April 24, 1957: The Sky At Night

TV-UK-04-24-1957The Sky at Night is a monthly documentary television programme on astronomy produced by the BBC. The show had the same permanent presenter, Patrick Moore, from its first airing on 24 April 1957 until 7 January 2013, Moore having died on 9 December 2012. This made it the longest-running programme with the same presenter in television history. Many early episodes are missing, either because the tapes were wiped or thrown out, or because the episode was broadcast live.

The programme covers a wide range of general astronomical and space-related topics. Topics include stellar life cycles, radio astronomy, artificial satellites, black holes, neutron stars and many others. The programme also covers what is happening in the night sky at the time it is being broadcast, especially when something less common, such as a comet or a meteor shower, is present.

Explaining the show’s enduring appeal, Moore said: “Astronomy’s a fascinating subject. You look up… you can’t help getting interested and it’s there. We’ve tried to bring it to the people.. it’s not me, it’s the appeal of the subject.”

The programme’s opening and closing theme music is “At the Castle Gate”, from the incidental music to Pelléas et Mélisande, written in 1905 by Jean Sibelius, performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham. [Wikipedia]

Read more at www.bbc.co.uk.

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