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Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
and the Tree of Life is a 2009 television documentary about Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
and his revolutionary theory of evolution through natural selection, produced by the BBC
BBC
to mark the bicentenary of Darwin's birth. It is part of the BBC
BBC
Darwin Season. The presenter, David Attenborough, outlines the development of the theory by Darwin through his observations of animals and plants in nature and in the domesticated state, visiting sites important in Darwin's own life, including Down House, Cambridge University and the Natural History Museum, and using archive footage from Attenborough's many nature documentaries for the BBC. He reviews the development of the theory since its beginnings, and its revolutionary impact on the way in which humans view themselves - not as having dominion over the animals as The Bible
The Bible
says, but as part of the natural world and subject to the same controlling forces that govern all life on Earth.

Contents

1 Reception 2 Associated material and DVD 3 Awards 4 References 5 External links

Reception[edit] The programme was aired in a primetime slot on BBC
BBC
One, at 9pm on Sunday 1 February. Official ratings from BARB
BARB
show that it attracted an audience of 6.34 million viewers,[1] a healthy figure for a factual programme. Overnight data suggested 23% of the available audience was watching.[2] The programme drew effusive praise from critics:

In The Guardian, Sam Wollaston describes how Attenborough tells the story of natural selection "through the life and work of his hero, and also through his own life and work, which has always had Darwinism at its core. The two strands have been artfully twisted together, into a beautiful double helix of television that makes perfect sense. Except to the creationist loons."[3] In The Times, Andrew Billen praises Attenborough's "grace and fluency," in demonstrating "that what always comes to Darwin's rescue is scientific evidence," [4] and David Chater remarks on how, through the use of archive clips, "the viewer also sees Attenborough himself evolve from a young presenter to a latter-day sage."[5] In The Independent, Tom Sutcliffe also praises the presenter: "Not everyone is up to the humility evolutionary theory demands of us, but David Attenborough
David Attenborough
is, and he made the case well." [6] In Ireland, Pat Stacey of the Evening Herald
Evening Herald
describes it as "a stunning piece of television - epic television - that brilliantly pulled together with pin-sharp clarity the different strands of Darwin's awesome, irrefutable discoveries, as though Attenborough were constructing a model of the double helix. It was beautifully made and utterly thrilling."[7]

Associated material and DVD[edit]

The region 2 DVD
DVD
has been released by 2 Entertain
2 Entertain
on 2 March 2009 (BBCDVD2938) containing the full 60-minute documentary.[8] The Open University
Open University
has produced supporting material on its website.[9] The Wellcome Trust
Wellcome Trust
made the animated "Tree of Life" from the documentary available online.[10]

Awards[edit] The Grierson Awards 2009, Winner, Best Science Documentary[11] References[edit]

^ Weekly Top 30 at BARB.co.uk (available by searching weekly archive) ^ TV ratings, The Guardian, 2 February 2009 ^ Last night's TV, Sam Wollaston, The Guardian, 2 February 2009 ^ Weekend TV, Andrew Billen, The Times, 2 February 2009 ^ Sunday's Top TV, David Chater, The Times, 31 January 2009 ^ The Weekend's Television, Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent, 2 February 2009 ^ Thrilling life of a charming species, Pat Stacey, Evening Herald, 2 February 2009 ^ Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
& The Tree of Life (DVD) BBC
BBC
Shop ^ open2.net: Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
and the Tree of Life, Open University ^ Tree of Life - BBC
BBC
evolution video - Darwin 200 - Wellcome Trust ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 November 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-20. , 'Grierson Awards' 2009

External links[edit]

Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
and the Tree of Life on IMDb Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
and the Tree of Life on the Eden website

v t e

David Attenborough

Filmography

The Life series

Life on Earth
Earth
(1979) The Living Planet
The Living Planet
(1984) The Trials of Life
The Trials of Life
(1990) Life in the Freezer
Life in the Freezer
(1993) The Private Life of Plants
The Private Life of Plants
(1995) The Life of Birds
The Life of Birds
(1998) The Life of Mammals
The Life of Mammals
(2002) Life in the Undergrowth
Life in the Undergrowth
(2005) Life in Cold Blood (2008)

Other TV series and programmes

Zoo Quest (1954–63) The People of Paradise (1960) The World About Us (1967) The Miracle of Bali (1969) The Tribal Eye (1975) Wildlife on One (1977) The First Eden
The First Eden
(1987) Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives (1989) BBC
BBC
Wildlife Specials (1995–2008) State of the Planet (2000) The Blue Planet
The Blue Planet
(2001) Planet Earth
Earth
(2006) Are We Changing Planet Earth? (2006) Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
and the Tree of Life (2009) Nature's Great Events
Nature's Great Events
(2009) Life (2009) First Life (2010) Madagascar (2011) Frozen Planet
Frozen Planet
(2011) Attenborough: 60 Years in the Wild (2012) Africa (2013) David Attenborough's Natural Curiosities (episodes) (2013–) David Attenborough's Rise of Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates (2013) When Björk Met Attenborough (2013) Life Story (2014) The Hunt (2015) Great Barrier Reef (2015) Planet Earth
Earth
II (2016) Blue Planet II
Blue Planet II
(2017)

3D programmes and films

Flying Monsters 3D (2010) The Bachelor King 3D (2011) Kingdom of Plants 3D
Kingdom of Plants 3D
(2012) Galapagos 3D
Galapagos 3D
(2013) David Attenborough's Natural History Museum Alive
David Attenborough's Natural History Museum Alive
(2014) David Attenborough's Conquest of the Skies 3D (2015)

DVD
DVD
collections

Great Wildlife Moments (2003) Attenborough in Paradise (2005) The Life Collection
The Life Collection
(2005) Life on Land
Life on Land
(2008)

Radio

David Attenborough's Life Stories
David Attenborough's Life Stories
(2009–11) Tweet of the Day (2013–14)

Related

Frederick Attenborough (father) Richard Attenborough (brother) John Attenborough (brother) Michael Attenboro

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