Hawking: Can You Hear Me? (2021) Movie Script

Peter: I'll never forget that
first meeting with Stephen
in the parking lot of
the Holiday Inn in Chicago.
A small compact car kind of
pulled into the parking lot.
Someone got out,
went back to the trunk
and took out this
collapsible wheelchair.
Suddenly, this wheelchair
kind of spun to life,
spun around literally did a 360
and took off across
the parking lot.
I guess I opened my door at that
point and this young man said
"Uh, Peter Guzzardi,
is... is that you?"
"Is that Peter Guzzardi?"
And I said, "Yes, it's me."
And he said, "Well,
that's Professor Hawking."
"And we've gotta go,
we've gotta go after him."
So, I... I start
to blather a little bit.
It's like, "How are you
Professor Hawking?"
"It's wonderful to meet you."
And then there was
this... this kind of silence.
Stephen Started to emit sounds
and the graduate student
What... what this young man
said to me was,
"Where's the contract?"
All that came to mind was,
you know, like, "Uh-oh!"
This is not gonna be easy.
The book about scientific theory
has been a top best seller.
Woman on TV: It's called
"A Brief History Of Time"
and it was written by
a remarkable scientist
named Stephen Hawking.
Man on TV: The man
often compared to Galileo,
Einstein and Newton.
Peter: Stephen really
was this strong willed man
who was singularly focused
on what he wanted to accomplish
and was gonna move
Heaven and Earth to do it.
Soon it will have
been in the best seller list
longer than any other
book in history.
Lucy: Who knows
what else he would have done.
What else would he have
achieved if he hadn't had
motor neurone disease.
All the time I knew my father...
he was 24 hours off dying.
Um, the fact that it didn't
happen is a miracle.
Stephen: Can you hear me?
I was 20 in October 1962.
I had moved to Cambridge
to undertake my Ph.D.
It was a very cold winter
and my mother persuaded me
to go skating on
the lake in St. Albans.
I fell over and had
great difficulty
getting up again.
My mother realised
something was wrong
and took me to the doctor.
Mary: Stephen was first
with the motor neurone disease
shortly after his 21st birthday.
Stephen ended up
in St. Bartholomew's hospital
where I was...
a pre clinical student.
The prognosis he was given was
a maximum of three years
with a rapid deterioration
before then.
Stephen: At first
I became depressed.
There didn't seem any point
working on my Ph.D.
because I didn't know if I would
live long enough to finish it.
Ammar: Professor Hawking
was diagnosed
in the early 1960's.
There was no treatment
that could prolong survival.
That is essentially
a death sentence.
The nerve cells controlling
the muscle movement die off.
Eventually, the patients
lose the ability to walk,
to use their arms, to speak,
to swallow or to breathe.
Most people feel very, very low.
And some people find it
very difficult to come out
of that in a positive
state of mind at all.
Stephen: While there
is life, there is hope.
I had come to Cambridge
to do Cosmology
and Cosmology I was
determined to do.
Mary: Stephen was
always one for puzzles.
Wanting to... work out
the logic of things.
Stephen: I had a passionate
interest in model trains.
I was always very interested
in how things operated.
And used to take them apart
to see how they worked.
My aim was always
to build working models
that I could control.
If you understand
how the universe operates
you control it in a way.
Mary: All scientific laws
are hypothesis.
The mathematical rules
that will tell you
how other things will behave.
Stephen was always
looking for the rules
that would let him win.
Stephen: I began to make
progress in my work.
There was also a young woman
called Jane
whom I had met at a party.
It makes me laugh even
to think of him now.
Jane: I was an undergraduate
in London at the time.
I was drawn by his sense of
humour and his wide smile.
And he had his beautiful
grey-blue eyes.
I thought he was so clever.
He had his own
particular charm...
which was very attractive.
Conversations were
always entertaining,
always funny, and Stephen
always had the last word.
He had a romantic side,
as he invited me
to May Ball in Trinity Hall
soon after we met.
And that's a very romantic
thing to do.
That was fun.
Mary: My family had
considerable reservations.
Your son gets terminally ill
and suddenly introduces
a girl that's
someone he wants
to get married to.
It doesn't sound like
a very good
basis for a marriage,
and does the girl know
what she's letting herself
in for?
Jane: We were in love
with each other
and I thought to myself,
"Well, really he may have
only two years to live."
But this was in the '60s,
"I might have only
four minutes to live."
John F. Kennedy: This latest
Soviet threat
must and will be met
with determination.
Nobody knew when the next
confrontation was going to be
which could lead
to a nuclear war
and we would have
four minutes warning of that.
Jane: July the 15th, 1965.
It was a very happy day
and a very beautiful day.
We were married in the chapel
in Trinity Hall...
where he was
a post graduate student.
From the outside,
Jane's decision was most unwise.
But it was Jane's decision.
Lucy: One thing
that always strikes me
is the courage
of both my parents.
It's quite extraordinary
when you think of
what happened to those two,
probably rather naive,
quite innocent 21 year olds.
Nobody could have foreseen
what lay ahead of them.
We set off for New York state...
for a physics conference.
That was really our honeymoon.
It was almost as if everything
had to be sacrificed
to what I call the worship
of the Goddess of physics.
Roger: When I first
encountered Stephen Hawking...
it was a kind of lazy
journalistic cliche to say
that he was a new Einstein
or the new Newton.
But certainly even right
at the outset of his career...
Stephen Hawking wasn't
just thinking big,
he wasn't just
thinking enormous,
he was thinking cosmic,
about the whole universe.
Stephen: The big question in
cosmology in the early '60s
was "Did the universe
have a beginning?"
Roger: Stephen
really started thinking
about the birth of the universe
in mathematical form.
Stephen: I showed that
the universe had to have
had a beginning...
in the singularity or Big Bang.
Roger: The Big Bang theory is
a really extraordinary idea
you know, you look
around the universe
look around your surroundings
and the thought that you,
your house, the Earth,
the solar system,
everything you can see
was packed into this
unimaginably small space
is an extraordinary thought.
Jane: Survival... and physics
were the prime motivators
in his life.
Plus his children.
Mary: When Robert came along
that was a surprise.
They hadn't been
married that long.
And the normal pattern
at that time
was to have your family when
you had a secure income
to support them.
But Stephen obviously,
didn't have time.
Robert: My father would
sometimes be
deep in thought about
whatever topic was on his mind,
whether that was
scientific or not.
And so, sometimes it would be
hard to get his attention.
But that's I think sometimes
can be the case
for most fathers.
He wanted to be
involved as a father
but his disability meant that
he wasn't involved
in some things that
normally as a father would be.
Jane: He very rarely
spoke about his illness
but when he did, he said that
the advantage of his illness
was that he was able to devote
himself 100 percent
to his work.
He didn't have
to change nappies,
he didn't have
to make cups of tea,
he didn't have to cook meals.
But he could just get on
with concentrating on physics.
He started using a wheelchair
shortly after Lucy was born.
Lucy sat on Stephen's knee.
Robert trotted along beside
and I pushed from behind.
Lucy: By the time I was born,
my father had already outlived
his life expectancy.
I think my father
really loved being a dad
but I think
my father's disability
did impinge greatly
on my childhood.
This was the '70s and the '80s.
Disabled access to buildings
just wasn't a thing.
There weren't even
dropped pavements.
I mean, it was really hard.
Your whole day could be thrown
off course
by a flight of steps.
Even just a couple of
steps could just ruin
whatever it was
you were trying to do.
And so it made things
like holidays, it made outings,
it made all
the kind of fun stuff...
unpredictable and liable
to be blown off course
by circumstances completely
beyond your control.
Robert: That... that stage
my father still slept upstairs
and so every night he had
to make his way up the stairs.
That was quite
a... an interesting challenge.
He was very determined.
In the house, there's still
handles screwed in the wall
which he used to pull
himself up the stairs.
Jane: Here Stephen
made a great discovery,
into the nature of black holes.
Stephen was sitting
on one side of the bed,
slowly getting himself ready,
taking off his clothes,
putting on his pyjamas.
I was sitting on the
other side of the bed
and Stephen was, obviously,
deep in thought...
then Stephen announced...
a great new idea in physics.
Those were the happiest
days of our lives.
Our children were
an absolute joy...
but his mind was
always on physics.
It was February the 14th,
Valentine's day, 1974
I drove him over to Oxford
in pouring rain.
Stephen was giving a paper.
He was saying that Black Holes,
which previously
had been assumed
not to emit
anything at all,
could actually radiate energy.
And there was a stunned silence.
Jim: Stephen was using
his intuition
and his imagination.
There are these really weird
objects called Black holes...
but Stephen discovered
that Black Holes
are no longer black,
that they can
spit out particles.
I like to call
this the sizzling of space,
it's like sizzling bacon.
Stephen: I had
discovered a concept
that is now named after me,
"Hawking Radiation."
My discovery was actually very
controversial at the time.
Most people said, "This is
rubbish, you must be joking",
of course
Black Holes are black."
"They've got such
incredible gravity,
nothing can escape."
"What are you talking about
Hawking radiation?"
But actually now with
the benefit of hindsight
uh, there's general agreement
that it's right.
It's almost too beautiful
and simple not to be true
and it really stands out
as one of the big moments
in recent theoretical physics.
Stephen's career took off
which led to his election
to The Royal Society
at the age of 32.
At a party
I had arranged for him,
afterwards he thanked
his supervisors
he thanked his colleagues,
but not a mention of the family.
And no mention of us at all,
and I found that rather hurtful.
He wanted to go
to every conference,
every summer school,
anywhere in the world.
And he expected me
to go with him too.
Travels were extraordinary...
and demanding.
And we travelled and we
travelled and we travelled.
Jane: We spent a whole year
in California.
Stephen was a visiting
Fairchild fellow
at California Institute
of Technology.
And that was the most
glorious year imaginable.
We went to the desert,
we went to the ocean,
we went to the mountains.
Robert: I was 7,
when we went to California.
I found it a, um
an exciting...
uh, time.
I can still remember
a bit of the...
Los Angeles freeway map
I ended up being the, um
family navigator.
At that point he made
the transition
to an electric wheelchair.
Stephen: It gave me
a considerable degree
of independence
especially as
in the United States
buildings and sidewalks
are much more accessible
for the disabled
than they are in Britain.
Robert: We stayed in some
University accommodation
which they had done
some adapting of it
so that there were ramps
so that he didn't need
to deal with any stairs.
Jane: We had the most
beautiful house.
It was an enchanting year...
for all of us.
Stephen: The excitement of
our new life in California
was harshly interrupted
by my motor neurone disease.
The physical symptoms took
an irreversible turn
for the worse.
Motor neurone disease is a
condition of moving goal posts,
so everyday the problems change.
Ammar: As Professor Hawking's
nerves die off
there are some dramatic
drops in ability.
When he could no longer
use a pen and paper,
he couldn't write,
we had no concept
of how life changing
it was going to be.
Judy: I had absolutely no idea
who he was when I first met him.
I think the advert
said something like
"Disabled scientist
needs secretary,"
something as simple as that.
As I walked into his office,
he sat there in his wheelchair
with the most wonderful twinkle
in his eye and a lovely smile
and I knew at that moment
that we would get along
just fine.
When he wanted to read a book,
I would have to turn the pages.
And then when he wanted
to study something,
he would ask me to draw it
on the black board for him.
He seemed to just
take it in his stride.
That seems a funny word to use
but I don't recall
Stephen ever complaining.
My father had independency,
had autonomy, he had speed,
which he really enjoyed.
So many people have told me,
that they nearly got run over
by him in Cambridge.
He did things
that people didn't expect him
as a disabled person to do.
It was quite obvious
that he... he...
There was something special
about him, there's no question.
Sir Roger: He was doing
great work
scientifically and he
just would not give up.
He did all this...
with this extraordinary
physical disability
and hardly able to talk.
You'd like to reply to that one?
Judy: Because of his
voice diminishing,
you had to study his lips
and listen very carefully
to what he was saying
so that you've got it all down
hopefully in one hit.
So it's really
a sort of cylinder?
And the... the answer
is that its universe
is topologically S3 cross R1.
It was intriguing
that he'd got this amazing brain
that could put these, um,
calculations together
that had great meaning.
No, it just so happens,
that we have the universe here.
Judy: Stephen wanted to have
a conference called,
I think it was,
"Super Space and Super Gravity"
or "Super Gravity
and Super Space."
And these eminent scientists
were going to be coming
from all around the world.
Jim: There were a group
of us very young physicists
who were working on a new...
evolution of Einstein's theory
called "Super Gravity."
And it was amazing to me
personally that this person
that I had already looked
up to as a physics hero
was coming to people
like me saying,
"I wanna learn
what you guys are doing."
Judy: During the course
of the conference
the whole of the black board
was completely covered in this
wonderful arrangement
of maths and doodles.
Someone decided to draw me
as, um,
as a man with what looks
like a fish bowl on his head.
It was actually my Afro.
Judy: I thought it was just
too lovely
to be rubbed off.
So I went down to the basement
and asked one of the engineers
if he could possibly
take down the black board
and hide it somewhere
till I could get back
and work out
what we could do with it.
A few years before he died,
he asked me to go and see him.
I'd never been to see
the new office that he was in.
And then...
to my enormous surprise
there it was up
in Stephen's new office
for everyone to see.
And I thought
that was so lovely.
Roger: All the way
through his life
Stephen had faith
that the universe
can be described by mathematics.
He was really convinced
that just out there...
tantalisingly almost
within reach...
there was a theory
of everything.
The two big pillars of
20th century science
were general relativity...
which is to do
with the world of the very big
and Quantum mechanics,
which is the world
of very small.
These were really powerful
theories, but they gave you
very different pictures
of the universe.
Jim: So, Stephen's quest
was to bring these
things together.
That to me is another sign
of Stephen's bravery.
Because here's this guy
who's taking
these two different ideas
that were at their borders
totally divorced from each
other, and he's saying,
"No, nature demands
that we wield them together."
Sometimes we theoretical
physicists do math...
in our intuition, in our dreams.
And so I believe that
the stories of mathematics
resided in his mind
and imagination
and he could manipulate those
without writing it on paper.
To me that's a level of
creativity that is beyond
what most of us have to do.
Jane: Stephen became
Lucasian Professor
which was the chair
held by Newton.
The impression that we gave
was one of a very
successful family.
Stephen was recognised
as a rising star
in the world of Astrophysics.
So what could be
lacking in our lives?
But people didn't scratch
beneath the surface
and a lot of people
didn't show much imagination.
Sometimes I was so depressed,
I just felt like throwing
myself in the river.
Either Stephen's condition
would worsen dramatically
and I didn't know
how we were going to manage...
or I wouldn't be able to cope
and then what would happen
to my children?
Lucy: Looking back...
our family life
was really, really hard.
And my father was
extremely vulnerable.
You've got to imagine,
what would it be like
if you couldn't even
turn your head.
Occ... Occasionally I even helped
him with feeding.
My father had issues
with choking.
He would convulse
and we needed to...
pat him on the back
to address the issue.
We would be sitting
having dinner
and then suddenly he would
go into a massive choking fit
and that would be
actually quite terrifying.
Doctors had been
saying to my mother,
"Why are you cutting out food
and feeding it to him?
He should be on pureed food."
And he just refused.
He would be like,
"Nope! Not having it!"
He just insisted on having food
cut up and fed to him.
And this is my father's
stubbornness, that he just
wouldn't do the obvious thing
that would've made
things a lot better
for everybody else
and he just wouldn't do it.
He thought that...
his needs needed to be met
when he thought they needed
to be met and sometimes
that was a source of friction.
Lucy: My mother very much
needed some support.
She had a huge burden.
Jane: It was as if I as a person
didn't exist any longer.
In the beginning, I had been
led to understand
that he had a prognosis of
two years,
but as he lived on
and, uh, the situation deteriorated,
I felt there were things I
needed to be able to talk about,
but he steadfastly refused
to discuss
his illness and the future.
Ammar: The dynamics in
the family inevitably change
when somebody has
a life-limiting condition.
One of the things that happens
in that situation is called
the conspiracy of silence,
and that happens
for both parties.
So the person who's got the
diagnosis and the family member.
What it means is everyone's
hiding their feelings
and everyone's pretending
that everything's normal
when it isn't.
So, inevitably it's a huge task
for the carer,
and it's actually not really
for one person to do it
on their own.
Jane: I likened our situation
to living on a precipice.
We turned our backs
on the precipice,
but the precipice
was always there.
Jonathan: It was clear to me
that Jane was...
in a difficult place
and she really needed rescuing.
A good friend of mine
wanted to help me out,
and so she suggested
going to the local church
to sing in the choir,
and I went there, and Jonathan
was the choir master.
Jonathan: I used to go on
Saturday morning
to teach Lucy the piano,
and then that was when I first
started playing the piano
for Jane to sing.
And so Stephen would be
just to sit there
and hear Jane sing.
The weekly Saturday visits
built up
to being more often than
once a week.
Jane: Jonathan was
a heaven sent gift,
taking Stephen to the bathroom,
feeding Stephen,
lifting Stephen,
doing 101 things for Stephen.
Without his support, I would
have gone under completely.
Jane: We became companions
in adversity.
Jonathan: My wife had
died in '74,
and so this helped
to fill in a gap in my life.
They helped to prop me up
at a time when...
I felt I needed a bit of
Jane: Stephen understood that
Jonathan was there to help me.
He seemed to accept it.
Stephen: She gave him a room
in our apartment.
I would have objected,
but I too, was expecting
an early death and felt
I needed someone to support
the children after I was gone.
I was always resisting
the idea of falling in love.
And I think gradually...
I resisted a little less than
I had done to start with.
It was not... not easy.
We knew we had feelings
for each other,
but we wanted to be loyal
to Stephen,
so we had to suppress our
feelings for a very long time.
Tim: I suppose, looking back,
I was perhaps born into
a rather unconventional setup,
having my father and then having
Jonathan also around,
and I suppose able to sort of
provide perhaps a little bit
more... physical interaction
in terms of maybe
you know playing cricket
in the garden or playing tag.
You know, that was,
that was great actually.
Jane: Stephen's mother asked me
a very impertinent question.
She wanted to know
who Tim's father was.
Was it Stephen or was it
And I told her that there was
absolutely no way
that anybody other than Stephen
could be Tim's father.
And I was very hurt.
And so I told her.
And then her reaction was,
"Well, of course, Jane,
we've never liked you."
"You don't fit into our family."
Lucy: From the perspective
of a child,
you're in this incredibly
confusing situation,
trying to process, I suppose,
why our lives
was so dramatically different
to the lives of our friends.
I was aware that my mother
and Jonathan were having
some form of relationship, um...
I was so young
that I didn't know
what an actual relationship
kind of was.
And I was just, you know,
I just hadn't questioned it.
I just thought, "Well,
this is... this is normal."
I tried to be
a substitute for Stephen
with things
that he wasn't able to do.
But I did make a point of not
trying to do the things
that Stephen did do with them.
It was a question, just of
not stepping on his toes.
Tim: My dad and I, we were able
to have a relationship.
It was just based on
simple things, like
going down
to the ice cream van together.
This ecosystem
that we were living in
seemed to sort of function.
I didn't think of it
as abnormal in any way.
That's not to say that there
probably wasn't a lot going
on under the water.
Sort of like
a paddling duck, but
for me as a kid, it seemed to
work fairly well at the time.
Jonathan and I took
the car and the children
and we camped in a little place
called Rothenburg.
Jonathan: That was a holiday
for the children.
It was time when the children
were having a bit of time...
in mucking about in tents
which, um, I think they enjoyed.
Jane: Stephen was in Geneva.
We were all going
to meet up in Bayreuth
for a performance
of Wagner's Ring.
Stephen was passionate
about Wagner
and love to listen to it
very loudly,
um, much to the consternation
of anybody
who was in... within earshot.
The only opera that existed
for him was Wagner...
and Wagner, Wagner, Wagner.
We were just sitting down
to dinner in a restaurant,
and I think my mum got up
to use the pay phone
just to sort of see
how everything was,
and then she sort of
came back...
you know, looking like
she'd just seen a ghost.
Tim: My father had fallen ill
with pneumonia.
Mother came back and said,
"Your father is really ill,
we have to go now,"
and we sort of all bundled
in the car and drove to Geneva.
Jonathan: Jane was
understandably distraught,
and I drove 400 miles,
just wondering
what we were going to find.
Tim: We went straight
to the hospital.
My first experience of
visiting a hospital
as a child is always
quite a shock.
I remember him just being white,
like being salt white,
lying on a white sheet
in a white room, being white.
And it was really scary.
I mean, he was
really, really ill.
Jane: Stephen lay there
in a comatose state.
"The doctors took me to one side
and said, "Look,
if we try to bring him 'round,
"he might not survive."
"There's nothing
we can do for him."
"Should we turn off
the life support machine?"
I flatly refused.
They brought him 'round
and he came 'round.
And we had a Red Cross jet
to take us back to Cambridge.
Judy: The telephone rang
and it was somebody
from Gonville and Caius
telling me that this plane
was coming into Cambridge
airport with Stephen on board.
I walked across to the hospital
and saw Jane in the corridor.
Jane was tired and concerned
beyond belief and overwhelmed
and there were moments,
I have to say,
in the first couple of days
where, um,
it was touch and go.
Stephen was at huge risk.
Stephen was certain to die.
His motor neurone disease
was beginning to paralyse
the muscles
of his voice box, his larynx.
It was blocking his airway...
so he couldn't breathe.
So, the team at Cambridge
made a opening
in the neck directly
into his wind pipe.
We call it a tracheostomy.
And to keep that opening open,
they put in a tube,
a tracheostomy tube.
That meant that Stephen
could breathe directly
through that tube
into his lungs.
Stephen was once again able
to breathe on his own.
He'd had a tracheostomy,
and that meant
that he no longer
had a voice at all.
The impact of that was
because Stephen had no means
of communication.
Judy: We were never going
to hear his voice ever again.
How was he going to communicate?
Lucy: Most misunderstood thing
about my father
is how much he suffered.
He found night times
frightening because he couldn't
actually produce any sound.
It wasn't just that
he couldn't speak.
He couldn't even produce
a scream or a... or a gasp
or anything like that.
Ammar: In the 1980s,
if you're locked in
and you have no way of
with the outside world,
except perhaps through blink,
you really do need
24-hour watching.
How else can you tell if
Professor Hawking actually
has pain or has some need?
He was in hospital
for four months,
and then they decided it was
time to discharge him.
So, I had very hastily to try
and find a care team.
Stephen accepted the nurses
in the house
because we needed them.
He just enjoyed the attention.
Lucy: Some of them were lovely.
There were nurses then who have
remained lifelong friends
of us as a family.
But there are others
who have not.
I remember one nurse
snatching the newspaper
out of my hand, like,
"This is for your father."
And I was like, "But I always
read the paper in the morning."
"And then I give it to him.
That's what we do."
It felt like they had come in
and they were saying,
"We run this place now."
I just remember thinking,
"I don't know that I like this."
It does upset
the dynamics of a family home
when suddenly lots of other
people are coming in.
I certainly felt
a dramatic change
in terms of the ecosystem
that we'd existed in before.
Jane: This new batch of people
came into the house
and they worshipped the ground
under the wheels
of his wheelchair.
And that was impossible for us
to compete with
because that wasn't
how we lived.
We felt pushed into a corner,
which made us feel very
in our own home.
Mary: When Stephen lost
his voice,
it was extremely worrying
and depressing.
His carers and nurses were
using a letter board.
You have the letters of
the alphabet,
you point to the letter,
and the individual who is trying
to communicate with you
indicates yes or no,
and you build up
a word like that,
guessing a lot of the time.
And if you think
that is the only way
you're going to be able
to communicate...
it's extremely depressing.
Lucy: It was enormously
trying to interpret
what he wanted.
I can remember him
just looking arghh...
you know, really frustrated.
Like, "Oh, my God. What are
we going to do now?"
Judy: I had seen on
a program on TV,
a device which was going to try
and enable people who had
no means of communicating
with anybody
being able to do so.
So, first, I've got to line
my eye up with the computer.
So, I just stare
at the centre of the screen,
and there you can see
the computer locking on.
Judy: The students
from the department
looked into the possibilities
of changing it
so that he could use
his finger and thumb
to produce the characters
or the words on the screen.
I think it went...
"Hello, my name is
Stephen Hawking."
And everyone was like,
"Woah, dad, you're American."
"That's amazing."
my name is Stephen Hawking.
Can you hear me?
For the first time in years,
he was free.
Just as the electric wheelchair
gave him freedom of movement,
so the voice gave him
freedom of speech again.
- I will buy nine houses.
- Sure, dad.
Stephen: My youngest son,
who was only 6 at the time
of my tracheostomy
never could make me out before.
Now he has no difficulty.
That means a great deal to me.
- I was on New York.
- Okay.
Then I got an eight right?
That was very much
the dawning of a, a sort of,
you know, golden era of
communication with him.
It just meant that we could
actually begin a,
a sort of father-son
King's knight pawn.
This one? Two?
Tim: Of course, you might say
something to him,
and then you'd have to wait sort
of five minutes for him
to come back with a...
With a response,
which then was a bit awkward
because you didn't know
how to be in that... in that...
In that interim period.
My father's attitude towards
games was to win at all costs.
He was a ruthless competitor.
I, however, was, uh,
was equally determined
to try and win, particularly
at things like chess.
As... as time wore on, obviously,
it became very clear
that I wasn't likely to win
at chess,
um, or... or scrabble, um...
And it was on the occasion of
his 70th birthday
when I had to finally
admit to him that I had...
I might have cheated
a few times.
Once he found a way
to communicate
with the help of technology,
he was off and running
and I knew
the book was a big priority
for him.
Stephen: I had the idea of
writing a popular book.
I wanted to explain
how we might be near finding
a complete theory that would
describe the universe
and everything in it.
I thought I might make a modest
amount to help support
my children at school and
the rising costs of my care.
I expect he thought
he was onto something...
because he said he wanted it
to be sold in airports.
That was his famous line,
you know,
"I want this book
to be sold in airports."
Peter: To be absolutely honest,
the early draft,
it was pretty dull.
So, I would write
in my margin notes,
"I'm losing the gist here."
"Could you give
a little anecdote?"
"Could you somehow
get me interested?"
Stephen: At times, I thought
the process would never end.
Peter: To his credit,
a lesser man
might have gotten frustrated,
tired, given up,
but it was very clear what
a strong-minded person he was
and that he could dig in,
no question about it.
We had one mission,
which is to make
this book very successful.
For seven weeks a book
about scientific theory
has been a top best seller.
It's called
"A Brief History of Time"
and it was written
by a remarkable scientist
named Stephen Hawking.
You look to the skies and hope
that lightning will strike
and every once in a rare,
rare while, um
lightning does strike,
and it struck here.
Man on TV: Professor
Stephen William Hawking
is an intellectual icon.
Professor Stephen Hawking has
been acknowledged as one of
the most brilliant scientists
in the world and also
as one of its most courageous.
The man often compared to
Galileo, Einstein and Newton.
You've been dubbed
the new Einstein.
How do you react to that?
That is media hype.
Peter: In those days, a million
copies was a huge bestseller.
This book sold 10 million copies
So, the success was phenomenal.
Were you surprised
by its success?
I'm told that soon
it will have been
in the the bestseller list
for longer than any other book
in history.
There's an old joke,
which is there's two kinds of
popular science book.
"A Brief History of Time,"
and there's all the rest.
My first encounter
with Stephen Hawking
wasn't really planned at all.
I found myself in
the University of California,
Berkeley and I can remember
the press officer said,
"There's going to be
a press conference."
"Um, it's a British physicist,
Stephen Hawking."
"He's going to launch his book,
A Brief History of Time."
I was kind of blown away
by the ballyhoo of it all.
The main auditorium
was completely overloaded.
I've never seen a physicist
with a kind of rock star
reception like this.
There was something
about the idea of a mind
trapped in a near useless body
that was actually ranging
across the whole universe.
But I think also it struck
some collective nerve.
People felt that they were
going to get tangible answers
to some of the biggest questions
that had exercised theologians
and religious figures
and philosophers over millennia.
Stephen Hawking himself
talked about
knowing the mind of God.
And if you bought this book,
you, too,
could share in these secrets.
Did I read it? Um, No.
I mean, I wouldn't have a clue
what was in it.
I just didn't understand it.
Tim: I got a sense that
the book was doing really well
when my father took me out
to buy me
what was at the time,
the most expensive Lego set.
It was about 100,
which in 1988 was actually
a lot for... for Christmas
and birthdays,
let alone just
a sort of random gift.
I got a sense
that things are changing.
There were some sort
of great experiences
that opened up to me.
For example, I got to travel
with my dad
to New York on Concord,
when I was 9.
I was with my father
when he met the Pope.
An interesting meeting of
two very
divergent perspectives
on the world.
Mary: The motif of
a crippled scientist
contributed a great deal
to his public image.
I've often wondered
how much of an icon Stephen
would have been had he not had
motor neurone disease.
Fame is a strange phenomenon.
I mean, I... I don't think really
we understand it, what it is,
why it happens to people, um...
what the consequences are
for that person and also
what the consequences are
for those around them.
Judy: The post started arriving.
He had all these opportunities,
and so whatever
he was presented with
if it tickled his fancy,
he'd go for it.
Jane: Success of the book
now gave him
a new financial freedom,
which meant he could go
where he liked,
do what he liked,
and he didn't have
to worry about the consequences.
Can you hear me?
Why do we remember the past,
but not the future?
In other words, why does
time go forwards?
Jane: He was mobbed and
worshipped wherever he went.
Mary: Stephen always did love
being the centre of attention.
He was a boy.
He was number one.
We went to a pantomime
at Golders Green once.
He must have been about 8.
They called for a child
in the audience
to come up and sing a song.
So, Stephen was out of his feet
and up there
before anyone else.
And he sang
"Ye Gentlemen of England
that guard our native shores."
And it's got about 20 verses.
And Stephen insisted
on singing the whole lot
and they couldn't shut him up.
Lucy: He'd always been
the circus ring master,
but with
"Brief History Of Time,"
the circus got
a whole lot bigger.
Jane: The children and I
had to be on parade...
to support Stephen
because Stephen wanted to be
recognised worldwide.
And that became more and more
Lucy: He didn't understand
the impact that he had
on other people close to him.
I don't think he understood
what it was like
to be somebody else.
I don't think he had that kind
of empathetic interchange
of what would this be
like for you?
Jane: I'm not a scientist.
I'm not an appendage
of Stephen
as I very much feel I am
Um, when we go to some of
these official gatherings.
I mean, sometimes I'm not even
introduced to people.
I come along behind, and, um,
I... I don't really know
who I'm speaking to.
What gives you
the greatest pleasure?
To discover something
new about the universe.
Lucy: My father took
to the whole fame thing
like a duck to water.
However, people just didn't
understand how much effort
he had to put into every
single public appearance.
He said to me,
"I'm actually very lonely."
Peter: I went to a party
in New York honouring Stephen
as the man of the year, and
Stephen was sitting
in his wheelchair,
and people were very hesitant
to kind of bridge the gap
to reach out to him
to come over and say anything.
And as I approached,
it was just so clear
that he was both relieved
and thrilled to see me.
It was just relief, uh,
that somebody here is willing
to kind of connect with me.
Judy: Fame brought with it
a lot of organisation
behind the scenes.
A lot of other things
had to happen.
We started to have
to think about
how were we going to get him
to whichever lecture
he was going to give.
Who would he need
to go with him?
I saw the beginnings of
a little bit of trouble
when Stephen's
nurse Elaine came on the scene.
Elaine was trying
to make sure that
she was on duty
when she wanted to be on duty.
Woman 1: I'm preoccupied
with trying to get him...
in as good shape as I can.
Judy: She just seemed
to me to be...
maybe flamboyant at first,
but Stephen seemed happy,
and that was what was important.
Mary: Elaine was very,
very friendly.
I think Stephen and Elaine
got on so well
because they shared the same
sense of fun and humour.
Fame, vulnerability, genius.
These are all magnets.
I realised that Elaine was
becoming more and more dominant.
Oh, yes, that's right.
Oh, right.
The house seemed to sort of
to the sound of her laugh.
She seemed to be around a lot.
Jane: It was obvious that there
was a relationship
between Stephen and Elaine.
They didn't hide it.
By comparison,
my relationship with Jonathan
was very mild
and dedicated to Stephen's care
and keeping the family going.
Stephen: I became more
and more unhappy
about the increasingly
close relationship
between Jane and Jonathan.
In the end, I could stand
the situation no more.
Mary: I'd rather doubt
whether Elaine was the cause
of the breakdown in
Stephen and Jane's relationship
because I suspect that
that had broken down
a considerable time before
when Jonathan appeared
on the scene.
I felt that Stephen
was being neglected
in favour of Jonathan.
Jonathan appeared
to be being treated
as the man of the house
and Stephen as a...
dependent lodger.
Tim: I had the sense
that the fabric of our
immediate family
was breaking up somewhat.
It was becoming a very
claustrophobic environment,
but there was a lid on it,
just about...
and it felt all a bit fragile.
Jane: Stephen was complaining
that he didn't get time
to do any work in Cambridge,
there were always people
knocking at his door.
So, we had bought a house
in France.
And, then,
Elaine Mason and her husband
and sons arrived.
And that was the beginning
of the end.
I very clearly remember
the night when it all
sort of blew up.
It had been festering
for quite some time,
a bit like when you're waiting
for a thunderstorm
to... to happen.
It was quite late and my room
was right above
the room where it was all
happening so I could hear it.
And then, of course,
I got out of bed,
in my pyjamas and then...
sort of went down and I was
just sort of sat on the floor
outside the room
where it was all happening.
I was berated on all fronts.
I was a wicked woman,
I didn't look after Stephen.
You name it,
it was hurled at me.
Tim: One of the things
I remember my father saying
to my mother was...
that she, uh,
never kissed him on the lips.
Being sort of 8 or 9 years old,
I was like,
"Well, why is that a problem?"
I think you know, as you get
older you realise that,
that's I suppose something that,
you know, is important
within a relationship, so...
The key thing that I remember my
father saying on that night was
"If Elaine goes, Jonathan goes."
And it was the most
horrible time imaginable.
I don't really want
to go back over it.
We all understand
that people split up
and that people move on
and that these things happen.
However, Christmas day.
He gave us all our presents
in the morning.
And then my dad made
this big thing
of going off with Elaine.
Which I thought...
still think was
unnecessarily brutal.
We didn't have
the resources of adults,
we didn't have the mentality
of adults,
we didn't have the context
or the perspective.
We were just kids.
Professor Hawking, after
25 years of marriage to Jane,
what went wrong?
I won't answer that.
You've said yourself that Jane
gave you something to live for.
Why did you leave her?
I won't answer that.
Woman on TV: Stephen Hawking
at the Registrar office,
well prepared for the service.
The brilliant scientist
who has to use
a voice synthesiser to speak
had already programmed in
all his responses
for the ceremony.
You could not meet Elaine
and not be struck by Elaine.
Very open and warm...
Tall and striking and this kind
of mane of gold-red hair.
Stephen perked up a lot...
when he took up with Elaine.
He seemed happier.
I'm marrying the woman I love.
Her positive cheerful
slightly wacky sense of humour
et cetera all...
all seemed to benefit Stephen.
This is the most loving man
I know.
And the coolest man I know.
I had seen enough of Elaine
by then
to think there was no way
I could be there.
Robert: I went because
he was my father,
and I wanted to...
be with him
when he'd invited me.
I wasn't entirely sure about
the... the marriage itself
but I wanted to have
a relationship with him.
David: Stephen was always
looking to the future.
His drive to live,
to progress,
to do things is just...
perhaps his... his
greatest thing.
Robert: My father
liked the idea that...
women maybe... might be
attracted to him.
People with disabilities
can... can have relationships
and they can have
intimate relationships.
Tim: My father had a very
egalitarian approach
to his own life in terms of
what he felt
he was en... entitled to.
Whether it was...
trying different foods,
going on roller coasters,
uh, or... or having a sex life,
you know, an active one.
Perhaps that was
an aspect of his life
that he wanted to... to reawaken.
Elaine and Stephen
had a lot of...
fun together.
Elaine gave Stephen a ride
in a hot-air balloon,
as a birthday present.
Him sort of grinning
all over his face,
and enjoying himself. He...
That's the sort of thing
he liked doing.
Man on TV: The professor
who suffers
from motor neurone disease,
spent around an hour in the air,
before landing rather
undignified but happy.
This is something
I have always wanted to do.
- Cheers.
- Cheers.
She enjoyed the same sort of
jokes, the same sort of...
He had a party.
And, he and Elaine were
doing a conga.
You know, leading it
around the room,
Stephen in a wheelchair.
And I can't see Jane doing that.
David: Stephen loved a party.
And he loved to surprise people.
At his 60th birthday,
in burst the Can-Can girls
from the Folies Bergere.
He brought the whole troop over.
And we have all these ladies
in their famous frilly dresses,
dancing around the tables.
I mean that was... so Stephen.
He had a very mischievous
sense of humour.
Marika: Theoretical physics
is a world which is,
is full of men.
Stephen had two female
doctoral students.
And I think he was very
supportive to both of us.
But there was
a certain amount of
attitudes towards women
which wouldn't be
so common these days.
He had on his wall, you know,
I think it's quite well known
he had a picture of
Marilyn Monroe.
He liked it when there
was a beautiful woman
who was serving him
in a restaurant.
He'd always like
to sort of smile.
I wouldn't say qu... quite flirt,
but almost... almost that.
He enjoyed the company of women.
This was not something
that particularly bothered me,
because it... it didn't reflect
any disrespect towards women,
it didn't mean
that he didn't consider
women as intellectual equals.
But it's also a fact that
he didn't hire many women.
Stephen was very keen that
he and I would work together
using String Theory
to understand
properties of black holes.
He saw this as a way of
unlocking the puzzles
that he had been trying
to solve for 20 years.
Roger: He was perhaps a bit
about how close we were
to that Theory Of Everything.
But you can see him,
his whole life,
going for this horizon,
trying to come up with this
mathematical picture
of how the universe works.
Many people... judge that
Stephen's best work
was created before he was 30.
I'm not sure that's right.
I saw no diminution
in his quest to know...
the structure of space and time.
I think one of the enormously
likeable things, um...
very sort of
heart warming things,
about my father as a person,
is that he is in many ways
the opposite of...
an ivory tower genius.
He... he's a real human being
who has all these experiences,
has this brilliant mind,
works incredibly hard,
gets things wrong,
picks up, carries on...
It's this never giving up
quality about him.
He was more or less able to do
most of the things
he wanted to do.
Although, there were some
significant health collapses.
Well, I first met Stephen
completely by chance
on an aeroplane coming back
from... Greece in 1998.
The nurse was feeding him
some liquidised food.
But I could see this liquid food
being coughed out of
the tracheostomy tube.
And this alarmed me
El... Elaine asked me if I would
visit them at home,
and... and discuss
the situation a bit more.
I could see very clearly that
his larynx was functionless.
It wasn't able to close
in any fashion.
Any food that
went down his gullet,
would then go into his lungs.
He would literally have drowned
in any food or liquid
that he had then been given.
We had to separate his
food way and airway permanently.
David admitted
that the odds of me
surviving the reconstructed
throat surgery were slim.
But then we also knew
that my odds of enjoying life
or surviving for much longer
were also minimal.
I decided to have the operation.
David: When you have
a laryngectomy,
you breathe directly
into your lungs,
so, one of the advantages was
he could breathe more easily.
And as he was
very fond of saying it,
it meant that he could carry on
breathing on his own
for the next number of years.
Elaine was an integral part
of this decision.
She understood
the... the physiology
and anatomy of the problem.
Stephen: My marriage to Elaine
was passionate
and tempestuous.
We had our ups and downs.
But Elaine being a nurse saved
my life on several occasions.
Lucy: Elaine definitely
liked some people
and didn't like other people.
I went out to stay
with my dad in California.
And I woke up in the night.
And I could hear Elaine
shouting at my father saying,
"Tell her to leave,
she has to go."
And, I could hear
my father saying,
"Please let her stay,
she is my daughter."
So, I put my trainers on,
I climbed out the window.
I was on the ground floor
and I went jogging around
L.A. until the sun rose.
I talked to my father many times
about his relationship
with Elaine and I said to him
how worried I was for him.
He just said,
"Please just put up with her
for my sake."
Robert: I was aware
that there were
challenges in... in my father's
relationship with Elaine.
I, um...
heard about things
from other people.
It was... worrying
and confusing.
Tim: I overheard Elaine
when she was, uh,
feeding my... my dad
his breakfast.
She was saying...
things to him that were
uh, what I would think of as
put downs, sarcastic comments.
But I didn't understand
whether this was some form of
role play between them, that...
That was accepted on both sides
and which they would
snap out of.
I've never talked to anyone
about that.
That was 23 years ago.
Your head's falling forward,
come on.
Did you say no to me?
Man on TV: Cambridge here, police
say they are talking
to a number of people
about the allegations.
The professor himself is
currently in hospital
recovering from an unrelated
chest infection.
Lucy: The phone rang at
7 o'clock in the morning,
on the 2nd of November,
uh, 1999.
And I thought it would be
somebody calling
to say Happy Birthday,
and it wasn't.
And it was somebody who worked
for my father saying,
"Elaine has broken your
father's arm."
"You have to do something
about this."
I went to see him and he said,
"No, no, that didn't happen."
"She didn't break my arm."
I was just appalled
and very saddened
to find that Stephen's situation
over all these long years
has been far worse
than any of us ever imagined.
Man on TV: Police say they
would also like to talk to him,
at his convenience.
I was very concerned about him.
Very concerned about him
when I went to talk
to him because
he had bruises
all over his face.
He wouldn't tell me
how he got them.
I tried to... to
communicate with him.
But it didn't... end up with
clarity which
I found frustrating.
Man on TV: Physicist
Stephen Hawking tonight
dismissed reports
that he's been assaulted
and abused as completely false.
I really don't know what to say
about his point of view on this
because he didn't
explain it to me.
He chose to tell me
it wasn't happening.
And so, why?
I think she enforced his
dependence on her...
as in you know without me
you'll just have nobody
to look after you.
The situation regarding the
allegations is very distressing.
They were thoroughly
Stephen absolutely denied them.
You're looking at a situation
where with paralysis,
the bones become extremely
thin and fragile.
You know,
you just look at him...
and something broke.
I didn't believe
the allegations...
at all.
Lucy: After the enquiry
was dropped,
I just didn't know what to do.
It was absolute torture.
People were deeply
suspicious of me, um...
It was a really very upsetting,
damaging and difficult time.
At the same time, my son was
diagnosed as severely autistic.
Uh, when I got divorced and...
my career sort of packed up
and left me.
I drank too much
and I needed to stop.
In the middle of all of this,
he wrote this letter.
And he wrote to me and he said,
"I love you very much."
"And I've been
in a dark place, too."
"And I want you to...
I want you to come back."
"And, um,
it was time to try again."
It was quite a few years
after the allegations,
that Stephen
and Elaine broke up.
I don't know whether
those allegations
had anything to do with it.
But I could see the difficulties
that were occurring.
Stephen's disability was
becoming difficult to manage.
He was spending far more time
in hospital.
He got extremely tired.
He was... putting his energy
into his work
which didn't leave much left
over for anything else.
Jonathan Wood: When he was
working, he was able to...
go at this crazy pace and...
achieve all these things.
Partly I think
because of the people
and the support he had around him.
I spent more time with him
than I spent with my wife.
I haven't really talked
about Stephen...
um, to anyone since his death.
And it just felt, um...
it still feels painful, I think.
It was a very laborious process,
getting him hoisted
out of bed...
Being assisted in the bathroom,
getting ready and fed,
having breakfast.
I guess nobody really saw that.
The voice synthesiser was
an extension of himself
and then,
because I was maintaining
that and enabling him to travel,
I was in some way
an extension of him.
As I would view his care team...
it was a very
personal relationship
for everybody
that worked with him.
It transcended
that of a colleague.
I think we were his family.
Lucy: It's really nice to be
back in his life.
You know, coming back together
again as a family.
We... we really,
you know started getting on,
we started talking a lot.
We started working together.
All the time he was pushing
back the boundaries
of this is what I can do.
And it was completely different,
you know, wow,
I was like, "Wow, this is...
God, things have moved on."
Jonathan Wood: He enjoyed
the celebrity side of it,
He also saw it as a means of
communicating his physics
to a wider audience.
Hello, Beijing, can you hear me?
Stephen: Our picture of
the universe has changed
a great deal
in the last 50 years
and I'm happy if I have
made a small contribution.
Lucy: In 2009, we got the
invitation from Barack Obama
to go to the White House and
receive his Medal Of Freedom.
By then,
you know, we were worried
his health had deteriorated
quite a lot.
And he said to me, "I really
want to go, what do you think?"
And I had to say, "Do you
understand that if we do this",
there is quite a big chance
that this trip could kill you,
"that you may die in them?"
And he said,
"I don't mind dying
in the White House provided,
I've met Barack and Michelle
Professor Stephen Hawking
was a brilliant man
and a mediocre student.
When he lost his balance and
tumbled down a flight of stairs,
diagnosed with
a rare disease and told
he had just a few years to live,
he chose to live
with new purpose.
And happily in the four decades
since he has become
one of the world's
leading scientists.
As time wore on, he became
little bit more circumspect
in terms of what
opportunities he took up.
The opening ceremony of
the Paralympics
is obviously a notable
occasion where he felt like
he could take that sort of
showmanship and combine it with,
with a message.
Stephen: Ever since
the dawn of civilisation,
people have craved
for an understanding
of the underlying
order of the world.
Lucy: It was just electric.
I mean, the whole of that stadium
just rose to their feet
when he came out
and started speaking.
It was so beautiful.
Jonathan Wood:
Delivering a message of hope,
was important to him.
However difficult life may seem,
there is always
something you can do
and succeed at.
He'd had these struggles
through his life
and that he wanted to know,
he wanted people to know that...
they could,
they could do things.
They could achieve things.
They shouldn't be held back.
The games provide an opportunity
for athletes to excel
to stretch themselves and become
outstanding in their field.
So, let us together
celebrate excellence,
friendship and respect.
Good luck to you all.
Stephen Hawking, uh, certainly
was famous for his physics
but I like to say that
he's classical archetype hero.
People said,
"If he can face that challenge,
then I can face my challenge."
That's what a hero is for.
When we look back on
Stephen Hawking's legacy,
I think it's quite
difficult to unpick
the scientist from the person
because I think they're so...
combined in people's minds.
Things that had
previously been easy for him,
were becoming harder and harder.
He was spending far more
time in hospital.
It was just general systems...
packing up slowly.
His neurologist told him that
there really was nothing more
they could do for him.
I found myself in a situation
with him where I had to... to...
basically explain to him that,
he was now going
into palliative care.
And that the doctors had said
he was now untreatable.
And that was probably
the biggest conversation
he and I
ever had about it and...
it seems ironic that... that came
so late, you know,
he was 75 by then.
Lucy: And, he said to me,
"I would like to go home
to die now, please."
I... I had the opportunity
to spend quite a bit of time
with my dad in the,
in the final few months.
It was just more about
being there
and spending time together.
Seeing him, in... in bed,
uh, away from the chair,
sort of helped foster a bit more
of a personal connection,
because all of things around him
had been taken away
and it just... just him again.
Uh, I was surprised at
how badly I took it.
This was something that I had
been expecting for 50 years.
it still hit me.
Lucy: Those last days, weeks,
it was lovely actually,
just sitting there with him.
Unexpectedly, all this snow fell
and I remember my father lying
in bed with...
his curtains open,
so could see the snow.
And my brother and I went out
and built a snowman
in the garden.
And the snowman was looking up,
we tilted his head,
so that the snowman,
we made a snow astronomer.
Stephen: So, remember
to look up at the stars
and not down at your feet.
Try to make sense of what
you see and wonder about
what makes the universe exist.
Be curious.