The voyage of the HMS Beagle has been described as the most important journey ever made. During his travels, Charles Darwin gathered information and knowledge that would drastically change the way we look at the world. With his book “On the Origin of Species” (1859) Darwin would be the first to explain that life on earth is not created by God, but rather developed by evolution. To celebrate Charles Darwin’s 200th birth year, and the 150th anniversary of his publication of “On the Origin of Species”, VPRO is preparing a 40-part series called Beagle: On the future of species. The project will reconstruct Darwin’s 5-year long voyage on the HMS Beagle in the course of one year, and make an attempt to assess where the world stands today in light of Darwin’s evolution theory. Life on earth is under continual change. Is there reason to worry about the future? Can science offer us sufficient answers to some of our most compelling questions? Are we leaving behind an inhabitable world for future generations?
Beagle will take viewers on a journey across magnificent landscapes, vulnerable regions, endangered areas and adventurous locations, stretching from Patagonia to the South Pacific, and from Australia to St. Helena. En route one recurrent question will be asked: “Will the earth survive mankind?” Our VPRO-Beagle ship is an experiment in itself. This three mast sailing ship will be rigged with advanced scientific measurement equipment. Scientists from various disciplines and from all over the world will execute experiments on board this sailing science lab. The ship also has a built-in TV studio from which parts of the series will be produced and broadcast.
Beagle has strong interactive components. All scientific findings made during the journey can be closely watched on VPRO’s Beagle website, and will be broadcast by both radio and television; personal journals and video logs about life on board will be made by the producers, the sailing crew, and by guests on board. These will be updated on a daily basis. The route of the entire voyage can be closely followed by viewers on the internet. Beagle is a documentary series (2 parts covering a whole year), shedding light on topics ranging from bird migration to slavery, from marine biology to astronomy, and from newly discovered species to extinct tribes. The series will be as much a personalized story featuring some of Darwin’s descendents, as an adventurous encounter with today’s avid environmentalists. Darwin’s journey and research in the nineteenth century will lead this modern-day, year-long endeavor in its effort to monitor the world in light of the evolution theory in 2009. More informations here.