Press Release: Sky At Night new host


Space scientist will join Chris Lintott when show moves to BBC4 a year after death of founding host Sir Patrick Moore
11 December 2013

Maggie Aderin-Pocock
Maggie Aderin-Pocock has led teams designing scientific instruments, including a replacement for the Hubble space telescope. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock is to be the new host of long-running astronomy TV series The Sky at Night. She will join existing presenter Chris Lintott when the show moves to a new home on BBC4 with a monthly half-hour slot.

Founding host Sir Patrick Moore died just over a year ago and there had been fears the programme could be axed until the BBC said it would move to the niche channel after years on BBC1.

Aderin-Pocock – who has led teams designing scientific instruments, including a replacement for the Hubble space telescope – has become a familiar figure on TV and radio over the past few years, and heads a firm that helps to engage the public with science.

She has hosted BBC2’s Do We Really Need the Moon? and has appeared regularly on BBC1’s The One Show.

The Sky at Night, first broadcast on 24 April 1957, has had a number of guest hosts in recent months.

Aderin-Pocock, a research fellow at University College London, said: “The opportunity to present The Sky at Night is like completing a circle and fulfilling a lifelong dream. Above all, it’s a huge honour to follow in the footsteps of Patrick Moore, a passionate advocate of the wonders of the night sky.

“As a child I would beg my parents to allow me to stay up late and watch the programme. It even inspired me to go to night school at a young age to make my own telescope mirror, which I lovingly crafted and gave me my first glimpse of the breathtaking spectacle above us. This enthusiasm eventually led to a degree in physics and a PhD in mechanical engineering and then working on the wonderful eight-metre Gemini telescope in Chile. I’m so looking forward to being a part of this cherished and much-loved institution.”

Jonathan Renouf, the executive producer of the programme, said: “Maggie is a fantastic addition to this series. She is a renowned space scientist and science communicator who will bring tremendous enthusiasm and excitement to the programme.”

Cassian Harrison, the editor of BBC4, said: “Maggie is a true evangelist of the wonders of the night sky and a passionate science communicator. She’ll be an exciting presence on the team.

[Press Association]