October 28, 2015
Street Date: November 10, 2015
Suggested Retail Price: DVD $49.98 / BD $55.98
Length: Approx. 300 mins / 2 discs (2xBD / 2xDVD)
Language: English, French
New York – October 28, 2015 – From the producers of the Emmy® award-winning series Life, and narrated by Sir David Attenborough, Life Story unites the audience with a vast range of animals as they journey through life from infancy to adulthood with just one goal in mind – to continue their bloodline in the form of offspring.
Life Story captures a number of nature ‘firsts’ as elephants, spiders, chimpanzees, polar bears, humming birds, and more are observed on a journey that is documented in six crucial stages: taking their first steps in the world, growing up, finding a home, gaining power, winning a mate, and succeeding as a parent. Life Story originally premiered on CBC in January 2015 and will be available on a bilingual English and French DVD and Blu-ray, November 10, 2015, distributed by BBC Home Entertainment.
The series was shot in ultra high-resolution 4k (ultra-HD), using stabilized camera technology – normally associated with drama filming –which allowed the production crews the freedom to move alongside the animals. Over a period of four years, there were 78 separate shoots which included:
- A five-week expedition into the far reaches of the Gobi desert
- Eight days spent crossing dangerous seas to reach the sub-Antarctic
- Seven weeks trekking through the heart of the Congolese jungle
Episode One: First Steps
Vulnerable, naïve but determined, some young animals face their biggest challenges in the first few days of life. Barnacle goslings must take a leap of faith, falling 120 metres from a cliff ledge, to get their first meal. A tiny young long-eared jerboa faces the daunting, nighttime world of the Gobi desert completely alone – in the first images of their kind. And at just two months old a humpback whale calf, preparing to embark on a migration halfway round the world, is caught up in a ‘heat run’ of aggressive males, each around 40 tonnes, fighting for a female. In infancy, every challenge is a new one. But how a creature fares at the very beginning of its life is the foundation upon which their future success depends.
Nature first: Off the coast of Hawaii, the crew filmed remarkable and previously unrecorded behavior of a male humpback whale seemingly defending a mother and her injured calf from gathering tiger sharks.
Episode Two: Growing Up
For an Arctic fox, the end of childhood is abrupt; his own mother chases him from the den and onto the Arctic ice. At this crucial stage in life, every small success is a triumph. In the high-octane world of a booted racket-tail hummingbird, even to survive the day is victory. For Bengal tigers, growing independence brings with it extreme danger. They need the help of their parents to grow up in a very dangerous society. Time is already running out for two hungry cheetah sisters, recently separated from their mother – scraps are not enough. This episode follows them as they embark on their first big game hunt.
Nature first: The crew succeeded in recording what is perhaps the clearest, and longest, tiger hunt ever captured on camera. The mother tiger is seen sprinting to nearly 50kmph over tens of metres in pursuit of her prey in open terrain in India.
Episode Three: Home
Good homes are rare and competition can be intense. On a paradise island, an empty shell washes ashore and a young hermit crab joins others in a property chain. In unique behavior the crabs actually form an orderly queue so that each can quickly move into the next shell up in size. In a weaver ant colony, even the larvae must contribute to home building, while remoras, also known as ‘shark-suckers’ have a long wait for the right mobile home to appear – a bull shark. Finding a home is one thing, but defending it is quite another. Pikas (a diminutive relative of the rabbit) must guard their larders from thieving neighbours while a pack of hunting dogs rely on disciplined teamwork to protect their home turf when hyenas try to muscle in.
Episode Four: Power
A honeypot ant queen allies with other queens to build an army, but when the job is done all but one royal will be eliminated by the army they have created. For a juvenile bald eagle, power – or the lack of it – could mean starvation. While a young meerkat’s spectacular altercation with a cobra will influence his standing in the clan, a male chimpanzee’s existence is one long battle for power; one false move can undo a lifetime of struggle. But power is the ultimate prize: animals will use any means to rise through the ranks and win the game of life.
Nature first: For an adult male chimpanzee, life is one long power struggle. In a unique piece of footage, a young male is filmed spear hunting and offering meat to a potential ally.
Episode Five: Courtship
The male of the dazzling, aptly-named peacock jumping spider must pick his way between the bodies of failed suitors for his one chance to win a female’s affections. For the green turtle, it’s the female who risks her life: as males pile in to mate with her, she struggles beneath their combined weight, desperate for a breath of air at the surface. But few will go as far as one unlikely architect. Diminutive and drab, a male pufferfish compensates for his lack of charisma by building the most complicated and perfect structure made by any animal – a spectacular submarine ‘crop circle’ in the sand – created to get himself noticed by a female.
Nature first: Until very recently, the architect of the crop circle-like landscaping on the seabed was unknown…no one expected it would be the tiny, drab Japanese pufferfish.
Episode Six: Parenthood
Some parents risk their own lives for their offspring. After laying her eggs in the best possible location, a mother green turtle races time and tide to survive, while a mother bison must fend off an entire pack of wolves in pursuit of her precious calf. There’s no substitute for a mother’s love; a hanuman langur gratefully accepts the services of an apparently adoring babysitter, but must intervene when playtime gets too rough for her delicate infant. A devoted fork-tailed drongo mother is duped into caring for someone else’s offspring. Not so for a bonobo mother whose commitment to her own son lasts a lifetime, in the most intimate wild footage captured of this species in 10 years.
Nature first: The crew recorded the first footage of wild bonobos for 10 years – this species is notoriously difficult to film. They spent seven weeks trekking through dark, impenetrable, ant-infested forests to capture these intimate moments between a mother and her baby.
Life Story is a BBC Earth production. The executive producer is Mike Gunton.