Docs

BBC unveils new natural history slate

UK pubcaster BBC has unveiled a new slate of natural history commissions to air on BBC1 and BBC2. Airing on BBC1 are Big Cats and Jumbo: The Life of an Elephant ...
September 26, 2017

UK pubcaster BBC has unveiled a new slate of natural history commissions to air on BBC1 and BBC2.

Airing on BBC1 are Big Cats and Jumbo: The Life of an Elephant Superstar (both working titles).

A 3 x 60-minute docuseries, Big Cats (pictured) celebrates large feline species and looks to hone into their social patterns. The series employs a range of shooting equipment — including a military-grade thermal camera and a stabilized slow-motion camera mounted on an all-terrain buggy — to capture footage of particularly elusive species.

Big Cats was commissioned by Charlotte Moore and Tom McDonald, and is a BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit Production for BBC and PBS, co-produced with France Télévisions. Mike Gunton is executive producer, and Gavin Boyland is series producer.

On Jumbo (1 x 60), David Attenborough explores the life and death of the elephant that inspired Disney’s 1941 feature animated film Dumbo. Working with a team of scientists, conservationists and elephant experts, Attenborough looks to investigate the animal’s living conditions in both the London Zoo and Barnum’s circus in the US, and to examine how attitudes towards captive elephants have shifted in the years since his tragic death.

Jumbo was commissioned by Charlotte Moore and Craig Hunter. It was produced by Humble Bee Films and Infield Fly Productions for BBC and CBC. Stephen Dunleavy and Dugald Maudsley serve as executive producers.

Meanwhile, BBC Two will premiere First Year on Earth, T Rex and Wild Cities.

First Year on Earth (3 x 60) will chronicle the first year in the lives of six animal babies: a leopard cub, a baby mountain gorilla, an infant African elephant, a baby toque macaque, a black bear cub and a sea otter pup.

The series is a BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit Production for BBC and PBS, and was commissioned by Patrick Holland and Craig Hunter. Rupert Barrington is executive producer and Dominic Weston is series producer.

T Rex (1 x 60) follows naturalist Chris Packham as he looks to investigate how the Tyrannosaurus rex has been misrepresented in popular culture. Drawing on the knowledge of international experts, and boasting access to “Tristan,” the fullest Tyrannosaurus rex fossil in the world, Packham presents a CGI representation of the mythologized dinosaur.

Commissioned by Patrick Holland and Diene Petterle, the event is a co-production between Talesmith and Cineflex. Martin Williams serves as executive producer.

Finally, Wild Cities (3 x 60) takes the final episode of Planet Earth II as a launching point, and examines wildlife residing in human cities. Featured species include humpback whales in New York’s Hudson Bay, bald eagles in Vancouver and golden jackals in Tel Aviv.

The series is a BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit Production for BBC and PBS, and was commissioned by Patrick Holland and Tom McDonald. Roger Webb is executive producer, while Matt Brandon serves as series producer.

About The Author
Selina Chignall joins the realscreen team as a staff writer. Prior to working with rs, she covered lobbying activity at Hill Times Publishing. She also spent a year covering the Hill as a journalist with iPolitics. Her beat focused on youth, education, democratic reform, innovation and infrastructure. She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University and a Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.

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