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The Science of Doctor Who

Thu Nov 14, 9-10pm, BBC2

One of the lovely things about ‘Doctor Who’ is that the fantasy often somehow manages to feel like it might actually be based in some sort of scientific reality. But is it? Who better to ask than Professor Brian Cox, probably the figurehead of TV’s recent drive towards appreciating the wonders of science? As it is, this lecture from the Royal Institution contains more questions than answers. Are the doors to the past firmly closed? Where are the aliens? Can things only get better?

But that’s okay. As Cox reminds us, all scientists can really do is ask these questions – even if they don’t manage to answer them, that failure uncovers fresh paths to follow. Cox tries to keep things light with turns from various minor celebs including Rufus Hound and Charles Dance and a few snatched moments in the Tardis with Matt Smith.

Even so, you’ll need to concentrate – the science is smartly explained but remains mind-bending. Still, if ‘Doctor Who’ and Brian Cox have anything in common, it’s persuading us that all minds need a little bending from time to time.