They may have lovingly nurtured paedophiles for decades but preteen grooming hospital porter chasing ghouls are not the only animals the BBC are noted for. Last year’s Frozen Planet was a triumph and its scene of baby polar bears nuzzling at their mother’s omni-tit thawed the icy hearts of the watching masses. When it turned out that this particular scene took place at a mocked up cave in a zoo in Holland it was something of an embarrassment (still, I bet they pray for the days when a moody polar bear shot was the most embarrassing thing they had to worry about). As a result of that devil tricknology for this year’s Africa David Attenborough is telling viewers when scenes are not filmed in the wild. “You do realise this is all bullshit” he says as a unicorn impales Chupacabra. That all-encompassing grand explanatory narrative they call transparency? Overrated.
I’ll tell you what else is overrated. The leopard. The smallest of the big cats, it still comes with a fearsome reputation. It’s not a lion or tiger sure but most definitely a jaguar or panther. No more. Because Attenborough’s Africa demolishes the myth of the leopard as savage beast of sub-Saharan Africa the way that sick piece of shit Billy Cudrup demolished Mary Louise Parker‘s hopes of a happy pregnancy. We meet the one-year-old leopard in the Kalahari as he begins to make his way in the world away from his mammy. It’s a tough environment but nature has provided him with an opportunity – a warthog within the kill range. The leopard stalks his prey. The warthog snorts and glowers. The leopard thinks about it. Then pussies out and picks on a steinbok instead. The leopard it seems spends his time ducking real challenges and feasting on turds. He is the animal kingdom equivalent of Nathan Cleverly.
“Attenborough’s Africa demolishes the myth of the leopard as savage beast of sub-Saharan Africa the way that sick piece of shit Billy Cudrup demolished Mary Louise Parker’s hopes of a happy pregnancy.”
It’s a brutal self-turding for brother leopard but your steinbok, itself the Branwell Brontë of the antelope family, should be an easy mark, being a big-eared turd of no evolutionary consequence. Once again he stalks. It’s looking good. Then a jackal sounds a warning and Joe Steinbok fair pelts away and leopturd doesn’t even bother chasing him. Nature 2-0 Leopturd Blewnited.
After this shameful turn of events he gets lucky and spots an antelope stashed in a tree by his mother. “Like any teenager he thinks nothing of raiding her larder” Attenborough wisecracks. It’s a Happy Meal waiting right in front of him, cooked and bagged. As he feasts on the carcass he hilariously falls out of the tree and then shoots back up to lock his jaws back on and hangs there from his teeth like a circus performer his legs kicking out uselessly. He has to leave it. Attenborough makes out it’s because he’s “just” a year old but this is nonsense. He is ruined forever.
Because leopards get their ghetto pass revoked forever on Africa. They will be extinct within a generation and the word “leopard” is destined to be known only as the print favoured by girls into cupcakes, vintage fairs, burlesque,1950s housewife, Balboa dancing, roller derby, teacups, BDSM and clinical depression. The entire species has offered up its neck and after watching this even a lifelong vegan would rip its throat out with bare hands and soundly sleep the sleep of the just.
“Africa is of course another triumph for the BBC. Rainforest, savannah, desert, tundra, lightning – you’ll see them all here over the next six weeks.”
Onto baby ostriches now. By some miracle their parents find a watering hole in the middle of the Kalahari and it’s like a nightclub. Elephants, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest – it’s going to be difficult to catch a drink here with this mob milling around. Then some lions come along – the real muthaphucking G’s of the cat family – and kick up a fuss, looking to thin the herd. They chase but fail to catch a giraffe. Breaking: Lions turded by a giraffe in another PR disaster for the cat family. Still, it means the ostriches can get to the water and they gratefully guzzle it down having won the game of desert survival for another day. Baby ostrich KO1 leopard.
Africa is of course another triumph for the BBC. Rainforest, savannah, desert, tundra, lightning – you’ll see them all here over the next six weeks. Desert rhinos humping at night courtesy of the latest starlight camera is a particularly moving vista. But among all the locust swarms, underground lakes, venomous snakes and chest beating apes what really sticks out is the disgraceful humiliating fall from grace of the leopard, the worst bastard in the history of forever.
The verdict on Africa: Baby ostrich: African. Leopard: Africunt.
Marks out of 10: 8
Imagined: Wednesday 2nd January 2013