Chris Packham and Dr Chris van Tulleken to front new BBC science programmes

TV presenters Chris Packham and Dr Chris van Tulleken are to front new science programmes for the BBC.

Among the slate of new factual programmes announced is a five-episode docuseries called Evolution in which Packham, 63, will take viewers back in time to explore the evolutionary journey of different animals with the help of cutting-edge CGI.

Elsewhere, virologist van Tulleken, 45, will set off on an international hunt for the source of the next global pandemic in an hour-long Horizon special called Disease X.

Cressie Gethin court case
BBC presenter Chris Packham will present a new series called Evolution (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The documentary’s title refers to the name the World Health Organisation (WHO) gives to the yet-to-be-discovered virus most likely to cause the next pandemic.

The show will follow van Tulleken as he travels the world to speak to leading experts in the fields of virology, epidemiology, vaccinology and public policy.

The doctor will also meet the teams who, since the Covid-19 pandemic, have continued their work in the science of preparation and visit their labs and outbreak monitoring facilities in the UK and abroad.

A series returning to the BBC is The Secret Genius Of Modern Life, presented by Dr Hannah Fry, which tells the stories of the scientific innovations hidden in plain sight.

The five-episode series will feature behind-the-scenes access to tech innovators like Ring, Bosch and Philips.

The BBC has announced another Horizon special called Secrets Of The Brain which will see Professor Jim Al-Khalili investigate the evolution of the brain.

British Academy Children’s Awards – London
Chris and Xand van Tulleken (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

In the two hour-long episodes, Al-Khalili will find out: how vicious prehistoric predators gave us “left and right brains”; how warm-bloodedness evolved and shaped the brain’s ability to remember; and how competition, friendship, nurturing, playfulness, song, and laughter helped evolve our brains.

Tom Coveney, head of commissioning, science, said: “In a world where we’re bombarded with non-stop news and social media awash with misinformation, good science programmes aren’t just important, they’re a joyful inspiration.

“I’m continually amazed and delighted by the work of British scientists and their international colleagues in these programmes: whether working tirelessly to prevent the next pandemic, engineering extraordinary tech to transform our lives, studying the inner workings of our minds, or exploring the origins and endless variety of life on Earth, there’s something for everyone.

“It’s thrilling to bring our viewers such a range of stories and specialisms, especially with this stellar line up of British presenters; some of the best science communicators on the planet.”

Evolution, Horizon: Disease X, The Secret Genius of Modern Life – Series III, and Horizon: Secrets of The Brain will all be coming to BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.