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Episode #1.2 

Remote-controlled Spy Creatures reveal dolphins as never before. Meet the orca, king of the dolphins, and discover the intimacy of its remarkable family life. Find dolphins that wear ... See full summary »


John Downer


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Episode cast overview:
David Tennant ... Narrator (voice)


Remote-controlled Spy Creatures reveal dolphins as never before. Meet the orca, king of the dolphins, and discover the intimacy of its remarkable family life. Find dolphins that wear sponges on their noses, and race with the fastest dolphin in the world - the Dall's porpoise. Discover a real dolphin secret agent that carries a camera into the pod to uncover their mysteries of communication and interactions. Elsewhere, a young bottlenose begins a life on his own joined by Spy Puffer and Spy Baby - a cute camera dolphin that has bubble conversations with real dolphins. Written by Enzedder

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Release Date:

9 January 2014 (UK) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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User Reviews

Dolphin communications
7 November 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Really like to love all of the 22 BBC 'Wildlife Specials', 18 of which narrated by David Attenborough and the others by David Tennant. Have a preference for Attenborough's contributions, being a big fan of his, but the Wildlife Specials narrated by Tennant have all the qualities that made Attenborough's so great.

While not quite as good as 'Penguins: Spy in the Huddle' in particular, 'Dolphins: Spy in the Pod' is simply wonderful. One of the better ones overall and one of my favourites of those narrated by Tennant.. All of them are very good to outstanding, with my least being 'Swarm: Nature's Incredible Invasions' which still interested and was very good, it just didn't quite connect with me as much as the others did.

Did criticise a few of the Wildlife Specials for being too short and not having enough episodes with so much to cover. Was prepared to say that for 'Dolphins: Spy in the Pod', but actually that it covered so much with so much detail without feeling like there was too much going on is something of a miracle. This was obvious in the first episode and it is every bit as much and perhaps even more so in the second and concluding part. It is so informative and has imagery and sights unlike any seen before by me for anything.

The episode looks wonderful, beautiful underwater scenery and for the quite unique techniques the camera work was fluid and natural, cinematic and intimate and clever making us feel like an invisible presence amongst the dolphins, especially with the dolphin spy agent and everything with the young independent bottlenose. Would go as far as to call the photography exquisite, some of the best underwater photography for any documentary without Attenborough's name on it.

Music score fits very well, not too grandiose or too inappropriately quirky. It is better than a couple of the Attenborough documentaries (though elsewhere all of those are superior) at not being too intrusive and not featuring too much.

From start to finish, the episode is interesting and does very well at entertaining and teaching, there is a good balance of the familiar and not so familiar (mostly the latter, because a lot of the footage were of things never seen before) and the information is to the point and not too speculative or overly-subjective. Some very memorable scenes, such as a bizarrely fascinating initiation ceremony, the bubble conversations and the bottlenose's amorous behaviour.

It also excels at not falling into the trap of telling too much of a story approach, this worked with Attenborough because there was still lots that educated and were backed up, but haven't seen it done as successfully elsewhere. The different types of dolphins, the most striking being the most intimate portrayal of orca dolphins one will find anywhere, are diverse and are at points strikingly human, their curiosity, intelligence, adapting and struggles being relatable and great to watch, also remarkably sociable. A big example being the bubble conversations and everything with the dolphin secret agent. They are more than just cute, they also have vulnerability and resourcefulness and it shows on screen in all their stages, whether in the playful (the amorous behaviour of the young bottlenose, so charming), intimate (the portrayal of the orcas) or more suspenseful (the common dolphins) scenes. There are some adorable young dolphins, the bottlenose dolphin showing remarkable resourcefulness when independent.

A great job is done making the dolphins interesting, worth rooting for and the pods are like characters of their own. Also with providing a mix of known knowledge and not so familiar facts (including footage of a rarely seen humpback dolphin), which sees dolphins in a different and more complex light than ever seen before. Not just of the young bottlenose dolphin but also the intimacy of communication and the cleverness and methods used to catch prey.

David Tennant's narration is simply splendid once again like it was for all his Wildlife Specials entries. He delivers with enthusiasm and sincerity, making one want to know more while never talking down to the viewer. It is never too episodic and there is a real sense of a story being told with all the dolphin species and behaviours explored with a real honesty and animals worth relating to without going overboard, not getting too humanised or overly-subjective, the information never being sacrificed for dramatization in particularly detailing the independent life of the young bottlenose.

Overall, 'Dolphins: Spy in the Pod' is for me the quintessential documentary on dolphins and the second part lives up to the first brilliantly. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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