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Except it isn’t, is it?

August 7, 2006

I’m all for reality TV. Big Brother, Shipwrecked, even X Factor… But there comes a point where it’s just got to stop. And that’s with Prehistoric Park (ITV, Saturdays 5.50pm). This pseudo-documentary/dramatisation of what would happen if an intrepid naturalist and his slightly mad gamekeeper decided to create their very own Jurassic Park. It involves Nigel (who isn’t even a real paleontologist, but – get this – a TV producer, who just happened to study Zoology at uni) who ‘builds a time machine’ to bring him back to the Jurassic age (although with Wooly Mammoth and Saber Tooths, larging it around, surely they’ve got that all wrong…) Nigel cavorts around the prehistoric jungle while badly-done CG dinos nip at his ankles (or slobber all over the camer – oh how realistic. It’s full of nonsense like, “meanwhile, over in Pre-historic China, Nigel is on the trail of a herd of Microraptor gui.” Except he isn’t, is he? He’s prancing around Epping Forest chasing a tennis ball against a blue screen.

“The team arrive, choking in the atmosphere of volcanic gas.” EXCEPT THEY’RE NOT, ARE THEY? I spent the whole hour-long episode screaming such things at the TV, astounded that ITV can get away with such blatent reality twisting. Do they really think the viewers believe this man is going back in time? Obviously not. Then why do they keep up such a fascade? It’s all treated with the most sincerity possible, and it’s such a clumsy way to present what is essentially a documentary about dinosaurs. Why dress it up at all? Dinos are fascinating (especially to kids – who, I imagine are Prehistoric Park’s target audience). It would have been much better, has the makers just gone with a straightforward CG documentary of dinos in their habitats. Oh. Looks like the Beeb beat them to it. Again…

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