Sheila Prophet is dazzled by Earls Court’s new BBC Earth Experience
A message from David Attenborough that will stay with you
May 1, 2023
Among people who have already shared Earls Court’s new BBC Earth Experience, the most frequent complaint is the lack of seating.
As you walk into the exhibition’s vast main gallery, you can see why. You are suddenly surrounded by gigantic screens showing animals and landscapes from across the world. Some of these screens show the same scene from different angles, while others have different “storylines”and it is tempting to keep twisting and turning to try to catch them all. Do this standing up and you will soon be dizzy!
Local people have seen The BBC Earth Experience gradually taking shape over the last few months on the wasteland that is the future Earls Court development, created within a temporary building called the Daikin Centre.
The Daikin Centre
The Earth Experience offers a 50 minute long whirlwind tour across the world’s continents, with spectacular footage, music and sounds taken from the BBC series Seven Worlds, One Planet, accompanied of course by narration from Sir David Attenborough.
The aim is to display the vast diversity of our world’s environments, climates and animal inhabitants and so the scenes are constantly shifting, from ice worlds to deserts, from enormous close-ups of cute penguins to fearsome fighting leopard seals, from baby chimps and orangutans to lions and tigers on the hunt.
Get surrounded by lions on the hunt
And while the screens mostly show different scenes, at certain points they switch to one simultaneous view and this is when the exhibition is at its most immersive, as you are completely enveloped in the sights and sounds of rushing waterfalls, dancing fireflies or the endless night sky.
Another beautifully designed feature is the Vista screen, where you stand on a platform with scenery rolling beneath you, giving you the feeling that you are flying over forests, mountains and even an erupting volcano. I was mesmerised and could have stood there for hours.
The vista screen
Apart from the main gallery there are two smaller rooms, both with neat features for children - Micro Life, which includes an “enter if you dare” bug room and Water Life, which has interactive screens allowing you to redirect shoals of fish or underwater bubbles by waving your arms or jumping around. This also proved popular with many of the big kids in our party.
You are able to direct shoals of fish
The Earth Experience is billed as suitable for the whole family, and there is plenty to keep children entranced, though be warned - there are some all too close up gory scenes showing nature at its rawest.
As well as being a breathtaking visual experience, the exhibition also feels like a tribute to the life and work of Sir David Attenborough and his passionate pleas to protect the planet and everything living within.
You leave the main gallery along a corridor lined with photos of location filming. Then as we turned a corner, there were audible gasps at the sight of a stunning 3D globe suspended among the stars.
Below it spelled out the great man’s words, how we must make changes to protect the planet and make it safe “for all of us”.
The BBC Earth Experience isn’t cheap, with tickets priced at £28.50 for adults and £15 for children, so obviously it isn’t for everyone. However, as it will be open in Earls Court for the next two years, there will hopefully be moves in future to make it more universally accessible.
For those planning a visit, you can expect a jaw dropping, head spinning spectacle - and a message from Sir David that will stay with you.
Find out more on the venue’s web site.
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