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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: DVD|Change
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VINE VOICEon 10 June 2008
The BBC has produced an oustanding focus on China. A China you would never see on a regular tour. Magnificent diverse landscapes, the enormous contrasts of the plants and animals, the ingenuity of China's ethnic groups. Water buffalo on mountain paddy fields. Paddy fields with golden carp. Clever! I was completely captivated. The photography is superb. This will make you want to visit China. After enjoying the DVD immensely, the book was a must buy.
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on 27 March 2017
A wonderful documentary from the BBC showcasing some of the incredible natural wonders of China. In six hour-long episodes, many well-known animals such as giant panda bears and Siberian tigers are covered, as well as some lesser known, such as Pere David's deer and Chinese white dolphins. The Chinese version was broadcast under the title "Beautiful China", and in many ways this is a more appropriate title than "Wild China", as the great beauty and rich colours of the animals and plants shines through.

The first episode "Heart of the Dragon" focuses on the expansive rice fields of South China - in particular the stunning terraced paddy fields of Yuanyang County which plunge 2000 metres down steep hillsides, and are among the oldest man-made structures in China. Almost unbelievably, at Zhongdong an entire community - including a school - lives within a large cave! And, the peculiar techniques used by the Li River cormorant fishermen are truly incredible, although sadly they now only practice their skills for tourists.

Next, "Shangri-La" covers south-western Yunnan province. The imposing fruiting trees attract bear macaques and black giant squirrels, whilst only 250 wild Asian elephants survive. The "land-that-time-forgot" people of Yunnan - the Dai, Hani and Jino tribes - each regard the forests as sacred and harvest them sustainably. However, modern reality brings new threats such as large rubber plantations and increased tourism.

"Tibet" covers one quarter of China’s land area, but just 2.5 million people live there - so maybe this is the wildest part of China. The plateau is a high altitude desert battered by freezing winds, but is also home to China’s biggest selection of large animals. Windswept Argali sheep precariously descend hillsides to their winter grazing sites. And in the Changtang, chiru are filmed congregating in the rutting season, and wild yaks are rarely seen as they live in the most remotest areas. Other rare animals include the elusive snow leopard and the Tibetan fox.

"Beyond the Great Wall" focuses on the lands north of China’s Great Wall. In the old province of Manchuria, the last Hezhe fishermen still cast their nets under the solid ice of the frozen Black Dragon River. The Taklamakan Desert is the world’s largest shifting sand desert, and contains ruined towns and sand-sculpted rock formation, a legacy of the fabled Silk Road. And, the sculptures created during the modern-day Harbin Ice Festival are truly incredible.

"Land of the Panda" is probably the best episode of all. Who cannot fall in love with these incredible soft "teddy bear" creatures? Set in central China - home to the Han Chinese - many rare creatures are shown, including the Chinese alligator and crested ibis. These two species were saved from extinction by direct intervention and conservation initiatives. Best of all, giant panda courtship and mating in the wild is shown - maybe for the first time on film.

Finally, "Tides of Change" features China’s 14,500 km coastline, home to over 700 million people. Despite years of rapid urban development, it is still a vital migration route for birds. Endangered red-crowned cranes leave their northern breeding grounds to overwinter at Yancheng salt marsh, the largest coastal wetland in China. But there are many environmental problems, including the Yangtze estuary, where the migrations of creatures such as Yangtze sturgeon and mitten crabs are being affected by upstream dams

The extras is a very interesting addition, going behind the scenes to show how difficult and dangerous some of the filming was. The most alarming was when the crew traversed a gorge with a zip wire - flying people and expensive equipment perilously over. And, the producers said they were surprised how friendly and hospitable local people were, and how safe they felt in China. A nice way to end the series.

My only thought was it would have been nice to see some of the crew in front of the camera during the series, or bring in a presenter to speak "live" in front of the camera. This may have added a personal touch and a sense of being on a journey and an adventure through China.

Overall, this is a quality production from the BBC which will stand the test of time. It really does show a different side to the well-known super-cities that has made China so rich: Wild China - Beautiful China.
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on 18 December 2016
Really enjoyed this series. Some episodes are better than others, but I felt I learned a lot about the different regions of China and the issues it's facing.
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on 28 April 2017
very good enjoyable
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on 6 April 2017
first class
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on 25 May 2017
Excellent. Thank you.
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on 16 October 2014
As stated
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on 3 April 2014
Was unsure at first if the item was the one I asked for but was reassured that it was the updated version. very satisfied all round
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on 20 February 2014
It was a gift but I watched it too. Very informative and interesting and very gratefully received by the recipient.
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Well, well, well congratulations to the BBC... They have outdone themselves yet again.
What with the lovely voice over, done by the brilliant Bernard Hill (and who wouldn't recognise that), to the beautiful photography, this really is an outstanding series (and not the rubbish that one of the other reviews put it)... So even though I haven't got it on DVD yet, I am seriously thinking if not for me then for my mum for her Xmas stocking, then I could borrow it once in a while...(MAYBE)
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