David Attenborough and rapper Dave will attempt to “lift viewers’ spirits” with a TV special featuring animals overcoming adversity. Planet Earth: A Celebration will air this summer, and aims to cheer up viewers at “a time of international uncertainty”.
Broadcaster and naturalist Mr Attenborough has recorded a new narration for the programme, his first natural history show to air this year. Meanwhile Brit and Mercury Award winning rapper Dave, a classically trained musician, plays the grand piano with the BBC Concert Orchestra for the soundtrack.
Composer Hans Zimmer has also worked on the BBC One special, creating new compositions and rearranging the original scores. The programme will feature eight sequences taken from the BBC’s popular documentaries Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II.
From Blue Planet II, they include an octopus fighting off a shark by pushing their arms into the gills to suffocate the predator. The one-off programme will also feature bird eating fish – giant trevallies propelling themselves out of the water to catch sea birds in mid-air.
Highlights from Planet Earth II include the famous scene in which a newly-hatched marine iguana is chased by snakes. The BBC One programme will look at how “animals overcome adversity to survive and thrive in some of the world’s most challenging environments – offering a message of hope to humanity”.
“I’ve always been fan of powerful natural history documentaries. This is a programme where nature and music come together.”
BBC director-general Tony Hall said: “This thrilling journey around the world promises to lift everyone’s spirits.”
The BBC Concert Orchestra has worked on soundtracks for the series from the original 2001 Blue Planet. Orchestra director Andrew Connolly said:
“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.”