This new series will make you fall in love with the world again

2020-03-27 06:57
Executive producer Dr Jonny Keeling.

"Planet Earth has seven extraordinary continents each one unique, each one full of life..."

These are the emotive words uttered by Sir David Attenborough, accompanied by a breathtakingly beautiful track by Sia and Academy-Award winning composer Hans Zimmer as they introduce the new BBC series Seven Worlds, One Planet.

The series which premieres on Sunday 29 March at 16:00 on BBC Earth (DStv 184) celebrates the diversity of life on each of these continents, but also features the many challenges faced by animals in a modern world dominated by humanity.


For the series, the crew visited 41 countries and spent 1 794 days filming. To bring a series like this to screen, it's a mammoth four-year project.

Executive producer Dr Jonny Keeling has been at the BBC Studios Natural History Unit for 23 years where he was worked on several series including Planet Earth and Planet Earth II to name a few.

During his visit to South Africa, we spoke to him about the new series, and what viewers can expect from it.


"There are quite a few things that make this series different. Firstly, how the series has been broken up into continents, there is a lot more variety. We also got a lot of new stories. I wanted to focus on the new and unexpected twists. Across the series, there are lots of really unusual and unexpected, surprising sequences, and new species.

"The most significant difference is how much we have improved with drones. We took them all over the world; we put them into volcanoes, we flew them in Antarctica, at night, everywhere. So, we got to see new behaviours.

"And lastly there is a strong conservation element. In this series, there are stories both of hope of how animals were being protected and made a really good comeback; and also, some stories of despair as well. There's a lot of geology too. I think it feels fresh and new and varied compared to the previous ones that I have worked on, like Planet Earth."

Leopard seals in Antarctica.
(IN ANTARCTICA: Leopard seals are 3 metres long, and have an enormous mouth relative to their body size. They are extremely powerful and agile swimmers, but amazingly none of this deterred cameraman Hugh Miller from getting in the water to film them! Photo: Michael Becker)


"One of the biggest challenges in Africa is that people have seen a lot in terms of wildlife. You can't just have a shot of a lion hunting a wildebeest. In some ways, it is a familiar continent for the audience. It's such a spectacular place for drama. So that was the first challenge after we talked about the unexpected new and different stories.

"We also wanted to make sure we feel like we covered it all like the jungle, the desert and the freshwater stories. So, there's quite a challenge to make sure it's interesting enough to."

An elephant in Zimbabwe.

(IN AFRICA: When food is hard to come by only a few clever bull elephants have found a way to reach the last remaining fruit high up in the trees in Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe. Photo: Nick Lyon)


"I've worked with him for over 20 years now on and off. He is a phenomenal human being; he is 93 years old; he is still travelling and is mentally and physically very active. He brings an amazing storytelling voice. He has the ability to convey the necessary emotion to talk about something that might be poignant or sad and then in the next sentence he could be talking about something important that has great gravitas or humour."


"I would love for people to watch it and think about their continent and be proud of the continent and love the animals that they want to protect them, but also fascinated by the other continents about the variety of life across the earth. I want people to kind of fall in love with the natural world and their home continent."

Kangaroos in Australia.

(IN AUSTRALIA:  Eastern grey kangaroos caught in the winter snowstorms of the Great Dividing Range. Photo: Charles Davis)

Watch Seven Worlds One Planet on Sundays at 16:00 on BBC Earth (DStv 184)

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