Frozen Planet: Comedy genius, naturally served
Review by Rob Carnevale
WE’RE used to being dazzled by the breathtaking images that come from BBC Wildlife… we’re probably not so used to laughing our socks off.
But the second episode of David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet contained one of the funniest things you’re ever likely to see – a comedy double act to rival Laurel & Hardy.
The ‘comedians’ in question were a couple of Adelie penguins that were captured on camera by a BBC film crew during their four month stay with the penguin colony on Ross Island, Antarctica.
The footage showed a male penguin ‘stealing stones’ from the nest of its neighbour as part of their combined preparation for the courtship that would follow.
But set against some well picked music, it made for the type of laughter that reduced this particular viewer (and his wife) to tears.
As one busy penguin waddled off to meticulously choose the stones that might help attract a mate, the ‘thief’ kept watchful eye over his shoulder, and then waddled over to steal each new stone, before waddling in hurried fashion back to his own nest to ‘act’ non-suspicious.
This happened two or three times, before the ‘thief’ in question also had to defend his own nest from a potential poacher. Well, ‘it takes one to know one’ mused Attenborough, his thoughtful delivery also tailored to bring out the comedy in the situation.
The sequence in question came at the top of another highly entertainng hour as ‘Spring’ set the scene for some majestic moments of beauty, from playful baby polar bears frolicking innocently in the snow while thwarting their mum’s hunting to narwhal’s (the unicorns of the sea) affectionately jousting.
It is a masterful presentation that frequently takes the breath away. And while the obligatory scenes of animals hunting and capturing the innocent and the young to feed their own babies continues to be heartbreaking, it’s great to also be able to take a moment to laugh out loud too.
Watch the criminal penguin at work: