Belfast Telegraph

Sir Patrick staggered by TV success

Sir Patrick Moore has said he is "staggered" to be celebrating the 55th anniversary of The Sky At Night.

The 89-year-old said he hoped the stargazing series would continue "indefinitely", but that he wished the BBC would schedule it in an earlier time slot.

At a party hosted by BBC director general Mark Thompson, Sir Patrick said: "I'm absolutely staggered. I never thought when I began doing television shows that I'd be on for another year, let alone 55 years.

"I didn't know if I was going to be good enough or if the subject matter would hold up."

The programme, which now has several other co-presenters, is celebrating the landmark with an event called The Moore Marathon - which encourages viewers to seek out 55 things in the night sky and share their findings on the programme's website.

But Sir Patrick, who has only missed one episode of the programme's run - because of food poisoning - decried the show's current time slot.

"The main programme first goes on after midnight sometimes and I don't like it a bit," he said.

The astronomer, who now uses a wheelchair and is unable to look through a telescope, insisted he has not changed since his first broadcast.

"I think I'm exactly the same now as I was when I started. I just haven't got the voice I once had," he said.

Sir Patrick was joined by fellow space-enthusiast Brian May at the party, at New Broadcasting House in London.

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