Dara O Briain Meets Stephen Hawking


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Dara O Briain Meets Stephen Hawking

Documentary film about professor Stephen Hawking, the world's most celebrated scientist. Dara O Briain spends time with his boyhood hero in Cambridge.


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'Sometimes, in my job, you get

the chance to meet a boyhood hero.

0:00:030:00:07

'Now, for some, this could be

a football legend or a rock star.

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'For me, it's someone

quite different -

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'and someone I've been

waiting 25 years to meet.'

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This might be hard to imagine,

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but I was once a

floppy-haired 16-year-old,

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hiding behind his fringe

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and dreaming of unlocking

the secrets of the universe.

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And I nagged my parents

one particular Christmas

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to get me the big science book

that year.

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This is it - the actual

Christmas present from 1988 -

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a copy of Brief History Of Time,

by Professor Stephen Hawking.

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Since that book was published,

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Hawking has become not just

the world's most famous scientist,

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but a full-on pop culture icon.

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Don't like it.

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Far beyond the world of physics,

people know his name

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and possibly even more famously,

his voice.

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What is a black hole?

0:00:550:00:57

In 1963, doctors told him

his motor neurone disease

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would give him two years to live.

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More than 50 years later,

he continues to defy that diagnosis.

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He communicates using

a voice synthesiser

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and the muscles in his face.

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His is the ultimate story of

the triumph of the human spirit.

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So, of course I want to meet

Stephen Hawking, but I also want

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to spend time with the man behind

the bright lights and the equations.

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I want to meet the team of people

that look after Stephen -

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his friends, his colleagues,

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and maybe even the actor

Eddie Redmayne,

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who won an Oscar for portraying him.

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His face is perhaps the most

charismatic face I've ever seen.

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I'll also be meeting his children,

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who rarely talk publicly

about their father.

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I think there's a bit of

the old razzmatazz about him.

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I think he actually secretly

loves show business.

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Who is this man - the genius,

the husband, the father?

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With a story so incredible that

even Hollywood wanted to tell it.

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He is, in many ways, the

most unusual hero and star

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this country has ever produced.

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We're going to meet

Professor Stephen Hawking.

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'I'm meeting Stephen in a

central London hotel today,

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'a very special day.

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'It's the premiere of

the film about his life -

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'The Theory Of Everything.

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'As I arrive at Stephen's hotel

suite, I'm a little nervous -

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'not least because I'm not sure

how easy it is

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'to have a conversation with him.'

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Hello. Hi, how are you?

Hi, nice to meet you.

A pleasure to meet you as well.

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Hi, how are you?

Hi.

Professor

Hawking, it's a pleasure to see you.

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How are you?

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Lovely to see you, by the way.

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'I've only just opened my mouth

and, already, I've misjudged this.

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'Stephen speaks by

spelling out his responses

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'at an average of

one word per minute.

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'So I could be left here

on one knee for some time.

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'Sensing my awkwardness,

Stephen's housekeeper Pat

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'generously provides me

with a chair.'

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Ah, thank you very much.

You're very kind.

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'And while Stephen composes his

answer, it's hard not to babble.'

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It's very difficult not talk

like an idiot in front of you.

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Because you're going, "Oh,

I must fill this gap, I must...

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"I don't know how to be patient

here. I must keep talking".

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And you realise the limits of

your own small talk very quickly.

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I have no small talk.

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Talking is such an effort.

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That's a fair point.

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'Quickly, though, you learn the gear

change from small talk to patience

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'and the conversation can start.'

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By the way, how should I address

you? Professor Hawking, or...?

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How formal would you like me to be?

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The tea lady calls me "Stephen".

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That's good enough.

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So, Stephen it is.

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Do you want to ask your questions?

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Yes, if I could.

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I suppose the first question

would obviously be,

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how does it feel to have

a film made of your life?

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I was rather surprised

that a major film company

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should want to make a film about me.

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At first, I was worried,

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because it was based on

a book by my ex-wife, Jane.

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But I was reassured when

I read the script,

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and even more when I saw

a first cut of the film.

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It was surprisingly honest

about our marriage

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and my fight with ALS,

or motor neurone disease.

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The one regret I have is that

it doesn't contain more physics,

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but I suppose that was inevitable

in a film for a general audience.

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Were you happy to see Eddie

Redmayne's version of you on screen?

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I thought Eddie Redmayne

portrayed me very well.

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He spent time with ALS sufferers

so he could be authentic.

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At times, I thought he was me.

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It is perhaps the closest

I will come to time travel.

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It would be a privilege for us

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to spend some time with you

this evening,

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as you're getting ready

for this event.

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It will be a pleasure.

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Good afternoon. Hello.

I'm Patricia. How do you do?

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How are you? Nice to meet you both.

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'And now, here's something

I wasn't expecting -

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'Stephen has a stylist

to help him get ready

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'for tonight's big occasion.'

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So, you're the...?

I'm William Gilchrist, stylist.

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Stylist, fantastic.

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'William and Stephen's

personal assistant, Jeanna Lee York,

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'have brought his

red carpet outfit.'

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Stephen, if you remember,

we had the double-breasted cardigan.

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'William might be

a professional stylist,

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'but here, he's working to

Stephen's brief.'

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And then, scarf-wise, you had

mentioned about a solid colour.

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So, we have the polka dot...

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The cashmere...

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Keeping it elegant

and keeping it simple.

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The second scarf.

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I like plain.

OK.

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Fabulous, you're all set.

Good stuff.

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'All the preparations made, the team

head out to the movie premiere.

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'An entourage of five people

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'will be looking after Stephen

for the big night tonight.

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'And while he's been getting ready,

so has Leicester Square.

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'The stars of the film

and assorted special quests

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'have gathered for the fans and

for the paparazzi cameras alike.

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'It's the big opportunity

for the film stars

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'Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones

to promote the film.

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'Although frankly, anyone turning up

with a vaguely famous face

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'gets a camera stuck up their nose,

including me.

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'But the real star of the premiere

is just arriving.'

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Ladies and gentlemen,

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the man whose life The Theory

Of Everything is based on.

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Please welcome to Leicester Square,

Professor Stephen Hawking!

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CHEERING

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And so, this is the glitz

and glamour of a Leicester

Square movie premiere.

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Light bulbs going off,

music loudly playing...

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This is about the life story

of a theoretical physicist.

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People don't make movies

about theoretical physicists!

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To solve that riddle, we should

probably get out of here.

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We should maybe go to Cambridge,

meet Stephen Hawking

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and his family where they live,

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see where he works and

find out who he really is.

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MUSIC: Gloria In D Major, RV 589

by Antonio Vivaldi

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'Cambridge is where Stephen

has spent most of his life.

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'Although he began

his studies at Oxford,

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'he came here to do

his graduate work.

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'It's where he made a name for

himself in the academic world.

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'It's also where he wrote his book,

A Brief History Of Time,

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'and where he raised his family.

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'It's where he still lives

with his support team.'

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He's the longest living man ever

with ALS, or motor neurone disease,

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and that requires

a large team around him

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to help him survive, essentially.

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It's an unusual lifestyle

on many, many levels,

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but there's a normal man

at the heart of it

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and that's the man we're going

to see again, here in his home.

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DOORBELL RINGS

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Hey, how are you, pet?

Good to see you.

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Hello, welcome. Nice to see you.

Good to be here.

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Hello.

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'Before my visit today, I sent

Stephen my questions in advance.

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'He needs the time to

prepare his answers,

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'because he has to spell out

each word, letter by letter,

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'using just the muscles

in his face.'

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Stephen, thank you very much

for inviting us into your home.

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I have a number of questions

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that you've been very kind enough

to answer for me.

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My first question for you.

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You were diagnosed with

motor neurone disease

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more than 50 years ago

and you were said, at the time...

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The diagnosis said that

you had two years to live.

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Essentially, the question is,

how are you still here?

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Obviously, I am not a typical case,

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or I would have died

half a century ago.

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I think my survival against the odds

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must have something to do with

my commitment to science.

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I am damned if I am going to die

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before I have unravelled

more about the universe.

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I would have that printed on

badges and T-shirts -

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"I'm damned if I'm going to die

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"before I know how

the universe works."

0:10:200:10:22

Another question about

the condition you have

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and how it's affected your life.

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Are you in pain?

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Motor neurone disease

doesn't cause pain,

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but sometimes I get uncomfortable,

because I can't adjust my position.

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Of the things that this

condition has taken from you,

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what do you miss the most?

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I would like to be able to

swim again.

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To swim again?

That's an interesting one to miss.

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When my children were young,

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I missed not being able to

play with them physically.

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'Stephen gives impressively

honest answers,

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'even to the most direct questions.'

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Stephen, you have said that

you support assisted suicide

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for people with terminal illnesses

and that their family members

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should be able to assist

without fear of prosecution.

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What condition would you have to be

in for you to consider this option?

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To keep someone alive against their

wishes is the ultimate indignity.

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I would consider assisted suicide

only if I were in great pain,

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or felt I had nothing more

to contribute,

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but was just a burden to

those around me.

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And, I suppose, maybe a more

existential question than that -

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are you lonely?

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At times, I get very lonely,

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because people are

afraid to talk to me

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or don't wait for me

to write a response.

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I am shy and tongue-tied at times.

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I find it difficult to talk

to people I don't know.

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'Of course, not all of the

great questions in life

are about physics.'

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We talk about the extraordinary

life that you've had,

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but there is something very normal

about your life as well.

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And by normal, I mean...

messy, like anyone else's life.

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I mean, two marriages,

three children...

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Are there any hopes of discovering

the laws that govern love?

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Or would that take

the fun out of life?

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Women are a mystery to me.

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That is the fun.

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DARA LAUGHS

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As they are to me and

all other geeks, as well.

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'That normal, messy

human life of Stephen's

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'has been compelling enough to be

turned into a Hollywood blockbuster,

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'and Eddie Redmayne

would go on to win an Oscar

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'for his portrayal of Stephen.'

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When stars are born

0:12:560:12:58

and when they die,

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they emit UV radiation.

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So, if we could see the night sky

in the ultraviolet light,

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then almost all the stars

would disappear

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and all that we would see are

these spectacular births and deaths.

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'The second that I was cast,

I started researching him'

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and what I find extraordinary is,

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his face is perhaps the most

charismatic face I've ever seen.

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It's like all of the facilities

that we have of, of gesture,

0:13:240:13:27

of tone of voice, of... All of

those energies are channelled

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into those few muscles

that he's able to use.

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Blink to choose the colour

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of the group of the letter

you want, Stephen.

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Green...

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..blue...

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..pink...

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..red.

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'A huge influence on

Eddie's portrayal

0:13:570:13:59

'was advice he had from

two of Stephen's children.'

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The great inroad to that

was meeting Lucy and Tim,

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and I spent a long time going to

a motor neurone disease clinic

0:14:070:14:10

and really trying to educate

myself on the disease

0:14:100:14:12

and many people who are

suffering from it

0:14:120:14:14

and wanted to be absolutely

authentic to the disease,

0:14:140:14:16

but I was being quite respectful

and then Tim said,

0:14:160:14:19

"Yeah, but we did used to

get into Dad's wheelchair

and use it as a go-kart."

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Or, "We did used to put swear

words into the voice machine

and press 'play'," you know?

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That was just such a revelation

for me, because that was like...

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Of course, it's just a

normal family!

0:14:290:14:31

And, you know, dealing with

pretty extreme circumstances,

0:14:310:14:34

but with humour and with fun and...

0:14:340:14:36

Exactly, wind back the clock.

0:14:360:14:37

Wind back the clock.

0:14:370:14:39

Is that what you're doing?

0:14:390:14:40

'Stephen's first wife Jane is played

in the film by Felicity Jones.'

0:14:400:14:44

Keep winding!

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'She was touched by just how

unusual their life together was.'

0:14:460:14:50

Keep winding...

0:14:500:14:51

I started to see...

0:14:510:14:53

Jane was someone who,

when she met Stephen,

0:14:530:14:56

she never patronised him and I...

0:14:560:14:59

In some ways, I subconsciously

absorbed that and then every time...

0:14:590:15:04

In the preparation of the film,

0:15:040:15:06

I'd find new things and

contradictions in this couple,

0:15:060:15:10

who both lived extraordinary lives.

0:15:100:15:13

There.

0:15:190:15:20

That's better, isn't it?

0:15:220:15:24

Yes.

0:15:250:15:26

Did Stephen flirt with you?

0:15:280:15:30

Oh... I mean, he loves the ladies.

0:15:300:15:32

So, he was watching a scene

we were doing and then he wrote

0:15:320:15:37

and asked if I would give him a

kiss after we'd finished shooting

0:15:370:15:41

and I was like, "Of course, you're

an icon," cos, you know... He's...

0:15:410:15:44

I don't think even an icon

0:15:440:15:46

is allowed to just write

and demand a kiss!

0:15:460:15:48

I know! Only Stephen Hawking

could get away with that.

0:15:480:15:51

But how accurate are these

Hollywood biopics, anyway?

0:15:570:16:01

Only those who lived through it -

Stephen's family -

0:16:010:16:04

can really tell you.

0:16:040:16:05

Stephen and his first wife, Jane,

had three children.

0:16:080:16:11

The eldest, Robert,

here on the left,

0:16:130:16:15

lives in Washington state,

in America.

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But Lucy, with her son, and Tim,

live here in Britain.

0:16:170:16:20

So I'm heading to a school

in London to meet Lucy.

0:16:240:16:26

She's a writer now

0:16:260:16:28

and some of her dad's passions

must have rubbed off on her,

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because she and he have

co-authored together

0:16:300:16:33

a series of children's

science novels.

0:16:330:16:35

STEPHEN HAWKING: 'So many things

are possible, but you have to

imagine them first.

0:16:370:16:42

'Can you imagine a future

that no-one else has known of?'

0:16:430:16:47

'Today, Lucy is trying to get

these primary school kids

0:16:470:16:50

'excited about the

mysteries of the cosmos.'

0:16:500:16:52

And so, we have a mystery spaceship,

in orbit around the earth.

0:16:520:16:57

Sometimes, this spaceship

is invisible

0:16:570:17:00

and no-one knows who it belongs to.

0:17:000:17:02

I am about to complete my

fifth book, written with him,

0:17:020:17:06

which actually makes me

his most prolific co-author.

0:17:060:17:09

No-one else has written

five books with him.

0:17:090:17:11

So, that's my little

record-holding title myself.

0:17:110:17:14

Is he a helpful co-author?

0:17:140:17:17

We're aiming for a kind of

scientific accuracy

0:17:170:17:20

and authenticity,

and that really...

0:17:200:17:23

He plays a very important

role in ensuring that -

0:17:230:17:25

that I'm not allowed to

break the laws of physics

0:17:250:17:28

by going off on some

crazy plot twist, and, yeah...

0:17:280:17:30

So, that's annoying.

0:17:300:17:32

Annoyingly persistent

in his editing comments...

0:17:320:17:36

How has being Stephen Hawking's

daughter affected your life?

0:17:360:17:40

Most people don't find their

childhoods featuring

0:17:400:17:43

in Oscar-winning Hollywood films.

0:17:430:17:45

It just sort of underlines the point

0:17:450:17:47

that, really, there was

nothing normal about that.

0:17:470:17:50

So, it's hard to sum it up.

0:17:500:17:52

I did read something that

an astronaut said about,

0:17:520:17:55

"What's it like to be in space?"

0:17:550:17:57

And I felt a lot of resonance

with his quote. He said,

0:17:570:18:00

"Being in space is a strange

mixture of the really prosaic,

0:18:000:18:04

"like the everyday,

and the deeply extraordinary."

0:18:040:18:08

Being in space, that's kind of

how I feel.

0:18:080:18:10

That's what our lives

with Dad are like.

0:18:100:18:12

They're that strange mix

of incredibly ordinary

0:18:120:18:15

but deeply extraordinary

at the same time.

0:18:150:18:17

How strange is it, watching

the film of all of your lives?

0:18:170:18:21

Er... The first time,

I saw it with my brother.

0:18:210:18:24

It was just the two of us

when we watched it

0:18:240:18:26

and we saw it in a private room

at the film production company

0:18:260:18:30

and I just bawled my heart out.

0:18:300:18:32

It was so astonishing to me,

0:18:320:18:35

to go back in time

in the way that it did

0:18:350:18:38

and to see things that were just...

0:18:380:18:40

I mean, I saw my grandparents,

0:18:400:18:42

who have all died and

there they are on screen.

0:18:420:18:45

I saw the house we used to live in.

0:18:450:18:46

I saw our whole story playing

out in front of my eyes and I was...

0:18:460:18:49

I walked out, just stunned.

0:18:490:18:51

But the bit that really gets me is

actually a bit that, funnily enough,

0:18:510:18:54

other people don't seem to like.

0:18:540:18:57

At the end of the film, my father,

0:18:570:18:59

played by Eddie Redmayne,

is giving a lecture

0:18:590:19:01

and he goes into a sort of

reverie at one point

0:19:010:19:04

and he gets up and walks and

picks up a pen off the floor

0:19:040:19:07

and returns it to the young woman.

0:19:070:19:09

Oh, I can't even...

I'm going to cry now.

0:19:090:19:12

That bit slays me, because

I've never seen my father walk

0:19:120:19:15

and I have this sort of dream

in which I see him walking

0:19:150:19:18

and when I watch that, I just...

0:19:180:19:20

I wanted it to go on for ever.

0:19:200:19:22

I wanted that bit to last for

around 44 and a half years,

0:19:220:19:25

cos it was like seeing our

father as he would have been,

0:19:250:19:28

without motor neurone disease.

0:19:280:19:30

So that was the bit that

really broke my heart.

0:19:300:19:32

Actually, I asked,

"Of the things that your condition

0:19:320:19:35

"has taken from you,

what do you miss the most?"

0:19:350:19:37

And he did say,

"When my children were young,

0:19:370:19:39

"I missed not being able to

play with them physically."

0:19:390:19:42

Mmm... That's sad. That's really

sad.

Yeah. Did you miss that?

0:19:420:19:45

Yeah, I did. And, of course,

I have a lot of friends now

0:19:450:19:48

who have small children, and

especially with my male friends...

0:19:480:19:53

You know, I see them pick up a

small child and it kind of really

0:19:540:19:57

reminds me that that was

something my father couldn't do.

0:19:570:20:01

And that I found quite poignant

and quite painful,

0:20:010:20:03

cos that would have

been really nice.

0:20:030:20:05

'Stephen's children

rarely give interviews,

0:20:100:20:12

'but I particularly wanted

to speak to Tim.

0:20:120:20:15

'At 36, he's Stephen's

youngest child

0:20:150:20:18

'and grew up at a different

stage of his father's illness.

0:20:180:20:22

'Nonetheless, it must

still have been unsettling

0:20:220:20:25

'to watch their story in a film.'

0:20:250:20:27

How weird is it, by the way,

seeing your family life on screen?

0:20:290:20:32

It was a very, you know,

very emotional...

0:20:320:20:34

A lot more emotional for me

than I perhaps thought,

0:20:340:20:38

and I think particularly because,

you know, not ever knowing my dad

0:20:380:20:42

as an able-bodied person, to

actually see him as a young man...

0:20:420:20:46

I think, for me, that was perhaps

0:20:460:20:48

sort of one of the really

lovely things about the film.

0:20:480:20:52

Actually, you grew up with him when

he had already lost his voice.

0:20:520:20:55

Am I right in saying that?

0:20:550:20:56

Well, the thing for me was that,

0:20:560:20:59

for, like, about the first

four or five years of my life,

0:20:590:21:02

my dad was able to...was able to

speak with his natural voice.

0:21:020:21:06

If you are a long way off...

0:21:060:21:10

..you have ways of saying things.

0:21:110:21:14

But it was very, very difficult

to understand what he was saying

0:21:140:21:17

and, obviously, for me,

as a sort of three-year-old,

0:21:170:21:19

I had no understanding of

what he was saying

0:21:190:21:22

and so, I didn't really actually

have any communication with him

0:21:220:21:25

for about the first

five years of my life.

0:21:250:21:27

And then, it was only when

he got the speech synthesiser

0:21:270:21:31

that I was actually able to start

having a conversation with him.

0:21:310:21:34

So it was kind of ironic, in a way,

0:21:340:21:37

that him losing his voice was

actually the start of him and I

0:21:370:21:41

being able to form

a relationship, really.

0:21:410:21:45

He did say that one thing

which had an effect

0:21:450:21:48

is he didn't get the chance to

physically play with his children.

0:21:480:21:51

He said that was a regret.

Did you feel that lack, or...?

0:21:510:21:55

I think he helped wherever

he could, you know?

0:21:550:21:58

We played board games,

and he wasn't the easiest opponent,

0:21:580:22:01

particularly chess.

Surely he let you win?

0:22:010:22:04

Well, no, there's no

compassion there at all.

0:22:040:22:06

He was hugely...

There's

a point in parenting where...

0:22:060:22:09

..hugely competitive.

0:22:090:22:11

Ay-yay-yay...

0:22:110:22:12

Is there any one lesson

you took from your father?

0:22:120:22:16

Well, I think... I remember as a

12-year-old sort of asking him

0:22:160:22:20

a question which I think, at the

time, I thought was a bit silly.

0:22:200:22:23

"Are there lots of other tiny

little universes, dotted around?"

0:22:230:22:27

And then he gave me the answer

and then he said,

0:22:270:22:31

"Don't ever be afraid to come

with an idea or a hypothesis,

0:22:310:22:36

"no matter how daft it may seem.

0:22:360:22:39

"Just have the confidence

to follow it through."

0:22:390:22:41

And I think that's been

a great lesson for me.

0:22:410:22:43

'Another way in which

Stephen Hawking inspires

0:22:490:22:51

'is in his sheer work ethic,

even at 73.

0:22:510:22:55

'Even after 50 years of

motor neurone disease.

0:22:550:22:58

'If he's not working on new science,

0:22:580:23:00

'or attending a conference,

or writing another book,

0:23:000:23:03

'he's got a full schedule of

work and social events to go to.

0:23:030:23:07

'Today, Stephen is at

the Science Museum,

0:23:130:23:15

'where he's hosting a tour

for a competition winner.

0:23:150:23:18

'This constant flurry of activity

couldn't happen

0:23:240:23:28

without the help of his technical

assistant, Jonathan Wood.

0:23:280:23:31

'He's at Stephen's side to

make sure things run smoothly.'

0:23:310:23:35

You are led down the stairs,

down the ramp, to meet Adaeze...

0:23:360:23:42

'I handle all of Stephen's technical

things - like, I prepare his slides,

0:23:420:23:47

'I look after his computer,'

0:23:470:23:50

I book his holidays.

0:23:500:23:52

LAUGHTER

0:23:520:23:54

I look after his car, I...

0:23:540:23:55

You know, anything that,

obviously, Stephen can't do,

0:23:550:23:58

because he's in a wheelchair,

I help him to do.

0:23:580:24:01

It's very obvious... You can tell

that there is communication

0:24:010:24:03

that he can make with you

that I don't see.

0:24:030:24:06

Yeah, I mean, to people

sort of closest to Stephen,

0:24:060:24:09

he's very expressive

with his facial gestures.

0:24:090:24:12

Just if he looks at me, I'll know

whether he wants me to stay away

0:24:120:24:15

or if he wants some attention...

0:24:150:24:17

Cos the chair he's in is,

to a certain extent,

a life support machine.

0:24:170:24:20

Right, he's got a respirator

on the back of his chair

0:24:200:24:22

that regulates his breathing

0:24:220:24:24

and a humidifier that helps

humidify the air going to him.

0:24:240:24:28

And has his computer ever broken,

or has the battery gone flat?

0:24:280:24:31

HE LAUGHS

0:24:310:24:33

Well, yeah. I mean, we run out of...

forget the battery,

0:24:330:24:35

or it hasn't been charged up

overnight

0:24:350:24:37

and we sort of get somewhere...

The problem is that

0:24:370:24:40

the battery powers not just

Stephen's chair,

0:24:400:24:42

but his computer and his speech.

0:24:420:24:43

So we end up being somewhere and

suddenly Stephen'll kind of go,

0:24:430:24:46

"Bzzew," and it's all turned off.

0:24:460:24:49

And you can just run out of power?

Yeah, and run out of power.

0:24:490:24:51

It has happened and we just have to

0:24:510:24:53

push him back to the

nearest power supply.

0:24:530:24:56

Rarely - but on occasions.

0:24:560:24:58

And it's a great honour

for me to welcome

0:24:580:25:01

London's official guest of honour

to the Science Museum,

0:25:010:25:05

the home of human ingenuity.

0:25:050:25:08

'Adaeze Uyanwah is a very lucky

American school teacher.

0:25:080:25:13

'She won a prize to get the

greatest VIP tour of London.'

0:25:130:25:18

This is Apollo 10, which

launched in May 1969

0:25:180:25:24

as a dress rehearsal for

the Apollo 11 moon landing.

0:25:240:25:28

'Getting a personal tour of the

Science Museum from Stephen Hawking

0:25:310:25:34

'might have been a bit

overwhelming for Adaeze,

0:25:340:25:37

'but it's just one of the talks

and personal appearances

0:25:370:25:39

'that Stephen does every year

around the world.

0:25:390:25:42

'But how do you take

Stephen Hawking round the world?

0:25:440:25:47

'One woman who's done just that

0:25:470:25:49

'was his personal assistant for

ten years, Judith Croasdell.'

0:25:490:25:52

Judith, how are you?

Hello. Nice to meet you.

A pleasure.

0:25:520:25:56

'She retired in 2014,

but still lives in Cambridge

0:25:560:26:00

'with her parrot and

the mementos of her travels.'

0:26:000:26:03

I have travelled with him abroad to

some very interesting places.

0:26:040:26:09

I've been to China with him.

0:26:090:26:10

I've been to Hong Kong,

Israel and Chile.

0:26:100:26:14

Perhaps the most extraordinary place

to travel with Stephen

0:26:140:26:18

was Easter Island.

0:26:180:26:20

Easter Island, I don't think

0:26:200:26:22

it had ever had a disabled person

visit it,

0:26:220:26:24

because, you know, it's all gravel

around the moai and all the sites.

0:26:240:26:28

But relentlessly, Stephen

went out and saw all the moai

0:26:280:26:33

and it was wonderful, travelling

somewhere like that with him.

0:26:330:26:37

You know, there wasn't

anywhere that he couldn't go,

0:26:370:26:39

and I stopped thinking about him

as being disabled as well,

0:26:390:26:43

because you think,

"God, he's a lucky fellow!

0:26:430:26:45

"Look at all the amazing places

he's seen."

0:26:450:26:48

And Stephen met Nelson Mandela.

0:26:480:26:49

I remember asking Stephen

about this afterwards.

0:26:510:26:54

"So, what was it like, Stephen?"

0:26:540:26:56

So he said, "Well, at first

I thought he was gaga.

0:26:560:26:58

"He was just staring at me."

0:26:580:27:00

And I said, "Well, it didn't occur

to you that he may have thought,

0:27:000:27:02

"'What on earth is this? How am

I supposed to talk to this man?'"

0:27:020:27:05

So I said I'm sure it was... They

probably both looked at each other

0:27:050:27:09

as if they were from another planet!

0:27:090:27:12

And then, there was a lot of

bleeping and squeaking and stuff

0:27:120:27:16

and then suddenly

this voice booms out,

0:27:160:27:19

how nice it was to meet

the great Nelson Mandela and...

0:27:190:27:23

I imagine, you know,

"Oh, he does speak!"

0:27:240:27:26

Myself and Stephen share

one achievement in common -

0:27:280:27:30

we've both done the Zero G Flight.

0:27:300:27:32

Oh, you've done it?

I did it as well, actually, yes.

0:27:320:27:35

When Stephen went up,

he did eight fantastic parabolas

0:27:350:27:38

and he adored it.

0:27:380:27:40

It was the most wonderful thing.

0:27:400:27:42

I mean, just being up in the air,

free of his wheelchair -

0:27:420:27:46

he'll never get over it.

0:27:460:27:48

'It was amazing.

I could have gone on and on.'

0:27:480:27:51

Does he take on too much?

0:27:530:27:55

Yes.

0:27:560:27:57

He does on occasions -

and when that happens,

0:27:570:28:01

usually, his body gives up, not him.

0:28:010:28:04

He's ferociously...

0:28:040:28:06

But then, when he gets an

infection or something,

0:28:060:28:09

that's it - he has to stop.

0:28:090:28:11

Dragged into hospital,

bored to death,

0:28:110:28:14

and I always remember

his colleagues -

0:28:140:28:17

grey-haired, venerable professors,

0:28:170:28:19

saying things like, "Well, he'll

cheer up if we go and see him.

0:28:190:28:23

"We'll just burble science over him

and he'll just breathe that in

0:28:230:28:28

"and that's how he'll get better,"

and they were quite right, actually.

0:28:280:28:31

They knew him very well.

Oh, right?

0:28:310:28:33

And that's exactly what Stephen

enjoyed most of all, I think.

0:28:330:28:36

'So, it's science that

keeps Stephen chipper,

0:28:380:28:41

'and like Einstein before him,

he uses pure mathematics and

0:28:410:28:44

'theoretical physics to come up with

his theories about the universe.

0:28:440:28:48

'As a student, I studied

both of these subjects,

0:28:490:28:52

'so I'm very excited, because he's

invited me over to talk about them.'

0:28:520:28:56

Now, I'm not going to turn down

the opportunity to talk science

0:28:590:29:02

with one of the greatest minds

of our generation,

0:29:020:29:04

so I've come to Stephen's office

here in Cambridge University.

0:29:040:29:07

Not the Cambridge University

you're probably used to seeing

0:29:070:29:10

from all the films, or, indeed,

The Theory of Everything -

0:29:100:29:12

not the one with all

the stone cloisters.

0:29:120:29:14

This is the ultra-modern

Centre for Mathematical Sciences.

0:29:140:29:17

Of course, they haven't ditched

their history entirely.

0:29:170:29:19

One of the buildings is named after

an old boy from here, Isaac Newton.

0:29:190:29:23

MUSIC: Closing

by Philip Glass

0:29:250:29:28

'Stephen has worked in

this office for 15 years,

0:29:350:29:38

'and decorating the walls are

pictures and mementoes of his heroes

0:29:380:29:42

'and the people he's met,

0:29:420:29:44

'like Barack Obama,

Steven Spielberg,

0:29:440:29:47

'the theoretical physicist

Richard Feynman,

0:29:470:29:49

'and, of course, Albert Einstein.

0:29:490:29:51

'But what I'm excited by is

what's on Stephen's blackboard.'

0:29:540:29:57

This is, in a nutshell,

0:30:000:30:02

one shot of why it's such a pleasure

to spend time with Stephen Hawking.

0:30:020:30:06

On the one hand, you have stills of

his appearances in The Simpsons...

0:30:060:30:11

..and you have, just below it,

0:30:130:30:16

Hawking radiation,

which he discovered.

0:30:160:30:19

'Stephen's revolutionary

breakthrough was discovering

0:30:190:30:21

'that despite their massive gravity,

0:30:210:30:23

'black holes send out radiation

until there's nothing left.

0:30:230:30:27

'One person with an insight into

how Stephen's unique mind

0:30:280:30:31

'comes up with these ideas is his

friend and colleague, Kip Thorne.

0:30:310:30:35

'Kip has worked with Stephen

since the early '70s.'

0:30:350:30:39

Although he could no longer draw

diagrams on the blackboard,

0:30:390:30:43

he learned to create shapes,

0:30:430:30:47

geometries, typologies in his head.

0:30:470:30:52

Some of his greatest

breakthroughs in science -

0:30:520:30:55

his discovery of Hawking radiation,

for example -

0:30:550:30:58

that black holes can only grow,

they can't shrink.

0:30:580:31:01

They came from manipulating

shapes in his head

0:31:010:31:04

in ways that I can't do

and nobody else can do.

0:31:040:31:08

He has shown to his colleagues

and to the world

0:31:080:31:13

that physical impairment

does not have to prevent one

0:31:130:31:17

from living life to the full

0:31:170:31:20

and having a huge intellectual

impact on the world.

0:31:200:31:24

He is an inspiration

to his colleagues.

0:31:240:31:27

He is an inspiration to the general

public, for what he has achieved.

0:31:270:31:31

He's an inspiration to me,

particularly, for his stubbornness.

0:31:310:31:35

He's the most stubborn man I've ever

met, by a very large margin.

0:31:350:31:40

And that's a large part of

what makes him succeed,

0:31:400:31:43

and I try to emulate him.

0:31:430:31:45

You simply don't give up -

and if you don't give up

0:31:450:31:48

and you work hard enough,

0:31:480:31:50

you have a good chance of

having some real big impact.

0:31:500:31:53

'And there's no sign

of him giving up.

0:31:580:32:00

'Even at 73, Stephen is still

working on new theories of physics.

0:32:000:32:05

'He's collaborating today with

one of his former students,

0:32:050:32:08

'fellow physicist

Professor Thomas Hertog,

0:32:080:32:10

'who has flown over from Belgium

especially to work with him.'

0:32:100:32:14

He can think, right?

He can think very hard.

0:32:160:32:18

He can think very well.

0:32:180:32:20

He has a very clear

scientific vision.

0:32:200:32:22

So he feels cosmology is

a mission he can fulfil,

0:32:220:32:26

despite his disability,

and therefore,

0:32:260:32:29

that's what makes life worthwhile.

0:32:290:32:32

It is usually thought the exi

surface is very irregular,

0:32:320:32:36

but we think the amplitude...

0:32:360:32:38

What makes him remarkable

as a scientist

0:32:380:32:40

is the clarity of his vision.

0:32:400:32:42

He has an ability to see

through all the clutter

0:32:420:32:46

and to focus on the core problems

0:32:460:32:50

and also, to abandon old ideas

0:32:500:32:53

which stand in the way of

further progress.

0:32:530:32:55

'And even in the rarefied atmosphere

of the Cambridge maths department,

0:32:590:33:03

'most of the best work is

done in the canteen.

0:33:030:33:05

'And now, I'm excited, because

when I studied theoretical physics,

0:33:080:33:11

'neither I nor any of my professors

0:33:110:33:14

'ever thought I'd be sitting down

and talking physics

0:33:140:33:16

'with one of the greatest scientific

minds on the planet.'

0:33:160:33:19

In physics at the moment,

there are these two huge theories.

0:33:200:33:24

We have Einstein's

theory of relativity,

0:33:240:33:26

which talks about the very

big planets and galaxies

0:33:260:33:29

and gravity and how gravity

affects them,

0:33:290:33:31

and then we've got

quantum mechanics,

0:33:310:33:33

which deals with the very small

and the tiny subatomic particles

0:33:330:33:36

and the forces that work for them.

0:33:360:33:38

The Holy Grail

for some time has been,

0:33:380:33:41

"How can we draw

these two together?"

0:33:410:33:43

It's what people refer to as

"the theory of everything".

0:33:430:33:46

Do you think we'll

ever achieve that?

0:33:460:33:48

I think we will eventually

discover a unified theory,

0:33:480:33:52

though it may well take longer than

the 20 years I predicted,

0:33:520:33:56

45 years ago.

0:33:560:33:58

Your work is at the very edge

of what is theoretical

0:33:590:34:02

and what we're imagining.

0:34:020:34:04

Does it disappoint you

that we might not have

0:34:040:34:06

an experimental proof of your work

in your lifetime?

0:34:060:34:09

I am resigned to the fact

that I won't see

0:34:090:34:13

proof of Hawking radiation directly.

0:34:130:34:16

I am now studying whether one might

detect Hawking radiation

0:34:160:34:20

in primordial gravitational waves.

0:34:200:34:23

So I might get a Nobel prize,

after all.

0:34:240:34:28

That's... That's great. That is

a direct pitch to win a Nobel prize.

0:34:280:34:32

I like the chutzpah of it.

I like the nerve.

0:34:320:34:35

One final question.

0:34:350:34:37

In 1992, you postulated the -

0:34:370:34:39

let me get the name of

this correct -

0:34:390:34:41

the chronology

protection conjecture,

0:34:410:34:44

which basically states that

we can't travel backwards in time.

0:34:440:34:48

Thus, destroying the

Terminator movies.

0:34:480:34:51

So, thanks for that.

0:34:510:34:53

But, even allowing you that...

0:34:530:34:56

..do you think there's any -

and if you'll excuse the pun -

0:34:580:35:00

future for time travel?

0:35:000:35:02

Will we be able to use black holes,

for example, to travel through time?

0:35:020:35:06

If you jump in a black hole,

you will meet an unpleasant fate.

0:35:060:35:10

It will be little consolation

0:35:110:35:14

that your mass energy will be

recycled as Hawking radiation.

0:35:140:35:19

That's tough news for a

lot of dreamers, that one,

0:35:190:35:21

but they have to hear it.

0:35:210:35:23

This is something I had to

bring along today, Stephen.

0:35:230:35:26

This is my copy of

A Brief History of Time,

0:35:260:35:29

which was a Christmas present I got,

cos I requested it when I was 16.

0:35:290:35:34

This is an enormously

important item in my life,

0:35:340:35:38

cos it's managed to go through

every house move I've made

0:35:380:35:42

to the age of 43, this book.

0:35:420:35:45

Is it possible to get you

to sign this?

0:35:450:35:48

Yes.

0:35:480:35:49

'Stephen signs books by leaving

a thumb print on them,

0:35:510:35:55

'which means that I am now a

very proud little science nerd.'

0:35:550:35:58

What I'd love to do, obviously,

is show it to 16-year-old Dara.

0:36:020:36:05

I think it would actually

mean a lot to him,

0:36:050:36:07

to see this book signed

by one of his heroes.

0:36:070:36:11

But unfortunately, I can't,

because thanks to him,

0:36:110:36:13

I can't go back in time.

0:36:130:36:15

That's one of your great theories.

So, I'm stuck here.

0:36:150:36:17

He'll never know. He'll never know,

16-year-old Dara,

0:36:170:36:19

that this happened, thanks to

your chronology conjecture.

0:36:190:36:22

Lovely. Thanks.

Thanks, Stephen. Thanks.

0:36:220:36:24

'This science icon, one of the

most unlikely of celebrities,

0:36:260:36:29

'is in demand all over the world

0:36:290:36:31

'and he relishes the attention.'

0:36:310:36:33

Please give an astronomical

welcome to Felicity Jones

0:36:350:36:38

and Professor Stephen Hawking!

0:36:380:36:40

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:36:400:36:43

He enjoys a round of applause,

0:36:440:36:46

particularly if it's

directed at him,

0:36:460:36:48

and the opportunity to express

his sense of humour.

0:36:480:36:51

I am particularly pleased to be

presenting this award

0:36:510:36:55

with the only person on the planet

0:36:550:36:58

more intelligent than Stephen Fry.

0:36:580:37:00

LAUGHTER

0:37:000:37:02

Yes - and better looking.

0:37:030:37:06

LAUGHTER

0:37:060:37:08

APPLAUSE

0:37:080:37:10

And that mischievous sense of humour

is about to be put to use again -

0:37:110:37:15

and all for a good cause.

0:37:150:37:16

We're here in Cambridge again,

but not for academic purposes.

0:37:250:37:28

He knows his own iconography,

0:37:280:37:30

but he's very happy to have that

used for comic effect.

0:37:300:37:33

In the last year,

he's done Monty Python,

0:37:330:37:35

he's done The Simpsons previously.

0:37:350:37:37

We're here today where

they're filming for Comic Relief,

0:37:370:37:40

for a sketch that appeared on

the last Red Nose Day.

0:37:400:37:43

Cos he knows there's something

inherently funny about this,

0:37:430:37:46

and his impish sense of humour

comes through.

0:37:460:37:48

'David Walliams is resurrecting his

character Andy from Little Britain

0:37:530:37:56

'and Catherine Tate is

playing an Irish nun.'

0:37:560:37:59

Astounding, to think the Lord

created all this in just seven days.

0:38:010:38:07

Incorrect.

0:38:070:38:09

It took 13.8 billion years.

0:38:090:38:11

Well, let's not get bogged

down in all that again.

0:38:110:38:14

The universe was

created by a big bang.

0:38:140:38:17

I don't think so!

0:38:170:38:19

And after an initial expansion,

the universe cooled.

0:38:190:38:22

He can go on like this all day.

0:38:220:38:24

DIRECTOR: Cut, thank you.

0:38:240:38:25

'Stephen has the starring role

0:38:260:38:28

'in one of this year's headline

sketches for Comic Relief.

0:38:280:38:31

'It's such a big deal, in fact, that

even the co-founder of Comic Relief,

0:38:320:38:36

'Richard Curtis, has come along.'

0:38:360:38:38

We hope that we're making

a hilarious, very funny,

0:38:400:38:42

brilliant sketch, but I think

what it will mean is

0:38:420:38:46

that if two million extra people

watch the show, well, that really

0:38:460:38:50

will mean that something like four

million extra pounds will get made.

0:38:500:38:55

And if you're very good, Stevie,

0:38:550:38:57

you can watch Peppa Pig.

0:38:570:39:00

Don't like it.

0:39:000:39:01

I thought you loved Peppa Pig.

0:39:010:39:03

You always said it was

0:39:030:39:05

an astute critique of contemporary

family life in porcine form.

0:39:050:39:10

Yeah, I know.

Well, then

we'll watch Peppa Pig, then.

0:39:100:39:14

Hiss off.

0:39:140:39:17

What do you mean, "Hiss off"?

0:39:170:39:18

Ducking autocorrect.

0:39:180:39:20

Any more bad language

like that, Stevie,

0:39:200:39:23

and I'll wash your computer out

with soap and water.

0:39:230:39:27

Thank you. Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut.

0:39:270:39:29

For both of you, the first

time you've worked with

Professor Stephen Hawking?

0:39:290:39:32

Certainly is.

Yeah.

How have you found it?

0:39:320:39:34

He's very warm,

he's been really funny,

0:39:340:39:37

and very engaged with it all

and very happy to be here.

0:39:370:39:40

Yeah. And he's got an

amazing presence

0:39:400:39:42

and a very beautiful quality.

It's a very special thing...

0:39:420:39:45

Yeah, he's got a real twinkle,

actually.

Yeah, he has, yeah.

0:39:450:39:47

Plus, you can now join the list

which, er...

0:39:470:39:49

The Simpsons, Monty Python,

John Oliver.

0:39:490:39:51

He does a lot of comedy.

He does lots of comedy.

0:39:510:39:53

Yeah. Well, I think

he genuinely loves it.

0:39:530:39:56

I think this is the one he was

waiting to tick off the list,

wasn't it, to be fair?

0:39:560:39:59

Yeah, I mean, you start with

The Simpsons, you build up...

Until you get asked.

0:39:590:40:03

LAUGHTER

0:40:030:40:05

After two hours of filming

in bitterly cold winter weather,

0:40:070:40:10

Stephen's scenes are complete.

0:40:100:40:13

Hey... Thank you so much, Professor.

0:40:130:40:16

It's just been magical

working with you.

0:40:160:40:18

As Stephen ages, though,

his motor neurone disease

0:40:200:40:24

continues to take more

muscle movement from him.

0:40:240:40:27

His greatest fear is that he loses

the ability to control his computer.

0:40:270:40:31

If that happens, he won't

be able to speak and then

0:40:310:40:34

he wouldn't be able to do the things

that are so important to him.

0:40:340:40:37

So, his technical assistant

Jonathan and computer specialists

0:40:390:40:43

are trying to come up with

0:40:430:40:45

even more ingenious ways of

keeping him communicating.

0:40:450:40:48

Right now, the blink sensor is only

able to detect this one movement.

0:40:480:40:53

So what we're trying to do here

is use a camera to detect

0:40:530:40:56

the different gestures

that he makes with his face.

0:40:560:41:00

We know he can make

three different gestures,

0:41:000:41:02

so what we're really hoping

to do with this

0:41:020:41:05

is be able to reliably detect

these three gestures and then

0:41:050:41:08

we're able to really improve his

interface and make it much faster.

0:41:080:41:12

'If all goes to plan,

0:41:150:41:16

'we'll continue to hear Stephen's

voice for many years to come.

0:41:160:41:19

'The end of my time with Stephen

is drawing near.

0:41:230:41:26

'After all the rushing about,

0:41:260:41:27

'it's quite nice just to

relax in his kitchen,

0:41:270:41:30

'reading the newspapers with him.'

0:41:300:41:32

You have, as far as I believe,

done submarines, Zero G...

0:41:320:41:36

'Stephen has dedicated

his life to science

0:41:370:41:40

'and he's very proud of

his achievements.

0:41:400:41:42

'Before I leave Cambridge, he wants

to show off about one of them.'

0:41:420:41:47

Over here is my

Fundamental Physics prize,

0:41:470:41:50

which I won in 2013.

0:41:500:41:53

More valuable than the Nobel prize.

0:41:530:41:56

DARA LAUGHS

0:41:560:41:57

'Yes, the Fundamental Physics prize

0:41:580:42:00

'is one of the biggest

awards in science,

0:42:000:42:02

'bringing Stephen yet more

acclaim for his life's work -

0:42:020:42:06

'and the small matter of

$3,000,000 of prize money.

0:42:060:42:09

'But there's no end to his ambition.

0:42:120:42:14

'Now, he wants to conquer my world.'

0:42:140:42:16

Dara, I have a joke for you.

0:42:170:42:20

A photon checks into a hotel.

0:42:200:42:22

The receptionist asks,

"Can I help with your luggage?"

0:42:240:42:27

The photon replies,

"No, it's OK, I am travelling light."

0:42:290:42:34

DARA CHEERS

0:42:340:42:36

That's a top-quality nerd joke!

0:42:360:42:38

Thank you very, very much.

That is... That's excellent.

0:42:380:42:41

Thank you very much.

0:42:410:42:43

What is a black hole?

0:42:430:42:46

I don't know. What is a black hole?

0:42:460:42:48

Something you get in a black sock.

0:42:480:42:51

LAUGHTER

0:42:510:42:53

Is that patented? Can I take that,

you know? OK. 20/80 split.

0:42:550:42:59

20/80 split for that joke.

0:42:590:43:02

80/20...done.

0:43:020:43:05

I got A Brief History Of Time as

a Christmas present when I was 16,

0:43:290:43:33

and when you're 16, you choose your

heroes based on triumph or disaster

0:43:330:43:38

and you don't want to meet them, in

case their humanity diminishes it.

0:43:380:43:41

Then you get a little older

and you do meet your heroes

0:43:410:43:44

and you realise that what makes

them great is that humanity.

0:43:440:43:47

It's meeting Stephen Hawking

and seeing him as impish and geeky

0:43:470:43:51

and flirty or curious,

or stubborn or warm.

0:43:510:43:55

Just an ordinary dad and grandad

0:43:550:43:57

who happens to have triumph

and disaster in his life

0:43:570:44:00

and to have risen above it.

0:44:000:44:02

And the greatest achievement he has

is his humanity and his normality,

0:44:020:44:05

and that makes him

even more of a hero.

0:44:050:44:07

That is a wrap.

0:44:090:44:11

Since he was a teenager, Dara O Briain has been fascinated with professor Stephen Hawking, the world's most celebrated scientist. In this special film, Dara spends time with his boyhood hero as he attends the world premiere of The Theory of Everything, the movie made about his life, and then at Professor Hawking's home and place of work in Cambridge.

In 1963, Stephen was diagnosed with ALS, a form of motor neurone disease, and given two years to live. Over 50 years later, he is still working on new scientific theories and has become an unlikely pop culture icon. Dara meets the people who keep him healthy and working - his carers and support team, his academic colleagues and friends - and Eddie Redmayne, who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Hawking on film.

After attending the premiere of The Theory of Everything, Dara travels to Cambridge where Stephen has spent most of his adult life. He meets Stephen's children Lucy and Tim, his former assistant Judith Croasdell, his technical assistant Jonathan Wood, fellow theoretical physicist professor Kip Thorne, academic colleague professor Thomas Hertog and actors Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. Dara also questions Professor Hawking about living his life with ALS, why science still excites him, and his hopes for the future.