Blue Planet II
As the son of a butcher, I’ve never gone in for anthropomorphism. Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Paddington, Peppa Pig: hate ’em all, unless they come fricasseed. The creatures I detest most are dolphins, with their smug, squeaky, beady-eyed personalities, like columnists on a middle-brow tabloid. This disgruntlement means I am in the tiny minority who failed to applaud Blue Planet II. What’s hidden beneath the waves is ‘beyond our imagination’, intoned David Attenborough fatuously. Except it isn’t – the natural world, in these documentaries, is a traditional freak show, with the fish and the fowl, walruses and polar bears, predictably killing, eating and fornicating, served up for the viewer as if we are visiting an 18th-century Bedlam. I know we must salute the photography – the pin-sharp close-ups of swivelling eyes and tendrils, spume, coral and the water’s glint. I found it boring after a while, like a screensaver. We darted...