BBC’s “Life” vs. Discovery’s “Life”

I couldn’t never come to grips with the fact that BBC & Discovery decided to change the narrator of Life for the American broadcast.  The choice for the American version was Oprah.  Why Oprah? I don’t know.  I know she is extremely capable at a lot of things and her abilities have made her very rich.  Her vast experience as a TV host is not enough to justify her for the role, however, and the end result was a lack luster to say it nicely.  It’s not say Oprah didn’t do her best but her voice was hardly engaging and maybe even distracting from the drama unfolding before you.  David Attenborough’s narration is a story which you had been missing all your life; it’s interesting, timed with excellence and engaging. Oprah on the other hand is obviously just readying on cue.  The first thirty seconds of the clips below are more than enough evidence of what I’m talking about.  The question is why should I even care? The answer is simply that I stopped watching Life because I was too distracted by Oprah to pay attention at the mind boggling beauty before me.  The point is, that Discovery missed out on the the unmistakable and classic voice of Sir David Attenborough.  I will buy the BBC version of the documentary on DVD so I can finally enjoy it and I’m not alone.  I just noticed that the Amazon ratings and reviews reflect this very same criticism.

Watch the clips below and confirm what I’ve been saying all along.

David Attenborough’s narration
Original clip from BBC One located at:

Oprah’s narration
Original clip from Discovery channel located at:

Bonus clip, just for fun: Oprah vs. Samuel L. Jackson!

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  1. BBC Fan
    Posted June 1, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    great post, GREAT example with the video. Oprah talks to us like we are 5 year olds. For what its worth, BBC bluray is 1080p vs Discovery version is 1080i.

  2. Carlos
    Posted June 1, 2010 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    I still wonder who thought Oprah was a good idea? At least we have choice throught Amazon!

  3. BBC Fan
    Posted June 1, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    exactly.. just ordered my BBC version through Barnes and Noble for $30 + tax. Can’t wait!

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