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Attenborough: 60 Years in the Wild

Life on Earth

Mon Jan 28, 4.15-5.15pm, BBC2

By Phil Harrison
Series one, episode one
This is what the BBC’s ‘Delivering Quality First’ manifesto really meant. Repeats. Over the next year or so, expect to see much more of this kind of thing; this opening salvo represents the Beeb playing it safe and rolling out the big guns. After all, who’s really going to complain about reruns of Auntie’s finest moments, even if they have been available on DVD for years? Whether the quality of repeats will be sustained is another matter. ‘Life on Earth’ was probably the series that sealed the deal as far as the Natural History Unit in general and David Attenborough in particular was concerned. From this point on, they could do no wrong. Given the subsequent technological advances (currently on show in the spellbinding ‘Africa’), it’s possible that parts of this might not blow as many minds as they did back in 1979. But Attenborough’s always been more than just an anchor for the Unit’s visual virtuosity – he’s a scrupulous and passionate journalist as well as a naturalist, and this archetypal BBC gravitas has always shone through. Oh, and yes: this is the series with the Rwandan gorillas, airing every weekday afternoon from today…

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