I watched the entire Planet Earth series narrated by David Attenborough and loved it. I disagree with cuttie240 and feel the opposite. I love hearing a British accent...it's much more sofisticated. The British speak English the way it was meant to be spoken....correctly. We are the ones that need to pay more attention in English class. And what does cuttie240 mean by not being able to understand David? Every word he speaks is carefully chosen and annunciated impeccably. Sigourney Weaver is wonderful, but I prefer David. He's been narrating nature shows for the BBC for decades, so he must be doing something right. Sorry cuttie240. By the way it's not spelled cuttie....it's cutie. I rest my case.
I'd just like to remind you that American English is not "real" English - I think the Brits have the market cornered on that, seeing as how the language developed in England and was brought here by representatives of the various countries of the UK.
Squalorholla (July 12th 2.05pm) :-) I, as an Englishman, had to laugh at your comment. It really put a smile on my face. I had no idea that our Standard English accent confused you guys....but judging by your comment, some of those who have commented on here perhaps represent the minority!
I recognise that Weaver's accent is soft, clear and very easy on the ear (I'm a poet and I did not know it!). But, to even suggest that the Attenborough accent would be confusing, difficult to understand or even take away from the enjoyment is just crazy.
Also, thanks to I.B.Cooper for clarifying that English in America is the variant with an accent. Standard English, by it's very nature, is the benchmark from which all others have varied.
So, in conclusion, I did not need substitles when I saw Gorillas in the Mist or Alien, Aliens or Alien Resurrection - and I'm sure that you guys over the water won't when you see Attenborough's version either. And.....if you buy the Attenborough version and don't like it - we'll I'll come over there and narrate it to you and you can stop me and seek clarification whenever my crazy English accent confuses you! :-)
One difference that most people seem to be missing is the fact that in America, We do not use the metric system. The version with Weaver uses feet versus meters. I own the bbc version and I love it. I enjoy it more than the American version. I find Attenborough's accent very easy to understand and authentic because this film was made in England. I would say whatever version you buy you are going to enjoy it.
To each their own
everyone is entitled to their own opinions and people do not need to jump down other peoples throats. Everyone can get their points across without being condescending.
I can understand having a little trouble when you first encounter the British accent, but it really only takes a little exposure. I've been watching a lot of BBC imports lately and I barely even notice the accent anymore. It really is a shame that we don't share TV shows and films with our English cousins across the pond - it's great stuff.
I think the problem here is that most of us who were already aware of the BBC Planet Earth wouldn't expect there to be a different version with a different narrator and cut scenes. It's just an important fact for potential buyers to know.
"So then it is confirmed that 'David Attenborough' does have a strong British accent which 'could' be difficult for some of us to understand ? ..."
Have you never heard of a little movie called "Jurassic Park"?? It was by Steven Spielberg and had some dinosaurs in it and made about a gazillion dollars worldwide. There was also a character in the movie called John Hammond, the rich old man with the white beard who created the park. Did you understand HIM?
If you did, then you can understand Richard Attenborough. The guy who played John Hammond is Richard Attenborough's brother, David. They sound more or less the same. Of course, an easier way to know for sure is to do a search on YouTube using the key words "planet earth attenborough" -- there are uploaded portions of this series which you can watch and decide for yourself.
In any case, this really gets away from what I REALLY wanted to say:
"Well, i'm a bit confused on wether i should purchase this Attenborough version and possibly not be satisfied with the narration or not."
I think it's totally unfair for you to have given this product one star when you obviously hadn't even seen it. You based your low rating on the fact that Sigourney Weaver wasn't the narrator, then go on to say that you are wondering whether you should even purchase it and risk not understanding Attenborough's narration. So HOW can you give a rating -- one star or five stars -- to a DVD you haven't even seen?? It beggars belief!!!
I'll add my two cents to the discussion on David Attenborough. I do not find his accent difficult in the least, nor do I find a problem with his performance. My problem with the BBC version is that I find it hard to understand him over the music and sound fx. His voice does not rise above all the sound and I find myself turning up the volume louder and louder just to hear his voice over. His soft delivery makes it difficult to enjoy. As one gets older, the voice loses some edge and I suspect that's the case here. They should have done a better job in mixing to make him easier to understand or use another voice. He is certainly a giant in the nature/documentary world and don't mean any disrespect to him. But that's the one thing I don't like about this version. Everything else is fantastic.
What a lot a fuss. Having grown up watching David on the beeb (BBC) it seems amazing that that anyone would want to ditch his commentary. Now I love Sigourney, ever since that scene in Alien when she strips down to her skimpies (mmmh a guilty pleasure), but narrating a BBC wildlife doc? Still if it get's more people watching then it can't be a bad thing, can it? David's knowledge and experience in these things can't be matched and he is a driving force in getting these programs made. As a side point, David was briefly the controller of BBC 2 in the 60's and he was the person who oversaw the introduction of colour tv broadcasts into the UK. So it's appropriate in a way that he is involved in this most colourful of documentaries. But do you think if he had bought an American documentary to show on his channel he would have changed the narration? Over here in the UK it seems we are steeped in all thing American, especially TV and movies. I think Americans can have a very insular view of the world, which may be a reason so few have passports. How ironic though that a series celebrating the diversity of life on the planet has to have the narrator changed because his accent is a little different! Perhaps narration is different in that it can feel on a more one to one basis between the narrator and the viewer. And some people feel more comfortable with a familiar accent.
I've heard both versions, & prefer Attenborough's narration. Weaver does an excellent job, but being a BBC production I think the show should stick with the original narration.
@Jules "It is amazing to me that an American version would have a different narrator in the first place. I cannot imagine such a thing would happen with an American production selling in the UK."
The majority of shows on The Discovery channel in the UK are US productions and have had the "American" narrator replaced with an "English" narrator. As well as many television commercials. Dell computer commercials come to mind.
They showed this version on the CBC-TV in Canada, rather than the U.S. one.
I don't recall anyone having trouble understanding his accent. I know a few people who were surprised that they occasionally used Imperial measurements (miles, feet, degrees Fahrenheit) on this version, rather than standard metric for everything. It seems a bit inconsistent, but par for the course when it comes to BBC docs. Anyway, if metric measurements throw you for a loop, you'll find some here.
I ordered "Planet Earth" for my husband, without noticing the narrator or if it was from BBC. All these comments just sent me scrambling to see what I have. YAY! BBC, David Attenborough. He is not difficult to understand at all, although there are the British pronunciation or word differences, such as petrol for gasoline, or aluminium rather than aluminum. To my taste he is the perfect narrator for these shows. I'm very glad dumb luck brought me my preference. On a side note, his brother (I believe) is Richard, the great British actor - we just saw him this morning in "The Great Escape".
Sigourney Weaver is also a wonderful narrator. I've watched a few shows without realizing she was the voice I was hearing until some word or inflection in her voice would smack me in the head and then it's "Oh! that's Sigourney Weaver!"
Americans speak English with an American accent. The British speak English also, with a British accent. And it always seems to add a certain touch of class to any narration, but that's just my opinion.
I am so very happy to see persons interested in the narration of the BBC video series, I value and appreciate every ones comments and participation, thanks to each of you. I solute David Attenborough and Sigourney Weaver for narrating what is likely to be considered one of the top ten most important movies of all time for the planet. I would very much like to thank them both for lending their fine efforts to such an important and timely project. I can only hope that all languages and accents may have an opportunity to narrate this fine assemblage of video footage of the world so that every human of the world may have a chance to hear or see such wonders. And may those that translate for the blind and deaf also succeed in conveying the grandeur of these BBC video footage of the wondrous works of the natural world. BBC has set the standard for the world. Sigourney and David are both heroine and hero to me, thank you both for your efforts. I will buy every nature video that BBC produces, hopefully in digital form to save resources.
Sweet-one certainly stirred up a discussion with her comment about "distorted" British accents (he!he!).
As a person who grew up in India which was a British colony once, I was more familiar with the British spellings and the "regular" British accent. Then I came to the US and adapted myself to dropping my t's (twenny replaced "twenty" just to make myself understood) and later f's when I moved to Georgia....I learned to say "fitty" not fifty! As I lived in different states I had to attune to new "accents" - Texan, Georgian, New York, Californian, Pennsylvanian etc. etc. All of them sound different to my ears, because they are. And of course, all immigrants from other countries like Africa, Mexico, China and India have their own version of English accents to contribute to this mix. In my experience, the people in cities that are more diverse are more attuned to different accents and have much less trouble understanding different accents, then say people in the great Midwest, who do not get exposed to many accents. The funniest story I have is when I was in a cab in Memphis and the cabbie was trying to talk to his cell phone company customer service, a lady from Montana. Despite several attempts on his part to be understood, she asked him to repeat everything twice or more. He became so frustrated that he asked her "Ma'am have you ever been out of Montana?" when she replied in the negative he told her "Ma'am, I think you should travel more...see the world...have you ever thought of visiting the East or the West coast?"
It's a fact that if we hear something unfamiliar then it does not fully register and we cannot easily understand it. However, some people may see this as a limitation and try to broaden their horizons by exposing themselves (and their children) to new accents. But there will be some who're not interested and we have to let them be.
ha ha...I am with you 100%. I couldn't make out what that guy was saying and it wasn't so much the British accent that threw me, he was just too soft-spoken and the music overpowered his mild-mannered, elderly Brit dialect. I'm now trying to get the original BBC version exchanged for the Discovery one....
<Over here in the UK it seems we are steeped in all thing American, especially TV and movies. I think Americans can have a very insular view of the world, which may be a reason so few have passports. >
Hey! Hold on a sec. Anybody, anywhere, can have an insular view of the world. If you object to being steeped in all things American (and that is as reasonable a point of view as any other, imo; a lot of our pop culture is not very good), don't blame Americans for that. As far as I know, we are not the decisionmakers vis-a-vis what TV shows or films are going to be shown in the UK.
I never saw the series with Sigourney Weaver's voiceover, but I have the DVD set with Attenborough's narration and I like listening to him. He's sort of a familiar voice to me on the documentary scene.
And every blessed one of us speaks with *some* kind of accent.
I've not read every post, but I have scanned through most of them. It really doesn't matter which version you prefer or for what reason, either the Sigourney Weaver or David Attenborough versions are both excellent.
When I first saw this series, it was televised on the Discovery channel. I loved absolutely everything about it. I don't think Weaver's narration detracted from the beautiful scenes or the wonderful score. I decided to buy the series, but I was not willing to pay $80.00 for it. I checked here on Amazon and it really wasn't that much of a discount. I finally found a seller on EBAY that was selling the series for $24.99. The only problem was, it wasn't the Discovery channel version, it was the BBC version. I had no idea that this was a BBC production until that point. I bought it anyway and then discovered this post. Immediately I began to think I had made a mistake, the narrator was going to have this thick accent, and it would be difficult to understand his pronunciation. However, I was happy to learn that the BBC version was longer due to the differences in commercial length.
I just received the DVD's in the mail two days ago and am absolutely thrilled that I purchased this one. Anyone worried that Attenborough is difficult to understand, don't even let that enter the equation. If you would prefer to hear Weaver, buy that one. If you prefer to hear Attenborough, buy that one. What does it matter what someone else thinks about which version you choose? I found nothing wrong with Weaver's commentary and had no problem understanding Attenborough.
Besides the narration, here are the two biggest differences between the two:
The American version has an excellent score to go along with the visuals. Nothing at all against the BBC score as it was good also, but I do prefer the music that accompanied the Discovery version. Having said that, I would rather have the BBC version because it has more footage than the Discovery version.
For those of you wanting to get the BBC version and not pay an arm and a leg, I suggest searching here: http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZideal_reseller
He is located in Malaysia, but the DVD's are Region 1. They are not copies, they are actual factory sealed DVD's.
I am an American, and I have the version with the British narrator. Aside from a few words being pronounced differently, I really do not have a problem at all. I think the narrator did a great job. I actually find it a bit strange to think of Weaver narrating.
well if you can not speak the english language and by your post you cannot spell correctly your son is already on his way to becoming a thicky.so by letting him see the blue planet spoken by by somebody the world understands there is hope for him yet
instead of being condescending, just be happy that there are both versions.
there is nothing wrong with people preferring the British narration and there is nothing wrong with people preferring the American narration. At least there is both for those who have a preference.
I personally have heard David Attenborrough numerous times in different wildlife documentaries and think he is EXCELLENT, as well he should be for he has been doing it for so long. I am American and have no problems understanding his accent.
I have heard clips of the narration by Sigourney Weaver and thought she was excellent as well. I just didn't know which one to get so I have to start somewhere, and I am happy I will be able to end up with both.
I am going to start with the BBC one and later on I will purchase the Discovery one just for the variety and to get a bit of different things from each one.
As for children, if you expose them to different accents, they will absorb them like a sponge. They are far more intelligent than people like to give them credit for.
Holy COw! Silly, isn't it? As an American, originally from Louisiana, I love an English Accent, of any and all dialects. I have watched My Fair Lady on TCM at least a dozen times and would watch it again a dozen times. Some dialects are diffcult to understand, but have you ever heard a backwoods person from West Virginia or Kentucky speak? Thats opening a whole 'nuther can-a-wurms! I know this discussion is history (June '07) but it was fun to read. :-)