“separate continents..”

A reminder that BBC NI’s natural history series Blueprint starts tonight, BBC 1 9pm, and it’ll be available on iPlayer too [Has anyone told Edwin? – Ed]. And, perhaps as a result of the pressure from the young-Earthers, TalkBack today discussed their opposition to a scientific approach to natural history [the audio file is available for now, RealPlayer file]. Blueprint presenter, Will Crawley, posts a reminder too, and on his Sunday Sequence programme this week held a round-table discussion of his own which, as recommended by Mick, deals admirably with the history of the debate on the age of the Earth. [RealPlayer file] Familiar references in that discussion to re-entwining reason and faith.. and a lot of evidence of an absence of rational thinking.. Meanwhile, series producer Natalie Maynes reveals where the initial idea came from

The initial idea was sparked by an article I read which claimed that Ireland was once split in two and that both halves of the island were on separate continents.

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  • Mark McGregor

    This programme has me intrigued. Does anyone know if the signs they have dotted around inside Belfast Zoo have any relevance or is it just target group advertising?

  • Pete Baker

    There has been an extensive promotional campaign, Mark.

    That particular sign, and there’s an image here, looks like ‘target audience’ promotion.

  • George

    “The initial idea was sparked by an article I read which claimed that Ireland was once split in two and that both halves of the island were on separate continents.”

    Found by INFOMAR, which is currently mapping Ireland’s seabed. The split apparently began at the mouth of the Shannon.

    They also found evidence of a tsunami in Galway Bay.

  • Rapunsel

    Don’t know about anyone else but I’m watching the programme as I type this. Perhaps a reasonable introduction to some natural science but the music, the presenting style of Will Crawley in particular and the graphics( what’s with that grid) I find off putting and superimposing the past on the present makes no sense at all especially that bit about Forkhill being our Pompeii and a trip to the forest park?


    Your arse Rapunsel.

    I thought Crawley was excellent. I just wish it was a bit longer.

    Although the blue grid thing was a bit irritating.

    But well done BBC.

  • Mark McGregor

    Why is this on at 9pm when it is aimed at under tens? What a disappointment.

    Hopefully the repeats are on when the children it is aimed at are awake.

  • Pete Baker


    The enthusiastic delivery does run the risk of coming across as breathless.. but it’s similiar to other recent natural history shows on the BBC – like this one, if I recall correctly.

    To be fair, and this might be what Urquhart is getting at, they did cover a lot of information, and a lot of time, in that first show.

    I’m hoping the other two shows will have more detail, and take their time with delivering it.

    And I understand why they used the blue grid for the CGI stuff.. But I’d agree that it wasn’t entirely successful – more of a distraction.

    Personally, I’d prefer more talking heads, and rational argument, rather than CGI..

  • pauljames

    I agree with Mark, this seems to follow the recent downturn in programmes which have seen even the mighty Horizon happy to substitute CGI gimmickry for some slightly challenging science. Historians like Scharma have it spot on but where is the Bronowski for our time.
    (sorry Will, just griping, I know thats not your target audience and I did enjoy the programme)

  • jesuswept

    The show was a waste of time. Standard BBC Northern Ireland crap. As somebody said aimed at ten year olds. Oh yes and the completly Unionist centric view. Londonderry, the Border gateway to Northern Ireland taking random geological facts of the Island make up and then lets’ get an image of the border in. Tourists in Clogherhead?

  • Mark McGregor

    I’m an adult, I can take hearing things and being shown things. My children need silly visual images to engage them. We had debated letting our 7yr old stay up to see this, the BBC should have debated putting it on at a time 7yr olds could watch. This was a tea-time programme not a for adults slot.

  • Janet Green

    I am astonished by some of the comments I’ve read here. This is the sort of run of commentry that gets slugger a bad name. I thought Blueprint’s first episode was one of the best programmes I’ve ever seen from the BBC. I watched with my 15 year old daughter, and my husband and we all loved it. The music was great and the graphics really brought the history to life. Hats of to the BBC for bringing us such a rich series about NI. As for the claim, above, that it’s a unionist programme … that’s about as daft as the claims all day that the series attacks religious views. Some of you guys are such dinosaurs that you belong IN blueprint!

  • Northsider

    The claims that it is somehow a unionist telling is the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard. It’s geology, stoopid.

    Very good programme. Was watching the Clogherhead section again on the website and it seems the join actually runs from to south west Ireland.

    Also, looking ahead, the website lists the clips coming in the future programmes, and it seems they cover the Plantation, the famine, gaelic Ireland and the whole story behind the rise of Belfast.

    Looks good, I have to say.

  • Pete Baker


    I’m glad to hear that you and your family enjoyed the programme.

    I doubt that it was aimed at the under-tens, as Mark suggested, but personally I do consider the reliance on CGI and the enthusiastic delivery to be a weakness in this, the first part of the series – but, again, that’s a personal opinion.

    As I’ve already suggested, that weakness might be because of an over-ambitious attempt to deal with such a long time-scale, and large amount of detail, in a relatively short programme.

    But its ambition is to the credit of the series producers and presenters.

  • Pete Baker


    The balance between entertainment and information is a difficult one for any TV programme to keep to.

    Even more so when they are natural history programmes.

    But more understanding that there is an adult audience out there who appreciate being treated as such pays dividends in the long term.

  • Pete Baker

    I’ve closed a number of sock-puppet comments.

    Not exactly a typical post for their appearance..

  • Isn’t the blueprint CGI really just a way of keeping a visual narrative while they jump around from coast to coast? That and the presenters’ fairly consistent woolly attire.

    A bit slow to start, and with an abrupt end, but plenty of fascinating stuff that stopped me getting up to make a cup of tea in the middle. Salt mines under Carrick? If they’d broadcast it tomorrow, I’d have said it was an April Fool!

  • Pete Baker

    “plenty of fascinating stuff”

    Indeed, Alan.

    Although the use of that blue grid in imposing past reality onto the present landscape didn’t quite work for me.

  • joeCanuck

    Ireland was once split in two and that both halves of the island were on separate continents.

    Rather surprised that no one has yet claimed that this is still more or less true.

  • aquifer

    This is a wonderful programme, informative and deeply weird. Ireland having migrated from around South Africa, then lingered in the tropics, with the Sperrins ground down from bigger than Himalaya size.

    This programme risks giving us some broader perspective and may be deeply subversive.

    Send a DVD to every school and cut their grant if they won’t show it.

  • > that blue grid in imposing past reality onto
    > the present landscape didn’t quite work for me.

    Pete – maybe that’s the maker’s blueprint … a shout out to all the intelligent designers out there!

  • Globetrotter

    Sorry, had to turn it off half way through, couldn’t stand that awful music anymore.

    What should have been a fascinating programme was also slightly ruined by the references to “Londonderry” and the gratuitous use of the border. Absolutely nothing to do with geology.

  • John

    Invented Unionist crap, as usual.

  • perci

    only available on BBCi Player Norn iron 🙁


    Those who are talking about the unionist bias programme in the programee are, I presume nationalists?

    If so, you’re an embarassment.

    Did any of you watch the programme. The Derry stuff is well known BBC policy – use both. As they did.

    ‘The border’ that some idiots here have referred to, was from Clogherhead to Limerick.

    The two most important sites referred to in this show were in Sligo and Louth.

    Really, some of the stuff here really makes you wonder if we have any chance.

  • perci

    Had to make do with Brian Keenan in Lebanon, which was great 🙂

  • I thought it was wonderful. I enjoyed the enthuisatic presenters and the standard BBC ploy of using both Derry and Londonderry was harmless. They told a big story and told it well, though I was a bit surprised when it suddenly just ended. I learnt loads, and will indeed see my surroundings in a new light, which is what I presume was the aim.

    It would be better shown at 7 or 8pm though, for the younger audience; not everyone has BBCi.

  • Bohereen

    I was really irritated by the graphics and the repetition of facts. I suppose I don’t know how I would make the program any better myself, such a lot to be covered in such a short space of time, apart from cutting out the scenes of lava raining down on some wee crossroads village street. I hope the next ones won’t send me to sleep quite so quickly.

  • FraserValley

    Anyone got a torrent file of this show?

  • Pedro Almodovar

    This was the most surreal discussion of a natural history programme I’ve ever read! I have no idea how it all went so astray, since there was a lot to talk about. For the record:

    (1) The uniting together of two bits of land to produce the island of Ireland has absolutely nothing to do with unionism or nationalism. It is a matter of geology. The political ideologies of unionism and nationalism relate to community groups who emerged on the island millions of years after the island was formed.

    (2) The reference to Londonderry: the BBC always uses Londonderry on the first usage, and Derry thereafter. That way the BBC avoids taking sides in a political dispute. Those who believe one term or the other should be used throughout are calling for the BBC to take sides.

    Can we please now end the pointless politiking about ancient natural history?

  • joeCanuck

    I really hope that the “pointless politiking” doesn’t refer to my small attempt at humour.

  • PTL

    I usually blog on the Will and Testament site, because I like to take on the devil in his own back yard, but I see you are debating the evolution of the world here. There is no scientific evidence either for evolution or for the claim that the world is millions of years old. William Crawley has been pushing this ridiculous pseudo-science for a long time, but those of us who believe in creation are taking a stand. We have written letters of complaint to the BBC and there will be more. The BBC has no right to use my license fee to defend atheism. They refuse to tell us how much money was spent on this programme, but we can assume that hundreds of thousands of pounds have been wasted making a case for Darwin. When will they make a case for Moses?

  • Sure It’s Himself

    “They refuse to tell us how much money was spent on this programme, but we can assume that hundreds of thousands of pounds have been wasted making a case for Darwin. When will they make a case for Moses?”

    What do you think the ‘case for Moses’ is, exactly? Perhaps it has something to do with the extraordinary parallels between his story and the Babylonian Sargon myth, which predates him by several centuries? I certainly can’t think of anything he said that could be reasonably considered to comprise an analysis of how the Earth came into existence.

    Anyway, it should be noted that the BBC has a large and relatively well-funded religion & ethics department, (http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion) which makes all kinds of programmes, overwhelmingly from a Christian perspective.