Sir David Attenborough may finally be moving on from the BBC, but he still wants viewers to watch the network's glossy nature docs.
Last week, following the final episode of the Attenborough-narrated cold-climes series Frozen Planet, the BBC aired a two-minute trailer subtly celebrating the 60-odd years that the iconic TV personality has spent working on non-fiction programming for the network. Visually, the spot, from ad agency RKCR/Y&R, doesn't deviate far from the staple shots of most natural science shows. Brightly colored birds, time lapses of blooming flowers, panoramas of majestic terrain, and pensive baboons all make their obligatory appearances. But the voiceover, a spoken-word rendition of the Louis Armstrong classic "What a Wonderful World" performed by Attenborough, uses the images to illustrate the lyrics of the song—stringing the montage together into a narrative neatly packages the sense of marvel that marks the genre's core appeal, not to mention its tendency to anthropomorphize animals.
According to RKCR/Y&R's blog, the last episode of Frozen Planet was Attenborough's "final appearance on the BBC. Ever." That doesn't mean, though, that the 85-year-old is done working. He reportedly has two nature documentary projects currently under way with BBC rival Sky. "It's a wonderful world, watch it with us," reads the BBC trailer's tagline.
Frozen Planet came under fire this week for allegedly misleading viewers by using footage of newborn polar bears from a Netherlands zoo, instead of the Arctic. Attenborough responded by arguing that untamed nursing bear mothers generally don't respond well to uninvited guests. "If you had tried to put a camera in the wild in a polar bear den, she would either have killed the cub or the cameraman," he pointed out, according to the Daily Mail. We don't know much about science, but we're pretty sure that's nonsense talk, and he's just a scaredy-cat charlatan.
That's probably why the show's producers replaced him for the U.S. version of the show. Launching in March on Discovery (which incidentally, put out its own Earth-themed, sing-song, feel-good ad in 2008), the first six episodes of the American Frozen Planet will be narrated by a bona-fide, red-blooded nature expert: actor Alec Baldwin.
Agency: RKCR/Y&R, London
Creatives: Ted Heath, Paul Angus
ECD: Mark Roalfe
Business Director: Jo Bacon, Holly Smith
Account Director: Josh Harris