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Tasmania stars in Attenborough Documentary

Edition 195_Attenborough

Our quirky wildlife and rugged wilderness are the stars of a stunning new David Attenborough documentary about Tasmania that will be watched by millions across the globe.

The hauntingly beautiful David Attenborough’s Tasmania opens with the words: “At the southern tip of the Australian continent lies a remote island – an immense wilderness divided by mountains.

“It’s a world of ancient forests, of pristine rivers, and coastline that’s both wild and beautiful. Its animal inhabitants are as extraordinary as they are bizarre. This is a land of black devils and of white wallabies; where lights dance in the southern sky, and trees tower to 100 metres.”

The documentary premiered on Australian television to rave reviews, drawing an audience of 750,000 when it screened on the ABC. However, its reach is destined to go further – much further.

As well as bringing the breathtaking beauty of the island state to the rest of Australia, the film will be screened across Britain, Europe and the US, with a potential viewing audience of millions.

Sir David Attenborough, who is 92, was unable to fly to Tasmania; but his presence looms large over the 50-minute documentary narrated in his familiar tones.

As soaring shots skim over vast forests and rugged coastlines, Attenborough talks about “the weird and wonderful island at the bottom of the world”.

“Tasmania is full of surprises: Australia yes – but with a twist,” he says.

“Though it lies just to the south, Tasmania is a world apart.”

However, it is the cast of quirky animals – “as weird as they are wonderful” – that steal the show.

Wallabies with genetic mutations that leave them with snow-white fur, pink eyes and a pink nose; enormous platypus that waddle over the landscape in broad daylight; unbelievably cute echidnas that grow fur to keep them warm; and Tasmanian devils with loud hellish shrieks.

“The first Europeans who explored these forests claimed they heard devils screaming in the night, and so Tasmania’s most famous animal got its name – the Tasmanian Devil,” Attenborough explains.

“Primarily scavengers, they can smell a carcass from a kilometre away. And relative to body size, they have the most powerful bite in the natural world.”

It took an international contingent to bring David Attenborough’s Tasmania so beautifully to life. While the documentary was produced and directed by Matt Hamilton from Britain’s Humble Bee Films, Tasmanian cinematographers also contributed to the amazing footage.

The documentary is a stunning portrayal. But what of the impact to Tasmania and its brand?

Attenborough is without peer. A legendary naturalist who is known across the globe, his glowing endorsement of the unique wonders of Tasmania will be felt far and wide.

“To have someone of Sir David Attenborough’s stature tell everyone about Tasmania is an absolute gift. It really does put the eyes of the world on this little island of ours,” Brand Tasmania Executive Director Robert Heazlewood remarked.

“He shines a light on all the things that set us apart. The things that make Tasmania so different, so unique, so special. The visuals we see in the documentary, such as the majesty of the wilderness or the incredible animals are all at the heart of Tasmania’s brand.

“Because of Sir David’s involvement this is a gift that will keep on giving. Networks around the world will continue to broadcast this documentary for years to come.”

Tourism Industry Council Tasmania boss, Luke Martin was delighted, commenting that having 750,000 eyeballs on Tasmania is promotion and advertising that you just can’t buy.

“While the documentary didn’t set out to be a tourism vehicle, the beauty of it is that it highlights Tasmania’s points of difference to the rest of Australia, and that will certainly entice people to visit our shores,” Mr Martin said.

“Tasmania is unique and quirky, but we are also still a pristine wilderness, and those are our real points of difference. The things that people will want to come and see for themselves.”

Or, as Sir David Attenborough enthuses as he closes his film on this remote island at the bottom of the world: “Indeed, there is nowhere on earth quite like Tasmania.”

Image courtesy of The Mercury

11 June 2018, Edition 195

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