Planet Earth II – The landmark BBC One TV event

Farhana Gani

A decade ago the world watched in wonder as Sir David Attenborough introduced us to our planet in a way we’d never seen before. Now he takes us even closer with Planet Earth II, to see the world from the viewpoint of the animals themselves.

Get closer to life on Earth than ever before

Ten years ago we marvelled at Planet Earth, the intimate and epic landmark natural history series on BBC One. It redefined natural history filmmaking and became appointment TV for millions across the UK.

Now Planet Earth II is about to change how we see our planet by taking us even closer than before. Filmed over three years, this six-part series travels to 40 different countries, through islands, deserts, jungles, grasslands, mountains and cities.

The revolution in camera technology and filmmaking since the original series allows the camera crew to show us daily existence in minute detail. Experience the reality of living in the jungle canopy like a spider monkey or trying to attract a mate like a Bird of Paradise in Costa Rica.

Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, the series reveals the world from the viewpoint of the animals themselves. Attenborough shares the stories of their existence – the dramas, the ingenuity, the wile, the battles and the humour. “Just surviving the day can count like success”, he says.

 

The episodes

 

Episode 1: Islands

Episode 1 Islands Planet Earth II

Islands account for one sixth of the land surface on earth and about 20% of its species. For some, remote islands offer sanctuary, but island life isn’t easy for many. Of the species that have gone extinct in the last 500 years, around 80% have been islanders.

Locations include Indonesia, where the might Komodo Dragon can be found, Panama—home to a small population of pygmy three-toed sloth—and Madagascar, Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia. And, a warning for the faint-hearted, the snakes on the Galapagos islands are truly terrifying!

 

Episode 2: Mountains

Episode 2 Mountains Planet Earth II

One fifth of the planet’s surface is covered by mountains. The series ventures high up into the world’s great ranges. Only a few robust animals have what it takes to survive up at the highest altitudes, where temperatures can drop severely.

For the first time ever, four snow leopards are filmed together as a mother and cub find themselves caught up in a battle between two rival males. We’re also treated to grizzlies in relaxation mode in Canada, a Golden Eatle soaring through the French Alps, Nubian Ibex living at an altitude of up to 8500 feet in the Arabian Peninsula, and bobcats in USA’s Yellowstone National Park.

 

 

Episode 3: Jungles

Episode 3 Planet Earth II Jungles lemur

Jungles make up 6 percent of the earth’s surface and they are home to half the world’s plants and animals. Each day, the world’s jungles make five million tonnes of water (one fifth of the world’s fresh water is created here). Only 2 percent of the sun’s rays reach the jungles forest floor. But the episode opens with spider monkeys, living high in the Guatamalan jungle canopy, in particular a female youngster who finds her high energy in the tree tops can sometimes land her in trouble!

Watch incredible jaguar hunting behaviours on display along the Amazon riverbanks in Brazil. Feisty glassfrogs in Costa Rica, birds of paradise in Indonesia and graceful indri in Magadagascar add to variety, colour and adaptability to the jungle lifestyle.

 

Episode 4: Deserts

Episode 4 Deserts Planet Earth II

The series ventures into the world’s deserts to observe life being pushed to the limit. Desert temperatures can reach a scorching 120 degrees C, and all over the world many are getting hotter and larger, rising more than the global average.

Animals here have developed ingenious ways of dealing with the hostile conditions, giving rise to the most incredible survival stories on Earth. A pride of starved lions risk hunting a giraffe several times their size, whilst male sand grouse fly nearly 200 kilometres each day from their nests to the nearest waterhole, simply to collect water for their chicks—all the while avoiding the predators that wait to ambush them. And, never filmed before, a tiny bat takes on one of the world’s deadliest scorpions just to get a meal.

 

Episode 5: Grasslands

Episode 5 Grasslands Planet Earth II

Over 10,000 species of grass, across all seven continents, cover one quarter of all land on Earth and support more large animals than any other habitat.

From bizarre looking Saiga antelope in Asia, rarely seen by humans, to the giant ant-eaters of Brazil, grassland animals show extraordinary survival techniques. In the flooded Okavango, lions take on formidable buffalo in epic battles, stunning bee-eaters ride on the back of ostriches like miniature jockeys, while caribou embark on great migrations, where they must cross paths with their nemesis, Arctic wolves.

 

Episode 6: Cities

Episode 6 Cities Planet Earth II

Cities are the fastest growing habitat on Earth. In the next decade, the urban environment is predicted to grow by nearly 30%. Surprisingly these man-made environments can offer new opportunities for animals whose natural habitat is increasingly being encroached upon.

Amongst the sky scrapers of New York peregrine falcons thrive. Five million starlings perform a spectacular aerial dance above Rome in winter, and every night leopards come into the streets of Mumbai to hunt. The langurs of Jodhpur are given a helping hand by man, and the people of Harar share their streets with wild hyenas. But will humankind be generous to wildlife in the cities of the future?

 

Planet Earth II starts on Sunday 6th November at 8pm on BBC One

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