Later he moved to Italy where he lectured at universities in Bologna and Urbino as well as at English schools in that country. During that time he was engaged in the creation of an English–Italian dictionary and the publication of an art encyclopedia. After a period of broadcasting work in 1966, he moved to London to join the BBC's Science & Features Dept. where he hosted and co-hosted a number of programmes. He was fascinated by the possibilities of television and the potential to educate and entertain by making programmes about science and technology.
He also worked for a while as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language at the Regency Language School in Ramsgate. Burke first made his name as a reporter on the popular and very long-running BBC science series, Tomorrow's World. He was BBC television's science anchor and chief reporter on the Project Apollo missions, including the first moon landings in 1969. However, the prestige output of the BBC Features Department in the 1970s was the "epic 13-parter" dominated by one charismatic and scholarly figure, epitomised by Sir Kenneth Clark's Civilisation and Jacob Bronowski's The Ascent of Man. Following in their footsteps, Burke produced his most important work: a highly acclaimed 10-part documentary series Connections (1979) that was first aired on the BBC, and subsequently on PBS channels in the United States.
The series was a great success for Burke and was followed by the 20-part Connections2 (1994) and the 10-part Connections³ (1997) series. Later, it was shown in more than 50 countries and appeared in about 350 university and college curricula. Additionally, the book that followed the series was also a best seller on both sides of the Atlantic. Burke has also been a regular contributor for Scientific American and Time magazines and served as a consultant to the SETI project. He received the Royal Television Society's silver and gold medals.
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