Ex-Python Eric Idle and Brian Cox aim for the stars with TV show

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Eric Idle will star alongside Professor Brian Cox, Warwick Davis and Noel Fielding in a BBC Christmas special "depicting the birth of the entire universe".

Penned by Eric, the one-hour show will feature the return of Rutland Weekend Television, the haphazard station depicted in Idle's sketch show of the same name during the 1970s.

Filmed in front of a live studio audience, The Entire Universe will feature an "explosion of comedy, music and dance" and will air on BBC2.

Professor Brian Cox
Professor Brian Cox (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Warwick plays The Big Bang and comedian Fielding is Einstein, while Game of Thrones actress Hannah Waddingham tackles time, and Robin Ince attempts to keep order.

Eric has penned songs for the Christmas special, which will be choreographed by Arlene Phillips and combine "fascinating facts about the birth of the universe with larger than life comedy characters".

Warwick Davis
Warwick Davis (Ian West/PA Wire)

Professor Cox finds himself in a major musical at Rutland Weekend Television, after thinking that he is booked to give a lecture.

Eric said: "I am very pleased that Rutland Weekend Television is back on BBC TV with a Christmas Special only 41 years after its last one. The world's smallest TV station takes on the world's largest subject: the entire universe."

He added: "It's fitting that 41 years after Rutland Weekend Television produced a Christmas special with George Harrison, it is back with the Beatle of Science, Brian Cox.

Noel Fielding
Noel Fielding (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

"No doubt what Rutland did for TV in the 70s it will now do for science - and set it back 40 years."

Professor Cox joked: "I've made many television documentaries over the years, and a constant complaint has been that the music is too loud and obscures the science.

Arlene Phillips
Arlene Phillips (Ian West/PA)

"This undermines my credibility as a serious scientist. I expect The Entire Universe to be the final nail in the coffin."