TV Highlights

What's on Thursday 23rd October

Life Story

BBC One - 9pm

Who's in it?

Our foremost national treasure is back, and this time he's talking to meerkats. That's a double whammy of super-adorability right there.

In a nutshell

Attenborough has done SO many shows, each of which is seemingly more epic than is technically feasible for any TV programme to be, that it's a wonder they can keep coming up new angles for him to explore. Sometimes there's an element of repetition, at least in theme. It was decades ago, for example, that he gave us the Trials of Life. Now he's back, with Life Story. More trials, more life. But this time with filmmaking technology they'd never have dreamt of back then.

The first episode is all about childhood. And we're talking childhood rougher than anything in Dickens. There are the Greenland barnacle geese, whose chicks literally jump off rocky ledges and bounce to the ground below to feed. We'll also see albatross infants making their first flight: a beautiful moment tinged with supreme danger, as tiger sharks wait for some of the babies to fall right into their mouths.

What's the verdict?

It's unfair to root for animals when watching shows like this. After all, life isn't a Disney film, and the natural world is a brutally amoral place. But tell that to yourself when you watch the hapless younglings awkwardly try to survive their first weeks and months on Earth. At least Sir David's there to soothe us through the traumatic moments with that lovely voice.

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07-07-2011