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Seven Worlds, One Planet: Episode 4 (Australia) - Review

Seven Worlds, One Planet

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

DAVID Attenborough’s Seven Worlds, One Planet produced an episode of extremes when it visited Australia: both of heat and cold.

Somewhat incredibly, there were scenes shot amid snowy mountains early on, as kangaroos (babies in pouch) and wombats were forced to navigate freezing terrain. These mountain ranges offered a spectacular insight into a little scene corner of Australia, a continent more commonly associated with extreme heat.

But, as ever with this series, it also provided another thing to be amazed by.

Of course, over 70% of Australia is now arid land, sun scorched and barren. Here, reptiles rule and there was fun to be had in watching various lizards hunt for water. The thorny devils were particularly eye-catching, standing in water and absorbing it to mesmerising effect.

But most spectacular of all was the sight of flocks of wild budgerigars dropping in on watering holes, mindful of the threat posed by the soaring birds of prey above them. They found safety in numbers, taking off and landing together to deter the possibility of aerial bombardment. And their movement provided a breath-taking show, caught by drones.

One of the most incredible aspects of watching any of Attenborough’s shows is the way his camera crews continue to find new ways of bringing us ‘firsts’. Hence, the use of drones in this series has been particularly effective in providing thrilling insights into natural acts we may not have been able to fully appreciate using more conventional, hand-held methods.

Drones and helicopters also combined to capture dingos hunting kangaroos across wide, open grasslands. One dingo, in particular, captured the hearts of both film crews and viewers… a white mother, whose relentless pursuit of kangaroo meat was as absorbing as it was – once more – spectacular.

Chases can cover many miles and are often unsuccessful, so there was a palpable sense of relief from the camera-men and women once the mother had prevailed. It also provided a rare chance to capture footage of dingo pups. The dingo is one of Australia’s best known predators but it remains elusive and much persecuted… a salient reminder of man’s ability to vilify a creature to the point of extinction.

And extinction is also something hanging over the enigmatic and rare Tasmaian devil… a cute black dog-like creature whose days could well be numbered. This pugnacious marsupial predator can call Tasmania one of its last strongholds, but mankind’s encroachment has posed a threat from which it might not ever recover.

As the cameras panned over paintings on rocks of other extinct creatures, Attenborough lamented that the Tasmanian devils could well be next if attitudes don’t change quickly.

Again, spectacle spars with tragedy as the instability of our natural world was plain for all to see. The question remains as to whether Seven Worlds, One Planet can inspire change on the scale that similarly world-saving documentaries such as Blue Planet did. We can only hope so in order to continue seeing footage as rich, varied and exclusive as this.

Related reviews: South America l Antarctica l Asia

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