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David Attenborough’s online Wild Isles isn’t too hard-hitting for TV – it doesn’t go far

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It was with some trepidation that I began viewing the online-only episode of David Attenborough’s latest documentary series, Wild Isles. The episode, Saving Our Wild Isles, focuses on the threats facing British wildlife and those fighting to save it.

Rumours had abounded that the BBC dared not broadcast this final episode on television because it was too hard-hitting, with some suggesting it was too critical of government action or inaction. I braced myself, expecting images of rivers polluted with plastics, sewage and pesticides, tales of dwindling numbers of insects, birds and mammals, of ancient woodlands destroyed, overfished seas, mature urban trees felled, meadows ploughed, raptors such as golden eagles poisoned, the climate crisis running amok.

I need not have worried. Although there was passing mention of some awfully depressing statistics, the film is deliberately uplifting and overwhelmingly positive. It focuses on heartwarming projects that are restoring nature, from the London docklands to the arable fields of East Anglia, and north to the wilds of Cairngorm. These…

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