BAFTA & Emmy nominated film maker

specialising in science, engineering & history


Wikipedia   IMDB  LinkedIn  Facebook Twitter  G+  DirectorsUK


Christopher Riley is a film producer, director and writer specialising in science, engineering and history. His work has been celebrated by BAFTA, the US Television Academy, the Royal Television Society, the Sundance Institute and the Grierson Trust.     

He conceived and co-produced the multi-award winning feature documentary 'In the Shadow of the Moon', produced and directed the hit documentary recreation of Gagarin's pioneering space flight 'First Orbit', and wrote the best selling Haynes owner's workshop manual on Apollo. He is a regular contributor to The Guardian newspaper, and presents science documentaries for BBC Radio 4.

His most recent documentary films include:

One Strange Rock, "Survival" - National Geographic. (Winner of Wildscreen and Jackson Hole awards).

The Fear of 13, Netflix / BBC Storyville (nominated for a Grierson, winner of the Copenhagen's Documentary cinema festival  audience award)

The Jet Race, Smithsonian Channel

Hubble's Cosmic JourneyNational Geographic Channels (Emmy nominated)

The Girl who talked to DolphinsBBC / Smithsonian (nominated for BAFTA, RTS & Grierson awards)

The Fantastic Mr Feynman, BBC, Netflix 

Neil Armstrong - First Man on the Moon, BBC, Netflix

Riley has written and directed commercial shorts for HSBCVodafone and the architects Foster & Partners, through agencies The BankAKQA and The Moment, and consults to 59Productions. He is a veteran of three total solar eclipses, presenting them for the BBC in 1999 from the channel islands, in 2001 from Zambia and in 2015 from the Faroe Islands. In 2016 he collaborated with Atlantic Productions to write their Museum and Heritage Innovation award nominated VR show - recreating a descent of astronaut Tim Peake’s Soyuz Capsule. His video installations have been screened in exhibitions internationally, his 2011 experimental documentary First Orbit premiering on over 1600 screens in more than 130 countries .

He is visiting professor of science & media at the University of Lincoln's School of Film & Media.



 Watch more videos




Voyager 1 & 2, an owner's workshop manual, Haynes.

A Passion for Science: Stories of Discovery and Invention. Ada Lovelace. 

Does my Goldfish Know who I am? Faber and Faber.

Why can't I tickle myself? Faber and Faber.

The Apollo Lunar Rover, 1971-72 - an owner's workshop manual. Haynes

Apollo 11, 1969 - an owner's workshop manual. Haynes (Read an extract here).

Big Questions from Little People. Faber and Faber. Read an extract here.

International Cooperation for the Development of Space. CS

Gagarin in Britain. British Council

Space Odyssey - voyage to the planets. BBC Books

Encyclopedia of the Universe. Collins

Visit my Amazon author page.






Hubble's Unsung Heroes. The Guardian.

The Girl who talked to Dolphins. Radio Times.

The dolphin who loved me. Observer/Guardian.

Richard Feynman: Life, the universe and everything. The Telegraph.

Tire Tracks to Our Future: 40th Anniversary of NASA's Lunar Rover. America Space.

Into the Great Unknown. Air and Space Magazine.

Apollo 40 years on: how the moon missions changed the world for ever. The Observer.

The Maths that made Voyager possible. BBC News.

Voyager: the space explorers that are still boldly going to the stars. The Observer

The Human Imperative. The Financial Chronicle.

Words of Captain Scott: 100 years of hindsight. The Wellcome Trust.

Space Shuttle: An open letter to President Obama. The Guardian.

What Yuri Gagarin saw: First Orbit film to reveal the view from Vostok 1. The Guardian.

Sound restored to mission control film shot during Apollo 11 moon landing. The Guardian.

The Magic of Apollo. BBC News

Twelve Men who have visited another world. The Guardian.

The 400,000 strong backup team. The Guardian, G2

Rendezvous around the Moon. BBC News

Flight of the Spider. BBC News

A missing 'a'. Tumblr

Happy Birthday Earthrise. BBC News

A view from the Cosmic Shoulder. BBC News

We Choose to go to the Planets. BBC News

Pushing Frontiers in TV Space. BBC News

Concorde - a tribute, Tumblr

zero G, Tumblr

Shaken back to Health. BBC News

UK First Impact Crater Discovered. BBC News

Robot Insects Take to the Air. BBC News

Glowing Plants reveal Touch Sensitivity. BBC News

In the Leonids Lair. BBC News

Voyage Through a Comets Tail. BBC News

When Worlds Collide. BBC News

Return to Mission Leonid. BBC News

An invitation to the firework party. BBC News

Take a peek at Venus unveiled and die. The Independent

All the answers from dial-a-boffin. The Independent





Collaborating with 59Productions on their Deep Field film for composer Eric Whitacre


Writing two NOVA specials for WGBH for 2019.



Chairing Space Age Lectures at Egglescliffe school in County Durham, UK



Filming in New York for Revolutions

Filming in Northern Germany for Revolutions



Filming in US and Italy for PBS Revolutions



Filming in Portugal for PBS Revolutions



Re-broadcast of Riley's Neil Armstrong biopic on BBC2 comes in just outside the top ten factual docs of the week.




October- December

Final editing for National Geographic's  One Strange Rock.



Voyager's Final Message announces first results for the 40th anniversary of the pioneering mission.



In Oregon for America's great eclipse.



Shooting in Chernobyl for National Geographic's  One Strange Rock.



Camera training with astronaut Paolo Nespoli for his upcoming shoot on the International Space Station. 



Writing ESA's new film for the 2017 Le Bourget Air show. 



Shooting in Tanzania for National Geographic's  One Strange Rock.



Shooting in South Africa for National Geographic's  One Strange Rock.



Shooting in the Maldives for National Geographic's  One Strange Rock.



Riley writes a new Soyuz re-entry VR show for London's Science Museum - to accompany the new exhibition of Tim Peake's spacecraft.



Shooting in the Hebrides for National Geographic's  One Strange Rock.



New collaboration with Hammersmith, Ealing and West London College, to re-launch Voyager's Final Message Campaign. 





Quaker Apollo commercial released


14th-15th September

Riley writes a new film for ESA's conference on commercialising Low Earth Orbit.


6th July

Riley's miniseries "Survival in the Skies" premieres in Europe on the Discovery Channel.


3rd February

The Fear of 13 comes to the Calgary Film Festival.


31st January

Network premiere of The Fear of 13 on BBC FOUR


25th January

The Fear of 13 released on DVD, Bluray and download. Order here.


15th January

Riley discusses Tim Peake's space walk with the BBC World ServiceRadio 4 and BBC News online


5th January

The Fear of 13 returns to the cinema across the UK. Check for screening times.





Clips from Channel 4's 'End of the World Night' - featuring Chris Riley.


BBC FOUR - Sky at Night Hubble Special 

BBC ONE - Stargazing Live - Total Eclipse Special.

BBC Radio 4 - Save the Moon

BBC Radio 4 - For All Mankind

BBC Radio 4 - The Cosmic Hunters


Browse some of my presenting clips. 



Science in Action - BBC World Service

Talking about Breakthrough Starshot.

Star Ship Sofa - Podcast - Remembering Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell

BBC World Service - Newshour - A history of the space suit & Tim Peake's space walk

BBC News Online - How a British space hero was made.

BBC Radio 4 - The World Tonight - A history of the space suit & Russell Colley's tomato worm.

Jo Good - BBC Radio London - The Fear of 13.

Journali - Voyager's Final Message.

Star Ship Sofa - Podcast - Voyager's Final Message.

Sky News - Greetings Aliens! A final message from Earth.

Channel 5's Conspiracy - Moonlandings.

The Daily Telegraph - Earth to Send Final Postcard to Voyager.

New Scientist - Opinion - A final message to Voyager.

Mind Expanding Monday - Absolute Radio

Hubble at 25 - Sky News

Happy Birthday Hubble - New Scientist

Hubble's Cosmic Journey - London Live

Hubble at 25 - Mail Online

How it Works - Hubble's 25th Anniversary.

Channel 4's End of the World Night.

BBC1's Star Gazing Live Eclipse Special.

The looming total solar eclipse - live two way on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.

'The trouble with Mars One' - Mail Online - February 2015.

'Golden Age of Spaceflight' - Mail Online - February 2015. 

The Girl who talked to Dolphins - Der Spiegel, May 2014.

The Girl who talked to Dolphins - BBC Breakfast, June 2014.

The Girl who talked to Dolphins - FLUX magazine, May 2014.

The Girl who talked to Dolphins - Daily Mail, May 2014.

Neuroscientist John Lilly's vision for a bi-species society. Sunday Express, May 2014. 

My new film "The Girl who talked to Dolphins", BBC Radio 2's Arts Show.  Listen here, May 2014

Celebrating Yuri Gagarin's 80th birthday with Russia Today March 2014

NASA & Japanese Space Agency's plans for a Global Precipitation Satellite Network, on Aljazeera, Feb 2014.

Comet chasing probe wakes up. Aljazeera, Jan 2014. 

Comet Ison. BBC World Service TV News. November 2013.

How India Sent a probe to Mars.  Newsnight, BBC2, November 2013

New Scientist - Frequency 2013 - Deceptive Digital Art Plays with More than Perception. October 2013.

Video welcome to the participants of the first international peace conference of youth - in St Petersberg - October 2013. Archived on Channel 1M

BBC News Online - Voyager-1 departs to interstellar space.

BBC World Service - Newsday - 13-09-13

The Independent - Space - the lonely Frontier.

E&T Magazine - Does sci-fi really delivery the goods?

Al Jazeera - NASA's Opportunity Rover - still motoring on Mars ten years after leaving Earth. 

El Murcurio - Rusia y China ganan terreno como potencias en el espacio.

BBC World News - Impact - discussing the chances of life beyond Earth.

Al Jazeera - Reflecting on Chris Hadfield's recent mission to the ISS.

The Independent - more reflections on Chris Hadfield's mission to the ISS.

BBC Radio 4 - Debate on the value of human spaceflight.

BBC News - On Denis Tito's plans to send a couple into Martian orbit.

BBC Radio Lincolnshire - Interview about NASA's Voyager missions at their 35th anniversary.

BBC Radio Oxfordshire - Interview with Malcolm Boyden on Apollo 11.

The Next Web, Interview about Crowdfunding

BBC Radio Berkshire - Anne Diamond interview about the Space Shuttle.

BBC Radio 4 - Today interview about NASA's Ares 1x rocket.

Interview in Astrobiology Magazine , The Shoulder's of Giants

BBC Radio 4 - The Infinite Monkey Cage. 'So you want to be an astronaut'.  Download the podcast from the 13th June 2011 here.  

Voice of Russia, interview about celebrating Yuri Gagarin's legacy.

BBC Radio 2 Feature on Yuri Gagarin, and First Orbit.

BBC News, interview about the launch of First Orbit, 2011.

Russian Today, New Documentary Shows First Space Trip through Gagarin's Eyes

Guardian, What Yuri Gagarin saw: First Orbit film to reveal the view from Vostok 1

Newstalk NZ - Interview about the restoration of the classic 1970 NASA documentary Moonwalk One.

BBC News, talk about a six tonne satellite tumbling to Earth.

BBC News, talking about the Russian Progress space freighter lost.

BBC Radio 5 Live - Interview about ISS Debris risks.

Guardian Podcast - Space historian Chris Riley talks to Jon Dennis about Apollo 11 landing on the Moon.

BBC Radio 4 - Today Programme - the work of historian Chris Riley and forensic linguist John Olsson on the first words spoken on the Moon.

Guardian Podcast - Apollo 11 anniversary special.

Guardian Apollo 11 archive special - narrated by Chris Riley.

BBC Newsround, Rollout of NASA's new rocket - the Ares 1-X.

BBC News - Armstrong's Poetic Slip on the Moon

BBC Radio 5 live - Debate about the danger of asteroid impact.

GMTV - interview about the restoration of Moonwalk One.

BBC World Service Interview about the anniversary of the Apollo 8 Earthrise picture.

BBC Radio 4 - Today programme debate about the value of human spaceflight.

AstroTalk UK - Journey to the Moon.

Guardian Podcast - 'In the Shadow of the Moon'

BBC Radio 4 - Science at 9 - 'Contact Impact' - The 2001 Leonid meteor storm.

BBC Radio 4 - Today programme interview about the Leonids

BBC Radio 4 - News interview about the Leonids.

BBC Radio 4 - Today - Interview from 1994 about Science Line.



BBC ONE - Inside Out - Light Pollution

Name *