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Hi, everyone. Welcome back to Britain Under the Microscope.
Hi, Lulu. Hi, everyone.
You know, in the beginning of the segment, I always asked you what we gonna talk about today, but how about I propose a topic?
Oh, brilliant. Finally, the pressure is off me.
And you're definitely gonna love this topic. Woo!
So let me ask you a question first. When it comes to TV and film, what is your favorite genre?
I would say documentaries.
Yes, let's talk about documentaries.
Ok, it’s brilliant.
Particularly BBC documentaries. I know BBC has made a lot of documentaries.
And you pretty much watched all of them.
Pretty much. I do love documentaries.
I only started to get into documentaries in recent years. Before I thought them as a bit boring, they're just not as exciting as your fictional stories.
But how can you say that. Real life is just so much more fascinating than anything in the TV drama or TV series. There's so many amazing things in the world. And there's so much history, nature, and all those stories behind those as well.
I guess that's what they say, real life is often stranger than fiction.
Is that why you like documentaries? You mentioned nature and history.
Those are pretty common themes for documentaries.
Those are the ones I really like. So for nature, it's the amazing wildlife, it's the calm but also exciting parts as well. For example, you see lions in Africa, you see birds in Antarctica, etc, etc, it’s just amazing to see all of these different forms of wildlife around some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
BBC documentaries, especially nature documentaries, got amazing filming, absolutely stunning imageries.
And history, I remember talking to you about this before, I guess that's also the reason why I started to get into documentary, it’s when real life kind of gets really stressful and you feel like you're stuck and you watch some of the history documentaries, and you think human beings, each one of us is just so unimportant when you think about it in historical terms.
The thing about history is that pretty much anything that has happened or will happen has happened maybe thousands of years ago.
And again and again
And again and again. That's, I would say, that's one of the great things, but also one of the bad things about humans is that we're always constantly repeating our triumphs, but we also repeat our mistakes as well.
And failures. So all these heartaches, betrayal, love, passion, victory, everything has happened before.
Exactly, and that's what I love about these history documentaries, because, one, it makes historical figures seem more relatable. I know what you mean about sometimes documentaries can be boring, especially history documentaries. But that's only because you don't really feel anything for the people in those documentaries, you don't feel anything for the story, but they’re humans.
Yeah, it all depends on how it is made.
So I thought in this episode, we're gonna focus on nature documentary. And in part two of our documentary talk, we can focus on history.
Ok, let's do it.
So about nature documentary, I know a lot of our listeners also love BBC nature documentaries. They're famous for those documentaries, they are known for having extremely high production value.
Well yeah, that's the thing. It’s… these type documentaries, you can only really watch them in 4K or blue ray because they're just so beautiful. One the reasons for is that it takes a long, long, long time to make these documentaries.
How long are we talking about? I mean, let's say 1 hour documentary.
It can be anything from 2 years to 4 years.
Wow? To make a 1 hour long documentary?
Pretty much or make a series.
You know what I really love… I recently have been watching some amazing BBC nature documentaries like, the Hunt. Oh yes I've seen that one. I'm sure some of you have watched that it's about hunting in nature, predators and prey.
And then at the end of it, they will put in something called the making of the Hunt like how they make it, how they shoot it. Yes. For example, they were trying to, I remember watching these behind the scene bits showing that the whole group that they were staying in a muddy hut, just for an entire week or so, just trying to shoot that one scene where the crocodiles are hunting.
Yeah, and that is pretty much what happens. It's also incredibly high cost because you probably send a team of camera man or camera people just to shoot one animal.
Yeah. And they have to, because animals this is the thing, they're not actors and actresses, you can't tell them. You can't control them, and then you can’t disturb them. You have to really… I think this is one of the principles of nature documentary is that you have to let the animals do what they do in nature. You can't like manipulate. No.
The other story do you remember Big Cats? I really love that one that's such a well-made documentary. In that there is the bit about snow leopard. I think I remember that one, yeah.
It’s an older snow leopard and he is really desperate to find a mate. Awh. I know. And then the camera crew followed him for days and days on hand, until finally he saw some hope of finding a mate. I think we've all had that feeling once before.
So their nature documentary high production value, very, very long production cycles, and then, if you ever watch them do stay for the behind the scene bits, they're really fun.
They're really, really good, and, they’re normally quite funny as well, in some cases.
One of the other things that I've noticed about these nature documentaries BBC made is the fact that they are narrated or presented by the same voice of the same man.
Yeah, the vast majority of them, especially the really, really big ones are always presented or narrated by David Attenborough.
Or Sir David Attenborough we should say.
Ok. He is famous in the UK, right? He is incredibly famous. David Attenborough is pretty much known as a national treasure, because he's 96 years old and he's still presenting on TV.
I mean, that is just legendary even if I could live till 96 years of age, I wouldn't even know if I'm gonna be lucid enough to just carry on daily conversation, and he could still be on TV presenting nature documentaries.
And the thing is he's been on TV now since 1954. That's about 70 years. That's close to 70 years. Just think of it this way that he started presenting just off the queen was crowned.
And he must have done over 100 documentaries.
Easily. The thing is I'm not even too sure because he's done so many. It’s difficult to count them. And ironic thing is that he was never actually meant to be a presenter. He was meant to be the producer and it was just the original presenter got a strange tropical illness that no one could diagnose, and so David Attenborough took over.
And the rest is history.
Pretty much and he's one of these people who is incredibly well-respected. He's a very famous environmentalist and he has about 20 species of animal named after him.
Ok, so we talked a little bit about these documentaries and also the presenter. You know, when it comes to documentaries, there are many producers, right? BBC is one of the major ones. In America, you have Discovery Channel, they produce a lot of documentaries. I'm sure you watch some of them as well.
Yes, I've seen some of the National Geographic or Discovery documentaries.
Would you say they are different, right? How would you compare them.
They are different, to be honest, I'm not saying that one is better than the other, but I always find for me that the Discovery or National Geographic documentaries, they tend to be a bit too sensationalist. So they always try to make it sound really, really exciting, and I would think it's a little bit trying too hard.
It's almost like they're trying to turn nature documentaries into drama. Yeah.
But the thing is that with BBC documentaries, they actually make it into drama but they understate it, it is still exciting to watch, they just let the story shine through the drama. Whereas some of these other, like Discovery and National Graphic, they tend to say “Okay right, you're gonna see the lion now. The lion is going to pound, and I just find it little bit annoying.
Because I guess, nature in itself is fascinating enough. There's no need for you to artificially sensationalize it. But I do agree with you, I think obviously Discovery and National Geographic, they have some really good documentaries as well. So it's really your preference.
Ok, as we're coming to the end of the first episode on nature documentaries, would you like to give us some recommendations? I mean I will join you in recommending some of the fascinating documentaries.
I think we've already discussed Big Cats. 《大貓》
I know you really like that, because I know how much you love cats. Yep. The Hunt you mentioned.
The Hunt is relatively recent.
I think so, it's not too old.
Yeah, it's really amazing if you want to see how nature, how these predators hunt prey animals in nature, this is a great documentary.
You also have Dynasties as well which is about families of animals.
Dynasties is, I think now they have the second season. It's just come out. I think it's on Bilibili actually.
Bilibili has a lot of great documentaries, but we can talk about that in the second episode.
And finally the one which I've just finished watching, it's not BBC, but it's actually narrated by David Attenborough. It’s Prehistoric Planet.
《史前星球》Yes. I meant to watch this. I've been meaning to watch this. I've actually got it already. You should, it's so good. It’s mostly about dinosaurs. It's all about dinosaurs, but it's all CGI. I love dinosaurs, so Prehistoric Planet.
There's also one if you want to watch more China related, that these wild series and they did Wild China as well. So they did Wild China, I think with CCTV actually, around the time of the Beijing Olympics. Yeah, it's all about these amazing natural sites landscape in China.
On that note, we're gonna finish off. And in the next episode on documentary, we're gonna talk about history documentaries. I can't wait. We'll see you next time. Bye.