To the layperson it would seem that there was no new way to conduct a documentary series about nature and The Great British Year goes some way to confirm that. The four seasons are its organising principle and time-lapse photography reveals nature in its devastating glory. Blowseph Whines narrates and his turn is every bit as compelling as his performance as Mark Benford in GashMoremerde. To be fair to Blowseph the script is pretty grim and he finds himself mumbling things like “Spring arrives. The colder nights mean Winter is here. Summer is coming. And soon so will the other one.” as if we were somehow unaware we were in orbit around the sun. Like Game of Thrones we start with winter. It’s coming.
In fact it’s already here. A kestrel and two barn owls eye each other up over a derelict airfield in the sticks. It snows and the owl immediately springs into action, silently destroying a vole and feasting on its still trembling carcass like the ruthless killer it is. The kestrel, by contrast, is a massive disappointment and returns from his hunt empty-handed. Aerial Telly exposed the leopard as a worthless piece of shit living off its reputation and the kestrel is much the same. You may have thought the kestrel would win this round but later for that noise. The owls are not what they seem. The kestrel is a flat track bully who comes unstuck in snow. Fuck him.
Aerial Telly exposed the leopard as a worthless piece of shit living off its reputation and the kestrel is much the same.
Further wonders follow. Frost messes with plants. A squirrel eats nuts then hides them. Bird tables hum with activity over the kind of music you’d usually hear scoring a car chase in a blaxploitation movie. Molehills turn up worms for robins to feed on. Woodlice eat green algae off a tree trunk. Nature’s shit munchers all chomping in unison. This may all sound dull but that’s only because it is, empirically and undeniably.
Nature’s shit munchers all chomping in unison. This may all sound dull but that’s only because it is, emphatically and empirically.
Better follows with quite entertaining footage of brown hares slap boxing and frogs jizzing their spawn all over a stream. Thermal cameras capture a fox, a badger and a hare in a tense stand-off and you wonder if there about to start transporting a bag of grain across the river. It concludes with a Making the Great British Year short about how they Made The Great British Year with cameras and shit. Yeah, bitch! Cameras!
We have a temperate climate and therefore our wildlife is shit. Our snakes struggle to kill field mice and most of our trees die of boredom.
If we learn one thing from The Great British Year it’s that we have a temperate climate and therefore our wildlife is shit. Our snakes struggle to kill field mice and most of our trees die of boredom. There’s no shame in this. Give me a steady economy with no earthquakes, monsoons or deadly spiders and I’ll accept that our domestic nature docs will suck balls. Like wars, house parties and adulterous liaisons such things are best located away from home.
The verdict: Nature’s shit munchers all chomping in unison. I WAS TOADED OK????
Marks out of 10: 6