A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The BBC and the end of the world... before Thursday, of course.....

For BBC television, the apocalypse will have arrived at least nine times this week before Thursday. "You who watch, prepare to die" (especially, of course, if American):

(a) Today, BBC 1 at 9.00 pm: 'Supervolcano: Part I'. A docu-disaster movie (with added facts!) based on the eruption of the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone National Park. Watch out Yogi, this is "Better than you can bear!" Makes the 'The Day after Tomorrow' look like 'Amélie';
(b) Today, BBC 2 at 10.00 pm: 'Supervolcano - the Truth about Yellowstone I'. Ah! So that wasn't then? Who are all these science geysers spouting away? A different stratum of society;
(c) Monday, BBC1 at 9.00 pm: 'Supervolcano: Part II'. Just in case you survived the first eruption and want more magma mayhem;
(d) Monday, BBC 2 at 10.00 pm: 'Supervolcano - The Truth about Yellowstone II'. Yet more gushing geysers. The truth will out - "Hot springs eternal";
(e) Wednesday, BBC 3 at 10.40 pm: 'End Day. Apocalypses'. The Beeb ensuring the end of the world, in case you escaped too lightly from supervolcano. Examines no fewer than 5 alternative apocalyptic catastrophes. Wow! You mean we have a choice of horse and rider? "3-to-1 on 'Plague' please".

Clearly, Big Millenarianism is alive, well, and kicking. Indeed, it is the new religion of our media wonks. The bigger the volcano, the more ice in the Ice Age, and the more virulent the virus, the higher the ratings. Death by couching tiger.

Except that ... I think the hype is beginning to pall. Still, it puts the waffle about 'global warming' into nice perspective. Who wants to be sitting on the compost toilet when a supervolcano blows? (Like that glorious toilet scene in Jurassic Park). And I don't think the wind farm and the solar panel will benefit over much.

Philip, off to seek a nostalgic antidote in 'Les Choristes'. Thank goodness for a French fairy tale; beats Anglo-Saxon angst and guilt any day.

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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