Wild man of the natural world Sir David Attenborough is back where he belongs for his spectacular new series. There are no frozen wastelands, no endless deserts and no impenetrable rainforests.
Instead, the veteran broadcaster is taking the world on a wildlife journey through his homeland – bringing the dramatic and spectacular expanses of the British Isles to life in a way never seen before.
After travelling to every corner of the Earth, Sir David will celebrate the rich variety of wildlife on his own doorstep.
Launching his new series – Wild Isles – the 96-year-old said: “In my long life, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to almost every part of the globe and gaze upon some of its most beautiful and dramatic sights. But I can assure you that nature in these islands if you know where to look, can be just as dramatic and spectacular as anything I’ve seen elsewhere.
“The British Isles are globally important for nature. In this series, we’ll show you why that is so and celebrate the wonders of these islands that we call home.”
The five-part series will take viewers on a journey through the nation’s woodland, grassland, freshwater and ocean habitats that support wildlife increasingly at risk from climate change.
Each episode captures new behaviours, from battling butterflies to killer whales on the hunt. Viewers will glimpse delicate damselflies, huge colonies of gannets, shy badgers and majestic white-tailed eagles.
Producer Alastair Fothergill said: “I hope the audience will be genuinely surprised by the richness of our natural history. At the same time, I hope they will recognise how fragile and precious it is.”
Our 22,000-mile coastline, the warming effect of the Gulf Stream and the extreme range of temperatures helps create “one of the richest natural histories in Europe”, he added.
The first episode – Our Precious Isles – will showcase killer whales tracking down seal meals, golden eagles scavenging in snowy mountains, puffins being chased by greedy gulls and sinister woodland plants holding unsuspecting insects hostage.
Co-producer Tanya Steele, World Wildlife Fund-UK CEO, said: “We know that nature in the UK is in crisis and we hope this series will highlight that we all have a role to play in protecting and restoring it.”
Episode two delves into the world of woodlands, while episode three explores the biodiversity of grasslands.
Viewers will journey to freshwater habitats in the next episode, before ending with the vast expanse of the ocean.
Co-producer Beccy Speight, the CEO of the RSPB, said: “We can’t wait to see what action is sparked by this milestone series. Nature is in crisis, but we know that together we can save it.”
Filmed over the course of three years, Wild Isles showcases 145 locations.
Sir David had to be kept away from fledging chicks during filming due to fears that an outbreak of avian flu could be fatal.
One segment called for him to be present while Manx shearwater chicks on Skomer Island, off the Pembrokeshire coast, left their burrows for the first time and took flight on a remarkable 6,000-mile migratory journey.
Mr Fothergill said: “The shearwaters are not great at taking off, so what the warden on the island said is, ‘If you sit David close to the burrows, they will almost certainly climb up his arm onto his head and take off from his head’, and we thought, ‘Wow, that could be TV gold’.”
But two weeks before filming was set to start, reports emerged of avian flu on the neighbouring island of Grassholm.
Mr Fothergill said: “I have an old friend who’s an expert on infectious diseases and I rang him up for his opinion.
“He said, ‘Well, bird flu is actually extremely hard to catch, but if [Sir David] gets it he will die.’”
The show has some good news for seabirds, which could benefit from proposed measures to ban sandeel fishing, the Defra said. Numbers are under pressure from industrial fishing in the North Sea, so a consultation has been launched on management measures in English waters.
Thérèse Coffey, Environment Secretary, said: “This consultation is an important step in securing their protection and delivering our commitment in the Environment Improvement Plan to halt the decline of nature and allow wildlife to thrive.”
Speaking while filming on location at a puffin colony on Skomer Island, Sir David said: “Though rich in places Britain as a whole is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world.
“Never has there been a more important time to invest in our own wildlife – to try and set an example for the rest of the world and restore our once wild isles for future generations.”
● Wild Isles, BBC One and iPlayer, begins Sunday 7pm.
*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.