More young people are watching Planet Earth II than The X Factor, according to the BBC.
The first three episodes of Planet Earth II had more viewers aged between 16 and 34 than The X Factor on ITV. The second episode brought in the biggest numbers so far, with 1.8 million viewers tuning in to see barmy flamingos, dancing bears, and face-planting bobcat in the mountains, versus 1.4 million for The X Factor.
That shouldn’t come as a great surprise – three episodes in, and the state-of-art technology and candid footage of funny, bonkers, or cut-throat animal behaviour has made Planet Earth II some of the most gripping television ever. A far sight better than the Honey G horror show and Sharon Osbourne forgetting her lines every week.
David Attenborough says the popularity of Planet Earth II could be due to viewers, “reconnecting with a planet whose beauty is blemished and whose health is failing” – a recognition perhaps that their own well-being is in jeopardy along with the natural world.
“I’m told that we are attracting a larger than normal number of younger viewers”, he told the Radio Times. “Apparently the music of Hans Zimmer in particular is striking a chord. That pleases me enormously.”
The proximity of the animals in Planet Earth II could be a big factor in its popularity too.
“Visually, where Planet Earth took an almost God-like perspective and said ‘Let’s look down on the Earth and see the scale of the planet’, what Planet Earth II is doing is saying ‘Let’s get ourselves into the lives of the animals, and see it from their perspective,’” producer Mike Gunton has said.
“The visual signature of the series is that you feel like the camera is with the animals. It’s very fluid, very active. For example, you might see this wonderful lemur leaping through the forest. Normally when we’d film that, we’d be standing back observing it, but here the lemur almost jumps over your shoulder and as it’s jumping over your shoulder, you’re with it – the camera is running with it.”
The X Factor will have to pull something pretty big out of the bag to beat this week’s episode of Planet Earth II, which promises some of the most dramatic scenes yet (including a buffalo vs lion dust-up and the death of 150,000 antelope from disease). We’re saying Simon Cowell needs to pit his warbling irritants against a pack of lions, but it couldn’t hurt viewing figures.