Africa, BBC 1, 6/2/2013(!), 2100hrs
- Amazing birds-eye views of the African landscape
- Authentic wildlife representation
- David Attenborough’s script matching what is shown on screen, giving depth and quality
- Direct mode-of-address to the camera from David Attenborough, encouraging that sense of relationship
- Nice NATSOT during ‘Afirca’
- Natives/locals speaking, giving reality and sense of place to the programme
The structure of ‘Africa’
Different elements (e.g., talking heads, observational etc.) the programme contains.
‘Africa’ is almost 100% observational. Birds-eye shots of the African landscape, extreme-long shots and wide-shots, long-shots of the animals whilst they are interacting with each other and moving across Africa. There are extreme close-ups of lions which seem like they’re in slow motion and very beautiful to watch, especially if you appreciate wildlife.
Similar to news package elements in the way that an audience can receive information from watching ‘Africa’. Not only is the programme aesthetically pleasing, the factual information about predators and their prey is interesting.
This documentary has less talking heads than a regular news package, since you see David Attenborough address the screen directly as if he is talking to you, and then an African native who is describing how fulfilling it feels to capture a lion. With the direct mode of address though, it seems as though you are having a conversation with them through the screen, something that is satisfying when you’re watching something on Television; especially for me, since it feels like you’re more involved in what you are viewing.
There appears to be a narrative, since the member of the African tribe who talks of hunting lions has a change of heart throughout the sequence. During this, we are shown lions messing around together, a pregnant lion and so on, and then the tribe member talks of how he began to feel guilty after hunting, and now instead of doing what used to fulfil him, he now admires the lions in their beauty. Along with other warriors, he becomes what is described as a “lion guardian.” Instead of hunting lions, they’re protecting them.
A nice aspect of ‘Africa’ is the inspirational music that is occasionally played behind the voice-over.
David Attenborough as a structuring device
David Attenborough has such a calming voice. I want it. He is a soul who explains interesting things with delicacy whilst at the same time achieving the objective of providing something that is stunning yet informative – in the sense that he doesn’t make an audience question what is on the screen.
You see Attenborough interacting with the African natives, a really nice touch to the programme, since this makes it easier to recognise his interest and curiosities towards their way of life. I think this gives flavour to ‘Africa’. It is nice to see a relationship between the two – especially when the conversation seems more like a relaxed conversation than an interview.
David Attenborough gives direction and sequence to ‘Africa’, as a structuring device. It seems as though he breaks the programme up and gives it more depth by what he says and the way he speaks. His tone of voice is easy to listen to and his hand gestures are the perfect tool to keep an audience captivated.
After watching this episode of ‘Africa’, I have learnt about the change in warrior’s behaviour towards the lions. Traditionally, the lion the warrior hunted took the name of the lion. Now, the lion takes the name of the warrior who protects it. David Attenborough describes this as “21st century conservation in action” and I found it lovely to watch.
This also reminds me of how much I really want to go to a wildlife conservation to see so many different animals. I have only ever been to Bristol zoo and Barcelona zoo and even though Barcelona zoo was utterly breathtaking, growing up I have gained more knowledge or could you say awareness as to what goes on in these particular environments and now I do not necessarily agree. I would much rather see animals in their natural habitats, where instead of being forced how to live and what to do, they are free to be free.
Plus, cubs are so cute!!!! I want to hold one.
Thanks for reading!