be decoded with a pen and paper, relatively easy to understand. While this doesn't mean that tomorrow we'll all be spewing out exactly what makes a galaxy come together or the different life forms of a star, it does make what could be a dry and studious show into something highly entertaining, enlightening and engrossing.

This combination of natural TV demeanour, excitability and in-depth knowledge makes Brian Cox a cracking host for the BBC's range of factual shows. His natural charisma also allows him to more than hold his own outside of the world of science too, as he's regularly a guest on many an entertainment show and never looks out of his depth.

As long as the BBC keeps putting him front and centre, we'll keep tuning in.

 

Wonder Of Life starts tomorrow night on BBC Two


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