12 Sep 2009

Htrae Tenalp



Everybody knows that nature rocks. Everybody knows that over the last few years the BBC has produced some stunning documentaries about the natural world and millions of species that inhabit it. Planet Earth and Blue Planet are just two examples of programmes that were as fascinating as they were accessible.

So having read some of the hype for their new headline nature series, Lost Land Of The Volcano, I started to prepare the edge of my seat. The premise was simple. A bunch of scientists go into an unchartered jungle within a dormant volcano in New Guinea. Within the jungle they were to find kangaroos in trees, frogs with fangs, giant rats and tiny parrots.

WTF!!! After fifteen minutes of the show there no sign of any animal. Instead it was awash with dramatic scores, swooshing helicopters and all the scientists pushing and shoving to get on screen. This sadly continued for the whole hour.

There was Professor Abs who used any excuse to take his shirt of and show a ridiculously action-man moulded torso. A cameraman who took his role too literally and filmed himself constantly. An insane sounding Scottish insect expert who came across like a Super Gran desparate for validation. All wanting to be stars. All wanting to be a 21st Century David Attenborough. It was like variety show for phd's.

Of course the real stars are always the animal and plant life. And that's what Attenborough understood. When he was narrating or presenting he always made sure that he informed the viewer without becoming the central figure. That was for the swimming monkey, the lizard with no eyes, the buffalo gobbling alligator and the Lake Congo midgies.

Lost Land Of The Volcano was in reality the reverse of The Planet Earth series. For 45 mins it was the wonder of the natural world. Then we got a interesting fifteen minute insight to how the captured some of the most amazing clips. Lost Land Of The Volcano had a similar ratio but in favour of the fame hungry scientists.

What we really need is a new show. Cloning Attenborough.

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