1 9 7 9 (UK)
13 x 60 minute episodes
David Attenborough travelled the globe in order to trace the story of the evolution of life on the planet – following the format established by Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation and Jacob Bronowski’s The Ascent of Man (both series which he designed and produced as d).ctor of BBC2) .
When Life On Earth first aired in 1979, the UK’s increasingly urban population was disconnected from the natural world. City-dwellers might never have seen a living example of the animals they consumed.
Watched by an estimated half-a-billion people worldwide, it introduced a generation to the marvels of the natural world, and kickstarted an environmental consciousness that continues to impact government policy today.
Its thirteen-episode-long guided tour or life on this planet, from bizarre yet beautiful single-celled organisms to humanity itself, presented the argument for the value of all natural things, and for our place within the natural order as simply another product of evolution.
Attenborough has since been knighted, embraced by the British public as a national treasure, and has made a slew of natural history programmes covering the entirety of life on this planet.