top of page

My 5 minutes journey from snow to sea

Exploring the Seven Worlds, through BBC’s gaze

Daikin Centre - Venue for the BBC Earth Experience

If you live in or recently travelled to a metro city, if you stay at par with Instagram trends, or if you’ve watched Netflix’s guilty pleasure Emily in Paris, you would have come across shots of people sitting within a field of poppies or under a starry night sky playing on screens all around them. The Van Gogh Immersive Experience had been brewing around Europe since the early 2000s but really took the world by storm a few years back and since then immersive experiences have garnered somewhat of a cult following. Many other artists works have been portrayed in a similar fashion. Along these lines comes BBC Earth Experience.

In 2019, BBC aired the Seven Worlds, One Planet show consisting of 7 episodes, one after each continent featuring actual footage showcasing their rich natural diversity. The show was loved by many and had great reviews so unsurprisingly many trek all the way to Earl’s Court in London where they find a large space with a open hall dotted by multiple high screens on which plays an immersive show taking you on a journey around some of the world’s most exquisite and untouched natural wonders.

The 70 minute show runs all week, apart from Monday and has many slots, bookable through the website, and other platforms. Once getting off the Earl’s Court Tube Station, the Daikin Centre is hardly a 5 minutes walk. The space is made out of containers and has a lively ambience with landscaped games and food trucks at the entrance. Upon entering the Centre, you come across a roomy and warm reception. From thereon you can make your way to the Experience Hall. The hall then further leads to a small room dedicated to a show on creepy crawlies and another interactive one where you can play with underwater creatures. Moving forward from there you end up at the souvenir store and further on to the exit. The insect world didn’t excite me, the aquarium area was whimsical and made me smile, it was especially a big hit for the kids who couldn’t get enough of the fish. The store was filled with pretty things, as all experience shops, but for me it is worth the mention as it had some items that were recipients of the esteemed red dot awards, and as any design enthusiast knows, these can be hard to get our hands on.

Coming back to and focusing on the main experience area. If you’ve been to Van Gogh or any other immersive experience before, you’d be aware how they work. Shows have floor to ceiling screens playing a synchronised video that makes you feel you’re sitting within a scene scape. You find yourself in a meditative state where you start loosing cognisance of where you are or where you’re supposed to be and it becomes easier to picture yourself in a distant, in an imaginary world. While this show attempts to do this as well, it falls short. I’m unsure if it was intentional or a technical limitation for the show, but the screens in the hall are different. There are some pyramidical screens and some round ones, all playing different videos. While these give you great visuals, a chance to observe all videos in great detail, for me it was quite disorienting. Much like other show venues, they have low height bean bag kind seatings to lie down or prop yourself up to feel like you would when looking up at a planetarium or at the sky. Once you’ve found yourself one of those very much in demand piece of soft furniture, you’d pick an angle to watch and get comfortable. The challenge is, no matter where you face, you wont be able to see all screens. And even if by some supernatural abilities, you could, you’d be disoriented as there’d be 2 very different landscape elements playing on both.

When I visited the Van Gogh Immersive Experience, with a very dear companion, I felt like my mind was blank. All I could think about were the artwork surrounding me and what the person whose lap my head was comfortably in was thinking. He was really exhilarated as well as he could after a long time feel his mind thinking of Van Gogh. Without a conscious effort, he was able to push away everything that stays on his mind and let the music and colours wash over him.

At BBC Earth Experience however, my overly curious and control freak head kept stressing first about a good angle and then like an owl kept turning on itself so as to not miss the happenings on either of the screenings, much after I contemplated and decided that I did not wish to spend 140 minutes watching the show twice in order to ensure I had seen it all.

I visited the show during the daytime and had a lovely time watching kids running around. The sounds, the landscapes, the animals, all of it excited the kids and fascinated them to no extent. I feel the experience comes at a wonderful time as we stand at the brink of a climate catastrophe with many still not understanding what we risk losing with our callousness. With many accompanying me being in that boat, I could see them softening on their stand and realising the true richness of our flora and fauna. What I did miss however, not just for me and my understanding, but for travel enthusiasts, kids, and people in general, was more information on the places the videos were shot at, the majestic creatures that were captures and the staggering natural wonders. While the videos did start with mentioning the continents, within the continents there was ambiguity on where one could find the captivating creations.

For some of these reasons, I wouldn’t recommend it to someone seeing it as their only immersive experience, or for someone budget conscious. But for those looking to loose themself in some beautiful landscapes, or wanting to do something off beat on a date or a rainy day, or looking for a place to click some gram worthy shots, head over to hear David Attenborough guide you into a mesmerising trance.

Visuals from the curved balcony screen (Source : Author)

 Visuals from the curved balcony screen (Source : Author)

                                    Visuals from the experience area (Source : Author)

                                    Visuals from the experience area (Source : Author)

                                    Visuals from the experience area (Source : Author)

                                    Visuals from the experience area (Source : Author)

                   Northern Lights - one of the most grammable moments of the show (Source : Author)


bottom of page