Several leading astronomy professors have recommended Queen guitarist Brian May become the new host of BBC1’s long-running astronomy show ‘Sky At Night.’
If May was to become the shows new host, he would be replacing Sir Patrick Moore, whose “mad professor” image attracted millions of viewers and helped him to popularize the science since the show premiered in 1957. Sadly, Sir Patrick passed away earlier this month at the age of 89.
Professor David Southwood, president of the Royal Astronomical Society and a senior research investigator at Imperial College, told The Daily Telegraph that May, who is also an astrophysicist and close friend of Sir Patrick, would be ideal to take the late presenters place.
“Both of them have a terrific gift for communication, which I must say I am quite jealous of,” he began. “Brian is an enthusiast for astronomy, exactly like Patrick. Patrick cared about the moon as much as black holes as much as life on Mars. He didn’t discriminate. The problem with professional astronomers is that all of us have our favorite bits but Patrick could talk about anything,”
Professor Southwood added that May was one of few who possessed the charisma required to adequately fill Sir Patrick’s shoes: “You’ve got to have a pretty strong personality to replace someone who had such a strong identity, like Patrick. That’s why I think you’ve got to go into the celebrity stakes, [but the right presenter also needs] to have a complete and utter enthusiasm for the universe. If you don’t have that, it ain’t going to work.”
Dr Richard Miles, a former president of the British Astronomical Association, agreed: “Brian has wide experience and would grow into the job if he was given a free hand. It has got to be a larger-than-life character but no one can ever match Patrick in that regard.”
However, Kim Shillinglaw, the BBC’s commissioning editor for science and natural history, said the corporation was yet to make a decision on the future of the program: “We at the BBC are still absorbing the very sad event, which is Patrick Moore passing on. We already have a number of episodes in the can with him in.”
In 2008, May purchased Sir Patrick’s house from him, to guarantee him a secure home for the rest of his life. According to reports from the Sunday Times, May paid £480,000 for the house in Selsey, West Sussex, then leased the property back to Sir Patrick for, “one peppercorn if demanded.’