Sir David Attenborough making major new UK wildlife series for BBC

Sir David Attenborough will present a new nature series about the UK. (BBC)
Sir David Attenborough will present a new nature series about the UK. (BBC)

Sir David Attenborough is set to explore the natural landscape a little closer to home for his next series, Wild Isles, which will focus on UK wildlife.

The major new BBC One natural history series will span five episodes and promises to "do for the wildlife of Britain and Ireland what the Planet series have done for the wildlife of the world".

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Natural history broadcaster Sir David has teamed up with The Open University, the WWF and the RSPB, filming over three years and using the latest technology to capture never-before-seen aspects of UK wildlife's behaviour.

From battling butterflies to hunting sea eagles and killer whales, it shows a dramatic side to our native wildlife that many viewers may not expect.

A puffin at Skomer Island off the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales. (BBC)
A puffin at Skomer Island off the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales. (BBC)

Sir David said: “In my long lifetime, I have travelled to almost every corner of our planet. I can assure you that in the British Isles, as well as astonishing scenery there are extraordinary animal dramas and wildlife spectacles to match anything I have seen on my global travels.”

The first episode will introduce why the wildlife and landscape of the British Isles is so globally important, with the next four episodes exploring a different environment each time - woodlands, grasslands, freshwater and marine.

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Britain and Ireland have some of the most diverse and beautiful landscapes on Earth, including more ancient oak trees than the rest of Europe and vitally important wildflower meadows, but it's also increasingly fragile, as the WWF and RSPB explained.

Beccy Speight, chief executive of the RSPB, said: “Wild Isles will be essential viewing at a time when we are facing into a nature and climate emergency. Showcasing the UK’s spectacular places and wonderful wildlife gives us a powerful platform to build the broadest and most diverse movement for nature there’s ever been.”

Sir David Attenborough in the Mojave Desert
Sir David Attenborough usually explores more far-flung landscapes. (BBC)

Tanya Steele, chief executive of WWF, added: “The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world – we need to change that. Our aim is that this stunning series featuring some of our best loved species will inspire people to take action to safeguard and restore nature for future generations.”

Viewers will see puffins in Northumberland, horses in Cambridgeshire, blue fin tuna off the coast of Cornwall, and even a broomstick-riding bee in Dorset, with time-lapse photography showing the passing of the seasons.

View along the coast from Pentewan, Cornwall, UK. (Photo by: Nik Taylor/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Find out more about the nature on our doorsteps. (Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Executive producer Alastair Fothergill said: “I have always wanted to make a landmark series that really does justice to our own extraordinary wildlife. I am sure people will be amazed at what is happening right on their own doorstep.”

Jack Bootle, head of commissioning, science and natural history, added: “You’ll think a meadow in Somerset is as beautiful as the Serengeti, and the North Atlantic as wild and dramatic as the Antarctic Ocean.’’

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