Look Around You

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  • TV-PG
  • 2002
  • 2 Seasons
  • 8.4  (2,907)

Look Around You is a British television comedy series that originally aired on BBC Two from 2002 to 2005. The show was created and written by Robert Popper and Peter Serafinowicz, who also starred in the series alongside Olivia Colman and a rotating cast of guest stars.

The premise of the show is that it is a parody of educational science programs from the 1970s and 1980s. Each episode focuses on a different scientific concept, such as germs, ghosts, or music, and presents it in an absurd and surreal way.

The show is presented as if it were a series of educational films or television programs from the fictional company 'Pear Tree Productions'. The program's hosts, Popper and Serafinowicz, play absurdly serious and overly enthusiastic scientists who present the information in a deadpan style. Colman appears in various segments as an interviewer or presenter.

The show's humor is derived from its absurd presentation of serious scientific concepts, and the use of deadpan humor and intentionally cheesy special effects. The series also features a number of running gags and visual jokes, including recurring "forbidden numbers," such as 3 or 9, and the fictional substance "superheated steam".

One of the most famous episodes of Look Around You is "Music," which parodies educational films about the history and science of music. The episode includes segments on how music is made, explanations of different musical instruments, and the use of music in films and television. The episode also contains a running gag about a fictional band called "The MusicEpisode features a cameo from Jack White of The White Stripes.

Another memorable episode is "Sulphur," which focuses on the periodic element and its uses. The episode features surreal segments on the history of sulphur, including its use in ancient Rome and medieval medicine. The episode culminates in a parody of a car commercial that promotes the idea of adding sulphur to fuel in order to create a "speed energy cycle."

Other episodes of Look Around You focus on topics such as computers, water, germs, ghosts, and sport. The show frequently lampoons popular culture and scientific trends of the time, such as the rise of electronic music and the popularity of horror movies in the 1980s.

Overall, Look Around You is a surreal and absurdist program that parodies the educational science programs of the past. The show's intentionally low-budget production values and deadpan humor make it a cult classic among fans of alternative comedy.

Look Around You
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Live Final
6. Live Final
March 7, 2005
The Look Around You Invention of the Year Award comes to you live from BBC Television Centre in Shepherd's Bush, London. Six leading inventors are in the studio hoping to take the big trophy. The finalists include the team behind a machine which can change your sex in minutes, and it will be tested live on the show. HRH Prince Charles will be announcing the winner and awarding the grand prize, always supposing he is not busy somewhere else...
5. Computers
February 28, 2005
A look at the very latest in computer technology.
4. Food
February 21, 2005
The team looks at advances in food science and technology, and the world's one and only vegetable orchestra, led by Teddy Clarke, gives us a live performance in the studio. We meet Andy Gough, Slimmer of the Year, a fellow who lost fifty-two stone [for American viewers: one stone is sixteen pounds] in six weeks, thanks to a controversial slimming powder. We also visit the food industry's annual show and see some inspiring hi-tech developments. A special report looks at the growth of fast food casserole joints, stepping into the world's only computer-run casserole cafe where the menu features four types of casserole - beef, chicken, ham and porcupine. Lastly, the gang throws a futuristic birthday party for Pam - with a surprise guest.
3. Sport
February 14, 2005
This week, the team looks at advances in sporting technology. The world 400,000-metre champion, Ros Lamb, demonstrates a new serum (based on caramel-flavoured rocket fuel) which is said to help her to run at up to 3,500 miles per hour. And Ros faces this week's Challenge - can she run the 524 miles from London to Aberdeen in under five minutes? (But it was not foreseen that she would arrive in Scotland half her original size.) We meet two of the clones of the late Sebastian Jackson, the world's most famous football designer. The Invention of the Week is a betting system - based on a machine made of straw and designed by a race-horse. Finally, the team visits the U.S. to investigate the new sport of Gonnis - which is an inspired cross between golf and tennis.
2. Health
February 7, 2005
The team looks at advances in healthcare, and Jack Morgan goes under the knife as Dr Fu supervizes the efforts of a robot-surgeon called Medibot to create the perfect face. Other presenters try out a new toothbrush that burns away plaque - though with one rather serious side effect... And in a special report, the team visits a Sleep Institute and meets its director, Professor Craven, a man with some cutting-edge ideas.
Music 2000
1. Music 2000
January 31, 2005
We visit the Look Around You Music 2000 Competition, a search for the sounds people will be listening to in the year 2000. Three contestants have half a minute each to perform what they think will be the music of tomorrow. Contestant Anthony Carmichael gives us England's first ever performance of rap music. The contest is judged by Look Around You's resident music expert, the Ghost of the composer Tchaikovsky, who speaks through an interpreter. We also meet the chairman of the Royal Pop and Rock Association, Sir Alan Rees, who coincidentally is the reigning French-kissing champion.
  • Premiere Date
    October 10, 2002
  • IMDB Rating
    8.4  (2,907)