Krakatoa – The Last Days, BBC1

by | May 7, 2006 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

While we were mightily impressed by the look of this re-enactment of the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, it crashed into the crevice between the two stalls of drama and documentary.

What was good about it?

• The focus on four characters who were caught up in the disaster that killed more the 36,000 people – Dutch colonialist Willem Beijerinck plus his family (he survived by tying himself to a tree; they survived by hiding in a wardrobe); scientist Rogier Verbeek (he survived by being away from the main area of destruction); lighthouse keeper Jacob Schuit (he died as the lighthouse was swamped by a 40-foot wave, but his wife survived because she was out trying to find the family’s dog); and Captain Lindeman (he survived after tying himself to the wheel of his steamship as he saved the lives of the odious passengers and the shackled coolies below deck)

• Every special effect was convincing, from the tsunami tearing up villages to the ash shower that rained down on the survivors

• We love Rupert Penry-Jones and he was the star of the show as the colonialist with a heart. Even when smothered in ash and with much of his skin burnt, he looked hot, literally and figuratively.

• Darrell D’Silva as the captain, Ramon Tikaram as Beijerinck’s loyal sidekick Tokaya and Olivia Williams as Beijerinck’s wife also stood out.

What was bad about it?

• We needed to watch the accompanying BBC2 documentary to really get to grips with the science of vulcanology.

• The BBC is making a too many of these reconstructions of destruction, picking up ratings from other people’s misery.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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