The astonishing Mammals moment that surprised Sir David Attenborough


The astonishing Mammals moment that surprised Sir David Attenborough

What did you miss?

Sir David Attenborough's new wildlife series Mammals has been dazzling viewers with its incredible footage – and it seems one "amazing" sequence stunned the broadcasting legend too.

The BBC programme is split into episodes looking at different environments – Dark, Cold, Water, Heat, Forest and The New Wild. And in the Cold episode viewers get to see wolverines, which are known to be hard to capture on film.

Prior to Mammals being unveiled, series producer Scott Alexander said it was an “amazing sequence” that “no one's ever seen before”, and the episode’s producer and director Will Lawson has revealed it took Attenborough by surprise too.

Mammals,Early Release,Sir David Attenborough,BBC Studios,Alex Board
Sir David Attenborough has a new series that is wowing viewers. (BBC) (BBC Studios/Alex Board)

What, how and why?

He said on ITV’s Lorraine: “Off the back of seeing the Cold programme for the first time, he got in touch to say, ‘Well, I've never seen a wolverine in the flesh, let alone on the box’.”

“You can still surprise him,” said host Lorraine Kelly, as Lawson agreed.

Mammals,Generics,A wolverine mid-stride while traveling over the tundra of northern Alaska.,Peter Mather,Peter Mather
The TV star was surprised by the amazing sequence. (BBC) (BBC Studios / Peter Mather)

Attenborough turns 98 in May but Lawson said he was “seemingly still as sprightly, still as enthusiastic as ever”.

“He's an incredible human being, I think, but also incredible at what he does,” he said. “He's so well grounded, so humble. But he's not shy to be surprised. He always is intrigued.”

What else happened?

Lawson also talked about the challenges of filming wolverines, explaining: “The length that we went to, to film wolverines up in northern Alaska, it took two attempts. We had to go back two years. The first year was a steep learning curve."

Will Lawson talked about filming wolverines in the wild. (ITV screengrab)
Will Lawson talked about filming wolverines in the wild. (ITV screengrab) (ITV screengrab)

He went on: "We've managed to film some beautiful, intimate moments between parents of a very young kid and got some filming first and actually filming this kid coming out of its snow den for the first time.

"And it's likely in its three months up until that point of being alive that it had never seen the world above the snow, so we actually managed to get at that moment where it saw the world around it. And then very quickly, the mother takes it, moves off, and that's then leaving home behind.

"So it's a lot of time and effort for literally a moment that lasts only a couple of minutes.”

Read more: Mammals

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