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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 March 2006, 14:15 GMT
BBC offers epic portrait of Earth
Pumas feeding, from Planet Earth
Planet Earth aims to be a definitive look at the planet's diversity
The biggest series ever made by the BBC Natural History Unit, aiming to offer the definitive portrait of the Earth, starts on BBC One on Sunday.

Planet Earth, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, took four years to make.

New technology allowed aerial shots of animals that "simply blow the mind", Sir David told BBC's Sunday AM show.

A first six-episode run of the series, with footage of some of the most remote areas and rarely-seen animals, will be followed by six more later in the year.

Sir David told Sunday AM that the series was the best he had worked in more than 50 years of natural history broadcasting.

"Every series, I think, gets better, largely because of the technology," he said.

"We can do more things better than we ever did before... you get animals you never could film before, closer, better sequences.

Piranhas, from Planet Earth
We are keeping up with the action in a way we never have been able to before
Series producer Alastair Fothergill
"The aerial shots that you will see in Planet Earth simply blow the mind - at least they blow my mind."

Series producer Alastair Fothergill said a system had been developed that kept a camera stable on a helicopter with a lens four times more powerful than those used in the past.

"In the past we were flying so low to get a close-up shot of the animals that, frankly, the animals ran away, so we avoided doing it," he said.

"With this new system we can fly at 400m, even higher, and still get a perfect close-up.

"The animals on the ground don't even know we are there, and yet we are keeping up with the action in a way we never have been able to before."

Planet Earth's makers say the series will offer numerous firsts including:

  • A complete hunt by wolves filmed from the air.

  • Grizzly bears in the Rockies tending newborn cubs and feeding on moths.

  • Displaying birds of paradise captured with a low light camera, including the blue bird of paradise which has never been filmed in the wild before.

  • Footage of a new species of blind cave fish in Thailand.

  • Pink river dolphins presenting stones as gifts during courtship - the only known use of tools by wild dolphins.

The series begins with From Pole to Pole, which considers the planet as a whole and shows how the Sun dominates the lives of all animals and plants.

Planet Earth begins at 2100 GMT on BBC One.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See some of the footage from Planet Earth



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