Review: Planet Earth

By Mof Gimmers

Most people in TV have a reverse Midas touch, turning promising programmes into absolute rubbish. So just how refreshing was it to have the master back on the box flooring all in his wake?

Let’s get this straight from the offing. There was absolutely nothing about Planet Earth, narrated by the man, the cheech, the wizard David Attenborough, which was normal or pedestrian.

Last night’s offering was about mountain ranges, which are just aching to be filmed. The major coup for Planet Earth is that they’ve got the best gear and the best camera ops in the world to capture shots that, in all honesty, left your reviewer flailing around on the floor gushing litres of spittle in complete disbelief.

Add to this, images of creatures so rare and seldom seen, that you’ll probably stand a better chance of staring at your own arse in close proximity.

Sunday night is made for programming like this.

One scintillating segment saw a snow leopard in a high speed chase with a… huge goat thing… down a sheer mountain drop. Where mere mortals would fear to tread without the use of crampons, the leopard and prey attacked the terrain with complete ease at incredible velocity in blinding snow. Quite simply the most riveting piece of TV ever shown. Ever. Really.

Also proffered for our now slack runny jaws was the incredibly moving image of a lonely panda mothering her cub. One thought ran through the mind however. The want for pandas to get on with evolving. They only eat food that a) doesn’t really do them any good. Much like someone existing only on penny chews; and b) makes their milk so un-nutritious that panda babies are lucky to stay alive after a year of existence. Not only this, but they don’t hibernate (largely down to the fact they such a poor diet) and sit around looking very, very solemn with those big black eyes.

If there is something that Attenborough positively excels at, it is his ability to relay the huge tasks that befall the animal kingdom. There must have been cheering with arms punching in the air when the Chinese crane’s finally managed to get through the incredibly hostile weather, attacks from golden eagles and savage turbulence to fly over (yes, over) Mount Everest. It is Lord Dave’s breathtaking commentary that really draws you in to the plight of the animals involved, and ultimately makes the viewer understand just how delicate the balance between thriving and certain starvation.

So, rare animals shot in never seen behaviours, the trials of migrating birds, and insanely great shot of avalanches travelling at speeds of 250mph. It’s worth noting that some of the footage gained by the brave/stupid cameramen took over three years to collate. You should be thanking these people. They bring you the most stunning TV show ever, at their peril, whilst you sit and chew cud.

There you have it… Attenborough, the only man on your TV set who can turn otherwise sane people into gibbering slack jawed hippies. For those of you sorry that you missed it, fear not. This show is repeated next Saturday at tea time.

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