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Planet Earth Live - Presenting a wildlife soap opera

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Julia Bradbury Julia Bradbury | 09:15 UK time, Friday, 4 May 2012

Planet Earth Live is a project of a lifetime.

A globally live wildlife series!

Julia Bradbury on a boat in Monterey Bay, California

Julia filming in Monterey Bay, California

I'll be on location with the black bears in the Northwoods of Minnesota for the whole of May when we go live on BBC One.

Richard Hammond will be in Kenya with the lions and elephants and there'll be a team of camera people and experts around the world who will be witnessing first hand macaque monkeys, meerkats, giant otters and polar bears.

I met most members of the crew for the first time at Heathrow airport and there began our first leg over to San Francisco to film the California sea otters.

From there the plan was to head on to Mexico to film gray whales and then journey far north to find the black bears.

All in nine days.

This initial filming trip was to establish an on-screen connection with some of the animals and set up some of the stories before the live series starts on 6 May.

In picturesque Monterey, California I had an encounter which you'll see with a mother otter that has chosen an alternative lifestyle.

Rather than living in the open water in the kelp as most of the otter population do she has chosen to live in the rather grand marina surrounded by humans, expensive boats and fishermen.

Food is not plentiful and it's a risky environment - especially with a pup.

After visiting those two I had planned to kayak out to the open water otters and slide up close in the thick green kelp forest.

But that afternoon the weather closed in and the swell was too high so we had to use a rib (a kind of boat) instead to film the impossibly cute otters feeding and grooming.

Sea otter and cub in Monterey Harbour, California

Sea otter and pup in Monterey Harbour, California

We thought we'd try again the following morning but conditions hadn't improved so we had to hit the road for our 10 hour drive to Los Angeles.

You can plan and plan back at base but if things don't work out you have to adapt.

In Baja, Mexico we set out on two tiny boats in an attempt to spot the gray whales with their calves.

The lagoons in San Ignacio are a warm water retreat for the whales - a chance to nurse their young and prepare them for their mammoth migration back north towards the Arctic waters.

These animals undertake the longest migration of any - it's estimated that a gray whale can travel up to half a million miles in a lifetime!

At first we saw them breaching and spraying in the distance - lots of them. And you could tell they were moving in twos by the enormous dark shapes in the water.

And then two shapes approached the boat.

At first the adult female approached seemingly to check us out - all 50 tonnes of her. I got sprayed twice right in the face - Mama was saying hello.

Then she nudged her calf towards us. It is weird and wonderful behaviour that hasn't been explained - why does an adult female push her vulnerable offspring towards a potential threat?

I leaned over the boat and stroked the calf. It is the most incredible feeling - to have physical contact with such a grand and, I think, beautiful creature.

We filmed with the whales for hours and hours - getting different shots, using the underwater camera, filming from boat to boat.

We were incredibly lucky over two days and managed to get everything we had wished for and more.

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Julia has a close encounter with a gray whale mother in Baja, Mexico

It doesn't always work out that way filming wildlife. Some members of the team had been to Baja before and had waited 11 days for any action.

Having a little one myself (my baby is nine months old) I'm chuffed to be based in Minnesota.

It's a beautiful landscape of lakes and woodland and a reasonably safe place to live and work for a month.

The purpose of our flying visit was to meet the expert Dr Lynn Rogers who is known as 'The Bear Man'.

He has studied the black bears of Minnesota for 45 years and keeps track of them for his research.

He introduced me to my first wild black bear when we went together on foot to a den in the woods.

Dr Rogers wanted to check on the collar (tracking device) of a female bear before she departed her den for good following hibernation.

Over years of painstaking study with bears Dr Rogers has developed a call he makes which the bears have learned to recognise as him.

They've learned when they hear it that they are safe among friends and so the arrival of humans doesn't startle them.

After making some 'hey bear' calls, incredibly, a large female emerged from the den.

I stood in awe of the scene beside me as Lynn went in to examine her collar.

Black bear cub and mother playing in Minnesota, USA

A black bear mother with her cub in Minnesota

There is much more to tell you but you'll have to watch the programmes because my adventure with the bears is a drama we're going to be living together through the series. (Yes I was frightened.)

We are all incredibly excited about Planet Earth Live - nothing like it has ever been done before.

This is a real chance for you to get close to the wildlife and follow the animals' stories from around the world.

The creatures will be going through a very important time in the animal kingdom as their offspring fight for life.

It's going to be a wildlife soap opera.

Julia Bradbury is one of the presenters of Planet Earth Live.

Planet Earth Live starts on Sunday, 6 May at 7.50pm on BBC One and BBC One HD. For further programme times, please see the episode guide.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Why does the mother bear have a huge collar on??
    Are we not supposed to be watching animals their
    Own environment or have I missed the point?

  • Comment number 2.

    Bad start to the series. Too much presenters talking about mum and babies. If the monkey had a baby it would be front page news

  • Comment number 3.

    I like Richard Hammond but I'm sorry to say he's not the right presenter for this programme. As far as I'm aware he has very little knowledge of the natural world and lacks a certain repect and gravitas that I would prefer to see. All the superb and exceptional photography and filming that we have come to expect for the BBC is not being supported by Richards commentary. Julia is a bit better and more knowledgable. Shame the other bloke's asleep!

  • Comment number 4.

    This is the natural world according to Disney. Why couldn't the programme be presented by experts with knowledge of the subject. Too many shots of the presenters being filmed.

  • Comment number 5.

    Really disappointing so far too much focus on presenters and not enough of the animals. It supposed to be about the animals not lets all look at Richard Hammond and Julia Bradbury

  • Comment number 6.

    cannot understand the overly saccharin use of silly childish names given to wild animals, some reason no doubt but having childish presenter from Top Git does seem to remove any attempt at gravitas. However, hoorah for whale girl Julia, and the guy with the bald head seems to know what he is on about, but, please, why make it like a kiddy programme?

  • Comment number 7.

    Please can you ensure that you explain the biological difference between both types of orca so people understand that its not all orcas that are trying to eat the whales I think this is important - i hope this helps


  • Comment number 8.

    i agree with some other bloggers. This seems to be the presenters appreciation society and not really anything to do with LIVE animal/wildlife film. Where are the animals?

  • Comment number 9.

    Brilliant show! A great insight into the real struggles that animals go throught in their natural habitats. Will be tuning in for rest of series.

  • Comment number 10.

    Who the heck decided to put Richard Hammond on this - what a patronising fool he is. Julia Bradbury isn't much better ( Hello, Mrs Bear???). I want experts and I want to watch the animals not watch those presenters & listen to their ridiculous commentary.

  • Comment number 11.

    Why Julia Bradbury and Richard Hammond - what a huge disappointment - 'hello mrs bear' yuk - both animal and audience patronised - first time I can't stand to watch wildlife on the BBC

  • Comment number 12.

    Been looking forward to this program but as I'm watching it's a huge disappointment, I agree with the comment of Richard Deal about the use of names. Additionally the made up stories of the Bear being a bad mother: Are we being treated like children who need additional stories to add interest. Why is Richard Hammond 'Sorry' about what may happen to an elephant. Surely they are just there to film what happens, not be sorry about nature. Having grown up on quality programs by the likes of Richard Attenborough, this is a poor presentation. Like spring/ autumn watch, from around the world.

  • Comment number 13.

    I like looking at animals in their habitat (tagged or not, even if we have given them childish names). I like looking at Julia (nose and all). Richard is a little irritating like he is about to crack a silly Top Gear type joke.

  • Comment number 14.

    Good programme pity you took the orchestra with you makes listening to people talking difficult for the hard of hearing

  • Comment number 15.

    Moggie , you're right .. Richard Hammond as a wildlife presenter ?? How does that tie in with his promotion of gas-guzzling polluting car driving destroying the natural environment which he now supposedly 'loves'

  • Comment number 16.

    Watched 20 minutes - then turned off. BBC you've saved me watching 8 hours of infantile presentation. lead by the achitype infant Hammond who hasn't noticed he's not hosting a jumping about and falling into water programme

  • Comment number 17.

    Just seen the first episode - marvellous - wonderful - brilliant - loved the way you have pulled this together - good luck with the rest of the series which I will be watching - Best Regards - Ray

  • Comment number 18.

    Agree with comments above. A man who co-presents a show where people who have an interest in protecting the environment are ridiculed has no place on this show. His commentary would be more appropriate to a show where the animals attempt an obstacle course in Argentina.....

  • Comment number 19.

    Didn't see any live footage, not the best! What's with the recording of the wild wolf! Saw more wildlife in my back garden during the show! What a waist of money!!!and they ave probably gone back to the hotel by helicopter for the free bar!!!

  • Comment number 20.

    What a bunch of wingers you all are. Concentrate on the wonderful films they have captured so far and don't worry too much about the presenters and what they are known for .They are just anchormen. I'm sure as the series goes on it will get better.So appreciate the wonderful sights we've seen so far!!

  • Comment number 21.

    Very strange to start a series in Kenya in the middle of the night when you have the whole northern hemisphere to work with. What is it exactly that is happening live bar the rain? This idea had a lot of potential but it has been poorly executed. I think the BBC has also chosen the wrong presenters, the wrong locations and have failed to turn a good idea into compelling viewing.

  • Comment number 22.

    Please dont be so anthropomorphic, the bear cubs are not toddlers, it is because you are a first time mother, and it is not very professional. No offense, but I have no interest in your 9 month old toddler, I want to appreciate the bear cubs for the wonderful wild creatures of nature that they are, not listen to them being belittled, as I think they are when compared to a human baby.

  • Comment number 23.

    Petrolhead to wildlife presenter doesnt make sence and he really isnt very good at it either. Maybe he will will drive a car fast after an animal and he can pretend he is on top gear

  • Comment number 24.

    Looks like the moderators have been inundated!

  • Comment number 25.

    Is the young elephant Emily and the herd the one who featured in the programme that followed the release of a small group of rescued orphaned elephants from the rescue / rehab centre?

  • Comment number 26.

    I was looking forward to this program with great anticipation, expecting something of the quality wildlife programmes that I have come to expect from the BBC, what a let down. This is mainly due to the unprofessionalism of the presenters, their lack of gravitas about the subject and the amount of drivel in their commentary. What happened to the excellent team that presented programmes like Big Cat Diary?

  • Comment number 27.

    Well.....this is the first wildlife programme that has moved me this much.....I actually appreciate non-experts reacting in a natural way to nature at its best. I do not need detail that I can look up on the Internet, I want my interest to be captured and my emotions aroused....and already the show has done this. Fabulous!!!

  • Comment number 28.

    Seems a lot of negative comments. Any response BBC? Or hard to defend.

  • Comment number 29.

    I am from Kenya and I was delighted that this program was being partly filmed in the Mara. I agree with many of the above comments: Richard Hammond talking about one of the most amazing places and animals on earth? Surely it is about the animals and not the presenters?I just think he lacks the passion - this program has the potential to show millions of people about how amazing this wildlife and ecosystem are...is he going to pass on the importance of this precious balance or will he just turn this part of the program into some kind of tourist video?
    BBC - please take more care over your presenters: Sabba Douglas-Hamilton was born and raised in Kenya, Ben Fogle has Kenyan connections...there are so many people who would have been better than Richard Hammond...perhaps even I could do the presenting next time!(At least I have a passion for animals, ecosystems and Kenya...)

  • Comment number 30.

    I am sad to say that I agree with the comments on the presenters - we have been privilaged over the years with David Attenborough's knowledge and their lack is evident in the childish comments. This is the 'wild' and life and death goes on as a matter of course - we do not need to have an apology for that! I will continue to watch as I am awed by the skills of the camera men and women in presenting some wonderful footage - maybe some of the comments registered will be fed back to the presenters to allow them the opportunity to become more professional 'wildlife' presenters before the end of the three weeks.

  • Comment number 31.

    Message to Kayl63 - if you get the chance, watch Gordon Buchanan in the documentary Bear Family and me. It was a wonderful insight into the bears. Reason for collar is that they are long term study bears and in the shooting season, hunters are requested not to shoot any bear with a collor on. Watching the documentary will show that this request is not always adhered to!

  • Comment number 32.

    I have to agree with most of the comments on the presenters- far too anthropomorphic. The BBC has several superb wildlife commentators, so please use them. However I have a more serious concern regarding the sequence with Julia touching the grey whales. I thought that conservation organisations were making huge efforts to persuade tourist boats to watch whales from a distance and NOT interact with the animals. Showing this on prime-time TV will make thousands want to experience the same and encourage irresponsible tourist operators to oblige. This looks very irresponsible of the BBC to me. It might well be that the grey whales are different from other whales and dolphins - but if this is the case then surely the BBC should make this clear. Please clarify this in a future programme.

  • Comment number 33.

    I have joined this website because I care about what this programme is talking about. Some of the comments especially regarding the presenters seems to be so typical of those who have neither been there nor done it. The programme is wonderful - the subject is educational - the presenters are fabulous - and the rest of you who pour scorn over it all - switch your TV or whatever gizmo you have - onto something else ( that you'll no doubt complain about eventually ). There is enough bad news going on around the globe without any additions. This programme is a refreshing and wonderful break from media woe xx

  • Comment number 34.

    Although my initial reaction to hearing that Richard Hammond was to present Planet Earth Live was one of amazement, I watched the whole programme to see if I'd been wrong and he could change his usual inane presenting style. Unfortunately he couldn't, and kept treating the audience to crass anthropomorphic commentary which was not much improved upon by Julia Bradbury when the location moved to Minnesota. When the BBC has such incredible presenters available as Simon King, Gordon Buchanan and Sabba Dougla-Hamilton why oh why does it risk its enviable reputation for excellent wild life programmes by using two presenters who are totally out of their depth! I won't be watching this again - and that is from someone who has loved Big Cat Diary, Springwatch etc for years and rarely missed an episode!

  • Comment number 35.

    nijolev seems to be adopting the "modern" attitude of "if I don't agree with you I'll rubbish your opinion". Like most of the contributors to this blog, I'm speaking from the "experience" of watching and listening to real wildlife presenters such as David Attenborough, Simon King, Jonathan Scott et al. I should also say that I have experienced the real thing in Africa and the average big game guide has probably forgotten more than Richard Hammond knows about wildlife in the Masai Mara. This seems to me another example of the BBC "parachuting" perceived popular presenters into a program format that the BBC has until now been excellent in producing.

  • Comment number 36.

    I had looked forward enourmously to this programme and most of the actual wildlife scenes were excellent. As the programme progressed however I wondered whether the objective was a live portrayal of wildlife or a promotion of the presenters.
    The programme was constantly "interrupted" by lengthy close ups of Julia Bradbury and Richard Hammond who based their presentations on trivialities and constant reminders of what was coming later.
    I will watch again on Wednesday, but if there is no change, I'll be an ex viewer

  • Comment number 37.

    To much about the presenters, Richard Hammond the wrong person for
    this programme will not watch again

  • Comment number 38.

    Nothing new... and Richard Hammond is most definitely not the person to front a programme like this.
    We have the most fantastic wildlife experts that have given us many enjoyable hours of programmes over the years....
    What is the BBC trying to do?
    A complete turnoff

  • Comment number 39.

    I think most of you are missing the point, the presenters don't decide the content and style of the programme the director/producers do. This first programme is about setting the scene introducing the players etc (the animals). So while I agree it's a bit Disney we should give it a chance and stop blaming the presenters.

  • Comment number 40.

    Richard Hammond is a poor choice of presenter for what could be a fantastic programme. He is clearly not knowledgable about the subject matter and it shows. He manages to dumb down the events unfolding and irritate at the same time. Sorry BBC you really got this wrong, better use him on total wipeout which his natural habitat.

  • Comment number 41.

    This is an 8 part series so I feel the first episode was really just setting the scene. Richard Hammond might not be some peoples' choice of presenter, but forget Top Gear, his love of nature predates that programme and he is well versed to present such a programme as this. So is Julia. How on earth do we know what we might say when faced with a black bear in front of us - so her comment was a genuine one and no one can fail to have recognised how emotionally moved she was.

    Let's see how the whole programme pans out and reserve any negativity until then.

  • Comment number 42.

    When I heard about this I expected it to be a program like Planet Earth, packed full of amazing wildlife filming and relevent information about the animals and their behaviour. Instead all we got is presenters who have no knowledge on their subjects and repeat themselves constantly. Of an hour program we only got about 15 minutes of animal footage. The program left me with more questions than answers one of which is why the lioness and her cub was shunned? A little background would be appreciated.

  • Comment number 43.

    Not what we have come to expect from the excellent BBC wildlife unit. Light weight, bad story lines, wrong presenters, connecting so many places gives huge time zone challenges. Bring back Johnathan Scott, Simon King, the Douglas Hamilton's and people who know the subject! 1 out of 10 must try harder!

  • Comment number 44.

    We really enjoyed watching the programme. This morning my sister who lives in Saugarites New York State sent photos of a mother black bear and her three cubs coming into their back garden! I wanted to send Ms Bradbury and team the photos but can't see how to. No e-mail address on your site.
    Look forward to next episode.

  • Comment number 45.

    Planet Earth was inspiring. The same cannot be said for Planet Earth Live. The hype did not live up live up to the expectation. A big disappointment.

  • Comment number 46.

    What a huge disappointment. It was hardly live - mostly recorded. And don't start me on Hammond and Bradbury. They have no expertise and just ramble on about cute and/or scary animals. Where are the expert wildlife presenters who know what they are talking about? Possibly too busy making decent programmes.

    The BBC must have spent a fortune on Planet Earth Live but unless they make significant improvements in presenting and content I think audience numbers will fall like a stone. I certainly won't be watching - unless there is a chance that Julia gets chased up a tree by a bad tempered bear. How "cute" will it be then? And perhaps Richard could actually come face to face with really a big hungry lion? Now I would watch that......

    But if that isn't going to happen I'd rather view recordings of anything by made by the experts such as David Attenborough and Simon King.

  • Comment number 47.

    Awaited with anticipation, only to be disappointed. Very disjointed, far too many Hammond and Bradbury close-ups, not enough footage of the wonderful animals. Please open a new box of presenters, there must be so much talent out there? Camera work on the presenters very poor. Could do much, much better. Fortunately, I watched a recording and sped through most of the commentary!

  • Comment number 48.

    I am sorry to say that this programn is an expensive failure. Wrong presenters.They have no credibility. Insulting weak content. It fails to be of value and falls far short of living up to for example, Attenboroughs life work.
    Its pap. its full of human value in terms of laying that quality on animals in the wild.
    I am very annoyed and disappointed

  • Comment number 49.

    What a shame. I really enjoy most of the BBC's wildlife programmes but the format of this one is really disappointing. Richard Hammond seems both unsuitable and out of his depth, Julia Bradbury a little less so. If we are to enjoy wildlife as captured by your excellent cameramen/women please do not spoil it by tossing in a couple of 'personalities' who do nothing but detract from the otherwise excellent work.

  • Comment number 50.

    So disappointed BBC, The first show last night was like a cross between "the Mara's got talent", a soap and Blue Peter. All credit to the people behind the camera's who capture the wonderful footage but it's ruined by the commentary and inane practice of giving wild animals names and trying to turn it into some kind of drama series. The presenters, who I like on Top Gear and Countryfile should stick to what they do best, its not about them it's the wild animals that are the stars. Bring back Sir David please?

  • Comment number 51.

    Whilst hugely disapointed with both the lack of 'Live' action/footage & more importantly the performance of the presenters ( mainly Richard Hammond! )I am at least pleased that both myself & my wife are not alone in our dissapointment.

    Julia,I can cope with, based on her documentary presenting experience,but Richard just annoyed us from the word go - By the way,notwithstanding his immature,jokey & patronising approach,you can hardly except that the BBC had 'parachuted in' a proven presenter, when he had to read the basics from his prompt cards for most his stints!
    For those who don't like Chris Packham's quirky antics, you have to admit that the man is an expert on nature, if not perhaps wildlife ( I might be wrong) & would have been better!
    What about Gordon Buchanan ( previous with the bears! ) & the excellent Simon King?

    We'll give it a second chance,but I doubt the format of presentation will evolve!
    Shame that the chap on Monkey duty couldn't have adapted his sleeping pattern to support the specific purpose of the programme - 'Planet Earth Live'!

    Richard Attenborough must be cringing!

  • Comment number 52.

    Missed opportunity BBC. Was hoping for a similar format to Big Cat Diary. WHERE are the WEBCAMS to view the animals live on the internet? This was such a feature of Big Cat Diary. Ben Fogle or Steve Backshall would have been ideal presenters rather than Richard Hammond or Julia Bradbury; good in their particular fields but not fronting a program like this. You have some fantastic camera people, but would like to see more of their camera-work 'live' as it is happening. Hopefully Jackson will be more involved than just a bit-part as last night. Is there going to be a forum of experts discussing questions posed by the general public? Early days yet but come on BBC the format for Big Cat Diary was brilliant and should be adopted for this program.

  • Comment number 53.

    Sorry but this was more like watching the Richard Hammond show. Julia Bradbury is such a brilliant presenter you share the experience with her. I keep waiting for James May to appear out of the bushes.I am sure you must be able to find someone on the team with more sympathy to the subject and less personal projection.

  • Comment number 54.

    Poorly presented by two of the most inane, pretentious , patronising presenters imaginable. It was supposed to be about wildlife, not about Bradbury and Hammond. A total squandering of valuable BBC resources on a badly made and obviously hyper expensive load of rubbish. An insult to the viewers' intelligence and a poor shadow of the programmes presented over the years by David Attenborough.

  • Comment number 55.

    Richard Hammond is so wrong for a serious programme like this. He should stick with sitting in the studio pretending he is doing Wipe Out. Has put us off watching the sort of programme which the BBC usually does so well. A massive mistake. Hugely damages the BBC's reputation for quality.

  • Comment number 56.

    I was very disappointed with this programme, we gave up after 20 minutes. Too much chatter and sight of the presenters and not enough of the animals. Also, I don't want to be told by presenters what animals are thinking!! Today I've just watched the programme about tigers by the master, David Attenborough. We did not see him at all, just heard his voice. That is the way to make wild life programmes.

  • Comment number 57.

    What a disappointment! Richard Hammond is definetly not the right presenter. His supercilious attitude is offensive and made me want to turn the sound down! The BBC needs to ditch these presenters and get some wildlife commentators who really know what they are talking about. After all we are used to David Attenborough's informative and knowledgeable input. This programme is decidedly below par - is it aimed at 7 year olds?

  • Comment number 58.

    Richard Hammond ruined a fantastic concept - the only time he knew what he was talking about was when he talked about his 4x4! disastrous choice of presenters, we don't need to see them, get a proper wildlife presenter on and feed these two to the lions!

  • Comment number 59.

    What a disappointment, far too much of Julia Bradbury and Hammond telling us `how its going to work` and `more of that later`.
    Then Hammond actually said it was all prerecorded as it was dark at that time in South Africa.
    There was some lovely footage of bear cubs, lions and whales so I waited until my husband watched the recording, for his reaction.
    After 10 minutes he turned it off saying it was annoying.
    Viewers don`t appreciate flipping from Minnesota to South Africa every 5 minutes.
    David Attenborough manages to blend in to wildlife scenery and has useful information to set you thinking.
    These two appear to have wandered onto the set by accident.

  • Comment number 60.

    I enjoyed the episode on Monday 6th. What a shame that Julia Bradbury felt she had to apologise for shedding a tear over the baby bear. She's not reading the news, for Heaven's sake, she was just reacting honestly to what was before her. Good for her!

  • Comment number 61.

    Utterly dire - it used to be that natural history was always a guaranteed success but here we had a bad idea and bad execution that added up to total failure.

    There's a time and a place for Richard Hammond and it's called Top Gear - if he has talent that goes beyond being a sidekick to Clarkson, it's getting late in the day for him to show it and for such a lightweight to do this kind of programme simply showed there is no beginning to that talent.

    Not to mention that calling it "live" was the most blatant case of false advertising since "The Neverending Story".

  • Comment number 62.

    Hi - well was going to comment on something else but having watched this last night I would have to agree how disappointing this 1st episode was - looked totally disjointed - wrong time of year in kenya - and limited discussion with people who didn't care about anything apart from the rain... very pore... was going to comment on the series ponitless which I just watched and has become too intelliectual ... c'est la vie

  • Comment number 63.

    This sounded an odd idea from the start; surely showing the animals live would result in watching a lot of inaction? One of the reasons that the BBC wildlife programmes are so good is that the teams spend so long in the wild waiting to film the necessary action. Last night's episode was filled with much film which wasn't live! But worst of all were the presenters. What on earth was Hammond doing there? And Julia Bradbury is fine in small doses but now suffers from over-exposure, apart from which (AFAIK), she's no expert on wildlife.

    A complete waste of time - I'd like to know how much it has cost.


  • Comment number 64.

    Sorry, but I really resent the BBC wasting my licence money on sending these lightweights all over the world to make superficial, banal comments about what would be an otherwise interesting subject.
    I normally love wildlife programmes but found it difficult to listen to the shallow commentary provided by Richard Hammond.
    At least Johnny Morris, Desmond Morriss and David Attenborough had a background in the subjects they were talking about.
    I'm afraid it's lost this viewer already, I don't watch TV to get irritated.

  • Comment number 65.

    I was looking forward to this series but was very disappointed. I expected lots of wildlife coverage and expert wildlife commentary. Instead I got very little wildlife, and embarassingly sentimental and trivial commentary from Richard Hammond and Julia Bradbury. I cant understand why the BBC chose them rather than one of the many wildlife experts who do a great job of presenting. I do however look forward to seeing more of Gremlin, and hope that the BBC show us more wildlife coverage, less meanlingless infra red shots and less of the two awful presenters.

  • Comment number 66.

    too much exposure for presenters & not enough "nature". We saw more of Hammond than anything else, and does he really know anything about the subject ? Also what's the point of the "live" lead when it is pitch dark outside and all we can see is a blurry IR image. Seems like a jolly boys ( and girls) outing at BBC licence payer's expense to me.

  • Comment number 67.

    I quite like watching Richard Hammond on Top Gear or Total Wipeout, but not on this. I eagerly awaited what promised to be a very informative show, however it was ruined by Mr Hammond's inane comments and frankly daft facial expressions.

  • Comment number 68.

    I don't think Richard Hammond and Julia Bradbury live counts as a 'Live' wildlife show! Very very disappointing and did not live up to the trailers for it. Won't bother watching anymore - not up to David Attenborough/BBC standard.

  • Comment number 69.

    Very disappointing. The only live animal footage was a thermal image of a water buffalo just outside the camp. Although I agree with most of the coments on the presenters if there was much more live animal footage we could probably put up with them.

  • Comment number 70.

    I am very disappointed with this programme. Over many years I have grown up with and enjoyed most of the programmes put out by the Natural History Unit, but this is dreadful. I know the BBC are trying to target younger people and by using "popular presenters" they hope to get a new audiance, but they are dishing up a poor offering that can only appeal to very few people and is an insult to the intelligence of most of its viewers both young & older.
    I would love to know who made the decision to use this style of presentation. If you cast your minds back to Big Cat Diary, this was a successful programme that was enjoyed and the format was spot on. Then they changed it to Big Cat Live and parachuted Kate Silverton in ( who can ever forget the Out of Africa suit and single mum referances) and it was universally slated and then dropped. I am afraid this will go down as another example of poor decision making at producer level. Will these heads of departments look truthfully at the negative comments or will they just go along with their eternal search for the young viewer.

  • Comment number 71.

    Like the planet earth live but why are they only showing it in flash player and us on iPads can't watch it live

  • Comment number 72.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 73.

    Julia, please stick to what you actually KNOW something about because it's very obvious that you know little or nothing about wildlife. The adoption of twee names for animals was positively vomit inducing and we really don't need references to your own motherhood. I will definitely NOT be tuning in to see the rest of the series.

  • Comment number 74.

    Sorry Julia, I enjoy your walking programmes, but the moment you told me you could hear my heart melting over the bear cubs I switched off.

    As for Richard Hammond.
    Who on Earth thought that an accident prone petrol head and game show host, who could never be considered a friend of the natural world, would be a suitable presenter for this?

    Such an expensive and extensive undertaking should be left to EXPERTS.
    It's difficult to understand how this series could come from the same channel who so recently brought us the brilliant and unforgettable "Frozen Planet".

    I won't be watching part two.

  • Comment number 75.

    I don't think having Richard Hammond as a presenter is a good idea, his presentation skills in this programme are as bad as they are in total wipeout, he appears to have very little knowledge of what he is talking about. The BBC has many other knowledgeable presenters who could have done this and in a much more knowledgable manner, but seeing they are not here doing the programme speaks volumes about it as they would not want to be associated with it.

    These are wild animals that are being shown here, there is no need to be all fluffy about it and give them names "THEY DO NOT HAVE NAMES"

    I saw the first episode and will not watch another, i'm much preferring the channel 4 programme on foxes.

    Show more of the animals and not too much of the presenters and what Julia being a new mother has got to do with the bear cubs I don't know

  • Comment number 76.

    I like most of the viewers on this website was looking forward to this programme
    what a disappointing start. The BBC usually are brilliant at this sort of thing. I do feel the presenters are not suitable for the programme and only hope they can improve. This would have been another feather in the cap for BBC but why, oh why did they choose these two presenters??

    Simon King would have been brilliant as always or even Chris Packham. If you are going to have this sort of programme then you must have people who know and care passionately for wildlife.

  • Comment number 77.

    Just to add to the others, a good opportunity but wrong presenters. Less 'celebs' are more wildlife and experts please.

  • Comment number 78.


  • Comment number 79.

    Heard Richard Bacon try to dismiss the criticism earlier. Good effort Richard but you are wrong. The show was branded as live. It wasn’t and never would be with people spread over a dozen time zones. You can’t coincide animal behaviour to fit a 1 hour slot.  Richard Hammond hiding in a tent and pointing into blackness to say “there’s a  water buffalo over there” does not make a live wildlife show good.
    What was wrong with the show was that both Julia & Richard knew nothing about their subject and their commentary showed it.  It was idiot telly. Animals don't need to be given names. It was Soap Opera style story presentation, jeopardy & dilemma fed in with Eastenders story lines. But most of all I hated appalling emotive musical soundtrack.  I don’t need to see or empathise with Julia’s “emotional journey” because it's not relevant.  I wanted to see Bears not a TV presenter coming out with childish comments like “that’s so cute”.  
    As usual the photography was very good. But it was let down by the presentational style. That is as much the Producer’s fault as Richard & Julia. Won’t be watching again.

  • Comment number 80.

    Who at the BBC decided that Richard Hammond should present this programme? They should be sacked. There are at least 10 people who are good wildlife presenters and very knowledgable. Richard Hammond does not meet either of these requirements.

    BBC - you have let us down. This is a missed opportunity to engage adults and children alike.

    I can forgive the fact that the programme is not really live, but I cannot forgive the choice of Hammond to present it.

  • Comment number 81.

    Have just watched Channel 4 Foxes Live: Wild in the City. More live footage of the animals than Planet Earth Live, with presenters and contributors who know their subject. Watch and learn BBC.

  • Comment number 82.

    Pity about Richard Hammond's presentation! Most disappointing - he seems to be rather 'green' and naive about Kenya, the bush and wildlife. Filming excellent but content very fragmented. And it would be good if he was taught how to pronounce Moja the Swahili way - and not Mojo! Surely he has been poorly informed by the researchers, Production Assistants, etc. Hopefully the idea of a great programme will get better - especially after one week's animal activities are under the belt! Had I not been a great lover of Kenya, a former White Kenyan and a lover of all animals, I think I would have switched to a different wildlife programme! Here's hoping for the next programme!

  • Comment number 83.

    You are right Melsfirdale - we should say thanks to the camera and sound teams who have produced the sort of high quality output we expect from the BBC. Just a shame their work has been let down by the presenters and researchers. Perhaps I'll watch with the sound off next time.

  • Comment number 84.

    This program was a huge disappointment. The presenters clearly know very little about the subject and their comments were at best facile and at worst plain embarrassing. If it was meant for CBBC why show it in the evening?

    Oh and by the way - why "Live". The only live footage seemed to be of Hammond getting wet in the dark.

  • Comment number 85.

    As has been said before the show is a complete disappointment. And what was Julia wearing in the first episode? Unless you are a gun carrying hunter and need to wear dayglo orange for safety reasons, why would you think it appropriate to dress as if you going shopping in a budget supermarket rather than reflect the fact you are co hosting a nature programme being broadcast from the wilderness?

  • Comment number 86.

    For the first time I turned off after only half an hour. Really disappointed. Whilst Julia Bradbury has credibility as a nature presenter, I thought Richard Hammonds approach was appalling. I'm all for a youthful approach, but it was obvious he knew nothing about the subject. It makes me realise how informative Spring Watch is now! I realise that David Attenborough cannot be used for every programme, but what about Simon King et al? Who are wonderfully dedicated to the subject and do not demean the animals.

  • Comment number 87.

    Planet Earth Live has been heavily criticised, after showing footage of only two animals live, with much "talk" http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvan ... ffalo.html.

    I noticed a similar change in Springwatch with the demise of Bill Oddie and the arrival of Chris Packham.

    I realise that the presenters may be giving information concerning wildlife, and there may be a limited number of times when viewers want to watch the same Robin coming back to feed its young.

    However, I find the banter on Springwatch particularly annoying, and the footage of wildlife being constantly interrupted by a shot of the presenters looking fascinated by what they are watching or making asides to the camera infuriating.

    I started to Watch Planet Earth Live. I know that not all young animals will survive. But I do not want to be constantly left on the edge with "Did the Cubs survive the Buffalo attack? We'll be back later......" bearing in mind that this is historical footage, it can be shown at once. So within 15 minutes of the start of the programme I went off to compose my Neighbourhood Watch newsletter.

    Frozen Planet was criticised for background music, particularly a rather jolly tune where a Penguin was fleeing for its life across the ice.

    BBC, you are failing miserably at something at which you used to be so good.

  • Comment number 88.

    At 22:05 8th May 2012, overland4x4 wrote:
    As has been said before the show is a complete disappointment. And what was Julia wearing in the first episode? Unless you are a gun carrying hunter and need to wear dayglo orange for safety reasons, why would you think it appropriate to dress as if you going shopping in a budget supermarket rather than reflect the fact you are co hosting a nature programme being broadcast from the wilderness?" I think many of the programmes now come with a designer who chooses what is "appropriate" for the presenters to wear, and what the set should look like. You don't think the untidiness of the Springwatch set is natural, do you?

  • Comment number 89.

    Enough has been said about his immaturity and superficial understanding of nature but very little comment on his track record in insulting those of us who feel enormous guilt for the suffering of animals at the hands of man. Dead cows on car roofs and 'last one home's a vegetarian' comments do nothing to convince me that Richard Hammond has any interest in the welfare of these wonderful creatures on display.

    The man is a joke and his appointment in this role is an insult to those of us, vegetarian or not, who do not want to encorage the dumbing down of our society and wish to see people with intelligence and understanding. Bad move BBC!

  • Comment number 90.

    What a dreadful, disappointing programme. Hammond and Bradbury completely the wrong choice and very irritating. And why the black bears in Minnesota? BBC showed a very good programme over three nights at Christmas 2010 entitled The Bear Family and Me shot by the expert and talented wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan which covered these animals in great depth. We really do not need Ms Bradbury's hormonal gushings.
    Incidentally, very little "wild" about Lynn Rogers bears - most respected scientists would describe them as habituated.

  • Comment number 91.

    I wish the use of the name "Killer Whale" would stop. It's so emotive and unnecessary, conjuring up pictures of thugs and hooligans, usually accompanied by "Jaws" type music. The BBC seems to lead the way in this misconception. They are called Orca whales and their diet and hunting methods are perfectly normal for them. If Richard Hammond doesn't wind his neck in I shall not be watching any more of what could otherwise be an good programme. I really don't need him pulling faces at the camera and going on about a baby macaque monkey with a face only a mother could love. How dare he! Nor do I want lots of distance shots of him and his team standing in their tent waving at the camera. What were you thinking BBC? Where are the presenters of Big Cat Diaries, who managed to get us the viewers so involved with the stories of the big cats in the Mara without resorting to gimmicky presentation.

  • Comment number 92.

    What next, Jonathan Scott for Formula 1 presenter, he could say its very noisy.
    What did you expext on the Massi Mara at night ?

  • Comment number 93.

    I want to register my disappointment too - I could only bear Richard Hammond for ten minutes and then turned it off. I must admit that it was a relief not to have seen Julia Bradbury as I find her a most irritating presenter too.
    It is almost as if the BBC has decided to pick the two worst possible presenters for this series which could have been amazing.
    Why couldn't Simon King present it - I never missed any of The Big Cat Diaries and a lot of that was because he was so interesting without being patronising.

  • Comment number 94.

    I like Richard Hammond too (on Top Gear) but not on Planet Earth Live! Please can we have much less of Richard Hammond broadcasting from a dark tent in the rain and let Jackson take centre stage in the Mara! In future bring back Saba Douglas-Hamilton, Simon King, Jonathan Scott and Gordon Buchanan. They speak from experience with passion and knowledge. BBC are trailing Planet Earth Live as a global wildlife experience - but it fails to deliver because of the inane commentary. What a disappointment. I hope the BBC responds to these criticisms and admits they have got it wrong - but I doubt it somehow!

  • Comment number 95.

    Unbelievably crass. I thought that I had tuned into a Disney channel rather than the BBC. We want to see the animals, not the fatuous presenters. I do have to admit, though, that it's very clever of someone to have discovered animals that are born with human names so that they can be identified!

  • Comment number 96.

    Potentially good programme totally ruined by two completely irritating presenters. Shall watch no more.

  • Comment number 97.

    Really unprofessional and talking to the viewers as if we are idiots. This is supposed to be about nature and animals in it. Comments about how baby monkeys look 'unloved" sound as if Hammond is still watching children's TV. Role on Springwatch.

  • Comment number 98.

    Am annoyed with myself for wasting the last half hour watching another episode just to see how long was devoted to showing live pictures - after all the essence of the programme. That's right - not a single second! Hopeless.

  • Comment number 99.

    I like planet earth live as it keeps you on the Edge of ur seat and wanting to know more yes I do agree that there should be less of the presenters and more of the animals i like Richard Hammond and its not like a Disney channel because I don't see Simba pulling apart Pumbaa or moja singing akumamatata.

  • Comment number 100.

    Very disappointed by this series which has not lived up to the hype. The only "live" coverage is of the presenters linking previously recorded film sequences. The standard of the camera work on the wildlife is as high as we have come to expect from the BBC but the overall effect of the presenters (not experts in this field) and their soft-focus dialogue is to dumb down the whole subject matter.


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