Prof Cox, who hosts the show with comedian Dara O’Briain, said he had hoped to point the Jodrell Bank telescope at the planet Threapleton Holmes B after it was discovered live on air last year and listen for signs of life.
But he claimed he was prevented from doing so because the Corporation was concerned that a discovery of aliens could violate BBC regulations.
Speaking on the BBC Radio 6 Music breakfast show on Wednesday, Prof Cox said: “The BBC actually said ‘You can’t do that. We need to go through the regulations and health and safety and everything in case we discover a signal from an alien civilisation’.
“[I said], you mean we would discover the first hint that there is other intelligent life in the universe beyond Earth, live on air, and you’re worried about the health and safety of it?
“It was incredible. They did have guidelines. Compliance!”