Earth's Natural Wonders

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Extreme Wonders

Series 1 - Episode 1 Extreme Wonders

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Review

The idea here is to paint a picture of life in extreme places around the world. The definition of “extreme” is flexible: it can mean, say, huge caves in Borneo where people harvest birds’ nests for soup, or a deep bay off Papua New Guinea where boys fish alongside whale sharks.

It’s an excuse, if one were needed, for pleasantly watchable scenes of people and animals excelling themselves. The sequence where we follow a Masai farmer trying to defend maize fields from elephants that raid the crops at night is extraordinary. His defence system involves condoms and chilli powder in an improvised package that would make any schoolboy proud.

Schoolboys though, will wince at the scene in which nine-year-olds in an Amazon tribe go through the bullet-ant ritual. Bruce Parry attempted something similar a few years back, but he’s an ex-Royal Marine.

Summary

The first of three programmes in which cameras explore some of the most inhospitable places on the planet and the people who live there, including a team of Sherpa roping a route on Mount Everest's notorious Khumbu Icefall and, on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, farmers fight pitched battles to save their crops from marauding elephants. In the Amazon rainforest, two boys undergo a rite of passage involving hundreds of ants with the most painful stings on Earth, and conservationists in the Grand Canyon try to ensure the survival of one of America's few surviving condor chicks.

Cast & Crew

Narrator Olivia Colman
Executive Producer Mark Hedgecoe
Series Producer Arif Nurmohamed
Education Science