The Ballad of Big Al (distributed as Allosaurus: a Walking with Dinosaurs Special) is a combination biography-sequel for Walking with Dinosaurs . It focuses on an Allosaurus named Big Al and his constant struggle to survive in a world filled with danger.
The special begins at the University of Wyoming, showing the bones of a sauropod followed by an Allosaurus named Big Al. The film then travels back in time, to Al's birth date.We see him and his siblings, hatch while his mother gently gets them out of their nest. Then we watch as Big Al attempts to catch dragonflies. He jumps at one, misses, and falls into a small pond. That evening the mother Allosaurus hunts for food but a several month old Allosaurus kills one of Al's siblings. 2 years later Al is now looking for meat from reptiles and dinosaurs. For now it is more recomended to eat the small lizards because the dinosaurs he will hunt later on in his life have strong defences. Stegosaurus has lethal thagomizers on his tail, Othnielia and Dryosaurus have about the same speed as a modern day gazelle and can take shelter under neath a Stegosaurus, small carnivourous dinosaurs like Ornitholestes can injure a young Allosaurus and adult sauropods like Brachiosaurus, Apatosaurus and Diplodocus are invincible but only their young and the weak adults are targets. After failing to hunt Dryosaurus, Al finally gets food, a medium sized lizard. Al finds a death trap later on with a dead Stegosaurus and a recent Allosaurus that is close to death, he then sees an adult female Allosaurus which then becomes trapped due to the carcass of the stegosaur. This makes Al avoid carrion in an area like this, by evening the 2 Allosaurus die while the pterosaurs Anurognathus scavenge safely because they have great flying skills but can be killed by the trap if knocked down by another Anurognathus. 3 years later Al is 5 years but only 2 years before he is fully grown. He and other Allosaurus follow a herd of Diplodocus in an Salt Flat that will one day become Utah. They see that one Diplodocus is sick and then they chase the other Diplodocus away from the weakling. Al gets too close to the sauropod which knocks him down with it's long neck. After a few hours the sauropod dies of its illness and heat exhaustion. They all get their meat but soon the arrival of an adult female Allosaurus drives Al away from the carcass, female Allosaurus are far more powerful and larger than males. Al takes a large chunk of flesh and then moves away. A year passes by, and Al is shown drinking at a pond. His presence however makes others around the pond nervous and the smell of blood he brings with him puts off a pair of Stegosaurus who were attempting to mate. Away from the pond, he discovers the scent of a female Allosaurus. She is not interested, but the inexperienced Al gets too close. She finally injures his right arm, deforms his right claw, and breaks his ribs, though Al is lucky enough to escape with his life. Later the dry season comes, and Al is attempting to hunt a flock of Dryosaurus. Whilst ambushing them, he trips on a log and badly breaks something in his right foot. As the dry season turns to a drought, Al's limp from the fall gets worse and his right middle toe -which he broke in the fall- has become badly infected. Soon, unable to hunt, he dies in a dried-up riverbed, where two hatchling Allosaurus are hunting for bugs and come across his emaciated carcass.
He is said not to have reached full size, dying as a mature adolescent and his fossilisation preserved even his injuries including lumps where his ribs healed and the raging infection on the toe!
- Big Al was an actual Allosaurus. He was discovered near Shell, Wyoming and had 95% of it's skeleton intact.
- The Ballad Of Big Al won two 2001 Emmy Awards including Adelphoi Music Ltd's Andrew Sherriff and Ashley Bates for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Non-Fiction Program.
- The American version was renamed Allosaurus: A Walking with Dinosaurs Special, along with combining the evidence with Al's life. Also they took out the one of the trapped Allosaurus and the birds and reptiles behavior, and shots of Al living in the 21st Century.
- A children's book was made, called Allosaurus! The Life and Death of Big Al, and it differs from both the American and UK versions in some aspects.