‘Popular’ Richard Hammond can’t halt Planet Earth Live switch-off

May 10, 2012

BBC’s blockbuster nature show sheds 2 million viewers after disappointing debut

THE BBC’S blockbuster ‘real-time’ nature series Planet Earth Live shed 2 million viewers between its Sunday night debut and last night’s second episode following an outcry from viewers over the suitability of presenters Richard Hammond and Julia Bradbury and the lack of ‘live’ footage of animals.

Yesterday, a BBC spokesperson dismissed complaints about Top Gear presenter Hammond’s lack of natural history knowledge, saying his job was to interview experts and that he was a “popular” figure. Of complaints that Hammond and Bradbury were hogging the camera, she professed to be happy at the balance. Other complaints are yet to be satisfactorily addressed, such as why the production team chose to film at this time of year in Kenya, when it gets dark early and rain is frequent. The complaints can be seen at the BBC’s Points of View website. 

The spokesperson told The Week that only 118 complaints had been received from an audience of 5.4 million.

But the defence that Hammond is "popular" is looking threadbare today following last night’s viewing figures of 3.7 million. It means that between Sunday and Wednesday, Planet Earth Live’s share of audience fell from 22 per cent to 16 per cent.

It is likely that a large number of last night’s viewers were the television equivalent of rubberneckers at a car crash – tuning in only to see what the fuss was about. The viewing figures for tonight's third episode could well confirm the show’s downward trajectory – and pile pressure on the production team to ring the changes.

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If you look at the Planet Earth Live blog, most of the comments are less about the suitability of the presenters and more about the content. "Patronising"," saccharin", "Disney" are but a few of the criticisms. I myself switched off when Julia " look at me, I'm a default TV presenter" Bradbury, talking about adult female grey whales said "there are over 500 mums in these waters".All so terribly cutesy and anthropomorphic, ascribing human moral values to animal behaviour ("she really is a good mother") and most definitely sparing us the horrors of predators actually killing their prey. Just awful.

Hi s nickname should be Thrush

I think the BBc are missing out on by not doing more about the human dangers these animals face. The Rhino poaching has not been mentioned and is as serious as Elephant poaching if not more so as there are less Rhino in the 1st place.  If this is supposed to be the best programme of its kind. I despair.

I am constantly amazed at what passes as news these days. The simple facts are.......if you don't like something on TV, watch something else. YES this program feels dumbed down a bit because it HAS to be, not only does it need to educate some younger audience but also because there are people who wont be able to quickly grasp the information they are being given. YES, they could have got presenters that were more 'wildlife related' but I dont see why it warrants so many complaints. As for the 'lack of live footage' complaints....really people, for starters you can watch it on the webpage, secondly if you want wildlife live, work hard, buy a plane ticket and go and see some for yourself. What do you expect the BBC to do, run a permanent live stream footage from a camera glued on a lions face?  Come on, enjoy the footage or don't. But either way, stop complaining.

Hammond and Bradbury may very well be good in their own sphere but certainly not in a wild life programme.  Lived in Africa for many years but this series could be in any studio anywhere. 

For viewers like myself following every episode of the series it is irritating to have so much time wasted in catchups of what went on last week. Please get on with what is live and get more information to us. For instance: we are getting only glimpses of the very interesting black bear expert and irritating views of the Bradbury's (blanket) scarf.

 nothing more annoying than people complaining about people complaining. Whats even more annoying than that is people complaining about people complaining about people complaining. Whats unbearable is people complaining about......

I think Richard hammond isn't good on this program plante earth live

Fine. But still: Leave. Hamster. The. F---. Alone.

Richard Hammond only became well know for nearly killing himself and waffling about cars.  So why did the BBC think he was good for a wildlife programme.  Both he and Julia Bradbury both have a smug and condescending manner.  They spoil what could be a very good programme.  Oh yes, the BBC would dismissed complaints.  We only are licence payers after all.

If they want to educate children then put it on for children and not adults  Also there may be a few people who cannot grasp certain things quickly but the majority of us can.  Also it's not because they are not wildelife presenters - it's because they are bad at at.


can i watch a web cam on this

If any one of us had as much courage and talent as Hammond has in his wee little finger, we might all have a different POV. Calling him famous by "nearly killing himself" is a statement only a cold-blooded   nihilist tosser would use trying to impress their equally shallow schadenfreude-embracing mates. He's not trying to win a Nobel Prize, but he's great at what he does! Can you service your own motor? Drive across the Syrian desert in a tent? Pitch up the length of Vietnam on a Minsk? Do me a favour. 

Like so many other BBC programmes throughout the years, they have a successful format, they change it, get in big name presenters who know zilch or someone who can't either present or have knowledge, viewers write into Points of View or BBC website to complain, they ignore them, they in turn switch off their TVs and next thing you know, they programme is axed.

I know this programme isn't old or established but it had potential and I was hopeful but as always the BBC ruin whatever it had going for it.

Cheers BBC. Look in the mirror for once and think about who's fault it was programmes like Tomorrow's World and Top of the Pops was axed.