23 October, 2019

The latest BBC Natural History Unit (NHU) blockbuster Seven Worlds, One Planet opens this week with an hour-long episode about Antarctica.  Using new technologies the NHU captured breath-taking images that explain why the frozen continent matters to everyone.

UK broadcast: BBC ONE at 6.15pm on Sunday 27th October.

BAS seabird ecologist Professor Richard Phillips worked with the production team.  He described the extraordinary challenges faced by albatross chicks when bad weather forces them to cling to their nests whilst their parents are foraging at sea.  Adult albatrosses will return to their nests, but they do not recognise their chicks if there are on the ground.  The series show an agonising sequence of an albatross chick struggling to climb back into its nest after being knocked off by extreme winds.

The BBC also worked closely with BAS whale ecologist Dr Jennifer Jackson while she conducted whale research expeditions around the subantarctic island of South Georgia.  Exquisite footage captured by drone cameras tells the story of how the magnificent Southern Right Whale is recovering from exploitation by humans in the early part of the last century.

BBC NHU filmed around Bird Island Research Station, South Georgia. This is one of the richest wildlife sites in the world, and home to four species of albatross, 50,000 breeding pairs of penguins and 65,000 fur seals.

Shot over four years, the Antarctica episode is the latest in a long-term collaboration between British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and NHU.   BAS Director of Science, Professor David Vaughan says,

“Just when you think that the BBC can’t possibly top the last blockbuster – they do.  Our collaborations over decades have done much to raise awareness of the importance of Antarctica, not just for wildlife but for humanity.”


The BBC collaborated with British Antarctic Survey as part of its media relations and public engagement programme.  Visits to Bird Island were managed through BAS Media Visits programme.