Paul Olding


Wonders of the Solar System





BBC 2 Sunday 7th March 9pm – Empire of the Sun

BBC 2 Sunday 28th March 9pmDead or Alive




Wonders of the Solar System is a 5 part Hi Def BBC2 series presented by Prof Brian Cox. My episode is called ‘Dead or Alive’ and (generally) looks at the way the heat within worlds keeps them alive, but can also run out leading some to an early death.


First stop India. Heading out of Mumbai, we travelled to Mahabaleshwar to experience Venus through the massive lava flood plains of the Deccan Traps. We were also there to film the solar eclipse over the Ganges in Varanasi for the episode Empire of the Sun.


Next we got flights to the city of Middlesboro in Kentucky, the town built inside a huge asteroid impact crater. Could it have been made by an asteroid sent by Jupiter? Then onto Arizona to the Grand Canyon, one of Earth’s own natural wonders, but not the largest canyon in the Solar System.


Across to Big Island, Hawaii to climb Mauna Kea, built like Olympus Mons on Mars, only not as big. Also to witness the red hot lava of Kilauea. Over to Maui to talk to the scientists tracking PHAs or potentially hazardous asteroids and to attempt (and fail) to see the Persied Meteor shower.


Finally, to Ethiopia, to the molten lava lake of Erte Ale and chance to experience the one of Brian’s wonders of the Solar System – the volcanic world of Io.




Come back for regular updates, behind the scene videos, and general gossip.






Winner: Award for Scientific Merit 2011



Winner: Best Popular & Science Technology Award 2011



Winner: 2011



Winner: Best Documentary Series: Science & Natural History 2010



Winner: Best Documentary Series 2010




Winner: Young Jury Prize for Best TV Documentary

European Science TV and New Media Awards 2010



Nominated: Best Documentary Series

Broadcast Awards 2010



Nominated: Best Director Factual

Bafta Craft Awards 2011




1st Stop - INDIA July 2009




Pune Market




Filming the Deccan Traps,




Me and Cox



Varanasi, to film the solar eclipse




In a boat on the Ganges



Ganges mayhem



Filming during the eclipse




Lots of people on the Ghats



Just after totality




Watch some behind the scenes videos on YouTube













2nd Stop – USA August 2009


Middlesboro, Kentucky




All the best locations




With the band



Big Apple



Grand Canyon, Arizona




Setting up timelapse



Filming at the

Grand Canyon




Ben filming sunset



Barringer Crater




Jibbing out




With DoP Chris King




Riding with the drugstore cowboy




Filming in the car



It’s a wrap




Prof Cox with his photos of Mars



Drugstore Cowboy



Big Island and Maui, Hawaii




Filming on Mauna Kea







Getting on the chopper



With all the kit




Flat tyre










Chris forgot something




Special Needs






3rd Stop – Ethiopia September 2009







In the Chopper











Nasty volcanic gases




First sight of the

lava lake




Sleeping Out




Extreme Filming




Body Mount Filming




Trying to Keep cool…



…By Any means




At the North Crater









The Team




Preparing to Abseil




It’s a Wrap





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All Images copyright Paul Olding 2008 or BBC