Just three days into 2021, the BBC secured its first big hitter of the year: A Perfect Planet, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, drew in 6.2 million viewers. That’s on a par with previous series premieres such as Seven Worlds, One Planet (6.8 million), Dynasties (5.7 million viewers) and Blue Planet II (10.4 million).
Sir David Attenborough
Meerkat: A Dynasties Special
BBC One, 7.30pm
The award-winning documentary series, Dynasties, returns for another animal family drama narrated by nature’s spokesman, Sir David Attenborough.
Meerkat: A Dynasties Special follows on from the award-winning 2018 series, Dynasties, and once again sees Sir David Attenborough narrate the dramatic story of a vulnerable species.
In one of the harshest environments on Earth, a young meerkat queen, Maghogho, is struggling to establish her dynasty.
The Makadikadi salt pans of Botswana are so hot and dry that almost no life can survive, yet it is there that Maghogho must raise her pups.
Featuring an original score from composer Ilan Eshkeri, the prequel introduces the forces of nature supporting life on Earth that the series will explore.
Eshkeri said: “Composing the music for A Perfect Planet has also been enormously challenging - not least because of the unprecedented logistical issues of trying to record an orchestra during the lockdown!
“I’m grateful to everyone at the BBC and Silverback who supported me and the ideas I threw at them and I hope my music can play a small part in helping to inspire change.”
Fifty years ago, the BBC almost made a big mistake – one that would have changed the course of broadcasting history. After trying out a new recruit, head of television talks Mary Adams decided that her discovery had much to recommend him but, frankly, lacked the bland good looks considered necessary for the presenter’s art.
“David Attenborough is intelligent and promising and may well be producer material, but he is not to be used again as an interviewer. His teeth are too big,” ordered Adams.
A sequel to last year’s Climate Change: The Facts, this programme investigates the potential catastrophic consequences of the loss in biodiversity, predicted by scientists in a UN report published last year.
A coalition of more than 500 experts revealed that around 1 million species of plants and animals now face extinction.
To a certain extent extinction is a natural process, but it’s happening up to 100 times faster than the natural evolutionary rate.
From the opening moments of Seven Worlds, One Planet we know that we’re in safe hands. Orchestral strings soar as a deserted, sundappled beach comes into view. Sir David Attenborough strides out across the sand, a big, warm coat the only concession to his 93 years.
With his unique authority, he introduces a montage of images drawn from seven continents to give us hints of the emotion-stirring, jaw-dropping stories to come. It is immediately clear that, once again, both Sir David and the BBC’s Natural History Unit have excelled themselves.
Following a screening of the Our Planet episode Frozen Worlds, members of the crew, including series producer, Keith Scholey, producer Sophie Lanfear, camera operator Jamie McPherson and assistant producer Olly Scholey, spoke to Lynn Barlow about how the episode was made.
The panel shared their experiences working on the nature series and how it was created.
The documentary will explore the creation of native forests and conservation initiatives put in place in 53 countries across Britain and the Commonwealth as part of the project set up by The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy.
The Queen's Green Planet will also feature a special conversation between Her Majesty and Sir David Attenborough in the garden at Buckingham Palace, which took place last summer.
Each episode will follow an individual animal – lions, hunting dogs, chimpanzees, tigers and emperor penguins – at the most critical period in their lives as they navigate the world’s rapidly changing habitats.
This series will show for the first time what an animal must do to create and maintain a dynasty, and leave a legacy in nature.
Made by the team behind Blue Planet II, the most watched programme of 2017, the BBC aims to recapture its success with new ‘intimate animal dramas’.