OU/BBC
20 Nov 2009

OU scoops international educational broadcast prize from Japan


The Open University has scooped the 2009 Japan Prize in international educational broadcasting for the BBC co-production Jimmy Doherty in Darwin's Garden.

Janet Sumner, Broadcast Executive in the Open Broadcasting Unit, flew to Japan to collect the prize on behalf of the OU and meet his Imperial Highness the Crown Prince of Japan. The 2009 Japan Prize adds to the long list of awards that Open University co-productions on the BBC have won.

Janet said: "As the Broadcast Executive on the Open University/BBC Darwin season, I was thrilled when I heard that we had been nominated and won the Japan Prize for educational broadcasting in the youth category.

"It was challenging to make a programme about a historical figure such as Darwin, and a theory that is 150 years old this year. We are delighted that the Japan prize panel of judges thought that we had done such an excellent job of communicating the ground-breaking nature of Darwin's experiments and his theory of evolution to a young, modern audience".

Jimmy Doherty in Darwin's Garden tells the untold story of the experimental scientist. It was only after Charles Darwin came back to England that he came up with the many ingenious experiments to support his theory of evolution. They were crucial in helping him transform a germ of an idea into a fully formed theory and the programme follows that intellectual journey. Following Darwin’s detailed notes, the presenter, Jimmy Docherty, recreated the ground breaking work he did on in-breeding in plants and the mechanics of natural selection. The series was filmed largely in the gardens and greenhouses of Down House in Kent, where Darwin lived and carried out most of his experiments.

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