Madagascar Review: Legend Att Work

MADAGASCAR: Wednesday 9th February, BBC2, 8pm ALERT ME

David Attenborough is the rare English narrator who manages to conjure up intricate imaginings of exotic locales and exciting species rather than boring the viewer into a stupor with dull facts and mindless descriptions. His dusty and well pronounced narrations to some of television’s most involving exploratory documentaries of animals and landscapes are a television staple these days and rightly so.

Madagascar, Attenborough’s latest documentary on the natural world is a vibrant depiction of the island and its inhabitants. The iconic presenter and his film crew treat the viewer to stunning locations with a collection of odd looking creatures that wouldn’t look entirely out of place in James Cameron’s Avatar. Hedgehog like creatures known as Tenrecs climb through the leaves as blind, pigment-less fish eerily float upside down through a collection of cavern tunnels. One of the main focuses throughout are the lemurs, an especially memorable sequence includes a brave camera-man attempting to follow a lemur living in a remote lake, worryingly balancing £40,000 worth of film equipment in a rocking narrow canoe as a thunderstorm threatens.

As varied and interesting as these creatures are, they ultimately are all undergoing the same process; the hunt for a mate. As Attenborough states part way through, “finding a mate in a giant world is challengingâ€? and to demonstrate this we are treated to various different creatures such as pigmy chameleons, giraffe necked weevils and the predator of the jungle, the Fossa, trying to find a partner. Amongst these sequences we watch chameleons clash heads over territory and a ‘radiated’ tortoise rather humorously trying to chase a possible mate. Ultimately it all boils down to the type of thing you’d witness on a night out amongst a dingy room filled with alcohol supped up people, but Attenborough’s narration adds a level of class to the unfolding events and the obviously stunning world that surrounds the proceedings is pure eye candy.

Despite the fact that a lot of the time you question whether Attenborough is making the creature’s names up by flicking through an edition of Harry Potter, (Giraffe-Necked Weevils anyone?) Madagascar is another great BBC effort at uncovering a corner of the Earth that a lot of us lowly worker-slaves may never get to visit.