Rock of ages! Brian’s tribute to Patrick

Here is rock star Brian May as you have never seen him before – playing an old man on Mars. The Queen guitarist’s famous shock of hair turns white as he plays a special space correspondent from the future in a 50th anniversary edition of The Sky At Night this Sunday on BBC1.

Brian, the rocker of agesBrian, a keen astronomer and scientist himself, pays tribute to the show’s monocled presenter Sir Patrick Moore, who is now 85. Impressionist Jon Culshaw, from the BBC show Dead Ringers, brings humour to the programme by playing a younger version of Sir Patrick (see picture below).

And, of course, now-regular co-presenter Chris Lintott will be playing his part bringing us up to date with latest astronomical happenings.

The Sky At Night began in April 1957 and is the world’s longest running show with the same presenter. Sir Patrick has presented every one of more than 600 episodes – except for one where he was knocked out by food poisoning.

Brian is famous for a previous Golden Jubilee tribute when he played on the roof of Buckingham Palace for the Queen. But he soars even higher for Sir Patrick when he helps present the BBC special from his cosmic quarters on the Red Planet.

Brian, who holds an honorary doctorate in astronomy, told visitors to the European AstroFest event last month: “The Sky at Night first took to the air when I was ten. I wrote in, when I was 11 or so, to ask what the wonderful inspiring music was. I got a personal letter back from Patrick I was thrilled.

Brian, Sir Patrick and Jon“Sir Patrick is the most totally modest man I have ever known. And the most generous. I still feel slightly presumptuous and humbled to call him my friend, but a great friend he certainly is.”

Sir Patrick is now confined to a wheelchair and suffers crippling arthritis which prevent him from using a telescope or playing his beloved piano and xylophone. In recent years, editions of the cult show have had to be filmed from his thatched home in West Sussex which has seen a stream of eminent scientists and astronauts visit.

Sir Patrick told Skymania News: “The special is a lot of fun. We shall be looking forwards as well as backwards. It is the edition that I have had the least to do with because it was filmed in a studio. But I shall be there making my contribution from my home.” Photos: BBC.