Planet Earth Live - What is the point?
Bits of the Planet, screened all over the Earth, Occasionally Live
Image copyright BBC - Photographer Andrew Hayes-Watkins
BBC is considered the best in the world at making wildlife programmes, and rightly so. They have set the standard with pioneering techniques, the best presenters and innovation. Planet Earth Live has none of these qualities, and there appears to be little live about it either.
Been done before
Almost all the wildlife has been covered in a similar fashion before. Big cat diaries, Elephant diaries, Big bear week, Meerkat manor, Last Chance To See - The Great Grey Whale - All great programmes that were eventually taken off the TV due to falling viewing figures.
Planet Earth - Hardly
Hardly global coverage for this ‘global' programme. With just 9 locations (3 in Africa, 3 in North America, 1 each in Peru, Sri Lanka & The Arctic) and the key species being studied all being mammals, it covers a very narrow spectrum of species and locations. Planet seems to mean it is broadcast all over the world, rather than filmed.
The choice of presenters has created much debate too. We question why none of the BBC's range of outstanding wildlife presenters were chosen? Perhaps the Beeb wanted to create more mass appeal by bringing (dumbing down?) more mainstream presenters, or perhaps none of the wildlife presenters wanted the job?
Springwatch and Autumnwatch
Springwatch and Autumnwatch have been very popular, and surprised some people with their popularity. Trying to create that same format on a global (haha) scale was always going to be difficult. Some of the things that we like about the ‘Watches' are their mundaneness. It is filmed in gardens, buildings and woods, and features creatures that we can all relate to, and is presented by presenters who know their stuff, mostly. ‘Watches' also cover all the wildlife, and its little quirks. Birds, mammals, insects and even the occasional plant, mostly live.
Foxes on Channel 4
Do foxes ever enter people's houses? Most certainly. This fox was found on the sofa of wildlife photographer Paul Goldstein in South London. Appears to be reading BBC Wildlife magazine - About foxes.
So after watching PEL I thought I would give Channel 4's ‘Foxes live' for 5 minutes. To my surprise, I enjoyed it far more than ‘Bits of the Planet, screened all over the Earth, Occasionally Live
'. Some excellent innovation here - Post mortems on 14 foxes, 7 urban and 7 rural, to find out what they eat. Live polls as to whether people like foxes or not, whether they go in people's houses, and even whether they really do attack people - All with some surprising results - Urban foxes eat KFC, rural foxes eat worms, the odd chicken and a lot of fruit; Apparently some of us like foxes, others don't; They do go into some people's homes, and yes, apparently they do very very occasionally have a nip. But are nowhere near as dangerous as domestic dogs, by a vast margin.
Ultimate global wildlife drama - Or just the last?
BBC's strapline for Planet Earth Live is "Join us for the ultimate global wildlife drama. Real animals. Real lives. In real time." Look ‘ultimate' up in the dictionary - it means last. Frankly, I am not surprised.