Planet Earth II remedy?

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By no means thoughts Brexit, Trump or terrorism: over the previous couple of weeks a lot of Britain has been extra preoccupied with child sea iguanas.

We have taken the little guys to our hearts after we watched them fleeing for his or her lives from snakes on the primary Planet Earth II episode.

Greater than 12m viewers per week have been tuning in to observe David Attenborough’s newest nature documentary sequence.

And new figures present that greater than two million of them are aged 16-34.

To place that in perspective, that is a whole bunch of 1000’s greater than are viewing ITV’s The X Issue.

Whereas 2.27m youthful viewers watched Planet Earth II’s episode 1, the identical weekend’s Saturday X Issue present attracted 1.62m.


So why is that this unassuming nature sequence on target to change into the second most-watched sequence of the 12 months?

Veteran presenter David Attenborough has his personal principle: “It is a type of two-way remedy,” he explains.

Watching the brutality in nature brings alive part of ourselves, and that is at all times a consolation, even when it is barely disturbing. You are reminding your self that it is nonetheless there

In 2001, Blue Planet attracted many extra viewers than anticipated and he places that right down to the impact of the 9/11 assaults.

“As a nation we craved refuge from the horror and uncertainty,” he instructed the Radio Instances.

“For an hour on Wednesday evenings our oceans supplied that sanctuary.”

Quick ahead 15 years, and there’s a comparable urge for food from viewers on this period of worldwide change and uncertainty.

“In fact, there isn’t a single appalling catalyst as there was in 2001,” says Sir David.

“However our considerations for the world, the confusion we have now about its course of journey, are each bit as nice.”


The social occasion of the 12 months

It helps that the sequence is impeccably produced, with complete life tales teased out of the animal encounters.

Technological advances in filming additionally imply we have been capable of witness some species like by no means earlier than. (The snow leopard and her child anybody?)


Social media and entry to a number of screens have additionally helped flip Planet Earth II right into a communal expertise.

Viewers are literally tuning in to observe when it is scheduled to be on tv in order that they’ll be a part of within the dialog.


There is probably not judges, viewer voting or spoilers, however within the age of on demand streaming, this unlikely nature sequence has change into a must-watch “appointment to view” TV.

Galapagos racer snakes

Picture caption Galapagos racer snakes, ready to pounce on these unsuspecting iguanas…

Brutal consolation?

However a fast dive into psychology gives some deep-rooted causes as to why we’re all hooked.

To begin with, witnessing hunter-gatherers in motion reminds us that all of us have the hero intuition inside us, in line with Professor Rasjid Skinner, lecturer at Sheffield College and Cambridge Muslim School.

“In every particular person, there’s part of the self which might be summoned to do extraordinary issues in a tough or survival-threatening state of affairs,” he explains.

“Watching the brutality in nature brings alive part of ourselves, and that is at all times a consolation, even when it is barely disturbing.

“You are reminding your self that it is nonetheless there.”

Take heed to David Rodigan’s reggae playlist, to accompany Planet Earth II

The Galapagos marine iguana is the only lizard to forage in the sea

Picture caption A sunbathing marine iguana

Take heed to Huw Stephen’s acoustic Planet Earth II playlist

In addition to being a number one psychologist, Professor Skinner additionally occurs to be a sheep farmer in Yorkshire: he is aware of all concerning the harsh actuality – in addition to the sweetness – of the pure world.

However do we have now any higher must faucet into this intuition now? In a phrase: sure.

2016 has seen tens of millions of refugees risking loss of life to flee their properties, unpredictable election wins and financial uncertainty.

A part of the fascination with Planet Earth II is about reminding ourselves, in these robust instances, of our capability to guard ourselves if we have to, says the professor.

Flamingo colonies in the salt lakes, 4000m high in the Andes

One more reason Planet Earth II is proving so in style is extra about connecting with nature, somewhat than with our brutal fight-or-flight instincts.

A current research of about 18,500 individuals revealed in PLOS One journal proved that frequently spending time in nature is sweet for our psychological well being and happiness, bettering it by as much as 30%.

On a broader stage, it is all concerning the stability that may be discovered within the pure world.

“When individuals are out of kilter, or the society they’re in is out of kilter with what’s pure, there’s an intuition to get again to that” ends Professor Skinner.

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Alexandra Laverro

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