Ranking David Attenborough's Greatest Moments of 'Planet Earth' Narration

David Attenborough
David Attenborough's days of narrating dope animal footage are far from over. Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

On Monday, we learned that kindly British naturalist David Attenborough would reprise his role as the world's premier narrator of wildlife footage when Planet Earth II debuts on the BBC later this year. Attenborough, of course, narrated the original Planet Earth, which aired in 2006, and it was his delectable word choice and ability to build suspense that gave the show the warmth it needed to become a breakthrough sensation and the go-to DVD collection to gift stoners the world over.

To celebrate not only the 10-year anniversary of the nature series that revolutionized the genre but Attenborough's triumphant return to the game, here are the soon-to-be-90 year-old's most spine-tingling bits of narration from the original Planet Earth.

10. Attenborough on kelp

"Life in the kelp is as full of drama as in any other forest.…"

[shot of kelp]

"but the cast is less familiar."

[shot of urchins]

"An army of sea urchins is mounting an attack."

9. Attenborough on hydroplaning dolphins

"Now, they're in real danger of being stranded…"

[a dolphin thrashes in the shallows]

"but for-tunefavors the brave."

8. Attenborough on Angel Falls

"Such is the height of these falls that long before the water reaches the base in the Devil's Canyon, it is blown away…as a fine mist."

7. Attenborough on whale sharks

"The shark dives, as if to escape from such overcrowding."

[dramatic music]

"Now the tuna have a chance to attack the unprotected bait fish."

[dramatic music builds]

"But then…back comes the giant."

[dramatic music climaxes]

"It has taken a vast mouthful of the bait fish itself. Plankton, it seems, is not the only food for a whale shark."

6. Attenborough on the Himalyayas

"This vast barrier of rock and ice is so colossal, it shapes the world's climate. Warm winds from India, full of moisture, are forced upward by the Himalayas. As the air rises, so it cools, causing clouds to form…"

[clouds forming]

"and the monsoon…is born."

5. Attenborough on polar bears

"A polar bear stirs.… She has been in her den the whole winter. Her emergence marks the beginning of spring. After months of confinement under ground, she toboggans down the slope. Perhaps to clean her fur…perhaps for sheer joy."

4. Attenborough on lions attacking an elephant

"Lions don't usually hunt elephants…but desperate times require desperate measures. This heard contains calves...easier targets."

[five seconds of lions circling elephants]

"but…how to reach them?"

[10 seconds of elephants arranging themselves]

"The ad-ults encircle their young.… It's an impenetrable wall of gray."

[like 30 more seconds of lions and elephants moving around]

"A few exhausted stragglers are still arriving.… "

[five seconds of an elephant's shadow]

"One of them…is alone.…"

3. Attenborough on a great white shark snatching a seal

"It's agility versus pow-ah."

2. Attenborough on baboons searching for food

"There's plenty to eat, but getting to it can be a little uncomfortable..."

[45 seconds of baboons wading through water]

"New water poses problems for the youngsters, but they know where to find a dry seat."

[5 seconds of baboons snacking]

"A juicy snail is ample recompensefor sodden paws."

1. Attenborough on the bird of paradise

"That leaves the male six-plumed bird of paradise with time to concentrate on other matters—like tidying up his display area."

[10 seconds of bird throwing leaves around]

"Everything must be spick and span."

[10 more seconds of bird throwing leaves around]

"All is ready."

Ranking David Attenborough's Greatest Moments of 'Planet Earth' Narration | Culture