Audiences Will Enjoy PBS, BBC’s Latest Trip To Africa In Their New Documentary

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/BBC

PBS and the BBC apparently have a thing for Africa.  The networks have taken viewers to Africa and its many nations multiple times over the years.  The networks’ trips have taken viewers to countries across the continent while examining the vast multitude of species that call the continent home.  This past May, the networks partnered again for yet another trip back to Africa in the new documentary, Life at the Waterhole.  As the title infers, the nearly three hour documentary focuses in this case on how various species interact at a water hole.  PBS Distribution released the show on DVD last month.  It is just as appealing in its home presentation as its television presentation.  That is due in no small part to the general presentation.  The cinematography that is featured throughout the show makes for its own appeal and will be discussed a little later.  The program’s pacing rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted its important in its own way to the whole of Life at the Waterhole.  All things considered, they make this program its own interesting presentation that is worth watching.

PBS and the BBC’s wildlife documentary, Life at the Waterhole, is a presentation that plenty of audiences will find worth watching.  That is especially the case with the nearly three-hour program’s recent DVD release.  It’s appeal comes in large part through its general presentation.  The general presentation finds the program, which runs two hours, 45 minutes, separated into three separate segments, two of which run approximately 55 minutes and the third of which runs approximately 56 minutes.  The segments follow host Dr. M. Sanjayan as he observes the role of watering holes for ecosystems in Africa.  In this case, the waterhole is a man-made structure in a wildlife preserve in Tanzania.  Over the course of six months, audiences join Dr. Sanjayan as he and his team of scientists as they observe the social habits of various animals who come to the waterhole.  Viewers will find themselves just as interested to learn how animals change their habits with the changing seasons and their conditions.  Additionally, viewers will find themselves just as interested to learn about the diversity of the species who utilize the waterhole.  There are water buffalo, various species of birds, elephants, hyenas, giraffes, and so many others.  According to Dr. Sanjayan, he and his cohorts record more than 100 species of animals over the course of six months at the waterhole. The changes in prey animals’ habits at the waterhole in relation to predators’ introduction is also engaging.  Getting back to the story’s segmentation, this aspect works with the story to form a solid starting point for the program.  That is because it allows audiences to follow all of the changes at their own pace.  This is important to note because as simple as the story is, there is a lot of information in each segment.  Anyone who tries to binge all three segments will find themselves mentally drained.  To that end, this general presentation will encourage viewers’ engagement and in turn entertainment to a certain extent.  That positive starting point is just one part of what makes this story worth watching.  The cinematography is of its own importance to the show.

The cinematography featured in Life at the Waterhole is important because of its aesthetic value.  Audiences are taken up close and personal at times thanks to cameras mounted in and around the waterhole.  One is actually encased in a watertight dome at the water level.  That allows for those up close views from that vantage point.  The footage from that camera is unique just as is the footage from the cameras located above the waterhole and at its edge.  There is even a camera mounted inside the blind that allows viewers to see what Sanjayan and company see – a paper wasp nest and even a swallow nest.  As if that is not enough, the cameras even have night vision capability, thus allowing audiences to see how the animals interact at night.  The footage is so vivid and rich in its color while the varied angles give audiences plenty of equally wonderful vantage points from which to take in the story.  That expansive visual aid from the cinematography helps drive home everything that Sanjayan discusses in all three segments, ensuring even more, viewers’ engagement and entertainment.  This aesthetic element pairs with the program’s general presentation to enhance the viewing experience even more.  It is just one more aspect that makes the program worth watching.  The program’s pacing rounds out its most important elements.

Life at the Waterhole’s pacing is important to examine because, again, of the program’s content and run time.  As already noted, there is a lot of content to sort through over the course of two hours and 45 minutes.  Thankfully, as in-depth as the content is in each segment, Sanjayan and company ensure that the breadth of information is not overpowering.  Rather, they keep the story moving fluidly within each segment, connecting discussions on say, the weather and animals’ behavior smoothly.  As a result, viewers who watch the program one segment at a time will find each segment so easy to follow.  The engagement and entertainment ensured through the positive impact of the pacing pairs eventually creates an appreciation for the story, its general presentation and cinematography, too.  That overall appreciation will leave viewers agreeing that as extensive as Life at the Waterhole is while another visit to Africa, still a visit worth taking.

PBS and the BBC’s new documentary, Life at the Waterhole is hardly the first time that either network has presented any wildlife program centered on animal life in Africa.  Despite that, it is still a presentation that audiences will agree is worth watching.  That is due in part to the documentary’s general presentation.  In regards to the presentation, the nearly three-hour program is separated into three segments.  Each segment clocks in at less than an hour.  Even as in-depth as each segment is in terms of its information, that limited time and separation does its own part to encourage viewers’ engagement and entertainment.  The cinematography featured in the program adds its own layer of appeal.  That is because of how up close it brings audiences to the animals being observed by Dr. Sanjayan and his team of researchers.  The editing used in the cinematography increases that appeal, too.  Each segment’s pacing rounds out the most important aspects of this presentation.  Considering the depth of content in each segment, the pacing was especially important to track.  That is because of how easy it would have been for the program to get bogged down in itself.  Thankfully that did not happen.  Rather, the pacing remains fluid and solid in each segment, ensuring viewers’ engagement and entertainment even more.  When this aspect is considered along with the impact of the program’s cinematography, story, and general presentation, the whole makes Life at the Waterhole a presentation that is another worthwhile trip to Africa from PBS and the BBC.  Life at the Waterhole is available now.  More information on this and other titles from PBS is available at:




More information on this and other programs from the BBC is available at:




To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.