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The Great Survivors 

This final episode explores the dinosaurs' extraordinary ability to survive. From the Magyarsaurus, which showed an amazing adaptation to island life, to the Nothronychus, a carnivore that ... See full summary »


John Hurt




Episode cast overview:
John Hurt ... Himself - Narrator (voice)


This final episode explores the dinosaurs' extraordinary ability to survive. From the Magyarsaurus, which showed an amazing adaptation to island life, to the Nothronychus, a carnivore that gave up meat eating. This astonishing capacity to evolve meant that dinosaurs not only spread throughout the world, but also, dominated life upon it for more than 160 million years. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

19 October 2011 (UK) See more »

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Did You Know?


The Bradycneme is a reused Troodon model from earlier episodes. This is completely speculative, since so little has been found of this dinosaurs that no one knows what it looked like. Scientists argue whether it was a troodontid like this show proposes, or a different type of dinosaur altogether, like an alvarezsaur (small, birdlike dinosaurs with only a single hand-claw) or a more basal kind of carnivorous dinosaur. See more »

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User Reviews

Survival of the dinosaurs
1 June 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Have always been fascinated by dinosaurs, whether reading about them or seeing documentaries and films on them. Love documentaries, especially those of the national treasure that is David Attenborough, and admire to love a lot of the late John Hurt's filmography. So my expectations for 'Planet Dinosaur' were quite big and that's an understatement.

Expectations that were actually mostly lived up to, a good thing for me having seen my fair share of wastes of potential recently. 'Planet Dinosaur' is not one of the best documentaries personally seen (far from it), and there are better ones on the subject of dinosaurs. It is also not as ground-breaking as 'Walking with Dinosaurs', as far as dinosaur documentaries go, still a big achievement to this day. Standing on its own without comparing it to anything, 'Planet Dinosaur' was very interesting and mostly very well done.

The series started off well with "Lost World". The flawed but very good standard continues in the final episode "The Great Survivors" like it did with all the previous episodes.

By all means, "The Great Survivors" isn't perfect. The dinosaur effects are stiff, hasty-looking and lack finesse, though there are some grand ones. At times, it gets a bit repetitive which was something that was seen throughout 'Planet Dinosaur', but particularly the previous episode "New Giants" and here.

It sometimes is on the biased side, rather than a multi-dimensional picture of the dinosaurs they can be described in a certain way and viewpoint and one is not offered another, there is more to the predators than what is sometimes said about them here.

However, when it comes to how it's written, "The Great Survivors" does just as good a job entertaining and teaching, it's all very sincerely done and it never feels like a sermon. There are things here that are common sense and knowledge but one is taught a huge deal as well.

John Hurt's (RIP) narration delivery is similarly spot-on, very sensitively delivered and very dignified in a distinctively John Hurt way. Bias aside, the narration is comprehensive and sincere, with a good balance of things known to me and things new to me (really like it when documentaries do that), as well as compelling.

Visually, "The Great Survivors" may lack the awe-inspiring, almost cinematic quality one anticipates. With that being said, it is beautifully shot, shot in a fluid and non-static way. The sceneries and landscapes can be beautiful but also they can be at other times they can be rendered a bit flatly, would have been better with the real settings.

"The Great Survivors" is appropriately scored, never intrusive or too low-key. There is fun, tension and pathos throughout and the dinosaurs, prey and predator, are like characters that one cares for in the same way they do a human. The fossil evidence, very well researched and grounded rather than speculative, and the science, which in no way sounds like gibberish or like it was made up as they went along (a lot of homework was done in this regard) are also notable assets.

Overall, very good though with flaws that stop it from being great. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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