Today we’re beginning a brand new series, all about the great naturalist Charles Darwin. The series was made by China Central Television, to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of Darwin’s birth, and the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the publication of his classic work, ‘On the Origin of Species’. In fact, this was the first original biographical documentary about a foreign figure ever made by CCTV. In all, from preparation to filming and post-production, the series took over a year to complete. Some of that time was spent in England, where our CCTV crew visited a number of places associated with Darwin, including his birthplace in the town of Shrewsbury, as well as Cambridge and Oxford Universities. There, they conducted a series of interviews with experts on Darwin, which put together give a fascinating picture of the glorious but at times troubled life of the great naturalist.
It was Darwin’s father who apparently encouraged his boyhood interest in the natural world. But this wasn’t his sole pastime. Along with his brother, young Charles would spend many hours in the storage room at Mount House, conducting chemical experiments. Break 2 (24’ 24” 00)
His experience at Edinburgh University wasn’t all bad. For one thing, it was there that he first met a man who would become one of his closest friends – John Edmonston.
His time at Cambridge was among the happiest periods in Darwin’s life. There he earned his bachelor of theology degree. However, there is great irony in the fact that he should have chosen to study theology, because later in life, his work would challenge some of the principle tenets of Christianity and lead to him being accused of heresy.