IT has been said that national treasure Sir David Attenborough must be protected at all costs.
So his many fans will be concerned to hear the broadcasting legend was attacked while filming new documentary, The Green Planet.
Sir David was armed with protective gear to investigate a cholla cactus but it impaled him with glass-like spikes.
他说: “The cholla really is a physical danger. It has these very dense spines in rosettes, so they point in all directions. And if you just brush against it, the spines are like spicules of glass.
“I mean they are that sharp and they go into you and you really have trouble getting them out!
“So that is a really dangerous plant. The cholla is an active aggressor.”
The Green Planet uses pioneering new filmmaking technology to look into the secret world of plants like never before.
Crew filmed stunning time-lapses of plants for four years in 27 countries around the world to make the BBC documentary.
Sir David filmed linking pieces in locations ranging from the USA to Costa Rica, Croatia to northern Europe.
Executive producer Michael Gunton said: “One of the joys of going on location is thinking up horrible things to get David to do.
“Because it was so dangerous, we got a Kevlar under-glove, and then on top of that, a welding glove. That protection is about as good as you could possibly get.
“So David bravely put his hand inside this cholla cactus, as requested. And half-way through it, these spikes still managed to get through those two bits of protection.
“Not only does it puncture you, but they act like a trap. If you put your hand into it, you can’t remove your fingers.”
Sir David last looked at our green planet 25 years ago in Private Life Of Plants.
他说: “In Private Life we were stuck with all this very heavy, primitive equipment, but now we can take the cameras anywhere we like.
“That, in my view, is what brings the thing to life and which should make people say, ‘Good Lord, these extra-ordinary organisms are just like us’.
“In the sense that they live and die, that they fight, they have to fight for neighbours, they have to learn to reproduce and all those sorts of things. And that has a hypnotic appeal, in my view.”
How bug inspired filming
A BUG’S LIFE fans may feel a sense of deja vu while watching certain scenes in The Green Planet – and that’s because the film inspired the cutting-edge camera work.
Former military engineer Chris Field is behind the robot time-lapse cameras that made the cinematic shots possible.
Producer Paul Williams said: “He’d been inspired by the original Planet Earth to build robots to time-lapse film plants. We took his technology and we created the Triffid.”
Paul said that the team aimed to combine Avatar and A Bug’s Life, bringing plants to life and seeing them huge and alien-like.
他加了: “If you were a little bug flying around a tree, what would that look like?”
Flight so moving
THE crew needed modern technology to film a forest of towering sequoia trees in California.
Sir David said: “When you see the final sequence in the programmes and the drone suddenly rises above the tree tops it’s marvellous. It was a really great, profoundly moving experience.”
Tackling ‘triffid’ camera
在 95, you would forgive Sir David for leaving cutting-edge technology to the professionals.
But he was keen to get his hands on one of the crew’s most advanced cameras – even if they were worried he wouldn’t manage it.
The Green Planet’s executive producer Michael Gunton said: “We have an all-in-one camera, called the Triffid. You can actually control this in various ways, including with a little game controller which I handed to David.
“And I thought to myself, ‘He’s never going to control it’. But then a couple of minutes later he had it up, down, across and back up again. And then it did get a bit out of control and we had to get him to hand it back.”
We must care for the wild
HE has described Greta Thunberg’s global battle to get leaders to face up to climate change as “admirable”.
And Sir David hasn’t given up the fight just yet.
The documentarian hopes The Green Planet will encourage viewers to give a damn.
他说: “There is a parallel world on which we depend, and which up to now we have largely ignored, if I speak on behalf of urbanised man.
“Over half the population of the world, according to the United Nations, live in cities, only see cultivated plants and never see a wild community of plants.
“But that wild community is there and we depend upon it.”
Sir David added: “We better jolly well care for it.”.
Murder at hands of a Lily
THE GIANT Water Lily is known for producing leaves large and strong enough to hold a baby.
But Sir David explains in one episode that the plant is in fact extremely aggressive.
他说: “The Giant Water Lily has a bud loaded with prickles.
“It comes up to the surface and starts expanding, with the spikes pushing everything else out of the way. In the end the lake ends up as just solid Giant Water Lilies butting up against one another, with no room for anything else at all.
“It’s one of the most empire-building, aggressive plants there is. Everybody says how wonderful it is, but nobody says how murderous it is.”