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Simon Callow

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Imagine taking a tour of some fascinating places around the UK with a pair of geniuses. Eric Monkman and Bobby Seagull became overnight internet sensations following their appearance on boffin quiz show University Challenge. Now, they want to take you on a roadtrip with a difference. Feeding their insatiable appetite for knowledge, they’re in search of hidden gems of British scientific and technological ingenuity.
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Monkman and Seagull’s genius road trip concludes with a tour of some of Scotland’s most enigmatic scientific achievements. Their journey begins in Edinburgh at the birthplace of a little-known scientist who changed the face of history and ends at gigantic power station buried deep within a Highland mountain. First stop for Monkman and Seagull is the Edinburgh birthplace of one of their childhood heroes; ‘Scotland’s Unknown Einstein’ James Clerk Maxwell.
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In Northern Ireland, they begin with an encounter with a piece of aviation history that has saved thousands of lives – the ejector seat, designed in Northern Ireland - and end in Belfast on the deck of ‘Titanic’s Little Sister’, with a host of inquisitive encounters along the way. Heading west, there is a must-see for anyone with an interest in the cosmos: The Armagh Observatory. Finally, Monkman and Seagull meet one of the most iconic cars ever to be built in Northern Ireland - the DeLorean.
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Monkman and Seagull visit Wales, which is known for its strong industrial engineering flavour. They begin by sailing across the highest navigable aqueduct in the world – The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Next, the tiny village of Hawarden gives the brainy duo the opportunity to stay overnight in the UK’s only residential library, surrounded by former Prime Minister William Gladstone’s unique collection of books. Later they travel to Mount Snowdon and visit a former quarry hospital in Llanberis.
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Monkman and Seagull’s "genius guide” through England showcases begins with a trip to Blackpool Pleasure Beach to experience Sir Hiram Maxim’s 1904 ‘Captive Flying Machines’. Next, they visit Southport, a British seaside haven before moving off the beaten track to Emley Tower in Huddersfield, a colossal broadcasting mast that is one of the tallest freestanding structures in the UK. They approach the culmination of their adventure – the giant telescopes of the mysterious Jodrell Bank Observatory..
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