The ABC began screening this new BBC documentary series last Sunday evening. It's all about the physical transformation of the modern world, with a big emphasis on urbanisation.

Host Dallas Campbell's rappelling and diving stunts are a little tiresome, but it's more than made up for by his evident enthusiasm for the built environment. Given that we're meant to worship nature these days, it was delightfully shocking to see Campbell look over the Tokyo skyline and say 'I think that this is up there with any natural landscape'. He even finds beauty in a new Mexico City sewage tunnel.

The first episode is full of impressive cinematography and special effects (full first episode in HD above), but what I liked most is that it was blessedly free of hectoring about the damage humankind has done to the earth. Presumably environmental issues will come up as the series progresses, as they should. But so far Dallas Campbell has avoided creating the impression that humans are a mere imposition on the earth.