The Living Planet
Filmed on five continents The Living Planet examines one by one each of the earths environments, seeing how living organisms survive and thrive in conditions ranging from the Arctic to the tropical. Also revealed is how creatures in similar habitats thousands of miles apart, have adopted intriguingly similar solutions to their common problems. The series begins at the beginning how huge forces formed the earth, how continents move and how the planet has become so varied. The next 10 episodes concentrate on different environments: the frozen Poles, the northern forests, jungles, grasslands, deserts, skies, rivers and lakes, tidal shores, islands and oceans. Finally The Living Planet looks at how human beings have changed the earths habitats, destroying but also creating new ones and also looks at what the future may hold for the whole community on our amazing planet.
The Private Life of Plants
Crawling, flying, exploding, thieving, fighting, killing David Attenborough reveals plants as you have never seen them before- on the move and dangerously devious! Filmed in various locations around the globe, the multi-award winning The Private Life of Plants was three years in the making and was enormously popular- attracting in excess of 7 million viewers when first transmitted in 1985. Using computer animations, fibre-optics and unique high-speed and time-lapse photography, we discover how plants have managed to colonise every part of the globe. They can live longer, grow bigger and even come back from the dead.
The Private Life of Plants is by far the best quality disk, in a technical sense. The depth of colour and image brightness and sharpness, not to mention the camera work of the programmes gives you a very impressive sense of detail and intricacies of plant life, and all forms of life that rely upon them.
Life on Earth and The Living Planet are also joys to watch because of the sheer breadth of species (and geography) that they cover, and there is so much to learn and understand! They both convey a sense of wonder at just how much life there is and with Life on Earth you also get a very good grasp of the basics of evolutionary processes.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of downsides with these three discs being together. The prints of Life on Earth and The Living Planet are not really a match in quality to The Private Life of Plants. Hardly a surprise you might think when they were shown in 1979 (Life on Earth), 1984 (The Living Planet) to 1995 (The Private Life of Plants). Still, it is a slight disappointment that two such important documentaries have not been given a bit of a digital brush and polish before release onto DVD.
In comparison with major box set releases it does appear a bit light on the extras front. Each set of disks comes with one or two extras, but only on The Living Planet and The Private Life of Plants is there any "Making Of/ Behind the Scenes" footage and they are not lengthy. I think it would have been quite interesting, and a bit more special, if Sir David himself had been asked to give a bit of an overview of the three series.
These quibbles are only mentioned because of the price, the documentaries themselves will always be interesting, informative and quite brilliant and show what can be done on television superbly. They certainly deserve five stars for that.
All of David Attenborough's naturalistic adventures are of varying levels of brilliance but the Private Life of Plants was a TV series of unsurpassed excellence. To date this must be the only in depth exploration of the world of plants to be viewed by the masses. Plants are the most varied and abundant form of life on earth and this dvd is going to show you their bizarre and wonderful world.
My fiance is a plant biologist and has dreamed of having this on dvd since the format's invention - Needless to say, I have been searching for it ever since. I have been e-mailing the BBC, requesting this series for what seems like forever, and now my prayers have been answered (she doesn't know it exists yet but I'm sure that she'll enjoy the surprise when it gets delivered on the 2nd September!)
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