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A Good Planet assessment: Attenborough’s new present is one in every of his finest

Over 1.5 million flamingos gather on the soda flats of Lake Natron in northern Tanzania

Over 1.5 million flamingos collect on the soda flats of Lake Natron in northern Tanzania

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A Good Planet
From three January 2021

Cryogenic frogs and blood-sucking finches are among the many many exceptional animals to star in David Attenborough’s newest collection, A Good Planet, which examines what made Earth so excellent for all times. How was it that all the things concerning the planet – together with its dimension, spin and tilt, distance from the solar and even its moon – was completely suited to internet hosting and nurture life? A lot in order that it’s (most likely) the one planet to host life.

Working with the workforce that created Netflix’s Our Planet, the brand new five-part collection A Good Planet appears on the most influential pure forces, together with daylight and ocean currents, that create the perfect circumstances to create and assist life. It additionally shares some fascinating tales concerning the animals that profit from them.


From the distant volcanic islands of the Galapagos to the clear blue waters of tropical atolls, and from the sand dunes of the Sahara to the frozen world of the Arctic, A Good Planet pushes the boundaries of film-making to seize beforehand unseen photos.

The collection begins with one of the essential of these nurturing/inventive forces: volcanoes. They created land, introduced carbon dioxide into the ambiance, and, as Attenborough reminds us, life wouldn’t have began with out them.

Opening pictures function vibrant footage of flamingos nesting across the corrosive waters that encompass an lively volcano in Tanzania. A memorable but haunting scene present flocks of chicks, unable to fly, making an attempt to keep away from predation from marabou storks as they trek throughout the muddy plains to fulfill their mother and father within the freshwater springs the place they hunt for meals.

Probably the most fascinating tales come from the Galapagos. There’s a pregnant iguana making a dangerous descent right into a crater to put eggs within the sizzling ash the place they’ll incubate. Then there are the vampire finches, one of many world’s most not too long ago found species, which feast on the blood of seabirds that use the island as a pit cease, and are accustomed to this behaviour – which can have its origins in some type of symbiotic pact.

Unseen wonders

The episode strikes on to Yellowstone Nationwide Park, the place we see the just about cartoonish makes an attempt of a coyote stealing fish from river otters, after which to the Serengeti with the standard chase between predator and prey, on this case hyenas and wildebeest.

Beginning with one of the fascinating scenes of the collection, the second episode, which focuses on the ability of the solar, appears contained in the world of figs within the tropical rainforest. We see the marginally disturbing and complicated relationship between the fruit and the fig wasps, a few of which die inside a fig, whereas others die after they emerge from it.

Solar additionally brings the heat of spring, even to the Arctic circle, the place wooden frogs “defrost”: after mendacity apparently frozen within the ice through the winter, a frog’s blood is warmed by the solar, and it awakens, able to spring into motion.

Within the intense warmth of the Sahara desert, we see how one of many quickest animals on the earth, the silver ant, avoids boiling from solar in quest of meals, and in China, hungry golden snub-nosed monkeys battle for meals to outlive the winter. It additionally exhibits the beautiful transformation of forests as they flip from emerald inexperienced to gold throughout autumn.

The ultimate scene is an actual spotlight as shearwaters from New Zealand put together to make a 16,000-kilometre flight throughout the Pacific Ocean to observe the solar north to Alaska, as they chase summer season across the globe. These heat waters permit plankton to thrive, making a welcome meal for tens of millions of hungry shearwaters and the humpback whales which have additionally travelled afar to observe the heat.

Maybe the collection’ most dramatic scenes are within the episode on the climate, which restates the message we will’t hear too usually: that local weather change is disturbing the secure climate patterns animals depend on. Child big river turtles are drowning within the Amazon as a result of the wet season now comes too early, and the dry seasons are too dry. Bee-eaters that nest within the banks of rivers in Zambia now face seeing their nests collapse as the warmth intensifies and dries them out, whereas many animals wrestle to search out water. Even within the Gobi desert, the place snow could be discovered, wild camels should make lengthy journeys in quest of this supply of water.

A Good Planet is a superb mix of pure historical past and earth science, making it one in every of Attenborough’s finest initiatives. This distinctive expertise is certain to make us suppose extra about how pure forces have formed the planet to permit life to flourish and to make us query the dimensions of human affect on it.

Article amended on
15 January 2021

We’ve got corrected the picture caption.

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