Blue Planet II is a nature documentary series produced by the BBC which was show in late 2017. It was preceded by the original Blue Planet series in 2001, with both series being narrated by the world-renowned naturalist and conservationist Sir David Attenborough. The filming of the series took several years with the eight episodes (seven in the regular series plus a New Year’s Day special) being created from around 6,000 hours of footage which was filmed around the world.
Each episode is based around a specific theme such as the deep sea (episode 2), the open ocean (episode 4) or coasts (episode 6). Every episode covers a wide range of different creatures, with the series looking a predatory fish species and the smaller fish they prey on, squid and cuttlefish, whales, seals, marine birds and smaller invertebrates. Indeed, with the range of filming locations covering the entire globe a huge range of different species are covered by this programme.
Almost all of the footage used in Blue Planet II is stunning. In the deep sea episode the strangest and most unusual of deep sea creatures are captured on film, while other episodes include amazing footage of other marine environments. Memorable moments in the series include giant trevallies leaping from the water to catch birds, a female Asian sheepshead wrasse changing sex into a male, an octopus covering itself in shells to hide from a predator, a giant march of spider crabs and a tusk fish managing to smash open a shell to feed on its contents.
Those of a more scientific mindset may feel that some moments come dangerously close to anthropomorphising creatures, such as the two shrimps trapped inside a sea sponge which are depicted as being ‘in love.’ However, this is a minor criticism of series which will appeal to anyone who has any interest in any aspect of the seas, oceans and marine environment.
It is to the immense credit of the makers of Blue Planet II that the series does not shy away from the impact that humans are having on the world’s seas and oceans. Issues such as plastic pollution, coral bleaching, commercial fishing, ocean acidification and the issue of human-caused marine noise are described directly, and it is made clear to the viewer that human actions are having a hugely destructive impact on the health of the oceans. While the final episode of the regular series concentrates on these issues they are tied into the other episodes as well, and it is made clear that major changes in human behaviour must be made otherwise the damage and destruction of the world’s marine ecosystems will continue.
Despite the serious messages contained in Blue Planet II it is a fascinating series which has clearly had massive appeal, as it was the most watched programme on British television in 2017, and was also voted as the critics best programme of the year.
It can only be a good thing that so many people are watching a programme that gets the message across that the world’s seas and oceans are in trouble due to human activities.
Blue Planet II can be bought on DVD from Amazon by clicking here.