David Attenborough type TV shows

Subject: David Attenborough type TV shows
From: (John Leonard)
Date: Sun, 3 Jan 1999 10:33:07 +1100 (EST)
I just thought I'd follow up the discussion of the Lyrebird song sequence in
DA's Life of Birds (which screens tonight, I think), with some further
thoughts on wildlife films.

I think I'm probably very intolerant of the gimicks of TV because for most
of my adult life (about 18 years), I've hardly ever watched TV. But now we
have a TV and video to get the children off our backs for a few minutes each
day and they have started to like watching David Attenborough type programs.
I think that these are quite good in the main, but watching one on eagles
last night I was struck by how tacky the raptor-pursuit sequence is. I'm
describign the familar here, but this sequence involves picture of fierce
looking raptor, cut to picture of terrified looking animal, cut back to
raptor swooshing along, cut back to terrified animal running away..... (and
obviously these are just two completely different sequences spliced together
and the sign of this is that the chase is always unsuccessful, the raptor
lands in a cloud of dust, cut to animal dashing into bush). The only time we
see a raptor catching something it is in a very distant shot, as with the
Philippines Monkey Eagle sequence in last night's show.

I might be carping here, but why do TV shows have to try and show you what
hardly anyone ever sees? Why couldn't it restrict itself to what people
really see of eagles, namely either perched in trees, or soaring, or just
flying by (after all most raptors only need to kill once or twice a day, and
the chances of seeign this are quite minimal). The reason why I think this
is an important point is that it might well be that such shows encourage
people to get up and go out and visit nature reserves &c, and the dnager is
that if they don't see really spectacular things on their first visit they
may get disillusioned and think that wildlife antics are just another TV

John (the Luddites had a few good points) Leonard

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