UCL News


Krakatoa on TV

5 May 2006

Experts from UCL Earth Sciences and UCL Dutch provided invaluable advice and research to BBC programme makers on two programmes about the Krakatoa volcano eruption of 1883.

The two programmes, 'Krakatoa, the Last Days', a drama drawing on eye witness accounts, and 'Krakatoa Revealed', a documentary about the volcano, were screened on 7 May 2006.

Professor Bill McGuire, Director of the Benfield Hazard Research Centre and an expert on volcanoes, acted as series consultant for both the drama and the documentary: "Krakatoa was one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history, more than 36,000 people died, mainly through the effects of the tsunami. The documentary discusses not only this but the probability of similar-sized or even larger-scale eruptions happening in other parts of the world."

Reinier Salverda, Professor of Dutch Language and Literature and an expert in Dutch colonial history of Indonesia, acted as historical consultant to the drama: "At the time of the eruption the Dutch colonial administration charged one of its geological engineers, Dr Verbeek, to head an official enquiry. His story forms the backbone of the film's narrative, but other Dutch eyewitnesses also figure prominently and add much to the dramatic impact."

The Krakatoa disaster was the biggest volcanic tsunami disaster in recorded history. It happened in 1883 off the coast of Java in what was then the Dutch East Indies. The eruption emitted the loudest bang ever recorded and was heard from as far away as Sydney and Bombay. The eruption also had a major impact on the world's weather for the subsequent 18 months.

To find out more about the programmes, use the links at the bottom of this article.