Following the success of television programmes such as The Swarm, in which we learned that sales of soup increase during cold weather, and The Private Lives of Cats, which taught us that cats go out at night, Saturday sees the launch of a new series to provide further patronising reports on things that we all knew anyway. ‘Should Scientists Get A Life?’ is a fly-on-the-wall account of the lonely existence of nerdy geeks as they contribute to documentaries on the bleeding obvious.
A total of thirty academics, including leading bear scientist Professor Julian Clements who is currently working on a study into defecation in wooded habitats, have been filmed day and night for a month. Although these boffins spend almost all of their time in front of a mass of computer screens watching the latest live data being processed, every aspect of their behaviour has been the subject of intense scrutiny in an effort to find out just how sad they really are.
Pig expert Dr Richard Carlton, a man who wears bicycle clips all the time for no apparent reason, is the subject of one episode. He is followed by remote control cameras and infra-red monitoring equipment during his investigation into the kind of meat found in the vicinity of porcine hindquarters. Analysis of the recorded data on Dr Carlton by human behaviour scientists then attempts to explain how his apparently unbounded enthusiasm for the study, together with his lack of any outside interests whatsoever, could be related to the fact that he has never had a girlfriend.
“We are so excited about the new series,” explained the producer Martin Collingwood. “A huge range of specialists are involved in pointless studies into various aspects of the bleeding obvious. This is the biggest ever investigation of their commonalities, including their liking for corduroy trousers and zip-up jumpers.”
In the final programme, a recently-promoted Cardinal is tracked using a tiny GPS receiver and radio transmitter embedded in his robes in an effort to determine what his religious calling might be. The researcher responsible for the study, Dr Karl Marvin, is seen logging on to Facebook at one point, much to the excitement of those monitoring his behaviour. However, hopes of discovering a scientist who engages in social media is dashed by the subsequent analysis of the data records. His one and only Facebook friend, who also happens to be his mother, is off-line at 2am that particular morning.