Planet Earth II is a 2016 British nature documentary series produced by the BBC as a sequel to Planet Earth, which was broadcast in 2006. The series is presented and narrated by Sir David Attenborough with the main theme music composed by Hans Zimmer.
1. Planet Earth II was made 10 years after the first series. It was shot over 2,089 days, by a camera crew of 22 in 40 countries.
2. It took three years of filming to make just six episodes.
3. The music was composed by Hans Zimmer, who did the music for Gladiator and The Lion King.
4. As Sir David Attenborough is now 90 years old, it was not possible for him to go abroad for much of the filming. He instead recorded a piece to camera in a balloon above the Alps in the first episode, and on top of the Shard in the series finale.
5. Attenborough recorded the voiceover for Planet Earth II in only two hours per episode. It took a week to finalise the script.
6. To do the voiceover, Attenborough would record the script while watching episodes on a VHS tape, which was rewound any time he made a mistake.
7. Zimmer did not want the music to get in the way of Attenborough’s voice, so considered him to be the “lead instrument” and ensured that the music worked around his narration. The soundtrack has also been released for sale.
8. Sigur Rós remixed their famous song “Hoppipolla” for the new series, after it was also used for the original Planet Earth.
9. The startling sight of the iguanas being chased by a mass of snakes had never been captured on camera before. It has since racked up more than 7.4 million hits on YouTube.
10. One of the most ambitious shoots was filming penguins on Zavodovski Island, a volcano near the Antarctic that only a few humans have ever visited.
11. It took a year to organise and a week by ship to get to the island, sailing through one of the stormiest seas on Earth.
12. Some tents and a lot of the equipment were smothered by penguin poo while on the island.
13. Waves also covered one of the key cameras in the shoot with a load of water. It was kept in a sleeping bag with one of the camera crew to warm it up and eventually resumed working.
14. A member of the crew, returning to his hotel room in Indonesia after a long day of filming, found a Komodo dragon in his bathroom.
15. The Komodo dragon shat all over the floor.
16. While filming wild buffalo during the grasslands episode, a specialist carried a warning gun in case the camera team were charged at.
17. A cow decided to charge at a cameraman’s groin while he was trying to film monkeys in India. The cameraman said: “They didn’t put that in the hazard assessment.”
18. There was only one injury during the series. A cameraman was stung by a stingray but made a full recovery.
19. Chadden Hunter, a producer and director for the series, told The Guardian that while in Botswana the team’s dinghy got stuck in reeds and they had to manually push it through water with hippos nearby.
20. Millions of mosquitos made life hell for the crew filming in the grasslands.