Planet Earth II

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.[1] The series is presented and narrated by Sir David Attenborough with the main theme music composed by Hans Zimmer.[2][3]

Planet Earth II
GenreNature documentary
Presented byDavid Attenborough
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes6
Executive producer(s)Vanessa Berlowitz, Mike Gunton, James Brickell, Tom Hugh-Jones
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)
Original networkBBC One
Picture format
Audio format
Original release6 November (2016-11-06) 
11 December 2016 (2016-12-11)
Preceded byPlanet Earth
Followed byPlanet Earth 3
Related showsBlue Planet II
External links

The first trailer was released on 9 October 2016, and the series premiered on 6 November 2016 in the United Kingdom on BBC One and BBC One HD.[4] Planet Earth II is the first television series produced by the BBC in Ultra-high-definition (4K).[5][6] A sequel titled Planet Earth III is currently announced and planned to air in 2022.


The series was announced by the BBC in 2013 with the working title One Planet, but the title was later changed to Planet Earth II.[7][8][9]

The BBC trailer for the series used the same music featured in the trailer for the original Planet Earth, "Hoppípolla" by Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós.[10]

The original Planet Earth, airing in 2006, was one of the first natural documentary series to be made in high definition (HD) and Planet Earth II utilised new technologies developed since the first series, including ultra high definition (4K), improved camera stabilisation, remote recording and aerial drone technology.[9]


British television

The premiere of Planet Earth II took place at Bristol's Cinema de Lux on 2 November 2016 with special guest appearance by Attenborough. Bristol has been the global home of BBC's Natural History programme making for almost 60 years.[11] The series debuted on BBC One and BBC One HD the following Sunday (6 November) from 8pm to 9pm. Each of the six episodes included a 10-minute making-of documentary called Planet Earth II Diaries. The previous week's episode was repeated in an earlier time slot the following Sunday.[12]


The series was broadcast internationally on BBC Earth channel with a few exceptions for some countries.

The series aired in Belgium on the Flemish channel Canvas, narrated in Dutch by Vic De Wachter, with episodes airing each Wednesday from 7 December 2016.[13] In the Netherlands the series is airing on the Dutch channel NPO 1, narrated by Peter Drost, with episodes airing each Sunday from 1 January 2017.[14]

In Japan, the series aired on NHK – with four special episodes aired on 23 December 2016 and concluded on 19 February 2017 respectively,[15][16] while all the six original episodes were broadcast from 29 March 2017 until 6 May 2017.[17][18]

In Australia, the series premiered on 15 February 2017 on the Nine Network.[19] As for New Zealand, it aired from 9 July 2017 at Prime channel.[20]

The series debuted in Canada and the United States on 18 February 2017, with the Canadian broadcast on the local BBC Earth channel (which recently launched),[21][22] In the United States, the series premiered with a three-network simulcast across BBC America, AMC, and SundanceTV (owned by AMC Networks, who manages BBC America on behalf of BBC Worldwide).[23][24]

In Israel, the series premiered on 20 May 2017 on the new public broadcasting network KAN 11.[25]

In the Philippines, the series premiered on 17 June 2018 on GMA Network through its version Amazing Earth for the first season.[26]


The series comprises six episodes plus the compilation episode "A World of Wonder".[27] Official episode viewing figures are from BARB.[28] The first episode gained 12.26 million viewers in the United Kingdom, the highest under the current system of viewing figures for a nature documentary.[29]

It's been ten years since we explored these wonders in the first series of Planet Earth, and since then much has changed. We can now show life on our planet in entirely new ways; bring you closer to animals than ever before and reveal new wildlife dramas for the very first time. But that is not all; the planet has changed too. Never have our wildernesses been as fragile and as precious as they are today. At this crucial time for the natural world we will journey to every corner of the globe; to explore the greatest treasures of our living planet, and reveal the extreme lengths animals go to to survive.

David Attenborough's opening words
No.TitleProduced byOriginal air dateUK viewers
1"Islands"Elizabeth White6 November 2016 (2016-11-06)12.26
Remote islands offer sanctuary for some of the planet's strangest and rarest creatures. The rare pygmy three-toed sloth enjoys a peaceful existence on an idyllic Caribbean island, while nesting albatross thrive in predator-free isolation. But island life always comes at a cost. On the Galapagos Islands, young marine iguana must escape an onslaught of deadly racer snakes the moment they hatch from the sand. On the sub-Antarctic island of Zavodovski, life gets more extreme still. Every day, one and a half million penguins risk being battered against the rocks by fierce waves as they try to get on and off the island.
2"Mountains"Justin Anderson13 November 2016 (2016-11-13)13.14
The great mountain ranges are some of the planet's most spectacular landscapes, but they are unforgiving places to live in, and only a few animals have what it takes to live at extreme altitude. Mountain animals are amongst the most elusive in the world, and this film provides unique and intimate glimpses into their secretive lives. Witness the moment four snow leopards come together when a mother and cub become trapped between two rival males. Join grizzly bears as they dance against trees to rub off their winter fur and soar with golden eagles hunting amongst Europe's snow-capped peaks.
3"Jungles"Emma Napper20 November 2016 (2016-11-20)11.60
Jungles provide the richest habitats on the planet – mysterious worlds of high drama where extraordinary animals attempt to survive in the most competitive place on earth. Flooded forests are home to caiman-hunting jaguars and strange dolphins that swim amongst the tree tops, while in the dense underworld, ninja glass frogs fight off wasps and flying dragons soar between trees. High in the canopy slender-bodied spider monkeys brachiate through the thin branches helping each other along the way. Acrobatic indri leap through the forests of Madagascar, while the jungle night conceals strange fungi and glow-in-the-dark creatures never filmed before.
4"Deserts"Ed Charles27 November 2016 (2016-11-27)11.88
The world's deserts are lands of extremes that force animals to come up with ingenious ways of coping with hostile conditions, giving rise to the most incredible survival stories on earth. A pride of desert lions are so hungry they risk hunting a giraffe several times their size, while male sandgrouse fly 120 miles each day to the nearest waterhole and dice with death to collect water for their chicks. Filmed for the first time, a tiny bat does battle with one of the world's deadliest scorpions, and in Madagascar, a locust swarm of biblical proportions is seen as never before.
5"Grasslands"Chadden Hunter4 December 2016 (2016-12-04)11.54
Grasslands cover one-quarter of all land and support the vast gatherings of wildlife, but to survive here animals must endure the most hostile seasonal changes on the planet. From Asia's bizarre-looking saiga antelope to the giant anteaters of Brazil, grassland animals have adapted in extraordinary ways to cope with these extremes. In the flooded Okavango, lions take on formidable buffalo in epic battles, on the savannah, bee-eaters take advantage of a kori bustard, a flock of ostriches, and an African savanna elephant bull to help catch insects and, on the freezing northern tundra, caribou embark on great migrations shadowed by hungry Arctic wolves.
6"Cities"Fredi Devas11 December 2016 (2016-12-11)11.10
Cities are growing at a faster rate than any other habitat on Earth. They may seem an unlikely place for animals to thrive, but they can be a world of surprising opportunity. Leopards prowl the streets of Mumbai, peregrine falcons hunt amongst New York City's skyscrapers, and a million starlings perform spectacular aerial dances over Rome. In Jodhpur, langurs are revered as religious deities and in Harar, locals live in harmony with wild hyenas. Many animals, however, struggle to cope in the urban jungle. As the architects of this environment, can humans choose to build cities that are homes for both them and wildlife?
"A World of Wonder"Elizabeth White1 January 2017 (2017-01-01)[30]12.02
A compilation of the wildlife series presented by David Attenborough.

Now, over half of us live in an urban environment. My home, too, is here, in the city of London. Looking down on this great metropolis, the ingenuity with which we continue to reshape the surface of our planet is very striking. But it's also sobering. It reminds me of just how easy it is for us to lose our connection with the natural world. Yet, it's on this connection that the future of both humanity and the natural world will depend. And surely, it is our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on Earth.

David Attenborough, in closing


Independent's Christopher Hooton said of the series: "It is undoubtedly the greatest TV nature documentary to date and there's a strong case for it being one of the best TV series full stop."[31] Michael Hogan from The Telegraph compared this series to the original Planet Earth series and said that "advances in technology have enabled intimate high-definition close-ups and gasp-inducing aerial shots" and said "It has become predictable to heap superlatives upon the BBC Natural History Unit and wax lyrical about Attenborough’s status. But both institutions should be treasured while we’re lucky enough to still have them."[32]

However, Martin Hughes-Games, while calling the series "spectacular and fascinating", said it "become a disaster for the world’s wildlife" and that while world animal populations are decreasing, "the producers [of this show] continue to go to the fast shrinking parks and reserves to make their films – creating a beautiful, beguiling fantasy world".[33]

The series is also currently the highest rated TV Show on IMDb's list of Top Rated TV Shows.[34] In 2019, Planet Earth II and its prequel were ranked 72nd on The Guardian's list of the 100 best TV shows of the 21st century.[35]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
2017 British Academy Television Awards Huw Wheldon Award for Specialist Factual Planet Earth II Won
Virgin's Must-See Moments Snakes vs. Iguanas chase Won
British Academy Television Craft Awards Best Photography -Factual John Aitchison, Rob Whitworth, Mark MacEwen (Episode: "Cities") Won
John Shier, Jonathan Jones, Barrie Britton (Episode: "Deserts") Nominated
John Shier, Mateo Willis, Barrie Britton (Episode: "Mountains") Nominated
Tom Crowley, Mark MacEwen, John Brown (Episode: "Jungles") Nominated
Best Editing – Factual Dave Pearce (Episode: "Deserts") Nominated
Matt Meech (Episode: "Islands") Nominated
Best Sound – Factual Graham Wild, Kate Hopkins, Tim Owens (Episode: "Cities") Won
Kate Hopkins, Graham Wild (Episode: "Jungles") Nominated
Best Original Television Music Hans Zimmer, Jacob Shea, Jasha Klebe Nominated
TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in News and Information Planet Earth II Nominated
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series Won
Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming Cinematography team[note 1] (Episode: "Cities") Nominated
Cinematography team[note 2] (Episode: "Islands") Won
Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming Fredi Devas (Episode: "Cities") Nominated
Elizabeth White (Episode: "Islands") Nominated
Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score) Jacob Shea and Jasha Klebe (Episode: "Islands") Nominated
Outstanding Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program Dave Pearce (Episode: "Cities") Nominated
Matt Meech (Episode: "Islands") Nominated
Outstanding Sound Editing for Nonfiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera) Kate Hopkins, Tim Owens (Episode: "Cities") Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Nonfiction Program (Single or Multi-Camera) Graham Wild (Episode: "Cities") Nominated


DVD and Blu-ray

The series was released as a two-disc DVD[39] and Blu-ray sets[40][41] on 5 December 2016, while a four-disc 4K UHD Blu-ray + Blu-ray sets were released later on 13 March 2017.[42] It was distributed by BBC Worldwide in the UK.

In the US and Canada, the DVD,[43][44] Blu-ray[45][46] and 4K UHD Blu-ray[47][48] sets were released on 28 March 2017 and distributed by BBC Worldwide Americas. They also contain the documentary Planet Earth II: Diaries which consists of the six 10-minute making-of documentaries that followed the broadcast of each episode.

In Australia and New Zealand, the DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD Blu-ray sets were released by ABC DVD/Village Roadshow on 29 March 2017.[49][50][51]


An accompanying hardback book was written by Steven Moss with a foreword by David Attenborough and published by BBC Books (ISBN 978-1849909655). It was released on 6 October 2016 in the UK,[52] and on 15 February 2017 for the US release.[53]


Planet Earth II
Soundtrack album by
Hans Zimmer, Jasha Klebe, Jacob Shea
Released11 November 2016 (Digital)
2 December 2016 (Audio CD)
GenreSoundtrack, Classical music
LabelSilva Screen Records
ProducerBBC Worldwide
BBC Earth

The soundtrack was released with a compilation of the incidental music specially commissioned for Planet Earth II. The main theme was composed by Hans Zimmer, with the original music for each episode composed by Jacob Shea and Jasha Klebe for Bleeding Fingers Music.[54] A digital soundtrack was released worldwide on 11 November 2016,[55][56] while a two-disc soundtrack became available on 2 December 2016 in the UK.[57]


  1. John Aitchison, Rob Whitworth, Kevin Flay, Mark MacEwen, Gordon Buchanan, Gavin Thurston, Mateo Willis, Michael Kelem, Mark Smith, Sandesh Kadur
  2. Mark MacEwen, Max Hug Williams, Jonathan Jones, Mateo Willis, Richard Wollocombe, Pete McCowen, Warwick Sloss, Paul Stewart, Derek Frankowski, John Shier, Tom Fitz


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  3. "'Planet Earth II' Soundtrack Details". Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  4. "Planet Earth II – Islands". BBC Media Centre.
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  6. "Planet Earth 2 from BBC will debut in 2016 in beautiful 4K UHD video quality". 24 February 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
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  14. "EO start het nieuwe jaar met Planet Earth II". Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  15. "NHKスペシャル プラネットアースⅡ" (PDF) (in Japanese). NHK. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  16. "NHKスペシャル プラネットアースⅡ – 第3集: 新天地への挑戦" (in Japanese). NHK. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  17. "プラネットアースⅡ – 第1集: 島 生命の小宇宙" (in Japanese). NHK.
  18. "プラネットアースⅡ – 第6集: 都市 新天地への挑戦" (in Japanese). NHK.
  19. Knox, David (6 February 2017). "Airdate: Planet Earth II". TV Tonight. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  20. "Planet Earth II Unearthed at Last". ScreenScribe. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  21. "BBCWW raids Globo for Brazil". C21Media. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  22. Yeo, Debra (6 December 2016). "BBC Earth channel to debut in Canada". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  23. "Announcing: 'Planet Earth II' Premieres Saturday, February 18 on BBC America". BBC America. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  24. "'Planet Earth II' To Be Simulcast On AMC, Sundance & BBC America – TCA". Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  25. "התאגיד רכש לשידור את סדרת הטבע "עולם מופלא" ותוכניות נוספות של בי־בי־סי". 20 May 2017. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  26. . 17 June 2018 Retrieved 5 June 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. "BBC One - Planet Earth II - Episode guide". BBC.
  28. "Weekly Top 30 Programmes". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  29. "David Attenborough's Planet Earth II becomes most-watched nature show". The Daily Telegraph. 14 November 2016. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  30. "BBC One – Planet Earth II, A World of Wonder". Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  31. "We've published the names of everyone who worked on #PlanetEarth2 in recognition of a phenomenal achievement". The Independent. 12 December 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  32. Hogan, Michael (11 December 2016). "David Attenborough brings Planet Earth II to a spectacular end – review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  33. Hughes-Games, Martin (1 January 2017). "The BBC's Planet Earth II did not help the natural world". the Guardian. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  34. Users, IMDb. "IMDb Top Rated TV Shows". IMDb. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  35. "The 100 best TV shows of the 21st century". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  36. "Bafta TV awards 2017: full list of winners". Guardian. 14 May 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  37. "Bafta Television Craft Awards Shortlist 2017". BAFTA. 26 March 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  38. Stanhope, Kate (19 June 2017). "'Handmaid's Tale,' 'This Is Us' and 'Atlanta' Lead 2017 TV Critic Awards Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
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  42. "Planet Earth II (4K UHD Blu-Ray + Blu-Ray)".
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  50. "Planet Earth II (Blu-Ray with Bonus Poster)". ABC Shop.
  51. "Planet Earth II (4K UHD Blu-Ray)". ABC Shop.
  52. Planet Earth II (Hardback). ASIN 1849909652.
  53. Moss, Stephen (6 October 2016). Planet Earth II (Hardback). ISBN 978-1849909655.
  54. "'Planet Earth II' Soundtrack Details". Film Music Reporter. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  55. "Planet Earth II (Digital Music Soundtrack)".
  56. "Planet Earth II (Original Television Soundtrack) by Hans Zimmer". iTunes Store US.
  57. "Planet Earth II (Soundtrack)".
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