The Big Picture

In this era of dedicated documentary channels, David Attenborough on prime time, and Discovery network reruns played ad nauseam, it’s easy to become immune to the grand-scale awesomeness of a world shot in high definition. Thanks to lavishly produced series coming from the BBC, among other broadcasters, we might now feel intimately connected with the wilds of Africa, the jungles of Asia or the isolated beauty of a frosty wilderness such as Antarctica, but save for those two-second bites on Qantas in- flight commercials, the epic beauty of Australia’s Top End has remained largely untapped.

Until now.

The ABC's four-part series Kakadu, shot over a year at the park, is bringing the large-scale beauty of this wilderness to our living rooms. And the results are every bit as awe-inspiring.

"I knew Kakadu – I had been there [and] filmed there a couple of times over seven or eight years," series director, producer and cinematographer Nick Robinson says. "I knew the landscape fairly well."

"I knew it could be as big as the Masai Mara if we did it right. It should be that big... We have these incredible landscapes that have never been exploited in that same way. And I wanted to try and do that."

As well as depicting the natural world in all its splendour, Robinson and his team on the ground – astoundingly, just four of them were shooting in the field – set about telling the stories of the people who work in Kakadu.

"Wildlife doesn’t exist in a bubble – we are obviously a part of it," Robinson says.

"Kakadu is this amazing microcosm, and an example of how you can live in a place that’s wild, keep it wild and not change it to suit your own needs.

"We are not used to living in places and not changing them to become something more comfortable and less dangerous. And in the process we destroy those places.

Kakadu, October 6, ABC1, 7.30pm