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Metamorphosis: The Science of Change

Metamorphosis: The Science of Change

Wed Mar 13, 9-10pm, BBC4

By Phil Harrison
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On a superficial level, David Malone’s thoughtful documentary is an interesting look at the science of metamorphosis. But his intentions are much more philosophically ambitious than that. For the most part, he succeeds admirably in explaining why extreme physical change has, from Jekyll and Hyde to Kafka, been such a commonly recurring motif in art and literature.

Via sea urchins, caterpillars and some truly fascinating locusts, he illustrates the method but more importantly, the meaning, of change in the animal world. Almost without fail, it’s a repurposing, a function of new evolutionary priorities. So are there human equivalents? Clearly, there are. When animals need to fly, they grow wings. When humans do, they invent aeroplanes. Our metamorphoses are internal, intellectual and existential and they have far reaching implications for our collective future.

Wonderfully thought-provoking TV and exactly the kind of personal yet universal musing that BBC4 does best. Phil Harrison
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