BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in: Entertainment: Reviews
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Showbiz 
Music 
Film 
Arts 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Reviews 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Friday, 16 November, 2001, 07:54 GMT
Walking With Beasts: Your views
Behind the scenes on Walking with Beasts, BBC
The effects are second-to-none
The BBC's Walking With Beasts is a follow-on from the highly acclaimed Walking With Dinosaurs.

The series looks at the creatures who roamed the Earth after the dinosaurs had been blitzed by a comet or asteroid, and like its predecessor, it is full of digital special effects.

"Like its dinosaur forerunner, this programme has been lavished with technology to make it stand alone. But the sore fact remains that it is all make-believe and rather like a virtual wildlife programme without the real blood, sweat and smells," says the BBC's Michael Osborn.

But what do you think?

Is it as good as dinosaurs? Or do you think it is a case of style over substance?

HAVE YOUR SAY

With the evidence collected and the fact that these animals no longer exist, I personally found Walking with Beasts very good and the animation was quite impressive considering the amount of facts the crew had. It's a shame that some people here seem to want the moon on a stick.
Karen Picton, England

Brilliantly done and it looks so real. I would like it to be an hour long, as you just get into it and it finishes. More!
Summy, Scotland

Superb! Highly realistic; my young son is convinced they're all for real! Thought there was rather too much hype though. Beasts makes a very welcome change from the usual BBC schedule.
Barry, UK


Sesame Street directed by Quentin Tarantino

Mike, UK
I found it a great delight, I have a large screen and surround sound and it was like sitting in the jungle! Can't wait for the next instalment. Keep up the good work.
Roger Deacon, England

I watched the programme in full and at first did not think much of the original narrator though the animation was splendid. Later realising that you can watch the programme 24/7 on iBBC digital, I viewed the programme once again but this time with the alternative in-depth narrator. I personally found this to be of a very high standard and rich with information. Much better! The interaction enabled you to access evidence and facts whilst viewing, which was astonishing and shows once again the BBC leading the way forward in technology. Cannot wait for more programmes in iBBC and the long awaited BBC News 24 Interactive.
Alister, UK

Impressive as ever!
Hazel, UK

BBC, you have outdone yourself again, first Walking With Dinosaurs, then Blue Planet, now this masterpiece. Truly outstanding work. I loved Walking with Beasts although I was very disappointed that digital viewers got a lot more action - do they pay more for their licence than me?

Keep up the good work - well done.
Rolando Johnston, Wales

I like Walking with Beasts more than Walking with Dinosaurs because the beasts are like the next form of dinosaurs. Also, the Dinosaurs only had dinosaurs in it, while the beasts have monkeys, giant ants and people.
Jack D-J, England

I loved it. More please.
Jalil Ahmed, UK

Very good start, it is not as good as The Blue Planet though. However, I will not miss a episode if I can as it is very interesting and put together brillantly.
Robin E. West, UK

I enjoyed the programme very much and found the animation quite incredible. However, the producers must be cautious in their approach to using half-facts. Dinosaurs was great but essentially fictional with a breath of reality whereas Blue Planet was quite simply the best documentary I have ever seen. I am expecting this show to mirror Dinosaurs which is a shame because without Kenneth Brannagh, "head shots" and half-truths it could be fantastic!
Nick, UK

Quite simply fantastic! This is where digital television finally lives up to all the promises! As for some people gripping on about the simplistic narration, well, on digital TV you had a choice and tons more interesting science and information, so go out and get yourself a digibox, Sky and ITV Digital are still giving them away free!
Gary Fowler , UK

The Beeb has just shown us how the future and present of interactive TV can be done, regardless of the "factual" elements. This show should make Sky sit up and take notice!
Tim Simmons, UK

Well done, the Beeb! Loved the drama of it all. The funniest moment was when one of those primates rubbed noses with one of the other primates, complete with a very human kissing sound. Had to rewind the video to make sure I'd heard right.
Zig, UK

Excellent programming, as Dinosaurs before. It seems a little rushed this time and has great inconsistencies of style. Some animation is fantastic while other movement appears jerky and unreal. Overall image sometimes gives the impression of very small (toy-like) animals while other shots are almost cinematic in their quality. I agree with the DigTV comments, true interactive viewing.
Woods, UK

I watched walking with Beasts last night and thought it was excellent for both adults and kids! Obviously it doesn't hold the same fascination that the public still has with dinosaurs, but it was truly amazing to watch creatures, such as the one the whale descended from that you would otherwise have no ideaabout. Money well spent, and technology very well used.
Joni, UK

Overall I thought it was great, although the shaky narration did let it down. I would have loved to have seen the extras on digital, but for all my repeated pressing of the blue button nothing happened. Seems I missed out there.

This programme is obviously more fun than fact, but as long as you accept it as such there shouldn't be any problem with that.
Anthony, UK

Superb effects, it equals walking with dinosaurs.
Debbie Boote, UK

Excellent programme, but why are the interactive features only available to Sky viewers? I have cable from Telewest and pressing the red button did nothing.

Like Blue Planet, and Walking with Dinosaurs, the programme was great, and you really get the benefit of digital wide screen TVs.
Antony, UK

This programme was great entertainment and I did actually learn a little about the type of creatures that inhabited the post-dinosaur era. However I feel that the BBC should back this series up with a factual indepth science programme, to satify those who want to know more.
Greg, UK

Tales from the Riverbank for the now generation. Dumb, pseudoscience for the gullible or for animation freaks. At least the music's better than Wild Africa.
Karen, UK

The programme was entertaining, but for me that is its downfall. In contrast, Dinosaurs was fascinating - that's an enormous qualitative difference. I appreciate that animating fur and feathers is a greater challenge than animating reptilian-skin, but the fur animation wasn't what let this programme down - it was poorly observed movement which glared out most significantly for me. Surely it would have been no great task to use footage of an equivalent-sized real animal as the basis for the animations, and simply change the detail and features?


R A Coldbreath, UK

The truth is that any programme - such as Walking With Beasts - that brings prehistory to life is going to be full of speculation. Accept this and the programme is as beautiful as it is entertaining. Any soul who seriously believes every single thing they see on TV needs their head examined.
Phil Yorke, England

Narration was very poor and was over dramatic. Visual effects were poor compared with what can be done today. Movement of beasts was very unrealistic and did not flow right. All my friends were looking forward to this and all were very disappointed.
Aran Porter, UK

I was very underwhelmed. Sadly, not the same impact as Walking with Dinosaurs.
Shaun Stoker, Scotland

Amazing programme, feel very left out not having digital TV. I still pay the same licence though and it seems a little unfair.
Chris Kimberley, England

Absolutely great! For accuracy's sake, I think it's very difficult to be 100% correct since these animals lived millions of years ago and of course it is only natural that some guess-work is involved. I love BBC programmes such as these. Please keep up the good work. I only wish it was programmed earlier since we are one hour ahead of UK.
Lucette Joseph, Belgium

I thought last night's first episode of Walking with Beasts was fantastic, superbly portraying a sizeable chunk of our natural history which to most is unknown and neglected. However, I do feel that a lot of viewers will be more engaged by the mightier beasts which will appear later on, just as with the Walking with Dinosaurs series. For a vast majority of the programme you couldn't help but think, "I didn't think there were any of those creatures still alive to film!", the scenes, camera-work and creatures were so incredibly realistic. I can't wait for the models to go on my desk at work. Brilliant.
Daniel Fowler, England

One word - impressive!
Alexander Alexeev, UK (Russian)

Science fiction - in fact 10% science fact, 90% science fiction. Take the supposed ancestor of the whale for example - the Ambulocetus. Here are the problems with that assumption from the fossilised bones that were actually found - a) The skeleton is incomplete, with critical parts supporting the 'whale' claims missing - pelvis, forelimbs, hemerus and scapula plus other features are missing. b) The robust femur and prescence of a hoof suggest Ambulacetus was a land-dwelling creature. c) The Ambulacetus was found in 'lower to middle Eocene beds. Fossils of whales of the suborder Archeoceti have been found in lower Eocene strata, so Ambulacetus is unlikely to be an ancestor of modern whales.
Jon Miles, UK

Re the comments about "facts". If anyone commenting has actually been to the times that this programme covers then they can harp on about "facts". Otherwise, shut up and don't watch. A vast majority of "facts" about this era are based on supposition and deduction, and just because they are not "facts" you like, does not make them invalid.
Simon, UK

Great animation, very realistic. However I find the style of the programme to be over dramatic and it tends to personify the animals. The narrator makes many statements about the behaviour etc of the animals but at no point in the programme does he say that some of the infomation is mere speculation. The programme would be more successful as a factual documentary rather than a narrated childish "story".
John Simper, UK

Simply the best.
Ron Duncan, UK

I can't believe the derogatory comments about the style and and content of this fantastic programme. If only the other 23 hours a day of TV could be as good.
Mark, England

I thought this was very good as far as it went. As others have said, the animation of fur and feathers is not as easy as lizard skin, this became apparent very early on. I agreed with Erik Bean, I am sure that was the same sequence day and night with different colouration. I don't agree with Alistair Currah, I believe the environment shown would have been a noisy place.

The problem with this as it did not go far enough for anyone wanting to understand the known facts and how what was represented was achieved. I don't know what was on the digital extras as I don't have digital, but a few extra pop-ups as the programme goes on are not what I would be looking for.

I will be watching next week.
Will, UK

Beasts took me to a magical world, it was inspiring and interesting. Of course its accuracy is only down to the guestimates of scientists!
Daniel Philpott, England

I've seen more convincing glove puppets!
Jonathan Jones, England

Fantastic! Wonderfully produced, and incredibly beautiful. I only wish the rest of TV was this good.
Ashley Penney, UK

I thought the effects were disappointing. Previous comments highlighting the animals' apparent 'zero mass' are absolutely right - this is a perennial and unresolved problem with animation, and whilst the creatures in the programme have evolved in comparison with Dinosaurs, I think the BBC's animation has regressed.
James, England

Absolutely brilliant. Wish I had watched Walking with Dinosaurs now.
Ken McLachlan, Scotland

Good animation but again, creative speculation distributed as fact. Jurassic Park did it better and was more accurate
James Murphy, UK

Ten out of ten. Just wish they would put it on earlier. My kids wanted to stay up to watch it and we let them, now they're like half cut knives this morning.
Ruaridh Shuttleworth, Scotland


Wow! Love the effects

Lauren, UK
I watched part of it and turned over, some of the assumptions were astounding - 'we know its true because we've just made it up'. Please let this be the last.
Dene, England

Sesame Street directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Mike, UK

Great - only one gripe, which is being hammered by adverts for the BBC's digital service. I live in an area which cannot receive digital TV and, as such, I do not wish to know what fantastic things I could have access to (more information, different narration, further interesting content), if only I could get digital TV.
Sarah, Reading, UK

Fantastic! What a magical journey back in time. What irony that such exciting beasts have evolved into such slothful couch potatoes. Mother nature must be aghast!
Dr. Simon Hill, UK

I thought it was excellent - there had to be a certain amount of artistic licence as we will never really know exactly what the animals were like. The research and animation were fantastic and most certainly on a par with Walking with Dinosaurs.
Amanda, UK

Although the original narration was found to be a little patronising by some, the in-depth version available via BBCi on digital TV made the programme much more enjoyable. As the first interactive BBC broadcast I was very impressed and look forward to the next episode. Being able to switch between streams was useful and not at all distracting since it was repeated several times and you could take different routes throughout the programme.
Chris Phillips, Essex, UK

I was most impressed by the digital programme available through digital TV straight after the show. Extras were most interesting and informative and I found the more detailed commentary most impressive.
Andy Fowler, UK


Beasts is a snapshot of opinion in time which is highly entertaining and informative - I hope the BBC are really proud of this

Dave, UK
Great effects! But seriously if you look beneath them we have a seriously dumbed down programme. Where has the science gone? Come on BBC, please give people more qualified facts and not speculation!
Graham P, UK

I watched this on Sky Digital and what a difference, the standard commentary could be swapped for a much more interesting in depth version and the evidence and making of options superb. I kept on watching to try and catch it all and almost missed Question Time. Digital TV comes of age and I can't wait until next week.
Steve, UK

I thought the programme was fun and slightly educational. I thought the models and graphics good, although the horse things didn't really look like they were eating the grapes. I thought the narration was good enough and the screen facts on ITV Digital filled in the gaps and provided some interesting facts, but why can't ITV Digital viewers have the scientific commentary as well?

A lot of people below have commented on the speculations made in the programme. Well to be honest, this isn't the sort of programme that I'd expect to be 100% facutally correct. It's not really a documentary and shouldn't be watched as such, it's "faction". I see it as a sort of Beginners Guide to Paelentology, and if you liked what you watched and want to know more then go and read a book.

Also the screen facts did hint at what was speculation and what was fact, eg the horses eating the grapes was based on the preserved stomach contents of one fossil. Not sure about their drunken antics though!

Overall a good effort by the BBC and I'd much rather have these semi-documentaries than those annoying docu-soaps any day.
Jonathan, UK

Very Impressive. As for basis in fact, so what?! I feel only the scientific community cares that much about what colour they were. Beasts is a snapshot of opinion in time which is highly entertaining and informative. I hope the BBC are really proud of this.
Dave, UK

Unrealistic, Simplistic, not a patch on Walking with Dinosaurs - a veneer of style with little content to stiffen it.
NN, England

I got so fed up with advert after advert for this. Between programmes in other programmes, I turned over and watched Top Gear, but not before the announcer mentioning it was starting on the other side. There must a point where this saturation of advertisments becomes detrimental?
Rick Burt, UK

Of course it's a "virtual wildlife programme", these creatures don't exist anymore! This is as good as we can currently get to showcasing what nature might have been like during this long lost period.
Damian Elsen, UK

Eye candy definitely, but Ken Brannagh sounds like he is reading his shopping list. He just can't hold the attention like David Attenborough.
Paul Wilkinson, England

Tacky and irritating in that a fascinating subject matter has been turned into a Disneyesque farce. And that narration! I'll probably watch the next episode, but only to see if there's any improvement. If not, I won't bother with it. Let's have more real science, BBC, and less fairytale stuff.
Graeme, UK


Let's face it, this is no more than The Muppet Show for the computer age

Abe, Scotland
Excellent in some ways but there was criticism of Walking with Dinosaurs and the producers of this sequel listened to none of them. The overdramatic narration is laughable, the prediction of behaviour (by simply mapping that of modern day animals occupying the same ecological niche) is grating, and the animation is patchy (small animals good, big animals bad). However, this is about the first documentary to cover this period of evolution that I am aware of - much needed.
Steve Johnson, UK

Luckily I have digital satellite so was able to enjoy the more detailed narration, but I did occasionally switch to the regular voiceover to hear the difference. A few years ago we might have expected the detailed commentary to be the kind of narration we would hear on a BBC documentary. Now with world-wide sales more of an issue than the home market and the continued dumbing down in BBC1 documentaries eg the lightweight and sensationalist missed opportunity that was Space.

Walking with Beasts was a good show, but needlessly stripped of educational value by a narrative structure more based on anthropomorphism and emotive sentiment. Can we have our intelligent BBC back please, for those without Digital Satellite?
Harry Neary, UK

Regarding the graphics, the mixture of real settings and animal footage, computer generated imagery and animatronics is a bold one - and it doesn't entirely work. The faux wildlife documentary works, but is mixed with over dramatic shots that ruin the illusion. The animation, as with Dinosaurs, seems a little unrealistic, the creatures appearing slightly sluggish and weightless. All in all though, the graphics are very high standard for TV.
MTM, England

Let's face it, this is no more than The Muppet Show for the computer age, and to that end it is enjoyable. However, the presentation of guess work and fiction as historical fact is dishonest.
Abe, Scotland

Like Walking With Dinosaurs, this involves so much speculation as to make it almost fictional. The effects weren't even as good as the predecessor, I'm afraid. Not impressed.
Trevor Blayney, N.Ireland

Beasts is bound to generate the same criticisms as its forebear, but this is to miss the point of this type of documentary. It has been repeatedly stated by the programme's producers that this is not an exercise in scientific broadcasting - this isn't going to mislead anybody. The comments above make it clear that people recognise that it isn't real.

If the style was more evidentially-based, we'd just have a paleontology programme with good graphics - as the Walking with Dinosaurs specials showed, these are indeed often better programmes than the series itself, but the series are not designed with the same aims in mind. Walking with Beasts, and Dinosaurs, are fantasies, speculations about the way the world might have been, and that's what they should be.

As for the programme itself, the animation on the mammals was generally good, the bird very poor and the close-ups of both looked too much like taxidermists' specimens to be convincing as living animals.

More seriously, given that this is a series intended to show the development of mammals into modern forms, the selection of animals ranged from inadequate, such as the absence of bats (especially well-known from the Messel site the programme purported to visit) and pangolins, to downright misleading, as with the brief shot of a pair of tamanduas, South American anteaters in the Xentarthan mammal group, which has never existed in Germany.
P Bowles, UK

Well, initially expected more quality from the programme, but after viewing the documentary for the first 5 minutes, I couldn't resist more. Last year I saw the same series with Dinosaurs and other beasts, it is good to see the animation and the realistic screenplay.


Satya SK J, UK

Another triumph of style over content by the BBC. They give us a massively hyped series crammed full of computer-generated species in a primetime BBC1 slot, whilst relegating the spectacular Wild Africa series to BBC2. One contains beautifully-shot images from one of the most beautiful places on Earth, whilst the other gives us sub-Jurassic Park rubbish, suitable perhaps for those still young enough to glean some entertainment from such baseless wanderings, but the more discerning viewer prefers to have something tangible to watch. Time after time, real-life footage will win out in my household over flashy, over-hyped special effects.
Rich Beadnall, UK

Rich Beadnall - what do you expect the BBC to do? Genetically recreate these dead species? Have some imagination.
Martin Harvey, UK

Very enjoyable show and very impressive graphics. However, the fact they were graphics was certainly more noticeable than with the previous Walking with Dinosaurs. Indeed, I also feel that you the programme is attempting to cover too much of the evolution timetable. Although, I stand to be corrected and I look forward to next week's episode.
Ian Nockolds, England

Brilliant animation ruined by dumbed down Janet and John commentary. I know you can get more info on digital but I find the BBC's attitude insulting.
Steve Windsor, England

Another winner - I thought it was excellent.
Martyn Key, UK

Beasts is another wonderful production. However, like Dinosaurs, the animals tend to be a bit "cutesy" and seem capable of pulling sad/happy/worried faces. They also seem very noisy. Hunted animals, and indeed hunting animals, do not make the cacaphony these seemed to. Roaring only depletes the energy reserves needed to outrun your chaser, or catch your prey. All in all though, a very entertaining programme.
Alistair Currah, UK

Great show, but the commentary left a little to be desired - far too much 'ah, look at the cute furry animals' and not enough evidence of how they know about the creatures and their environment. The interactive features are excellent though, especially the more in-depth soundtrack (which should have been on the proper showing in my opinion) - but why can't I watch the show with the scientific soundtrack in full screen?
Lee, UK

I think it was just as good as Walking With Dinosaurs: the earlier series was high quality, lowbrow nonsense too. It bothers me quite a bit that the programme was presented as scientific fact. The popularity of programmes like this is symptomatic of a society that embraces woolly quasi-mystical mumbo-jumbo like Feng Shui, and reacts with horror to scientific advances like the human genome project. I sometimes feel I'm living through the middle ages again, surrounded by Flat-Earthers. Let's hope the BBC presents some popular, intelligent and accurate science soon, or a generation raised on television will always confuse supposition with fact.
Russell Jones, Manchester, UK

Very good programme - watched part of the "regular" commentary before switching to the "indeph" commentary on interactive. The indepth commentary gave a lot more information and focused more on what is known through research rather than cute speculation. Good interactive features through out and after the programme.
Vic, UK

Good as entertainment, but the programme and the web ite are dreadful as education. Just looking at Gastornis, we get gems such as "...must have been a silent ambush hunter"(web site) Is there truly no other possible explanation, such as scavenger, or is this the most likely explanation? Then we are told that the giant bill was used for a "...more sinister purpose" (website), implying that predation in the animal kingdom is somehow immoral. The BBC needs to take much more care over the way supposition and speculation are presented if it is trying to present this work as science.
Gary Evans, UK

The programme was very enjoyable, but as with Walking with Dinosaurs, the commentary seemed to suffer from a lot of hearsay rather than fact. Fortunately we have digital TV and were able to switch to the alternative commentary, which was much better. The other interactive services also added a lot to the programme.
Justin Hughes, Reading, UK

Really really good. I thoroughly enjoyed it, only wish it was on longer!
Lisa Finnegan, UK

The main concept of this episode was that birds ruled the world yet we only saw one species. This one was flightless - were all the others able to fly and flew off when the cameramen appeared?
Simon Heffer, UK

As the programme is done in the same style and format as Dinosaurs, I think it was (and will be) just as good - it's a winning formula and a great idea as a follow-up.
Stuart, UK


Commission more programmes that will question, challenge and stimulate, not present us with a half-baked cartoon with an ill conceived storyline

T Mathews, UK
I watched Walking With Dinosaurs and loved every moment, so much that I bought it on DVD. I'm a fan of the Beeb's innovative way of approaching unusual nature documentaries, like the truly incredible Alien Empires (insects) and The Blue Planet. I couldn't be happier with the first episode of Walking With Beasts, one of the most interesting and least known periods of Earth's history.

Brimming with information, ideas, and concepts; presented with infectious enthusiasm, how can one not feel the spine tingle when the narrator intones - with a detectable impish glee - "this is a world in which birds eat horses".

I already know I'll be watching the subsequent episodes, safe in the knowledge they'll be of the same quality. The Walking With... series attempt the impossible: to give us humans today a sense of the sheer scale and variety of pre-history, it simultaneously grips and humbles the viewer.

Genuine thanks to all production crew involved - you are leading and teaching the world! Awesome stuff.
Maartin, Nederlands (British)

The digitally generated creatures were amazingly 'realistic', but, I'm sorry to say, I just wasn't particularly interested in the narrative.
Phil Steer, England

Walking With Beasts was an entertaining ramble - however, will this mark the future of wildlife documentaries? What with the amount of endangered species in the world, will the BBC, say in fifty years time, be filming Walking With Pandas?
Jon, UK

I loved the programme and found it entertaining and really believable. Even better than the dinosaurs.
Jane Newman, UK

Wow! Love the effects. This looks to be a very good series.
Lauren, UK

I thought that it was absolutely rubbish! The effects were pathetic, the close up models looked too plasticy and the sounds were a shambles. The BBC is just trying to make as much money from an old idea as possible. The movements in Dinosaurs were not too bad, but in this they were completely pathetic - I had to switch over.
Harry, UK

I thought it was enthralling and fascinating but I found it very annoying that theories were presented as fact. Some of the "facts" stated with absolute confidence in the show are highly disputed.
George, Slough, UK

"All make-believe ..." I wouldn't agree with that. It sounds like it should be treated as a work of fiction. The science behind it is rooted in fact and reason. Although it may not be 100% correct, that is still not the same as it being a work of fiction and "all make-believe".

Maybe the underlying facts and reason are not put forward enough? I think the reason why scientists think the way they do is often missing in science programmes such as Walking with Beasts. It is not just a case of looking at a fossil and then dreaming up a beast. There is a process of examining multiple facts, each with multiple explanations, and finding the common explanation that ties them all together, sort of like the way a detective solves a crime or the way a sceptic thinks about UFOs. It is the facts and the thinking that makes this more than fiction.
Andrew Wallace, Sweden

I really enjoyed the first episode. It was a shame though that only Sky digital had the option of choosing which voiceover to have, as I would have liked to have heard the other factual commentary. I hope the DVD contains both options when it is produced.

As to complaints about accuracy, what do people expect? These animals have been extinct for millenia and all praise to the teams involved for putting together such an interesting programme with such little information. Keep it up.
Chris, UK

The BBC has obviously spent huge amounts of our money on what will doubtless be a very popular series. However, the "small dinosaur eaten by big dinosaur" storyline has been done to death now. Do us all a favour, Dyke, and commission more programmes that will question, challenge and stimulate, not present us with a half-baked cartoon with an ill conceived storyline.
T Mathews, UK

More a case of hype over quality. Some of the scenes were very poor. In one it looked as if frames had been removed as the little creature jumped.
Andrew Puto, UK

Very interesting, I've often wondered how the post-dinosaur world started out. I commend the BBC for bringing science to life, even if a lot of artistic licence has been used to achieve it.
Martin Holmes, UK


Finally a programme that justifies Digital TV

RB, UK
I was disappointed with this production, it was a poor attempt at a documentary on the beasts as if they were actually alive and being filmed. The animals were personified far too much.

The little family of kangaroo mice things were almost comical in the way they were reacting to each other and their surroundings, almost as if they were theme park characters dressed up to entertain children.

You would have thought that the animators of the animals had never even seen a wild animal before. Let alone studied their interactions. It was almost as if the animals were having conversations with each other. Animals that don't talk rely on body language to communicate mood and intent, none of which was evident in the animals featured in the show.

If the makers of the show were intending to make a cute fictitious story for children to enjoy, they probably did a good job. As a nature documentary, it didn't convince me.
Alex Dale, UK

I was disappointed.

The creatures' behaviour and characteristics were not researched to the same level to those featured in Dinosaurs.

Because of that, wild guesses have been made, guesses which seem to be somewhat romantic rather than boring and serious.

If it's worth doing, do it properly.
Robbo, England

Finally a programme that justifies Digital TV, and shows how it can be used to genuinely enhance a show, even if you could only get the full effect on Sky.

After about 5 minutes we switched over to the much better In Depth soundtrack and then at the end watched the re-run of the programme with the Evidence, which really was a different programme in its own right.

Is it as good as Walking with Dinosaurs? No - it is much better. The lack of nauseating commentary (or at least being able to switch to an alternative) makes it worthy of being called a science programme rather than Entertainment.
RB, UK

Fantastic effects and graphics, let down by a script unnecessarily dramatised and full of clichés. I would liked to have seen a few more facts supporting their interpretation of this ancient world.
Martin, UK

I never subscribed to the swooning over Dinosaurs myself. If you ignored the admittedly wonderful pictures and concentrated on the commentary, it was cod-science of the worst sort. I happened to turn on Beasts last night, and the first thing I heard? "Such and such is a mammal, and therefore spends a lot of time looking after her brood." The only person who could reliably attest to this is Doctor Who, and I didn't see his name in the end credits.

It seems to me that these sorts of programmes fall between two stools - science and entertainment - and end up being unsatisfactory on both counts. The makers should either make a feature film with these animals as the stars (a la A Bug's Life) or write a reliable and accurate commentary. For instance, "Such and such is a mammal, and therefore it is quite likely that she spends a lot of time looking after her brood." Picky maybe, but then science is picky.
Edward, Uk


Will they oust Harry Potter?

Jerry Hughes, England
It was absolutely a case of style over substance. That in itself isn't a problem, but the programme masquerades as "Natural history". It isn't, it's speculation. If there was more of an admission of this, then I would respect the programme more.

Until then, I'll stick to the much more exciting Blue Planet - real animals are more fascinating.
Andy Cotgreave, UK

Well paced, excellently produced with clear but not obtrusive narration. The first programme kept not only 10 and 12-year-old children of this household, but also adults enthralled - and that was before we reviewed everything again on digital! The extra information on the digital channel, ranging from the making of, supporting evidence and modern day corollaries was truly superb. The potential of this form of TV is massive both in education and entertainment terms and the BBC should be congratulated for excellent use of this media.

In comparison to Walking with Dinosaurs, this series looks to be a step up in terms of narration, information available (if you have digital) and graphics (the movements of the animals is so realistic, it is as if they have been filmed live in the wild - although the faces of the miniature horses did look a bit like cuddly toys!) Undoubtedly the video and DVD versions of this will find their way onto Christmas lists world wide - perhaps even furry models of these extinct animals will make it there too - but will they oust Harry Potter? Well done the BBC!
Jerry Hughes, England

The kids and I loved it, although I do find the factual presentation of what is supposition difficult to latch on to at times.
Stuart E, UK

Very good, but the frequent prompts in the interactive version were annoying. It was better watching it normally.
Colin Denholm, UK

Very enjoyable. The graphics were unbelievable and sometimes you had to remind yourself they were computer graphics, not real animals. But this doesn't take away from the learning factor. If anything it helps it in getting people interested and then intrigued in the animal life of so long ago. Excellent work, it would always be hard to live up to Dinosaurs as they have always had the public interest but Walking with Beasts is a worthy follow up - well done.
Gerard McLaughlin, N.Ireland

I loved dinosaurs and hoped that beasts could live up to the standards set by its predecessor. If the first episode is anything to go by, me, and I suspect millions of others, won't be disappointed. Awe inspiring stuff once again. I am especially looking forward to meeting the mammoths and sabre-toothed cats in the coming weeks.
Andrew Watt, Scotland

I was expecting technical improvements over Walking with Dinosaurs, especially in the area of the dynamics. Unfortunately many of the large beasties move as if they have zero mass, the small ones as if they have too much inertia, and gravity appears to act in sharp tugs instead of a constant force. Next time, get a physicist to check your work.
Chris Butterworth, UK

I enjoyed the programme. It's interesting to learn about creatures from this interim period, which are so different to what came before and after them. But a little more background and context would have improved the format.
Alastair Stevens, Cambridge, UK

It may well be make believe but it looked very real to me. I had to look away at some of the scenes of predators eating their prey. Excellent graphics, highly entertaining and a welcome change from game shows and soaps! For once, I didn't have to resort to finding something interesting on the Sky channels.
Jacky, UK

I only miss Attenborough's commentary. It gives the viewer a glimpse into an era never seen like this before. Programmes like this make it worth paying your TV licence!
Ton Zwartjens, UK

I think that provided you bear in mind there is a lot of supposition going on, as is always the case with pre-historical subjects, then Walking With Beasts is an excellent programme. When science is made both entertaining and educational, someone somewhere has done a marvellous job and deserves the viewers' congratulations.
Bill, UK

Only the first episode, so not willing to utterly condemn it yet (I thought the first episode of Dinosaurs was a bit weak too.)

Major problem is that it is harder to imitate fur and feathers than it is lizard skin - see Jurassic Park and Final Fantasy for Hollywood's attempt at them. The images also suffer from being too "clean" - that is, you can tell they are computer generated because they just standout slightly from the backdrops - the twitching hoppy thing was bouncing through leaf litter without disturbing a single thing!

The "story" method of telling each episode is good - but is far too doom-laden. Everytime something was described it was "but...danger lurks, no ordinary night, deadly surprise etc etc..."

And the biggest bugbear of all - but I already know your arguments over this - it is all pure supposition - you cannot predict behaviour! But I'd give it 6 out of 10 and cross my fingers the next episode is better (I think it will be - far more interested in big animals than little hoppy fluffy things).
Graham Tubbs, UK

A very enjoyable programme. It both showed how far computer graphics has come and how far it has yet to go. My main worry is accuracy as the wildlife documentary style means it was all portrayed as fact whereas I suspect that much of it was conjecture.
Rob Hayward, England

Great animation, but I've never heard of any of the beasts in the first episode!
Iain, UK

Like Walking With Dinosaurs, Walking With Beasts is a triumph; however, the same flaws exist. While Kenneth Brannagh is an excellent actor, his narration does not suit - he attempts to add too much drama through his voice, when music and the images alone could achieve this far better. Secondly, the 'script' continues to speak of things as if they are facts when they are in fact merely conjecture. Admittedly this may be required to make the series more watchable, but it is highly misleading. A slight rephrasing would make the script far less inaccurate. These issues aside, the series is a joy to watch.
Matthew Dale, UK

The interactive TV features enhanced the programme enormously, if this is what TV will be like in the future, roll on the future!
Alistair Smith, UK

Excellent, even better than before.
Caroline, UK

The programme was not nearly as good as the dinosaurs both technically and in content. I thought that the little horse things were poorly animated and the whale thing standing on the lake bed was very similar in the day and at night. It would have been good to see the monkey things surviving the CO2 attack because they were up in the trees and CO2 is too heavy to get up to them.
Erik Bean, UK

I thoroughly enjoyed the first programme. Unfortunately there was so much other information available via the remote control that I was in danger of missing the programme itself. What would be useful would be to keep the active feature available through the following programme so that I can watch the episode and then take time to access the wealth of additional information. Well done, BBC.
Andrea, UK

Excellent stuff! It had me convinced it was real - it will be added to my list of weekly viewing, definitely
Elaine, Ireland

Fantastic!
J, Scotland

Fascinating and a good visual treat. Just as good as its predecessor. Hope the rest of the series continues in the same way
Ben Norwood, UK

Send us your comments:
Name:

Your E-mail Address:


Country:

Comments:

Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.

Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Reviews stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Reviews stories