Sir David Attenborough, Hans Zimmer and Dave unite on BBC One for special natural history programme

BBC One is bringing together Sir David Attenborough, world-renowned composer Hans Zimmer and Brit and Mercury Prize-winning rapper Dave for a unique collaboration - a visual and musical feast designed to lift viewers' spirits during a time of international uncertainty.

Published: 3 August 2020
The BBC has curated this amazing collection of sequences from two of the most talked about natural history series of recent years, Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II, as a spectacular treat for the viewers.
— Tony Hall

Planet Earth: A Celebration is the ultimate natural history thrill ride. It takes viewers on an exhilarating journey to the wildest places on earth, using eight of the most extraordinary sequences from the Bafta award-winning Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II - the most watched natural history series of the last fifteen years.

In his first natural history spectacular of the year, David has recorded a new narration for the programme. We’ll travel around the world, from the East Cape of South Africa to the north of Norway, from Chile to the Indian Ocean, to see how animals overcome adversity to survive and thrive in some of the world's most challenging environments - offering a message of hope to humanity.

To accompany these sequences, award winning composer Hans Zimmer, Jacob Shea and the team at Bleeding Fingers have created new compositions, and have rearranged the original scores, for this exciting, joyful and adrenaline packed journey round the world to some of the most extreme environments, where despite the odds animals manage to survive.

The string section of the score is performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra, accompanied by UK rapper Dave, who will be featured performing on the grand piano. Both the orchestra and Dave were filmed for the programme in the Lyndhurst Hall at Air Studios, London.

Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, says: “The BBC has curated this amazing collection of sequences from two of the most talked about natural history series of recent years, Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II, as a spectacular treat for the viewers. With brand new narration from the brilliant David Attenborough, a new score from Hans Zimmer and the team at Bleeding Fingers played by the BBC Concert Orchestra with Dave on the piano, this thrilling journey around the world promises to lift everyone's spirits.”

Hans Zimmer says: “Working with David on so many of his magnificent programs celebrating nature and our planet has been a joy for me. I am constantly inspired by what he is able to capture, and the collection of sequences featured in Planet Earth: A Celebration is truly special. It was an honor to once again work with David, Jacob Shea and the BBC Concert Orchestra to highlight these incredible stories once again.”

Andrew Connolly, Director BBC Concert Orchestra, says: “From the original 2001 Blue Planet onwards, the BBC Concert Orchestra has been proud to play its part in the original soundtracks, concerts and special projects associated with these landmark programmes. To bring the Concert Orchestra out of lockdown in order to create new music with Dave and Hans Zimmer for Planet Earth: A Celebration was very special, and that feeling of coming together is at the heart of our performance.”

Dave says: “I’ve always been fan of powerful natural history documentaries. This is a programme where nature and music come together, so it was only right that I lent my talent, my time, and my attention to this project. It was a pleasure to work alongside Sir David Attenborough and Hans Zimmer.”

The sequences that will be featured from Planet Earth II are: Lions vs giraffe, which sees a pride of desert lions in Namibia that are so hungry they risk a nail-biting hunt of a giraffe several times their size; Andean flamingo of Salar de Atacama, Chile, who perform a stunning dance in the safe refuge of a chain of salt lakes; the mother snow leopard protecting her cub from two males in the Himalayas, which was the first time four snow leopards had ever been filmed together; and the Bafta-winning racer snakes vs iguana, which sees our plucky hero, the hatchling marine iguana, sprint across the beach followed by a hunting mob of racer snakes in Fernandina, Galapagos.

From Blue Planet II we will once again witness the charming surfing bottlenose dolphins on the East Cape of South Africa, catching the waves, playing and surfing near the shoreline. “As far as we can tell, they do so for the sheer joy of it,” says David Attenborough; common octopus vs pyjama shark in the kelp forests off the coast of southern Africa where an octopus fights off an attack by suffocating the shark by pushing its arms into its gills, before concealing itself in an “armour” of shells, behaviour that had never been seen before; bird-eating fish, where in the Indian Ocean, giant trevallies propel themselves out of the water to catch sea birds in mid-air; and massive gatherings of orca and humpback whales feeding together on herring in the fjords of northern Norway, where the orca deploy their special weapon - their tails - banging them with such force on the surface that the shock waves stun the herring senseless.

Planet Earth: A Celebration, a 1x60’ for BBC One, was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Director, Content, and Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Natural History and Science. It is made by BBC Studios Natural History Unit, co-produced by BBC America and Tencent Music Entertainment Group (QQ Music, Kugou Music, Kuwo Music and WeSing). The Executive Producer is Jo Shinner.