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Wild Scandinavia | Preview (BBC Two)

Wild Scandinavia is a new three-part series for BBC Two celebrating the stunning wildlife, dramatic landscapes and unique culture of the furthest northern reaches of Europe, made by BBC Studios Natural History Unit and co-produced by PBS and Sveriges Television (SVT).

Across 3 x 60 minute episodes, Wild Scandinavia will immerse viewers in the realm of Norse Gods, of Odin and Thor. Each film explores a different captivating natural world - the hauntingly beautiful coast, the magical seasonal forests, and the volcanic and arctic extremes.

Narrated by Anglo-Swedish actor Rebecca Ferguson (Dune; Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One), surprising wildlife stories of lynx, puffins, orca and wolves, are told alongside the experiences of the extraordinary people living in and devoted to exploring this icy wilderness.

Breath-taking imagery reveals stories of survival, from the epic Norwegian Arctic, through mythic Swedish and Finnish forests, across vast Danish tidal shores and around erupting Icelandic volcanoes.

This series has filmed the Nordic region as never before - Fast FPV drone cameras chase a base jumper dropping into the fjords, while the latest high-speed camera technology follows giant sea eagles as they snatch fish from the water.

State of the art camera traps reveal the lives of lynx, looking for love; and super-macro filming follows spiders living in volcanic hot springs – where one wrong step could be fatal.

Episode One: Life On The Edge

Life On The Edge follows a coastal journey from the sheltered Baltic Sea to the Wild Atlantic Ocean, travelling north to freezing Arctic waters. In turns both cruel and generous, the sea can bring both life and death. Seal pups are born on granite islands left by the Ice Age, while mesmerising flocks of migrant birds visit the largest tidal flats on the planet.

Norway’s iconic fjords stretch up to 100 miles inland. These towering canyons are now where courageous base jumpers fly down plunging waterfalls. Europe’s largest eagles patrol the sea cliffs and their youngsters become pirates, stealing a meal in dramatic aerial combat.

Otters survive high in the arctic and feisty puffins return to snowy islands to breed. But with burrows in short supply, it’s a fight to secure a home. Pods of Orca and humpback whales feast on great shoals of herring in Scandinavia’s greatest wildlife spectacle, as scientist and photographer, Audun Rikardsen, tries to understand the relationships between them all. Where the land meets the sea, only the tough and the resourceful can carve out a life on the edge.

Episode Two: Heartlands

Heartlands reveals the magical beauty of Scandinavia’s forests and waterways through the turning seasons. Ancient Norse myth told of Yggdrasil - a great tree linking worlds. Still today, the great forests are an intensely interconnected world, where survival depends on the relationships you keep.

Ingenious ravens work together to outsmart golden eagles to get a meal. Sámiherders rely on reindeer, and osprey swoop down to catch fish from lakes built by beavers.

Lynx were said to be the companion of the Norse goddess of love, Freyja. In the spring a wandering male lynx leaves his own scented love letter to passing females on a twisted pine, hoping for success.

Emerging from hibernation, a mother bear tries to teach her playful cubs – but climbing up is easier than down. By autumn bears need to pack on the pounds but must contend with wolves in their element.

Finally, with winter’s return Nordic skaters venture out on the first black ice of the season. Their delicate balance on the thinnest ice becomes a metaphor for us all, in our connection with the natural world.

Episode Three: Ice And Fire

Ice And Fireexplores the dramatic extremes of the Nordic territories – volcanic Iceland, the high tundra and Arctic Svalbard. Polar bears, arctic fox and musk ox must all survive in a world ruled by the great pendulum of sunlight – from total darkness to midnight sun.

Musk ox are built to withstand the dark polar nights and freezing blizzards, when the only hint of the sun are the dancing streams of the Northern lights. Back-country skiers embrace the Icelandic winter but a few creatures have found a way to sidestep to Sun’s absence, including surprising hot spring spiders.

The sun’s return kick starts the most dramatic transformation, heralding a hectic world under 24hour sunlight. Crazy courting Ruffs dance for mates and Little Auk chicks must complete flight school, while Glaciologists tap into the impacts of climate change, and musk ox struggle in the sweltering summer glare.

For some, winter is about resilience and scraping through until the summer feasts, but for others it’s the summer heat which brings the greatest danger.

Wild Scandinavia, a 3 x 60’ series for BBC Two and iPlayer and begins Sunday 31st December.


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