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New film being made about the life of famous palaeontologist Mary Anning

A new film is being made about the life of palaeontologist Mary Anning who made groundbreaking fossil discoveries on the coast of Dorset. Photo: ITV News

A new film is being made about the life of palaeontologist Mary Anning who made groundbreaking fossil discoveries on the coast of Dorset.

Her name isn't perhaps as well known as it should be as, when she was working in the 19th century, women rarely received the recognition they deserved.

Now the film, Mary Anning and the Dinosaur Hunters, aims to put that right.

In the early 1800s, she scoured the beaches of Dorset finding evidence of marine reptiles which shook the scientific community. Credit: Mermade Films

Mary Anning made some of the most important geological discoveries of all time.

In the early 1800s, she scoured the beaches of Dorset finding evidence of marine reptiles which shook the scientific community.

Film maker Sharon Sheehan speaking to our reporter Bow Cruwys. Credit: ITV News

Sharon Sheehan was inspired by the story of Mary Anning. As a child she hunted for fossils herself with her family and she passed the bug on to her own children, bringing them to the beach at Lyme Regis.

She made some of the most significant finds and Darwin's Origin of Species was largely influenced by her work and her finds but a lot of these women from that time did go unrecognised because they weren't really allowed to be a member of these societies, the Geological Society.

They'd have the finds certainly but they were not allowed to receive any sort of recognition or write the papers and Mary was perfectly capable of writing scientific papers but she wasn't taken seriously.

I took my daughter to fossil here and at the time she was fossiling in a dress rather than her jeans that she should use. I said to her "Whoever fossils in a dress?" and she said "Mary Anning" and I thought "touché".

– Sharon Sheehan, Film maker
Sharon's daughter Katharine is now playing the part of Mary Anning in the film alongside Jenny Agutter. Credit: Mermade Films

Sharon's daughter Katharine is now playing the part of Mary Anning in the film alongside Jenny Agutter.

Mary Anning's name is well enough known in Lyme Regis. There is a blue plaque on the town's museum which stands on the site of her home and a new wing built in her name opened earlier this year.

The first Ichthyosaur which was found by Mary Anning and her brother Joseph. Credit: ITV News

There are several fossils she found on display at the museum - the first Ichthyosaur which was found by Mary Anning and her brother Joseph in 1811.

The real thing is in the Natural History Museum. The one at the Lyme Regis Museum is a cast but it was found in Dorset.

There is a reason they call it the Jurassic Coast and the whole film has been shot on location in Lyme Regis.

It really can't be anywhere else. If you look at the Golden Cap, majestic in the background. It's almost intoxicating. It's just stunning and also the spectacular backdrop here of Dorset. What could be better?

It's Hardy country and we hope that the film will bring to Dorset what Poldark has done for Cornwall in tourism and business and that would be a great by-product of the film.

– Sharon Sheehan, Film maker

The film is not yet finished. They still need to find more funding but are hoping it will be released in cinemas next summer.

It is hoped that the film will be in cinemas next summer. Credit: Mermade Films