This one features flying squirrels leaping from tree to tree, millions of fruit bats begin attacked by eagles and crocodiles, lemurs being hunted by the fossa a large, arboreal, killer mongoose , and a slender loris that looks slow and unthreatening until it grabs a mantis in a flash and tears it in two. A blind shrimp digs burrows that a goby inhabits, while the goby keeps watch and rescues the shrimp when it wanders astray. Highlight: Another tie, between chimps working as a team to kill a colobus monkey, and killer whales beaching themselves to capture sea lions. Episode 1 : Life on Camera Sir David Attenborough gives his unique perspective on over half a century of innovation in wildlife filmmaking - developments that have brought ever more breathtaking and intimate images of wildlife to our television screens, changing our view of life on the planet forever. The first time was over lunch, where he and paleontologist Richard Fortey competitively classified the items in the seafood platter. I learned something new, that the schooling behaviour of anchovies is indeed very effective against predators. If I was to pick any moment from any of the 79 episodes that truly, indelibly blew my mind, it would be the aerial shot of gibbons, recklessly rocketing through the canopy.
On his way down, he shows how the jungle changes in layers. Hence the low ranking for this episode, a perfectly decent tour of human physical and cultural evolution, from bipedalism to stone tools to literature. The creatures chosen are each bizarre and entertaining but ones I have seen before. A killer whale beaching itself to hunt sea lions in Argentina. Highlight: Attenborough goes fishing in the Amazon, sort of. Meanwhile, the female lacebug guard her nymphs against spiders, and Mexican free-tailed bat parents somehow find their youngsters amid a crowded, cacophonous cave ceiling. He meets extinct terror birds, kiwis bumbling along a New Zealand beach in search of sandhoppers, and one of the 80 remaining takahes a kind of blue coot.
Attenborough count: 10, including holding fossil scales that he just picked up in Australia; standing between the open jaws of the enormous and very extinct megalodon shark; swimming in the Great Barrier Reef Attenborough-in-a-T-shirt sighting! Attenborough count: 6, including watching frigate bird males inflating their red chest balloons; looking at albatrosses fencing with their beaks; and spying on the surprisingly complicated sex lives of the seemingly dull hedge sparrow. Termites, with neither plan not intellect, build air-conditioning systems. Meanwhile, the New Zealand lesser short-tailed bats spend a third of their time scurrying through the leaf litter and grabbing crickets. Still, this sequence taught me that parasites can be incredible puppeteers—. A mummified crabeater seal has been lying there for about 3,000 years. Through that one rash act of overfishing 30 years ago, Peru has lost anchovies, cormorants, guano, and sea fish. Highlight: That first shot of Attenborough talking straight into the camera about evolution.
Those include the Gila monster, a venomous lizard; the Dorcas gazelle, which can survive without ever drinking; and the sidewinder viper, throwing its coils forward, so that only two parts of its body ever touch the sand at any one time. It was a risk: Plants are fascinating but not necessarily visually so. However, the bats came to battle the birds and soon a three-way aerodynamic war existed. Highlight: A long panning shot of a king penguin creche and its 50,000 chicks, ending on a delighted Attenborough sitting among them. A ploughshare tortoise upends its rival and mates with a female, with a frankly disturbing amount of grunting and thrusting. A male sea louse spends three months assembling a harem in his burrow before mating them whenever they molt.
From there, we get the now-familiar coterie of African hunting dogs, cheetahs, and wolves. But then the mammals managed to lift themselves up, like the nocturnal bats. They live in the same sort of social groups, and form permanent family relationships. Also, the episode and the series ends with a nod to population control, a topic that has increasingly occupied Attenborough , and has occasionally. Some, like the swans, could gracefully fly at 30mph as David Attenborough shows when he tracks their progress on a boat. Attenborough count: 6, including being startled by a trapdoor spider; looking at the triangular bungee web of Hyptyotes; and standing in a cave lit by thousands of glow-worms.
A pangolin—a cross between an anteater and an artichoke—trundles along on two legs. Attenborough count: 4, including watching squabbling vultures; holding up a set of moose antlers; and trolling a territorial hummingbird with a stuffed hummingbird. As it bounds over rocks, Attenborough turns to the camera and beams. A green turtle lies on a bed of corals as scuba divers swim nearby off the Malaysian island of Sipadan in the Celebes Sea. I think this crosses a line. Highlight: Not content to peruse an owl nest, Attenborough sticks his head and torch into a rocky den, and comes face-to-face with a black bear and her cubs. Attenborough count: 8, including discussing the communication skills of bottlenose dolphins, while three captive ones squeak behind him as if on cue.
Highlight: Attenborough rates the sequence where he and his film crew meets the uncontacted Biami tribe of New Guinea as one of his , although four decades on, it feels uncomfortable. Meanwhile, a female chinchilla rejects a suitor by squirting urine in face, a female cockroach drags her mate around by his genitals, and a female jacana a long-toed bird that walks on lily pads coerces a male into sex and then destroys his clutch. Attenborough count: 6, including scuba-diving while being circled by reef sharks and ducking nervously; and standing on a shore in Canada as a pod of hundreds of belugas swim past him. Sped up, their fights turn out to be an unexpectedly thrilling clash of stinging tentacles. The tiny spider Argyrodes steals food right from the web of the comparably gigantic Nephila, by cutting the ensnaring silk and lowering the goods to safety. Social spiders collectively weave huge tree-top webs.
He survives to recap on the history of flight, with the insects taking to the air around 300 million years ago, before the reptilian pterosaurs arrive and grow to gigantic sizes. Its sequences are shorter, perhaps due to the constraints of 1970s filmography, but it compensates by showing a wider variety of species to greater effect. A blue whale surfaces to breathe in an undated picture from the U. It shows how amazing the lyrebird is at mimicry, but it also explicitly misleads us. Attenborough count: 7, including using electrodes to signal to electric eels; watching European eels return to their natal rivers; and getting pecked in the head by an Arctic tern. From these feathered flyers evolved the birds, who survived the K-Pg mass extinction. And why do they behave the way they do? He revisits key places and events in his filming career, reminisces with his old photos and reflects on memorable wildlife footage - including him catching a komodo dragon and swimming with dolphins.