Join David Attenborough through seven different programmes
as he fulfils a childhood dream when he visits the forests
of New Guinea to witness the courtship displays of the birds
of paradise; visits the lost gods of Easter Island; examines
the marvel that is the amber time machine; reveals the Bowerbirds
mating rituals; and other personal journeys...
in Paradise is the first episode in this collection and
sees Attenborough take us into the hides, up trees and through
swamps to observe the splendid and wonderful courtship of
the mysterious birds of paradise. He examines their fascinating
behaviour and amazing variety.
up is Blank on the Map. This early programme was made
when Attenborough was still controller of BBC 2 and takes
him on a journey to an area of unexplored mountains in central
New Guinea, which had never been entered before by Europeans.
Accompanied by a Government patrol and over 100 porters, their
aim was to try and contact an unknown people who were thought
to live somewhere nearby.
Lost Gods of Easter Island takes us on a journey as Attenborough
does a little detective work. He has a wooden carving that
he won at an auction - the only detail he knows for certain
is that it originated from Easter Island. So, is it an ancient
artefact, or a modern tourist souvenir? Attenborough's quest
takes him to several different places to examine the similarity
between other figures in museums and a laboratory where the
wood properties can be tested to confirm it's age and whether
it did indeed originate from Easter Island.
four, Bowerbirds - the Art of Seduction, follows the
master decorators, and elaborate builders known as Bowerbirds
as they attempt to attract a female, sometimes stealing brightly
coloured decoration such as feathers, flowers and fruits from
neighbouring nests. They will even perform dances on a stage
they construct themselves or gang up on an over-successful
neighbour to achieve their only aim in life - reproduction.
of the Earth examines how music is central to being human.
It is found in all cultures and throughout history. Part of
our brain is specifically devoted to music. But what is it
for? Attenborough sets out to prove his theory that the origins
of music lie in territory, emotion and sex. While this is
an extremely entertaining and informative documentary, for
me the highlight was a scene of a bird that could mimic any
sound - including a car alarm and a logger's chainsaw.
six, Life on Air, is a recent (2002) documentary that
reveals how the BBC has evolved over the last 50 years, since
David Attenborough joined in 1952. Those years have seen the
BBC become world renowned across a number of genres, including,
of course, natural history. Presented by Michael Palin, who
also interviews Attenborough and key figures in his career,
the programme uses archive footage to remind us of some of
his most unforgettable moments, and reveals the extraordinary
history of his life on air.
this collection is The Amber Time Machine, in which
Attenborough, a life long collector of amber, embarks on a
journey of discovery, examining and identifying the contents
of the unique material amber - which holds the secrets of
the tropical rainforests of 25 million years ago. Detective
work and specialised visual effects enable this film to unravel
extraordinary detailed stories about the ancient tropical
plants and animals entombed in this resin, bringing them back
to life for the very first time. This is a fascinating programme
and I loved the way that David linked his findings with his
brother's, Richard Attenborough, role in the movie Jurassic
was slightly puzzles as to why these particular programmes
had been chosen. Are these Attenborough's favourite journeys?
Or did someone else compile these? Sadly we never discover
- maybe a feature on one of the two discs could have shed
some light on to this.
confusing element is the order these episodes are arranged
in. They seem to have no natural order. And, most oddly of
all the 'tribute to Attenborough' documentary is not at the
end or the beginning of this collection, as you might expect,
but planted as the penultimate episode of disc two. The running
order on the discs I reviewed also differed from the list
on the press release, so I'm not entirely sure whether my
review disc was a very early rough cut and that the episodes
were juggled around later. Although all the DVD menus seemed
to be in place, so this is probably the finished running
from those slight oddities, this is another winner of a collection
of David Attenborough programmes - and certainly worth spending