The Blue Planet Preview
This definitive natural history of the world's oceans covers everything from popular shores and teeming shallows to the mysterious open depths. Two-thirds of the planet is covered by the oceans and yet they remain largely unexplored and certainly under-filmed. This series changes all that and subsequently changes our views of the deep. Advances in underwater photography have opened the doors to unknown territories never before explored.
The Blue Planet
The blue whale is a perfect symbol for the oceans: the vast blue expanse that dominates our planet whilst still
remaining largely unexplored and mysterious.Yet the oceans are an integral part of our lives.Their influence
dominates the world’s weather systems.They support an enormous range of life, from the largest whales to the
smallest plankton, from hordes of sea birds to lonely, deep-sea fish. All this is governed by a complex system of
biological and physical forces.This first episode demonstrates the sheer scale, power and complexity of the ‘Blue
A place of mountain ranges, perpetual night, pressure extremes and cold… and the weirdest life forms on our
planet. A true voyage into the unknown with constant surprises in store. Fish with grotesquely cavernous mouths
and cruel teeth lurk one kilometre below the surface. Any light is living light, but a glow in the dark may be meant
to attract the opposite sex, unless it is the deep-sea angler fish who already has her mate conveniently fused to the
end of her nose. On the floor of the ocean deep, all manner of primitive creatures crawl across the ooze.
A void. Endless blue stretches in every direction.The sea bed is a staggering eight kilometres deeper down and the
nearest island is 500 kilometres away.There is nothing save the burning sun above and the blackened abyss below.
How, then, does life exist? Finding the only shelter under floating matter, half-moon fish pick off parasites from the
bizarre three-metre-long sun-fish; loggerhead turtles pause to nibble particles on a log; huge schools of sardine,
yellow-tails and trigger-fish bring the number sheltering under the flotsam to their thousands.
Life on the edge of a frozen sea is tough. Pack-ice at both poles is constantly on the move, and in winter freezes
solid with air temperatures 70°C below freezing. Only in spring, with the retreating ice and light reaching the water,
does life begin again. Plankton blooms and feeds vast hordes of migrating fish, birds, whales, seals and polar bears.
Walruses rake the seabed for clams. Minke and humpback whales gorge themselves on gigantic swarms of krill. But
it is a brief indulgence, for the ice soon returns and pushes life back into the ocean.
Shafts of sunlight radiate through a green sea.This blazing light is the vital source of energy used by the countless
billions of plankton which grow every spring and summer in the world’s temperate sea, the richest of all habitats.
Forests of giant kelp, the fastest growing plant in the world, harbour thousands of animals. Sharks move in to pick
off the vulnerable. Sea otters, brilliantly coloured anemones, squid and exquisite leafy dragons are just a few of the
other creatures that live in this cool, rich water.
Bathed in warm, clear tropical water and brilliant sunlight, coral reefs are the rainforests of the sea. Surrounded by
ocean deserts they are rich oases of life. Spectacular numbers make it necessary to stand out to survive.This
competition is highly visible as brightly coloured fish compete for food, territory and mates. But the corals
themselves are also dynamic. Incredible time-lapse photography shows the dramatic formation of a coral reef,
portraying its myriad inhabitants and its ultimate destruction.
Tides govern marine life.Tidal marshes are one of the most productive parts of the world. Numerous plants
support numerous animals, yet life is not easy: predators are attracted to these enormous quantities of food, forcing
animals to seek constant protection from attack. Relief comes with the crashing waves, as the tides flow once more.
Between the tides, when the sands become depleted of food and air, the worms, clams and shrimps just endure
the expected pause.
The boundary between land and sea is an exciting place, with animals constantly coming and going. From the open
oceans, millions of seabirds are forced to come onto land to breed. Sea eagles steal kittiwake chicks from their
nesting ledges.Turtles lay their eggs in the sand and marine mammals haul themselves out to fight on the beaches.
Sea-lions emerge from the kelp to give birth, while killer whales come crashing in on the surf to snatch the sealions’