He didn’t take much convincing, though – just the white-lie the prehistoric creatures in this £12.5m show are real and a Pizza Express and he was ours for the afternoon.

The O2 Arena is packed, and we’ve bagged the enviable seats near the front. We go in with little knowledge of what’s in store, and come out astounded – simple puppets these are not.

The show is a two 45-minute halves of thrilling special effects and 20 life-sized dinosaurs, created by a team of renowned designers and specialists for the BBC-produced show.

The audience is taken on a journey courtesy of Huxley – a palaeontologist who guides us through the various periods of the dinosaurs’ 200-million-year reign.

He tells us about the huge beasts which wander around the stage – they’re eerily lifelike, with a profound attention to detail. My nephew is convinced they’re real.

The scenery around the set changes, as the dinosaurs evolve, with the likes of Utahraptors, Brachiosaurus and Ornithocheirus stomping and flying around the stage.

Oceans form, volcanoes erupt, a forest catches fire – all leading to the impact of the massive comet, which struck the earth, and forced their extinction.

The adults know where this is headed, but not before the entrance of the deadly beast the kids are here to see – the impressive Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Protecting its young, the gigantean creature picks a battle and wins, before the reign of these remarkable reptiles is over, with a spectacular bang.

The Arena Spectacular is brought to the UK by Global Creatures, headed by CEO Carmen Pavlovic, in association with BBC Worldwide.

Pavlovic said: “This show recreates the size and power of these fascinating creatures. It’s an awe-inspiring live event that
combines theatre arts and technology with a real insight into the lives of these remarkable reptiles.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing the show back to the UK so that all those who were too young the first time around, will now have the chance to see it.”

Informative and incredibly entertaining, and based on the BAFTA award-winning BBC TV series, Walking With Dinosaurs is a must-see – even if you can’t borrow a mate’s kid.

Walking With Dinosaurs is at the O2 Arena, London, from 26 Dec 2012 – 6 Jan 2013, followed by a nationwide arena tour.

For more info see www.dinosaurlive.com

Photos: David Scheinmann