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Simon De Glanville,
This major landmark series looks in detail at the fascinating relationship between predators and their prey. Rather than concentrating on 'the blood and guts' of predation, the series looks in unprecedented detail at the strategies predators use to catch their food and prey use to escape death.Written by
This series from the BBC is easily one of the best nature documentaries ever made. An introductory episode is followed by five more episodes covering the contest between predators and prey in different types of ecosystem – the Artic, forests, the oceans, open plains, and coasts. There is a final episode on the challenges of conservation.
The filming is quite simply staggeringly good. The filmmakers seem to have been constantly pushing themselves to film new things, and film things seen before in new and more effective ways. Animals are often close up and at eye level with moving cameras, complemented at times by superb footage from the air, giving many sequences a unique immediacy. Polar bears and cheetahs have been filmed many times, but never like this. In contrast, no-one had ever filmed a blue whale feeding before (the filming was carried out under a scientific research permit) and the work stretched over two years until they finally got the footage. Very occasionally the team don't quite get the perfect shot – a tiger kills with a tree between it and the camera, for example – but this mainly serves to remind you that this is all for real.
David Attenborough's commentary is, as usual, extremely well judged and the music is effective and largely enhances the material. The editing, while never too squeamish about showing reality, avoids undue emphasis on the animals' suffering.
The ten minute making of segments at the end of each episode are often as interesting as the programmes themselves, offering a fascinating insight into the amount of work that went into getting some of these sequences, and the elation when they get the shot.
The Hunt is a beautiful, awe-inspiring, moving and informative series. It is hard to imagine how even the BBC wildlife team will be able to surpass this.
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