Todd Sampson’s Life On The Line,
ABC, Tuesdays, 8pm
Sitting firmly in the “Don’t do this at home” zone comes the new series from the thinking woman’s pin-up Todd Sampson.
Sampson puts his faith in science to the ultimate test in a series of epic experiments, trusting his life to the laws of physics.
The six-part series sees the advertising executive and science presenter explore the fascinating world of physics, embarking on a series of challenges to reveal the forces of nature and the laws of physics.
With the help of leading scientists in each field, a first-class construction team and a whole bunch of safety officers.
In the first episode we see Todd and his family toasting marshmallows and wondering how long your hand can last in a flame (we’ve all done it – waved our hand through the orange flame).
Of course this leads Todd to think about sliding through a blazing inferno, trusting that the physics of heat transfer and the incredible heat capacity of water should save his life.
Okay so Todd makes science interesting, cool and sexy but it’s hard not to wonder if some of these experiments actually cooked his brain cells (later on in the series he tests that densely-packed water molecules should stop a bullet before it reaches his body and then bungee jumps with two interwoven phone books intersecting the cord to test that friction between the pages prevents him from plummeting to his death).
The science is sound but the variables of life make this very much through your fingers viewing.
Filmed against some amazing backdrops at Cockatoo Island, Kangaroo Valley and New Zealand the series looks good (if you open your eyes long enough to enjoy it).
Mind you, despite all the brave he-man stuff that the skinny Canadian does – he still manages to scream the house down when his legs need to be waxed for the fire experiment.
– Tania Phillips