State of the Planet

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State of the Planet
State of the Planet DVD cover
Region 2 DVD cover
GenreNature documentary
Presented byDavid Attenborough
ComposerSarah Class
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes3
ProducerRupert Barrington
Running time147 minutes
Production companyBBC Natural History Unit
Original networkBBC One
Picture formatDVB-T 576i 16:9
Audio formatStereo
Original release15 November (2000-11-15) –
29 November 2000 (2000-11-29)

State of the Planet is a three-part environmental documentary series, made by the BBC Natural History Unit, transmitted in November 2000. It is written and presented by David Attenborough, and produced by Rupert Barrington. It includes interviews with many leading scientists, such as Edward O. Wilson and Jared Diamond. Each of the programmes attempts to find answers to the potential ecological crisis that threatens the Earth.

The series was specially commissioned by BBC One for the millennium, and had a budget of around GBP2 million. The BBC drew criticism for scheduling the first episode in competition with the final part of ITV's Inspector Morse; as a consequence, it drew just 4 million viewers, well below the channel's typical share.[1] However, ratings recovered to around 7 million for the second and third programmes.[2]

Attenborough fronted this series in between presenting his 1998 ornithological study, The Life of Birds, and providing narration to the award-winning 2001 series The Blue Planet.


1. "Is There a Crisis?"[edit]

Together with leading experts, David Attenborough examines the latest scientific evidence in order to discover if the planet's ecosystems are really in crisis. If so, he asks how it could have come about, and what is so different now that prevents certain species from adapting to survive, as they did in the past?

2. "Why Is There a Crisis?"[edit]

Attenborough presents some stark facts. He states that humans are now triggering a mass extinction on a similar scale to that which wiped out the dinosaurs – but at an unprecedented rate. He investigates the five main activities of mankind that are the most likely contributory factors:

3. "The Future of Life"[edit]

As Homo sapiens relentlessly encroaches on the natural world and its inhabitants, the viewer is presented with a choice: leave behind a flourishing planet or a dying one.

"The future of life on earth depends on our ability to take action. Many individuals are doing what they can, but real success can only come if there's a change in our societies and our economics and in our politics. I've been lucky in my lifetime to see some of the greatest spectacles that the natural world has to offer. Surely we have a responsibility to leave for future generations a planet that is healthy, inhabitable by all species."

— David Attenborough, in closing


The complete series was released on DVD (BBCDVD1498) on 27 September 2004.


  1. ^ O'Carroll, Lisa (16 November 2000). "ITV's Morse kills off BBC1 Attenborough epic". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  2. ^ Clarke, Steve (27 February 2001). "Life in the old iguana yet". The Independent. London. Retrieved 24 May 2010.[dead link]

External links[edit]