BBC Two reveals first look at new season of Horizon programmes including from Michael Mostly

BBC Two has today announced a range of dynamic new commissions as part of its award-winning science strand Horizon, featuring some of the UK’s most respected science broadcasters; from Hannah Fry and Giles Yeo to Ella Al-Shamahi and Michael Mosely

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BBC Two has today announced a range of dynamic new commissions as part of its award-winning science strand Horizon, featuring some of the UK’s most respected science broadcasters; from Hannah Fry and Giles Yeo to Ella Al-Shamahi and Michael Mosely.

Horizon has a long and illustrious history of ground-breaking science journalism and film-making. Announced today, the new programmes will speak to some of the most pressing issues of our time, deliver cutting-edge science and provide extraordinary access and new expert voices to the ever-curious BBC Two audience.

Tom McDonald, Head of Commissioning, Natural History and Specialist Factual, says: "Horizon sits at the very heart of the BBC's science offer. These new titles reflect our huge ambition for the strand. From setting off an avalanche to keeping a willing adventurer in a bunker for 10 days as well as creating our very own supermarket with a twist, Horizon is the place for the most audacious science content in British television. At the heart of every film is new journalism and world class expertise combined with imaginative storytelling and superlative filmmaking”.

Highlights from the new Horizon season include, Michael Mosley embarking on Britain’s largest ever trial to investigate the placebo effect in The Placebo Experiment - Can My Brain Cure My Body?, while evolutionary biologist Ella Al-Shamahi investigates our daily rhythms with the help of former Commando Aldo Kane, who is concealed in an abandoned nuclear bunker with no way of telling the time in Body Clock - What Makes Us Tick?

An international team of scientists trigger an avalanche to reveal the mysteries behind this force of nature in Avalanche - Making a Deadly Snowstorm. Our everyday health comes under the microscope as The Honest Supermarket investigates the truth about what’s really in our favourite foods, while the science behind vitamin supplements is under investigation in Vitamin Pills - Miracle or Myth? (w/t).

The Pill (w/t) investigates the future of birth control, debunking myths and looking at cutting-edge breakthroughs; Cannabis - Dangerous Drug or Miracle Medicine? goes in search of the truth about the medicinal value of the controversial drug; and Proton Beam - The New Cancer Killer (w/t) takes viewers behind the scenes of a pioneering engineering project to bring a new form of cancer treatment to Britain. Alastair Campbell also explores if radical new treatments can stop his depression in previously announced film, Depression and Me.

The programmes will air on BBC Two as part of the new season of Horizon, which will broadcast over consecutive weeks beginning in October.

Could fake pills be used to treat some of our most common medical complaints? To find out, Michael Mosley embarks on Britain’s largest ever trial to investigate the placebo effect.

He is heading to Blackpool to gather 117 people suffering from backache - one of the leading causes of chronic pain - before trying to treat them with nothing but fake pills and the power of the mind.

Working with experts from the University of Oxford, Michael will discover that the placebo effect is more than just a medical curiosity. The brain is actually capable of producing its own drugs and these can be more powerful than prescription painkillers.

Michael’s volunteers come from all walks of life, but they have all suffered with bad backs for years and feel their conventional medication has failed them. They think they are taking part in the trial of a powerful new painkiller, but their blue and white capsules actually contain nothing but ground up rice.

Can this fake treatment make a real difference? And how will the volunteers react when Michael reveals the truth?

The Placebo Experiment - Can My Brain Cure My Body? is a Windfall Films production for BBC Two. The Executive Producers for Windfall Films are David Dugan and Leesa Rumley, and Diene Petterle is the Commissioning Editor for the BBC.
Body Clock - What Makes Us Tick?

We all have a biological clock ticking away inside us that governs our daily rhythms. This clock affects our health as much as our diet and how much we exercise.

So what can we do to manage our internal clocks? To find out, evolutionary biologist Ella Al-Shamahi shuts former Commando Aldo Kane inside an abandoned nuclear bunker with no way of telling the time… for ten days straight. By stripping away the trappings of modern life, they uncover the workings of our inner clock, and provide practical advice that we can all take on board.

Body Clock - What Makes Us Tick? is a Windfall Films production for BBC Two. The Director is Tom Cook, the Executive Producer for Windfall Films is David Dugan, and Diene Petterle is the Commissioning Editor for the BBC.
Avalanche - Making a Deadly Snowstorm

In March 2018 an international team of scientists gathered in a remote valley in the Canadian Rockies to conduct a unique experiment - to attempt to see into the heart of a massive avalanche.

Avalanches kill hundreds of people every year. Even in the UK 25 people have been killed by avalanches since the year 2000. But we know surprisingly little about them - why they happen or how they are able to produce the enormous destructive forces that can flatten entire villages.

Now this experiment will attempt to reveal the mysteries of an avalanche. The team have just three days, while the snow conditions are at their best to prepare and then, using a helicopter to deploy explosives at the top of the mountain they will trigger a vast avalanche. By studying the data they collect the scientists hope to be able to explain, for the first time, how an avalanche works.

Avalanche - Making a Deadly Snowstorm is a Caravan production for BBC Two. The Executive Producers for Caravan are Dinah Lord and Matthew Barrett, and the film was directed by Michael Lachmann. Diene Petterle is the Commissioning Editor for the BBC.
The Honest Supermarket

On average we each visit the supermarket 221 times a year, but can we trust our supermarkets to tell us the truth about what we are buying? Where is our food really coming from and at what cost? Horizon creates a ground breaking supermarket with an onsite lab to uncover the truth. Lab tests reveal that many chickens are now grown so fast they contain more fat than protein. Cutting edge scientific techniques show bottled water is often full of micro-plastics. Brain scans expose how the supermarkets use psychological techniques to make us spend more. And Horizon puts sugar to the test. With 61 different names from agave to honey, will a series of blood tests reveal any difference or are all types of sugar just as bad for us? Presented by Dr Hannah Fry and Priya Tew.

The Honest Supermarket is a BBC Studios production for BBC Two. The Producer/Director is Emma Pound. The commissioning editor for the BBC is Craig Hunter.
Vitamin Pills - Miracle or Myth? (w/t)

Dr Giles Yeo explores if vitamin and mineral supplements are what they appear to be. The vitamin industry is worth more than £400 million a year in the UK alone, but what are the pills they sell actually doing for our health? With cutting edge journalism this Horizon digs behind the eye-catching words on the packets and puts our diets to the test to discover if we really need supplements. Giles travels the world meeting experts studying vitamin and mineral supplements. He meets a scientist from the Copenhagen Trial Unit who has conducted groundbreaking research on antioxidants, thought by many to have extraordinary health enhancing properties; his meta-analysis studies indicate this may be very wrong. A nutrition scientist from the University of Greenwich, tells Giles that on average most people in the UK are meeting their vitamins requirements thorough their diet.

Vitamin Pills - Miracle or Myth? (w/t) is a BBC Studios production for BBC Two. The Producer/Director is Tristan Quinn. The commissioning editor is James Hayes.
The Pill (w/t)

Its invention signalled a social revolution and today around 3 million women in the UK take it, but what does the contraceptive pill really do to our bodies? What are the side effects? And should we worry about them? This film goes behind the scare stories to unpick claims the pill can be dangerous. A pioneering study of more than one million women in Denmark investigates whether the pill can increase the risk of depression. Cancer is high on the list of women’s worries but, does the pill pose a cancer risk, or - as some studies suggest - actually ward against it? And will there ever be a male pill? Horizon meets the teams in the UK and USA that are close to making this a reality. Presented by Dr. Zoe Williams.

The Pill (w/t) is a BBC Studios production for BBC Two. The Producers/Directors are Milla Harrison-Hansley and Alicky Sussman. The Commissioning Editor is Tom Coveney.
Cannabis - Dangerous Drug or Miracle Medicine?

Cannabis keeps hitting the headlines. The drug is said to be driving a mental health crisis, causing schizophrenia and damaging the teenage brain, while at the same time cannabis oil is claimed to cure epilepsy. This programme goes in search of the truth about cannabis, with unique access to ground-breaking research underway at King’s College London. A drug trial analyses how the two key chemicals in the plant have very different effects on our brains. Experts also explain how they believe one of the chemicals found in cannabis could not only help to treat conditions as wide-ranging as epilepsy and anxiety, but that it could lead to the first new anti-psychotic medicines since the 1950s.

Cannabis - Dangerous Drug or Miracle Medicine? is a BBC Studios production for BBC Two. The Executive Producer is Paul Overton and the Director is Kate Pringle. The commissioning editor is Tom Coveney.
Proton Beam - The New Cancer Killer (w/t)

This longitudinal film takes viewers behind the scenes of a pioneering engineering project to bring a new form of cancer treatment to Britain. Proton Beam Therapy will transform the care of children with in-operable cancers. It involves firing a beam of high-energy protons, travelling at two-thirds the speed of light, into a patient’s body with a millimetre precision, allowing treatment of tumours in the brain and close to the spine. To achieve this requires installing a full-scale particle accelerator in two inner city hospitals. It is a huge engineering feat, a maze of six metre thick concrete walls have to be built to contain the radiation, and 2000 tonnes of equipment installed including an array of super-cooled magnets that steer the beam. Horizon follows both the engineering project and the first patients who hope this new cancer killer will transform their lives.

Proton Beam - The New Cancer Killer (w/t) is a BBC Studios production for BBC Two. The Producer/Director is Annie Mackinder. The commissioning editor is Tom Coveney.

In an intensely personal and often surprising film for BBC Two, Depression and Me, Alastair Campbell explores if radical new treatments can stop his depression.

Campbell is best known for his role as Tony Blair’s formidable and often contentious spin doctor but, away from the public eye, he has been dogged by crippling bouts of depression for most of his life. Some days, just getting out of bed is too hard. Therapy and anti-depressant medication is helping him keep his head above water - but is that really the best he can hope for?

Depression and Me was produced by Silverfish Productions and Coasthouse Productions in association with Windfall Films (part of the Argonon Group). The Executive Producers are Mark Lucas, David Dugan and Mac Mackenzie and the Director is Peter Gauvain. The Commissioning Editor is Diene Petterle.

September 14, 2018 11:00am by BBC TWO  

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