Will it be higher and firerer of Commander Chris Hadfield when he takes charge of 12 apprentice astronauts? Can you imagine another reality show host with an airlock exit at their fingers?

Former astronaut and Commander of the International Space Station Chris Hadfield will lead the selection programme based on the space agencies’ application criteria and assess 12 men and women to separate the ordinary from the extraordinary. The first Canadian to walk in space, Chris will share the lessons he learnt that helped him succeed during three space missions and 166 days in space.

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He will be taking on this Lord Sugaresque role in The Toughest Job in the Universe, which is the working title of a show that will put a determined dozen from the UK through elements of the most extreme and demanding selection programme, normally reserved for real-life astronaut candidates. They will have six weeks to prove if they have the right stuff.

It might be more low key than NASA, but more than 8,000 people applied to the last round of astronaut recruitment for the European Space Agency. Only six made it through. The relentless six week programme will see the designated dozen face the most extreme and demanding situations: from a zero-G flight on a specially adapted aircraft to a mission in an underwater lab used by NASA to test their own astronauts.

Led by Colonel Hadfield, a team of expert and experienced assessors will be looking for the pillars of astronaut selection: self-discipline, the proven ability to learn complex skills, and the ability to make life and death decisions when the stakes are the highest - as well as being the type of personality you’d choose to leave Earth with.

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Colonel Hadfield says: “To be selected as an astronaut is intensely demanding and competitive. I’m looking forward to meeting these 12 top finalists, the very best of all who apply, and testing and getting to know them to see who has what it truly takes.”

The Toughest Job in the Universe (w/t), will air next year on BBC Two in the UK and the programme and format is being distributed by BBC Worldwide.