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Only half the trials
on 20 October 2003
The Trials Of Life, the third and final part of David Attenborough's Life Trilogy, was a masterpiece of broadcasting that deserved 10 stars (out of 5).
Unfortunately, what you're getting here is a cut-down version. The 12 original episodes each ran for 50 minutes, here they run for 30. This means that over 4 hours has been omitted. The start and end credits have also been removed.
What's particularly galling is the packaging clearly states "The complete series". How is leaving a quarter of the material out "complete"? Trade descriptions act, anyone?
On a technical level, there's nothing wrong with this disc at all. Sure, it's 4:3 ratio, but it was made in 1990 - 8 years before widescreen broadcasts were even available. It was also one of the first programmes to be made with stereo sound, which had just become available.
Overall though this was a huge disappointment, and gross mis-advertising on the BBC's part. One can only hope that the BBC re-release this as a genuine "complete series" and offer a free replacement to anyone who's bought this.
However, this is the only part of the Life Trilogy that has been butchered in this way. The recent releases of "Life On Earth" and "The Living Planet" are, indeed, complete.