Sir David Attenborough will be back on our screens this week with his new series Wild Isles, likely to be his last on location.
In his new five-part series, the 96-year-old — who usually travels around the globe to capture nature at its most spectacular — will explore the natural history in Britain and Ireland for the first time in his long career. For the first time he will focus on the natural history closer to home as he says the British Isles can be just as ‘dramatic and spectacular’ as anything elsewhere.
The TV legend says there’s never been a more important time to invest in nature in our own backyard as his new show will shine a light on the disappearing species and the challenges facing local wildlife.
Nearly half of British wildlife species have declined since 1970. While filming on location at a puffin colony on Skomer Island off the west coast of Wales, he says: “Though rich in places Britain as a whole is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world.
“Never has there been a more important time to invest in our own wildlife – to try and set an example for the rest of the world and restore our once wild isles for future generations.”
The nature enthusiast said one of his regrets is spending so much time overseas working on natural history programmes, rather than looking at nature right on his own doorstep.
The show’s producers said Sir Attenborough had agreed to narrate the new series from the start but later agreed to presenting it after he was approached to do so because he can share his rare perspective on the changes to the British countryside after almost a century of life.
Wild Isles producer Alistair Fothergill, who has worked with David Attenborough for 35 years, wanted to call attention to internationally important wildlife and habitats on our own islands, from seabirds to chalk streams. Speaking to the BBC he said: “We are globally important for nature – and I don’t think many people in Britain appreciate that. It was very important to us to say, this is really precious, but at the same time it’s fragile.”
Crews went out to capture wildlife around Britain and Ireland using modern technology including drones and slow-motion cameras. After visiting 145 locations over three years to produce the footage, crews managed to capture moments of high drama including Orcas hunting seals off the coast of Scotland and a white-tailed eagle pulling a goose from the sky — in never before seen behaviour in the British Isles.
Scientific advisor on the series, Dr Philip Wheeler of the Open University, said he hoped the programmes would generate public awareness of nature loss close to home. Wild Isles is released shortly after nearly 200 countries pledged to protect 30% of lands and seas for nature by 2030 at the UN nature summit in Montreal.
Speaking to BBC News Dr Wheeler said: “I think it can make a lot of difference in terms of shifting the conversation and the narrative. It’s not just the nature nerds and the conservation community talking — this conversation spills out into the wider public and into the political arena as well.”
The series was co-produced and co-funded by two conservation charities, WWF and RSPB, and the Open University. Wild Isles will air on BBC One on Sunday March 12th.
Jason Manford joins cast of Waterloo Road as new headteacher
Viewers can expect his character to ‘ruffle a few feathers along the way’
Jason Manford will join the cast of Waterloo Road when the high school series returns later this year.
The actor and comedian will take on a more serious role as headteacher Steve Savage, and he says viewers can expect his character to ‘ruffle a few feathers along the way’.
Manford, 42, from Manchester said it was ‘an absolute treat’ to be joining the show ‘right here in my home city’.
The series was originally axed in 2015, but following a revival in audiences during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, it returned to screens after an eight-year break.
After admitting to binge watching the show with his family during lockdown, Manford added: “It’s such a brilliant, iconic show, so I’m dead proud to now be part of its history.
“Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher and now, becoming a headteacher, I know I would have been terrible!”
While fans of the show may be left wondering where the current headteacher Kim Campbell might be – played by Angela Griffin – viewers will have to wait to see how the storyline plays out, the BBC said.
Waterloo Road’s season 13 finale aired on Monday night (February 26th), with series 14 coming to BBC One and BBC iPlayer later this year.
Cameron Roach, Executive Producer of Waterloo Road and Founder of Rope Ladder Fiction, said: “We’re thrilled that Jason Manford is joining Waterloo Road, as the show returns for a fourth series since returning to BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
“Jason is a phenomenal comic actor, and has fully embraced the tone and spirit of the show, we can’t wait for the audience to meet Steve Savage and his son Billy.
“As with all of our adult cast, Jason has been an inspiring and approachable mentor to our younger cast and crew; we love that a new generation of Northern talent are able to learn their craft alongside brilliant household names.
“The legacy of Waterloo Road goes from strength to strength.”
Sir David Attenborough is back to present major new BBC documentary series
Attenborough is back!
TV legend Sir David Attenborough returns to present BBC Studios Natural History Unit’s new series.
The national treasure will revisit an extraordinary group of animals in the new BBC One and iPlayer wildlife show: Mammals.
The series promises to be full of new, never- before-seen behaviours, offering ‘fascinating insights into the most successful animal group in the world’.
From the tiny Etruscan shrew to the giant blue whale, Mammals will reveal the secrets of their success, and how their winning design, incredible adaptability, unrivalled intelligence and unique sociability have all contributed to their remarkable rise.
Less than 6% of today’s mammals are wild animals and many species have become endangered and are facing extinction.
This new show will give viewers an exciting new perspective on a remarkable group of animals as well as highlighting the many problems they face in today’s rapidly changing world.
Each episode explores a different environment; Dark, Cold, Heat, Water, Forest and The New Wild – an episode which explores the ingenious ways mammals are adapting to a world dominated by humans, arguably the most successful mammal of all.
Episodes will also take a look at a range of remarkable mammals – from the miniature tenrecs of Madagascar to the humpback whales of the Indian ocean.
Roger Webb, Executive Producer says: “Being mammals ourselves, the animals featured in the series and the stories told about them are instantly relatable.
“It’s impossible not to admire a mother capuchin monkey who’s able to provide her baby with a drink in a dry, sun baked forest or a chimpanzee father giving his family a lesson in finding honey buried underground.
“This connection to us, makes Mammals an incredibly engaging and compelling piece of television – one that will also lead us to question our role in the lives of the wild mammals we share the planet with.”
Scott Alexander, Series Producer says: “Mammals includes animals like the great apes, the big cats, dolphins, whales as well as the mythical wolverine and adorable tenrec – who wouldn’t want to make a series with such a wonderful cast of animals.”
Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Specialist Factual, adds: “Following the enormous success of Wild Isles and Planet Earth III last year, I’m delighted Sir David is returning to the BBC to present this fascinating new series.
“Mammals are the most adaptable and – for my money – adorable animals on earth, and I can’t wait for viewers to learn more about the remarkable strategies they use to survive in every corner of the planet.”
Spin-off series to hit drama The Split set in Manchester announced by BBC
Viewers can enter the world of Manchester’s divorce law circuit
The BBC has announced a new divorce court drama which will be set in Manchester.
The new series, called The Split Up, will be a spin-off to Abi Morgan’s hit legal drama, The Split.
Last time, the show followed a family of divorce lawyers set in London, which came to a dramatic ending with a third and final series.
Two years after The Split – which starred Nicola Walker and Stephen Mangan – the BBC have announced a new show which will focus on a single family of lawyers, the Kishans, who run a ‘British Asian high net worth family law firm’, according to a synopsis.
Noted for its clientele and its reputation, Kishan Law are the ‘go-to firm’ for Manchester’s elite, who come to them for not only their excellence but also for discretion.
And like the Defoe’s before them, the Kishan family firm’s future will hang in the balance after a family secret comes back to haunt them, throwing their lives into a rollercoaster journey.
The series will be made up of six one-hour episodes which explore the weight of parental expectation, the forces that keep families together, and the truths that tear them apart.
It’s understood none of the original cast will feature in the new drama. The Split Up’s creator, Ursula Rani Sarma will introduce new characters for the new series based on The Split.
Speaking about the new spin-off series, The Split creator Abi Morgan said: “After the success of The Split, it’s been great to see The Split Up take shape in lead writer Ursula Rani Sarma’s capable hands, reinvigorating all that audiences love.
“A new legal family, grabbing at life in a new city, battling new legal cases, as the professional and personal deliciously collide.
“A brilliant new cast of characters caught in the messiness of love, marriage, deception and divorce, make it their own. It is ripe to be taken into the hearts of anyone who loved the show.”
Ursula added: “I watched The Split with admiration over the years and I was honoured to be asked to create The Split Up: a spin off which introduces a whole new family and city while still holding on to the warmth, humour and heartbreak of Abi Morgan’s original series.
“To be able to place a contemporary British Asian family, helmed by brilliant women, at the heart of a primetime drama series is a dream come true for me as a writer who believes strongly in the importance of representation on our screens.
“It has been a joy to work alongside Abi as well as Lucy Dyke, Jane Featherstone and Sumrah Mohammed at SISTER to bring it to glorious life.”
Filming will take place in Manchester but no exact locations or start date have yet been announced.
The Split Up will be available to watch on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. For further announcements, watch this space.
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