The premiere of the groundbreaking series Wild Islands, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, has been confirmed for the following Sunday by the BBC.
The five-part series, which was filmed over the period of three years, has the dual purpose of shedding awareness on the issues that are harming the British Isles and celebrating the beauty that is just outside our front doors.
Sir David, a 96-year-old broadcaster and naturalist, will make an appearance on Old Harry Rocks in the Dorset to introduce the first episode of the series, which is titled Our Precious Isles. He will discuss the reasons why Great Britain and Ireland are essential to the continued existence of species all over the world.
This episode will feature novel behaviours from animals such as seals hunting killer whales, in mountains golden eagles scavenging, greedy gulls chasing puffins, and malevolent plants keeping unwary insects hostage.
It will also show the largest society in the world of northern gannets making their way to the east coast of Scotland, as well as barnacle geese making their way to the west coast of Scotland in an effort to avoid being eaten by a white-tailed eagle.
It took wildlife cameraman and eventual winner of Strictly Come Dancing in 2022, Hamza Yassin, more than 70 days to capture the first entire sequence of hunting the white-tailed eagles, which had been extinct in the British Isles.
This introduction episode will also showcase the varied geology of Britain and Ireland, including limestone pavements of Yorkshire and chalk formations of southern England, as well as the craggy granite of the Northumberland and the volcanic basalt of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
Sir David will point out that despite Britain and the rich of Ireland and varied environments, they are among the most depleted in the world. He will then question how we might restore our wild isles for the generations that will come after us.
Hilary Jeffkins, a producer of series and a filmmaker who has won a Bafta award, remarked I have high hopes that after watching this series, our audience will not only be awestruck by the magnificent wildlife and landscapes of Britain and Ireland but that they will also have a profound understanding of how fragmented and delicate these environments are.
“By the time the audience leaves, I want them to feel not only a sense of pride but also hope for the future. I believe that people will be delighted and surprised by the behaviour of the wildlife that can be found right outside their front doors.
It is quite mind-boggling to consider that our oceans are home to top predators such as killer whale pods that hunt seals and also a large blue butterfly that tricks the ants into caring for its caterpillars by using deceptive sounds and smells. Both of these creatures exist in our oceans.
“The fauna that we believe we have a good understanding of still possesses some wonderful secrets to reveal,”
Wild Isles will conclude with a celebration of the four primary ecosystems that can be found on the islands: forests, grasslands, freshwater, and sea. Each episode will run for one hour.
Sir David will make an appearance in Richmond Park to introduce the episode about Woodland. He will also appear in a hay meadow in Dorset to introduce the episode about Grassland, in a chalk stream in Wiltshire to introduce the episode about Freshwater, and on a green bridge on Pembrokeshire Coast to introduce the episode about Ocean.
At the conclusion of the Ocean episode, he will say his goodbyes to everyone on Skomer Island.
The team of Wild Islands spent 1,631 days filming all five episodes, which took place in 145 different sites and featured 96 different species.
Alastair Fothergill the series producer said, Since my time spent working on the first seasons of the Blue Planet, Planet Earth, and Frozen Planet series, I have had a strong desire to produce a documentary that explores the natural history of the British Isles using a method that is equally ambitious and epic.
“I knew that nobody who ever had the opportunity before to properly do credit to the breathtaking scenery and the abundant and varied fauna that can be seen at home,” she said. “I knew that nobody had ever had the opportunity.” In addition to that, I have a strong personal interest in the history of our natural environment.
“It is my sincere wish that the audience would be taken aback, in a good way, by the depth of our natural history. In the meantime, it is my sincere wish that they will understand how delicate and valuable it is.
On March 12 at 7 p.m., Episode One: Our Precious Islands will be available to watch online via iPlayer and on BBC One.