Our Productions

Precision: The Measure of All Things

  • 2013
  • 3 x 1 hour
  • BBC4

3 x 1 hr series for BBC4 presented by Marcus du Sautoy

Measurement is a story that’s as old as mankind. It’s a subject that we’ve grappled with since cave dwelling times when we counted on our knuckles, and continues to perplex the greatest minds in modern science. Packed with cutting-edge science, amusing anecdotes from history and jaw-dropping examples from the modern world, this is the story of our journey from painting caves to the exploration of outer space.

With experiments both modern and ancient, the series will explain how we developed the seven international units of measurement for time, length, mass, brightness, current, temperature and moles (the measurement of atoms). And how these seven have shaped the course of history, science and civilization.


'Du Sautoy is a master storyteller and in the opening instalment of a series about our need to quantify the world, he brings alive the concepts of time and distance. Genius'. - Radio TImes Pick of the Day
'Why 24 hours in the day and 60 minutes in the hour? And why the need to quantify and measure at all? Marcus du Sautoy begins a fascinating series with a trip across revolutionary France and the story of the metre'. - The Independent Critic's Choice
'An engaging opening salvo.' - Time Out Pick of the Day
'Du Sautoy, with his knack of making the complicated sound straight forward, explains how revolutionary France gave birth to the metre and how scientists are continuing to redefine measurements'. - Daily Telegraph Pick of the Day
'Du Sautoy proves an engaging guide, radiating the gravitas of an academic and the joy of a naive enthusiast'. - Guardian Pick of the Day
'Marcus Du Sautoy’s account was very much on target, being full of pithy anecdotes and practical examples, shedding much light on all the time-space-quantum stuff that sends the average on-expert head into orbit.' - Daily Express


  • Presenter:
    Marcus du Sautoy
  • Photography:
    Nigel Fairburn and Anthony Leake
  • Music:
    Universal Music Library
  • Editors:
    Richard Atkinson, Mark Fox and Rick Aplin
  • Director:
    Mike Cunliffe
  • Producer:
    Mark Woodward
  • Executive Producer:
    Sarah Cunliffe