Frozen Planet

I trust you’ve heard all about the controversy surrounding the BBC and its breathtaking Frozen Planet series, presented by the incomparable Sir David Attenborough. As networks in 30 countries have purchased the programmes, I hope yours is one of them and you have enjoyed, or will soon be able to enjoy, the £16million seven-part documentary, four years in the making, which focuses on life in both polar regions, Arctic and Antarctic.

In short, the controversy goes a little something like this: footage of a polar bear and her cub was shot in a Netherlands (or German, depending on which newspaper you read) zoo, in a purpose-built den, and mixed with scenes shot in the wild, giving the viewer the impression that the birth actually took place in the wild.

Sir David himself, presumably somewhat disappointed by the stupidity of so many gullible people, who had not considered that a camera positioned in a wild polar bear’s den would assuredly result in death to either cub or cameraman, if not both, remarked in response to the criticism: “Come on, we were making movies.” Filming animals in captivity is standard practice for natural history programming and the BBC asserts that there was no attempt to mislead as Attenborough’s narration was carefully worded so as not to be ambiguous. Indeed, the story behind the footage had been publicly available on the BBC’s own website for over a month and long before the scandal, predictably yet oh-so unimaginatively dubbed Polargate, appeared in the media. Irrespective of where the polar bears were filmed, it remained a truthful representation of how polar bears are born and nurtured.

Polar bears are vicious creatures, let’s not kid ourselves. Lest we forget our need to avenge the death of, and injuries to, some rather irresponsible and some would say downright inconsiderate and selfish ‘adventurers’ on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago earlier this year. Would anybody wish a pregnant polar bear be inconvenienced by nosey human beings? Surely not. They do not exist purely for our entertainment, after all. Perhaps, like me, you wonder why we should even expect to see such miracles of life. This voyeurism of ours has gone too far. A ceaseless need to know, yet do we really know anything? How the wool has been pulled over our eyes time and time again, yet petulance kicks in when we feel we are being duped on a matter of comparatively little importance.

I find the furore surrounding episode five – ‘Winter’ – so incredibly tedious and rather suspect. I accept that, as the BBC is funded by the British public through a licence fee, many feel their criticism ought to be taken seriously, and it has been quite a year for exaggerated faux outrage. Yet Frozen Planet has been the most astoundingly brilliant thing on television in years, quite possibly the finest series ever produced. In fact, it seems to me that television might as well stop right now, for clearly nothing can better this grand feat of production, complemented by a simply stunning original musical score composed by George Fenton. In glorious high definition, it has been a pleasure to watch and learn from. Those that now whine about a relative irrelevance insult the genius of spectacle captured ably and presented gracefully by an expert crew for whom the burden of expectation weighs heavily. The BBC has always made the very best natural history programmes in the world bar none.

And then there’s Attenborough, peerless, one of our favourite Davids (do tell me your favourite Attenborough moments, by the way; I suspect we’ve all grown up with this temperate man serving as the knowledgeable uncle or grandfather we would all so dearly love to spend Sunday afternoons learning from, the teacher we can all marvel at and never ever tire of), whose whispered reverence and respectful awe for the natural world has entranced us for almost six decades.

Sir David is 85. This was his first ever visit to the North Pole. Passionate and articulate, as always, it was a joy to listen to his carefully-measured commentary, to hang on to every pause in admiration at the hypnotic fluorescent green of the aurora borealis, the Northern Lights, the greatest and most magical light show on Earth (sorry, Pink Floyd) or in trepidation at the sight of a pod of killer whales working collectively to torment a poor weddell seal as if it were a game, creating giant waves to wash it from the ice floes just as it thinks it has finally scrambled to safety, exhausted.

These are unforgettable, awe-inspiring scenes, the likes of which we have never before seen and might never again see. The birth of a polar bear, wherever the miracle of new life occurs, is just one of many of the series highlights and any fakery should not detract from the other sights that made us gasp, wince and chuckle in turn, such as the fluffy Adélie penguin chick, momentarily ignored by its mother, cruelly snatched and carried off into the sky by a skua; the minke whale being harried by orcas in a dramatic chase that lasted more than two hours; the comical sight of the thieving penguin, stealing stones from another’s nest, whilst careful that his should not befall the same fate.

This is what I (reluctantly) pay a licence fee for, not an endless stream of chat shows that allow the same handful of favoured, self-indulgent celebrities to promote their latest film or book; nor boorish toilet brush-headed bigots (yes, yes, I obviously mean Clarkson) to travel in luxury to all corners of the Earth to demonstrate crass wastefulness and get paid bumper salaries for doing so; nor re-runs of quirky decorate-your-house, sell-your-house, rummage-around-in-your-house-and-find-things-you-can-sell-quite-possibly-from-the-comfort-of-your-house dross. No twaddle, no tit-for-tat, just the mysterious natural world we first discovered as children, tried to imagine in our minds and never believed we would ever be able to observe.

Charming, moving, informative, entertaining, majestic and inspiring. There are easily a dozen more worthy adjectives, but I’ll leave it at that.

Are there not other more pressing matters deserved of our derision?

Two issues strike me as being more pertinent than Polargate. The first, that it was announced yet eventually denied that the series’ final episode, entitled ‘On Thin Ice’ and concerning climate change, would be dropped in some countries, including the USA, because many people object to what is considered environmentalist alarmism, of which Attenborough has been accused, and prefer to believe that climate change isn’t happening. For goodness sake, if David Attenborough says that it’s happening, it’s happening. That the BBC, to help sales, allowed the final episode to be sold to networks as an optional extra bothers me somewhat, but so do many other things. I can get over it.

The series will be narrated by Alec Baldwin in the States, broadcast next year. That also bothers me. There should be no need to replace the veteran natural historian with an albeit decent actor, but I suppose it’s another victory for style over substance.

The second issue is that, if we are to attack the BBC, why not go for Mark Thompson, Director-General since 2004, who is guilty of a much bigger crime than not declaring that approximately two minutes of footage from a series lasting some seven hours was shot at a zoo?

Now, the BBC is not FOX News, thank goodness, although you often wonder if it likes to pretend to be its more subtle little brother during mischievous moments. Thompson has been lambasted, though only in that genteel British way, for adopting a sometimes uncomfortable pro-Israeli editorial stance. He made the contemptible and cowardly, I thought, decision not to broadcast an aid appeal on behalf of the Disasters Emergency Committee to assist Gaza in 2009, a decision met with some disdain (see the legendary Tony Benn on BBC News 24 for inspiration) which invariably led to calls for his resignation. Few are willing to sacrifice a salary of almost £800,000-a-year, we know, and the Director-General’s 2005 diplomatic visit (charm offensive?), the first of its kind, to meet Israeli leader Ariel Sharon – an event not publicised in the UK, unsurprisingly – would indicate that Mr Thompson cares a great deal about Israel. Many considered the BBC’s declared ‘impartial’ coverage of Israel-Palestine relations at best misleading and at worst, an absolute disgrace.

This mythical neutrality seems odd when you consider how one-sided their reporting. Regardless of political leanings, civilians in Gaza were innocent victims of a humanitarian crisis caused by three weeks of air attacks and in need of aid. The BBC had two years earlier managed to broadcast a similarly politically sensitive appeal for Darfur and Chad, so the argument against bringing the plight of those in Gaza to the wider attention of the public was barely palatable. The arrogance of Thompson shone through in his blog, which you probably shouldn’t read unless you like having your intelligence thoroughly insulted.

Christopher Brooker, a known climate change denier, also accuses the BBC of impartiality, I should add at this point: this time of “pushing their global warming agenda” and for being “so flagrantly one-sided on the environment issue.”

It is this campaign to discredit environmentalists that makes me ask if Polargate is not a manufactured controversy fuelled by the self-righteous fury of the political right. The Daily Mail, killjoys that they are, tell us with the annoying sing-song tone of a gang of pre-pubescent school bullies (probably) that this is not the first time that Sir David Attenborough has been accused of misleading viewers through his wildlife documentaries. Oh, no. The rotter has only fooled us before and even used polar bears to do so, the sneak. He only showed a polar bear giving birth in 1997, which wasn’t in the Arctic at all, rather a German zoo. Similar deceit followed in 2001, regarding a lobster that was filmed in a British aquarium. Quelle horreur.

I can’t help but feel that this media mauling is retribution for Sir David offending the fossil fuel industry by speaking the language of the WWF and respected others. Christopher Brooker and others of his ilk seize any excuse to discredit those with the potential to upset the vested interests of wealthy cronies. With the Arctic accounting for around 13 per cent of undiscovered oil, as well as 30 per cent of undiscovered natural gas, there is a new oil rush if not a new (really, really) cold war. Hey, who cares about upsetting a national treasure and rubbishing his career when there’s lots of money to be made from using very large drills?

All of Attenborough’s programmes inspire me to reflect on the incredible fragility of our magnificent planet, to wonder at its many marvels and despair at how we are bent on destroying everything around us through our selfishness. I don’t care where selected scenes were filmed, I only wish that more people would realise the price we pay for our indulgence and see in these great creatures a determination to do whatever it takes to spare them from a misfortune I believe we are accelerating.

In other news, if I can be facetious, I happened upon three words I never wanted to see placed alongside one another in the same sentence today: cocoa crisis imminent. We can also discuss this tomorrow in the chatroom, which opens at 1pm (UK). This, too, is much more alarming than Polargate. Hope you can pop in.

48 comments

  1. Damian Cunningham

    I’m not a big fan of the Beeb. But they do make fantastic wildlife programmes. The penguin stealing stones, hilarious. And the ice coming down to the sea bed and killing everything in sight, awe inspiring. So what, they filmed polar bears in a zoo, and as is said who would want to go within a mile of one of them monsters.

    As for the oil and gas it is a matter of time before some twatty nation takes it on itself to go and destroy earth’s last wilderness, anyone notice Canada pulling out of the Kyoto agreement, and there’s a lot of fracking going on in the Fylde coast with a few minor earthquakes.

    It is a beautiful planet, ain’t it a shame us humans are not as beautiful with it?

    Damian

  2. Paul Sexton

    Brilliant show… I could care less about were the bear was born. They should remove all soaps and get Sir David to make more programmes!!!

    • Erik

      It’s a big topic, our very own survival as a species, or at least the belief that our population total can just keep on growing and growing. The Neanderthal survived through the last ice age. Not a bad prerequisite, except now we aren’t taking on the elements so much, but destroying the environment that supports us instead. Can’t get more stupid than that!

  3. Stef

    I cannot stand Jeremy Clarkson!!!

    Frozen Planet has been awesome in every way. David Attenborough is a legend. My favourite part was the clip you included, with the penguin stealing stones from another penguin’s nest. I couldn’t get enough of the penguins, they are so funny! It was so sad when the baby penguin died though. Have you seen the Baywatch spoof with the penguins on YouTube, FEd? I think you’ll like it!

    The tabloids are making a big deal out of the polar bears being filmed in a zoo and as usual people are complaining about it now because everybody else is complaining so it’s the thing to do! It was the same with Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross (Sachsgate), the One Show dog trainer and Jeremy Clarkson. It’s pathetic. There are more important things to worry about!

  4. tim_c

    Agree with the vast bulk of what you say F’ed.

    Complete nonsense to criticise a component of a programme which aimed only to bring to life and show us a natural wonder in the best way possible. This was no case of deception. Unfortunately there seems to be a huge yellow (or whatever colour) stripe of fault-finding in the guise of critique that runs right through this country.

    My only deviations from your line (well we must have a little deviation, even on the BBC) is that I gladly pay the licence fee precisely to preserve this last bastion of non-commercial TV, even if we must and should embrace a commercial element to keep the financial balance. So even if you object to Clarkson (and why indeed wouldn’t you?) I’m pretty sure Top Gear will be a net income generator notwithstanding the excesses.

    I remember a brief discusion in the chatroom with you on the BBC re Israel bias. I bow to your superior research but even so I maintain that the BBC is about as close to a “fair and balanced” medium as we are likely to find with a genuine remit to maintain standards across its output. Of course nothing can be perfect and the BBC as our National Broadcaster should be held to the highest standards of accountability, but I think on balance we can be proud of it and stand behind it against forces of reaction. After all, David had some bad hair moments in the 1980s but I think we prefer to remember the songs.

    • KenF

      So even if you object to Clarkson (and why indeed wouldn’t you?) I’m pretty sure Top Gear will be a net income generator notwithstanding the excesses.

      Here’s a somewhat ironic Top Gear observation for you 😛

      Seasons greetings everyone.

  5. Heather

    Well done Fed.

    I totally agree with everything you said about Frozen Planet Series and anything involving David Attenborough. The shots of the killer whales were outstanding.

    One of my favourites ever was the camera eye in the herd of elephants ‘that are now appearing on Elevision’ plus with the gorillas and always his joy and enthusiasm for everything he sees and does. A truly inspiring wildlife presenter who is totally irreplacable.

    The BBC earned their fee the day they discovered him.

  6. Michèle

    Interesting post. Will read it carefully tonight.

    Just so sad that I can’t watch the video about the criminal penguins, I get the message “Cette vidéo a été bloquée dans votre pays par l’utilisateur qui l’a mise en ligne.” (Blocked by the BBC?)

    Of course, when I saw the ‘favourite Davids’ link in bold characters, I first thought you were asking us about our favourite Davids… Silly me! 😉

  7. NewYorkDan

    I have not seen the show, but would like to do so now (after reading your passionate statements here).

    You mentioned that the final episode is not going to be aired in the USA due to the fear of offending our idiot Rightists who want to believe climate change is a hoax. You also mentioned that the original narration by David Attenbourough is being overdubbed by the voice of Alec Baldwin. The reasons why these things are happening here in the US are even darker than you think they are. The Rightists have infiltrated our government in a big way, and they are heavily funded by the oil companies. They have made it a top priority after next year’s election (in which they hope to win big) to close The Corporation For Public Broadcasting. That is the government parent of PBS television, which will air the Frozen Planet series. They want to remove public broadcasting from our airwaves since, for years, CPB’s voice has been an objective voice in an increasingly FOX News dominated media. The very survivial of public broadcasting is at serious risk in this country. And a series that informs about climate change, narrated in Sir David’s voice, would rock the boat much too hard. They cannot risk giving the Rightists another reason to defund them. It really stinks, but the Rightists are winning this one. And we the American public will lose out on so much wonderful fare, just because the oil companies need to control the message on climate change.

  8. Pete - Coventry

    I don’t watch an awful lot of TV but I did enjoy what I saw of Frozen Planet.

    As for a fave Sir David moment, well the one that comes to mind is where he met the gorillas. What a moment that must have been.

  9. Ian Pearson

    One observation I make is one of quoting age. Sir David is 85 years young/old – so what? It is common in media to print a person’s age, sometimes in brackets so to pretend a deep meaningful link, but it all means nothing. I am sure we all know “young” 60 years olds and old 10 years olds. There is a huge difference between a human physical age and an emotial/spritrual one. I am 58 but after one year of marriage feel like a 20 year old as I am experiencing those emotions and receiving those lifes experiences as I did when my body was 20. We should all be age free.

    Oh and a happy Christmas to you all. Hope Santa (5953 -old geezer!) is good to you.

    Ian (58)

    • FEd

      Apologies, Ian. You’re quite right; I don’t know why the need to include a person’s age (in brackets, as you say, at the earliest opportunity) exists. I just think it so very admirable that, such is his passion for his subject and having accomplished so much over a wonderful career, he would visit such an unforgiving environment when many 85-year-olds would choose to take it easy. It’s another reason why criticism of him seems so unjust. But point taken.

      Wishing you and your good lady wife a very Merry Christmas. :)

    • Michèle

      One observation I make is one of quoting age…

      Pointless controversy, no?

      Not everyone in the world knows all the British celebrities. This post was just informative and complete.

      When I read about his age, I just thought: “Wow!”.

      Now, the use of the word ‘Sir’ made me smile. 😉 – I say ‘smile’, nothing else.

  10. Ronald McMeekin

    Good old David Attenborough was, in the 60s, controller of the BBC. He was the person who gave us Branden Beat, That Was The Week That Was.

    Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, Not Only… But Also, are just some of the great things this man has given to the public. Will the controller of the BBC now be able to say the same? No. What you get is lame, somewhat out of date panel shows, BBC’s QI apart. One programme doesn’t make a channel, the public don’t need rehashing or done to death programming. The channel needs ideas, great ideas, something it is lacking now.

  11. Susan

    Interesting, reflective piece. I have no problem with this particular ‘change’ however, I believe and audience needs to be told. I often muse over what seems to be a dumbing down these days re facts. There was a small furore in the U.S. earlier this year, I believe, when children watching a live birth of a foal also witnessed said foal’s death. Quelle horrour cried some, but… I find children are very matter-of-fact as a rule when and if adults simply explain the facts and realities. It would be optimal of course to advise and prepare children in advance.

    In the same light, why not simply explain to an audience that some show elements have been spliced in for the well being of both the animals and the crew. That seems so simple to me.

    I also agree that narrators should not be altered. I find it incredible that someone out there in broadcast land believes a U.S. audience would not warm to Attenborough. His voice is rich and his whole tone is one of experiential knowledge. And I also thought many in the U.S. loved what they consider to be British aristocracy. Ah well.

    The Middle East issue. I observed Twitter throughout the whole period and it was heartbreaking to read the pleadings of – dare I say it – the ‘common man’ trying to garner assistance from the west. Many, many lives were lost because of delays in assistance. I tend to agree that some causes appear ‘in’ rather than essential humanity – irrespective of cultural background – being the clear focus.

  12. ash

    Notice there’s been no public outcry about showing footage of the birth and life of captive Pandas, the Edinburgh ones were on the news a minute ago. :)

    ash

  13. lorraine

    I caught the ‘This Morning’ interview with David Attenborough earlier on this week. They were discussing ‘Frozen Planet’ and as usual He was giving the credit for it to other people, in this case the cameramen.

    In the course of the interview the piece Lord Nigel Lawson had scrawled in Radio Times came up. One of Lord Lawson’s “Had he been objective…” points was that the polar bear population was rising. Sir David clarified that indeed it had in one colony but that was only because there was now a hunting ban in place for that colony.

    Then again, it’s easier to just give people the facts and let them decide for themselves when you’re telling the truth.

    In Attenborough we trust.

  14. Michèle

    There seems to be a lot of controversy everywhere these days (especially in politics, here). This is becoming ridiculous and dangerous as controversy often hides the real problems.

    I completely agree with this comment from a reader of the Daily Mail:

    “I would much rather it be filmed in a zoo where the mother is used to humans, than to invade an animal in its natural habitat, putting the cameraman at risk. We get to see what actually happens with less risk to the animal and human- common sense really.”

    I don’t know if this documentary has been (or will be) broadcast here, but, now, I really would like to watch it. So I will probably buy the DVD.

    Or why not buy ‘The Planet Collection’ DVD box set (Blue Planet/Planet Earth/Frozen Planet)? I presume the two other documentaries are also worth watching. This would make a very nice and educational Christmas gift for the whole family. :)

    • FEd

      Blue Planet was exceptional. I also particularly enjoyed The Life of Birds.

      I do hope that Frozen Planet will be broadcast in France.

  15. Howard Bayliss

    I must say as I scrolled down the posts and stumbled across Susan’s post my heart skipped a beat for a moment. The first time I have seen a “Susan” on the blog since Sue N died.

    Cheers, Howard

  16. ash

    I haven’t seen Frozen Planet yet. :( Of course I do know all (I must have seen all of his work and watched it over and over at any opportunity and especially when there’s nothing on TV) of Attenborough’s work.

    My excuse for not having seen it yet, is that it was broadcast on a day and time when I was working and could not get home in time to see it. I confidently told myself I’d catch it on BBC iPlayer but somehow didn’t. I refused to watch even clips of the series or the odd one where I could have seen some of it, because I wanted to watch it from the start ! That means the start of the series.
    I did see the whales knocking the seal off the ice floe. Magnificent filming. I’ll probably get the DVD/ :)

    However. . . I think some of my favourite bits are at the end of the programme when they show us some of the filming techniques, or great lengths they went to, to capture a shot.

    More favourites. . . the mother polar bear emerging with her cubs, but mum goes off sliding along the snow, rolling it, rubbing her nose in it. (I think that’s footage from another series by Attenborough).

    And. . . Attenborough brought us The Meerkats. 😀

  17. ash

    yet petulance kicks in when we feel we are being duped on a matter of comparatively little importance

    Yes, then everyone comments to message boards, in the newspaper, or whatever and everyone tweets about it. It becomes a monster talking point and can cause real damnation to some. Then it’s over as quickly as it started.

    It’s so strange to me, suddenly we are in a world where everyone has an opinion and feels the need to express it !!! And. . . in very strong terms sometimes!

    ash

  18. Alessandra

    Hi FEd and everyone, I hope you’re all OK.

    I’m so sorry I couldn’t follow these last interesting topics, but at the moment I really have no time to do anything, apart from working.

    I hope I’ll have more time in the next months.

    I miss you all.

  19. Paul

    Very good to see you nipping at the heels of full-blown bore-about-town Christopher Booker in the style that he understands – namely, doing what he and his Private Eye cohorts resort to when referring to a prize chump or villain and getting their name ever-so-slightly wrong. So, whereas the Eye have deliberately misspelt egomaniacs such as Harold Wislon, Piers ‘Morgan’ Moron and Andrew Neill in their pages down the ages, let’s salute the emergence of Christopher Brooker. I hope this new version of his name deflates this puffed-up windbag.

    With best wishes.

  20. suzy smith

    I’m looking forward to watching it. Hopefully with people being able to see such shows it will make people aware and want to care.

    My brother worked with scientist at the South Pole in getting carbon dating from long tubes of ice. You know they actually have a pole that is striped with red and white and a sphere on it at the South Pole. I have a picture with my brother next to it. His son just got his doctorate in ocean micro biology and is now doing research. So I like to be positive and hope that people will realize how our planet is an island in space and we should have its health as our upmost concern.

  21. Pavlov

    I cannot for the life of me imagine why there is so much ‘hoopla’ surrounding the filming of the polar bear giving birth ‘in captivity’. If the audience was really interested in the facts, they most likely would have read up on the program ahead of time and learned that there had indeed been transparency.

    We’ve only snippets here and there, but I have pre-ordered it on DVD since I would prefer the David Attenborough narration (I find Alec Baldwin to be a self-involved prig with an over-inflated sense of self and wouldn’t be able to bear listening to him narrate 6 of the 7 episodes :/ ). I believe the Discovery Channel will be airing ALL 7 episodes beginning in March.

    Like Pete, one of my favourite Sir David moments by far is his “lay-about” with the gorillas during Life on Earth (circa late 70’s). There is one snippet where the expression on his face is one of sheer joy!

    Not entirely sure I share my fellow American’s view on PBS though. It is not entirely free from controversy itself and while a bit of the programming is useful and educational, they do their fare share of ‘lobbying’ for government subsidies and are not entirely true to their so-called mantra for “strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature”.

    I agree that our indulgence is accelerating the ruination of our beautiful planet and we need to be ever vigilant but a lot also has to do with the ‘natural order’ of the universe.

    I ponder lunar activity and how, over the ages, out moon has spun further away from the earth thus causing the earth’s rotation to slow the continents to continue drifting and the tidal gravity to alter things from the birth (or extinction) of species to climate change (remember, in the great natural order, we are still in the late stages of coming out of an ice age). Of course this is not to say that we do not have a hand in global warming — we do! Yet, I wonder about the true commitment there is to do all there is to address global warming. The recent Kyoto Protocol conference was hosted in South Africa and I wonder whether it wouldn’t have been better to host it via video-teleconference although on the flip side of that, hosting a group of delegates probably brought much-needed revenue to Durban’s local businesses.

    I find myself in the usual position of trying to do my small part but seeing both sides of the coin and never really becoming fully engaged — never a pleasant place to be …

    • FEd

      The recent Kyoto Protocol conference was hosted in South Africa and I wonder whether it wouldn’t have been better to host it via video-teleconference

      Absolutely, but you know how these people and their ever-present gaggle of flunkies love a free lunch.

  22. Thomas O'Connell

    I loved the whole series for it’s so incrediable how they filmed it.

    By the way I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and I hope that everyone will have a Happy New Year’s…

    Be Safe,
    Thomas

  23. victor

    i think the nature is extraordinary wild
    who damage her
    pay all
    who respect her
    recieve help and satisfaction
    anyway i understand
    not from england but from another country
    the daily mail is a journal of gossip and
    absolutely made to make money with the life of the others
    without respect

    i wish to send you a merry xmas and great festives
    but more important
    people, don’t forget who is born the 25 of december
    if not, don’t stay a sense

    cheers
    victor 😉

  24. ash

    I can’t get YouTube to work so gave up my search for something daft to send for Christmas. . . however. . .

    Jack Daniel’s Christmas Cookies

    Ingredients:

    1 cup of flour
    Lemon juice
    1 tsp baking soda
    4 large eggs
    1 cup of sugar
    1 cup of nuts
    1 tsp salt
    2 cups of dried fruit
    1 cup of brown sugar
    1 cup Jack Daniel’s Whiskey

    1. Sample the Jack Daniel’s to check quality.
    2. Take a large bowl, check the Jack Daniel’s again to be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.
    3. Turn on the electric beater.
    4. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
    5. Add one teaspoon of sugar….
    6. Beat again. At this point it’s best to make sure the Jack Daniel’s is still okay. Try another cup, just in case.
    7. Turn off the mixerer thingy.
    8. Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
    9. Pick the frigging fruit off the floor.
    10. Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers, just pry it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the Jack Daniels for tonsisticity.
    11. Next, sift two cups of salt, or whatever. Who giveshz a sheet. Check the Jack Daniel’s.
    12. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
    13. Greash the oven. Turn the cake 360 degrees and try not to fall over. Don’t forget to beat off the turner.
    14. Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the Dack Janiel’s and make sure to put the stove in the dishwasher.

    • Susan

      Of course, if you were also stoned you would just eat whatever was mixed up in the bowl… just with your forefinger… and think it a feast… :) You just need to watch licking the beaters on a hand held mixer with pulse power.

      BTW, what is a fluffy bowl? Or are you a cheap shout? :))

  25. Elisabetta Corsi-Italy N.E.

    Dear Fed,

    I could not miss this personal tradition, so I want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas, the best time and a happy new year.

    Merry Christmas and happy new year to David Gilmour’s family, to everyone and every blogger’s family, best wishes to you all and enjoy your Holidays!

    Love
    ciao Elisabetta

  26. Craig Mueller

    I love all of Sir David’s documentries. He is the epitomy of documentary narration. His voice is recognisable instantly and complements the visual paradise of the cinematography of the documentries he narrates to. I want to see Sir David narrate a documentary on such Animals like the Pig, Dog and Sheep! Little pun there.

    As for the lust for oil and its derivatives and its impact upon the planet, I am ashamed to be part of the problem, my reliance on fossil fuels is through convenience not conscious. I only started driving a car 3 years ago, I’m (40) getting older. I tried to hold out as long as possible, but with the unexpected arrival of a new soul on this ball of blue and green forced me to go against my best intentions and sold-out to the forces of evil and greed.

    Fracking is going to be a real problem for us. The impact upon the enviorment is enormous and unrealised by most. We are fed lies and deception by the vested interests. Bring on the renewable revolution!

  27. BarbaraP

    Hello FEd. I just wanted to drop in a minute and say I hope you are well and Merry Christmas to all!

    BarbaraP

  28. Groovy Juve - Mississippi, US

    As I tend to do from time to time, I’m going to get off the subject and say a couple of things I thought could wait, but have learned, I may not always have that luxury. I am recovering from a virus I caught from my grand daughter that took me as close to death as possible and still come out alive.

    I want to say that I think the chord progression on Castellorizion sounds like Jean Sibelius. I also think that Phoebe Snow’s song Poetry Man explains pretty much my feelings about David Gilmour. I think he and Polly Samson sound wonderful together and I hope to hear them together again.

    Well, I’ve had my say… this is going to be a helluva Christmas because I got the gift of life returned to me… it’s great to be here!!!

    Merry Christmas everyone!!!

  29. Hydrea

    Hi FEd,

    I wish you and all bloggers Merry Christmas and a great 2012. I hope 2012 is a good year for me, my family and my friends.

    So, for me it’s amazing, because it’s my first Christmas in London where I now live. My dream has come true. 😀

    Hydrea

  30. Taki

    Hi FEd,

    off-topic, but in time:

    I wish you and all you love some peaceful holidays and a healthy and happy new year!

    Thanks for all the posts and comments, which I admire and respect for content and quality. Also thanks for being a good moderator…

    Best regards from Bavaria,

    Taki

  31. NewYorkDan

    With so many different kinds of people on this Blog from across the world, I won’t name a specific holiday. But I do wish everyone a happy holiday. If you celebrate it, have a good one.

  32. kenf

    To FEd, David, Polly & family and Irregulars.

    Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Gilmourian New Year in 2012.

    Cheers everybody. 😉

  33. ash

    I’m sure I must be drunk. . . . . or mad. . . . .or both. . . . .

    See thisthis article.

    Did you think you’d gone mad when you read it? I know I thought I’d drunk more than I had. I had to read it again to be sure!

    Why didn’t they just give us some electricity at reduced cost? I know it’s a technological problem, they don’t have the storage capacity or something for the excess the farms are producing. WTF????? Did no one forsee this problem and warn the British tax payer????

    Why is it taking so long to get, for example, electric cars on the road and sell this surplus electricity at reduced cost (and not use petrol, derived from fossil fuels FFS!)? Why are we seeing our electricity charges (costs, but “charges” was too good to not use) soaring? Do you think someone thinks we won’t realise what THEY are doing?

    I think I am mad. It’s no wonder we drink.

    I’ve put this here, in “Frozen Planet” because of the relationship to global warming.

    ash (thanking David and Fed for a place to rant now and then amongst like minded people :) )