Penguin dance: David Attenborough adopts cute survival tip in Finland


The Penguin Dance: Veteran Broadcaster didn’t mind looking ridiculous to stay warm in Finnish Lapland. Photo / BBC, Handout

From life in the freezer to murder on the dance floor – naturalist Sir David Attenborough has picked up a few surprising skills during his 95 years on our planet. Yet, few knew the BBC’s nature man had moves like this.

The veteran broadcaster was pictured performing the ‘penguin dance’ with crew from upcoming doco The Green Planet. On location in north Finland where temperatures routinely drop to -45°C, they were instructed to stay warm while waiting for cameras to roll.

Hands splayed, shoulders raised and knees bouncing – it’s an odd looking movement, but an effective way of raising core body temperature.

In the freezing Borealis forest the team didn’t mind looking ridiculous.

What is the penguin dance?

The broadcaster is well known for his work in the 1990s visiting penguin colonies in the Antarctic. However, the dance comes from opposite poles.

Producer Mike Gunton told the Mirror the idea came from the team’s sound recordist, who had spent time in Lapland with the Sami deer herders.

“One of our sound recordists had spent some time in that part of the world, working with the local indigenous people there, who have a particular way of keeping warm.”

Green Planet: Filming in -18 degree temperatures was a challenge for crew and equipment. Photo / BBC
Green Planet: Filming in -18 degree temperatures was a challenge for crew and equipment. Photo / BBC

“They do a thing called a penguin dance,” though that’s not the real name, says Gunton. “It’s the wrong place for penguins!”

“What it does is it pumps blood in a particular way around your body, and it helps send it to the extremities to keep your fingers and your toes warm. It really works.”

Filmed in February 2020 during the depth of the northern winter ahead of the Pandemic, David Attenborough braved the cold in the series exploring Earth’s extreme places.

95-year-old Attenborough has over 100 credits for nature documentaries. Photo / BBC, Supplied
95-year-old Attenborough has over 100 credits for nature documentaries. Photo / BBC, Supplied

Freezing conditions were playing havoc with the filming, said series producer Rosie Thomas. Shooting at -18°C, camera batteries were going flat in the cold and their drone almost fell out of the sky.

The documentary about plants involved a lot of patience and waiting to film in hostile environments. However Attenborough said that it was the most travel he remembers doing for a show since the pandemic:

“The series itself is slow growing, like plants. We started [filming] a long time ago, before Covid. And so I was dashing around interesting places, in California and so on, in a way that hasn’t been possible for the last two years,” he said.

The use of time-lapse photography was instrumental to show the secret life of plants, he says.

“It’s that that brings the thing to life, and which should make people say, ‘good lord, these extraordinary organisms are just like us’,” he said of the plants that fight, live and die in slow motion.

“They do them so slowly, we’ve never seen it before. And that has a hypnotic appeal, in my view.”

It’s almost as mesmerising as the strange Sami dance moves.

The Green Planet airs on TVNZ on 14th February

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Dinner with the dogs: 15 spots with outdoor dining in Birmingham [CUTE DOG PHOTOS]

Smiling dog at Good People Brewing Company outdoor dining in Birmingham
Seeing happy dogs at Good People Brewing Company makes me happy. Photo via Good People Brewing Company’s Facebook

Hear the good news about Alabama’s new pet dog bill? Read more to find fifteen spots with outdoor dining in Birmingham that are pet friendly. Cat lovers, don’t feel left out. You can go pet kitties at Birmingham’s cat café

1. The Filling Station

The Filling Station has a special on Thursdays called Paws on the Patio where bringing your dog gets you a free appetizer. I’d go just to see all the dogs.

  • Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11AM-9PM | Friday-Saturday 11AM-10PM
  • Location: 5524 Crestwood Blvd, Birmingham, AL 35212
  • Contact: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Call

2. Black Market Bar and Grill

Dogs wearing Black Market Bar and Grill shirts
Imagine these sweet dogs serving you at Black Market Bar and Grill. Photo via Black Market Bar and Grill’s Facebook

Black Market Bar and Grill has an Instagram dedicated solely to the dogs that stop by their outdoor dining in Birmingham.

3. FoodBar

FoodBar is happy to host your dog; they even celebrated Pig the Unusual Dog’s birthday.

4. Five

Just picture it: jazz brunch with your dog on the weekend. Now make it happen.

  • Hours: Diner: Tuesday-Sunday 5-9PM | Brunch: Saturday-Sunday 10AM-3PM
  • Location: 744 29th St S, Birmingham, AL 35233
  • Contact: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Call

5. Avondale Brewing Company

Avondale Brewing is all about the pups. They even sell Avondale travel bowls, leashes and collars.

  • Hours: Sunday-Wednesday 12-10PM | Thursday 12-11PM | Friday-Saturday 12PM-12AM
  • Location: 201 41st St S, Birmingham, AL 35222
  • Contact: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Call

6. Moe’s BBQ

Outdoor dining in Birmingham at Moe's BBQ
Golden beauty. Photo via Moe’s at Lakeview’s Facebook

Moe’s BBQ has great food, live music and a large outdoor dining area to relax with your dog.

7. Rojo

While pets are not allowed on the patio, their outdoor seating is spacious enough for dogs to visit. Plus, there is great park right across the street so you can grab your food to-go and picnic at the park.

  • Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11AM-9PM | Brunch Saturday-Sunday 11AM-3PM
  • Location: 2921 Highland Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35205
  • Contact: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Call

8. Tip Top Grill

Tip Top Grill has a great view and is one of the most spacious spots for outdoor dining in Birmingham. All you need to do is bring your dog.

  • Hours: Monday-Saturday 6:30AM-3PM
  • Location: 588 Shades Crest Rd, Birmingham, AL 35226
  • Contact: Facebook | Instagram | Call

9. Good People Brewing Company

You can find more dog pictures under their hashtag #GoodPeoplePets.

  • Hours: Monday-Wednesday 12-10PM | Thursday-Saturday 12PM-12AM | Sunday 12-8PM
  • Location: 114 14th St S, Birmingham, AL 35233
  • Contact: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Call

10. Slice

Slice has a great outdoor dining set up and it’s the ideal spot to people watch with your pet.

11. Melt

Melt server Drew’s pet Doris the English Bulldog was named a winner of Early Time’s 2020 “All American Dog” contest.

  • Hours: Avondale: Wednesday 11AM-2PM, 5-8PM | Thursday-Saturday 11AM-2PM, 5PM-Close | Hoover: Monday-Sunday 10:30AM-9PM
  • Location: Avondale: 4105 4th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35222 | Hoover: 5219 Peridot Place, Suite 3, Hoover, AL 35244 
  • Contact: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Call Avondale | Call Hoover

12. Cahaba Brewing Company

Cahaba Brewing Company’s outdoor dining area shows love to all dogs, but did you know they love pet pigs, too?

  • Hours: Monday-Thursday 3-10PM | Friday-Saturday 12-10PM | Sunday 12-8PM
  • Location: 4500 5th Ave S, Building C, Birmingham, AL 35222
  • Contact: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Call

13. La Paz

La Paz has two spots for outdoor dining in Birmingham for a dinner date with your pet.

14. Hop City Beer and Wine

Outdoor dining in Birmingham
Just a sample of the dogs you can find at Hop City Beer and Wine. Photo via Hop City Beer and Wine’s Facebook

Last time I was at Hop City Beer and Wine, I saw at least six dogs and a woman going around petting all of them.

15. Back Forty Beer Company

Wednesdays are Woof Day at Back Forty Beer Company. Get your pup’s photo taken and have it added to the Woof Wall with all the other Back Forty Beer Company’s pet visitors.

  • Hours: Sunday 11AM-8PM | Monday, Wednesday-Thursday 11AM-9PM | Friday-Saturday 11AM-10PM
  • Location: 3201 1st Ave N, Birmingham, Alabama 35222
  • Contact: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Call

For cat lovers,

Gatos and Beans

For anyone with a cat preference, Gatos and Beans lets you sip on warm drink and play with cats. Plus, all the cats are up for adoption, so you can get a coffee and a cat to go.

  • Hours: Monday 4-7PM | Friday-Saturday 11AM-7PM | Sunday 12-6PM
  • Location: 4348 3rd Court S, Birmingham Al 35222
  • Contact: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Call

What’s your favorite spot to show off your pet? Let us know on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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  • Curiosity gets the best of me over everything else. Passionate about writing, editing and adventuring.

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