Andy's Dinosaur Adventures

Monday 17 February 2014, 17:07

 Catherine Catherine Producer, CBeebies Grown-ups

 On Monday February 17th, Andy Day will be setting off on a brand new series of adventures, travelling back in time to millions of years ago to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Mark Jones, the producer of the series, dropped by to tell us exactly how you go about transporting a CBeebies presenter through time on a prehistoric adventure...

Andy's Dinosaur Adventures Andy Day is transported back in time to face a T-Rex in Andy's Dinosaur Adventures

Hi Mark! Can you tell us a bit about Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures?

 Andy is back for a brand new series of jaw-dropping adventures – only this time he’s going back in time to search for the dinosaurs that once roamed our planet.

Each adventure begins in the dinosaur gallery of the ‘National Museum’ where Andy works alongside the resident palaeontologist and all-round dinosaur expert, Hatty.

In each episode, Hatty is busy preparing a new dinosaur exhibit ready to show off to the children when the museum opens later that day. Andy arrives on the scene, eager to assist in the final preparations of the display. Something goes wrong which threatens the grand opening of the exhibit and it’s up to Andy to put it right.

Using the magic of the old museum clock Andy travels back in time, re-appearing in a land of dinosaurs, millions and millions of years ago…

And so begins an adventure into prehistoric time in which he comes face to face with the ‘live’ version of the dinosaur that the museum’s exhibit is based on. 

How did you transport Andy back to the time of dinosaurs so convincingly?

Andy’s interactions and encounters with the dinosaurs were made possible by extensive use of dinosaur archive, a green-screen studio and lots of visual effects!

We used footage from the 1999 series ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ which featured computer generated images (CGI) of dinosaurs set in a real world. After selecting the key dinosaur scenes from that series that we wanted Andy to appear in, we then filmed all his action in front of giant green screens at a studio near the BBC in Bristol. This is a technique used in television and film when it isn’t possible to do something for real. By filming him in front of green, we then have the ability to replace the green backdrop with anything we like – in this case, the dinosaur footage - making it look like Andy is part of that prehistoric scene. Our visual effects team then add any dust, water or other special effects to make the scene even more believable.

 What made you want to make a show about dinosaurs?

There is no doubt children hold a deep fascination with dinosaurs. They ruled our planet and their bones are scattered throughout museums around the world creating mystery and intrigue. Some were as tall as trees, others longer than 2 buses end to end, some swam in the oceans, others ruled the skies. We can only imagine what that world was like and bringing that world to the screen for our young audience was our goal.

 What do you hope children will get from the series?

Whilst it is a fun, mission-based adventure, the show is crammed with facts and visual memories along the way. Andy slides down the neck of the tallest animal to walk our planet, the brachiosaurus. And he watches baby diplodocus emerging from eggs buried underground for the very first time. Imagine that, an animal that grows as long as 2 double decker buses starts life in an egg! And given Andy is in most of the scenes and engaging with the audience all the way, I think children will take away an even deeper fascination, understanding and interest for dinosaurs.

 What did you enjoy most about making the show?

Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures is a lot of fun to make. We put Andy into all sorts of situations within the studio that if you take a step back from and take a look at what you’re doing, just makes you giggle. For this series, we bought in a harness flying rig from which we suspended Andy mid-air to simulate him flying. Over the course of the day he was performing mid-air forward rolls and even being lifted off the ground at great speed to simulate a diplodocus picking him up by the backpack. He’s such a fun great performer and enthusiastic presenter to work with and he brings every scene alive with his inimitable style. I admire him greatly because it takes incredible acting ability on his part; not only has he got to remember his lines but he’s got to imagine where the dinosaur might be in that scene and where he needs to walk to. He’s a genius and for me, it’s Andy who makes working on this show enjoyable.

Sounds like filming was a lot of fun! Do you have one memory that will stick with you from the making the series?

There was one occasion where we were recreating a beach scene whereby Andy meets a herd of Iguanodon and has to make a plaster copy of one of its footprints. To film this scene we went to an actual beach on a very windy day. It was a nightmare! Sand blew everywhere and our poor visual effects team were carrying around a portable green screen that kept blowing off down the beach. We’re still finding sand in our filming equipment even to this day! We got the shots though – a credit to our filming team. 

Do you have a favourite dinosaur?

Would have to be the T-rex. An incredible dinosaur, the ultimate meat eater on the planet!




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    Comment number 1.

    I've logged in for the first time to the BBC to congratulate you on a brilliant programme. We've bought all the dinosaur programmes from the BBC through iPlayer and this series is just a very clever mix. It's accessible, enjoyable and true to the subject matter. You should be very proud. All my kids (six, four and eighteen months) are enthralled. This will be on the digibox for a long long time. Well done all involved.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    I just wanted to say congratulations on Andy's Dinosaur Adventures. It is honestly one of the best children's programmes I have ever seen. It has the perfect balance of being informative, fun and exciting. My 4 1/2 year old son cannot get enough of dinosaur programmes and books, and is absolutely mesmerised by it. He comes away with more dinosaur facts, but also his questions have become much deeper on the back of it. Even my 2 1/2 year old daughter loves it. For once they are both requesting to watch the same programme. Andy Day is the perfect presenter for it, really impressive. Well Done!

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    I too logged in for the 1st time just to say that this is by far the best programme on cbeebies. Fantastic, well done, both my children 5.5 & 3.5 are glued to the this, in fact everyone in my son's class at school are talking about it. Educational and fascinating, Andy was the perfect man for the job!!! My son even remembers visiting that museum used. Well done team!

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    My son, aged 4, loves this series. We also play the android app and the pc game. Excellent that they have all come out together. Thanks Andy (and the team that made it possible).

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Wow!! Thank you BBC and well done on the best children's programme I've ever seen! My three year old son loves it. And it sure takes something to beat fireman Sam which was his Favourite for ages. He sings along to the theme tune and knows all the words. We have to watch it over and over again and its such a great programme i am happy to watch it and even enjoy it! And when we're not watching, we have to play at dinosaur adventures!! The programme in itself is so well made with excellent graphics, good storylines and it's very educational. My son and I are both learning things. Best


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