Life (2009)
2 user 2 critic

Challenges of Life 

David Attenborough shows us how some animals have evolved new hunting, mating and parental techniques to help them survive the challenges of life.


Martha Holmes


Paul Spillenger (Discovery Channel)




Episode credited cast:
David Attenborough ... Self - Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Doug Allan Doug Allan ... Self
David Baillie David Baillie ... Self
Martha Holmes Martha Holmes ... Self
Jerome Poncet Jerome Poncet ... Self - Skipper
Jonathan Smith Jonathan Smith ... Self
Oprah Winfrey ... Self - Narrator (U.S. Broadcast)


A major component of the struggle for life is eating or be eaten. So wildlife uses endless variations on methods to hunt or escape, such as camouflage and mimicry. Social animals use collaboration, not counting almost general parental offspring-care, mainly to surround prey or confuse hunters. The choice and use of environment, such as inaccessible dwelling and temporary hiding places, is often part of this cat and mouse game. So are anatomical mutations allowing unique methods, such as 'flying' fishes. Written by KGF Vissers

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Did You Know?


In the credits, the show thanks "The City of Kiamath Falls". This is a typo, the Oregon scenes were filmed in Klamath Falls, OR. See more »

User Reviews

The challenges of life on earth
4 January 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Despite how much he apparently dislikes the term "national treasure", that term really does sum up David Attenborough to a tee. He is such a great presenter (in his 90s and still sounds, and looks on a side note, great) and whenever a new series of his is aired they are often among the best the BBC has done in years.

Am a great fan of a lot of Attenborough's work and BBC's nature documentaries with his involvement are among their best work in years. Have been watching the BBC less over time, but there are always exceptions, unexpected gems and expected treasures that come our way every now and again and their nature documentaries are the perfect examples of expected treasures. 'Life' is a crowning achievement for a documentary series and actually, like the best documentary shows, feels much more than that. As far as Attenborough's work goes too, 'Life' to me is one of his biggest achievements.

"Challenges of Life" is a wonderful beginning and is testament to why 'Life' deserves its acclaim. It may explore the challenges of survival for animals, but for the viewer watching it's an awe-inspiring delight from start to finish.

First and foremost, "Challenges of Life" is exceptionally well-made. Hardly surprising, one comes to expect that from Attenborough's work. In fact saying that doesn't do the production values justice. It is gorgeously filmed, done in a completely fluid and natural, sometimes intimate (a great way of connecting even more with the animals), way and never looking static. In fact much of it is remarkably cinematic. The editing is always succinct and smooth and the scenery and various habitats are remarkably diverse and look speechlessly spectacular.

On a documentary level, "Challenges of Life" continually fascinates and illuminates, while there are some familiar facts here a lot of it was very much new. By the end of the series for me more was gotten out of it, and educated me much more than, anything taught when studying Geography and Science in secondary school.

Attenborough's narration helps quite significantly too, he clearly knows his stuff and knows what to say and how to say it. He delivers it with his usual richness, soft-spoken enthusiasm and sincerity, never talking down to the viewer and keeping them riveted and wanting to know more.

The wildlife and life-forms are both adorable and dangerous, the wide-ranging diversity of what was included was staggering and it was lovely to see a mix of the familiar and the not-so-familiar. How they adapt to their environments, why they behave the way they do, how nature works and how what the wildlife and life-forms do affects their environments were all touched upon and made their points subtly, not hammering it home too much (a potential danger with documentaries).

The cheetah, Ibex, octopus and flying fish sequences, in an episode that covers a lot and is filled with wondrous scenes of great power and emotion, are particularly striking.

Not once does "Challenges of Life" feel like an episodic stringing of scenes like it easily could have been. Instead it feels like its own story and journey, with real, complex emotions and conflicts and animal characters developed in a way a human character would in a film but does it better than several. One really cares for what they're told and the wildlife.

In conclusion, wonderful. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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Release Date:

12 October 2009 (UK) See more »

Filming Locations:

Klamath Falls, Oregon, USA

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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