British Comedy Guide

It Is Rocket Science!. Helen Keen. Copyright: BBC.

It Is Rocket Science!

BBC Radio 4 stand-up. 12 episodes (3 series), 2011 - 2014. Stars Helen Keen, Peter Serafinowicz and Susy Kane.

Press Clippings

It Is Rocket Science! wins Royal Society Radio Prize

The best scientific radio programme of the year has been named - and it's a stand-up comedy show.

Chortle, 29th June 2015

Radio Times review

If humanity is to survive then we must become a multi-planet species and spread out like a male passenger on the tube seat of the cosmos. With this advice delivered, Helen Keen takes us on an entirely fact-based but very funny journey through the possibilities of travelling to and living on Mars.

Keen strikes the perfect balance between presenting potentially dull facts and keeping the comic pace going, mainly thanks to the sci-fi-blockbuster-voiceover-style commentary from Peter Serafinowicz.

Jane Anderson, Radio Times, 2nd April 2014

Helen Keen interview

Helen Keen is a comedian whose material fuses space, science, sci-fi and little-known, weird facts. She presents It Is Rocket Science on Radio 4 and won the Channel 4 New Comedy Writing Award in 2005. She will be appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe later this year with her stand-up show Helen Keen: Robot Woman of Tomorrow.

Emily Jupp, The Independent, 28th May 2012

This despite our sometimes eccentric attempts to send messages to anyone in the great beyond who might take note; or were the wee green men put off by the fact that the woman depicted on NASA's distantly voyaging Pioneer spacecraft lacks genitalia?

Such is the gleefully irreverent speculation in a new series of It Is Rocket Science, Radio 4's less than respectful look at science and space travel. The lugubrious tones of Peter Serafinowicz evoke "the vast vat of vastness" that is outer space, while the chirpy Helen Keen reviews attempts made to contact alien life, including a proposal to burn giant parallelograms into the Sahara.

Jim Gilchrist, The Scotsman, 14th May 2012

An interview with Helen Keen

Helen Keen is a comedian who's comic sensibilities tend to lean towards the unusual, compared to the average stand up at least (unless you happened to be at one of Robin Ince's gigs - where she would fit right in).

The Humourdor, 20th May 2011

Interview with Helen Keen

We speak to comedian and writer Helen Keen about her BBC Radio 4 series, It Is Rocket Science...

Barry Donovan, Den Of Geek, 13th April 2011

Popular science has never been more popular, I'm happy to observe. Helen Keen joins the ranks with It Is Rocket Science, the first of a four-parter based on her Edinburgh Fringe show. Her history of rockets kicked off with the pioneers: Tsiolkovsky, who dreamed in 1903 of a multi-stage rocket powered by liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen ..."and people say David Bowie was ahead of his time". And Oberth, whose work in the 1930s incited a surge of interest in space travel. "Rockets really started taking off," as Keen put it.

In truth, it felt as if she was trying too hard; fewer gags and more info would have been good. And with its Horrible Histories feel, wouldn't it be ideal for children, rather than going out at 11pm?

Chris Maume, The Independent, 13th March 2011

And yet more standups in It Is Rocket Science, a pithy, sweet programme about space presented by comedian Helen Keen, adapted from her 2008 Edinburgh show. This is an example of the recent trend among the geekier of standups to show the world that, you know, learning stuff is cool, as long as we keep shovelling in the gags. And it does its job well, with a joke-stuffed script, plus the extremely funny Peter Serafinowicz, providing the Voice Of Space. The Voice insists on referring to "The Ooooniverse". I laughed!

Miranda Sawyer, The Observer, 13th March 2011

It is Rocket Science - Helen Keen interview

New Radio 4 show Rocket Science starts tonight, we speak to writer Helen Keen.

Ally Millar, Geeks.co.uk, 9th March 2011

A determined attempt to make science jolly by Helen Keen, with Peter Serafinowicz and Susy Kane doing the funny voices. Keen focuses first on three rocket science pioneers, one Russian, one American and one Transylvanian-German, all of whom lived in the 19th century and each ridiculed by their contemporaries. Give it a try. It sounds a bit like one of those hugely popular Late Nights at the Science Museum but it's only 15 minutes out of your life and at least it proves that rocket science is of more use than in a stupidly dismissive cliché.

Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 8th March 2011

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