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Hawking is a BBC TV drama about the early career of Stephen Hawking, when he was a young doctoral student at Cambridge. It aired in 2004 and stars Benedict Cumberbatch. It deals with three important threads in Hawking's life during those years: his relationship with Jane Wilde, the woman he would later marry; his diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease, and the development of his ideas about the origins of the universe. The film was well regarded by critics when it first aired, and gained a resurgence in popularity after Sherlock came out, due to Cumberbatch's active fanbase.

Contains Examples of:

 "[Stephen] was so accommodating and really sweet and he teased me. He said: 'You're better looking than me; I was more scruffy than you'. "I've seen the photographs and it's not true," grins Benedict.

  • Adorkable: Stephen, oh so very much, especially when he gets all sciencey when talking to girls.
    • Penrose also has his moments.
  • Bathtub Scene: Probably not intended for fanservice, as the context is a bit sad, but still, it's wet Benedict Cumberbatch.
  • Cute Glasses Boy
  • Dawson Casting
  • Dramatization: It's based on real people, events and scientific ideas, but some of the details have been fictionalized.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After two years not knowing whether he'd live to get his doctorate, Stephen finally makes a scientific breakthrough and his girlfriend agrees to marry him.
  • Establishing Character Moment: the stargazing scene at Stephen's birthday party. It shows Stephen's scientific interests, his sense of humor, his developing relationship with Jane, and, when Stephen and Jane are preparing to go back indoors, shows the first obvious indication that there's something medically wrong with him.
  • Framing Device: Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson's TV interview.
  • Geeky Turn On: Stephen's flirting-via-science can be seen as an attempt to invoke this. Or maybe he's just really bad at mundane small talk.
  • Ill Boy: Stephen, although he survives, and the young leukemia patient at the hospital.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Wilson and Penzias have a bit of this: the "know each other very well" variety, not the bickering.
  • Mononymous Biopic Title
  • Oscar Bait: Not literally, as it wasn't a theatrical release, but it is a historical Biopic with a disabled protagonist. They even manage to mention the Holocaust in one of the Penzias and Wilson segments.[1]
    • It did win awards.
  • Plucky Girl: Jane, particularly when she's standing up to the Bursar on Stephen's behalf.
  • Serious Business: Theories about the origin of the universe, although since the characters in question are physicists, this is appropriate and to be expected.
    • To a lesser degree, classical music. Stephen loves his Richard Wagner.
  • The Stoic: Stephen's parents.
  • Vindicated by History: The Big Bang, in-universe. Showing this seems to be the purpose of Penzias' and Wilson's segments.
  • Young Future Famous People
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Eventually subverted.


  1. Arno Penzias was born in Germany in the 1930s, and a time came when his Jewish family found it expedient to leave the country.
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