There are many wildlife documentaries available to watch. You will always be given a generous helping of elephants, lions, giraffes and possibly even a bat or two.

Ultimately, they have been samey for quite some time. Planet Earth 2, however, is a new breed of wildlife documentary that catapults it into being one of the best television programmes of all time. The stunning Hollywood-esque camera quality finds you pinching yourself and questioning whether it is real or just CGI. The cinematography of the shots is also superb. I would love to meet one of the camera men and ask them just how they do it, because some of the shots they get are works of art in themselves. The point of view camera shots from the eagles back whilst it soars from a mountain is a key example of this.

There are also some stunning before and after shots of landscapes in the different seasons which are equally as mind-blowing. The show also presents an ability to capture the most dramatic narratives nature can offer. Narratives which put blockbuster story writers to shame. There is a scene including a lizard and hundreds of hungry snakes, for instance. Although you have probably already seen it because it has done its rounds on social media. It is the most gripping sequence of events I have seen in a long time, one which had me jumping from my sofa and sweating from the brow.

The programme even has the ability to make plants interesting (Yes, that’s right, plants!) Who ever knew a snow cabbage could be so fascinating? And to top it all off, Sir David Attenborough’s narration is simply wonderful. His beautiful distinct voice and his genius commentary are at their very best in this series. There is a scene where a bear is scratching its back on a tree and Attenborough calmly and coolly comments ‘they just have to put their back into it’. Wildlife show perfection. The series so far has been a documentary revelation and one which will be near impossible to top in the future. It is most definitely my top television programme of 2016.

Ben Kempton



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