– May says The Sky At Night presenter was ‘undervalued’ by BBC
– Claims corporation ‘had never really looked after’ his close friend
– Also says BBC lavished money on 2011 series presented by Cox
– May was encouraged by ‘honorary uncle’ in his astrophysics PhD
MAIL ON SUNDAY ONLINE
17 October 2015 by Jonathan Petre
Queen guitarist Brian May has criticised the BBC over its treatment of the late astronomer Sir Patrick Moore, saying he was ‘undervalued’ and ‘taken for granted’ compared with today’s celebrity scientists such as Brian Cox. The rock star said the BBC had paid Sir Patrick – who presented The Sky At Night for more than 50 years – ‘a pittance’ and ‘had never really looked after him’.
May, a close friend of the astronomer, described him as a national treasure who had been a huge influence on him. But he added: ‘The budget for the show was close to zero.’
Close friends: Queen guitarist Brian May said the BBC had paid Sir Patrick Moore (together in 2008) – who presented The Sky At Night for more than 50 years – ‘a pittance’ and ‘had never really looked after him.’
Comparison: May said the corporation had lavished money on the 2011 Wonders of the Universe series (above) presented by Brian Cox, a physics professor and former pop star.
In contrast, he added, the corporation had lavished money on the 2011 Wonders of the Universe series presented by Cox, a physics professor and former pop star.
May said: ‘Suddenly it is all very glamorous, and they send him off to Niagara Falls to photograph a rainbow at a cost of probably tens of thousands of pounds. I thought, “My God, why did you never give Patrick that kind of budget?”
May, who was encouraged by his ‘honorary uncle’ to complete his PhD in astrophysics and appeared on his shows, added: ‘You wouldn’t believe the scraping around they had to do to make The Sky At Night. The BBC got away with a lot. They took him for granted.’
The proceeds from two auctions of items belonging to Sir Patrick raised tens of thousands of pounds earlier this month. His famous monocle sold for £688.
A BBC spokesman said: ‘Patrick Moore was a much-loved and hugely valued presenter who we have celebrated during his lifetime and following his death.’