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Series 1 - Episode 4 Autumn



There’s a tough little parable in one of tonight’s scenes of polar wildlife. Adélie penguin chicks on Antarctica are waiting for their parents to come back from a fishing trip. They’re only three weeks old and ravenous.

When an adult returns, two of them start pursuing their parent for food, fighting as they go. At first it looks like a comedy moment – the dumpy, fluffy chicks tumbling over each other in their rush to get some tea. Then David Attenborough points out, “There may be only enough food for one... most Adélie pairs only manage to raise a single chick each season... and this may not be it.” Cut to the loser in the race looking bedraggled. It’s one of many telling moments: look out for the exfoliating beluga whales, too. Magic.


With the arrival of autumn the Arctic Ocean begins freezing over, and polar bears gather in large numbers on the coast as they await the return of the ice. Two thousand beluga whales head for a particular estuary to thrash against the gravel and exfoliate, while in Antarctica, Adelie penguins take to the sea for the first time and face the danger of leopard seal attacks.

Cast & Crew

Presenter/Narrator David Attenborough
Executive Producer Alastair Fothergill
Producer Miles Barton