Planet Earth: ‘the best TV series ever made’

Slow swimmer: The world’s 80 pygmy sloths all live on an island off the coast of Panama. © BBC

The final episode of David Attenborough’s wildly popular Planet Earth II was shown on Sunday. Is it just a bit of fun, or do programmes like this make a difference to how we see the world?

What’s happening

Bigger, scarier and more expensive than ever before, Sir David Attenborough’s nature documentaries have come back to British television screens in the last month. The last episode was about cities and how animals survive among humans. Attenborough is now 90, so this could be his last series.

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What we have seen in the last six weeks includes Komodo dragons fighting and a baby iguana trying to escape a swarm of snakes, all in better quality than ever before.

The first series of Planet Earth, which came out in 2006, was the first nature programme to be filmed in high definition. It was also the most expensive wildlife show ever put on by the BBC.

Ten years on and Planet Earth II has gone even further: it has used new technologies developed since the first series, such as ultra high definition (4K) and drones.

Planet Earth II has been called ‘the best series ever’. Attenborough’s programmes encourage many people to become interested in animals. It is hoped that the series will help humans better understand their fellow creatures.

Some say…

Attenborough’s programmes are great TV, but they are no more than that. A short clip of a jaguar attacking a caiman is not typical of the lives of animals. It is like only watching the goals from a football match. Conservation comes from years of hard work: people will watch Planet Earth II, enjoy it, and then quickly forget it.

Others think…

What a load of nonsense. The great thing about Attenborough’s documentaries is that they combine fun and education. What better way to make people aware of a dying species than to show them on a programme watched by over ten million people? Thanks to Attenborough millions of people are well-informed about the natural world.

You Decide

  1. Can Planet Earth II make a difference to how we treat nature?

Activities

  1. Research your favourite animal and give a presentation about it to your class.

Some People Say...

“We are a plague on the earth.”

David Attenborough

What do you think?

Word Watch

Documentaries
Television programmes that give a factual report on a subject.
Komodo dragons
The largest lizards in the world. They weigh nearly as much as humans and can grow to up to three metres long. They are found on a few islands in Indonesia, one of which is called Komodo.
Caiman
An animal similar to an alligator or a crocodile that is found in Central and South America.
Conservation
The protection of the natural world.

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