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Planet Earth II: Back and Better than Ever

David is back! Yasssss. Last Sunday evening, Britain sat down eagerly with cups of tea and packets of hobnobs alike, in eager anticipation of Planet Earth returning to our screens for the first time in ten years. The trailer promised us breath-taking scenes we’d be able to devour in plenty- and by goodness we weren’t disappointed. It is now possible to get even closer to nature thanks to the advances in technology, and we as viewers are able to follow monkeys leaping through the trees, and walk alongside a cheetah striding out into the morning sun. Not only has the filming of the show changed, but as good ol’ David Attenborough reminds us, the planet itself has never been more fragile and at risk.

Episode 1 features our beloved David in a hot-air balloon, two miles up in the air calmly floating about like he isn’t 90 years old. The theme for this first episode is Islands, and so we’re taken on a dummies guide to Islands around the world; from Isla Escudo de Veraguas off the coast of Panama, to Komodo, to Madagascar and finally to the somewhat less idyllic Zadovodvski Island.

Breathtaking, yes, but this episode was also packed full of scenes of hilarity, heart-break and gut-wrenching suspense that sent the internet into a frenzy.

One of the strongest aesthetic shots of this episode was the poor three-toed pygmy shot that we follow as it swims across a treacherous river in the hopes of getting laid after hearing a foxy looking lady-sloth’s mating call (and some of us can’t even get a text back)- but alas! She has a baby already and is not interested in the poor little sloth whatsoever. Talk about leading a guy on.

Next we move on to Komodo dragons. Though this is’nt the first time David has documented this  lizard, you can’t really discuss islands without showcasing these huge, severely frightening dribbling creatures.

On we flit, from scenes of albatrosses waiting loyally for their mate to return, to a poor bird trying to hatch an egg that has already been half eaten by another bird. These scenes really showcase the small wonders of nature; birds who can recognise their mate after a year apart and greet them with a groovy little handshake; to birds looking forlorn at their dead egg but incubating it in a desperate hope derived from maternal instinct.

The penguins were a great sight to witness, as always. We marvel at how fearlessly they fling themselves off cliffs into massive waves; being knocked about and bashed against the rocks, all in the name of feeding their babies. They emerge from the ocean; cut and battered but ultimately victorious and, are able to find their mate and chicks amongst the hundreds of thousands of other seemingly identical penguins nesting on the island.

It’s all very beautiful and leaves us gasping and ‘aww’-ing in equal measure.

However, the scene that really captured the nation and was immediately a winner meme was the epic battle of the marine iguana vs the racer snakes. If you ever think your life’s a bit hard, just be thankful you didn’t have to outrun a herd of snakes seconds after being born. We were all on the edge of our seats shouting encouragingly at the poor little baby who was just happily emerging into the warm sun, literally for the first time, ready to set off to meet the fam at the edge of the sea- when suddenly a herd of racer snakes pounced from nowhere and tried to make the little fella their early afternoon snack. Death is coming in at him from all angles and he has to make a terrifying dash for the rocks. He’s almost caught at one point, but thinks “I didn’t get born like five minutes ago to die already!”And wriggles his way out and runs on- limbs flailing madly. And he makes it! Some of his siblings aren’t as lucky; and seconds after birth meet their death in the cold scaly grip of the racer snakes. I hope you’re happy you literal snakes, poor guy only lived all of ten seconds.

Snakes, snakes everywhere.


Edited by Susan Akyeampong






Entertainment feature writer, second year English student.