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.
Until 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.