In my house, there is a clear and unanimous top celebrity and that is David Attenborough. We have been watching, learning and lulled into his web for so long now I can’t fathom a top notch natural history doc without him. 

Planet Earth was one of my first big marketing campaigns at Discovery. I remember sitting in the HD Theater (some of you know what I mean) as a Writer/Producer. Allastair Fothergill, the Series Producer from BBC’s Natural History Unit, was there to present his newest endeavor to several different departments throughout the company. When his presentation ended, I dried my eyes and ran upstairs (I may have actually run up the stairs). After catching my breath, I lobbied my boss hard for why I was the right choice to lead this campaign. She bought it and the rest was history. It was a dream assignment and to this day still one of my most satisfying.

When I first got into this business, as a shared Administrative Assistant for the Director of On Air Promotions and Director of Program Scheduling it was because I loved the Discovery Channel, more specifically, Wild Discovery. I watched this series EVERY weeknight. Sometimes alone, sometimes with my boyfriend and his (stoner) friends. I remember feeling like a celebrity when I was invited to help with the Animal Planet launch party which was to take place in the Bird House at the Smithsonian National Zoo. I lived right around the corner off Connecticut Avenue. My apartment backed up to the Zoo. AND I was a FONZ volunteer who gave tours to girl scout troupes, tourists, and homeschool groups on the weekends. I was obsessed.

And needless to say, I was pretty cool. 

But in all seriousness, if there is one great love I have passed down to my family it is that of natural history documentaries narrated and written by Sir David. Planet Earth 1 & 2, Life, The Blue Planet, Frozen Planet, Africa, Seven Worlds, One Planet, The Life of Birds, The Private Life of Plants. You name it, we’ve watched it. Side note: I am especially impressed with how my daughter knows when a new one comes out before I do. And if it weren’t for an unfortunate coincidence on her father’s side, she would have been named “Jane” after the great Jane Goodall. So when she came bounding downstairs this past weekend proclaiming a new “David doc,” we dropped everything to watch. 

The Year Earth Changed was nothing short of stunning. And according to recent articles, it’s breaking all sorts of unscripted records for Apple TV+ as the most viewed documentary/ docuseries for the streaming service in the US and many other regions around the world. Leopards taking over resorts and Humpback whales in Alaska finally free to communicate without the constant noise pollution brought by cruise ships are only a few of the amazing stories brought to life in this worthwhile 48 minutes.

For me, a few weeks away from a shoot reliant on aerials, I was particularly drawn to the incredible match action sequences and breathtaking symmetry and cinematography throughout. I found myself once again welling up at the overwhelming majesty of planet earth in all it’s natural wonder. No people. No technology. Nothing but “clearer skies, cleaner water and animals flourishing” as quoted by Jay Hunt, Apple’s Creative Director, Europe. Just nature trying to make a comeback. 

And speaking of comebacks, if you haven’t jumped aboard the Ted Lasso train, now’s the time. Season 2 trailer just released and if you want to double down on hope, I highly recommend this pairing from Apple TV+.

This post was written by Heather Roymans

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