David Attenborough will present “extraordinary animal dramas and wildlife spectacles” across Ireland and Britain in a new series for the BBC.
The five-part natural history series, titled Wild Isles, aims to emulate what the Planet series did for the wildlife of the world — inspiring people to “safeguard and restore nature for future generations”.
Filmed over three years, the BBC One series shot using 4K technology will explain the challenges nature faces and what can be done to make our wild isles wilder in the future.
Attenborough (96) says: “In my long lifetime, I have travelled to almost every corner of our planet.
“I can assure you that in the British Isles, as well as astonishing scenery there are extraordinary animal dramas and wildlife spectacles to match anything I have seen on my global travels.”
The natural history series will have an introductory episode explaining why Britain and Ireland are globally important for nature. The remaining four hour-long episodes will celebrate the Isles’ four key habitats — woodlands, grasslands, freshwater and marine.
The series will see new behaviour filmed around the two countries, including gulls stealing fish from puffins off Northumberland and wild horses battling for access to females in Cambridgeshire.
It will also show blue fin tuna gathering off the coast of Cornwall; black grouse and hen harriers courting in the Cairngorms; red deer stags rutting in one of Ireland’s wildest corners; mayfly hatching on a river in Wiltshire; foxes hunting rabbits at night; and a bee that rides a broomstick in Dorset.
The series will capture the British and Irish countryside using aerial photography, and motion-controlled time-lapse photography will highlight the passing seasons.
Low light cameras will reveal the nocturnal lives of animal favourites and macro photography will uncover the miniature worlds of rock pools, ponds and grasslands.
Alastair Fothergill, executive producer, said: “I have always wanted to make a landmark series that really does justice to our own extraordinary wildlife.
“I am sure people will be amazed at what is happening right on their own doorstep”.
Jack Bootle, head of commissioning, science and natural history, said: “The multi-award-winning team at Silverback are creating an eye-opening celebration of British and Irish wildlife that has to be seen to be believed.
“You’ll think a meadow in Somerset is as beautiful as the Serengeti, and the North Atlantic as wild and dramatic as the Antarctic Ocean.”
The series is co-produced by The Open University, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Tanya Steele, chief executive of WWF, said: “The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world — we need to change that.
“Our aim is that this stunning series featuring some of our best-loved species will inspire people to take action to safeguard and restore nature for future generations.” — PA