How Earth Made Us Review: Journey To The Centre Of The Earth

January 19, 2010 by  
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tv-stars-41howearthmadeus210x300HOW EARTH MADE US – DEEP EARTH: Tuesday 19th January, BBC 2, 9pm ALERT ME

Just when you thought David Attenborough had cornered the market on natural world documentaries, along comes Professor Iain Stewart to prove you wrong.

While it felt a little like a video you might watch in a school science lesson, unlike those science lessons, globe-trotting with Stewart proves to be a fun and educating experience.

His casual, easygoing teacher approach to the subject of fault lines and tectonic plates make the subject much easier to digest than the actual science may be.

I’m not saying it’s dumbed down but it’s clear there are gaps in the explanations. Perhaps it’s actually better to pick and choose your examples than try to cram too much into an episode. Whatever his method or intention, Stewart does choose some interesting places to visit to better explore the often volatile topic of fault lines.

From crystal caverns deep underground, looking suspiciously like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, to the oil fields of California, it seems the fault lines play more of a role in shaping modern life than we would realise. Covering thousands of years, ancient peoples, modern cities and cultures, Stewart presents the story of Earth in a palatable format. While he tries to include everyone in the discussion, his efforts may come off as patronising in places.

Stewart pays particular attention to the ancient Crete civilization of the Minoans and how their power grew as they used fault lines and other natural resources to their advantage. It was also good to see Stewart getting involved in exploring the sites he described, such as rock climbing the volcano that destroyed the Minoans and being lowered into a 150ft well in the middle of the desert.

The photography is beautiful and if you can I would definitely recommend catching this show in HD. Billowing mushroom clouds from erupting volcanoes and the glistening white rock of the Hierapolis healing pools are just two of the stunning sights included here. Roll on episode two: wind.