Einstein and Eddington (2008)
HBO / BBC
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Einstein and Eddington is a British single drama produced by Company Pictures and the BBC, in association with HBO. It featured David Tennant as British scientist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, and Andy Serkis as Albert Einstein. This is the story of Einstein's theory of general relativity, his relationship with Eddington and the introduction of this theory to the world, against the backdrop of the Great War. The prelude is set on Eddington's expedition to observe the solar eclipse in 1919, before moving back in time to 1914. At the outbreak of the First World War Eddington is appointed chief astronomer at Cambridge by Sir Oliver Lodge and instructed to research Einstein's work and defend the Newtonian status quo, whilst Einstein is tempted back from Zurich to the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin in an attempt to aid the war effort by embarrassing Britain in disproving the work of its great scientist Isaac Newton. In Berlin, with his marriage already under tension, Einstein falls in love with his cousin Elsa.
A Quaker and therefore unable to go to war, Eddington also says farewell to his friend William Marston as the latter goes off to war as an officer in the Cambridgeshire Regiment, but just misses William's train as he goes to admit his love for him before he departs. Unless Marston were a regular or reserve officer, he would have undergone at least six months' training (rather than seven days) before going to France - the first units of the New Armies did not land there until well into 1915.) He then presents his lecture to his fellow astronomers at the university — defending Newton but still thinking Einstein might be right — and takes the German Müller family into his home to save them from xenophobic rioters. When Einstein's wife arrives in Berlin, she realises Einstein's affair and leaves him, whilst Eddington faces down angry, xenophobic and anti-pacifist protestors. Einstein arrives late at a demonstration of Fritz Haber's poison gas and is so disgusted by the use of science for the war effort that he rejects an offer to convert his citizenship back from Swiss to German and refuses to sign a "Manifesto to the Civilized World", a list of prominent German scientists, artists and academics supporting the war.