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Earthflight: Europe (BBC) - Review


Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

THREE episodes in and the BBC’s Earthflight continues to have viewers spellbound with its majestic footage of birds in flight.

Europe was special because it marked our own continent. Hence, shots of geese flying ovber the white cliffs of Dover, the Thames Barrier in London or Edinburgh brought a welcome familiarity to proceedings that was no less spectacular than previous images of birds flying over the Grand Canyon or the plains of Africa.

Indeed, for anyone who may have worried that Europe may have been something of an anti-climax when compared to the grand open spaces and epic landscapes of the Americas or Africa, by virtue of its more built up ones, had any such suspicions quickly dispelled.

The BBC cameras gained some breathtaking footage from the amazing microlites that fly alongside imprinted birds.

As well as the scenes in Britain, viewers were treated to cranes and geese soaring over the iconic landmarks of Venice, the impressive buildings of the Vatican in Rome, and the equally historic buildings that adorn the Loire Valley.

Every so often, the cameras even paused to dwell and capture something even more amazing such as the magical, even hypnotic, sight of 20 million starlings performing one of nature’s greatest aerial displays to outwit peregrines above the skies of Rome.

Or, in Hungary, sand martins grabbing mayflies from the air in stunning slow motion.

Then there was the sight of a family of black bears watching intently – almost comically – as an Osprey overfed in the ponds of Scandinavia, or a squadron of birds assembling to see off a polar bear and prevent it from devouring their young.

There was even the chance for emotional drama to unfold as storks and swallows waited for their partners to return and indulge in a spot of DIY and/or dancing to impress… many of them not knowing beforehand whether their lifelong mates will have made the migrate.

Throughout, meanwhile, David Tennant’s light tones and amusing observations – ‘water off a duck’s back’ being one that we particularly sniggered at during a sequence showing geese flying safely through a rain storm – provide a near-perfect accompaniment.

Make no mistake, this is television of the highest quality that rewards viewers with just about every new scene it brings you.

Read our verdict on North America