Have you seen Planet Earth yet? The BBC’s penultimate nature documentary, shot in high definition using the latest technology, filmed in the world’s most spectacular (and inaccessible) locations, and based on the latest scientific research, is nothing short of perfect. And it’s narrated by my personal muse, Sir David Attenborough – who else could narrate it?
Well, actually, apparently in the US it is narrated by someone else. Today I was horrified to learn that the Discovery Channel dubbed over Sir David Attenborough’s narration in the BBC’s Planet Earth with – wait for it – Sigourney Weaver.
Writes Oliver Duff in today’s Independent:
“One Minnesotan TV reviewer has the temerity to suggest that ‘Weaver’s narration is much better than David Attenborough’s in the British version.’ Feed him to the sharks.”
I agree. Duff continues:
“Thankfully, other scribes have shown some common courtesy towards our national treasure. Writes a fellow from the New York Daily News: ‘Whoever at Discovery decided that we Americans would prefer to hear someone homegrown in place of Attenborough is not just wrong, but mind-bogglingly stupid.'”
This certainly isn’t the first time American producers have decided to makeover foreign hits in their own image. Till Death Us Do Part became All in the Family. Inspector Gadget was dubbed over. La Cage aux Folles became The Birdcage (Heaven forfend they watch something in a foreign language). I’m told the American version of The Office isn’t bad, but I can’t bring myself to watch it. There have even been rumours for years about an American remake of Fawlty Towers. Blasphemy!
I would like to point out, to all UK visitors to this blog, that the same did not happen in Canada – and would never happen in Canada. The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) ran Planet Earth with Sir David’s commentary intact several months ago – long before the Discovery Channel had a chance to piss all over it.
Now, Americans tire of Canadians thinking we’re better than them, and I don’t blame them. I’d be annoyed too if I was American. Often we in the rest of the world forget that the US is full of funny, sophisticated and intelligent people who, unfortunately, have to live in a nation of idiots. Idiots who do things like elect film stars to office, eat processed cheese (which they proudly call “American cheese”), and dub over Sir David’s narration. So I apologize to any Americans who might be offended by me pointing out that we would never do the same in Canada.
But seriously. We wouldn’t. Because it is inexcusable.