The photography in the new Attenborough series, Africa, is stunning.
Thanks to the alchemic power of those HD cameras, each individual follicle on the manes of the lions is transformed into a spear of golden light; each droplet on a leaf becomes a quivering, translucent jewel; and each beetle on the Kalahari sand is reborn as a giant creature of wonder.
It's a glorious, heightened reality that leaves us all slightly breathless – and, frankly, a little envious. Wouldn't our lives appear just a bit more special if they received the same lavish treatment?
Loading article content
Cue David, for it is The Natural History one, walking slowly into your office. You can tell it's him by the crumpled chinos and that unmistakeable voice: "I am standing in the central break-out area of a city office. To the west of me lies advertising; to the right ... accounts. Over the next few weeks I will explore what makes this vast, open-plan department special; what gives it its unique quality as a cradle of work."
The next shot is from a helicopter (don't ask how they got it into the building – health and safety still haven't recovered) and shows desk upon desk seemingly sliding away at the bottom of the TV screen, faster and faster. Eventually we come to rest just yards from - the printer. "With cutbacks and green initiatives, printers are becoming increasingly rare among the great plains of desks," David intones. "But the staff have mouths to feed and begin stalking the creature early in the morning, waiting for their opportunity to pounce."
Now is your moment. Bravely you come into shot, trying to walk in slow motion, just like those giraffes. The music swells. It's something elegiac – Finlandia or the Enigma. The light is catching your face. You feel good – you're Redford in Out of Africa. Now they're moving in for the HD close-up. You open your mouth slightly -
On the monitor, the director can't believe it. "Wait a minute. What's that on his chin? It's toothpaste!"
Meanwhile, back in the real series, there are a few surprises too. Or let's hope so. The final episode would be so much better if one of the lions recognises Attenborough from a previous documentary. "David!" he roars. "Good to see you again! How's tricks? Still at the old natural history game eh? You're a one, aren't you? Anyhow, can't stop. Springbok to bring down."