Men in White

Five years ago, I made a series called Science Shack. It was fronted by Adam Hart-Davis, but what really happened is that a gang of us made ridiculous contraptions and pointed cameras at them. What took place in the workshop and behind the scenes was often frustratingly better than what we managed to shove on telly. I wasn’t involved in the second series, and the ‘engineering posse’ approach did expand a bit, but I always maintained that the BBC made a big mistake in seeing the show as a vehicle for Adam.

A shame, really. We could have made something rather similar to Mythbusters, only we’d have got the science less wrong and been three years earlier. In fact, there were many attempts to get just such a show off the ground, often involving Science Shack engineer Jem Stansfield (and, in at least one case, Alom, Gia, and I think Daily Grind comments frequenter Patrick too). Sadly, none of them amounted to anything more than untransmitted pilots.

men_in_whiteUntil now. Men In White is Tiger Aspect‘s take on the idea, for Channel 4. And it stars… er… Jem. Huh. Fancy that. But hey, I’m just pleased that the show has finally been made. Jem – who’s usually self-critical to the point of openly dissing his own shows (you should have heard him talk about Zero to Hero…) – speaks very highly of it, and indeed the YouTube-driven pump-priming trailer is quite amusing. Even if they have ballsed up the widescreen thing, durr

.Jem himself, meanwhile, was a tad worried about over-exposure when I spoke to him yesterday. Men In White is on C4 on Sunday afternoons, in the Scrapheap teatime slot, for six weeks. Then he’s Bill Bailey’s sidekick in a new using-engineering-to-put-eco-stuff-right show… in the same slot. For another twelve weeks. Then Scrapheap starts again, with the guest judge in the first episode being… Jem Stansfield.

Rock on.

7 thoughts on “Men in White”

  1. i think this series is shite. it is supposed to explain the science behind things and i didnt get anything and im a physicist! a waste of time. that blond dude was awful – he cannot do the job. well done to rutherford – he stands out from the rest. by the way, that basil guy… check this out, quite embarassing

  2. What is ‘B’ talking about? I’ve watched this programme since the beginning, and have totally enjoyed it (hence the reason I found this site…)I’m a teacher, and have used extracts from the program to explain scientific concepts, and will continue to do so. I agree that Rutherford has been given more opportunity to explain his branch of science than the others – maybe because you can’t make genetics fun?! Meanwhile, thanks to Jonathan’s post – and to the programme, I’m going to be glued to watching Jem for the next few weeks. He does all the work on that programme, and as far as I’m concerned: he rocks!

  3. ‘Men in White’ are great and rock even outside the UK! I personally find the shows like MIW and Scrapheap Challenge really exciting ‘cause I like watching men building things by hand. Although I not always understand the principles behind all these constructions I just enjoy the view of what makes a man the real one! But all this also makes me think that there is no place for women. Most of such shows are about men and for men. Why wouldn’t somebody make the show where the girls would invent something with their own hands – something far from cooking, gardening or make-up, but still for their own needs, any girlish contraptions… Or another idea is to make the ‘boys vs. girls’ show where the guys’ team would compete with the girls’ team again in building contraptions. I know that among girls there may not be so many engineers or talented inventors. I just think it’s an interesting idea to put the girls together and make them build something by hand, perhaps under the guidance of a man. That could look sexy and be lots of fun!

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