if we had no moon

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3 Minutes To Impact

Eclipse - Herald of the Millennium

TV: 1 x 52’ / DVD: 52 minutes

It was the last total eclipse of the 20th century – and it prompted a fistful of documentaries from York Films. On August 11, 1999, more people than ever before in the history of mankind saw the Moon totally eclipse the Sun right across Europe from the Atlantic to the Black Sea and beyond.

Anticipating the event, we released The Eclipse Phenomenon, a 50-minute video – essential viewing for those wishing to fully appreciate the celestial conjunction.  This retail “taster” explained everything worth knowing about the eclipse – how, why and where it would happen and the best ways of watching and recording it.

Then, for Westcountry TV, UK, we produced a 30-minute special: Eclipse – Moonshadow and Magic (1 x 30’).  England’s south-west peninsula, rich in myth and legend, would be the only part of Britain to experience totality.  Setting aside our normal scientific brief, the documentary explored the music, rituals and predictions evoked by the “magic” day.  One romantic was preparing for the return of King Arthur astride a great white boar!

On a wider scale, we orchestrated our most ambitious international co-production:  ECLIPSE (1 x 52’).  Made with broadcast partners from one side of Europe to the other – plus Discovery USA – this prime-time science special was aimed for transmission on eclipse-eve, August 10.  In Austria, for ORF, the show was the highest rated of the week.  For France 2, ECLIPSE achieved an outstanding 25 per cent audience share.

Immediately after the eclipse, using our own material and footage from our TV partners in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Romania, we reworked ECLIPSE into a definitive retrospective:  ECLIPSE – Herald of the Millennium (1 x 52’).

ECLIPSE – Herald of the Millennium is everything you need to know about a total eclipse of the Sun wrapped up in a highly entertaining account of Europe’s last great solar eclipse.  (For the next, we must wait until 2081.)

There’s anticipation, disappointment, fun, awe, astronomy - a celestial symbol of a new beginning, herald of our third millennium.

Intelligent, fast-moving and visual, the show reflects this spirit right along the path of totality – from where the Titanic sank and the eclipse rose, through England, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Romania.

Cameras catch the eclipse as never before. Crystal-clear CGI explains the mechanics of the eclipse.  Astronomers talk of the “once-in-a-lifetime” experience of totality. French mayors fight over who has the best view.

Fred Espenak, NASA’S eclipse supremo, flies the totality line through the Austrian Alps. Astro-physicist Hubert Reeves compares totality to a night of passion. A Romanian couple marry during the eclipse.  Nostradamus predicts doom.

Narrated by Brian Blessed.