Nature series I can’t p-p-p-put down

There, there: Penguin pity
There, there: Penguin pity
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P-p-p-p-p pass me a hankie.

Oh, the sight of a bereaved mummy penguin refusing to accept her baby had frozen to death.

So tenderly, she attempted to push it back into the warmth of her furry pouch. So touchingly, another lady penguin pal stroked her head and tried to comfort her.

And this wasn’t Disney! It was Penguins - Spy In The Huddle, the BBC’s brilliant three-part documentary on these incredible birds.

Who needs Happy Feet when real life penguins are so flipping full of character?

Equipped with hi-tech but panto-hilarious spy-cams disguised as boulders, eggs and indestructible fake penguins, film-makers spent nearly a year with emperor penguins in Antarctica, Humboldts in Peru and bushy-browed rockhoppers on the Falkland Islands to reveal their behaviour as never before.

We viewers have discovered so many human qualities in these amazing birds which mate for life, display their emotions and are utterly devoted parents. But they’re mini Marvel characters, too. They waddle like Charlie Chaplin on land, but in water are jet-propelled. They can’t fly, but can march for weeks. And little rockhoppers scale towering cliffs so they can bounce back to their partners like kids in a junior school sack race.

And how impressive is this?

There’s an antibiotic solution in their stomachs which keeps fish fresh for the weeks it takes to get back to feed the kids.

If scientists could patent that, we could do away with chest freezers.