Paul Goldstein
Blog Words : Paul Goldstein | 17 May

Planet Earth – Not 'Live', Not Kicking, Not Worth Watching

BBC: 'A major global wildlife event' – They are having a laugh

'Live'.....a simple word, it means now, real time, not recorded, not archive, so I ask the BBC producer or whichever clueless buffoon has been feeding us this childish drivel over the past few weeks, when is this programme you describe going to be aired? I am yet to see anything of any currency live. I would also like to know how much this charade cost.

Big Cat Diary was a successful programme that was enjoyed on BBC2; the format was terrific. Three predators, two or three seasoned presenters. When it went to BBC1 it suddenly dropped below its pay grade with its unrealistic cliff-hanger endings. Then they changed it to Big Cat Live and parachuted Kate Silverton in (her of the Karen Blixen khaki ensemble and absurd single mum references). Jonathan Scott and Simon King desperately tried to produce some broadcasting alchemy but sitting around a camp fire harking back to the old series was never going cut it and it was ultimately dropped.

Well, they have gone and done it again. For those millions, like me, vexed by the word live, this was their lamentably corporate defence of their erroneous claim "in terms of the live nature of the series, we are reporting as a news programme would on recent events. We have never promised live footage of animals."

It's called Planet Earth "LIVE" ...what the f*&* do you think we expected?

Anyone knows the Masai Mara is two hours ahead of the UK... so if you broadcast at 8.00 pm how could you possibly see any live action unless you consider a condescending mum gushing about bears or a puerile petrol-head moaning about the rain 'live action'. I am not criticising the cameramen or editors who are doing a decent job in very tough circumstances but their work is compromised by the immaturity and crassness of the presenters.

I am afraid this will go down as another example of shocking decision making at producer level and frankly at every other level. Surely someone in this bloated production team must have known this was a non-starter. Will these heads of departments look truthfully at the negative comments on both the blogs and also the Points of View message board; of course they will not. In the same way that no-one has ever cleaned a hire car, why should they worry as it is license fee money.

It makes me mad. It is a gross misrepresentation of the word live; it is a shambles and an insult to the likes of Packham, Attenborough and Scott who actually know what they are doing and should have been fronting this although I bet they are glad they are out of it.

Is the smug producer going to recognise he has insulted viewers, wasted their money and potentially ruined the reputation of natural history programmes? Again, of course not. We will be given some 'supine management speak' to protect themselves so they can go and fritter money on some new folly. It is childish bilge. It is also not just my view, it has the most complaints ever; here is just one bit of mainstream coverage.

Their vain glorious blogs preen themselves about getting 5 million viewers the first night. Firstly this really is not very many but secondly I notice there is no mention of the fact that the second episode has only 3 million. I wonder just how low these figures will go. The precious luvvies that thought up this ridiculous formula should be fired .... today. Richard Hammond is ill-informed, infantile and also palpably not suitable to do wildlife at so many levels. Bradbury is both condescending and cloying at the same time, quite a double act.

Whether it is Hammond or Bradbury's actual thoughts we are hearing or some pitiful children's TV producer putting words in their mouth I don't know, but this script is straight from kindergarten and the endless editing and graphics annoying, the subjects too familiar – but more fundamentally, it is not live!

I hate any humanising of animals but they have gone beyond this. Instead of giving animals soppy human names like Honey they have given a primate a Spielberg name. I didn't think it possible to lower the IQ bar any more but they have managed it. This is an anthropomorphic apology of a wildlife programme. It has badly compromised the blue chip Planet Earth brand, the crown jewels of natural history film-making. There have been some great moments but none of them live and most from the archive. Does my license fee cover repeats?

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