Channel 4 Go To Space – Dermot O’Leary Stays. Phew.

Hot on the heels of the announcement that Gravity is about kick some celluloid arse at the BAFTAs, Channel 4 has just revealed details of its groundbreaking new ‘Live from Space Season’ airing this March, which will culminate with a major interactive TV event featuring a live two-hour broadcast from the International Space Station (ISS) and Mission Control in Houston as the ISS completes an entire orbit of the Earth.

Head of Specialist Factual at Channel 4, David Glover, has ordered a trio of shows, presented by Dermot O’Leary, which will deliver unprecedented access to NASA and get up close and personal with astronauts like never before. In addition to the centrepiece live programme  Live from Space: Lap of the Planet’, Arrow Media will produce ‘Astronauts: Living in Space’ and ‘Astronauts: Houston We Have a Problem’. These two other shows will transmit on the channel during the same week and will set the backdrop and build huge anticipation leading up to the main event.

‘Live from Space: Lap of the Planet’ will will interact with the astronauts onboard the ISS as they travel around the world in 90 minutes. The astronauts will share their breath-taking views of planet Earth which will be beamed to TV screens in stunning HD. Professor Stephen Hawking and British astronaut Tim Peake will both be taking part in the Earth-based part of the broadcast, and whilst neither of them check the Sandra Bullock “sassy yet confused powerhouse” box, you can be comforted by the fact that everyone’s favourite tight-trousered sexpot Dermot O’Leary will be part of the proceedings.

Close your eyes and imagine Dermot, majestically floating in zero-gravity, clad in a suspiciously tight space suit complete with trademark bulge action, a serene smile playing on his lips…

Well, I’m afraid imagine is all you can do, because Dermot’s staying behind on Earth. “It’s a big deal for me to be asked to host ‘Live from Space Season’”, he says. “When David (Glover) first told me about the show I had to try hard not to revert back to being the eight-year-old kid and the excitement I felt watching the first space shuttle take off in ‘81. Since then, like most of my Star Wars/Trekkie generation, space has always held a fascination. It’s already been an education to research this project and so I can’t wait to join the viewers in finding out both the spectacular (and what the astronauts would consider mundane, but most of us will find fascinating) workings of the ISS. I simply can’t wait.”

I’ll admit that I’m looking forward to seeing what life’s like on the ISS, but there’s just one thing missing from the ‘Live from Space Season’ – Brian Blessed. Maybe next year, eh?