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Sir David Attenborough Set to Present BBC Documentary on Climate Change

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Sir David Attenborough opens Woodberry Wetlands on April 30, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. Danny Martindale / WireImage

Beloved nature broadcaster Sir David Attenborough will produce a new documentary for BBC One focused entirely on climate change, the network announced Friday.


The show, to be titled Climate Change—The Facts, will be a 60 minute documentary that will air in the spring, The Guardian reported. The news comes little more than a year after Attenborough helped raise the alarm about plastic pollution as part of his Blue Planet II BBC series.

"There is a real hunger from audiences to find out more about climate change and understand the facts," BBC's Director of Content Charlotte Moore told BBC News. "We have a trusted guide in Sir David Attenborough, who will be speaking to the challenging issues that it raises, and present an engaging and informative look at one of the biggest issues of our time."

The documentary will show footage of the impacts of climate change and include interviews with climate scientists and meteorologists, who will explain how global warming has already influenced extreme weather events like the California wildfires of November 2018.

The 92-year-old Attenborough, who made his first nature documentary series for TV 50 years ago, has increasingly spoken out on climate issues. He delivered the "People's Address" at the UN climate talks in December of last year and spoke with Britain's Prince William about the issue in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland this January.

In that interview, Prince William asked Attenborough why he had held back from speaking out on environmental issues for much of his public career.

Attenborough responded that when he started his career, he didn't think there was anyone "who thought that there was a danger that we might annihilate part of the natural world."

"Now, of course, we are only to well aware that the whole of the natural world is at our disposal, as it were," he said in the interview. "We can do things accidentally that exterminate a whole area of the natural world and the species that live within it."

The climate change documentary is part of a BBC series called Our Planet Matters that kicked off with Blue Planet Live Sunday night.

Julian Hector, the head of BBC's Natural History Unit, which has been the force behind most of Attenborough's shows, said that climate change had changed both the tone of the unit's documentaries and the practicalities of filming.

"Not a single development goes on in the Natural History Unit where we're not talking about a conservation element or the difficulty of filming because of climate change," Hector said. "This nervousness about the state of the natural world is omnipresent."

In one example, Hector talked about filming in Kenya for the program Dynasties. Hector said in the past it was easier to predict what would happen on location, but parts of Kenya has been impacted by drought for many years, which makes it harder for wildlife to find food.

"Climate change is increasingly the backdrop to our films, and so the causes of it are worth exploring," Hector said.

Hector said a shift in tone from wonder at the natural world to concern about its survival started with Blue Planet II. That program featured a heartbreaking segment on the fate of albatross chicks who ingest plastic.

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