Christmas Lectures Live Streaming

Filming of the 2019 CHRISTMAS LECTURES will be live streamed throughout the UK

Hannah fry will deliver the 2019 CHRISTMAS LECTURES from the Royal Institution, 'Secrets and lies: The hidden power of maths'.
Paul Wilkinson Photography

Christmas Lectures Live Streaming

Michael Faraday would approve: Filming of the CHRISTMAS LECTURES to be live streamed nationally 

Filming of the CHRISTMAS LECTURES from the Royal Institution is to be live streamed at scale throughout the UK for the first time, it was announced today.   

Following a successful pilot in a handful of venues last year, the 2019 Lectures will be shown at locations ranging from Thurso in Scotland, to Huddersfield in northern England, to Swansea in Wales. In all, the number of live streaming venues will increase nearly four-fold, from 5 to 18, representing genuine UK coverage.   

And with tickets to watch mathematician and TV presenter Dr Hannah Fry give the lectures live in the Ri’s London theatre over-subscribed by more than a factor of 20, the move will significantly increase the number of people able to experience first-hand the magic of the world’s longest-running science lecture series. 

The Ri has been supported in sharing the Lectures nationally by The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC) which brings together all the major public science centres and museums across the UK. 

Shaun Fitzgerald, Director of the Ri, said: “We want to connect as many people as possible with science and this is a wonderful opportunity to extend the reach of one of our flagship events.  

“As well as being an amazing show, the CHRISTMAS LECTURES represent the ideal opportunity to critically examine the impact of science in our lives. We are delighted that thousands more people can enjoy the magic of the Lectures live, in such amazing venues. Michael Faraday would most definitely approve.”  

Dr Penny Fidler, Chief Executive of ASDC, said: “Our passion is democratising science and enabling people everywhere to explore science and new ideas. We are delighted to be partnering with The Ri to enable the excitement of the filming of this world-famous lecture series to be available to young people and communities across the UK.” 

In the 2019 CHRISTMAS LECTURES, ‘Secrets and Lies: the hidden power of maths’, Hannah Fry will reveal a hidden layer of maths that now drives everyday life in powerful and surprising ways. Life’s most astonishing miracles can be understood with probability, big data dictates many of the trends we follow, and powerful algorithms secretly influence even our most important life choices. 

Across the three Lectures Hannah will show us how to decode life’s hidden numbers, helping us all to make better choices, separate news from fake news, and take back some of the control we have lost. And by asking big ethical questions, she will warn how our unwavering faith in numbers may lead to disaster. Are there problems maths shouldn’t be allowed to solve? Do computers have too much control over our lives? Is it right that AI can decide who lives or dies? 

Filming of the 2019 Lectures will be live streamed from the Royal Institution’s iconic theatre on 12, 14 and 17 December, and broadcast on BBC Four between Christmas and New Year. 


For more information please contact Robert Davies in the Ri press office: +44 (0)20 7670 2991 /  

Notes to Editors 

About the 2019 live streaming venues 

The Lectures will be live streamed at a total of 18 venues throughout the UK: 





National Trust Woolsthorpe Manor 



Lecture 1 

Imperial College 



Lecture 2 

University of Central Lancashire 



Lecture 1 

Science and Industry Museum 



Lecture 3 

Liverpool University 


Lecture 1 


Science Skills Academy 

Fort William 

Lecture 2 


Science Skills Academy 



Lecture 1 

Science Skills Academy 



Lecture 1 



Lecture 1 


University of South Wales 


Lecture 2 


University of South Wales 



Lecture 1 

University of South Wales 


Lecture 2 


Science and Media Museum 


Lecture 1 


The National Waterfront Museum (in association with Oriel Science, Swansea University) 



Birmingham University 


Lecture 1 




Lecture 2 


Leeds University 



Lecture 2 

National Coal Mining Museum 



Lectures 1 & 2 



‘Secrets and lies: The Hidden Power of Maths’. 

In three lectures Hannah Fry unmasks the hidden numbers, rules and patterns that secretly influence our daily lives…in ways we could never imagine. 

She exposes how our gut instincts are often unreliable, while an unseen layer of maths drives everyday life in powerful and surprising ways. 

Life’s most astonishing miracles can be understood with probability. Big data dictates many of the hot new fashions we follow. Even our choice of what we watch on TV, or our choice of who we marry, is secretly influenced by computer algorithms. 

In a series of lectures packed with mind-boggling demos and live experiments, Hannah shows us how to decode life’s hidden numbers; to help us all make better choices, sort fact from fiction, and lead happier lives. But she also warns how our unwavering faith in figures can lead to disaster when we get the sums wrong.  

Unravelling suspicious statistics, engineering meltdowns and deadly data, Hannah asks big ethical questions about the trust we place in maths today. Are there any problems math’s can’t or shouldn’t solve? Do computer algorithms have too much control over our lives and privacy? Could A.I. decide if someone lives or dies?  

Ultimately, by probing the limits of maths and its role in our modern world, Hannah ends up revealing and celebrating what makes our human minds so unique. 

About Dr Hannah Fry 

Dr Hannah Fry is an Associate Professor in the Mathematics of Cities at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London. She works alongside a unique mix of physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, architects and geographers to study patterns in human behaviour, particularly in an urban setting. Her research applies to a wide range of social problems and questions, from shopping and transport to urban crime, riots and terrorism.  

Alongside her academic position, Hannah is an experienced public speaker taking the joy of maths into theatres and schools, and has been a regular speaker at the Royal Institution.  

Her critically acclaimed BBC documentaries include Britain’s Greatest Invention, City in the Sky (BBC Two), Magic Numbers: Hannah Fry’s Mysterious World of Maths, The Joy of Winning, Horizon – The Honest Supermarket: What’s Really in Our Food? The Joy of Data, Contagion! The BBC Four Pandemic and Calculating Ada (BBC Four). 

She also co-presents The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry (BBC Radio 4) and The Maths of Life with Lauren Laverne (BBC Radio 6). Online, her YouTube videos have clocked up millions of views, including her popular Ri talks on the Ri YouTube channel

Hannah has also authored a number of books. Her latest, Hello World: How to be human in the age of the machine (Penguin Random House/Transworld) was shortlisted for the prestigious Bailie Gifford Prize for Non Fiction and the Royal Society Book Prize.  

She is very much looking forward to presenting this year’s CHRISTMAS LECTURES, delving into the hidden power of maths. 

Follow Hannah on Twitter and Instagram at @fryrsquared and find out more information on her website:  

About the Royal Institution’s 2019 CHRISTMAS LECTURES supporters 

The Royal Institution would like to extend its sincere gratitude to The Lloyd’s Register Foundation for their generous contribution as the CHRISTMAS LECTURES major supporter, and to our other CHRISTMAS LECTURES supporters, UK Research and Innovation and Schlumberger. To find out how you can join our community of CHRISTMAS LECTURES supporters, please contact

About membership at the Royal Institution 

Our members are at the heart of the Ri and their support is vital in helping us deliver our mission to build on our heritage and create opportunities for everyone to discover, discuss and critically examine science and the way in which is shapes the world around us. By becoming an Ri Member, you will join a community of like-minded people who share a curiosity about, and passion for, science. Members receive free or better than half price tickets to Ri lectures as well as entry into the CHRISTMAS LECTURES ticket ballot and a host of other associated benefits. Find out more about membership and the Ri’s programme of talks and events on the Ri website.  

About the history of the CHRISTMAS LECTURES 

The CHRISTMAS LECTURES are the Royal Institution’s biggest and most famous, demonstration-based science events for young people. They are broadcast on UK television every Christmas and have formed part of the festive tradition for generations – often being compared to the Queen’s Christmas message and the Carols from Kings. 

 The CHRISTMAS LECTURES have been inspiring children and adults alike since 1825. The Lectures were initiated by Michael Faraday at a time when organised education for young people was scarce. He presented 19 series himself, establishing an exciting new way of presenting science to young people. 

 The CHRISTMAS LECTURES have continued annually since the 1825 series, stopping only for four years during World War II. Many world-famous scientists have given the Lectures including Nobel Prize winners William and Lawrence Bragg, Sir David Attenborough, Carl Sagan and Dame Nancy Rothwell. 

 The CHRISTMAS LECTURES were first broadcast on television by the BBC in 1936 which makes them the first science show on UK national television. They have been broadcast on television every year since 1966 on the BBC and in later years on Channel Five, Channel Four and more4. In 2010, the Lectures returned to BBC Four. 

In 2016 a commemorative CHRISTMAS LECTURE book, ‘13 Journeys through Space and Time’ was published for the first time.  A second book in the series, ‘11 Explorations into Life on Earth’, with a foreword by Sir David Attenborough, was published in November 2017 and the third volume, ’10 voyages through the human mind’ is due for publication in October 2019. 

About the CHRISTMAS LECTURES producer, Windfall Films 

Windfall Films has an international reputation as a producer of innovative factual television.   Recent productions include The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway, about the construction of Crossrail for BBC 2; Horizon - The Placebo Experiment: Can My Brain Cure My Body? with Michael Mosley and How To See a Black Hole: The Universe’s Greatest Mystery for BBC4.  

Windfall is one of the leading producers of science and technology programmes in the UK and is part of Argonon Group. The company has collected numerous awards for its programming, including BAFTAs for Inside Nature’s Giants, D-Day: As It Happens and Murder Trial, an Emmy and National Academy of Sciences Award for Your Inner Fish and a Wildscreen Panda Award for The Bat Man of Mexico.  

 Past programmes include: Horizon – Britain’s Next Air Disaster? Drones; Horizon – Body Clock: What Makes Us Tick? and Alastair Campbell: Depression and Me for BBC2, Britain’s Viking Graveyard and Secrets of Egypt’s Valley of the Kings – Channel 4; Chris and Michaela – Under the Christmas Sky BBC2; The Blitz: Britain on Fire Channel 5, Strip the Cosmos - Discovery Science, Hidden Britain by Drone with Tony Robinson for Channel 4 and Saving Planet Earth: Fixing A Hole, the story of the hole in the ozone layer for Channel 4. 

About UCL (University College London) 

UCL was founded in 1826. It was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine.  

It is among the world's top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables, and is committed to changing the world for the better. 

Its community of over 41,500 students from 150 countries and over 12,500 staff pursues academic excellence, breaks boundaries and makes a positive impact on real world problems. | Follow UCL on Twitter @uclnews | Watch the UCL YouTube channel