The Natural History Museum has collaborated with the BBC and Warner Bros on a documentary exploring the inspiration behind fictional creatures.

Hosted by Stephen Fry, ‘Fantastic Beasts: A Natural History’ includes specimens from the Museum and various scenes shot inside the location, including an interview between Fry and author J.K. Rowling in the museum’s Earth Sciences library.

Fantastic Beasts: A Natural History © BBC
Fantastic Beasts: A Natural History © BBC

The show was produced by BBC Studios Natural History alongside Warner Bros., owners of the Harry Potter franchise from which the documentary gets its name.

Fry said: “I think the stories of mythical beasts are so compelling because of their mixture of fear, dread, excitement and comfort.”

“This range of countervailing emotions are ones that mythology, story-telling, fairy-tales and more have always comforted and alarmed us with. We have sat in the caves, and now around our books and screens, glad to be safe, but needing to know about the dangers and the wonders out there in the wider world.

“We all need to remind ourselves of the astonishing achievements that evolution can make over huge amounts of time,’ he said.

“Following its simple rules, just as water follows gravity, it makes and remakes, shaping and reshaping living organisms to perfect them for tasks in ways that still astonish us.’

Fantastic Beasts: A Natural History is available via BBC iPlayer.

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