22 Sep 2011

Shock & Awe: The Story of Electricity

Broadcast 06 October 2011, BBC Four, 9pm

Electricity – more often in the news for rising prices than how it sustains our way of life. Shock & Awe: The Story of Electricity, an Open University and BBC partnership, will tell the story of our quest to master this mysterious force.

Presenter Professor Jim Al-Khalili will reveal how electricity not only powers our lives, but underpins every aspect of technological advancement. He will discuss how a diverse collection of people - some establishment traditionalists, some maverick outsiders, and some in-between - learned to create, store and move electricity, not only for heating and lighting, but also to convey information over vast distances. It allowed almost instantaneous communication across the seas and through the air, to connect people across the world in ways unimagined before. It supercharged the progress of science in every other field and is now the lifeblood of the modern world.

Jan Kowal, The Open University’s academic consultant for the series, said: “This series will show how our increasing understanding also brought a greater reliance on electricity, so that now it is hard to picture how our lives would be without it. But there is much more yet to be discovered about it, and more electrically-driven revolutions lie ahead of us.”

The three 60 minute programmes, 'Spark'; 'The Age of Invention' and 'Revelations and Revolutions’, tell how mankind came to discover, understand and finally master electricity.

Programme Credits
Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity is a partnership between The Open University and the BBC. The Executive Producer for the BBC is Tina Fletcher and the Series Producer is Steve Crabtree. The Open University academic consultant for the series is Jan Kowal.

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