Giants: The Book of the ITV Series

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9780002201575: Giants: The Book of the ITV Series

The world’s largest animals are to be featured in a new television series by Nigel Marven – ITV’s answer to David Attenborough. Giants: The Book of the ITV Series will chart his adventures as he travels around the world.

Nigel has now been approached by the ITV network to produce five TV series over the next five years, which he will write, produce and present. It is ITV’s stated aim to make him the next David Attenborough and have contracted to back this with considerable marketing spend.

The first series will cover some of the bestselling topics in the natural world. Nigel will be travelling in search of the largest sharks, snakes, tarantulas, birds, lizards and bears, including the Great White, Komodo Dragon, Green Anaconda and Brown Bear – some of the animals that sometimes attack and may even eat people.

A series including a presenter who will appear on the screen right up close to these species should make perfect TV and an exceptional book.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

The biggest and beastliest always has a certain "peeking through fingers" attraction--and not just for children. Nigel Marvin has tracked down and filmed an assortment of the largest animals from a range of different living groups for a six-part ITV documentary series.

The book follows the structure of the programmes and looks at a slightly curious assortment of animal groups--snakes, sharks, bears, lizards, birds and tarantulas. We get photos, some facts, some biology and the stories associated with finding and filming them. So perhaps this book is not for people with these specific animal phobias.

The snakes and spiders are probably the most feared and least known of the animals featured. By just focussing on boa constrictors and tarantulas, we get more intriguing detail of the biology of these fascinating animals than in some of the other groups. Despite the high "ooh-aah" value associated with all these magnificent animals, the underlying message is all too often depressing. We are reminded just how rare so many of these giants are nowadays. Occasionally there are rays of hope, for example as Nigel Marven points out, even the harmless basking shark has "even become a tourist attraction" instead of being hunted to extinction. Since 1999 they have been protected in British territorial waters.

Although an adult book, the text is readily accessible for children from the age of 10 or so. There is a brief species index but no recommendations for further reading, which might promote the educational value of the book but it is basically an easily read and enjoyable "TV table" book. --Douglas Palmer

From the Back Cover:

'Giants' follows Nigel Marven's travels as he searches for the world's largest, and often most dangerous, animals. Featuring photographs taken during the filming of the television series as well as many other stunning colour pictures, 'Giants' is a vivid record of some of the most fascinating creatures in the world.

There are six chapters each looking at a different group of animals:

'Snakes:' of all the giant snakes the anaconda of South America is the most impressive, up to 6m (20ft) long with a body width of over1m (3ft) and a weight of 227kg (500lbs). The anaconda lies in wait, sometimes for days, until prey passes by and then it strikes; birds, rodents, sheep, pigs, and even children are all vulnerable to attack.

'Sharks:' everyone is aware of the formidable Great White, but the largest shark is the Whale Shark, 12.3m (40.3ft) long. Regarded with fear by many, only a small proportion of the world's 350 shark species are known to attack people.

'Bears:' the three big bears are the Black Bear, the Brown (or Grizzly) Bear and the Polar Bear. The latter two vie for the title of the largest species: Polar Bears weigh an average of 500-600kg (1100-1300lbs) while Brown Bears usually weigh around 780kg (1700lbs). All three species are known to attack humans.

'Lizards:' monitor lizards are the largest of all lizards and the most famous is the Komodo Dragon which reaches as average of 1.7m (5 ?ft) in length and weighs 50kg (110lbs). Dangerous predators, Komodo dragons have also attacked and killed humans.

'Birds:' unlike other animals, large birds are generally regarded with awe rather than fear. The Wandering Albatross which spends its life on and over open sea has a wing span of up to 4m (13ft). elusive birds they can be seen following boats – particularly fishing vessels – in search of food. The heaviest flying bird is the Swan which can weigh up to 13kg (29lbs).

'Tarantulas:' Spiders are possible the most feared of all creatures and this reaction is usually out of all proportion to the danger they actually pose. Tarantulas embody all that is terrifying about spiders: they are hairy, venomous and large. The Trinidad Chevron, for example, can measure up to 15cm (6-8in).

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Marven, Nigel
Published by HarperCollins (UK) (1999)
ISBN 10: 0002201577 ISBN 13: 9780002201575
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