The Most Brutal Moments in Last Night's Planet Earth 2 Premiere

By James O Malley on at

Nature is an unrelenting cycle of misery and death - but for some reason it looks really beautiful in HD.

Last night saw the premiere of Planet Earth 2, the latest epic nature series from the BBC's Natural History unit, which in about five minutes justifies the license fee singlehandedly.

But despite the jaw-dropping visuals, the rousing score (from Hans Zimmer, no less) and the typically, umm, Attenborough-esque narration from Sir David Attenborough, it is a stark reminder that life is just one long struggle to survive - with only the inevitability of death to look forward to.

Here's some of the most unrelentingly brutal moments from the first episode.

1) Komodo Dragons fighting

It's not just a dog-eat-dog world, it's a komodo-dragon-smackdown world too.

2) Sad Baby Lemur

"This baby sifaka has a hard life ahead of it", says Sir David. So stare into the little thing's miserable eyes as you realise the chances are that in the time between filming and broadcast, this poor creature was probably killed or died of hunger or something.

3) The Tree That Kills Birds

Not even trees can be trusted. Pisonia trees will trap and kill birds. Vegetarians: Now is your chance to take revenge for your animal friends.

4) Saving Penguin Ryan

At the end of each episode for British viewers, there's a ten minute segment showing what goes on behind the scenes, and the extraordinary efforts the film makers go to in order to capture such astonishing footage. (Sorry Americans - you just get commercials instead.)

But even once we got to this part of the show we weren't safe. A massive wave hit, throwing penguins all over the place, and the resulting scenes were more reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan than Happy Feet. Grim.

5) Those Evil Fucking Snakes!

The stand-out moment (in an already consistently outstanding show) was surely the completely evil snakes on the newly created Galapagos island of Fernandina - which has been created by volcanic rock. Not much can live there but it's home to some adorable iguanas. And some completely evil snakes. First we saw this happen:

Brutal.

At least there was a happy ending. In one of the most astonishing chase sequences ever filmed, the nation held its breath as we cheered on this brave little iguana, attempting to outrun the snakes:

I'm not sure I can take five more weeks of this.