Planet Earth (TV series)

Planet Earth (TV series)

Infobox nature documentary
bgcolour =
show_name = Planet Earth

caption = Series title card
picture_format = 576i (SDTV) 1080i / 1080p (HDTV)
audio_format = Stereo (SDTV)
Dolby Digital 5.1 (HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc)
runtime = 50 minutes
creator = BBC
developer =
producer =
executive_producer = Alastair Fothergill
presented =
narrated = David Attenborough
Sigourney Weaver(US version)
music = George Fenton
country = United Kingdom
language = English
network =
first_run = BBC One, BBC HD
first_aired = 5 March 2006
last_aired = 10 December 2006
num_episodes = 11
website =
imdb_id = 0795176
tv_com_id =

"Planet Earth" is an Emmy Award and Peabody Award-winning BBC nature documentary series narrated by David Attenborough and produced by Alastair Fothergill. It was first broadcast in the UK from 5 March 2006. The American version is narrated by Sigourney Weaver.

The series was co-produced with Discovery Channel and the NHK in association with the CBC, and was described by its makers as "the definitive look at the diversity of our planet". It was also the first of its kind to be filmed entirely in high-definition. [cite web | url = | publisher BBC | title = BBC Press Office - Planet Earth | accessdate = 2007-03-13 | date = 2006-02-01] The series was nominated for the Pioneer Audience Award for Best Programme at the 2007 BAFTA TV awards. [ [ 2007 BAFTA Nominees for Pioneer Audience Award] ]

Broadcast details

Each programme has a running time of approximately 58 minutes. This includes "Planet Earth Diaries", a 10-minute featurette that details the filming of a particular event.

The show was heavily trailed on the BBC's television and radio channels both before and during its run. All eleven installments had a 9pm Sunday screening on BBC One and in most cases were followed by an early evening repeat the next Saturday on BBC Two. Besides being BBC One's featured "One to Watch" programme of the day, its ratings were consistently high, averaging between seven and nine million viewers for each Sunday transmission.

In the UK, the series was split into two parts. Episodes 1–5 were shown 5 March2 April 2006 with the remainder broadcast from 5 November 2006, following a further repeat run of part one on BBC Four. Part two premiered on Sundays at 9pm on both BBC One and BBC HD with a second repeat on BBC Four the following week. As a promotion for the autumn series, "Great Plains" received its first public showing at the Edinburgh International Television Festival on 26 August 2006. It was shown on a giant screen in Conference Square.

The music that was featured in the BBC trailers for the series is the track "Hoppípolla" from the album "Takk..." by Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós. Following the advertisements, interest was so widespread that the single was re-released. In Australia, however, it was replaced by "Jupiter", the fourth movement of Gustav Holst's orchestral suite "The Planets". The U.S. trailer featured different theme music: "The Time Has Come" from "Epic Score", composed by Gabriel Shadid and Tobias Marberger.

Along with its 2005 dramatisation of "Bleak House", the BBC selected "Planet Earth" for its trial of high-definition broadcasts. [cite web | url = | title = BBC steps up high-definition plan | publisher = BBC News | date = 2006-05-09 | accessdate = 2007-03-13] The opening episode was its first ever scheduled programme in the format, shown 27 May 2006 on BBC HD.

On 25 March 2007, the series began its run on American television on Discovery Channel, garnering massive ratings and critical acclaim. It was the most watched show on Discovery since "The Flight That Fought Back" on 11 September 2005. The show was broadcast on Sundays in one 3-hour block followed by four 2-hour blocks. It was also transmitted in high definition on the then Discovery HD Theater at the same time as its SD premiere; it then followed on The Science Channel and Animal Planet. However, it was heavily edited for time, commercials as well as content. Sigourney Weaver replaced David Attenborough as the narrator.


1. "From Pole to Pole"

: "Originally transmitted: 5 March 2006 (UK), 25 March 2007 (US)"

The first episode illustrates a 'journey' around the globe and reveals the effect of gradual climatic change and seasonal transitions en route. During Antarctica's winter, emperor penguins endure four months of darkness, with no food, in temperatures of –70°C. Meanwhile, as spring arrives in the Arctic, polar bear cubs take their first steps into a world of rapidly thawing ice. In northern Canada, the longest overland migration of any animal — over 2000 miles — is that of three million caribou, which are hunted by wolves, and one such pursuit is shown. The forests of eastern Russia are home to the Amur leopard: with a population of just 40 individuals, it is now the world's rarest cat. This is primarily because of the destruction of its habitat, and Attenborough states that it "symbolises the fragility of our natural heritage." However, in the tropics, the jungle that covers 3% of the planet's surface supports 50% of its animals. Also depicted is the one-second strike of a great white shark as it pounces on a seal, slowed down forty times. Other species shown include New Guinea's birds of paradise, African hunting dogs in their efficient pursuit of impala, elephants in Africa migrating towards the waters of the Okavango Delta, a seasonal bloom of life in the otherwise arid Kalahari Desert, and 300,000 migrating Baikal teal, containing the world's entire population of the species in one flock. The "Planet Earth Diaries" segment shows how the wild dog hunt was filmed unobtrusively with the aid of the "Heligimbal": a powerful, gyro-stabilised camera mounted beneath a helicopter.

2. "Mountains"

: "Originally transmitted: 12 March 2006 (UK), 25 March 2007 (US)"

The second instalment focuses on the mountains. All the main ranges are explored with extensive aerial photography. Ethiopia's Erta Ale is the longest continually erupting volcano — for over 100 years. On the nearby highlands, geladas (the only primate whose diet is almost entirely of grass) inhabit precipitous slopes nearly three miles up, in troops that are 800-strong: the most numerous of their kind. Alongside them live the critically endangered walia ibex, and both species take turns to act as lookout for predatory Ethiopian wolves. The Andes have the most volatile weather and guanacos are shown enduring a flash blizzard, along with an exceptional group sighting of the normally solitary puma. The Alpine summits are always snow-covered, apart from that of the Matterhorn, which is too sheer to allow it to settle. Grizzly bear cubs emerge from their den for the first time in the Rockies, while Himalayan inhabitants include rutting markhor, golden eagles that hunt migrating demoiselle cranes, and the rare snow leopard. At the eastern end of the range, the giant panda cannot hibernate due to its poor nutriment of bamboo and one of them cradles its week-old cub. Also shown is the Earth's biggest mountain glacier: the Baltoro in Pakistan, which is 43 miles long and visible from space. "Planet Earth Diaries" demonstrates the difficulty of obtaining the first ever close-up footage of the snow leopards: a process which took over a year.

3. "Fresh Water"

: "Originally transmitted: 19 March 2006 (UK), 15 April 2007 (US)"

Broadcast 19 March 2006, this programme describes the course taken by rivers and some of the species that take advantage of such a habitat. Only 3% of the world's water is fresh, yet all life is ultimately dependent on it. Its journey begins as a stream in the mountains, illustrated by Venezuela's Tepui, where there is a tropical downpour almost every day. It then travels hundreds of miles before forming rapids. With the aid of some expansive helicopter photography, one sequence demonstrates the vastness of Angel Falls, the world's highest free-flowing waterfall. Its waters drop unbroken for nearly 1,000 metres and are blown away as a mist before they reach the bottom. The erosive nature of rivers is shown by the Grand Canyon, created over five million years by the Colorado River. In Japan, the water is inhabited by the biggest amphibian, the two-metre long giant salamander, while in the northern hemisphere, salmon undertake the largest freshwater migration, and are hunted en route by grizzly bears. Also featured are smooth coated otters repelling mugger crocodiles and the latter's Nile cousin ambushing wildebeest as they cross the Mara River. Roseate spoonbills are numerous in the Pantanal and are prey to spectacled caiman. In addition, there are cichlids, piranhas, river dolphins and swimming crab-eating macaques. "Planet Earth Diaries" shows how a camera crew filmed a piranha feeding frenzy in Brazil — after a two-week search for the opportunity.

4. "Caves"

: "Originally transmitted: 26 March 2006 (UK), 22 April 2007 (US)"

This episode explores "planet earth's final frontier": the world of caves. At a depth of 400 metres, Mexico's Cave of Swallows is Earth's deepest pit cave freefall drop, allowing entry by skydivers. Its volume could contain New York City's Empire State Building. Also featured is Borneo's Deer Cave and Gomantong Cave. Inhabitants of the former include three million wrinkle-lipped bats, which have deposited guano on to an enormous mound. In Gomantong Cave, guano is many metres high and is blanketed with hundreds of thousands of cockroaches and other invertebrates. Also depicted are eyeless, subterranean creatures, such as the Texas blind salamander and ("bizarrely") a species of crab. Mexico's Cueva de Villa Luz is also featured, with its flowing stream of sulphuric acid and snottite formations made of living bacteria. A fish species, the Shortfin Molly ("Poecilia mexicana"), has adapted to this habitat. The programme ends in New Mexico's Lechuguilla Cave (discovered in 1986) where sulphuric acid has produced unusually ornate, gypsum crystal formations. "Planet Earth Diaries" reveals how a camera team spent a month among the cockroaches on the guano mound in Gomantong Cave and describes the logistics required to photograph Lechuguilla. Permission for the latter took two years and local authorities are unlikely to allow another visit.

5. "Deserts"

: "Originally transmitted: 2 April 2006 (UK), 1 April 2007 (US)"

This instalment features the harsh environment that covers one third of the Earth: the deserts. Due to Siberian winds, Mongolia's Gobi Desert reaches extremes of temperature like no other, ranging from –40°C to +50°C. It is home to the rare Bactrian camel, which eats snow to maintain its fluid level and must limit itself to 10 litres a day if it is not to prove fatal. Africa's Sahara is the size of the USA, and just one of its severe dust storms could cover the whole of Great Britain. While some creatures, such as the dromedary, take them in their stride, for others the only escape from such bombardments is to bury themselves in the sand. Few rocks can resist them either and the outcrops shown in Egypt's White Desert are being inexorably eroded. The biggest dunes (300 metres high) are to be found in Namibia, while other deserts featured are the Atacama in Chile, the Sonoran in Arizona, and areas of the Australian outback and Utah. Animals shown surviving in such an unforgiving habitat include elephants, lions (hunting oryx), red kangaroos (which moisten their forelegs with saliva to keep cool), nocturnal fennec foxes, acrobatic flat lizards feeding on black flies, and duelling Nubian ibex. The final sequence illustrates one of nature's most fearsome spectacles: a billion-strong plague of desert locusts, destroying all vegetation in its path. "Planet Earth Diaries" explains how the hunt for the elusive Bactrian camels necessitated a two-month trek in Mongolia.

6. "Ice Worlds"

: "Originally transmitted: 5 November 2006 (UK), 1 April 2007 (US)"

The sixth programme looks at the regions of the Arctic and Antarctica. The latter contains 90% of the world's ice, and stays largely deserted until the spring, when visitors arrive to harvest its waters. Snow petrels take their place on nunataks and begin to court, but are preyed on by South Polar skuas. During summer, a pod of humpback whales hunt krill by creating a spiralling net of bubbles. The onset of winter sees the journey of emperor penguins to their breeding grounds, 100 miles inland. Their eggs transferred to the males for safekeeping, the females return to the ocean while their partners huddle into large groups to endure the extreme cold. At the northern end of the planet, Arctic residents include musk oxen, who are hunted by Arctic foxes and wolves. A female polar bear and her two cubs head off across the ice to look for food. As the sun melts the ice, a glimpse of the Earth's potential future reveals a male polar bear that is unable to find a firm footing anywhere and has to resort to swimming — which it cannot do indefinitely. Its desperate need to eat brings it to a colony of walrus. Although it attacks repeatedly, the herd is successful in evading it by returning to the sea. Wounded and unable to feed, the bear will not survive. Meanwhile, back in Antarctica, the eggs of the emperor penguins finally hatch. "Planet Earth Diaries" tells of the battle with the elements to obtain the penguin footage and of unwelcome visits from polar bears.

7. "Great Plains"

: "Originally transmitted: 12 November 2006 (UK), 8 April 2007 (US)"

This episode deals with savanna, steppe, tundra, prairie, and looks at the importance and resilience of grasses in such treeless ecosystems. Their vast expanses contain the largest concentration of animal life. In Outer Mongolia, a herd of Mongolian gazelle flee a bush fire and has to move on to new grazing, but grass can repair itself rapidly and soon reappears. On the Arctic tundra during spring, millions of migratory snow geese arrive to breed and their young are preyed on by Arctic foxes. Meanwhile, time-lapse photography depicts moving herds of caribou as a calf is brought down by a chasing wolf. On the North American prairie, bison engage in the ritual to establish the dominant males. The Tibetan Plateau is the highest of the plains and despite its relative lack of grass, animals do survive there, including yak and wild ass. However, the area's most numerous resident is the pika, whose nemesis is the Tibetan fox. In tropical India, the tall grasses hide some of the largest creatures and also the smallest, such as the pygmy hog. The final sequence depicts the African savannah and elephants that are forced to share a waterhole with a pride of thirty lions. The insufficient water makes it an uneasy alliance and the latter gain the upper hand during the night when their hunger drives them to hunt and eventually kill one of the pachyderms. "Planet Earth Diaries" explains how the lion hunt was filmed in darkness using infrared light.

8. "Jungles"

: "Originally transmitted: 19 November 2006 (UK), 15 April 2007 (US)"

The next instalment examines jungles and tropical rainforests. These environments occupy only 3% of the land yet are home to over half of the world's species. New Guinea is inhabited by almost 40 kinds of birds of paradise, which avoid conflict with each other by living in different parts of the island. Some of their elaborate courtship displays are shown. Within the dense forest canopy, sunlight is prized, and the death of a tree triggers a race by saplings to fill the vacant space. Figs are a widespread and popular food, and as many as 44 types of bird and monkey have been observed picking from a single tree. The sounds of the jungle throughout the day are explored, from the early morning calls of siamangs and orangutans to the nocturnal cacophony of courting tree frogs. The importance of fungi to the rainforest is illustrated by a sequence of them fruiting, including a parasite called cordyceps. The mutual benefits of the relationship between carnivorous pitcher plants and red crab spiders is also discussed. In the Congo, roaming forest elephants are shown reaching a clearing to feed on essential clay minerals within the mud. Finally, chimpanzees are one of the few jungle animals able to traverse both the forest floor and the canopy in search of food. In Uganda, members of a 150-strong community of the primates mount a raid into neighbouring territory in order to gain control of it. "Planet Earth Diaries" looks at filming displaying birds of paradise, focusing mainly on the filming of the Six-plumed Bird of Paradise.

9. "Shallow Seas"

: "Originally transmitted: 26 November 2006 (UK), 8 April 2007 (US)"

This programme is devoted to the shallow seas that fringe the world's continents. Although they constitute 8% of the oceans, they contain most marine life. As humpback whales return to breeding grounds in the tropics, a mother and its calf are followed. While the latter takes in up to 500 litres of milk a day, its parent will starve until it travels back to the poles to feed — and it must do this while it still has sufficient energy left for the journey. The coral reefs of Indonesia are home to the biggest variety of ocean dwellers. Examples include banded sea kraits, which ally themselves with goatfish and trevally in order to hunt. In Western Australia, dolphins 'hydroplane' in the shallowest waters to catch a meal, while in Bahrain, 100,000 Socotra cormorants rely on shamals that blow sand grains into the nearby Persian Gulf, transforming it into a rich fishing ground. The appearance of algae in the spring starts a food chain that leads to an abundant harvest, and sea lions and dusky dolphins are among those taking advantage of it. In Southern Africa, as chokka squid are preyed on by short-tail stingray, the Cape fur seals that share the waters are hunted by the world's largest predatory fish: the great white shark. On Marion Island in the Indian Ocean, a group of king penguins must cross a beach occupied by fur seals that do not hesitate to attack them. "Planet Earth Diaries" shows the difficulties of filming the one-second strike of a great white shark.

10. "Seasonal Forests"

: "Originally transmitted: 3 December 2006 (UK), 22 April 2007 (US)"

The penultimate episode surveys the coniferous and deciduous seasonal woodland habitats — the most extensive forests on Earth. Conifers begin sparsely in the Arctic but soon dominate the land, and the taiga circles the globe, containing a third of all the Earth's trees. Few creatures can survive the Arctic climate all year round, but the moose and wolverine are exceptions. 1600 kilometres to the south, on the Pacific coast of North America, conifers have reached their full potential. These include some of the world's tallest trees: the redwoods. Here, a pine marten is shown stalking a squirrel, and great grey owl chicks take their first flight. Further south still, in the Valdivian forests of Chile, a population of smaller animals exist, including the pudú and the kodkod. During spring in a European broad-leaved forest, a mandarin duck leads its day-old family to leap from its tree trunk nest to the leaf litter below. On a summer night on North America's east coast, periodical cicadas emerge en masse to mate — an event that occurs every seventeen years. After revisiting Russia's Amur leopards in winter, a timelapse sequence illustrates the effect of the ensuing spring on the deciduous forest floor. In India's teak forests, a langur monkey strays too far from the chital that act as its sentinels and falls prey to a tiger. "Planet Earth Diaries" explains how aerial shots of the baobab were achieved by the use of a cinebulle, an adapted hot air balloon.

11. "Ocean Deep"

: "Originally transmitted: 10 December 2006 (UK), 25 March 2007 (US)"

The final instalment concentrates on the most unexplored area of the planet: the deep ocean. It begins with a whale shark used as a shield by a shoal of bait fish to protect themselves from yellowfin tuna. Also shown is an oceanic whitetip shark trailing rainbow runners. Meanwhile, a 500-strong school of dolphins head for the Azores, where they work together to feast on scad mackerel. Down in the ocean's furthest reaches, some creatures defy classification. On the sea floor, scavengers such as the spider crab bide their time, awaiting carrion from above. The volcanic mountain chain at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean also sustains life through the bacteria that surround its sulphide vents. There are thought to be around 30,000 undersea volcanoes, some of them taller than Mount Everest. Their sheer cliffs provide anchorage for several corals and sponges. Nearer the surface, the currents that surround these seamounts force nutrients up from below and thus marine life around them is abundant. Off the Mexican coast, a large group of sailfish encircle another shoal of bait fish. The hunters change colour as a message of their intentions, since an attack could also be fatal to others of their number. The last sequence depicts the largest animal on Earth: the blue whale, of which 300,000 once roamed the world's oceans. Now fewer than 3% remain. "Planet Earth Diaries" shows the search in the Bahamas for oceanic whitetip sharks.

"Planet Earth: The Future"

The latter episodes were supplemented by "Planet Earth: The Future", a series of three 60-minute films that highlight the conservation issues surrounding some of the featured species and environments. The programmes are narrated by Simon Poland and the series producer was Fergus Beeley. The series began transmission on BBC Four after the ninth episode, "Shallow Seas".cite web | url = | title = BBC Press Office - Planet Earth Part Two | publisher = BBC | date = 2006-10-12 | accessdate = 2007-03-13]

1. "Saving Species"

Broadcast 26 November 2006, the first programme asks if there really is an extinction crisis facing certain species. Alastair Fothergill, series producer of "Planet Earth", admits that making the series was a bittersweet experience since some creatures were filmed with the knowledge that their continued existence is under threat. David Attenborough believes that conservation of the natural world is something that can unite humanity if people know enough about it. Cameraman Martyn Colbeck relates that every single day during a six-week African visit to film for "Jungles", he and his crew were awakened by the sound of gunshots. Poaching can quickly wipe out a population, and David Greer of the WWF explains that in 2005 his team confiscated 70 guns in the area — a 700% increase from 1999 . Other featured animals at risk include the walia ibex, the snow leopard, the boto, and saiga antelope. The attack of a polar bear on a walrus colony on dry land in "Ice Worlds" was a rare occurrence. Footage is shown from a BBC "Wildlife Special" made ten years ago that show the bears hunting smaller prey on frozen ice. Species have always become extinct, but now, the viewer is told, the rate of extinction is accelerating and it will "really reach biblical proportions within a few decades." Mankind is urged to respect biodiversity: it is estimated that if a monetary value could be put on all that the world's ecosystems do for humanity, it would total some US$ 30 trillion.

2. "Into the Wilderness"

Broadcast 3 December 2006, the second part looks at man's potential effect on the world's areas of wilderness. As the human population has grown, only a quarter of Earth's land now remains uninhabited (aside from Antarctica). Although around 12% is protected, this may be enough — providing such places are not just 'enclosures' and bordering territories are also managed. Ethiopia's Semien Mountains are increasingly encroached upon for farming land, and this example leads to the question of overpopulation. Some interviewees argue that it is not just about numbers: how humans consume their resources is also important. However, others believe that the world would be greatly more sustainable if the population level was reduced to about half its current level. Jonathon Porritt believes that this could be achieved simply: by good education on family planning. Consumption of fresh water is highlighted: there are now 40,000 more dams in existence than in 1950. The controversy over drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is discussed by both its advocates and opponents. Biophelia is also examined, and David Attenborough believes that a child's innate love of wildlife, for whatever reason, is being lost in adulthood. An answer to deforestation is found in Costa Rica, where farmers are paid to allow their pasture to revert to forest for its water services. The programme also deals with climate change, which is now happening at a faster rate than ever before.

3. "Living Together"

Broadcast 10 December 2006, the last programme deals with the future of conservation. It begins by looking at previous efforts. The 'Save the Whale' campaign, which started in the 1960s, is seen to have had a limited effect, as whaling continues and fish stocks also decline. In the 1990s, as head of the Kenya Wildlife Service, Richard Leakey took on the poachers by employing armed units. Although it was successful in saving elephants, the policy was detrimental to the Maasai people, who were forced from their land. The need for "fortress" areas is questioned, and the recently highlighted Raja Ampat coral reef in Indonesia is an example. The more tourism it generates, the greater the potential for damage — and inevitable coastal construction. Sustainable development is viewed as controversial, and one contributor perceives it to currently be a "contradiction in terms". Trophy hunting is also contentious. Those that support it argue that it generates wealth for local economies, while its opponents point to the reducing numbers of species such as the markhor. Ecotourism is shown to be beneficial, as it is in the interests of its providers to protect their environments. However, in some areas, such as the Borneo rainforests, the great diversity of species is being replaced by monocultures. The role of both religion and the media in conservation is argued to be extremely important. Contributors to the programme admit a degree of worry about the future, but also optimism.

DVD and books

right|thumb|"Planet Earth" DVD© BBC

A five-disc DVD boxed set of the complete series (BBCDVD1883) was released in the UK for regions 2 and 4 (PAL) on 27 November, 2006. It is presented in 5.1-channel Dolby Digital surround sound and video. The bonus features include "Planet Earth Diaries" (ten minutes of behind-the-scenes footage for each episode, as on their original broadcasts) and "Planet Earth: The Future", [cite web |url= | |title=Planet Earth DVD Box Set |accessdate=2007-03-13] the three documentaries as detailed above.

2 entertain, which publishes and distributes BBC programming on DVD, produced four-disc high-definition versions of "Planet Earth" on Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD in the US. The boxed sets were released on 24 April 2007, just after the series ended its run on the Discovery Channel.cite web | url = | title = "Planet Earth" (BD & HD DVD) in April | publisher = DVD Times | accessdate = 2007-03-13] Both the Blu-ray and HD DVD versions feature high-definition transfers (in 1080p resolution, although these releases are labelled as 1080i on the back cover of the packing) of the original UK broadcast, as narrated by David Attenborough — even though the US Discovery Channel broadcast featured Sigourney Weaver as its narrator. The Blu-ray set contains four single-layer BD-25 discs, [cite web |url= |title=Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series (Blu-ray) |accessdate=2007-06-29 |date=2007-04-24 |] while the HD DVD set uses four dual-layer HD DVD-30 discs. [cite web |url= |title=Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series (HD DVD) |accessdate=2007-06-29 |date=2007-04-24 |] Except for a small amount of extremely hard-to-obtain footage, [This information can be found on the back of the American HD boxed sets,] the series was originally filmed entirely in high definition. [cite web |url= |title=Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series: DVD |accessdate=2007-06-29 |date=2007-04-24 |] However, the high-definition releases omit the extra disc of bonus features that is present on the standard-definition boxed set. [cite web |url= |title=Planet Earth: The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Review |accessdate=2007-06-29 |last=Iverson |first=Dan |coauthors=Christopher Monfette |date=2007-06-20 |publisher=IGN DVD] The Blu-ray region B boxed set and HD DVD boxed set (as sold in countries such as the UK and New Zealand [cite web |url= |title=Planet Earth: Complete BBC Series (Blu-Ray) |accessdate=2008-02-22 |date=2007-11-12 |] ) includes a fifth disc containing two episodes from the BBC "Natural World" series, "Desert Lions" and "Snow Leopard: Beyond the Myth". It is not known exactly why the standard definition and high-definition versions have this differing content but given that the "Natural World" content is in 1080i it is hypothesised that the "Planet Earth Diaries" and "Planet Earth: The Future" were filmed in standard definition only, and that there was an intention to avoid standard definition material where possible in the Blu-ray release.

Regardless, all iterations of the series on home video have sold extremely well: as of June 29 2007, the HD DVD and Blu-ray sets ranked twelfth and fourteenth, respectively, on's [ DVD Bestsellers List] , while the DVD boxed set was at number one.
BBC Books has issued three publications. The accompanying book, written by Alastair Fothergill with a foreword by David Attenborough, was published in hardback on 5 October, 2006 (ISBN 0-563-52212-7). In addition, a 'behind the scenes' paperback, "Planet Earth: The Making of an Epic Series" by David Nicholson-Lord, was published on 9 March, 2006 (ISBN 0-563-49358-5). A second paperback, a companion to "Planet Earth: The Future" edited by Fergus Beeley and Rosamund Kidman Cox with a foreword by Jonathon Porritt, was also published on October 5, 2006 (ISBN 0-563-53905-4).


On November 20 2006 a CD was released with a compilation of the incidental music in "Planet Earth". The two-disc set was split between parts one and two of the series as originally transmitted. The music was composed by George Fenton and performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Infobox Album | Name = Planet Earth
Type = Soundtrack
Artist = George Fenton

Released = November 20, 2006
Recorded =
Genre = Soundtrack
Length = 2:12:00
Label = EMI
Producer = BBC
Reviews =
Last album =
This album = "Planet Earth"

Next album = |

Disc 1

Disc 2


The BBC pre-sold the series to several overseas broadcasters. [cite web | url = | publisher = BBC | title = BBC Press Office - New Zealand and Scandinavian pre-sales for "Planet Earth" | date = 2005-04-11 | accessdate = 2007-03-13] Among them are:

* ABC, Australia
* ORF, Austria
* CBC, Canada
* Vive! HD, Chile
* HRT, Croatia
* DR, Denmark
* NRK, Norway
* YLE, Finland
* WDR, Germany
* TVB Pearl and TVB HD Jade, Hong Kong SAR
* RÚV, Iceland
* Discovery Channel, India
* Israel Broadcasting Authority (Channel 1), Israel
* KBS, Republic of Korea
* Prime Television, New Zealand
* TVP1, Poland
* SIC, Portugal
* C1R, Russia
* MediaCorp TV12 Arts Central, Singapore
* Slovenská televízia, Slovakia
* RTVSLO, Slovenia
* SVT, Sweden
* NTV, Turkey

The series was eventually sold to 130 countries."Radio Times": 4 November10 November 2006]

In addition, BBC Worldwide and Greenlight Media secured financing for a $15m film version of "Planet Earth", to be distributed in several territories. This follows the earlier success of a theatrical edition of "The Blue Planet", entitled "Deep Blue". [cite web | url = | title = BBC Press Office - "Planet Earth" set for movie release | publisher = BBC | date = 2005-02-28 | accessdate = 2007-03-13] "Earth" was directed by Alastair Fothergill and Mark Winfield; it is of 90 minutes' duration and was released in autumn 2007.

US broadcast

In the USA, the series was broadcast on the Discovery Channel and in high-definition on Discovery HD Theater in 2007. The episodes were shown in a different order to the original, as follows:

# "From Pole To Pole": 25 March2007 at 8pm ET
# "Mountains": 25 March at 9pm ET
# "Deep Ocean": 25 March at 10pm ET
# "Deserts": 1 April at 8pm ET
# "Ice Worlds": 1 April at 9pm ET
# "Shallow Seas": 8 April at 8pm ET
# "Great Plains": 8 April at 9pm ET
# "Jungles": 15 April at 8pm ET
# "Fresh Water": 15 April at 9pm ET
# "Seasonal Forests": 22 April at 8pm ET
# "Caves": 22 April at 9pm ET
* "The Making of Planet Earth": 29 April at 8pm ET

The U.S. version also features a new narrator: award-winning actress and conservationist Sigourney Weaver. The Discovery Channel DVD, Blu-ray, and HD DVD release contain this new narration, but the BBC's DVD, Blu-ray and HD DVD releases in the USA feature the original version with David Attenborough as narrator. In addition, the "Planet Earth Diaries" segment was retitled "Capturing the Shot" in the Discovery Channel version. This will not air on the Canadian Discovery Channel, as it is owned by CTV and the Canadian rights were exclusively sold to CBC. [ [ The Washington Post: Tom Shales - Wonders Never Cease on "Planet Earth"] ]

Furthermore, the U.S. version includes different theme music: "The Time Has Come" from [ Epic Score] , composed by Gabriel Shadid and Tobias Marberger.cite web | url = | title = "Planet Earth" trailer]

"Time" magazine's James Poniewozik named it one of the Top 10 New TV Series of 2007, ranking it at #4. [ [,30583,1686204_1686244_1691350,00.html Poniewozik, James; Top 10 New TV Series;] ]


External links

* [ "Planet Earth"] at
* [ Alastair Fothergill discusses "Planet Earth"] , "The Times"
* [ Discovery Channel website]
* [,+by+L.A.-based+composer/mixer+Gabriel+Shadid+and+Swedish+promo+music+composer+Tobias+Marberger%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us Trailer mixing and music]
* [ Planet Earth (TV series) Trailer]

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