Stephen Fry to narrate BBC One Natural History Unit series Hidden Kingdoms

These little heroes may be small, but they lead very dramatic lives which Hidden Kingdoms vividly brings to life so that you can get closer than ever before to hearing and seeing the world as they do.”Kim Shillinglaw, BBC Head of Commissioning, Natural History and Science
Date: 21.11.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 18.13
Category: BBC One; Factual
Kim Shillinglaw, BBC Head of Commissioning for Natural History and Science, today announces an innovative new BBC One series, Hidden Kingdoms, from the BBC’s Natural History Unit.

Following his success on Ocean Giants, Stephen Fry is back to narrate in his own brilliant way, but this time the animals will be some of the smallest creatures in the Natural World.

Kim says: “Stephen provides the perfect story-telling tone for this extraordinary series. We make a lot of films about the planet’s bigger animals, but the goal this time was to immerse viewers in what it is like to be some of the smallest creatures in the natural world. More often than not they are the prey in a world of predators - they live in a world where an acorn seems like a meteor and a tiny trickle of water can appear to be a flood. These little heroes may be small, but they lead very dramatic lives which Hidden Kingdoms vividly brings to life so that you can get closer than ever before to hearing and seeing the world as they do.”

Across three 60-minute episodes, Hidden Kingdoms introduces us to a cast of animal characters, from chipmunks to dung beetles, the African sengi to the Southeast Asian tree shrew, allowing us to experience the world from their perspective. There are death-defying feats, intimate family moments and catastrophes. They are all at the mercy of elements outside their control that can blow their world apart in an instant. A sudden rainstorm releases raging torrents that can wash away an animal’s home in seconds; a migrating herd of wildebeest literally shakes up another little creature's Hidden Kingdom, leaving it spinning in a tornado of dust. When you are just a few inches tall, sand stings like gravel and a sudden gust of wind feels like a tornado. But little creatures are just as tenacious and resourceful as the bigger beasts of the natural world. Each character has an amazing story to reveal that will showcase their remarkable abilities. You will be right there with them while they confront the dangerous world of giants around them.

Using location filming, visual effects and new cameras developed specially for the series, the films will be based in some of the planet’s most iconic landscapes: Savannah & Desert; Jungles & Forest; and the metropolis of Rio & Tokyo. Viewers will experience these worlds in a completely new, hyper-real way, and from a new perspective that shows in incredible detail the animal's point of view: pushing between blades of grass will feel like journeying deep into the savannah.

The hurdles our little creatures face are challenging and their solutions are always surprising. Prepare to be amazed, entertained and fascinated by the world’s Hidden Kingdoms.

Mike Gunton, Executive Producer, says: “I have always had a soft spot for nature’s smaller creatures - their lives are so dynamic and dramatic. They have such character and, to my mind, are rather heroic! Telling their unique stories from their perspective has been both a huge technical challenge but an exciting creative one too. After spending nearly four years on BBC One series Africa, the shift in scale of this project, the development of new techniques and the totally different storytelling approach has been a great experience.”

Hidden Kingdoms is commissioned by Kim Shillinglaw, BBC Head of Commissioning for Natural History and Science. It is executive produced by Mike Gunton, whose credits include BBC One’s Africa (2013) and BBC Two’s Madagascar (2011), and it is series produced by Mark Brownlow. It’s a BBC/Discovery/RTL/France Televisions/CCTV9 co-production in association with R.T.I S.p.A. BBC Worldwide is the global distributor.

FF