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Do you think the music in Blue Planet II is too loud?

Many viewers have complained that the score is so overbearing they can’t hear David Attenborough’s voiceover

Published: Sunday, 5th November 2017 at 11:00 am

The filmmakers behind Blue Planet II have gone to a great deal of bother to create the perfect soundtrack to David Attenborough’s latest ocean series, bringing on Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer to write the score – but not everyone is impressed.


The Blue Planet II music was recorded with the help of a "tidal orchestra" to create the feel of vast oceans and underwater habitats by Zimmer and music production company Bleeding Fingers, whose composers have already earned BAFTA and Emmy nominations for Planet Earth II.

In spite of this, a lot of viewers on Twitter have criticised the music for being too loud, drowning out the soothing tones of Attenborough.

Many Radio Times readers have also written in to bemoan the “inappropriate and intrusive” music, saying they wish they could simply watch the series without having their emotions manipulated by dramatic scores.

"The new series of Blue Planet is impressive. The stunning sequences are a credit to the talented and dedicated camera operators and technicians who have used the new technology to amazing effect; and, as usual, David Attenborough's commentary is very informative and intelligent. But what a pity that the programme suffers from inappropriate and intrusive music, which is so loud that it makes hearing the commentary at times almost impossible.

"The music is also manipulative, making judgements on animals who are only doing what is natural and necessary for their survival. I long for the time when I can press a button and remove background music on documentaries."

Tony Lewis, Scarborough

"I watched the first episode of the wonderful Blue Planet II and the filming was as wonderful as usual – but I can't say the same about the soundtrack, unfortunately. At times David Attenborough's commentary was almost drowned by the loud sound. Secondly the awful "heavenly" voices were very irritating. I do hope things improve on subsequent episodes."

Val Sagar, Guildford

"Yet again a wonderful documentary series has been ruined by over-loud and unnecessary background music. Do programme-makers never take note of viewers’ responses? I tried to watch the first episode of Blue Planet II, but had to turn the volume down so much to quieten the intrusive music that I was then unable to hear David Attenborough’s commentary.

"In the end I gave in and switched the programme off. I don’t need artificial “atmosphere”, I want to hear the natural one created by the creatures themselves and the environment they live in. Please, please stop it!"

Clive Garrard, Market Harborough, Leicestershire

"Episode one of this spectacular programme is playing now (29 October), but I have had to interrupt my watching because of great difficulty in quelling my rage at the unnecessary, irrelevant and insulting-to-David-Attenborough music track. Why is there this persistent need to infantilise the audience, not to say ignore those viewers who complain regularly?

"There is plenty of interest in the sounds of water, wind and the animals themselves, with David Attenborough’s excellent and unintrusive commentary. Why are so many complaints about the music on documentaries treated with such apparent disdain?"

Jane Valentine, Wivenhoe, Colchester

See Feedback in Radio Times (on sale from Tuesday 7th November) for more of your letters on this and other subjects.


What do YOU think?

Do you find Hans Zimmer’s music too loud? Or does it enhance your experience of watching Blue Planet II?


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