News | Thursday, 14th May 2015

Professor ‘decodes’ disasters for new TV show

Scientific consultant role for National Geographic

Scientific consultant: Professor Martyn Amos

A Manchester Metropolitan University professor has helped to ‘decode’ the danger behind catastrophic life-and-death situations for a new TV series launched in the UK this week.

Prof Martyn Amos, of the Department of Computing and Mathematics, served as the scientific consultant to ‘Danger Decoded’, a show analysing a series of shocking real-life disasters.

The programme will be aired in more than 170 countries on the prestigious National Geographic Channel.

Viewers are invited to analyse incidents captured on film, weighing-up alternative scenarios and trying to predict the outcome before each event unfolds.


Jaw-dropping footage in the series features a base jumping accident, a helicopter stunt that goes badly wrong, and a drag racing fireball.

Prof Amos said: “It was a fantastic experience; I had to discuss the plausibility - or otherwise - of possible scenarios, explain the science behind what actually happened, advise on the wording of the script and provide scientific credentials to the production.

“National Geographic are completely watertight on scientific accuracy, so we often went through several rounds of citing and sourcing to back up the statements we were making in the script.

“It was great fun. I got an excellent insight into how TV shows are commissioned and produced, and coming up with scientific analysis for often bizarre situations was sometimes quite a challenge.”

Scientific rigour

The series features 80 clips over 12 episodes, and was produced by MediaCityUK-based Shine North using computer-generated imagery from another Manchester firm, Flipbook Studios.

The managing director of Shine North, Alex Connock, is on the advisory board of Manchester Metropolitan University’s Digital Innovation operation, and called on the University’s expertise to provide scientific rigour for the show.

You can watch of clips of the scenarios at the National Geographic website

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