David Attenborough's Natural Curiosities, Watch -TV review
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Wednesday 12 March 2014
The joy of David Attenborough's Natural Curiosities on Watch is that our interest is piqued and satisfied within one bite-sized half-hour episode.
This week's double bill included "Life on Ice", examining how some animals are able to survive freezing winter conditions, and "Spinners and Weavers", which demonstrated the impressive creative talents of certain bird and insect species.
Ever noticed how Attenborough only ever seems to dress in shades of beige? When fashion fades, only style remains, people. Also, this gives him easy camouflage in a variety of natural surroundings, including the library, where he spends most of this series poring over the writings, sketches and artefacts of his 19th-century naturalist predecessors.
Neither Attenborough's confinement nor the shorter running time make Natural Curiosities any less horizon-expanding. Last night's mind-blowing sights included a frozen frog, brought back from the dead when Attenborough dunked him into a basin of warm water, a beautiful golden material woven from the silk milked from 1,630,000 spiders, and the intricate nests of the weaver bird, a tiny-brained creature with skills that would easily achieve a B grade in GCSE Textiles. Natural Curiosities has become an understatement. This programme just graduated to "Natural Wonders".
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