First Life (2010– )
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David visits archaeological sites where fossils were found illustrating the origins of life on earth, in the ocean. For long, evolution worked very slow and species remained primitive, ... See full summary »


Martin Williams


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Episode credited cast:
David Attenborough ... Self - Presenter
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hazel Barton ... Self - Microbiologist, Northern Kentucky University (as Dr Hazel Barton)
Bernard Degnan Bernard Degnan ... Self - Marine Biologist, University of Queensland (as Prof Bernard Degnan)
Philip Donoghue Philip Donoghue ... Self - Palaeontologist, University of Bristol (as Prof Philip Donoghue)
Mary Droser Mary Droser ... Self - Palaeontologist, University of California (as Dr Mary Droser)
Jim Gehling Jim Gehling ... Self - Palaeontoloigst, South Australia Museum (as Dr Jim Gehling)
Guy Narbonne Guy Narbonne ... Self - Palaeontologist, Queen's University, Ontario (as Dr Guy Narbonne)


David visits archaeological sites where fossils were found illustrating the origins of life on earth, in the ocean. For long, evolution worked very slow and species remained primitive, mostly single-cell, alter fractal. Only the invention of sexual reproduction kick-started genetic diversification. Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

5 November 2010 (UK) See more »

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User Reviews

The origins of life on earth
4 April 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

As said many times, David Attenborough is a national treasure. He may apparently dislike the term, but it is hard to not say that about such a great presenter who has contributed significantly to some of the best programmes (of the documentary genre and overall) the BBC has ever aired/produced.

It is really hard picking favourites, let alone a definite favourite among the enormous number of gems in Attenborough's filmography. 'First Life' is not quite one of my favourites from him, there is a preference for the wildlife-oriented ones and other documentaries of his connect with me more emotionally somewhat. Nonetheless, 'First Life' is still great and in terms of the theme and the questions it raises it is very important. Learnt a lot from it and it is very much important and relevant.

Exploring the origins of life on earth through fossils, "Arrival" makes for a splendid first part that epitomises all of the above. "Arrival" is a detailed and honest look at the origin of life and the investigation of the evidence is very thoughtful and comprehensive.

As always with Attenborough, "Arrival" looks great. It is beautifully filmed, done in a completely fluid and natural, sometimes intimate, way and never looking static. The editing is always succinct and smooth.

The music score fits very well, never overly grandiose while never being inappropriate while also being a beautiful score in its own right.

Narration and presenting by Attenborough helps significantly. 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.

One cares about the information given and the episode is paced and structured beautifully.

In conclusion, splendid first part to a typically great Attenborough series. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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