Dinosaur with Stephen Fry is the perfect factual series for the actor and comedian to host. Stephen has loved dinosaurs since he was a child and now this four-part series on Channel 5 allows him to go back in time to interact with the beasts. Thanks to state-of-the-art CGI, Stephen is able to chart their story on earth right through to their demise 66 million years ago. He gets to meet much-loved dinos such as the 26m-long diplodocus and witness ferocious battles between triceratops and the fearsome tyrannosaurus rex.
“I’m very keen not to present myself as an expert because that would be quite wrong,” says Stephen who wanders around the prehistoric era with various experts. “I’m an enthusiastic guide hoping to pick up more information and getting excited by the possibility of being so close to these creatures at least in an augmented reality way."
Here’s everything you need to know about this exciting new Dinosaur series on Channel 5…
Dinosaur with Stephen Fry release date
Dinosaur with Stephen Fry is a four-part series starting Sunday February 12 at 7pm on Channel 5 with each of the following episodes running at the same time on subsequent Sundays. The series can also be seen on streaming service My5. As Channel 5 in the UK is Paramount-owned we should expect the series to arrive on Paramount Plus in the US some time in 2023, but this isn't yet official. We'll update with the US channel and release date when we can.
Is there a trailer for Dinosaur with Stephen Fry?
Yes do take a look at the Dinosaur with Stephen Fry trailer below as he walks around in CGI prehistoric times...
Interview: Stephen Fry on what happens in his Dinosaur series?
In Dinosaur with Stephen Fry, the comedian charts the dinosaurs’ time on earth from their ‘golden age’ in the Jurassic era right through to their last days, when the planet was hit by a huge asteroid. He interacts with the giant beasts and meets experts who tell him surprising facts about the creatures.
This is your own Jurassic Park. What will this show us?
Stephen says: "I’m a traveller going back in time and standing there, down, and dirty in with the animals and with the experts, learning. I think it’s a wonderful new way of bringing this kind of science to life. We’ve tried to be as absolutely truthful to the science as we can be. It’s not cutesy. On the other hand, we wanted to be affable, available, and accessible for adults and active youngsters as well. It was quite fun to feed the dinosaurs.”
Were you dinosaur mad as a boy?
Stephen says: "Yes, I had some pretty good model dinosaurs in my bedroom, including a brontosaurus, the plant-eating one with the huge neck. I also still have the odd trilobite or ammonite fossil, the little curvy ones that are pretty common. Naturally, like all children, when I got hold of a fossil I thought it was worth a million pounds and was rather staggered when I was offered sixpence by somebody. So I quickly learned that fossils were for enthusiasts, and they weren’t going to make me a fortune!"
The CGI is pretty impressive. What was the series like to film?
Stephen says: "Things are moving really fast in the world of computer graphics, so I was in a green studio surrounded by green walls and green surfaces and told where my eye-lines were going to be. But the big difference with this series is that if I looked at the monitor, I could see the dinosaur and myself in the picture. Obviously, I couldn’t see it literally, but it was there, and it was moving!"
Do you hope to inspire kids watching with this series?
Stephen explains: "Yes, I know kids have this special relationship with dinosaurs. Usually, parents don’t know as much, so it’s an important phase in their life where they can be the expert. The palaeontologists I speak to in this series are young, enthusiastic people who got inspired by films and books and made their own discoveries. So the thing I most hope for the series is that there will be young people watching and that they will be excited by what they see, too."
Do you have a favourite dinosaur?
Stephen says: "I always thought the diplodocus seemed friendly – it’s that instinct that animals that eat vegetation and grass are placid, whereas the sharp-toothed meat eaters are terrifying! But my favourite is the triceratops. It looks fearsome and armoured but, like the rhino, underneath it’s a very friendly, gentle creature. I’ve fed baby rhinos milk and become friends with them, and I feel like I could do that with a triceratops!"
Dinosaur with Stephen Fry episode guide
Below is our guide to all four episodes of Dinosaur with Stephen Fry...
Episode 1: Sunday February 12
In the series opener Stephen is transported back 155 million years to the Jurassic age when the dinosaurs grew into monsters. He meets a huge diplodocus and a deadly predator, the allosaurus. He learns how the diplodocus was able to rear up on its hind legs to feed in the treetops and tests the allosaurus’ bite. He also discovers how its colourful tail was used to attract a mate and how its sheer size helped fend off predators. "A diplodocus is absolutely massive, five times the size of an elephant," says Stephen. "It’s 6m high, that’s like a two-storey house, and 26m from tail to nose, which is like three double decker buses only longer!" Stephen also also unearths the fossilised remains of a nyasasaurus, the earliest dinosaur yet discovered, and learns how an allosaurus could open its axe-like jaw to an incredible 79 degrees, which allowed it to inflict large wounds on its prey.
Episode 2: Sunday February 19
Everyone remembers the terrifying Velociraptors made famous in the 1993 film Jurassic Park. But when Stephen Fry comes face-to-face with one in this week’s episode of Dinosaur, he discovers they’re nowhere near as scary as he thought! "The Velociraptor was a break out star of Jurassic Park, which featured a couple of the terrifying creatures teaming up to outwit their prey," says Stephen. "But the film exaggerated the Velociraptor’s size. They’re in fact the size of a turkey, and not quite the terrifying killing machines that Steven Spielberg brought to life!" Stephen’s exploring the next chapter in the dinosaurs’ story that takes place 125 million years ago in the early cretaceous period, which had a climate 10 degrees warmer than it is today. As well as the Velociraptor, he meets its much bigger cousin, the Utahraptor, named after the American state where it was discovered in a quarry in 1991. As tall as a grizzly bear and weighing as much as two grand pianos, the meat-eating raptor had feathers all over its body designed for elaborate courtship displays, as well as razor sharp teeth and claws to attack its prey. However, its superpower was its big brain, which it used to outfox its prey by hunting in packs – and Stephen gets to observe this remarkable behaviour by watching a family of CGI Utahraptors hunt down a large plant-eating Iguanadontid. "Compared to other dinosaurs the Utahraptor had a large brain for its size, which is evidence of far greater intelligence," says Stephen. "There’s some real sophistication with this species, like cooperation, communication and even a hierarchy. Evolution in the cretaceous period had produced one of the smartest and sharpest predators around!"
Episode 3: Sunday February 26
Stephen lands in the late cretaceous period, where he finally sets eyes on a deadly tyrannosaurus rex. He watches it hunting triceratops, scavenging and even mating, and tests out its immense bite force.
Episode 4: Sunday March 5
Dinosaurs last roamed earth 66 million years ago and Stephen joins them at end of their reign. He sees a triceratops fight off a T.rex and witnesses the three-horned creature’s softer side. But all good things must come to an end and Stephen witnesses the devastation caused when a white-hot asteroid crashed into earth.
More about Stephen Fry
Comedian and actor Stephen Fry starred in the 1980s series Blackadder, A Bit of Fry and Laurie (with Hugh Laurie) and The Young Ones. He went on to appear in series such as Jeeves and Wooster, Doctor Who and Kingdom plus films such as Gosford Park, Wilde, Alice in Wonderland, St Trinian’s and The Hobbit movies. He hosts the series QI and has narrated wildlife documentaries such as Ocean Giants and Hidden Kingdoms.
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I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.