Skip to main content

'Attenborough And The Mammoth Graveyard': release date, premise, and everything we know

Attenborough And The Mammoth Graveyard
Sir David Attenborough and a very big bone! (Image credit: BBC / Windfall Films / Julian Schwanitz)

Attenborough And The Mammoth Graveyard sees Sir David Attenborough join forces with biologist prof. Ben Garrod and a team of investigators in a Christmas TV highlight.

Together, they explore a mammoth graveyard near Swindon, to learn if Neanderthals might have killed the ice age creatures.

Ben Garrod, a Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Science Engagement at the University of East Anglia, has already featured in numerous BBC documentaries, presenting Secrets of Skin and Baby Chimp Rescue. He has also starred alongside David Attenborough in Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur.

The monumental mammoth graveyard discovery was first uncovered four years ago by keen amateur fossil hunters, Sally and Neville Hollingworth. In a freshly dug gravel pit just outside Swindon they spotted something strange sticking out of the mud- it turned out to be a huge fossilised leg bone of a mammoth! Which led to an even bigger discovery of a lifetime, a mammoth graveyard in the old prehistoric riverbed of the Thames.

So, Sir David, an eager fossil hunter, couldn’t turn down an opportunity to see them for himself and learn a greater understanding of the Ice Age giant with a team in tow.

Here’s everything we know about Attenborough And The Mammoth Graveyard

'Attenborough And The Mammoth Graveyard' release date 

Attenborough And The Mammoth Graveyard will air on BBC1 at 8pm on Thursday Dec. 30. It will also be available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

What is 'Attenborough And The Mammoth Graveyard' about?

After Sally and Neville’s discovery, they went to dig up more mammoth bones and tusks. Sally made an extraordinary discovery of a stone "hand axe" made by an early human, dating hundreds of thousands of years old, which could offer a very rare glimpse into life during the Ice Ages.

Sir David, Ben, Sally, and Neville join a team of archaeologists and palaeontologists to carefully excavate the quarry where the bones were discovered and they’re faced with many questions.

Sir David and Ben also “meet with leading experts in the fields of evolution, both human and mammoth to grasp a greater understanding of our relationship with this iconic ice-age giant.” What amazing discoveries will they find?

Is there a trailer?

There’s no trailer out yet, but we’ll update this guide as soon as one is out.

Grace Morris

Grace is a digital writer with WhatToWatch.com, where she writes series guides for must-watch shows and the latest TV news. She graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2020 with a degree in Writing and Film Studies, which only made her love for creative writing, film, and TV grow stronger.


Some of her favourite TV shows are Line of Duty, Fresh Meat, The Great British Bake Off, and Gogglebox. In her spare time, Grace likes to explore new places with her friends and family and, of course, watch and read about the latest films and TV series!