Fred Hoyle An observer of the world and a ponderer on its problems ...


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Hoyle inherited a double dose of genes from his great grandfather, Ben Preston, the writer famous for his Yorkshire dialect poems. (His paternal and maternal grandmothers were sisters and thus his parents, cousins).

While stationed at Nutbourne during the war, his colleague Cyril Domb recollected that Hoyle would relax by reading science fiction. When chided for wasting his time on such literature, Hoyle replied:

"I have a purpose in mind. These people don't know any real science and they make money by writing this stuff. I, who know some science, should be able to do much better".

With his down to earth approach and strong Northern accent, he first popularised science in the series of broadcasts for the BBC’s Third Programme in 1950, entitled ‘The Nature of the Universe’, and voted most popular broadcaster for that year.

At home, he supported his wife, Barbara’s, love of drama, appearing as Bottom in her local village production of A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream.

Among their close friends were Bernard and Josephine Miles of the Mermaid Theatre, where in 1962 the play “
Rockets in Ursa Major’ was staged.

Hoyle supported the Miles in their venture “The Molecule Club’, where productions on topics such as Electricity, educated children about science.

Collaborating with John Elliot of the BBC, they wrote the popular 1960s television science fiction series ‘A for Andromeda’ and its sequel ‘Andromeda Breakthrough’.

Hoyle’s output, not only of technical works, but also of popular non fiction and science fiction was prolific.