At last Friday’s popular and final After Hours for the winter 2009-2010 season, Ludo Graham, Executive Producer of BBC Two’s Museum of Life, proved a warmly enthusiastic advocate for the Museum (although we hadn’t paid him), at his Attenborough Studio talk about the making of the series about the Museum.
Although we ourselves have been living with the project for the past couple of years, it was fascinating to hear things from the programme makers’ point of view, as Ludo took us through how the BBC and the Museum had been persuaded to accept the project; the fine art of choosing the presenters; and what from the vast kaleidoscope of Museum science stories here and in the field were finally focused on.
I met conservator Lorraine Cornish today, who featured with presenter Kate Bellingham in the Archaeopteryx casting in episode one of the series. Lorraine told me about the BBC Two's fascination with her red shoes, how they took lots of shots of her trundling down a corridor with a trolley whilst wearing them and that she was amused to see that one of the shots made it into the final cut.
Ludo (right) finished up with a particularly arresting point when he mentioned that Johannes Vogel, our Keeper of Botany, had said that if, by watching Museum of Life, people understand what goes on behind our doors, then we will have succeeded in our objectives.
One of the most memorable afternoons I’ve spent here was when invertebrates curator Claire Mellish, who featured in the beautiful section which Ludo showed, (particularly beautiful in high-definition in the Studio) talking about the attempt to extract dinosaur DNA from insects trapped in amber, took me around the trilobites collection and I got to see staggering things such as the evolution of the trilobite crystalline eye lenses.
The three BBC series producer events we ran at this season’s After Hours were an excellent forum for people to discover how natural history can be communicated in different ways, and we have seen exactly how much effort goes into creating BBC natural history programmes. We are very grateful to the BBC producers who supported these events.
We bid farewell to the last Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2009 exhibition (below) as far as the late openings for this season, but the exhibition itself runs until 11 April. So you still have a chance to catch it over the weekend.
If you came to After Hours this winter, we hope you enjoyed the experience and thank you for coming. Come back for more when we launch the summer season and The Deep Sea exhibition opens.
We were amused by the chutzpah of the young ladies who smuggled in an attractive-looking picnic, complete with picnic rug, and set up in Dinosaur Way at Friday’s event. We may need to start frisking people for strawberry cheesecakes next season. News of our summer After Hours coming soon...