When choosing between the epic dash for survival by a plucky baby iguana and the caterwauling of amateurs in an overhyped contest, younger people are turning to the former. Recent figures have found that people aged 16 to 34 prefer to watch the epic BBC nature documentary Planet Earth II over rival channel ITV’s X Factor.
This fact is making the illustrious David Attenborough immeasurably happy. “I’m told that we are attracting a larger than normal number of younger viewers,” the legendary naturalist and narrator of the latest offering from the BBC’s Natural History Unit wrote in the Radio Times. “Apparently the music of Hans Zimmer in particular is striking a chord. That pleases me enormously.”
The incredible series, which has captured everything from the funky dancing of bears as they scratch an itch to the golden mole's snuffling through the sand in the hunt for termites, has taken years of painstaking work to complete. Released 10 years after the original series, which was in itself a groundbreaking piece of film, Planet Earth II has continued to raise the bar of nature documentary making.
But it’s not only the music that is pleasing to the younger audience, it is also the astonishing technology that has enabled filmmakers to capture intimate snapshots of the lives of animals. “Of course, the incredible popularity of the series is the result of other factors as well,” says Attenborough. “The proximity to the animals brought about by the latest technology gives us a new and engrossing perspective on the struggles many of them endure to survive.”
Capturing the awe of a younger audience is something that Attenborough sees as a triumph. After spending over 60 years documenting the natural world, he is acutely aware of the intense struggle for survival our planet is currently going through and that its future rests firmly in the hands of the next generation.
“It is our environmental legacy that the younger generation of today will inherit; we need them to become the environmental champions of the future,” writes Attenborough. “And that’s why television of this type is so important. It isn’t just delivering animals into our homes but transporting us into theirs. It’s enabled us to see just how full of wonder those habitats are and underlines why we must protect them.”
“Their survival is our survival.”