Back to Blue Planet with better cameras

Kim Shillinglaw Kim Shillinglaw: natural history to 'delight' viewers

Follow-ups to Blue Planet and Planet Earth are among the 50 hours of new natural history commissions that were announced on Monday.

Remotely controlled submarines and a gyro-stabilised aerial camera system will help uncover some of the 250,000 marine species that have been discovered since the 2001 broadcast of Blue Planet.

Oceans - six hour-long episodes made by the Natural History Unit for BBC One - will reveal everything from a blanket octopus to submerged forests that reside in the watery depths.

The NHU is also behind the One Planet series that picks up where Planet Earth left off ten years ago.

Again, groundbreaking filming techniques bring the audience a more immersive experience than was possible in 2003, with mountains, deserts, rain forests and cities seen as if through the eyes of the creatures that live there.

Hammond heads for danger

Elsewhere, Tunacam, Turtlecam, Squidcam and Dolphincam will help the BBC spy on dolphins for a new two-part documentary.

Each cleverly disguised camera will have a different role in the underwater espionage, showing us all sides of these favourite creatures in the David Tennant-narrated Dolphin: Spy in the Pod.

And daredevil Richard Hammond heads for the heart of some extreme weather experiences in the three-part Big Weather, including flying a light aircraft into a hailstone storm and having an avalanche detonated right on top of him.

BBC One's The Hunt will examine the strategies used by predators to capture their prey, while the 90-minute tv event, Sleepover at the Zoo, will track the diverse sleep patterns of a host of animals.

Meanwhile, more than 75 cameras are on standby to capture the ending of the African dry season in Countdown to the Rains.

'At the BBC, we're determined to bring ever more ambition to our natural history programmes,' said Kim Shillinglaw, head of commissioning for natural history and science, as she announced the new programming.

'By using new filming techniques, peerless research and great storytelling, the next few years are all about shows that will delight our UK and global audiences.'

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