I have been involved with the world's longest-running television programme since around 1970. Involvement however has tended to be in fits-and-starts. In the early years the models were used quite a lot - it was after all before computer graphics. But then digital images and CGI came in, and the style of the programme changed. Models and 3D objects were deemed to be somewhat 'old fashioned'. But then there was a resurgence in the 2000s in having a physical model of a satellite or spaceprobe actually with the presenters - it can be pointed at! This culminated with the 50th Anniversary in 2007, when besides bringing along virtually every model of a rocket or spacecraft ever used in The Sky at Night over the years, I appeared on the programme, reminiscing with Patrick. So I can modestly add myself to the number of far more prominent astronomers, scientists, engineers and astronauts who have appeared over the years.

Skylab Viking same trio in 2007
Patrick with the Skylab model during the 1970s, during a programme on X-Ray astronomy. Patrick and Professor Garry Hunt during Viking Garry Hunt and Patrick and Voyager during the 1970s - roll-over the image for 2007
Piers Sellers Rockets Group
Anglo-American astronaut Piers Sellers during a programme on future space travel in 2011. The ISS and Space Shuttle are in the background From the same programme, a line-up of rocketry. Besides the Shuttle and Saturn V, this included Constellation, second and third from left Patrick talks with his guests on the Space Travel programme - including Chris Lintott, Piers Sellers and Anu Ojha of the National Space Centre
Shuttle-Viking Mat and Pat Pat and Mat

Above : For the 50th Anniversary Programme - virtually all of the models that have appeared over the years were bought along

Below : more of this line up - including the Viking Orbiter, front left, the Soviet Phobos probe, and, just behind, the Halley Comet probe Giotto

Above : Mat and Patrick in Patrick's office / library - Patrick did have a passion for Hawaiian shirts!

Below : In the marquee set-up for the occasion, for the 250 guests, the models were re-arranged. The Skylab model is the same as in the first photo in the top row.

Above : During the interview in the dining room - which has the largest table

Below : Mars - the tiny Viking Landers (incorrectly in light blue!) were the ones used to drop on the simulated Martian surface in the Viking programme 30 years previously. (Next below)

Viking - Phobos Skylab - Shuttle Mars selection
Viking Orbiter - composite Little Landers Dropping Landers
Above : The Viking programme from 1977. The Viking Orbiter, here against CSO Yellow. Roll-over the image for the composite result. The model can be seen 30 years later in the picture above Above : The three small Viking Landers on a simulated Martian surface. At this point we did not know if the surface was solid, powdery or maybe like a meringue Above : Guests Professors Geoff Egglington and Garry Hunt, with Patrick, each drop a Lander. These three models can be seen 30 years later in the one-above image
Satellites Patrick & satellites Sputnik 1

Above: For a programme on satellites in 2007, everything that was available was arranged on every flat surface in Patrick's office

Below : In 2009 to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. Guests included Professor Colin Pillinger

Above : Patrick with the satellite display


Below: A model of the Apollo 11 landing site - with all the equipment and mood lighting

Above : Patrick with Sputnik 1. This model is 1:1 scale, and only just fitted into the space.

Below : Patrick with guest Chris Riley. The model of the Apollo Landing Model is to a larger scale than the one on the left

Coiln Pillinger Apollo 11 Chris Riley