Storytelling at its best

The blockbuster docuseries Seven Worlds, One Planet is now screening on BBC Earth (DStv 184)

It was one of the highest-rated factual shows in the UK last year. Created by Planet Earth 1 and Planet Earth 2 Executive Producer, Johnny Keeling, its original television soundtrack was created by Oscar- and Grammy-winner, Hans Zimmer.

It was also narrated by “The Godfather of Natural History Television” himself, Sir David Attenborough; and now, It’s coming to your screen.

Seven Worlds, One Planet is here, and you can catch the premiere Sunday, 29 March 2020 at 21:00 on BBC Earth (DStv 184).

Untold stories, unbelievable viewing

The product of four years of work by a team comprising 25 people, Seven Worlds, One Planet is the biggest series on biodiversity produced to date. The docuseries was filmed by 1,500 crew members globally, who filmed over 1,800 hours of footage from 90 shoots.

Each hour-long episode examines one of the world’s seven continents, and the animals that live inside them. According to Johnny Keeling, Seven Worlds, One Planet Executive Producer, packaging each episode according to the continent it explores enables viewers to truly immerse themselves into life for animals in that region. “Most people are familiar with the shape of Africa or North America, for example,” Keeling told dstv.coza. “By focusing on the lives of animals living on that continent, we’re able to tell a rich, detailed story that the audience can embrace.”

The last 10 minutes of each episode give viewers behind-the-scenes insight into the work that went into filming each episode. In the Africa episode for example, viewers watch as the crew is faced with the possibility of being trampled by elephants in the dark. We’re also given a taste of the work that went into being present to witness the animals display new behaviors – like in the Australia episode where, for the first time ever on camera, a dingo was seen hunting kangaroos!

A crystal clear look

The technology used during filming gives audiences a closer, clearer look at the world’s wildlife than ever before. In fact, The Seven Worlds One Planet crew deployed drones all over the world and in some of the most hostile conditions on Earth, from the icy throws of Antarctica to the scorching deserts of Africa.

In Indonesia, for example, drones helped the Asia team document the extraordinary relationship between whale sharks and fishermen operating in Cenderawasih Bay. A view from above gives a far greater sense of the scale of the spectacle than from the surface, with over ten whale sharks aggregating at the fishing platforms at any one time. Due to their small size, drones could enter this unique world and reveal the intimate moments shared between the fishermen and sharks whilst giving a rare aerial perspective of these elusive ocean giants.

“The availability of new technology meant we were able to tell these stories in the way we envisioned,” Keeling says. “This enables the viewer to feel like they’re right there, walking among the animals.”

Fall in love with the world again

The scenes contained in each hour-long episode of Seven Worlds, One Planet were prudently selected from more than 300 hours of footage each. A key theme across the series is the effect of extreme weather conditions on the planet’s wildlife, and each script - created in collaboration between Keeling, his co-producers, and Attenborough – was carefully carved with the belief that telling vivid conservation stories can make a difference.

Keeling believes that there has never been a more important time to bring natural history content of this kind to audiences. “More people are moving to cities and wildlife is under increasing thread from climate change and loss of biodiversity,” he says. “It’s important for people living in those cities to truly understand the threat facing our wildlife, and I’m really pleased that BBC invested in telling that story.”

Above all, Seven Worlds, One Planet is a celebration of diversity of life on Earth and is intended to inspire people to be proud of the planet. Says Keeling, “Nowhere else in the universe has life on it like Earth does; so I hope that after watching this series, people are proud of their continents and proud of their planet. I hope they fall so in love with it that they’re inspired to nurture and protect it.”

Seven Worlds, One Planet premieres Sunday, 29 March on BBC Earth (DStv 184).

Download and watch later

Get the DStv Now app (Apple or Android) and download episodes to watch on your phone or tablet – just remember to connect to the Wi-Fi first so there are no surprise data costs.