Saturday, October 03, 2009

"Darwin's Darkest Hour": A PBS Film

Tuesday evening, October 6, PBS television stations will broadcast a special two-hour "Nova" film--"Darwin's Darkest Hour." The story in the film turns on the domestic life of Darwin during the weeks around the time that he received the famous letter from Alfred Russel Wallace indicating that Wallace was ready to announce his own theory of evolution, which forced Darwin to publish the work that he had kept hidden from the public for many years. The film will also depict the tension between Darwin and his wife Emma over the religious implications of his theory.

PBS has a good website for the program. The interview with the script writer--John Goldsmith--suggests that the film is based on some good historical research.


Unknown said...

First of all, let me say that I thoroughly enjoyed the Nova feature film, “Darwin’s Darkest Hour.” But, I got a repeated kick out of an ironic faux pas in the film: the presence of the Golden Retriever named “Joe.” He was first seen greeting the postman in 1858. Joe also appeared romping around with the children in 1859 when the postman delivered Darwin’s first edition volume “On the Origin of Species.” The Golden Retriever breed did not yet exist in the year 1858. In fact, it wasn’t even close. The breed, which was the culmination of Sir Dudley Marjoribanks’ painstaking selection and line breeding program that began in 1868, didn’t exist until the end of the nineteenth century.

Lorna said...


Nice work about the Golden and the year in the Darwin film. Darwin and Goldens are both professional interests of mine. But there was so much else wrong with that film on PBS that this mistake just flowed under the bridge with the rest of them.