CNET News Video: Fact meets fiction as The Science of Dr Who takes the stage
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CNET News Video: Fact meets fiction as The Science of Dr Who takes the stage

6:25 /

While time travel, regeneration and Cybermen might seem like the stuff of fiction, The Science of Doctor Who attempts to find the facts behind the world's longest running science fiction show.

[MUSIC] Hi guys, Claire Reilly from CNET here. We've got a really special treat for the Whovians out there. Today I've got Rob Lloyd. The science buff, Whovian, and all-round comic genius behind the new show, The Science of Dr Who. The show that explores that fact and fiction alongside three scientists, of the longest running Sci-Fi show in the world. Thanks so much for coming to join us Brian. Well thank you so much for just building me up a little bit too much. no, you gotta, you gotta build up a genius like you. Well, I don't wanna say I'm a genius. I'll just, I'll just let you do it and pay you later. Yeah. Look, it's a really cool show. I'm really excited vi, by all the ideas behind it. But, when you say The Science of Doctor Who I must, I must admit, I don't immediately think that things like time travel or regeneration or Tardis is much larger on the inside than it is on the outside. I don't really think of these things as scientific possibility. How do, how do you explain it? Well, well that's, that's, that's my opinion of it as well. When I first got into the idea of the show and talking with the, the people behind it [UNKNOWN] it like, the outlandish ideas. That's the great thing about the show. It takes any possibility and takes it as far as they can. But then sitting down with the scientists involved with it, finding out how does this actually work from a fundamental scientific basis. The process of being able to travel you know, travel forward in time or backward in time, what reality do you need to have? And to actually sit down with a group of scientist and knock out oh, its just a fantastical they go, okay, well lets look at it from a realistic point of view. What you need to do to travel forward in time is actually have a machine that's fast enough, and they can actually sustain the pressure of traveling forward in time, and if you go fast enough at a certain point, you can go, you know, move at the speed of light, and when you're moving fast enough, time slows down. And so that means you can move forwards in time, but you can never actually go back. So you'd have to be really specific in where in the future you wanna go, and you'd have to really like [UNKNOWN]. The thing that's great about the show is that it seems to sort of go through different versions of science. And different ideas that are getting picked up. I mean how, how much do you think The Tcience of Doctor Who has changed over its 50-year history? It's evolved so much. It's 50 years. Five decades of advancement, of, of theories, of ideas, of concepts, of just way out radical thinking. So, in the 60s there was explora, explorations for the first time, of cybernetics and replacing human body parts, very new, science fiction in the 60s, that's where the cyberpower movement was. First developing and so Dr. Kit Pedler, who was one of the writers on Dr. Who, wrote the Cybermen and created the Cybermen from there. In the seventies, black holes were just named for the first time. And so that was explored in The Three Doctors, which was the tenth anniversary story. In the early 80s Christopher Bahn who was one of the scriptwriters. He explored nothing but the latest in scientific theory. He wanted to make the show less funny and whimsical and make it a really hard core science fiction. So, exploring dimensions and other dimensions and universes and how time works and can be manipulated. So it's always been at the forefront of what is being explored in science. And as kids coming to watch this show, I mean there are some scary elements to the actual Dr. Who theory. But the science behind it, you've obviously targeted that at a young audience. Yes. And bringing them in to the kind of scientific fold if you will, why is that so important, how have you done that? Well you know, it's, Doctor Who can be scary, but also science can be quite scary as well. And for, for me it's, it's a scary concept to try and wrap my head around all these big ideas and big thoughts. So to have a show that is welcoming for people of all ages to come along and go, no, this isn't something that's difficult or hard. It takes a lot of hard work but there's a lot excitement and possibilities behind it. So to bring kids in from a certain level to go, these are the possibilities, this is what we wanna achieve, and this is where it starts. We want them to start asking questions, that's what the scientist's have been saying. It all starts when you, a scientist asks questions and try and find those answers. Mm-hm. So, if we start them asking questions young, that means they'll stay with a love of science all through their life. So that's really cool and what I love is at the end of the show we have 20 minutes where they can actually the audience can meet the scientists ask some questions, or if they have any Doctor Who cannon questions they can come and nerd out with me. And the scientists just get blown away with how many legitimate science questions they get from from, from young kids in primary school, or high school kids university students who are fascinated and interested and want to actually find out more about, you know, the science of not only Dr. Who but also the, the world around them. Awesome. And so, the show itself, you were talking about audience participation and stuff. You kind of got a bit smart and savvy and techy with the audience participation. Tell me a bit about that. Well yeah we have to keep up with modern technology, cuz now you know, Doctor Who has got special effects that actually look legitimate. And make up and all that type of stuff is up to scratch. So we've got a website that people can access from their smartphones or their tablets or whatever, you know, their Androids or synthetic life forms that they bring in. And they go to this website on their web browser, and questions, we have games and activities where they can directly press a button, it registers within our system, and we show it up on the screen. So we asked them whether they wanna travel in time, the past or the future. We asked them about what do they think about life on other planets. We also have big games like run or fight. So we have a clip of a companion and finding out whether they run away from a situation or stay and fight. And the big one is Monster Showdown, where we have four of the big monsters. Each of the scientists and myself have been allocated them and we plea the case. And the audience decide which is the greatest monster of all time. Oh, and who do you get to be? I get to be the weeping angels. Oh nice. Yeah, yeah, so but the the ones to be are the Daleks, always. Yeah. Yeah. Doctor Who explores scientific theories that could happen, that may happen that, and take it to the furthest possible possibility. And that's what we explore in the show as well. What is possible, what isn't possible, what could be possible in the future. Well, thanks so much for coming in and sharing your passion about the show. It's really great to have you. And hopefully, you'll be able to share that passion, that love with a whole bunch more people. Awesome. Thank you. Thank you. [MUSIC]

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