Still the Greatest thing on Television

I just watched the latest episode of the Green Planet, on deserts, and I really must say how utterly amazed it has left me. I have written about my admiration for Sir David Attenborough on here before: here we have a man who has surely done far more than anyone else to open our eyes to and increase our knowledge of the natural world. Not only that, the filmmaking in these programmes is incredible. Watching just now, my jaw dropped at the complexity and beauty of some – indeed most – of the shots. As someone who is interested in filmmaking as an art form, I was spellbound. There was one shot in particular, in about the middle of the programme, where Attenborough is filmed standing by a large bush in a desert. He visited the same plant for another show forty years before, so they were able to film him from the same angle, with the plant in exactly the same place, and seamlessly merge the two shots. The great man ages four decades, but the plant barely changes. I find that sort of filmmaking astonishing, but you can only do such things with people with careers as long and brilliant as Sir David Attenborough’s. This is television at it’s best; even after seventy years, he is still the greatest thing on television.

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