Saturday, August 07, 2010

David Attenborough gives Discovery Channel a kick in the 'nads

David Attenborough has produced some of the finest natural science series to be seen on television. Part of what makes them interesting, aside from the great camera work and detailed information is the narration by Attenborough himself.

Unless you watched his series Life or Planet Earth on the US Discovery Channel. There you got Oprah Winfrey or Sigourney Weaver narrating an over-dubbed series as though Attenborough was speaking in Kuwati Arabic.

Attenborough apparently dislikes that approach.
World renowned and much beloved natural scientist Sir David Attenborough has finally figured out a way to thwart Discovery Channel's nasty habit of stripping his narration out of his own documentaries.

Discovery likes to do this in order to re-do the narration using celebrities the company is in bed with -- like Oprah Winfrey, who made his recent 11-part series "Life" sound like a bedtime story -- or with movie stars -- like Sigourney Weaver, who in 2007 tremulously re-did his narration for his 11-part "Planet Earth"

How did Attenborough do this?

He's put himself in almost every scene of his next project, "First Life." Clever Attenborough!

The special uses CGI and fossil findings to imagine what animals that lived on earth hundreds of millions of year ago actually looked like.

"I'm glad to see you've inserted yourself into the film here, because some of your earlier films your voice has been replaced by this network with Oprah and Sigourney Weaver," one critic noted, speaking for many of us attending Summer TV Press Tour 2010.

"As a narrator I am sorry that my narration isn't there," the always exuberant Attenborough responded glibly.

"But as a former network [executive] ... I know you have to allow to allow a bit of give and take." Besides, he added impishly, the versions he narrated and which was seen in other markets around the world, is also available to order in the U.S. on DVD "so people can take which they wish."

Discovery Channel president Clark Bunting, who was also on stage, had nothing to say on the subject.

Perhaps Bunting can get William Shatner to narrate his written response thus avoiding any problems we might have with Bunting's accent.

H/T Cheryl

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