Attenborough to front new BBC nature series One Planet, Seven Worlds

Veteran broadcaster to feature in new series exploring how the continents shaped their unique animal life

He may be lending his voice to Netflix for its forthcoming natural history show, but David Attenborough will be back on BBC screens this year with major new programmes that focus on the environmental forces reshaping our world.

The veteran broadcaster is fronting One Planet, Seven Worlds, which uses cutting-edge technology to explore how the characteristics of each continent affect the animals that live there.

He is also understood to be appearing in Green Planet, a series that looks at the world from the point of view of plants and highlights the part they play in the global ecosystem.

Attenborough recently urged politicians and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos to tackle climate change, warning that “the Garden of Eden is no more”.

Following the success of Blue Planet II and Plastics Watch, Attenborough’s new BBC1 shows are part of a drive by the corporation to put the spotlight on the environment, under the banner “Protecting Our Planet”.

These include a programme called Population with Chris Packham about mankind’s expansion, Meat: A Threat to Planet Earth, which examines the impact of meat eating on the environment, and The Springwatch Year of Action, a call to action to focus on threats to British wildlife.

Such is the global appeal of natural history series and Attenborough – Blue Planet II was seen by three-quarters of a billion people worldwide – that some saw his signing up to Netflix to narrate its forthcoming series Our Planet as a major blow to the BBC. Although Attenborough has worked for other broadcasters before, such as Sky, the financial clout and global reach of Netflix and its move into traditional BBC territory sparked fears last year that he might make the streaming service his main home.

However, he has a long association with the BBC spanning 60 years, including a spell as BBC2 controller.

Fortunately for viewers, there will be no clash between the similar-sounding Our Planet and One Planet, Seven Worlds. The Netflix show is due to be released in April, while its BBC rival is expected to air in the autumn.

Announcing the Protecting Our Planet season, Alison Kirkham, BBC’s controller of factual commissioning, pointed out: “Plenty of other broadcasters are now following our lead, but we’re determined to keep moving the conversation forwards.

“That’s what makes the BBC special: the desire to anticipate and stimulate the national conversation, not motivated by commercial imperatives or what’s in fashion. The BBC has a unique commitment to factual programming. I don’t believe any other broadcaster in British television has such an extraordinary breadth of output in factual.”

Other shows announced by Kirkham ranged from Nadiya on Anxiety, a documentary from Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain revealing how she suffers from and copes with anxiety, and My Family, the Holocaust and Me, fronted by Robert “Judge” Rinder.

In addition, Louis Theroux investigates sexual assault in US colleges, and a groundbreaking documentary executive produced by the Guardian tells the story of a gay transgender man’s quest to have a child in Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth.


Tara Conlan

The GuardianTramp

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