“It utterly changed the way I look at our planet.” The words of Orla Doherty, Producer of Blue Planet II and a witness of a never-seen-before and will-never-see-again underwater methane volcano (episode two). No truer words have been spoken for the result this ground breaking production will have on the nation.
A warming cup of tea in hand, whilst aimlessly scrolling through the sometimes monotonous Twitter feed, I stumbled upon what is set to be the biggest opportunity the city of Bristol will ever see. Not only could you get a free exclusive preview of Blue Planet II, but you be would sharing a room with TV legend Sir David Attenborough – this, I knew, was not to be missed. So apparently, did the 100,000 other applicants. Tears were shed and hearts lurched when we, the ‘golden ticket holders’, received that fateful email.
The lucky 200 owned the right for obsessive queues by arriving almost three hours prior to admittance, which was rewarded upon walking across the blood red carpet leading to Screen 11. Walking into a pit of darkness, the pang of jealousy for the gold wristbands who occupied the front row seats was short lived as we were seated three rows up, and what appeared to be directly behind Sir David Attenborough himself.
Dumbfounded as to why Bristol was the host city as opposed to the assumed capital, Julian Hectar – current head of Natural History Unit – narrated the story of Desmond Hall and Chris Parsons who ‘out of the debris of war’ formed the unit in 1957. Through the evolution of technology, Life on Earth was televised in 1979 becoming a ‘definitive natural history landmark’ and ‘”putting the natural world at the centre of society where it needs to be” – this earned Bristol the title of ‘global capital of natural history film making’.
Witnessed in Sony 4K was the mesmerising tale of Percy the tusk fish. The audience rooted for Percy as he made his morning commute to the edge of the Great Barrier Reef in search of breakfast. Alas! Percy clamps his childlike teeth around a fresh clam and returns to his ‘kitchen’ where he proceeds to smash the clam against an ‘anvil’ – giving us the first known evidence that reef fish use tools.
“It was like being in a ballet with monsters, but what I believed to be veracious predators, weren’t monsters at all.” Producer Orla Doherty
The result of four years, 1 million feet of accumulated decent, 120 expeditions, 39 countries and 6,000 hours underwater provides far more than stories of the ocean’s Kardashians. In pushing boundaries and curating revolutionary underwater technology, twelve academic papers have been published as a direct result of Blue Planet II’s first time discoveries.
An advocate for Planet Earth, Sir David was keen to point out that Blue Planet II goes further than simple viewing pleasures, but is a catalyst for change. “I cannot believe that if we can send people to the moon, that we cannot find ways of getting rid of plastic that isn’t equally lethal.”
With more pieces of plastic in the ocean than fish, it’s Sir David’s hope that this avant-garde production spurs on the earth’s global population to do something about the effects of this indestructible material.
Blue Planet II will be broadcast from 29th October 2017.