THE most infamous disasters I can recall all happened in the 1980s: the King’s Cross fire, the Piper Alpha explosion, Bradford, Hillsborough ... the horrific list goes on, but we could at least comfort ourselves by saying the much-maligned “health and safety culture” had put a stop to such tragedies. Grenfell Tower showed how wrong we were.

But when it comes to natural disasters we’re lucky enough to live in a geologically boring part of the world, relatively untroubled by tidal waves, volcanoes and earthquakes.

Tonight, the excellent Timewatch series returns with Professor Danielle George trawling through the BBC archives to see how the media covered, and created documentaries about, disasters across the world. It looks at the ever-changing theories about Atlantis and Pompeii, and asks how film-makers keep up with this evolving science, before asking if Britain was hit by a tidal wave 400 years ago.


WHEN it comes to dogs, I’m as bad as one of those steadfast creationists who refuses to believe we’re descended from apes. I look at my daft wee spaniel, with his big eyes, silky ears and gentle paws, and wonder how on Earth he can be descended from a wolf. And how can a chihuahua be connected to a St Bernard?

In this new three-part series, biologist Patrick Aryee goes around the world to explore “the canine family tree”, meeting different dogs in different cultures, and using some easy science to explain how we got from big bad wolf to a wee bundle of fur who wants his tummy tickled.

Aryee visits Mongolia and Canada to ask how our ancestors used dogs, and their journey from wild animal to man’s best friend – or whatever cute names you call your dog when no-one is around.