David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet II: Fitting that when we lose one treasured nonagenarians another should reappear on our screens

It was perhaps fitting in the week that we lost one of our treasured nonagenarians that another one should reappear on our screens.

hen Frozen Planet first shivered onto our screens, Sir David Attenborough was a fresh-faced 85-year-old, so other than chalking up another decade and probably cutting back on his skateboarding, it was time to see what else had changed in the world.

Quite a lot, sadly. The slippy bits of our world are not in good shape. It’s like that neighbour no one liked has come out with a big packet of Saxo and ruined all our fun, except that it’s all our fault.

“We are recognising an alarming truth — our frozen wildernesses are disappearing at faster rates than ever before,” Sir David told us. Tell that to the people of Castlederg.

And then we were off around the world, from Antarctica to the Arctic and everywhere a bit nippy in between, armed with much more technology such as racer drones that gave us some remarkable footage. Still, there’s no substitute for some poor cameraperson, sitting shivering on an ice floe as some poor unsuspecting seal, snoozing waiting for its solitary brother, is suddenly mugged by a gang of killer whales.

But first the heartwarming tale of the emperor penguins who have to protect their chicks from temperatures of -80°C and they do this dutifully until one day, they just stand up and waddle off into the distance like Captain Oates in a mood.

The chicks sit about looking at each other wondering what the hell happened there, before one decides we’d best head off and find the sea and, despite a few scary plops down into icy ravines, they managed it and had a great time.

Not so much for our seal chum, some extraordinary footage of him escaping one killer whale before he went and got his mum and siblings and they came back and before you could get a kiss from a rose, seal had his final hit.

It wasn’t all death and mayhem, there was grumpiness too, in the shape — and what a shape — of the Pallas’s cat, who has the ‘densest fur of any cat in the world’. Any wonder it’s grumpy if Sir David’s calling you names.

Basically this is about four tabbies rolled into one but given really short legs, and it’s nice to know what feline I would be in the natural world, who waddles about, scratches, yawns and tries to catch a gerbil or two for dinner.

To no avail, its clumsiness gave it away and the gerbils were off thanking their lucky stars a killer whale hadn’t turned up.

We then had a Siberian tiger who also failed to strike gold, or a bear, and it sloped off into the snows with Sir David telling us not to worry, he’ll find something. Probably a poor cameraperson unwisely opening a packet of Frosties.

We pushed further north, and the musk ox, a fragrance from Avon, I think, having a nice wee graze and you know this is not going to end well for as the wee ones were ambling around Sir David warned ‘until they gain in strength they are very vulnerable.’

So as Pallas’s cat (I wonder if he is anything to Henry’s?) and the tiger cursed their luck, a grizzly bear came in and it was like an NFL match with the Bears trouncing the Oxen.

It wasn’t all mindless violence, there was some romance and up in the Arctic a hooded seal and his inflatable nose was out to impress the ladies.

“The bigger the nose, the more attractive they’ll be to the female,” Sir David said confirming what we all feared, but they are helped by having a big pink sack that inflates in their left nostril and leaves it looking like a teenager who has shoved a dozen Bubblys in at once.

His wasn’t big enough though, a nip in the tail sent him away to chew things over, while things got sinister with some ‘aquatic stalking’, no, not a killer whale going through your bins, a polar bear sneaking up to try and eat the moody seal.

It was a reasonably happy ending, well for the seal, but as the polar bear struggled to find some ice to get back to, Sir David had some final words of wisdom.

“They need one more thing than any other and that’s for the planet to stop warming — it’s now up to us to make that happen,” he told us.

And over in the Bake Off tent, Abdul had done just that, as he forgot to put his oven on and suffered the sort of mental anguish your average seal goes through about eight times a day.

Yes, that other great British institution is back, reassuringly given the week that it has been, with a motley crew of 12 assembled for Cake Week.

And they came from far and wide — Libya, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Sweden, Poland — and Ballymena.

Our Rebs went through a bit of torture of her own but survived much clagginess thanks to her ingenious showstopper pina colada-themed cottage accompanied by coconut rum drizzle, because it rains all the time in Northern Ireland.

Years ago, in the Malibu quarter of the Braid, it would have been a granita, but that’s global warming for you.

Best listen to Sir David before the Pallas’s cat, musk ox and hooded seal are not frozen anymore but just have soggy bottoms.

Belfast Telegraph