The much anticipated brand new Attenborough series, Africa, appeared on our screens very fittingly in January just as the snow settled into the UK from the Arctic. The 6 part series explored the corners of the continent, including the Kalahari desert, the changing Savannah, Congo rainforest, the Cape hook, the great Sahara desert, finishing with an episode about the future of Africa.
Yet again the BBC provided us with some outstanding cinematography, involving flocks of a million flamingos, ‘sabre-toothed sausages’ naked mole rats wriggling underground, and the singing sand dunes in the Sahara desert.The series touched some sensitive points in the viewers, with some more emotional scenes including dying baby elephants, bullying shoebill chicks, and a blind baby rhinoceros. In the Cape episode, we saw dozens of endangered baby green turtles scooped into the claws of awaiting rooks and hawks. Some scenes, most notably the dying baby elephant, evoked quite significant viewer responses, with a mother mourning over her dying calf and having no choice but to leave it. Although evoking upsetting emotion, Attenborough defends the scenes, emphasising that this is every day in the natural world. Perhaps it will indirectly benefit funding and conservation efforts for some of these species. In the final episode, The Future, Attenborough touches on some of the biggest threats facing Africa including increasing human population pressure and civil war. The final episode even contained an emotional scene involving Attenborough squeaking with a baby, blind, black rhino.
Series producers, Simon Blakeney and James Honeybourne, provided us with some rarely-seen behaviours, including a social gatherings of black rhino, mating behaviour of zebras, and extreme fighting behaviour of giraffes. 10/10!