Four Years In The Making: Did The Return Of Blue Planet Deliver?

Ed Angeli

The 16-year wait is over, Blue Planet is back on the screens; Sunday nights are good again. Whether it’s the calming narrative of Sir David Attenborough, the music by Hans Zimmer, or the general footage from the show which has you repeatedly asking the question: ‘Come on, seriously, how did they film that?’; we all do it, and if Blue Planet had its very own Gogglebox, we’re pretty sure every episode would follow the same pattern.

The show’s viewing figures also suggest there’s hope in the world; in a day and age where Katie Hopkins dominates front pages, and the whole Love Island cast can go into retirement for taking part in a reality series, Blue Planet still managed to gain a far bigger audience than X Factor. Simon Cowell’s tumble on the stairs meant the ITV show had 4.3million viewers compared to Blue Planet’s 10.3million – rejoice, the British public have their priorities in check on a Sunday evening.

It makes you proud to be British. Where usual television is an escape from reality with series like Stranger Things and Game of Thrones acting as a one-hour – depending on your episode binging – distraction from normality; Blue Planet is a show which showcases everything we don’t appreciate in real life.

Despite the ocean covering 70%, it’s ironic that it is the least explored part of the world, and Blue Planet is filling this gap on Sunday evenings with four years worth of filming showcasing the most beautiful parts of the world. The connection you feel with this part of the planet – despite it being totally alien – is because of the brilliance of the show; so much so that walruses managed to bring the country to a standstill.

To all viewers amazement, including Attenborough himself when narrating the episode, one of the greatest highlights of Sunday night’s episode was the moment a chasing pack of false killer whales stopped hunting their pray as they recognised their potential dinner as old friends.

“We wanted to immerse the viewer in a world that was quite alien and remote and to meet fish as characters and see if we could create a closer connection to life beneath the waves.”

— Executive producer, James Honeyborne

It was remarkable; it was giving these mammals a personality and something of a reminder to *that* advert where a marmot had a voice; only it was real:

Such recall and intelligence of the mammals was demonstrated with even greater strength when the tusk fish used his ‘tools’ of a coral wall to break a clam, which then followed with a kobudai fish changing sex – mind blown, fishes ability to amaze is more impressive than the Blue Planet film crew capturing such moments.

It was an incredibly successful return for the show who reminded the audience of the damage that we are doing to this part of the planet when the likes of Donald Trump exercise his ignorance on a mass scale; the complexity of the ocean and the uniqueness of the animals in it are captured by the show’s film crew like no other show.

Congratulations, Sir David Attenborough & co., you have made Sunday evenings great again.