Home » Uncategorized » Sorry, Professor Cox, I don’t love you.

Sorry, Professor Cox, I don’t love you.

I am of course horribly excited about fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who next week. However, my heart sank at one aspect. There is a programme this week on the science of Doctor Who (itself a bit of a nonsensical idea as the series has always been Science Fantasy, but let’s put that aside for a moment). What my heart sank at was that it was going to be presented – and yes, this is no surprise – by Professor Brian Cox.
I do not know what it is about the former member of 90s group D:REAM that winds me up so much. In small doses, or when I have seen him talk live (as I had the privilege to do at the End of the World show at Hammersmith last year, where he was by far the best thing on the bill) – he can be fascinating and captivating (if that is not too tautological). But on the screen and stretched beyond ten minutes I just want to punch him.
Which I found quite disturbing as there are relatively few people who do have that effect on me (thankfully no one I would call an actual acquaintance!).
So is it his opinions that grate on me?; well no, I would not say I agree with everything he says but generally I usually find him a moderate and sensible voice as befits people who should have so much mainstream media time. (Leave the people on the wings for specialist debates where people might be better informed, that’s a subject for another day). Is it some case of misplaced professional jealousy? No I don’t think so, I’ve never wanted to be in the greater public eye and Professor Cox is simply cleverer than me (an easy concept to grasp after my education where from the age of 11 I seemed to have been surrounded by the brighter and more talented).
Is it the weird pop star background? I don’t think it is that either. Mixing science and music is hardly uncommon; I know some wonderful young scientists who I would be happy to spend hours with who are gifted both in their academic and artistic talents. One of my childhood heroes was the late Sir Patrick Moore, and I’m old enough to remember him savagely tearing through some presenter intent to dumb down some astronomical event and then soon afterwards seeing him fly across the xylophone with obvious relish.
No, nothing so profound, I am afraid. Sadly it is that voice. And not even the voice per se, but that voice on film and in narration. It is something as pathetic as that and I am a bit shamed by it. But there is just something in the timbre, in that tone that some I am sure some people find they could listen to for hours, that makes me just want to switch off. It must be something in my nature, my background. Maybe I just want all narrators to sound like Tom Baker; or Sir David.
I think we have a lot of these irrational hang-ups. Some of them we share with others. My lovely wife and I (and others I know) find Jeremy Vine the presenter on BBC 2 impossible to listen to and not only because he hosts that most detestable of radio shows, a “phone in”. I say that because personally I remember listening to the presenter Alan Robson on Metro radio with his Night Owls programme under the covers as a child, but perhaps because the irreverent Geordie never took the calls remotely seriously helped mediate the ill informed tirades of drunken idiots in my adolescent mind and did not distort it to the point I actually thought it was worth listening to the people and phased them out in time for the inevitable gentle sarcasm.
So I apologise Professor Cox. It is nothing personal and I wish you all the success you deserve for bringing science to a generation of young people (good thing!) that do not have my prejudices (bad thing!). And will I be watching the programme broadcast on Thursday – yes, of course I will. And I will probably enjoy it because the basic subject matter is too close to my heart. Oh and just you know there are no hard feelings, set your timers for: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2013/46/the-science-of-doctor-who.html
But Jeremy Vine is not welcome in our house except for normal civil respect (no one should be ever turned away really), unless he leaves his phone behind and brings his much funnier brother. And lets Tim do the talking (in dumb one liners no doubt).

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One thought on “Sorry, Professor Cox, I don’t love you.

  1. I will quite happily do the talking.
    But no, Jeremy Vine is not my brother.
    And I really like Professor Cox and his work. I think your problem is the fact that he’s the next “Astronomy Champion” on the BBC and he doesn’t match up to Patrick Moore in your mind.

    Personally, I found Patrick Moore’s extreme right wing/nationalist views a little too much to put him on a pedestal; but I wholeheartedly agree on Alan Robson and Tom Baker.

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