by Michael dEstries
Categories: Film/TV.

sigourney.pngThere’s a whole lot of narration going on in Hollywood. From Alanis Morisette to Pierce Brosnan to Elijah Wood, etc., etc. Now, Sigourney Weaver is jumping on that list with a new Discovery Channel special entitled Planet Earth.

The ground-breaking 11-part (!) documentary takes viewers on a journey to some of the world’s most beautiful and remote places. For those of you with HD, you’ll be especially pleased to know that the entire show was filmed using the high-definition format. From the article,

“Filmed in more than 200 locations, each of PLANET EARTH’s eleven episodes focuses on a specific habitat, illustrating life in the highest mountains and the darkest caves; the shallowest water and the deepest oceans; ice-covered lands and great plains; untamed jungles and giant forests; fresh water and the harshest deserts. PLANET EARTH’s premiere episode, “Pole to Pole”, ties the series together with a fresh understanding of how these habitats are interconnected.”

Great to see Sigourney involved. Check your local listings for times on this one — it looks like it’s going to be amazing.

Photo Credit: Todd Pitt, Show Promo

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • Pingback: She Unlimited-Keeping the modern-day female in mind. A Magazine diverse in issues that are essential for women! » Blog Archive » Sigourney Weaver will narrate PLANET EARTH()

  • Robin

    Sigourney Weaver may be an amazing actress, but she falls flat as the narrator of “Planet Earth.” Did the producers think more people would watch because the narrator was a well-known actress? There are so many hundreds, if not thousands, of truly engaging professional female voices who are trained NOT as actors, but as VOICES, who could have added so much more to “Planet Earth.”
    Sigourney…see you in the movies.

  • tom

    couldn’t agree more with Robin. As good as every inch of the HD video is, Weaver’s voice unfortunately goes with it. She ruins the experience.
    I think to myself, if that were an unknown’s voice auditioning for the part,would they have hired her?

    The script is so-so, it has its moments but is uneven at best. but even that is hard to judge fairly being spoken by Weaver.
    A downright shame.

  • Bill

    Wow, I don’t think we are even watching the same show. I had goosebumbs watching and listening throughout the first 3 episodes and I am watching the forth as we speak.
    I think that she is doing it exactly right, using very little emotion in her voice to emphisis the filming and visual aspects, the audio is secondary, but still vital to understand what we are seeing.
    I am in awe of this series and think that Sigourney Weaver is doing a fantastic job.
    I suppose you in the peanut gallery think you could do better? I doubt it very much…

  • Steve

    I agree with Bill! I think Sigourney is doing an excellent job, crisp, clear, and perfectly timed with the video. I thought the show was great and so was Sigourney’s contribution.

  • Derek

    Having watched the first 4 episodes of the Planet Earth series from the BBC DVD series I can’t agree more about Sigourney Weaver being a bad choice as narrator. If you can catch the original with the Sir David Attenborough narration then you will be well rewarded. Don’t get me wrong, I like Sigourney as an actress but when it comes to her narration she sounds flat and her monotone delivery is so dull. My wife watched the first episode on the Discovery channel and she couldn’t watch more than a few minutes as her narration was so boring. Can I just say that the Discovery channe should know that when it comes to natural history narration nobody can equal Sir David Attenborough.

  • Ros

    Beautiful scenery but Sigourney’s voice was flat. She’s “reading” to us and it’s not engaging. Also, I think allot of people are watching this to enjoy nature. We don’t need to be reminded every third sentence that the natural world is deadly, (i.e. baby penguins freezing to death and polar bears dying slowly).

  • Camille

    Sigourney’s flat voice was exactly what Planet Earth production needed. The beauty of the photography, the enjoyment of mother nature is the focus…not Sigourney’s voice. The softness complimented the sigments.
    As to being reminded about baby penguins and polar bears dying…she did not write the script! One last point, Death is part of life. Get over it. Enjoy the message.

  • niki

    I think having Sigourney Weaver narrate was an intelligent and perfect fit. I love her and think her voice fits perfectly for the series. I do not think for one second she ruins the series. The tone, pace, articulation, emotion, and so on is well done by her. Cheers to Sigourney!!

  • Aaron &Tom (from England)

    We both watched the original Planet Earth on the BBC and Sir David Attenborough’s narration, on top of the breathtaking photography, made it an unmissable experience. It’s unimaginable to think of anybody else narrating such an amazing documentary and it questions what the producers were thinking when bringing the series to the USA…IT MAKES ME SO ANGRY!

    I STONGLY urge anybody that enjoys the program to buy the original box set. Sigourney Weaver just can’t compare to the majesty of Sir David Attenborough narration.

  • Tung

    I agree with niki. Ive seen both versions and I actually enjoy Sigourney Weaver over Sir David Attenborough’s narration. A female voice is preferable in my opinion to sybolize mother nature. Even though there are thousands of qualified voice actors, Sigourney does an impeccable job. Cheers

  • vanessa

    After accidently finding then watching an episode for the first time, with no preconcieved ideas, I came to this site wanting to find out who the narrator was. At first I thought it was Martha Stewart, then the actress who played the Borg queen. Upon finding out it was Sigourney Weaver, I thought “of course!” What a great choice.

  • phil from australia

    omg why oh why

    I got hold of thomas the tank engine that was narrated by an american doing an english accent when the original has narration by an english actor which is first class.

    Please tell me why this happens I just don’t understand why shows need to be americanized.

  • Curlytoes from San Antonio

    I have heard both versions… let’s be clear about WHY the narration was re-recorded… it had to be redone because we Americans are too stupid to learn the metric system… second of all, the average American WILL have some difficulty understanding the “Queen’s English”… well done Sir David Attenborough! To my ear… Sigourney’s narration is much more accessible. It feels comfortable and familiar… but what do I know, I’m just a stupid American.

  • JW from Atlanta

    I can think of at LEAST 10 other female ‘voices’ that would have sounded better than Ms. Sigourney Weaver. She’s a GREAT actress (i.e. Alien) but leave the narration to the pros. If hear her pronounce water, ‘warder’ again… I swear I will be forced to seek out the orginal version. I realize we all sound ‘regional’ here in America… but at least pronounce words exactly how they should… especially if you are involved in narrating such a masterpiece as Planet Earth! My 2 cents.

  • John

    I thought Sigourney Weaver did a superb job narrating this series. Her voice is warm and expressive and her reading is flawless. I can understand, though, how people have different tastes. I’m very sound sensitive and there are some narrator’s voices out there that force me to turn the channel. In this case, however, I felt she deepened the experience of this AMAZING documentary series.

  • James

    I tried to watch an episode of Planet Earth tonight and had to turn it off. I found the narration to be so dull and lifeless, as if a bored schoolkid was reading aloud a poorly written class exercise. I had thought that Sir David Attenborough was supposed to be the narrator for this show so I searched the World Wide Web and found this webpage. I was shocked to find out that the narrator was Sigourney Weaver. I would have expected something more engaging from her.

    Having said that, the main problem is that she is an actor, and as such has been paid to read a prepared script for the show. By contrast David Attenborough is a wildlife expert, and as such conveys a boyish sense of enthusiasm whenever he narrates nature programmes. One only has to watch Life on Earth, or Trials of Life to feel his infectious love for the subject.

    I would like to give Planet Earth another chance, but I will be sure to buy a DVD set with David Attenborough narrating, so that the magnificent visuals are accompanied by an appropriately engaging and captivating narration.

  • ana

    I stumbled upon this site because I thought the narration was amazing! I actually thought it might have been Sigourney and am delighted that I was right. I agree that her voice is the perfect fit in the series!!!! Anything more dramatic would have made the series less exciting.

  • chris

    I couldn’t agree more with the observation from James. Owning the BBC version, I was shocked to turn on the television and hear Discovery’s version dubbed with Weaver. She is OK, but I fail to understand why it was done in the first place. Attenborough comes across as excited about the material, whereas the Weaver version really feels as if she is just reading a script. Is it really that tough for Americans to understand the Queen’s English?

  • Leon J

    Discovery didn’t have a choice. BBC need too make DVD Sales, They have not got money for Attendorough

  • cliff wright

    there will always be those individuals who will dissaprove of everything i loved sigourney’s work in this series i think she did a beautiful job bring on more thank you cliff

  • Stephanie

    leave sigourney alooone

  • Linda

    The narration by Sigourney Weaver was lifeless, boring, dull, monotonous. It basically ruined it. The content of the narration was also quite on the negative side. The scenery and photography was breathtaking. When and if we purchase the box set, I hope there is an option to turn the sound off. Of course, I plan to buy the BBC set and much enjoy hearing David Attenborough and so will definitely give that a chance, even though if the negative content is still there, that will be a bit of a downer.

  • Matt

    Are you guys all retarded? First off, she was picked because of her environmentalist/conservationist background. Second, her voice is both strong and soothing; perfect for narrating such a topic. And third, the shots of nature themselves were intended to deliver the so-called “drama” you all refer to, not the narrator. If you want Lindsey Lohan go to the movies.

  • David

    I first started out watching the series on TV with Sigourney Weaver, who has a nice, clear, loud voice. I then bought the series on DVD expecting Weaver, but much to my disappointment I got the one with David Attenborough who has a quiet pansy voice and is hard to understand. I remember with Weaver I could hear her loud clear voice over everyone who decided to talk, but with Attenborough I had to quiet everyone in the room and turn the volume up all the way and still he was sometimes difficult to hear.

  • James

    I respect Sigourney Weaver as a very active campaigner for various worthy causes and talented actress. And I realize she was merely employed by a studio or production company to narrate the series for the US market. However, in this case it was a very poor decision to re-narrate the series full-stop. After his excellent narration of the earlier multi-part documentary series’ The Living Planet and Life on Earth, both of which were presented in the US with his narration, what cheesy Hollywood fluff-agent thought this one up? Thank GOD I have the original BBC version. I’d demand my $$ back if I got a BBC-series with an American re-narration, no matter who it was. Americans understand his English accent and can certainly handle the metric system (he could have imperialized some voice overs if that was a problem.) I’ve heard snobs from Massachusetts with thicker accents than Sir David. And he’s the real deal himself. President (past) of the Royal Geographical Society, etc., etc. I’m an American, but how pathetic is it to have such a terrific series “Americanized”…just for…what?? No criticism of M(r)s. Weaver at all, but the studio execs who thought this one up should be sacked. ALL TAKE HEED: BUY THE BBC VERSION with SIR DAVID’s NARRATION! If you can’t handle his accent…..never mind the above, you’ve got bigger life issues than which DVD to buy.

  • Rich (UK)

    Naturally being a brit I prefer the Sir David Attenborough version, I’d imagine all Brits would since they have doubtlessly grown up with his many series and excellent works.

    However, it really does annoy me when things like this happen. I originally thought that the producers pandered to popular opinion that the average American would find him hard to understand, but seeing a few of these posts it actually astonishes me to learn that the producers are right. Obviously I can’t empathise much with Americans not being able to understand, but Received Pronunciation or the Queen’s English is the clearest British accent of them all, so if you struggle with that, I would strongly reccommend never to come visit Britain.

    But mostly I’m annoyed because we get a lot of American programmes over here, some are excellent and I am pleased that they are not dubbed over, but considering how large America is and how diverse it’s accents are, I have no problem understanding what is being said and it seems most people here don’t either, so seriously, how can you not understand? We speak the same language and Sir David is one of the clearest and most eloquent narrators around today, and he most certainly does not have a pansy voice, show some respect.

  • Don

    Hello? Everyone is talking about the voice. Didja miss the message? We’re on a course to lose the planet. What are the Alternatives? Anyone interested in Real Solutions? How about a real viable green solution that helps you keep more of the green stuff in your pocket? All I hear is “Sacrifice”, I don’t believe it. I do believe “Smarter” is better. Save the earth and benefit all of us including your$elf. Imagine keeping more of the bucks in the forest and more of the bucks in your wallet; living in a home with virtually no electric bill and driving a really cool car for which you do not buy gasoline, that outperforms gas cars, and you leave home every day with a full tank of “fuel”…from the sun….That’s truly Smarter….that’s a Zero Energy Lifestyle. This isn’t a commercial…its an alternative….get the diff? FYI.

  • Rich (UK)

    Umm, well this discussion is primarily about Sigourney Weaver as the narrator, not saving the planet.

    I mean, I’m all for saving our environment don’t get me wrong, and I’m sure Planet Earth touched on it, but I’m also pretty sure I heard in the first episode that the show is more an appreciation of our Planet rather than a documentary series focusing on what’s wrong with it necessarily, so I think you might have gotten the wrong idea.

    Oh, and as for

    “…more of the Bucks in the forest and more of the bucks in your wallet…”

    Kinda cheesy :p

  • chop

    just bought british version, excited to watch, but also plan to get the weaver version and Enjoy Both Versions, i think i’ll love what attenborough’s expertise will lend to the experience, and also know i’ll like what sigourney’s female prescence will lend to the connection with mother nature the films will deliver. I’m sure both have their own greatness, can’t wait! Thanks! Chop

  • Steve E.

    After having rented and watched over and over the BBC version narrated by Attenbrough, I picked up the Discovery Channel version for 30 bucks because it was such a steal. At first I was appalled that they had changed the narration, until I realized something. Attenborough’s narration is so soothing, it actually caused me to focus more on the narration than the actual visual feast on the screen. Sigourney Weaver FTW.

  • Yvonne H

    I have been a long time fan of both David Attenborough and Sigourney Weaver. I have just finished Plant Earth with Attenborough’s narration, having first heard Signorney’s narrative version.

    Both are outstanding. Both bring a different dimension to Planet Earth. However, I found that with Attenborough’s narration I tended to be so soothed that I didn’t really watch the documentary. But there was something about Sigourney’s narrative that made me ‘look’ at the documentary.

    Earth is not a ‘soothing’ place. It is highest of drama between predator and prey. There are no villains or victims, it is survival. Sigourney’s narrative, as devoid of ‘animation’ as some may think, was for me perfect for the journey of reflection I participated in watching this documentary. I found that I wanted to ‘see’ and not ‘hear’ and Sigourney’s minimal approach did not engage me but allowed me to use her voice to bring me into the visual richness of the video.

    Perhaps it is because I’ve heard Attenborough voice for a decade. Perhaps Sigourney’s voice brought a ‘newness’ not felt before. Nevertheless, I prefer Sigourney’s narration and have decided to donate my Attenborough’s narration to my local school and spend my evenings with Sigourney’s ‘Planet Earth’.

  • http://ECORAZZI chuck

    I watched both versions. Breathtaking show in every aspect. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone. Attenborough’s narration fits a little better but S. Weaver does a fine job as well. Enjoy the show for what it is worth “a great documentary and more” and don’t get hung up on the narration.

  • Pingback: David Attenborough Getting Ready To Say Goodbye To Television // Archives // :: the latest in green gossip()

  • Henry

    Nat Geo TV is the Fox TV of documentary.

  • Pingback: Brad Pitt » Blog Archive » Brad Pitt()

  • Ron

    Gee … it’s like my dad always said: “Opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one!” I would just love to hear the actual voices of those complaining about Weaver’s narration. I’m actually looking for this DVD series to purchase it right now BECAUSE OF Weaver. Go figure!

  • Lisa

    I really like Sigourney Weaver – why are you picking on her??? I mean really – this is not Cops ?? She is great – I also say ‘Leave her alone!!”

  • David

    I own the original series narrated by Sir David Attenborough and to say the least i was extremely dissapointed with the discovery channel for replacing his narration with sig weaver,didnt even bother watching it on discover channel as the replacment of narrators completley ruined the experience.OUTRAge!!!

  • Jack

    If you want to know why everyone respects Sir David Attenborough so much watch this short clip.

    This is how much *he* respects documenting the important things in nature.

    Sigourney is just an actress reading. David actually tells the story.

    Is it any wonder he was recently voted the most respected man in Britain?

  • Jack
  • Justin (UK in USA)

    Wow. I was looking to get the series WITH Sigourney Weaver. I traversed the States 10 years ago and apparently I have been living in a hole since I just really learned of this series. Sigourney Weaver’s narration is WONDERFUL! So soothing, I was drawn in and “hypnotized” by her calming voice and the wonderful cinematography. Sir David is bloody brilliant in the way he narrates and I grew up as a youth, loving him. But Ms. Weaver was excellent and I’ll take her on this one!

  • Pingback: Patrick Stewart Replaced By James Earl Jones For U.S. Narration Of “Earth” // Archives // :: the latest in green gossip()


    This experience of watching the amazing
    show series was RUINED by the use of Weaver’s voice. The voice should have
    been James Earl Jones — or another of
    great “majesty.” Weaver was boring and
    I could not listen to her.

  • Darcy

    I rather upset about this! I was just watching planet earth with a female narrator (apparently Sig. Weaver) I have seen the series before and kept thinking that WHAT was being said was different. Well I was F***ing right! If you watch the “Jungles” episode she doesn’t state the actual name of the parisites (that killed the ant) Attenbrough does. There are SEVERAL other places were interesting information was removed and replaced with crap puns! What had been a beutifully shot and highly entertaining show has been dumbed down and its a D*** shame!

  • Ryan

    I thought Sigourney Weaver did an excellent job, and I understood her flat delivery to be purposeful to keep attention on the video and not the narrator.

    And to those that keep going on and on and on about “the Queen’s English”… we don’t have a Queen (thankfully) and I’m not all that interested in having her English pushed on me. How about you take back British English, since apparently you no longer feel a sense of ownership, and then we’ll talk. Ok? Ok.

  • Brian

    I can see both sides of the coin here. I believe that both Weaver and Attenbrough performed brilliantly with this series. I personally enjoyed Weaver’s narration. The monotonous feel she evoked allowed the film to tell the real story. I would also say the change was nice… I suppose I’ve viewed and heard enough documentaries narrated by Attenbrough… it was nice to hear a fresh new voice and it helped to separate this series from older films done by Attenbrough himself. Attenbrough plays a little too much with his narration which pulled me away from the movie itself. He’s just too involved… take a seat and let our planet tell the story.

  • javier

    i’ve heard the new narrator for the BBC Planet Earth and I think Sigourney Weaver is way better

  • Darin

    I thought Weaver did an OK job with the narration, but I was very disappointed with the lightweight approach to science. After the wealth of information presented in Blue Planet, I was hoping Planet Earth would be in a similar vein.
    This was like the Star Wars prequels compared to the “originals.” Great special effects, great visuals, but seemed to be aimed at a much younger audience.
    I’ll be buying the Attenborough series and I expect to be much happier with them.

  • danny

    The Attenborough version is really far superior. The idea that a female symbolizes mother nature is ridiculous. it is what it is. nothing symbolizes anything.

  • Beth

    I agree with those who made the point that the visual coverage is [and should be] the star of the series. I think Sigourney did a superb job. I have not heard the original version, but I suspect it is also very good. Kudos to ALL who were involved in the production. Everything about Planet Earth is absolutely stunning.

  • Gretchen

    My Heavens. Such bitterness. Ms. Weaver did an outstanding job. Her voice was soothing, crisp, clear, and well articulated. ‘Twas unmistakeably her. I was engaged and entertained. Must we always have something to complain about?

    • michael

      Anyone who is an advocate for nature documentaries, will agree that David Attenborough is the quintessential narrator. Not only is his voice fantastic and so emotional, but he’s usually directly involved with such productions. He’s a world renowned activist & naturalist. If you loved this documentary, do whatever you can to check out BBC’s newest, “Life.” This series is just as, if not more, compelling than Planet Earth and it’s currently being aired in the UK. They’ve aired 3 of the 10 episodes so far, and it’s breathtaking!! Anyway, I have no problem with Sigourney, but in comparison to Attenborough, she is emotionless and bland.

  • Manik

    I wanted to offer my PERSONAL opinion as a film director, as well as what i understand from after reading about the narration debate on this website as well as all others (that I could find) on the web. I know it is human nature to dislike when somebody else do not like the things they like, but the point is to try to say, if they handed me 25 million dollars and asked me to choose a narrator for 11 episodes (no other factors withstanding), what would i have done?

    Hereby, wanna say firstly, I watched both the versions, every frame of it, for a couple of times, first runs to enjoy it, purely, then other runs to try to understand how they filmed it (from a professional point of interest and from artistic point of interest). I paid attention to the feature as a whole, I paid attention to the cinematography, the cinematographic storytelling, the light, ambience and shadows, the (natural) sound, the sorround sound, the sound with regard to storytelling, the music, the moods of the music, the editing, each scene trying to see if it was real speed, sped-up, slowed-down or time-lapse, and then finally, ofcourse, the narration.

    I think everyone here is right about what they think, but one should try to think from both sides. I feel that for a feature of such a scale, everything needs to be perfect, as much as it can. The biggest movies go through the tiniest of details, likewise for this series, I think everyone agrees that the cinematography, the music, the visual story-telling is perfect, world-class and revolutionary. Based on this alone why would I not want to use a world-class narrator? Why the hell would I want to intentionally dumb-down, or tone-down certain things in my production and knowingly scale-down the spectacle?

    People here are saying Ms Weaver’s narration is plain and helps us to concentrate on the visuals, but its not just about the visuals, its about the emotion of how you felt inside your heart, she needs to help you get into that state, she needs to input that subconscious magic that will help to get us there. A great movie its more than visuals or music or pictures, its about magic and stuff that blow you away, and all this is only possible when every element in the movie / feature is world-class and on par with each other.

    You can feel it, the shock when you hear, “The Amur is the rarest cat in the World …… there are only 40 of them left” .. thats when Sir Attenborough says it. You feel the sarcasm, when he talkes about the Chimpanzee’s next closest-relative, ourselves.., you feel. Basically, you feel things, you feel extra things, emotions, state-of-mind, with Attenborough.., that is something special. If a voice-talent can get you that, that is magic. Weaver will get you through the series, and you wouldn’t complain, you’d be satisfied, but still its only seven clours, you don’t discover the ‘eight color’.

    I understand why people try so defiantly to defend their poinst-of-view, those who are fans of Ms. Weaver to argue why she’s better and those who are fans of Sir. Attenborough to argue why he’s bettter. But if I was responosible for 25 milllion dollars to shoot the series and it was in my hands to choose the better talent, and knowing how difficult everything in filmaking is, how competitive it is, I’d only settle for the very best, the very, very best.

  • Pingback: U.S. Robbed Of David Attenborough’s Narration For LIFE Series « :: the latest in green gossip()