REVIEW: Chadden Hunter, Planet Earth II: Behind the Scenes, St George’s Guildhall, King’s Lynn Festival
Following the monumental success of BBC’s Planet Earth II, producer Chadden Hunter gave a captivated audience at Lynn’s St George’s Guildhall a fascinating insight into the background of the nature series.
Using anecdotes along with stills and video clips from the award-winning programme, Hunter’s Planet Earth II: Behind the Scenes talk brought a light-hearted afternoon to the King’s Lynn Festival schedule on Saturday, but with an important message.
Hunter started the first of the 45-minute halves by explaining one of the questions he gets asked the most - how he got into his profession in the first place.
After being encouraged to collect and study bugs, and having watched one of David Attenborough’s earlier nature programmes Life on Earth as a child in Australia, Hunter went on to research Gelada baboons in Ethiopia - where he also discovered the power of the media after talking of the importance of the species on national television there.
It was after this that Hunter became a scientific consultant for the BBC and worked on the original Planet Earth series, which many among the audience would have been surprised - including myself - to learn is in more homes around the world than any other DVD.
Never-before-seen footage of behind the scenes moments in Planet Earth, Frozen Planet and Planet Earth II were a real treat, and often, highly amusing, with Hunter exposing the dangers of working in this field.
From ice diving to avoiding hungry hippos, and from trying not to anger rhinos to running from a grizzly bear, Hunter examined some of his more terrifying times at work, which challenged the perhaps glamorous idea of having a job involving animals.
Although this is not to say that it would put anyone off the vocation if their heart - like Hunter’s - was truly in it.
It was interesting to learn that a segment of Planet Earth II was filmed in Norfolk, which was the only British location to feature in the series, and which brought about one of the more adorable moments with a tiny harvest mouse.
Next time you hold a two pence piece, bear in mind that a harvest mouse weighs less than that. This is just another example of the insight and huge wealth of knowledge Hunter has and was able to share with the audience to give a more immersive idea of the behind the scenes of Planet Earth II.
One of the most important things Hunter spoke of, and what he was asked most about at the end in a question and answer session was conservation.
He explained that during the series, subtle references to climate change and recycling were included, as although many are concerned about these issues, that is not what viewers want from an hourly TV show on a Sunday - to feel upset.
Hunter’s talk was a wonderful mixture of fascinating, amusing, terrifying and concerning, but it gave such a well-rounded insight into his life and Planet Earth II.
The event lasted an hour and a half in total, but I could have listened to his life experiences for much, much longer, and judging by the response, the audience could have too.