Can you believe it’s been 16 years since the first series of The Blue Planet was broadcast?
The stunning series about life on and below the oceans of the world captivated audiences in 2001 and now it’s back for a sequel which has used even more advanced filming techniques than last time.
We can’t wait to see the latest documentary that the BBC and Sir David Attenborough have to offer, especially since getting a preview from the beautifully-shot trailer. Here’s all you need to know about the forthcoming series.
When is Blue Planet II on TV?
The series premieres on Sunday, October 29th at 8pm on BBC One.
What’s changed since last time we saw Blue Planet?
Filming for the first series began 20 years ago and it aired in 2001, so as you can imagine, nature documentaries have come on in leaps and bounds since then.
Over the past four years, the Blue Planet II team have mounted 125 expeditions, visited 39 countries, and filmed off every continent and across every ocean.
This time, the BBC Studios Natural History Unit has used cutting-edge technology to explore the latest frontiers of scientific discovery in ocean life.
Executive Producer James Honeyborne said: “The oceans are the most exciting place to be right now, because new scientific discoveries have given us a new perspective of life beneath the waves. Blue Planet II is taking its cue from these breakthroughs, unveiling unbelievable new places, extraordinary new behaviours and remarkable new creatures. Showing a contemporary portrait of marine life, it will provide a timely reminder that this is a critical moment for the health of the world’s oceans.”
As with the first Blue Planet, vibrant colours from the natural world light up the screen - icy-white polar seas, stunningly blue coral atolls, the storm-tossed green Atlantic coastline, and the black depths of uncharted waters all take centre stage.
Expect to encounter surprising new landscapes including methane volcanoes which erupt in the Gulf of Mexico, and the boiling sea phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean. The team also took two manned submersibles to explore the Antarctic deep at 1000m for the very first time.
Viewers will meet some amazing new species, too. Hairy-chested Hoff crabs, snub fin dolphins that spit water through the air, and a tool-using tusk fish have all been filmed for the first time. The crew filmed some incredible scenes such as sophisticated hunting between a coral grouper and a reef octopus, giant trevally fish that catch flying birds in mid-air, and a dive with a sperm whale mother and calf.
New filming techniques developed included ultra high-definition (UHD) tow cams that allow predatory fish and dolphins to be filmed front-on, UHD suction cams to give a view of travelling on the back of whale sharks and orcas, and a UHD probe camera to capture miniature marine life.
Blue Planet II invites viewers on a magical journey into the least-known part of our planet. Seas that veer between tempestuous and serene, inviting and forbidding, show their astonishing role as the lifeblood of Earth, affecting weather, climate, and supporting all life.
Can I see a trailer?
Yes you can, and it’s only the most exciting trailer we’ve seen in ages.
The clip is five minutes long – not exactly a quick taster – but it’s worth watching for the gorgeous scenes and the specially-recorded accompanying music from Radiohead and Hans Zimmer.
Oscar-winning film and TV composer Zimmer has collaborated with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke for an orchestral version of the track Bloom, renamed (ocean) Bloom, inspired by the sounds of the documentary.
The BBC Concert Orchestra play on the soundtrack which is produced by Russell Emanuel of Bleeding Fingers Music, the company which also created the Bafta- and Emmy-nominated score to BBC’s Planet Earth II.
Yorke said: “Bloom was inspired by the original Blue Planet series so it’s great to be able to come full circle with the song and reimagine it for this incredible landmark’s sequel. Hans is a prodigious composer who effortlessly straddles several musical genres so it was liberating for us all to work with such a talent and see how he wove the sound of the series and Bloom together.”
Zimmer added: “Bloom appears to have been written ahead of its time as it beautifully reflects the jaw-dropping lifeforms and seascapes viewers are introduced to in Blue Planet II. Working with Thom, Jonny and the boys has been a wonderful diversion and it’s given me an interesting peek into their musical world. They’ve been incredible to work with and I hope everyone likes the track.”
Blue Planet II returns to BBC One on Sunday, October 29th at 8pm.