Now, I’m a pragmatist. I know that in the scheme of things 90 minutes isn’t that long a time when you’re doing a lap of the ENTIRE PLANET. But settling down to ‘Live From Space’ felt like a lengthy commitment. Especially when ‘The Voice’ was on BBC1.
It got off to a great start with International Space Station (ISS) astronaut, Koichi Wakata, being interviewed in front of a massive sign that said ‘Hatch, EXIT’. All slightly unnerving and very cool. Impressive cloudscapes and recognisable landmass views made it feel exciting, like being on an aeroplane, but much better, as we were safely on our sofas.
However, within 4 minutes it was, unfortunately, just like being on aeroplane. My head pressing against the cold plastic window as I stared out at the clouds, I started fancying a gin and tonic. I was thinking about spending £35 on an aeroplane chicken sandwich. I was bored.
There was a massive delay with the live link. Again, I’m pragmatic, but it was a bit of a bore. Presenter, Dermot O’Leary did his best. ‘Koichi, what can you see right now?’ MASSIVE PAUSE. ‘Hi Dermot, yes I can still see the Andes’. Cut to blue sky, clouds, some dots far below. ‘Wow’, said Dermot. I was unconvinced, and I also had a strange inflight-urge to buy a teddy bear wearing flight goggles.
Strangely, the Twitter population seemed to be finding ‘Live From Space’ fascinating. Were we watching different shows? ‘This is amazing’, ‘Incredible’, ‘I’m transfixed’ they chorused.
Aside from tweets such as, ‘Show more northern lights you dicks’, Twitter did come up with some intelligent questions for @SpaceLive: ‘Do you have the concept of a day?’, ‘Can you see natural disasters happening?’, ‘How does your vantage point make you feel about International conflict?’ Sadly, Derm didn’t ask any of these. He did, however, ask the astronauts to do a few spins.
Best bits of the programme included an item on space junk and how it can smash up a space station (Hope Koichi wasn’t watching that bit), seeing the sun rise over the horizon and a moving account of 9/11 as seen from the ISS. There was touching footage of the commander playing the bugle for his dead friend that day. Always pack your bugle when going into space. You just never know.
Stephen Hawking was involved (of course) and had a terrifying prophetic warning, saying the human race are going to need a ‘Plan B’. By the end of the century he hopes we’re all living on Mars. What?! Errr, you guys go on ahead, I’ll catch you up.
With Stephen’s words of doom ringing ominously in our ears, Derm just breezed past it and cracked on. Keep it light guys. What a pro.
This programme really just confirmed what I have long suspected. Space is both infinitely magnificent and magnificently dull, all at the same time.
First published by TVGuide.co.uk