Blue Planet II
|Blue Planet II|
|Presented by||David Attenborough|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||7|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original release||29 October– 10 December 2017|
|Preceded by||The Blue Planet|
|Related shows||Planet Earth II|
Blue Planet II is a 2017 British nature documentary series on marine life produced by the BBC Natural History Unit. Like its predecessor, The Blue Planet (2001), it is narrated and presented by naturalist Sir David Attenborough, while the main music score was composed by Hans Zimmer.
The series was debuted on 29 October 2017 and was simulcast on BBC One, BBC One HD and BBC Earth, making it the first natural history series to premiere on the same day in the United Kingdom, Nordic regions, Europe and in Asia.
In the United States, the series premiered on Saturday, January 20, 2018, at 9 PM as part of a five-network simulcast on BBC America, AMC, IFC, Sundance, and WE tv. Subsequent episodes aired on successive Saturdays on BBC America.
The series was announced by the BBC in 2013 with the working title Oceans, but the title was later changed to Blue Planet II as it revealed on 19 February 2017. Filming took place over a course of more than four years; involving 125 expeditions across 39 countries and produced more than 6,000 hours of underwater dive footage from over an estimated 4,000 dives.
A boxset of the Blue Planet II DVDs, with a private letter from presenter Sir David Attenborough, was presented by Theresa May to Chinese leader Xi Jinping during her visit to China on 1 February 2018, expressing the determination to end the plastic pollution with China.
Composer Hans Zimmer returned to score the series. In September 2017, the BBC announced that the English rock band Radiohead had collaborated with Zimmer to record a new version of "Bloom", a song from their 2011 album The King of Limbs. The new track, "(ocean) Bloom", was recorded alongside the BBC Concert Orchestra. In a press release, Radiohead singer Thom 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."
The premiere of the series took place at Bristol's Cinema de Lux on 11 October 2017, with special guest appearance by Attenborough alongside with the producers and wildlife experts. Bristol has been the global home of BBC's Natural History programme making for the past 60 years. The series was first broadcast on 29 October 2017 (from 20:00 GMT to 21:00 GMT) on BBC One and BBC One HD. The first six episodes included a 10-minute making-of documentary called Into the Blue. The previous week's episode was repeated in an earlier time slot the following Sunday. The series was critically acclaimed and gained the highest UK viewing figure for 2017, 14.1 million.
The BBC pre-sold the series to several overseas broadcasters, which includes Canada (Blue Ant Media’s licensed channel for BBC Earth), Australia (Channel Nine) and New Zealand (TVNZ), to Europe with Denmark (DR), Netherlands (NPO), Sweden (SVT), Spain (Telefonica’s BBC Earth block), Discovery Channel for Latin America and co-production partnerships with BBC America, Germany’s WDR, France Télévisions, China's Tencent and CCTV-9. The series was eventually sold to more than 30 countries.
The series is set to broadcast internationally on BBC Earth channel, and also commercial television channels in various countries, besides. The series debuted in Nordic regions and other European countries on 29 October 2017. In Asia, the series began to premiere on each early Monday (from 04:05 SGT to 05:05 SGT) starting from 30 October 2017, the episode was then repeated on following each Tuesday evening (from 20:00 SGT). In Poland, it premiered on 16 November 2017. As for South Africa, it aired from 4 February 2018.
In China, the premiere took place at Shanghai's East China Normal University on 27 October 2017, with guest appearance by the producer Orla Doherty and Mike Gunton, the executive producer of Planet Earth II. The series is streaming broadcast at Tencent's QQLive from 30 October 2017, with episodes updating every Monday at 18:00 CST. It would also be broadcast on the state owned China Central Television’s documentary channel, CCTV-9, with episodes airing each Monday from 6 November 2017 at 21:00 CST.
In the Netherlands, the series is airing on the Dutch channel NPO 1, with episodes airing each Thursday from 28 December 2017. In Belgium, it will air on the Flemish channel Canvas, with episodes airing each Saturday starting from 2 January 2018.
The series is airing in Canada and the United States on 20 January 2018. In Canada, it will broadcast with a three-network simulcast across BBC Earth, Cottage Life and T+E channel. In the United States, the series will premier the first episode - with a five-network simulcast across BBC America, AMC, IFC, WE tv and Sundance TV, while the remaining episodes will continue to be air every Saturday on BBC America. It is also available on BBCAmerica.com and the BBCA app.
|No.||Title||Produced by||Original air date||UK viewers|
|-||"The Prequel"||N/A||27 September 2017||N/A|
|A 5-minute clip introduction which focuses in particular on the upcoming stories from the ocean depths.|
|1||"One Ocean"||Jonathan Smith||29 October 2017||14.01|
|2||"The Deep"||Orla Doherty||5 November 2017||13.97|
|3||"Coral Reefs"||Jonathan Smith||12 November 2017||13.45|
|4||"Big Blue"||John Ruthven||19 November 2017||13.11|
|5||"Green Seas"||Kathryn Jeffs||26 November 2017||12.62|
|6||"Coasts"||Miles Barton||3 December 2017||11.45|
|7||"Our Blue Planet"||Orla Doherty, Will Ridgeon||10 December 2017||11.91|
|Examining the role of human anthropogenic activity on the oceans. Microplastics and pollution are an increasing problem for the world's seas, threatening the lives of marine life and ultimately affecting the ecosystem. Can humans reverse their activity to protect the seas and the wildlife that inhabit it?|
|-||"Oceans of Wonder"||N/A||1 January 2018||N/A|
|A 90-minute compilation episode which highlights the wonders of our world's oceans as well as filming some extraordinary animal behaviours which were never seen before.|
Awards and nominations
|2018||National Television Awards||Impact Award||Blue Planet II & David Attenborough||Won|||
|British Academy Television Awards||Huw Wheldon Award for Specialist Factual||Blue Planet II||Nominated|||
|Virgin TV’s Must-See Moments||"Mother Pilot Whale Grieves"||Won|
|British Academy Television Craft Awards||Best Editing: Factual||Matt Meech (for: "One Ocean")||Nominated|||
|Nigel Buck (for: "The Deep")||Nominated|
|Best Photography: Factual||Camera Team (for: "One Ocean")||Won|
|Best Titles & Graphic Identity||BDH Creative||Nominated|
|Best Sound: Factual||Graham Wild, Tim Owens, Kate Hopkins (for: "Coral Reefs")||Won|
The programme has been credited with raising awareness of plastic pollution both domestically and internationally, an influence dubbed the 'Blue Planet effect'.
Following the programme's airing in the UK, the BBC announced its intention to completely ban single-use plastics within its organisation by 2020. In April 2018, in response to growing public support directly linked to Blue Planet II, the British government announced it is considering a national ban on single-use plastic products. It was also reported that Queen Elizabeth II's decision to ban plastic bottles and straws across the Royal estates was in part a response to the documentary.
British universities such as the University of Southampton noticed a sudden increase in applications for marine biology courses following the programme's airing, which was again attributed to the 'Blue Planet effect'.
It's been reported that the sheer number of people in China simultaneously streaming Blue Planet II (approximately 80 million) had a noticeable impact upon internet speeds within the country. The popularity of the documentary in China was cited as partly the reason British prime minister Theresa May gave Chinese president Xi Jinping a Blue Planet II box set signed by David Attenborough. It was also symbolic of a joint plan to tackle plastic pollution and the illegal wildlife trade, announced by British officials during Xi's 2018 visit.
After the first episode aired in the UK, there was a surge in search engine enquiries about conservation charities, with the Marine Conservation Society, WWF and Plastic Oceans Foundation all receiving a significant spike in traffic.
DVD and Blu-ray
The series was released as a three-disc DVD set as well as a standard Blu-ray set on 27 November 2017, and as a six-disc 4K UHD Blu-ray + Blu-ray set on 15 January 2018. It is distributed by BBC Worldwide in the UK.
An accompanying hardback book was written by James Honeyborne and Mark Brownlow, with foreword by David Attenborough. It was published by BBC Books (ISBN 978-1849909679). The book was released on 19 October 2017 in the UK and on 1 January 2018 in the US.
Open University poster
|Blue Planet II|
|Soundtrack album by Hans Zimmer, David Fleming & Jacob Shea|
29 October 2017 (Digital)|
1 December 2017 (Audio CD)
|Genre||Soundtrack, Classical music|
|Label||Silva Screen Records|
The musical score and songs featured in the series were composed by Hans Zimmer, Jacob Shea and David Fleming for Bleeding Fingers Music. A digital soundtrack was released on 29 October 2017, while a single physical disc was released on 1 December 2017 in the UK.
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Episode 7 looks at how tiny plastic particles (micro-plastics) may play a role in the uptake of industrial pollution in marine life.
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