Walking with Dinosaurs
- Kelly Apter
- 25 June 2009
Despite none of us really knowing what it was like when dinosaurs ruled the earth, the BBC made a fine attempt at recreating it a few years back. Walking with Dinosaurs took nature documentaries to a whole new level, using scientific research and intelligent conjecture to imagine a planet populated by huge beasts.
Ten years later, they’ve burst out of the TV screen and into the live arena. Years of planning, building and fine tuning have resulted in an epic show featuring 15 life-size prehistoric creatures. Unlike 200 million years ago, however, the dinosaurs need a little help to move around.
‘The smaller dinosaurs have an actor inside them,’ says director, Alli Coyne. ‘Although I’d call them athletes, because the dinosaurs are incredibly heavy and they have to run inside them. But the larger dinosaurs need three people to operate them – a driver in a small car underneath and two remote operators who control the movement and sound from a different location.’
Known as ‘voodoos’, the remote operators make sure each blink, grunt and snort is perfectly timed. ‘They really work as a team,’ says Coyne, ‘and are constantly speaking to each other on walky talkies throughout the show.’
Hosted by Huxley the friendly palaeontologist, Walking with Dinosaurs blends education and entertainment, taking us through three major periods of dinosaur history, from birth to extinction. ‘It’s a spectacular show that’s fantastic to watch,’ says Coyne. ‘But you also come out thinking “wow, I didn’t know that”. You’re learning without realising it, which is the best way.’
SECC, Glasgow, Wed 1–Sun 5 Jul