SuperVolcano (15/03/2005)

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The BBC threw a lot of money at this docu-drama. The question is, what were they wanting to achieve?

This programme was much hyped by the BBC and was originally scheduled to be shown in the New Year.  Its transmission date was delayed because of the Asian Tsunami, but I was left wondering, was it delayed for long enough?

The media have an obsession at the moment with discovering every possible natural disaster and making a big song and dance about it.  This "SuperVolcano" idea is no exception.  It seemed to have no purpose except as scare-mongering, and I for one, am heartily tired of that kind of programme making. When you consider that it was only a year or so ago that the media was obessed with tsunamis then this type of programming becomes even more frightening, because it offers no solutions or resolutions.

The scare factor is cranked up from the start due to the style of the programme; it has a pseudo documentary style and the "scientists" within the show pop up regularly spewing scientific facts direct to the viewer.

The special effects were excellent, the plotting okay but I would raise the following points about this programme.

Firstly, large and important parts of the story were glossed over. How did one of the scientists manage to establish a video link with the government when the volcano had taken out the power lines and the electricity had already been shown to be down. With the same lack of electricity, it wasn't shown how the idea of telling the public to "Walk to Life" was firstly communicated and secondly executed. It is all very well for the government to issue an edict, but unless word gets out about it, then this is largely useless. Their method of distributing information was never shown.  I wondered if the public were told to dress in a certain way - for example cover mouths and eyes and wear as much clothing as possible etc.  This was never mentioned.  Actual information which could have been used IF such an incident were to happen was not included, and this does nothing to help allay the public fear which the programme was creating. Apparently this "Walk to Life" saved 7.5m people - how? The programme was very light on facts in this important area. There was also the one scientist who seemed improbably immune to any effects of the volcano and quite happily trotted about on foot from one location to another.  Its a wonder anyone died in this "Supervolcano" at all, if all you have to do to escape injury is walk slowly away from it, coughing slightly!

Secondly, the programme, for me, actually finished at the interesting point. We have a superpower (America) brought to its knees, so there will be a power vacuum.  Which country will now fill the gap?  How will the various populations of the world cope with the massive changes to their daily lives? How will Americans cope with large parts of their country being uninhabitable, and many people being killed? Imagine a person in a high powered job in a technologically dependent world, and make them homeless, jobless and you have an interesting story about human survival.  Take these themes, add in some human stories and what you could have is an interesting piece of speculative, post-apocalyptic drama, that would appeal to me far more than this pointless programme.  The BBC can send their cheque for my idea, here to me at Tellynaton HQ. 

Page Last Updated Saturday, July 23, 2005 at 09:33:00