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OU on the BBC: Jimmy Doherty In Darwin's Garden - About the series

Updated Tuesday 24th February 2009

Discover why every garden is a crucible of evolution. Find out more about the series.

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Jimmy Doherty in Darwin's garden Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team

Jimmy Doherty tells the untold story of Darwin - the experimental scientist.

By recreating many of the astonishing experiments that Charles Darwin did after he returned from the Galapagos and his world trip, Jimmy explores the theory of evolution in an original and fresh way. Before he became a farmer, Jimmy had trained as an entomologist - so he's the perfect guide to the fascinating science.

It was only after Charles Darwin came back to England that he came up with the many ingenious experiments to support his theory of evolution. They were crucial in helping him transform a germ of an idea into a fully formed theory. We follow that intellectual journey.

The experiments cover an extraordinary breadth of themes. Following Darwin’s detailed notes, Jimmy recreates the ground breaking work he did on in-breeding in plants and the mechanics of natural selection. But Jimmy also feeds his urine to insect eating plants, throws a snake into a monkey enclosure at a zoo, and plays a bassoon to an earthworm. All things Darwin himself did.

The series has been filmed largely in the gardens and greenhouses of Down House in Kent, where Darwin lived and carried out most of his experiments.

Down House forms a hub to the series, but Jimmy also travels to other parts of the country to meet some of the modern-day scientists who still rely heavily on the work of this Victorian genius.

And at the heart of the series is the remarkable story of Darwin’s life in England, told through his imaginative experiments. You'll never be able to look at the natural world or a garden in the same way again. Evolution really is all around us.

 

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