The Great British Year


Series 1 - Episode 3 Summer



A lot of this series is calendar-photo pretty but while it’s agreeable to watch a red squirrel in dappled sunlight or a time-lapse sequence of ripening wheat, that’s not enough to sustain a whole programme. Luckily, amid the scrapbook of seasonal images (and tiresome turns of phrase on the commentary) there are scenes with a real wow factor – animal behaviour that has rarely if ever been filmed before and is wonderful to watch. Tonight there are nightjars (nocturnal hawks) filmed with thermal cameras: the way the courting males slap their wings together in mid air is extraordinary – no wonder they used to have a supernatural reputation. Also fascinating is the footage of fish gobbling up blackberries and with it the origins of the word "chubby".


The documentary follows British wildlife throughout summer, when animals flock from afar and competition for food is high. Hunters time their arrival from Africa to feast on the huge glut of flying insects, falcons chase after dragonflies, and sea urchins are forced to protect themselves from harmful UV rays. Plus, thermal cameras reveal the activities of nightjars on a Dorset heath and thunderstorms bring out hordes of hungry snails. Narrated by Joseph Fiennes.

Cast & Crew

Narrator Joseph Fiennes
Executive Producer Mike Gunton
Series Producer James Brickell