Holding the whole world in his hands

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Sir David Attenborough… his teaching and message not lost on the up-and-coming ones.

NICK OVERALL goes into the wild for inspiration in this week’s streaming column…

AT 94, Sir David Attenborough is living proof some things get better with age as he still manages to captivate a global audience. 

Nick Overall.

Having educated the world on all things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small for more than seven decades, his programs have joined the streaming world. And of course, it’s Netflix that gets to champion his newest film, “A Life on Our Planet”, becoming one of the most watched programs of the last two weeks.

It’s filled with everything we’ve come to expect from these mesmerising docos. Spectacular footage from the depths of the oceans to the heights of rainforest canopies and everything in between. However, with this new production comes a slight shift in focus.

Though at its core it’s about the wonders of wildlife, this film takes on a more personal edge with an exploration of Attenborough’s own remarkable life and career. We’re given a window into his inspirations as a boy, to his breakout work in his 20s, all the way through his globetrotting adventures up to the ripe old age of 93 (the number of letters he boasts after his name are almost as mind-boggling).

As expected, the film comes with an important message, Attenborough describing the near extinction of many species he’s witnessed throughout his career and the vital importance of wildlife and wilderness conservation, argued as always, eloquently and passionately. 

Quite remarkable is how Sir David continues to engage so widely across generations. His teaching and message is certainly not lost on the up-and-coming ones.

Two weeks ago he grabbed a world record that more than illustrates this, on joining Instagram to highlight the new film.

Like a giant flock of short-tailed shearwater birds hungry to grab some good nature pics, one million users descended on the account within 4 hours and 44 minutes, the fastest ever time for an Instagram user to reach that number of followers.

For comparison, Sir David has outdone former football sensation David Beckham, Jennifer Aniston of “Friends” fame, Pope Francis and even the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Speaking of Royals, in promotion of this new film Attenborough had an online video call with the young offspring of Will and Kate which as you can image got quite the attention.

He talked with George, Charlotte and Louis about their favourite animals, his hopes for the future of near extinct species, and in a huge controversy, he even weighed in on the age-old cats vs. dogs debate, favouring the latter of the two. Now that is a pretty powerful vote on the whole matter I’d reckon.

Furthermore, Attenborough’s catalogue of documentary series and films have an astounding prominence and popularity in the world of streaming. So plentiful are they I’d run out of room to list them all, but no matter what streaming platform you’re subscribed to, from Amazon to Stan, there’s without a doubt at least one of the great naturalist’s works available.

SO too, an astounding number of topics. Empires of ants, the world of Tasmania, the wonders of plant life are all just some of the topics covered. If there’s a wildlife niche of interest for you, odds are that Sir David has covered it somewhere out there.

In my view, it’s Stan that offers the best of the best. “Planet Earth”, “Planet Earth 2” as well as “Blue Planet” and “Blue Planet 2” covering the wonders of the land and sea respectively in spectacular fashion.

It’s one quote in particular from Sir David that pretty accurately sums up the power of his work:

“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty, the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.”

More of Nick Overall on Twitter @nick_overall

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