Everything about David Attenborough’s new film A Life On Our Planet - and when it’s on Netflix

Monday, 28th September 2020, 12:02 pm
Updated Monday, 28th September 2020, 11:47 pm
Sir David Attenborough pictured in Chernobyl while filming (Photo: Joe Fereday / Silverback Films)
Sir David Attenborough pictured in Chernobyl while filming (Photo: Joe Fereday / Silverback Films)

A new film from Sir David Attenborough comes to Netflix in October, hoping to shine a light on the defining moments of the celebrated naturalist’s decades-long career and the devastating changes to our planet he has witnessed.

David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet hits the streaming service this weekend after limited screenings in UK cinemas.

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Here's everything you need to know.

What is A Life On Our Planet about?

Sir David's near 70-year career has seen him visit each of the seven continents and create some of the most impacting nature series in history, including Planet Earth and Blue Planet.

The new film includes its fair share of globetrotting - it starts and ends in Chernobyl and visits the Maasai Mara in Kenya - and breathtaking shots of beautiful vistas and the fauna that resides within them.

But A Life On Our Planet takes a more introspective look into the life and times of the respected presenter.

It sees Attenborough recount what he's learned over his many years of broadcasting, and proffer some dire warnings as to the future of life on our planet.

“I think we are at a crucial moment,” Sir David told the Yorkshire Post.

“Without being too portentous on this, I think humanity is at a crossroads, and the natural world is really under serious, serious threat and the consequences could be apocalyptic,” he said.

“If we are to tackle climate change, enable sustainable development, and restore biodiversity, then internationalism has to be our approach.

"We must bring about a greater equality between what nations take from the world and what they give back. The wealthier nations have taken a lot and the time has now come to give.”

Indeed, the film's most striking moments arguably come from when Sir David talks directly to camera, addressing viewers and imparting bittersweet wisdom.

How was it filmed?

A Life On Our Planet is an intimate film at heart, and one that could serve as something of a bookend for Attenborough's illustrious career.

Talking to the Yorkshire Post, Sir David explained that the intimate nature of the documentary was achieved through a technical trick employed by production studio Silverback Films.

Instead of talking to a camera, Attenborough was interviewed by the director, who appeared on an optical device as an electronic image.

That allowed the presenter to open up and convey the concern he has: "I was amazed at the image of this character on the screen who was speaking as if he was speaking not to a camera.

"It’s quite hard to look at the camera and speak in this kind of way, as we are speaking between ourselves now.

“To do that to a piece of glass is not easy, but this trick, they were doing it exactly as if I was looking at you, or him, in person.”

The conversation was recorded over several days, and segments of it were used throughout the film.

When can I watch the film?

David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet will debut in UK cinemas on the evening of Monday 28 September.

Those screenings will also feature an exclusive conversation with Attenborough and Sir Michael Palin.

The film will then be made available to stream through Netflix from Sunday 4 October.