The Human Face is a 4-part BBC series that examines the science behind facial beauty, expression, and fame. Actor and comedian John Cleese investigated identity, perception, creativity and sexuality and their relation to the human face, combining art, technology and human interest stories. Paul Ekman served as scientific adviser.
Original airdate: 7 March 2001
This episode looks at how the face communicates without speech, focusing on expressions, disguise and the mysterious art of face-reading.
Original airdate: 14 March 2001
This episode investigates family resemblances, facial recognition and the purpose of the face and its features, going back to five hundred million years ago. It also speculates about the multi-racial face of the future and showed surgeons in Kentucky preparing for the world’s first facial transplant.
Original airdate: 21 March 2001
This episode studies whether human physical attractiveness is a matter of personal taste, looking at standards of beauty that are shared worldwide: a pretty face suggests fertility, while ugliness suggests poor health. Big eyes, smooth skin and symmetrical features are valued, and can lead to a better job, more money, and better sex.
Original airdate: 25 March 2001
This episode looks at the ubiquity of famous faces on billboards, magazines, and movie screens, and the messages they carry about sex, politics, glamour and power. Considering Diana, Princess of Wales, Jackie Onassis, Marilyn Monroe, it tells the story of the face as icon, from Egyptian mummies to Hollywood stars.John Cleese as Himself (Host)
Elizabeth Hurley as Various roles
David Attenborough as Himself
Candice Bergen as Herself
Pierce Brosnan as Himself
Mali Finn as Herself
Charles Fleming as Himself
William Goldman as Himself
Kevyn Major Howard as Himself
Michael Palin as Applicant/peasant
Dr. Vilayanur Ramachandran as Himself
Vail Reese as Himself
Joan Rivers as Herself
Michael Rix as Himself
Prunella Scales as Pet shop owner/wife