I – Mof Gimmers aka Massive Pleb – have just returned from an audience with Stephen Hawking. Y’know? The Beatle of Science. He’s so famous that it makes my head ache. He’s so clever that my being in the same room as him made for a live action version of Pinky and the Brain. It’s preposterous. I was all set to make a massive tit of myself…
So why was a bona-fide dunce like me getting entry to some suave inner sanctum at The Royal Society with one of the greatest minds of… well… ever? There’s a list a million long of people who were far more deserving and knowledgeable about science than me.
Well, Mr Hawking has a new TV show coming to our screens and whilst everyone else is busy fawning about it, I’ll give you the rub. Sadly you’ll have to wade through an overly indulgent parping on about me first, treating this article like some awful diary entry or something.
Media mingling is not one of my strong points. Being someone who resides outside of London, I fear that every single person I could meet is likely to have been on the receiving end of some hopeless joke written by me or, worse still, been the victim of one of my badly-worded rants against them.
The fact is, the world of TV probably hates me… if indeed, they’ve heard of me at all. Other TV critics tend to treat me with suspicion and, on entering The Royal Society, one man from a broadsheet arched an eyebrow and said “Oh! You’re Mof Gimmers…”.
It’s a horrible world where I feel crap and everyone else copes admirably, checking out name-badges and eating very small eggs on stale bread. This is why I give many press events a wide berth. However, this was Hawking. Only a complete idiot would say no to him, right?
And so, ushered into a big room with big screens, I entered the world of media’s great and good. Everyone knew each other apart from me, who found myself babbling about a row of seats being built on an ancient burial ground to a kind faced lady from the BBC and that the only question I had in mind was given to me by someone drunk on Twitter (“So, Stephen Hawkwind… is ‘Silver Machine’ about your chair?’).
Then, a hushed reverie fell over the room as people started talking. People from the production team, people who own the Discovery channel all stepped up and gushed all over a room smattered with professional chorltes. I fidgeted like that bloke in the pile-cream advert.
And then, there it was. That insanely famous robotic voice. Stephen Hawking, talking to us about his new TV show and making a joke that involved him saying the word “shit”.
What unfurled after this mindboggling meeting of faces, all of whom were wide-eyed and eager to metaphorically fellate the great man, was one of the oddest TV shows I’ve seen in a while.
Yep, Discovery are showing this new programme and it features a clearly playful Hawking showing us some of his mindbending ideas through CGI. There’s obviously some seriously heavy brain work in there, but also, a lot of gloriously daft segments.
Whilst I could go on about his theories on worm holes and dark matter (okay, I couldn’t because I’m thick), I’ll instead give you a flavour of what I saw on the screen which surprised the piss out of me.
One clip showed weird hoover-nosed platypus type things scaling a gigantic cliff face, only to be attacked by bright yellow monkey things with two scorpion poison tails poking out of their backs.
Then there were monstrous spaceships and a colony of reflective craft all sat on the surface of the sun harnessing the power of an entire star all set to… well… Christ knows what. My eyes were out on stalks and my brain had turned to jelly. I’d braced myself for some documentary thing and what the room got was the most mental, psychedelic children’s sci-fi drama ever aired.
Stephen Hawking’s sense of mischief is well documented and it’s obvious that this new show of his is a Grade A example of him having fun (and God knows we could do with some of that on our boxes… especially in the science field) and slinging some of his more wayward ideas (ha! Like Hawking has wayward ideas!) towards us in a multicoloured spectacle that could well strip every twitching bit of sinew of your face.
He’s made a very silly programme from what I can gather and, well, this is a good thing. Many of the assorted nodes stood breathlessly trying to outdo each other with hyperbolic praise, one woman could be seen weeping into a champagne glass about how ‘inspirational Professor Hawking was’ on the night. She was later escorted out by two Eastern European waiting-on staff as they attempted to get some needed air into her hyperventilating lungs.
Others, meanwhile, crowded around Hawking in a bid to touch him and laugh wildly at his every wink with one reporter from a broadsheet blocking the exit in the hope that some of Hawking’s smarts may radiate through him.
As Hawking left, he clearly looked weary and amused at everyone. Essentially, the whole room proved his notion that we are just a bunch of advanced and very lucky apes and that, away from our scientific dreams and theories, we equate to little more than burping monkeys with tiny food and glasses of drink that make us even more stupid.Join TVScoop on Facebook for exclusive competitions and gossip