'Tomorrow's World' returns to the BBC, sort of

The name will be used as an umbrella for a new, year-long season of programmes.

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Toby Melville / Reuters
Toby Melville / Reuters

The BBC is bringing back Tomorrow's World, but in a different form. The beloved British TV show, which covered scientific and technological innovation from 1965 to 2003, will be used as an umbrella brand for a new, year-long season of programming. At the centre will be a "digital hub" that offers a daily curation of TV and radio shows online, as well as content produced by partners such as the Science Museum and the Royal Society.

Highlights of the new programming block include Britain's Greatest Invention, a live show that will ask the public to vote on what they think has been the most influential creation on their lives. Professor Stephen Hawking will present a new documentary about humanity's need to colonise another planet, while green energy enthusiast Robert Llewellyn will helm Fixing the Future: The Great Village Green War, a campaign to persuade a small village in the Cotswolds to generate their own power.

"We've come together behind a simple, and very bold ambition - to equip all of us with the knowledge and understanding we need to make sense of our lives and the future," Tony Hall, the BBC's Director-General said.

The idea, presumably, is to use the Tomorrow's World name to highlight shows that might otherwise struggle to attract viewers. While some will inevitably criticise the move, preferring a true reboot for the old show, it's a clever use of a brand that should tap into people's nostalgia. If the name can be used to further public interest in science and technology, many would argue that's a valuable and respectful continuation of the show's original mission -- even if it doesn't have an hour-long slot to call its own.

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