Over the last two years BBC Two’s science strand Horizon has been behind-the-scenes at London’s Natural History Museum, following the replacement of the iconic ‘Dippy the Dinosaur’ skeleton cast with the real skeleton of a blue whale – the world’s biggest animal – positioned hanging in a lunge diving pose.
Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, special one off film, Dippy And The Whale, follows the teams involved in one of the world’s most unique engineering challenges.
Replacing Dippy is brave and bold – it’s the first thing visitors see when they enter the grand Hintze Hall – but the Natural History Museum is changing and the installation of the colossal Blue Whale skeleton is the start of a new chapter. The largest animal ever to have lived, blue whales were driven to the brink of extinction by hunting and were the first species humans decided to save, telling an inspiring story of hope for the natural world.
In this special BBC Two programme viewers are taken behind the scenes to follow this super-sized challenge and discover just how you move the biggest skeletons on earth. The team of museum conservators and engineers take on the mammoth task of renovating the hall where Dippy is taken apart bone by bone, ready for his tour of the country – and then prepare for the enormous challenge of getting the whale ready to go on display – all without closing the museum to the public.
From her mysterious beaching in Ireland back in 1881, the film traces the descendants of Ned Wickham (the man who found her), looking inside his diaries as he first reported his find. Viewers are also taken into the museum’s secret vaults as we follow:
Lorraine Cornish, the museum’s Head of Conservation who has over 36 years of experience and is responsible for cleaning and caring for every one of the whale’s 220 bones.
Richard Sabin, the Vertebrates Collection Manager, who is tasked with ensuring the whale is even more inspiring than Dippy, and who suggests hanging the skeleton it in the lunge feeding pose.
Jennifer Flippance, the Project Manager for the move, who is responsible for ensuring that the museum is ready for the whale’s grand unveiling on 13 July 2017.
We also meet the engineering team who built the dinosaurs for Jurassic Park – but this time they’re behind the gigantic steel structure that will hold the whale together.
Replacing Dippy with a 126 year-old blue whale specimen is a story that goes beyond science and engineering. With the day of the dinosaur behind us, the museum is looking to the future and concentrating on saving the species we have on the earth today.
Horizon: Dippy And The Whale airs Thursday 13 July 2017 from 9.00pm-10.00pm on BBC Two.
and this just in
The Bad News Bears (CBS 1979-1980, Jack Warden, Catherine Hicks)
The Bad News Bears was a surprise hit film for Paramount Pictures in 1976. Written by Bill Laner and directed...
Hatfields and McCoys (History 2012, Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton)
Hatfields and McCoys is the story of a clash of clans that evoked great passion, vengeance, courage, sacrifice, crimes and...
Juliet Bravo (BBC-1 1980-1985, Stephanie Turner, Anna Carteret)
Rural in tone, Juliet Bravo was a crime drama series that had a big point of difference from your standard...
Shirley (BBC-2 2011, Ruth Negga, Charlie Creed-Miles)
Shirley is an intimate and revealing drama that looks at the life of Dame Shirley Bassey – one of the...
Life as a House (2001, Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott Thomas)
Two events shock George (Kevin Kline) from his middle-aged apathy. The first is his sacking by the architects for whom...
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Witch Hunt (S4EP2 The CW Mon 29 Oct 2018)
Witch Hunt: When the magical Time Seismograph goes off, the team finds themselves headed to the Salem witch trials. Sara...
Magnum P.I.: (S1EP6 CBS Mon 29 Oct 2018)
Death Is Only Temporary: An aging tycoon, Henry Brown (guest star Ben Vereen), asks Magnum to find his lost love...
The Good Doctor: Carrots (S2EP5 ABC Mon 29 Oct 2018)
Carrots: When a patient suffering from anorexia can’t gain the necessary weight needed to survive heart surgery, Claire suggests they...
5,000 Fingers of Dr. T., The (1953, Tommy Rettig, Hans Conreid)
A rare chance to see a unique cinematic oddity – a live action musical based on an idea by one...
Inside Out (1975, Telly Savalas, James Mason)
Telly Savalas, Robert Culp and James Mason star in Peter Duffell’s thriller caper as three crooks who join together to...
Manhunter (1986, Brian Cox, William Petersen)
Writer/director Michael Mann’s visceral adaptation of Thomas Harris’ novel, Red Dragon, introduced the character of fiendishly brilliant serial killer Hannibal...