I was surprised to find no reviews of The Sky at Night; it has been, after all, the world's longest-running TV show with a single presenter. I'm 53, and it's been on telly since before I was born.
By a very sad and shocking coincidence to me, hours after I wrote this original review on 08 December 2012, its presenter through seven decades, Sir Patrick Moore, died on 09 December, aged 89, and I have had to revisit my words less than one day after I wrote them, but as a tribute to him, I've decided to maintain my upbeat view and I assume the show will carry on.
The Sky at Night is exquisite in its purity, charm, and sweet unadulterated intelligent geekiness. It appears in the UK approximately monthly, catching us unawares like a lovely waxing moon on a clear night, and has always aptly enjoyed a quirky, unpredictable slot in the BBC TV schedules, usually after 11:00 pm. In the 1970s I can remember the pleasure of coming back from the pub and chancing upon it. It was a veteran show even then: Patrick Moore had already been presenting the show for over 20 years! Nowadays with modern technology and recording devices, there's no excuse for missing it.
The co-presenters - in the tradition of Sir Patrick - are chosen not because of their good looks or suave TV skills, but because they are experts and enthusiasts.
The show is carefully crafted to give something to everyone. You don't need to be an astronomer to watch it, and it is guaranteed to inform you of something you didn't know before. Nowhere else do I know of such an up-to-date and informative source of what the billions of dollars spent on NASA are giving back to the human race, and where we are going next.
The show was hosted from a small room in Sir Patrick's house, and in his garden, at Selsey on the Sussex coast, and I always found it very charming to see the veneration given to Sir Patrick by the expert guests who, no doubt, like the rest of us, grew up with The Sky at Night on TV.
Looking up at the stars, Sir Patrick Moore 1923-2012.