BBC Wildlife on One - Gadgets Galore


TONMO Supporter
Nov 14, 2002
Anyone else in the UK see it on Thursday night?

It was 30 mins of drivel but had some pretty pictures of Kephalopods! After all when in the UK why not use the UK pronunciation?

Shame that the BBC has to trivialise animals by making them 'secret agents' on a mission... there are so many interesting things about cephalopods without having to scrape lower that the bottom of empty ideas and barrels!

What is the point of all this anthropomorphism? Nature documentaries have really sunken to new depths.

I think that any one of us could have come up with something better for 30 mins of scarce cephalopod TV time.

I saw it, and have to agree with you. Nice to look at but very little point to all the themed comments. I would have been interested to have heard some real info rather than the 'dumming down' approach that was taken, and which took up so much time.
It's a major problem everywhere - predigested documentaries (like fast food). Turn telly on any night these days and you're treated to such dribble - if it's not documentaries (not on mainstream telly anymore anyway) it's the latest 3-letter acronym for some BS crime/police show; we have entire nights of crime-show telly over here ..... I actually can't tell them apart - same music, I'm sure same cast, same storyline, same jerky cinematography, same 3-second sound bytes, same rapid scene change, same director .... same, same, same.

There is nothing stopping anyone here writing to any documentary company with an idea for a documentary; you'd be surprised at how receptive they might be. You just have to storyboard 30-60 mins and send it off (even though your first response from them might be prepare a 2-3 page bullet-point summary); to get around this provide both when first contacting them!

It is all about imagery, so you have to be able to provide them something new, and to do it cheap!
.... actually, you could start a doco with a dissection of a dead octopus or squid. Everyone talks about cephalopod intelligence ... so go straight for the brain and have someone who knows something about brains take a look at it. Next image would/could be an animatic - the brain comes up on screen and you look at the various functions of the various regions. Animatic also, the animal eating, with the food passing straight through the middle (and for a little humour, exploding when it ate a submersible).

I'd like to see something that addressed (in no particular order):
1) Intelligence

2) Global warming/biomass explosion (coastal species), with the reverse being true of cold-water deep-sea or high latitude species.

3) Conservation (destruction of squid egg masses by trawl; relationship between the squid and the whale (teuthophagous species)). Destruction of cephalopod habitat and removal of cephalopods (physically by trawl) and egg masses (no next generation). Basically 'threats to cephalopods'.

4) Captive maintenance - difficulties but also successes. Could get some stunning captive imagery/controlled lighting. Also chance of getting rather interesting imagery of the animals being caught, and techniques to do so (field work).

5) Squid and octopus life cycles - what we know in 2004 (it'll be a short segment); embryological development to hatching, paralarval behaviour; comparison direct-development with planktotrophic young.

6) Regeneration - their ability to recover post trauma (some, but not all)

7) What determines size (hormone, genetic, environment)

8) A close look at what a squid and an octopus actually are: what the differences are; a tour through the diversity of families. A look in museums at dead things, augmented with archive live-animal imagery (if it exists).

9) A look at their history (back to the ammonites, nautiloids and precursors). Radiation in diversity; extinctions and why. Reconstruction of fossil taxa.

10 A close look at hooks, suckers, sucker-ring dentition, behaviour (feeding and locomotion (it's not as simple as propelling tentacles out and moving backwards by jet propulsion)).

11) Mating behaviour (this can be quite barbaric) - very entertaining dinner-time viewing ...

I reckon you've got a series on cephalopods here, but it might not cater to the lowest common denominator. Hows about throwing down additional ideas?
television is full of people whose expertise is limited to standing in front of a camera reading a script. it is a shame that the BBC appears to be adopting a documentary style which places titillation above education. it is folly to expect to increase interest via sensationalism. only an intelligent approach with assiduous attention to detail can rein in future participants.

JMO.. a.f.
Well, in a perfect world you would be right, Atticus...but the one we live in thrives on melodrama unfortunately...
We started a documentary on montane rattlesnakes about a year ago, and had the boards approved,, this summer, they say that it needs more how many people are killed or injured by them (ah, that would be almost 0), some shots of them killing white lab mice, etc...I think we are going to can the whole project. Sad really.
People don't want information. They want something to make them forget about their somewhat mundane lives. Thanks a lot, corporations!!! :x
Would one of you aussies do me a huge favour and give Irwin a swift kick in the arse? He managed to set back animal programs by decades...
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