TRYING to express in words just what a remarkable piece of television Blue Planet II is seems about as futile as the unfortunate shoal of herrings’ attempt to escape the jaws of the killer whales which herd them into a watery grave in one of the programme’s many highlights.
Sixteen years after the first series set a benchmark for televised nature programmes, Sir David Attenborough is back with a whole new set of extraordinary beasts and more advanced technology to capture them.
Attenborough, of course, is a natural wonder himself and at 91-years-old shows no signs of losing his passion for his life’s work. As soon as that voice begins its narration you feel as a viewer that you’re in safe hands and that the Reithian values of the BBC are being upheld to an extent that even the Daily Mail couldn’t hold to account.
As for the action itself take your pick: beginning by showing a school of bottlenose dolphins leaping from the waves just for the sheer thrill of it was a great way to open and a neat metaphor for the enjoyment that was to follow.
While dolphins are obvious crowdpleasers it was the rather more obscure giant trevally which stole the show with some incredible footage which showed this brute of a fish feeding on fledgling terns in the Indian Ocean by snatching them from the water surface and even jumping acrobatically to catch them in the air.
Other wow moments included the plucky little tusk fish who was used to illustrate that the intelligence of our piscine friends is often woefully underestimated. Incredibly, we see this singular fish hunt for a tasty mollusc before returning to his marine man shed to perform some DIY and smash it open using what can only be described as a set of tools. And I still haven’t mended that leaking tap.
The programme finished with an environmental message of course but as we watched a desperate walrus mum try to find a patch of pack ice for her tiring baby it was certainly sobering stuff. Hopefully, groundbreaking TV like this can teach a new generation not to make the same mistakes we have when it comes to our own blue planet.