New BBC Television Series set to Inspire next Generation of Geologists and Palaeontologists
Coming to BBC4 in June is a brand new television series that highlights the rich fossil legacy of the British Isles. The new series is to be called “Fossil Detectives” and its aim is to explore the various ancient landscapes that make up the British Isles, visiting some of the best fossil locations in the country.
Using a similar format to highly successful Open University/BBC format on “Coast” which took viewers on a tour of the coastline of the British Isles, Fossil Detectives will transport viewers from the north of Scotland down to the Isle of Wight, as well as taking them back in time hundreds of millions of years.
When it comes to enthusing the British public about rocks and fossils few people are better suited than Hermione Cockburn, the presenter chosen to front this set of programmes. Hermione has a background in Earth sciences and has studied landscapes all over the world including Africa and Antarctica. Although heavily involved in television work since she won the BBC Talent “Science on Screen” competition in 2002, she is still an Open University tutor on the OU science course S216 (Environmental Science).
Currently residing in Edinburgh, a city famous for its fantastic geology, this latest BBC series involved Hermione travelling the length and breadth of the country to illustrate the rich fossil and Earth Science heritage of Britain. For fossil hunters there is no need to invest in expensive equipment, a keen pair of eyes and a little bit of knowledge is all that is required to uncover traces of our ancient past. Naturally, famous fossil sites such as the “Jurassic coast” of southern England and the Isle of Wight will feature in the TV series as well as some of the less well known but just as spectacular finds such as the West Runton Elephant (Steppe Mammoth).
A Drawing of a Steppe Mammoth
Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur
Eofauna Scientific Research have created a range of models depicting prehistoric elephants including Mammuthus trogontherii: Eofauna Scientific Research Models.
For Hermione making the series was great fun, but even though she got to travel to some amazing places the highlight for her was when she met her hero Sir David Attenborough and viewed his private fossil specimens, collected on his travels all over the world.
She commented: “we spent an hour talking through his fossil collection. I was so excited – I almost feel that I can retire happily now”.
The fossil detectives will be shown next month, with so many new discoveries it might not be too long before a second series is required.