The nation’s grandfather is back on screen. David Attenborough’s dulcet tones are once again blessing us in his new documentary, Extinction: The Facts airing on the BBC.
As he has taken to doing in recent years, David – or should we say grandpa – is here to deliver some hard truths, this time regarding alarming extinction rates and our planet’s plummeting biodiversity. Nobody can put fire up our environmental arses quite like David Attenborough. Of course, he does it in the most beautiful and yet heart breaking way possible. We are told the stories of the last two remaining white rhinos on Earth, monkeys desperately trying to escape a forest fire, and whales caught up in fishing nets. At times, it’s almost too painful to watch. But, we guess that’s the point. The show doesn’t only show how our reckless consumption causes damages to our wildlife, but also how it hurts ourselves, too. The coronavirus pandemic is referenced multiple times, as experts explain how the destruction of nature led to the virus spreading. It is completely not without joy, though. This vitally important film ends with a slice of hope, as we see how gorilla populations in Rwanda are thriving after continued conservation efforts.
Carol Midgley in The Times called the programme “devastating TV”, and compared David Attenborough to “a sad prophet…telling us what we’ve done.” However, she praised the uplifting ending, which she says, “showed how nature can bounce back if we just stop voraciously consuming and give it a chance.” In The Guardian, Amelia Gentleman praised the documentary by saying it is “a heartbreaking hour, but essential television.” The importance of this film is also noted by The Telegraph’s Anita Singh, who calls it a “stark warning,” but questions “Will Attenborough’s intervention make us sit up and listen?”
First shown September 2020. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.