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Natural World

  • Season 32
  • 10 episodes
  • Nature

Episode 3: The Mating Game - Natural World Special


David Attenborough narrates a look at the different methods animals use to attract a mate, revealing how inventive, loving and complex they can be. A female polar bear tries to revive a male's interest in her by turning cartwheels in front of him, while a bird of paradise tidies obsessively as he prepares a stage for his dance. While other lemurs are fighting for the right to breed, one sidles up to a female and wins favour by wafting his scent at her, and silverback gorilla seduction involves staring with a fixed grin.


There’s a lovely scene early in this Natural World Special about how animals pair up. A male polar bear has tracked a female for weeks across the snow. She plays hard to get, quite literally giving him the run-around. But once she reckons he’s up to snuff, they begin to play, tumbling and sliding down the slopes together in a way that looks incredibly sweet and almost, yes, romantic. Later, he briefly loses intererest, so she turns
on the charm and starts adopting saucy poses, lying on her back, peering at him through her legs, and so on.

It’s hilarious, and just one example of bizarre courtship behaviour in a film that is full of irresistible moments. There are humpback whales dancing, bison fighting, flamingos mirroring and a crafty male lemur who understands the power of a touch of cologne.

How to watch

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NarratorDavid Attenborough


EditorMark Fletcher
Executive producerChris Cole
ProducerMark Fletcher
Series producerRoger Webb

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