BBC One’s newest drama, The Trick, tells the story of the 2009 ‘Climategate’ controversy, a scandal that is attributed by many as a major factor in delaying measures that could have slowed down climate change.

The feature-length drama focuses on the story of Professor Phil Jones who was a key figure during the controversy that saw the University of East Anglia fall victim to a hack that saw hundreds of emails and files get leaked by climate change deniers.

But just who is Professor Phil Jones and where is he now, following the events depicted in The Trick?

The Trick | Trailer | BBC Trailers

The Trick | Trailer | BBC Trailers

The Trick release date and plot

The Trick arrives on BBC One and iPlayer at 8:30pm on Monday, October 18th, 2021.

Starring Jason Watkins, The Trick recalls the true events of the 2009 Climategate controversy that saw the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia come under attack when hackers stole hundreds of emails from the university’s server.

Days later, in the run-up to a key summit in Copenhagen, the emails appeared online and were taken out of context by climate change deniers who falsely claimed that the leaked files showed that global warming was a scientific conspiracy.


Who is Professor Phil Jones?

Professor Phil Jones was the director of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (UEA) at the time of the Climategate controversy in November 2009.

Played by Jason Watkins in The Trick, Professor Phil Jones faced unjust persecution following the hacking of the emails and the feature-length drama charts the exoneration of himself and science as a whole.

Born in Redhill, Surrey in 1952, Phil Jones has dedicated his life to researching climate change and has been a part of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at UEA since 1976.

Over a career spanning 45 years, Phil Jones has published over 450 research papers on topics related to climate change.

Jones has held a number of roles within the CRU over the decades, beginning as a Senior Research Associate before moving on to become a Reader, Professor and later the CRU’s director.


Where is he now?

As of 2021, Professor Phil Jones is still working at the University of East Anglia.

Following the Climategate scandal in 2009, Phil Jones resigned from his position as director of the CRU but following an inquiry into the incident, it was recommended that Jones should be reinstated.

In July 2010, Professor Phil Jones resumed his work at the CRU with the newly created role of director of research, which he held until he resigned from the role in 2016.

The now-69-year-old became a professional research fellow in 2017 to allow him to continue his research into climate change.


The Trick arrives on BBC One and iPlayer at 8:30pm on Monday, October 18th, 2021.

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