Infinite Monkey Cage: Episode 100

The Infinite Monkey Cage, the entertaining BBC science and comedy show hosted by Robin Ince and Brian Cox, has just celebrated its 100th episode. You can hear the hour-long show at the link below; Matthew, who was in the audience. commented:

They have a couple of vicars on it, heaven knows why, one an ex rockstar who is always in the radio and the other doesn’t really seem to believe in the Bible at all. They got some snarky comments from Eric Idle and Alice Roberts. [JAC: One of Alice’s tweets is below.]

Here are the participants and those in charge:

To hear the show, click on the screenshot below and then the arrow at lower left:

There’s also a video version here (via @bbciplayer), but it’s not visible outside the UK. Matthew notes, “I’m in the front row next to Nick Lane next to Steve Jones. Virtually all the VIP audience members (= ex-panelists) were from University College London, but none of the panelists on this episode were.”




  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 12, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    “… always in the radio …”

    Love that phrase; it’s got a real golden-age-of-radio, kids-sitting-around-a-big-RCA-Victor-unit feel to it.

  2. Michael Fisher
    Posted July 12, 2018 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Brian Blessed warning: don’t don headphones until after the first few seconds! The two smug Revs are wasted space.

  3. BJ
    Posted July 12, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    OK, wait, this time I feel justified in asking whether or not the Brian Cox here is the actor or the physicist. Every time I’ve seen his name on this website it’s been for the physicist, but that lineup suggests this mention might be otherwise.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted July 12, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      It’s the physicist – he’s the chap above with a monkey on his left shoulder.

      • BJ
        Posted July 12, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        Aw, I really love the other Brian Cox.

        I mean, this one is pretty cool, but he’s not Brian Cox. That’s how people should differentiate between them in text. The physicist is “Brian Cox,” and the legendary actor is “Brian Cox“.

        No offense to Brian Cox. You’re a cool dude and I like you.

      • Posted July 12, 2018 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        That’s no monkey, that’s Robin Ince.

        People generally refer to Cox as ‘Professor Brian Cox’. Saves confusing him with the original Hannibal Lecktor (sic).

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted July 12, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          Manhunter – great film

  4. George
    Posted July 12, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I have a bone to pick with Robin Ince – where are the t-shirts????

    From PCC(e)’s appearance on the MC:
    She (Julia Sweeney) then asked, “But why couldn’t a lion suckle both its cubs and warthogs?” My reply is in the tw**t below, which Robin said should be put on an Infinite Monkey Cage teeshirt:

    • Christopher
      Posted July 12, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Some artsy science person with a Red Bubble account… get on it!

      A strawberry t-shirt would be nice too…

    • Posted July 12, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      Ah, I had forgotten my bon mots on that occasion. I should have my own teeshirt made!

  5. George
    Posted July 12, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    If you want to hear the show with PCC(e), you can listen to it here.

    MC did four shows on its US tour. Ranked (by me) in order from worst to best:
    New York – terrible show. Neil DeGrasse Tyson got caught in a snow storm and could not make it. Bill Nye was the last minute sub. He was terrible – he tried to dominate the show and ruined it. I don’t think he is a very good spokesman for science.

    Los Angeles – Hollywood and science. Only one scientist – Sean Carroll. Three celebrities – Eric Idle, Joe Rogan, and David X Cohen. Would have been better with more Sean Carroll.

    San Francisco – basically a show on crypto-astronomy – if there such a thing. Carolyn Porco was real good. Seth Shostack (SETI) not so much. The two celebrities – Greg Proops and Paul Provenza were annoying.

    Chicago – all about evolution. The two scientists from the University of Chicago, Paul Sereno and PCC(e), worked really well together. Jerry laid out the five parts that make up evolution (read WEIT) and Sereno kept referring back to them. The celebrities were OK. My only complaint is that Peter Sagal was given too much time to tell two longish stories.

    I regret that I was not able to attend the Chicago taping. I had a prior engagement which I thought I could blow off. I was told that I could not.

    • Christopher
      Posted July 12, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Bill Nye and Seth Shostak are one-trick ponies. They say the same things every time they get a microphone and it gets rather tiring to have them pop up on so many science programs and podcasts.

      As for comedians, any time you get more than one on at a time, you’ll have an issue. They seek to dominate the airtime and outdo each other and try to turn everything the science guests say into a lame joke or double entendre. IMC already has a decent comedian, and with the exception of Eric Idle, in my opinion, they don’t need ever invite another. If you want a herd of comedians trying to out-comedy each other, there are plenty of comedy panel shows to watch.

      • Posted July 12, 2018 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        It would get very stale if Ince was the only comedian on the show. Comedians with a genuine interest in science are excellent value: Jon Culshaw, for instance, has a real passion for astronomy, as well as doing a first rate Tom Baker impression. Ben Miller studies solid state physics at Cambridge and has written a couple of very entertaining science books. Dara Ó Briain has a physics degree and presents a regular astronomy show with Cox.

        • Posted July 13, 2018 at 4:52 am | Permalink

          The last panel member is not always a comedian. They’ve used Brian Blessed and Alan Moore in the past.

          I’m sad to say that the worst comedian panelist was Ross Noble (who I normally admire). He seemed to think that the other panelists were only there to feed him lines for his jokes. Nobody could speak more than a sentence without him interjecting some amusing quip.

          • Posted July 13, 2018 at 5:56 am | Permalink

            …..l know it’s subjective, but AFAIC Ross Noble has NEVER been funny, and interjects all the time, regardless of the situation….it’s all about him….can’t for the life of me understand why he gets airtime, and comes to Australia far too often…

  6. Posted July 12, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    So, do we have a new script for Hamlet yet? 😉

  7. Steve Pollard
    Posted July 12, 2018 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Richard Coles is absurdly over-exposed. He regularly appears on programmes like this one, where he has no conceivably relevant expertise, as well as on chat shows, pop entertainment programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing, and all sorts of stuff on both radio and TV.

    The Beeb has, regrettably, decided it ought to give more prominence to religion – without, however, giving more space to critics of religion. But maybe, with Coles being wheeled out all over the place, religion will look as if it is taking the piss out of itself.

    • Christopher
      Posted July 12, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. I don’t mind Coles so much, he at times appears religious for the tradition rather than the beliefs, but I don’t often see his relevence. Perhaps he is who you get when everyone else is busy.

  8. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted July 12, 2018 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Ha, that is funny. I just listened to 1 hour of IMC – and noted their 100th show – because of an article with Brian Cox where he makes essentially the same claim I have, that the LHC rejected religious “souls”. The audio gives more, but there is a partial transcript:

    “If we want some sort of pattern that carries information about our living cells to persist then we must specify precisely what medium carries that pattern and how it interacts with the matter particles out of which our bodies are made. We must, in other words, invent an extension to the Standard Model of Particle Physics that has escaped detection at the Large Hadron Collider. That’s almost inconceivable at the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in our bodies.”

    [ ; ]


    … but I guess I want to hear the 100th episode too eventually.

  9. ashdeville
    Posted July 13, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    “Queasily unctuous “ is the phrase I would use for Coles. Drink the long draught, Dan for the Hip Priest.

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