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Wellcome Trust-supported ‘Secret Universe: The hidden life of the cell’ airs on BBC Two

19 October 2012

Drawing on the very latest cellular discoveries, the astonishing interior world of a human cell will be brought to life in a new programme to air on BBC Two this weekend. Produced by Wide-Eyed Entertainment and supported by two Wellcome Trust broadcast grants, ‘Secret Universe: The hidden life of the cell’ will be shown this Sunday 21 October at 20.00.

Narrated by David Tennant, this is the story of a battle that has been raging for billions of years and is being fought inside every one of us right now. Swept up in a timeless drama - the fight between man and virus - viewers will see an exciting frontier of biology come alive and be introduced to the complex biochemical processes at the heart of all of us.

The programme features contributions from Professor Bonnie L Bassler of Princeton University, Dr Nick Lane and Professor Steve Jones of UCL, and Cambridge University's Susanna Bidgood. It is the life story of a single epithelial lung cell on the front line of the longest war in history, waged across the most alien universe imaginable: our battle against viral infection.

David McNab, creative director of Wide-Eyed Entertainment Ltd, commented: "This programme would never have been possible without the guidance, enthusiasm and financial support of the Wellcome Trust. It is the kind of cutting-edge, complex science that needs ambitious visuals to make it accessible to a general audience.

"It has been a privilege to bring to life the work of so many brilliant and dedicated scientists and to reveal a scientific frontier that is both important and genuinely awe-inspiring. I sincerely hope it becomes an inspiration to a new generation of scientists and film-makers."

Clare Matterson, director of Medical Humanities and Engagement at the Wellcome Trust, says: "'Secret Universe' will reveal a world that few people will have seen before, presenting scientifically accurate molecular biology in a gripping visual manner - perfect Sunday night viewing. It is a wonderful example of science programming at its best."

Wellcome Trust broadcast grants offer support for projects and programmes that engage an audience with issues in biomedical science in an innovative, entertaining and accessible way. Previous programmes funded through the scheme include 'The Great Sperm Race' and 'Inside Nature's Giants'.

More details of the programme can be found on the BBC website. In addition to the programme, there is an interactive website, which reflects the content of the show and more.

Image: An army of viruses flee a dying cell. Credit: CGI Intelligent Creatures.

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