Last Night’s TV – Man on Earth

by Lynn Connolly


Having watched this documentary, I yet again asked myself the – what I consider to be – classic ‘Phoebe Question’.

That is, as any Friends connoisseur will know, the question she asked of paleontologist Ross; to wit, words to the effect of “Wasn’t there a time that scientists thought the atom was the smallest thing in the world, ‘til they split it and a whole buncha cr*p came out?”

It’s that very point that irritates me about programmes like Man On Earth which speak with such certainty about what went on a gagillion years ago. They cannot possibly know. It’s speculation and supposition and I resent being told it’s fact. It’s not.

I really like Tony Robinson. I always have, but I have to reiterate, all the ‘facts’ we heard him telling us – granted, in an entertaining manner – for this film were based on nothing more than supposition. That supposition has been based on finding some very old bodies and bits of flotsam lying around.

And that would be ok if the science types would admit that much of what they’re assuming is, as I know I keep saying, based on supposition, but they don’t. They want us to take as gospel what they’re saying. For instance, we heard from Tony last night all about the irony that the world was saved by global warming a very, very long time ago. Again, all fine, but the details added to this tale, such as the one about the early Russia Steppe dwellers who apparently survived freezing temperatures by making tents out of woolly mammoths and bartered with food and fur.

How do they know?? Have the scientists ever asked anyone from that time?

No, so it’s supposition. You’re going to be very tired of reading that word by the end of my rant…

Frankly, I’m bored witless of hearing about global warming and climate change. I know I shouldn’t be. I know I should be all anxious ears and frightened into having the trots by what may befall my great-great-great grandchildren, but I’m not.

I’m sick of hearing about it and I’m sick of hearing ‘facts’ that are not facts at all. I’m fed up of being lectured about climate change, and though – if you take the scientists’ word for it – this wasn’t an uninteresting film, it was largely most likely fiction.

If everyone wants to scare me to death about putting a lamp on, do it with hard and proven fact, not a recounting of a bunch of anoraks’ docudrama about what they think happened to our forebears.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.