Jimmy Doherty et al opened this new series last night with what felt like a somewhat apologetic explanation that they were going to be looking at all things pertaining to the Natural History Museum. I can only assume that everyone involved felt that it was going to be tough attracting viewers with an interest in the subject matter.
Anywho, the museum is an imposing edifice with no less than five miles of corridors and 70 million specimens, but I was rather disappointed to hear that the famous Diplodocus skeleton that sits at the museum’s entrance is actually a plaster cast. I think that’s a bit of a swizz.
However, Jimmy Doherty, most recently seen exploring the world of food production, is charming and he makes for an enthusiastic host, even though his interviewing skills could perhaps be improved by a class or two in Interviewing 101…
His meeting with Sir David Attenborough for example felt like hard work; when Jimmy asked the legend that is Sir David if he still enjoyed the museum as much as he did as a child, he received a “No” that seemed to leave him a bit stumped.
But, newbie telly hosting skills aside, that Jimmy and his ‘team’ were engagingly enthusiastic wasn’t in question, and there were some interesting if entirely pointless little facts and figures. One such fact being that there are some 26 varieties of earthworm, and Liz Bonnin set off into the wilderness that is Hyde Park to “charm” them out of the ground for our delectation.
Jimmy and his team met with several of the museum’s curators too who were all super-excited about their particular specialism, and lurking at the centre of the whole shebang was a simmering argument about Darwinism and its validity, or not.
In the following weeks, we’ll get to see Jimmy and buddies set off around the world to dig deeper into the work of the museum – pun intended – which of course extends well beyond the limitations of even its cavernous home.
Overall, though it’s not necessarily a show I’d voluntarily tune into again – and if I did, it would be to ogle Jimmy – it did have interesting moments…
But it all felt a tad Blue Peter-ish with wholesome, shiny presenters and a learn-while-you-watch ethos that I felt was aimed more at kids than adults, so this show might be more comfortable in an earlier time slot.