BBC - The First Eden: The Mediterranean World (1987) DVD ISO
DVD ISO | English | PAL 4658Kbps 720x576 25fps | AC3 192Kbps 2CH 48Khz | 218 minutes | 8GB
IMDB Rating: 7.8/10 (50 votes)
The First Eden is a glorious portrait of the landscape, wildlife and plants of the Mediterranean, presented by Sir David Attenborough. From the earliest human settlements to the cities of today, across the deserts of North Africa to the forests of southern Europe, this series tells the dramatic story of man and nature at work.
Sir David Attenborough has been making documentaries about the natural world for 50 years which is an incredible record. If you also consider that he was also a senior executive at the BBC and responsible for overseeing the introduction of colour television in Europe his career seems even more remarkable. But those things seem minor to me, and seemingly to the man himself, compared to the sheer quality of his documentary work and his own personal passion and possibly obsession with the subjects he explores. This DVD set includes one his lesser known series, 1987's The First Eden - The Mediterranean World & Man. This series takes a different approach to most of his series, which focus on the natural world only. He does this by exploring the history of the Mediterranean from both a natural and human perspective but more importantly investigating how one has affected the other. Most history series only focus o the human events however this one looks at longer term effects such as changes to plant & animal species in Spain due to Islamic conquest and long term changes to the ecosystem in the Mediterranean itself due to the Suez Canal being built.
There are four episodes (each of just under an hour) spread across two DVD5s. Each of the four episodes cover a specific period in history and the changes in the Mediterranean area during that time.
The four episodes are
1. The Making of the Garden (54:37) Covers the formation of the various land masses, volcanoes, the creation of the various islands, bird migration, reptiles, the rise of mammals and the coming of early man.
2. The Gods Enslaved (54:36) Focused on the ancient world and covers the taming of animals, the deification of animals especially in Egypt, olive oil, wine growing, fishing, hunting & the rise of Rome.
3. The Wastes of War (53:56) This episode focuses on the middle ages especially on the various wars and their effects on the local environment. Includes horses, goats, camels, superstitions about animals and nature, the crusades and the spread of the plague. The best episode.
4. Strangers in the Garden (54:28) This episode is about the 19th and 20th centuries including the Suez Canal and its ecological effects, fishing, hunting, the effects of pollution and the Aswan Dam project.
My only real criticism of this series is that due to being 20 years old many things which are referred to as 'even today' are actually 20 years out of date. This especially effects the final episode. On a positive note, Attenborough as always is an engaging and erudite host (& writer) who reveals many aspects of history which may not have occurred to people before. Also, the photography is first rate for its time. The discs are nicely packaged in a slipcover and foldout case.
The usual quality Attenborough production which has unfortunately dated somewhat in the last 20 years. Still a worthwhile watch though.
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