Whether it’s Sharknado, The Meg, Five Headed Shark Attack or Sharktopus, the “sharksploitation” movie genre is alive and kicking and shows no sign of stopping. But sharks aren’t nearly so monstrous as Hollywood portrays. What is it about sharks that keeps viewers coming back for more? And how might scientists influence Hollywood to paint sharks in a better light? Science writer Jules Howard talks to BBC presenter Professor Ben Garrod, science communicator Hana Ayoob, and shark scientist at Manchester University, Guuske Tiktak.
The panel will take a look at the current crop of shark films, including some of the more ridiculous and outlandish shark films of recent years. They’ll then take a look at shark biology. Can some of the things that sharks achieve in films really be possible? What is the hunting behaviour of sharks in the wild? What are the actual statistics of shark attacks on humans? How much more complex are their actual wild behaviours, compared to the dead-eyed killing machines that we see in films?
They’ll then look at the status of sharks. What are the statistics for shark declines? What are the main human-induced threats? Which species are most directly affected by humans? What are the challenges of monitoring the declines of shark species? Which shark species might we lose?
And finally, the panel will try to weigh up whether sharksploitation films make a positive or a negative impact on shark conservation. Are they a help or a hindrance? Does their portrayed brutality in films make us less guilty about their demise or more knowledgeable and more sensitive to their plight?
Please note that Catalina Pimiento is no longer able to attend.
Jules is a UK-based zoology correspondent, author, science-writer and broadcaster. He writes for The Guardian, BBC Wildlife Magazine and is a BBC Science Focus columnist. His books include Sex on Earth, Death on Earth, Bones and Prehistoric Creatures of the Order.
Monday 21 October
Venue: Stage Two, Norwich Theatre Royal
Cost: £5 per person
Tickets will go off sale at 7pm the night before the event. For events at The Forum and Sir Isaac Newton, any remaining tickets will be available for sale on the day of the event at our ticket desk in the Atrium. For events at other venues, remaining tickets will be available to purchase, cash only, on the door 30 mins before the start time.