Earth's Natural Wonders

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Surviving the Extreme

Series 2 - Episode 1 Surviving the Extreme

Tomorrow 2pm - 3pm Eden
See Repeats
Tomorrow, 6pm - 7pm Eden
Monday, 12am - 1am Eden
Monday, 3am - 3:50am Eden


There are stunning scenes in this series about people living in extreme places. We see a herd of yaks, like great shaggy sofas, tumbling down a steep Himalayan pass as their herders drive them to summer pasture. We see Inuit women gather mussels from underneath the sea ice in northern Canada. We see firefighters in the Amazon and men hunting for mammoth tusks in Siberia.

Each scene is extraordinary in its way. But they’re all overlaid with a voiceover that nearly scuppers the whole thing. It’s not narrator Sophie Okonedo’s fault, but she ends up sounding like a teacher trying too hard to enthuse a class of primary school kids. Everything is “a race against time” and inevitably “the clock is ticking”; mountains are “iconic” and jeopardy is behind every rock. It’s time producers twigged that when it comes to narration, a light touch goes a long way: less is definitely more.


Cameras explore some of the most breathtaking places on Earth, following the lives of some of the people who call these extraordinary places home. In the first episode, cameras follow yak-herder Thokmay Lowa as he leads his herd through one of the most treacherous mountain passes in the high Himalaya. Elsewhere, the programme follows members of Inuit communities in the Canadian Arctic as they take part in the hazardous mussel harvest, and people in Siberia searching for mammoth tusks, now released from the Siberian Permafrost after thousands of years.

Cast & Crew

Director Russell Leven
Executive Producer Jane Aldous
Series Producer Jobim Sampson