Saving Planet Earth

Saving Planet Earth

Infobox nature documentary
bgcolour =
show_name = Saving Planet Earth

caption = Promotional image
picture_format = 16:9 (anamorphic)
audio_format = Stereo
runtime = Varies
creator = BBC Natural History Unit
developer =
producer = Paul Appleby, Lucy Bowden
executive_producer = Sara Ford
presented = Alan Titchmarsh, David Attenborough
narrated =
music =
country = United Kingdom
language = English
network =
first_run = BBC One, BBC Two & CBBC
first_aired = 24 June
last_aired = 6 July 2007
num_episodes = 10
website =
imdb_id =
tv_com_id =

"Saving Planet Earth" is a season of nature documentaries with a conservation theme, screened on BBC Television in 2007 to mark the 50th anniversary of its specialist factual department, the BBC Natural History Unit.


The format of "Saving Planet Earth" was something of a departure for the Unit, using celebrities not normally associated with natural history programmes rather than selecting a familiar face from its pool of specialists.

The season began with a special hour-long programme on BBC One entitled "Sharing Planet Earth", a clarion call for action to conserve nature, presented by David Attenborough. It was followed by nine documentaries broadcast nightly over the course of a fortnight, in which celebrities investigated the plight of endangered species. Each programme was introduced by Alan Titchmarsh and featured a short narration by Attenborough to provide some background information on the featured species.

Along with the BBC One programmes, a five-part series entitled "Saving Planet Earth - UK" was broadcast in parallel on BBC Two. Presented by Michaela Strachan, it aimed to show audiences the threats facing British wildlife, and how they could help by becoming directly involved in conservation.

A second five-part series on the CBBC Channel followed seven young competition winners on their own personal journeys to destinations including Brazil and Borneo to report on threatened species.

The season culminated with a live fundraising evening to raise money for a newly-established conservation charity, the BBC Wildlife Fund.


1. Sharing Planet Earth

The opening programme, presented by David Attenborough and featuring footage from many of his earlier series and some of the BBC's most successful natural history productions, takes a global view of the threats facing wildlife. Attenborough ponders the question of whether there is enough space and resources to accommodate the rapidly growing human population and all of the other species on our planet, and poses that we will need to change our wasteful ways if we are not to lose a significant number of species to extinction.

2. Saving Gorillas

In the first of nine 30-minute films focussing on particular threatened species, pop star Will Young travels to Cameroon to report on the plight of the lowland gorilla. Although more numerous than its mountain-dwelling cousins, its numbers are declining fast due to habitat loss and poaching.

3. Saving Tigers

Tigers have been a protected species for many years, but despite this they are increasingly threatened by extinction due to poaching and increasing conflict with humans. But can the spiritual and deeply felt respect for tigers held by ordinary Indians offer a lifeline for the species? Newsreader Fiona Bruce reports from Bandhavgarh National Park, where acclaimed wildlife cameraman and tiger expert Alphonse Roy has been watching and filming them for 20 years.

4. Saving Crocodiles

DJ Edith Bowman travels 6,000 miles to Cambodia on the trail of the very rare Siamese crocodile, which was hunted to brink of extinction. Now, conservation charities working in partnership with the Cambodian government have established a crocodile farm to increase numbers..

5. Saving Albatross

Carol Thatcher flies to the Falkland Islands to find out why the black-browed albatross and its relatives are under threat. Albatross numbers have plummeted in recent years due to long-line fishing practices.

6. Saving Rhinos

Former England cricketer Phil Tufnell reports from Assam in India, one of the last remaining homes of the Indian rhinoceros. Fewer than 2,000 are left in the wild due to poaching for their horns.

7. Saving Wolves

In the southern part of the Ethiopian Highlands, a remote mountain region and the last home of the Ethiopian wolf, Graham Norton discovers that encroachments by the ever-expanding human population is threatening the wolf's survival.

8. Saving Elephants

Adrenaline junkie Jack Osbourne journeys to northern Namibia to investigate the plight of the desert elephant. Although saved from extinction by the banning of the ivory trade, the desert elephants now face a new threat. Local people once roamed the land as migrants, but their recent conversion to farming has brought them into conflict with elephants over precious resources.

9. Saving Turtles

Of the seven remaining species of sea turtle, six are serious threatened with extinction. Saira Khan travels to Sri Lanka, one of the best places in the world to see turtles, but even here commercial fishing practices and pressure on the turtles' nesting beaches are driving numbers down.

10. Saving Orangutans

TV presenter Nick Knowles reports from Borneo, where orangutan numbers are being decimated due to the deforestation of the island and the growth of palm plantations. He visits a sanctuary where more than 600 orphaned young apes are cared for. Their mothers are usually killed by plantation workers, because the orangutans are attracted to the palms for food and can damage the crops. Their young are taken for the pet trade or are simply left to die, but those lucky enough to be rescued are brought to the sanctuary. Now, it simply can't cope with the number of apes being brought in and desperately needs extra funds. This programme was incorporated into the live fundraising broadcast (see below).

11. Saving Planet Earth - Live

The series culminated in a live fundraising event broadcast from Kew Gardens, hosted by Titchmarsh and featuring interviews with many of the BBC’s natural history presenters, including Attenborough, Strachan, Bill Oddie, Kate Humble, Simon King, Steve Leonard, Jonathan Scott, Chris Packham and Charlotte Uhlenbroek. A registered charity, the BBC Wildlife Fund, was established to direct funds raised by the programmes to conservation charities in the field to help save the featured animals, and other species, from extinction. During the summer of 2007, "Saving Planet Earth" enabled the Fund to raise £1.5 million for wildlife conservation. [ [ BBC Saving Planet Earth: About Us] ]

External links

* [ BBC] - official website


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