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Wild Isles | Preview (BBC One)

Britain and Ireland have some of the most diverse wildlife and beautiful landscapes on Earth. In this major new landmark series, Sir David Attenborough will celebrate the wonders of the islands that we call home, revealing the surprising and dramatic habitats that exist right on our doorstep.

It’s our home, as you’ve never seen it before. Filmed over the course of three years, this new five-part series will investigate how our woodland, grassland, freshwater and ocean habitats support wildlife of all kinds.

Using the very latest technology, each episode will capture dramatic and new behaviour across the British Isles, from battling butterflies to mighty killer whales on the hunt.

Nature in our islands will prove just as spectacular as anywhere else on the planet, but it is increasingly fragile. With intricately connected species relying on habitats, and one another, for survival, we ask what can be done to protect them and the delicate ecosystems that remain, and to make our wild isles even wilder for future generations.

Sir David Attenborough celebrates the rich variety of wildlife that exists in the British Isles and explains why our small and uniquely positioned set of isles are so critical for the survival of species from right across the globe.

Filmed in extraordinary detail across the country, we see new behaviour from animals we think we know well, and from others whose existence here may come as a surprise. Killer whales hunt for seals in our seas, rare golden eagles scavenge in snowy mountains, puffins are chased by greedy gulls that try to steal their hard-won catch, and sinister woodland plants hold unsuspecting insects hostage.

Britain and Ireland are also revealed as a globally important destination for tens of thousands of migrating birds. Each year on the east coast of Scotland, seventy-five thousand pairs of gannets arrive on Bass Rock to nest, forming the biggest colony of northern gannets in the world.

On the west coast, abundant food and a mild climate attract enormous flocks of barnacle geese which travel to Islay to feed on the lush grass, but they must watch out for sea eagles that have learnt to hunt them down.

One reason for Britain and Ireland’s natural wealth is its geology, which is among the most diverse on the planet. It ranges from the chalk formations of southern England to the limestone pavements of Yorkshire, and from the rugged granite of Northumberland to the volcanic basalt of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

Another reason our British Isles are so diverse is due to the great range in temperature, from the subtropical conditions in the south to the frozen Arctic conditions of the Cairngorms in the north. From the varied rocks and minerals across our fluctuating isles, unique habitats have arisen.

Despite these rich and varied habitats, Britain and Ireland are among the most nature-depleted countries in the world. From a busy puffin colony, David Attenborough highlights this issue and asks how we can restore our once wild isles for future generations.

Wild Isles begins Sunday 12th March at 7pm on BBC One.


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