BBC Worldwide preps “Planet Earth II” for pre-sales

As the annual BBC Worldwide Showcase kicked off in Liverpool, England, on Monday (February 22), the commercial arm of the BBC has outlined a number of pre-sale deals for its highly anticipated natural history series. (Pictured: Planet Earth II)
February 22, 2016

As the annual BBC Worldwide Showcase kicked off in Liverpool, England, on Monday (February 22), the commercial arm of the BBC has outlined a number of pre-sale deals for its highly anticipated coproduction between BBC America, ZDF and France Télévisions.

The 6 x 50-minute and 1 x 50-minute Planet Earth II (pictured), which comes 10 years after the critically mini-series Planet Earth, has been licensed to Sweden’s SVT and Denmark pubcaster DR, as well as Italian broadcaster Mediaset, who will serve as an “in association with” partner in Italy.

The Sir David Attenborough-narrated series, which was previously known as One Planet, will utilize the latest advances in filming technology – such as Ultra HD – to explore Earth’s jungles, deserts, mountains, islands, grasslands and cities, while revealing the characteristic animals living within them.

Mike Gunton serves as executive producer on the series, with Tom Hugh-Jones as series producer.

“It will be a truly immersive experience, providing audiences with a unique perspective on the most extraordinary places and animals on our planet,” said Gunton, executive producer for BBC Natural History Unit, in a statement.

The broadcaster’s Natural History Unit is also behind a stable of series that include the Paul Bradshaw- and Jo Shinner-made Seasonal Wonderlands (3 x 50 minutes; BBC), which reveals how various wildlife cope with transformation; The Great Race (3 x 50 minutes; BBC and PBS in association with Mediaset), which shadows three animal migrations; and Weird Wonders of the World (8 x 50 minutes; BBC), which exposes animal oddities, inclement weather and natural phenomena.

The BBC’s natural history slate will also include Wild New Zealand (3 x 50 minutes; a BBC, Doclights and National Geographic Channels coproduction), documenting the island country’s wildlife stories; and Life in the Air (3 x 50 minutes; BBC and PBS), tracing the lives of winged animals through cutting-edge filming technology.

Leading the British pubcaster’s science slate is Forces of Nature (4 x 50 minutes/4 x 60 minutes; BBC and PBS, co-produced by France Télévisions), which investigates the causes for Earth’s beauty and what makes the world work; City in the Sky (3 x 50 minutes; BBC and PBS), revealing the engineering feats of the aviation industry; and How to Stay Young (2 x 50 minutes; BBC), which challenges what experts know of aging.

The BBC will also broadcast previously announced documentaries David Beckham: For the Love of the Game (1 x 90 minutes; Big Earth); The Queen at Ninety (1 x 90; Oxford Film & Television for ITV in association with Smithsonian Channel); lifestyle series Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week (6 x 50 minutes; BBC); and history program The Story of China (6 x 50 minutes; Maya Vision International and PBS), which chronicles historian Michael Wood as he travels across China to explore the superpower’s landscapes, people, stories and cultures from the ancient past to present day.

Elsewhere, BBC1 Daytime has commissioned the tentatively titled quiz show The Code from Gogglebox Entertainment.

Hosted by presenters Matt Allwright and Lesley-Anne Brewis, the trivia series will see individual contestants, or in groups of two or three, answering questions to crack a three-digit code that will open a locked safe filled with £3,000 (CAD$5,800). The pot grows by £500 each time a player is eliminated for answering incorrectly.

The 25 x 45-minute series, which is expected to broadcast across the channel this spring, was commissioned by Dan McGolpin, controller of BBC Daytime, and Alex McLeod, BBC1 commissioning editor.

Gogglebox’s Adam Wood serves as executive producer, with Sean Miller series producing.

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Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.