Dinosaurs: The Final Day with David Attenborough: release date, trailer and how to watch new Tanis documentary

Dinosaurs: The Final Day with David Attenborough looks at the extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs, and the unique fossils that remain at Tanis

David Attenborough is presenting a new documentary about the extinction of the dinosaurs as part of BBC One’s Easter television line-up.

The feature-length special, Dinosaurs: The Final Day, will air on Good Friday at 6:30pm. It’s set to look at the new fossils found at the Tanis excavation site.

Here’s everything you need to know about Dinosaurs: The Final Day.

What is it about?

David Attenborough presents this feature-length piece about the last day of the dinosaurs, looking at how an asteroid devastated the planet and wiped the dinosaurs out.

With the help of some CGI trickery, Attenborough will walk amongst the dinosaurs as he details newly-found evidence from a prehistoric graveyard at the Tanis excavation site.

What is the Tanis site? Where is it?

The Tanis site is a prehistoric graveyard, essentially. The dinosaurs were wiped out when an asteroid hit Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula (which left the Chicxulub Crater) – the Tanis site is a bed of unusually well-preserved fossils in North Dakota, which is

What’s significant about those fossils is that they seem to record the events from the first few minutes after the asteroid hit, meaning they offer an essentially unique insight into how the extinction event unfolded.

Who appears in the documentary?

Attenborough of course presents, but he’s joined by a number of other palaeontologists and dinosaur experts.

Robert De Palma, who discovered the Tanis site, is one of the people that Attenborough speaks to as part of the documentary.

Phil Manning and Professor Paul Barrett, both from the Natural History Museum in London, appear in the documentary as well to contextualise and explain certain fossil findings.

Is there a trailer?

Not currently, but we’ll edit this page with an update as soon as one does become avaiable.

When and how can I watch it?

Dinosaurs: The Final Day is set to air on BBC One on Good Friday at 6:30pm. It’ll also be available to stream on iPlayer after its initial airing.

The special is ninety minutes long.

How did they get David Attenborough to walk with the dinosaurs?

Well, he’s a consummate professional, so they only had to ask – oh, no, wait, I see what you mean.

Rather than straightforward greenscreen, Dinosaurs: The Last Day was made using a special studio technology called The Volume, which projects the desired background using different LED lights. It’s been used before on The Mandalorian to make Pedro Pascal appear on different planets, and in How I Met Your Father to make it look like Hillary Duff was in New York.

The difference between greenscreen and The Volume is that the environment appears to exist for the people on the studio. As Attenborough explained to Discover Wildlife magazine, “When I walked into that studio the images were all already there, the back end of the studio was a forest on fire, and it was very, very impressive too. It’s quite unsettling suddenly to go in and see fire leaking through the frames of a forest that aren’t in the studio, but that’s what it looks like.”

Has David Attenborough got any other documentaries coming up that I should know about?

He does indeed! If you’ve enjoyed these recent dinosaur documentaries, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the ambitious five-part series Prehistoric Planet, coming to Apple TV+ on May 23. Attenborough teams up with Jon Favreau (The Mandalorian, The Lion King) in this expansive series that’ll see paleontologically realistic dinosaurs created with CGI.

Otherwise, Planet Earth III will arrive in October 2022 as part of the BBC Centenary celebrations. It’s been described as the most ambitious natural history programme ever made by the BBC.

Why should I watch Dinosaurs: The Final Day?

Because it’s got all of Attenborough’s usual charms on a feature length scale, and dinosaurs are absolutely fascinating – this series offers a rare look at how they lived and how they died.