The Great British Year

Wed Oct 9, 9-10pm, BBC1

Episode two
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, David Attenborough’s head must currently resemble a giant blushing beetroot. Stylistically at least, this four-part series charting the natural phenomena that accompanies the changing of the seasons (this week: spring) is hugely indebted to the octogenarian documentary maker, with more slow-motion and time-lapse footage than you can shake a stoat at. It’s even got that ten-minute ‘making of’ bit at the end that nobody bothers watching.

Unfortunately, as quaintly charming as it is, the substance doesn’t quite match up. The bit about the short-lived mayflies, for example, has been done a thousand times before, while shots of caterpillars munching on oak leaves and blooming daffodils are straight out of your GCSE biology teacher’s VHS collection. There’s a little bit of warts ’n’ all Darwinian grit in there (if you’ve never seen a seagull neck a duckling, brace yourself), but for the most part this feels like the sort of thing you could set an episode of ‘Songs of Praise’ to.

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