Professor Brian Cox reveals what 'amazed' him in his major new BBC series on the planets

Professor Brian Cox fronting The Planets on BBC2
(Image credit: BBC Studios//Brian Cox/Katy Sava)

Jupiter could have destroyed the Earth!

Professor Brian Cox will tell the story of the planets in a "groundbreaking" new series for BBC2, which begin tonight at 9pm.

Using the latest planetary science research, The Planets will reveal the history of each world over five parts - opening this evening with a look at the planets closest to the Sun.

Each planet will be brought to life using the “most accurate and detailed imagery ever produced.” The series will explain the tragic past of Mars, which was once a wonderful water world but is now a barren, cold desert world.


Illustration shows Mars 4 billion years ago when it had a global magnetic field

Illustration shows Mars 4 billion years ago when it had a global magnetic field

Talking about how The Planets will build on his Wonders... series, Brian said: "There have been lots of new space missions over the last 10 years, so we’ve learned loads more about the solar system since we made those series.

"We used to think our solar system was pretty standard with thousands others like it, but we’ve since discovered that isn’t the case. There are unique factors which explain why our solar system formed the way it did over the last 4.6 billion years, which we’ve only just come to understand."

The hugely popular scientist will also explain how the latest science suggests that Jupiter caused chaos during the early solar system and could have destroyed the Earth!

"I was amazed by how complicated and dynamic the formation of the solar system was, in terms of geography. We’ve recently discovered the planets were moving around all over the place in the early years.

"The Grand Tack Model is a very new theory that suggests Jupiter spent millions of years destroying all sorts of space matter as it moved towards the sun, but luckily for us the gravity of Saturn stopped it before it could reach us!"

This illustration shows Neptune, a giant ice planet over four billion kilometres from the Sun

This illustration shows Neptune, a giant ice planet over four billion kilometres from the Sun

Plus, Brian, 51, will look at the mysterious planet of Neptune, the last major planet in the far reaches of the solar system.

The BBC promises this will be “an epic story” and that it is one still being told and discovered as we still don’t know our planets as well as we thought we did.

The Planets presented by Brian Cox - whose previous series have included Wonders of the Universe and Forces on Nature - will air on BBC2 starting on Tuesday 28th May at 9pm.

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!