British BBC star and Professor Brian Cox was in Svalbard for the first time last week in connection with the recording of his next series "The Human Universe." Like maybe one of the few TV stars with a doctorate, he thought it was wonderful to come to a place where few knew him.
"It's much easier to be here than in England," he said. "Generally I never tweet where I'm going because people get so hysterical. This time I thought it went well because people are so relaxed here. And nobody knows who I am."
Cox is known as the presenter of several BBC television series about physics and man. Although it's been fine on Svalbard, he found he got a little attention during the intermediate landing in Oslo.
"There were some who wanted an autograph and a picture when I was in Oslo, but here it's been fine," he said.
"The first time I was in Norway, I played in a band. We warmed up for Europe in Oslo," he added. At that time nobody sought an autograph.
The reason why the filming is taking place up here is the same as the reason the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is here – Svalbard is remote, but easily accessible.
"It feels totally weird that I am home in London this evening," he said. "This is like another world. I would not have thought that it would take so little time to travel all the way here."
"Svalbard has everything we need and is also just a short trip from Oslo. It's absolutely fantastic," Cox exclaimed enthusiastically.
Cox and his team have traveled around the world creating the television series. Among other places, they have been to Ethiopia, Jordan, Russia, Japan, Easter Island and India. They came to Svalbard to film in and around the seed vault. The episode made here will be about the future.
"We have filmed 'human moments' from around the world. Among other things, we filmed one midsummer celebration here in Longyearbyen on Tuesday," Cox said. The series will examine what people think about their – and mankind's – place in the universe, and use physics rules for further study. It will examine what it means to be human.
"The series will appear over large parts of the world," Cox said. "It will, among other places, be shown in the United States, Australia and Japan. There are also at least tens of millions who are likely to see it in the United Kingdom alone, according to the production company, since it is produced in a collaboration between the BBC and the Discovery Channel. NRK told Svalbardposten the network will likely buy and broadcast the series in Norway.
Will come on holiday in Svalbard
Cox is considering coming back in February and bringing the whole family. Then he would get a little more time to look around and, he hopes, to see some of the dark season as well. He did not sleep very well the last nights and believes the midnight sun is perhaps more disadvantage than advantage sometimes.
"The light means that you not as tired and that if we want we can shoot all night. We tried to refrain from that, but there have been some late days," he said. Yet he has enjoyed himself a lot and wants to do more.
"Huset has perhaps one of the best wine cellars, or perhaps the best wine cellar I've ever seen," he said. "The restaurants and hotels are fantastic. You are good at this."