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LONDON – British actor and comedian Eddie Izzard will star in a BBC science drama about the invention of radar as part of a slew of science program orders that the U.K. public broadcaster unveiled on Wednesday.
Izzard will star as Scottish radar inventor Robert Watson-Watt in Castles In The Sky, a factual drama that will tell the story of the fight behind the invention, which saved the country in the Battle of Britain during WWII. Laura Fraser (Breaking Bad) will play his wife, Margaret.
The cast also includes Alex Jennings (The Queen), Tim McInnerny (The Devil’s Whore), David Hayman (Trial And Retribution) and Julian Rhind-Tutt.
Directed by Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) from a script by Ian Kershaw (Shameless), Castles In the Sky is produced by Simon Wheeler for Hero Film and Television with Arabella Page Croft and Kieran Parker co-producing for Black Camel Pictures.
Izzard said: “I feel very privileged to be playing the role of Robert Watson-Watt. Hopefully our production will allow him, along with Arnold “Skip” Wilkins and their team, to finally take their places in the pantheon of British greats of World War II.”
Castles In The Sky is produced in partnership with the Open University and with support from BBC Two, BBC Scotland, BBC Worldwide and Creative Scotland, with the Glasgow Film Office, Robert Watson Watt Trust and Brechin Civic Trust.
The project is front and center in a slew of science program commissions for the public broadcaster’s BBC Two and BBC Four channels.
BBC Two and BBC Four channel controller Janice Hadlow said that science programming on the network has enjoyed “an incredible resurgence” on BBC Two in recent years, noting that 2.8 million viewers had tuned in to watch professor Brian Cox’s last series, Wonders Of Life. Also, the first episode of Trust Me, I’m A Doctor attracted over three million viewers, and 4.9 million watched a special entitled Secret Life of The Cat.
“Looking ahead, I’m delighted to be announcing such a strong and varied mix of new commissions, from a major series asking some of the biggest questions we can ask, to a factual drama telling the poignant and little-known story of the invention of radar,” Hadlow said.
Alongside the Izzard show, the BBC has also ordered a new series hosted by Cox.
After exploring the universe, solar system and life on Earth, Cox, a former pop star who went on to become a professor of physics, will turn his attention to the question of what it means to be human in a new five-episode series for BBC Two called Human Universe.
Cox used to be the keyboarder for rock band Dare and later joined D:Ream, whose hit “Things Can Only Get Better” topped the U.K. music charts.
BBC head of commissioning, science and natural history Kim Shillinglaw said the broadcaster remains committed “to finding ever more ambitious ways to bring science alive to our viewers.”
Human Universe is executive produced by Andrew Cohen and produced by Gideon Bradshaw from BBC Science.
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