BBC creates new YouTube channel on nature shows

This should help alleviate the problem of BBC nature shows not being available in the U.S., or sometimes in the UK.  According to PuffHo:

The BBC has launched a YouTube only ‘channel’ which will feature new nature shows unavailable anywhere else.

‘Earth Unplugged’ will host seven new nature programmes a week.

BBC Worldwide will not make the shows available on iPlayer, and other YouTube channels could be set to follow its lead.

But this is not propitious, for it augurs a bunch of “science lite” stuff:

BBC Earth Productions created the channel and its content, which will include a show called Amazing Animal Babies, Zoo La La (about “extraordinary animal behaviour”), Deadliest (“the ultimate showdowns from the planet’s deadliest animals”) and a new version of Walking With Dinosaurs.

Amanda Hill, Managing Director for BBC Earth at BBC Worldwide said in a statement:

“With Earth Unplugged we’re seeking to connect a new audience with the world around them. YouTube offers a fantastic opportunity to reach people and grab their attention with innovative nature content that will captivate and inspire.”

Well, what they mean is stuff that is heavy on drama and thinnish on science. I’ve had a quick look at the channels, and it’s the science equivalent of the U.S.’s drama-oriented “History Channel” on television. There’s “Bugface,” and “Deadliest Showdowns,” and all are very short: attention-grabbers for Generation Y, which lacks the ability to read an entire book or watch a video that lasts longer than 5 minutes.

Still, some science is better than no science, and even I can’t resist watching videos like “Peregrine vs. pigeon,” from the “Deadliest Showdowns” channel (note: artistic license taken with the video):

Or “Baby cheetahs learn to hunt” from the “Amazing Animal Babies” channel:

These do violate Pinker’s Law of Science Education, though, which is “Do not condescend to your readers” (viewers in this case).


  1. teacupoftheapocalypse
    Posted November 19, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    I think I’ll just stick with BBC iPlayer and a UK proxy.

  2. Posted November 19, 2012 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    We could do with a few more pigeon-eaters in general. There’re some Harris’s Hawks a few miles north of me in Papago Park, but their territory doesn’t extend much outside of the park. There should be some raptors in South Mountain Park, the eastern tip of which is a lot closer to my home…but I’ve not spotted more than the rare glimpse.


  3. Posted November 19, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    “generation Y:” unnecessary you-kids-get-off-my-lawn snark. Especially when you go on to watch said pulpy videos.

  4. Posted November 19, 2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Yes, this is all very disappointing – when I saw the news I was excited, but then I looked at the details. I’m also thoroughly, thoroughly sick of them getting in people like James May and Richard Hammond to present these science things. I mean, ffs, the BBC has great resources for actual scientists who are willing to present these programs, why do they have to enlist some lay moron who is famous for presenting a show about cars?

    The BBC creates some amazing documentaries, but they’re thin on the ground in the incessant battle for ratings against all the other shit on TV. Lowest common denominator stuff.

    • gravelinspector
      Posted November 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      To give May and Hammond their due, they’re probably desperate to get away from working with the repellent Clarkson, before he drags their careers into the grave with his own. I refuse to watch any programmes with him in it, after his “trade unionists should be shot” comments. I’ve had colleagues shot for being trade union activists, and look forward to feeding Clarkson’s words back to him on the a half-brick.
      (And of course, I say this when I get invited to participate in Beeb surveys. why I get invites, I don’t know. But having spent an hour on the phone with a Beeb journalist working a story today may have something to do with it ; it’s not the first time.)

  5. George
    Posted November 19, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Generation Y lacks the ability to read an entire book or watch a video that lasts longer than five minutes? Okay, Socrates. Lol

    • gravelinspector
      Posted November 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      3 minutes, shurely?

  6. Dermot C
    Posted November 19, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Dunno about Animal Babies, but ‘Deadliest’ derives from Steve Backshall’s ‘Deadly 60’ prog; it’s aimed at the under 10s and was required viewing when my littl’uns were that age.

    I once showed some low-ability 11 year-olds a show he did about the history and natural history of St. Kilda and these difficult kids were enraptured. So give the guy his due; and let’s hope there’s summat up there for adults ‘n all.

    • Matthew Cobb
      Posted November 19, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Yes, Dermot’s right. These are things for pre-teens, so shouldn’t be judged too harshly. Non-Brits – if you win and the BBC makes its stuff available all over the world, it willbe at a terrible pr

      • Matthew Cobb
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        Price (sorry- fat fingers and iPhone). Murdoch and the other commercial channels will complain that the licence payer is funding world domination, and the BBC will be forced to go down the commercial road. Beware what you wish for!

  7. Posted November 19, 2012 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    It might be a bit puffy for my tastes, but it looks great for kids. I think I’ll add it to my “kid account” and encourage them to pick a few to watch rather than the hour-long videos of some cheeky moron playing Minecraft!

  8. Dominic
    Posted November 19, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Oh dear… Looks like they will be milking old ‘proper’ nature films for footage rather than making new films. Why are we paying for this with our licence fees?

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted November 19, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Actually, that could be quite a sensible saving on our licence fee. I doubt that the target audience is going to complain that they’ve seen the footage before in “Life on Earth”, for example, so why waste money commissioning new footage.

      Hey Jerry, this is great being able to read your posts and comment in “real” (UK) time. Usually I only get to comment the following morning, when all my clever thoughts have already been aired by someone else ;-).

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 20, 2012 at 12:02 am | Permalink

        Yeah, I have that trouble too, all the time, living here on the bottom of the earth. Or maybe that should be ‘the other side of the earth’. How about ‘the backside of the earth’? Yeah, that’ll do.

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted November 20, 2012 at 4:28 am | Permalink

          How about ‘the backside of the earth’?

          You might think that; I couldn’t possibly comment.

          Oh shit, I just did.


          • John Scanlon, FCD
            Posted November 20, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

            FU too!? One of my fave TV characters.

            Regarding the backside of the earth, this concept always reminds me of the time I was on the train from Patrai to Athens, and accosted by an Albanian teen who wanted to talk English. He asked where I was from, but had never heard of Australia and asked where it was near. I ended up drawing a cartoon of Europe on a globe, and explained that it was on the other side of the earth. The look on his face as he tried out the idea of the world being round was fascinating. In the end, he just didn’t believe it at all.

  9. FastLane
    Posted November 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    I seem to remember reading that peregrines don’t snatch their prey with their talons. Given the speed differential, it would risk damaging their legs too much, but rather, pummeled the target with the feet curled up like fists, then swooped back and caught it with the talons as it fell.

    Is that incorrect, or does the short video just sorta skip that step?

  10. Mateus
    Posted November 19, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    First you say:

    “[…]Generation Y, which lacks the ability to read an entire book or watch a video that lasts longer than 5 minutes.”


    “[…]Pinker’s Law of Science Education, though, which is “Do not condescend to your readers”


    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted November 20, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Pinker’s 2nd Law is something like “Use irony and humour as often as possible”.

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