BBC Studios NHU
Broadcasting House
31-33 Whiteladies Road
Bristol BS8 2LR

www.bbcstudios.com/teams/the-natural-history-unit/

From its home in Bristol BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit has for over half a century pioneered use of ground-breaking technical and creative innovation to open our eyes to the wonders of the natural world.

Trusted by countless fans across the globe, our portfolio of iconic programming is the gold standard for the industry. Ranging from technically challenging live shows to super-landmark series, our content includes Planet Earth II, Life in the Snow, Autumnwatch, and Elephant Family and Me.

“I think the key to the Natural History Unit’s success is that it’s always evolving, we learn from each other, sharing experience and knowledge in a way that’s unparalleled”

Mike Gunton, Executive Producer

News

TXing this month

 

 Springwatch  TXing 29th May - 15 June 

Springwatch will return to BBC Two this month, broadcasting live from a new location in rural Gloucestershire. Presenters Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Martin Hughes-Games and Gillian Burke will host the three-week wildlife extravaganza live from the National Trust’s Sherborne Park Estate.

The Watches will settle at the site in the Cotswolds countryside in the heart of the UK for the rest of the year, to cover the changing seasons for Autumnwatch and Winterwatch.

 

BAFTA WINS

Planet Earth II wins TV BAFTA in the Specialst Factual category as well as Virgin TV's Best TV Moment for the Snakes VS Iguanas sequence shot by Richard Wollocombe

 BBC Wild Alaska Live to air across three-parts

 

NHU Unit Head, Julian Hector, announced at NHN's Networking Morning that the BBC is heading to Alaska for its latest live natural history event, following in the footsteps of 2015’s Big Blue Live.

BBC Studios Natural History Unit and US broadcaster PBS have again tied for 3 x 60-minute series Wild Alaska Live, which be broadcast live from the wilderness of Alaska across a week in July.

Natural World - Coming Soon

 

Sudan: The Last of the Rhinos

The remarkable race against time story of Sudan, the last male northern white rhino on the planet, and the group of scientist battling to bring his sub species back from the brink of extinction. This film will be a timely exploration of whether humans have the power to bring back to life that which we have unwittingly destroyed. 

Producer/Director: Rowan Deacon
Executive Producer: Sacha Mirzoeff

H is for Hawk: A New Chapter

Following the success of Helen McDonald’s bestselling novel, “H is for Hawk”, this is the next chapter in her personal journey with perhaps the ultimate bird of prey, the goshawk.

After the loss of her father, falconer Helen took on the challenge of training a goshawk. The cathartic experience helped her to grieve and now she is ready to do it again but this time she wants to go deeper into the goshawk’s world. Through the eyes of a new bird and by following a family of wild goshawks Helen will get closer than ever before to these fiery eyed birds, stirring up memories from the past and new feelings about the future.

With Helen McDonald
Producer: Mike Birkhead - A Mike Birkhead Associates production for the BBC

Otters: Nature’s Water Babies

Otters are playful, adaptable and champion swimmers - they've captivated cameraman Charlie Hamilton James for the last 25 years. He's filmed more otters than anyone else but now he's on a journey to discover exactly why they are so unique. Through this film Charlie follows three orphaned river otters in America, meets a surprising urban otter family in Singapore, carries out ground breaking experiments to reveal just how sophisticated these semiaquatic animals are and has the best wild otter encounter of his life.

Narrator: Charlie Hamilton James
Producer: Mark Wheeler

Attenborough’s Ant Mountain

David Attenborough reveals the saga of an all-conquering super society that may resemble an epic tale of war and peace. But is it also an echo of our own human nature? Using specialist technology we are able to get closer than ever before to the greatly overlooked lives of the ant.

With David Attenborough
Producer: Joe Loncraine
An Ammonite Films Production
 

Natural World Previous TXed

Hotel Armadillo

David Attenborough looks at the giant armadillo and examines how this seldom-seen animal provides scores of other creatures with the hotel and restaurant services they need to thrive in earth's biggest natural wetland - the Pantanal of Brazil.

Article link: Behind the Scenes : Maramedia and Hotel Armadillo by Jackie Savery

Watch Now - BBC iPlayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08ltnyp/natural-world-20172018-2-hotel-armadillo

Puerto Rico: Island of Enchantment

David Attenborough tells the revealing story of this Caribbean island's exotic but vulnerable wildlife. A team of conservation champions are making it their mission to save the most precious species. We see how Puerto Rican parrots, manatees and turtles are now making a comeback.

Article link: Puerto Rico and The Natural World

Watch Now - BBC iPlayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08k9xbm/natural-world-20172018-1-puerto-rico-island-of-enchantment

Landmarks

Planet Earth II

The UK’s most-watched natural history programme.

14 May 2017

Planet Earth II wins TV BAFTA in the Specialst Factual category as well as Virgin TV's Best TV Moment for the Snakes VS Iguanas sequence shot by Richard Wollocombe

Sir David Attenborough’s narrative journey through the world’s iconic habitats continues in this six-part series which sets new standards for natural history programme-making, and gives viewers an unprecedented insight into the motivations of animals as they meet the challenges to survive and breed in their world.

“This is the BBC Natural History Unit at its very impressive best”
Daily Telegraph

Planet Earth II is a landmark BBC One series, taking viewers on a journey through the world’s great wildernesses and habitats. Over six 60-minute episodes, the show gives audiences the most revealing glimpse yet of what animals need to do to survive and thrive in earth’s iconic habitats; we are in amongst the highest mountains, the remotest islands, densest jungles and harsh deserts.

Produced by BBC Studios’ world-class Natural History Unit, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, and featuring a beautiful score by Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer and his team, Planet Earth II is a co-production with BBC America, ZDF, Tencent and France Télèvisions.

Finished in ultra-high definition, the series breaks new ground in its use of emerging camera technologies. Ingenious camera traps, thermal imagery, ultra-high speed, star-light and hyper-lapse enabled the team to capture immensely shy creatures and portray the earth’s most challenging landscapes in ways that normally evade human eyes. From the marine iguanas’ frantic dash for safety pursued by vast numbers of racer snakes, to bats taking on one of the earth’s most poisonous scorpions, to lions hunting giraffes in Namibia, the Planet Earth II team captured many broadcast firsts.

Planet Earth II has reached over 30 million people across the UK alone (with overnights averaging over 10 million), making it the most watched natural history programme in 15 years. The series also has huge appeal for younger audiences, attracting a larger volume of viewers aged 16 to 34 than The X Factor.

Strands

 Live

Springwatch 2017

TXing 29th May - 15th June 


We’re delighted to be welcoming Springwatch to Sherborne. The idyllic estate is like the Cotswolds in miniature – and thanks to the efforts of our rangers, farmers and partners it is home to water voles, red kites and flocks of rare farmland birds. Thousands of families come to our woods and parklands each year to see the nature on their doorstep”. – Simon Nicholas, National Trust countryside manager at the Sherborne Park Estate

With five tenant farms surrounding the village of Sherborne and the constant activity at the working National Trust estate, the Springwatch team will explore: The eighteenth century water meadow which is rich in fish life, otters, dragonflies and damselflies; the disused Second World War airbase where arable crops grow and hares and farmland birds such as skylarks, yellowhammers and the ‘red listed’ corn bunting congregate.

There will also be reporting from historic oak parkland, riverbank environments where the Windrush Rover and Sherborne Brook waterways criss-cross, limestone grasslands, wildflower meadows and the miles of Cotswold stone walls which house weasels, stoats, rodents, lizards and colonies of lesser horseshoe bats.

Springwatch Unsprung will also be filmed at the new Cotswold location, it airs on BBC Two from June 5th to the 16th at 6.30pm while Springwatch returns on Monday May 29th, running through to Thursday the 15th of June on BBC Two.

“I’m thrilled the Watches have found such an extraordinary home for the next twelve months. The Sherborne Estate is the perfect location to bring the very best of British wildlife to our loyal audience”. – Tom McDonald, Head of Commissioning, Natural History and Specialist Factual

Strands, Mini landmarks an Children's 

The Natural History Unit’s award-winning photography captures some of the world’s most extraordinary animals, in this classic wildlife series.

Capturing some of the world’s most extraordinary animals, in this classic wildlife series.

In BBC Two’s classis wildlife series, the Natural History Unit’s award-winning photography brings to life in-depth, hour-long stories featuring some of the world’s most extraordinary animals.

"I have no doubt that Natural World is not only the doyen and founding member of the 50-minute natural history genre but is still the one with the best and most distinguished record"
David Attenborough

Natural World is BBC Studios’ award winning strand of one-off wildlife documentaries. First broadcast in 1983, it’s the longest-running natural history documentary on television, with over 500 films to its name, and multiple prestigious awards.

The show’s intelligent, emotional and in-depth stories connect viewers with the natural world, and provide fresh insight into wild animals and places. From the remarkable story of the last remaining male Northern White Rhino on the planet, to the orphaning of two jaguars in the jungles of Brazil, each story is told with the highest quality natural history photography, and features a cast chosen from the planet’s most amazing animals, and those who know them best.

Natural World films set out to entertain as well as inform, reaching out to audiences that wouldn’t normally watch natural history programming.

Mini Series

TXing May 2017

Mexico : Earth's Festival of Life

Exec Producer Tim Martin, Series Producer Patrick Morris

Episode 1: Mountain Worlds Sun 7 May 8pm BBC2

Produced and Directed by : Victoria Bromley

Co-Produced by: Patrick Morris

Edited by: Sam Rogers

Mexico is a vast country, over two thousand miles long, dominated by a great chain of mountains, the Sierra Madre. Journey down this rocky spine and you’ll discover an amazing diversity of life, from black bears and orchid bees to resplendent quetzals and millions of monarch butterflies. This is a land where giant volcanoes simmer and ancient and modern cultures collide in a festival of life.

 

Episode 2: Forests of the Maya Sun 14 May 8pm BBC2

Produced and Directed by: Evania Wright

Edited by: Adam Coates

 

The ancient temples of the Maya still tower over the forests of the Yucatan, where jaguars, monkeys and vibrant tropical birds now make their home. It’s a forest full of secrets, with a vast watery underworld that is still being explored and which holds the key to how animals and people survive the dry season.

Episode 3: Burning North Sun 21 May 8pm BBC2

Produced by: Stuart Armstrong

Edited by: Adam Kirby

Northern Mexico is the country’s driest region, dominated by two great deserts; the Sonoran and Chihuahuan. And as you travel west the conditions get hotter, drier and more challenging.  In this film we unravel the forces that have created this arid world and discover that for the animals who live here, from prairie dog and pygmy owls to rare aplomado falcons, overcoming these conditions can bring rich rewards.

Children's 

Springwatch

Innovative and intimate live broadcasts celebrate the amazing and varied habitats of Britain and the incredible creatures that live here.

Innovative and intimate live broadcasts celebrate the amazing and varied habitats of Britain.

Returning annually since 2005 to celebrate the amazing and varied habitats of Britain and the incredible creatures that live here, this live show brings real animals captured in real time into the homes of the viewing public.

“A series that is able to capture and share the most dramatic and intimate wildlife dramas as they unfolded live.”
Royal Television Society

Springwatch charts the fortunes of UK wildlife and offer audiences a unique chance to immerse themselves in the dramas of real animals as they unfold. With the addition of Autumnwatch and Winterwatch, plus spin off shows such as Unsprung, ‘The Watches’ are now staples of the British broadcasting landscape.

By developing bespoke camera systems in-house, and working with cutting edge external companies, Springwatch has driven technological innovation in live broadcasting. It allows BBC Two viewers to enjoy glimpses of previously secret animal lives and brings many scientific firsts to the nation – all live on camera.

Currently presented by wildlife team Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes Games, the success of Springwatch is down to its loyal audience and its partnership with many UK wildlife charities and organisations.

Produced by BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit, the shows are shared across all platforms – TV, Red Button, iPlayer, online and social media. Collaborations with CBBC, CBeebies, check-ins on BBC Radio 2, 4 and 6Music, as well as live events link ups, allow Springwatch to reach as large an audience as possible.

A Royal Television Society Craft and Design Innovation Award in 2016 acknowledged the brand’s place at the forefront of new technology.