Blue, Earth, Frozen, and now Perfect. No matter how many planets David Attenborough paints for us, we gaze at them more lovingly than ever before.
Attenborough is once again brightening up our Sunday nights with his new natural history selection, A Perfect Planet. Each episode of this five-part miniseries explores a force of nature that has allowed life to flourish on earth – we begin with volcanoes, before exploring the oceans, the sun, weather and humans.
And from the first episode, it’s downright perfect – the scenes of bears catching their first salmon of the year were beautiful, aerial shots of thousands of flamingo chicks tottering across the salt flats were wondrous, and the time-lapse of giant tortoises racing their way to the shade are joyous.
But nature is not so kind as to let it be all sunshine and furry friends.
Alongside the beauty of nature, there’s the brutality of it. Bloodsucking finches in the Galapagos, new mother iguanas scaling 800 metre craters and dodging landslides, and baby buffalo fleeing hyenas with hysterics. The most terrifying of them all, however, is the marabou storks. The image of them, with their beady eyes and low hanging throat sacks – which look exactly as you might imagine – nonchalantly plucking up helpless flamingo chicks and swallowing them whole, is sure to be etched in your mind for a while.
The Independent’s Sean O’Grady thinks “the cinematography is as awesome in scale and majesty as anything that has gone before,” and “the theme of the series is clever and novel,” striking the “delicate balance between entertainment and education.” In The Telegraph Anita Singh praises Sir David, who she says “always finds a fresh angle,” saying that despite the numerous docs before this one, “the quality of the photography was so exquisite, and the narration so spare and intelligent, that it was still required viewing.” The Times’ Carol Midgely clearly agrees, giving it a full five stars despite admitting the marabou scene was “the stuff of nightmares.”
First shown January 2021. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here: