A quarter of the earth's land mass, from arctic to tropical, are open plains consisting of lowland as well as highland plateaus. Here grows virtually indestructible, fast-growing grasses of... See full summary »


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Episode credited cast:
Himself - Narrator (voice)
Narrator - US Version (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Justine Evans ...
Jonathan Keeling ...
Himself (as Jonny Keeling)


A quarter of the earth's land mass, from arctic to tropical, are open plains consisting of lowland as well as highland plateaus. Here grows virtually indestructible, fast-growing grasses of all sizes that feed the planet's largest herbivore populations, the preys to solitary and social carnivores. Spectacular elements of the seasonal cycle of life can include mass migrations, monsoons, drought and great fires. Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

8 April 2007 (USA)  »

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[first lines]
Narrator: Vast open plains. Immense spaces. Eerie silence. But any feeling of emptiness is an illusion.
Narrator: The plains of our planet support the greatest gatherings of wildlife on Earth. At the heart of all that happens here is a single living thing. Grass. This miraculous plant covers a quarter of all the lands of the Earth. Grasslands exist wherever there is a little rain, but not enough to sustain a forest. Some are huge. The Central Asian Steppe alone extends one third of the way around our ...
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Planet Earth End Theme
Written by George Fenton
Performed by BBC Concert Orchestra
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User Reviews

Grass - The Most Popular Plant On The Planet!
4 January 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I've seen this particular episode twice, first narrated by Sigourney Weaver for United States television, and then part of this 11-part series narrated by David Attenborough. Both times it was fascinating, encouraging me that multiple viewings of this entire set will be appreciated and enjoyed.

There is a lot of fascinating material in this one, but then, what else would you expect from an area that holds "the greatest gathering of wildlife on Earth?" The heart of this story is grass. That's it: simple, little blade-like plant that literally feeds most of the planet. This "miracle plant," as host David Attenborough tells us, covers one-fourth of the earth and, next to water, is what keeps most animals alive. You can burn it, freeze it, eat it all - whatever - and it keeps coming back.

Great migrations of animals and birds, from elephants to Mongolian gazelles to wildebeests and more are seen in this episode traveling long miles to find it.. Some kind of savanna bird is seen in the most amazing migration you'll ever see in the sky: one-and-a-half billion of them.

Later, the five-million snow geese migration to the Arctic tundra is shown, along with the Caribou headed the same way and the wolves who stalk them for food.

As we head south, we see the fantastic bison of the North American plains. It's nice to hear that they are now recovering after hunters for years had reduced the Buffalo numbers from 60 million to just about a thousand.

Grass can grow really tall, if the conditions are right, we are told. For example, there is "elephant grass" where - naturally - the elephants like to go. A funny short segment shows some kind of bird leaping up and over the tall grass every few seconds trying to get attention for a mate. Throughout this "Planet Earth" series, you'd be amazed at the things you see different male species do to attract the females for mating!

Later - warning - the fun turns 180 degrees and there is fairly long segment that I will not watch again: lions, at night, attacking and eating a small elephants. Lions have fantastic night vision while elephants see as we humans do, meaning not well in the middle of the night in a pitch-dark area.

After that unpleasant scene, we get to see animals and birds enjoy the ultimate: a flooded plain - a bonanza for food and drink.

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