Why You Should Watch the British Version of Eleventh Hour

Eleventh Hour DVD Cover

As part of my continuing quest to quite literally expand my horizons of television viewing, I have been seeking out programming from Britain and Australia. Seeking out is an especially apt phrase to use in this case, since the British program Eleventh Hour stars none other than Sir Patrick Stewart! Being a long time, dedicated trekker, it always makes me happy to see stars from any of the Trek incarnations on other programs.

Eleventh Hour is a typical British series with a four episode season, but each episode runs about 75 minutes, so they are almost like a TV mini-series! The focus of the program is on leading edge science, and Stewart plays Professor Ian Hood, a special scientific adviser to the British government. Hood’s no nonsense approach to his inquiries has earned him the ire of many groups, so he has a protection officer assigned to him who is always by his side.

Eleventh Hour became available in the US on the Acorn TV streaming service, acorn.tv, and also in DVD form as of May 24, 2016.

Let’s take a look at what I feel makes it so interesting and worthy of your attention.

Patrick Stewart

Patrick Stewart - Eleventh Hour

So, at the risk of being branded a fan-girl, I happen to really adore Patrick Stewart. There are a very small handful of actors that I feel this way about, but the truth is I would sit and watch him read the phone book. His acting skills are phenomenal, and his screen presence demands your attention to a degree that places him above other actors, at least in my mind.

He brings to Professor Hood just the right amount of gravitas befitting a government special science advisor, and yet there is also some whimsy in the good professor! And in fact the third episode gets personal as we meet one of his old friends and a past love interest, not to mention a potential future love interest. Watching the usually articulate Hood become flummoxed by interpersonal relationships is very entertaining!

Science Based Inquiry, Not Science Fiction

Patrick Stewart - Eleventh Hour

I am huge sci-fi fan, and given nothing else to watch on TV, I always default first to anything in that genre. But, I am also a scientist by education, and so it warms my heart to see another drama with the main character providing scientific inquiry to debunk erroneous beliefs and bad science in general.

Don’t get me wrong; like many people, when something weird is going on, my first thought as to the cause is aliens or the supernatural, at least when it comes to movies or TV programs. I guess that makes me like Richard Castle. Continuing the analogy, that would make Ian Hood, Eleventh Hour’s main character, like Beckett!

Intelligent Dialogue

Stewart and Jensen - Eleventh Hour

At the risk of being accused of gushing, I have been finding the dialogue in scripted British programming to generally be very intelligent. This program does not have a lot of fluff. All the dialogue is carefully crafted to move the story forward and entertain us, without boring us or treating us like imbeciles. Eleventh Hour tells gripping stories that holds your attention to the very end.

Plausible Stories

Stewart - Eleventh Hour

Despite this series being produced in 2005, with the first episode being broadcast in January 2006, and thus being 10 years old, all four stories are still related to cutting edge science issues. The plots could be taken from current newspaper headlines, and in fact one of the episodes, “Containment,” shares the title, if not the exact plotline, with a program on the CW right now.

Personally I find plausible stories to be more frightening than the more outrageous fare on many programs. If a viewer realizes how close to reality the story line falls, the stakes become personal in a horrifying way.


Have you watched either the British version of Eleventh Hour or the US version that was based on it? What do you think about these shows? I have not seen the US version, but certainly recommend the British incarnation! Please share your thoughts with me; I enjoy reading what you have to say!