Darwin’s Dangerous Idea


Andrew Marr traces the widespread impact of Charles Darwin’s work from its inception to the modern day in a new series for BBC Two. He shows how much of the way the world is seen is fundamentally shaped by Darwin’s Dangerous Idea.

Darwin’s theory of evolution by the mechanism of natural selection is one of the most powerful and influential scientific theories ever proposed. Its impact has reached far beyond the world of science. It has been used to challenge the place of religion in society and it has been appropriated – and often misappropriated – for political ends. It has profoundly shaped society, economics and the arts.

In Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Andrew Marr explores the impact of Darwin’s ideas on religion, politics and the understanding of our place in the natural world. He traces Darwin’s idea across Europe, the United States and to South America, where he discovers some of the experiences which shaped Darwin’s thinking during his five-year voyage on The Beagle.

The opening programme looks at Darwin’s impact on religion and morality, and how the great debate about his ideas is still raging. For many Muslims, Jews and fundamentalist Christians, his work is still regarded as heresy. As Marr examines Darwin’s influence on beliefs and ideas about what it really means to be human, it becomes clear that Darwin’s ideas are as explosive today as they were 150 years ago.

Co-produced by The Open University, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea is part of the BBC’s season of programmes in 2009 marking the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On The Origin Of Species. More information can be found at bbc.co.uk/darwin, where viewers can also request a free Open University Tree of Life poster.

Thursday 5 March
9.00-10.00pm BBC TWO