I didn’t watch the *entirety* of Horizon – it was more that BBC iPlayer had a handful of episodes up to look at: so it was a total no-brainer to watch 1981’s Richard Feynman episode, “The Pleasure Of Finding Things Out”. Conducted very much in the “question off camera and film the answer” mode, it was a captivating series of wanderings/musings from one of the world’s most engaged & curious minds. Upon reflection I think I’d seen most of the clips scattered around YouTube, so I don’t know if this Horizon episode gets frequently cannibalised, or if indeed it’s a compilation from other sources.
Following up on the high-falutin academia chat, I thought I’d have a look at 1995’s spotlight on Andrew Wiles and his proof to Fermat’s Last Theorem (directed by Simon Singh!). There was certainly a lot of instructive material about what mathematicians are like to spend time with, and the show did a great job at capturing the excitement, the triumphs and the defeats, and the general sense of gravitas about the whole occasion – but I can’t tell if it was a masterstroke, or a total failure that the actual topic matter was so opaque that there was no way possible to convey what it mean to the casual viewer. Unless you know what Modular Forms and Horizontal Iwasawa Theory are. Because I fucking don’t.
Conclusion: from what I’ve seen, Horizon is “proper” British TV, which doesn’t talk down to audiences. 👍