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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really phenomenal, 21 May 2011
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This review is from: The Living Planet [DVD] (DVD)
I'll try and keep this relatively brief, as there are plenty of other reviews here already, some, like Sally Anne's, being very detailed. I'd just like to add my own little tribute to this truly great series. One of Attenborough's 'sledgehammer' documentaries, this is factual television at it's very best.

The range and scope of the series is astonishing. The first 10-15 minutes of the first episode alone justify the price of purchase: travelling up through the strata of the Himalayas, Attenborough gives a wonderfully subtle, understated, and yet awe-inspiringly powerful illustration of what Darwin, Wallace and others, had observed, regarding animal and vegetable adaptations to changing habitats, covering tropical lushness to quasi-polar conditions in a rich ascent. What a way to start the series!

It was of course such observations that lead to the formulation of evolutionary theory, the evidence for which continues to mount up, more prodigiously than even the 'eternal hills' of the Himalayas themselves. And, as Attenborough points out, it turns out the Himalayas are 'far from eternal'. And what's so great is that, within only a few minutes, he's made - and substantiated - some extraordinary claims (some of which, for example plate tectonics, were still not generally understood as recently as when Attenborough was at university in Cambridge*), which are now what many of us understand to be 'common knowledge', and all thanks to advances in scientific understanding made in very recent times.

He then moves on to discuss and illustrate the awesome mechanisms that sculpt the earth, walking round the sulphurous rim of Krakatoa, or delivering lines on the formation of the planet, as molten lava (in some Northen location like Iceland or Greenland, I believe) erupts behind him. And this is all within the first half hour of episode one! I've only given the sketchiest summary: the rich detail Attenborough and his superb team present is simply astonishing, and truly wonderful.

This series, as old as it now is, remains a real treasure, and, at less than a tenner**... amazing!

* Read about (or listen to) the story behind this in Attenborough's excellent autobiography, Life on Air.

** When we got our copy.
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Location: Cambridge, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 461