The term ‘national treasure’ gets thrown around too much for our liking. But if there’s one person it should be applied to, it’s David Attenborough. The face (and voice) of shows like Planet Earth, The Blue Planet and, this year’s, Wild Isles, the naturalist is the authority when it comes to nature documentaries on the BBC.
This week (Sunday, October 22) sees the latest instalment in the Planet Earth trilogy air on our screens. Planet Earth III, which was officially announced in August, will be made up of eight episodes, each an hour long – almost 70 years after David Attenborough first debuted on our television screens in 1954.
Known for its cinematic sequences and unusual animal species, Planet Earth has attracted millions of fans with instalments in 2006 and 2016. Filmed over five years, we can expect the latest series, using pioneering filmmaking technology, to bring us even closer to the natural world – with a focus on “the resilience and adaptability of nature”.
Planet Earth III’s first episode, Coasts, will air on BBC One at 6:15pm. It will span the world’s coastlines, from South Africa’s Robberg Peninsula to the Arctic coast and Namibia’s infamous Skeleton Coast. Just some of the extraordinary, dramatic, funny and heartbreaking stories we’ll follow will include the likes of Cape fur seals, Caribbean flamingos, and green turtles.
At the end of the episode, David Attenborough will look back at his first expedition, in 1957, to the tiny Raine Island and reveal the speed of change on the island in 66 years. Not only reminding us of how long the broadcaster has been a part of our lives but how rapidly the world is changing around us.
“In this new series of Planet Earth we travel to the most astonishing wild places, see mysterious creatures, witness rare, spectacular wonders, and reveal breath-taking animal dramas,” said Sir David Attenborough on the new series of Planet Earth.
“The natural world continues to surprise us, but since Darwin’s time, it has changed beyond recognition, being transformed by a powerful force – us. We will see how animals are adapting in extraordinary ways, to survive the new challenges they face. At this crucial time in our history, we must now look at the world through a new lens.”
As for future episodes, we can only guess from titles. The next four will cover such topics as Ocean, Deserts and Grasslands, Freshwater and Forests. But the final three episodes of Planet Earth III are a little harder to decipher. Titled Extremes, Human and Heroes, they are each equally ominous and intriguing sounding but – 17 years after Planet Earth first opened our eyes to the world’s wonders – we’re sure they will blow us away.
Planet Earth III on BBC One on Sunday, October 22 at 6:15pm.