planet earth

Alastair Fothergill: How can you possibly care about the natural world if you’ve never seen it?

The Hunt

Like an entire generation of wildlife film-makers, Alastair Fothergill was drawn to television by David Attenborough. His 1979 series, Life on Earth, showed the young Fothergill that natural history programming was “a good way to be paid to be near animals”.

Fothergill, who was recently made a Fellow of the RTS, spent almost three decades at the BBC Natural History Unit (NHU). This included a five-year stint as head of department, when he landed several global hits, including The Blue Planet, Planet Earth and Frozen Planet.

The BBC needs to broaden its range, says Sir David Attenborough

(Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

It’s a rare that two thoroughgoing BBC men are seen smiling, let alone laughing, inside the precincts of the House of Commons. When senior BBC people visit Parliament, they are invariably greeted by sceptical MPs, keen to give them a rough time. 

The atmosphere could not have been more different when, last month, the RTS invited Andrew Marr and Sir David Attenborough to hold a conversation at the Commons.  

Sir David Attenborough: BBC licence fee is the biggest possible bargain in Britain

David Attenborough speaking to the RTS (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

Speaking to the RTS All Party Parliamentary Group in the House of Commons the veteran natural history broadcaster said that today’s BBC commissioners were reluctant to back lengthy documentaries dealing with serious topics.

“One of the things which BBC Two did very well was to make serious programmes on serious subjects – 13 part series. That requires three years. There’s a great reluctance elsewhere to do those sorts of programmes…

“Today there is a tendency to do shorter series” He added to audience laughter: “’Today we present a new two-part series.’”

David Attenborough to present Planet Earth II

David Attenborough will present Planet Earth II

The six-part series comes ten years after Planet Earth redefined history filmmaking.

It will use state-of-the-art technology to help tell the story of our natural world, visiting jungles, deserts, grasslands and cities, and look at how animals survive within them.

Speaking about the new series, Attenborough, who this year celebrates his ninetieth birthday, said: “I am very excited to once again be working with the Natural History Unit on its latest landmark series and am especially looking forward to getting out on location in the next month or so.”

New David Attenborough documentary series The Hunt comes to BBC One

An Arctic Fox (Credit: BBC Pictures)

The BBC has announced that a new seven-part natural history series, The Hunt, is to start next Sunday, 1 November, on BBC One at 9pm.

Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, the series comes from producers Alastair Fothergill (The Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Frozen Planet) and Huw Cordey (Planet Earth, South Pacific).