'Blue Plant II' gives a new insight into the deepest reaches of our planet

Sir David Attenborough returns, taking viewers to more unexpected and never-before-seen places.
Ti Gong

The Emmy and BAFTA TV Award-winning BBC documentary series “Blue Planet,” which premiered in 2001, stunned a large audience with its poetic narration of the natural history of the world’s oceans.

Now, 16 years since its release, the second season continues to unravel the secrets of the ocean and the captivating lives of sea creatures.

The seven-episode sequel, shot underwater and narrated by 91-year-old David Attenborough, started airing on v.qq.com at 6pm tonight, simultaneously with the BBC.

Last Friday, producers Orla Doherty and Michael Gunton interacted with students at East China Normal University. Theyalso talked with Chinese documentary filmmaker Chen Xiaoqing, whose credits include the widely popular food documentary series “A Bite of China.”

“Blue Planet II” took four years to make and more than 6,000 hours of underwater filming through 125 expeditions around 39 countries and regions on every continent and across every ocean.

“Filming in the ocean is really hard, because the ocean is so big and creatures in it just keep moving,” says Doherty. “We have to follow them and find something very special and spectacular.”

The sequel, which will be screened once a week, uses advanced marine science to tell stories and explore more issues.

Oceans cover more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface but are threatened by global warming, plastic waste and coral bleaching.

The latest series uses suction cameras to enable viewers to ride on the back of large creatures such as whale sharks and orcas, and ultra high-definition cameras to come eye-to-eye with the smallest creatures.

Viewers get to see methane volcanoes erupt 650 meters below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. In the Pacific, the team shows the “boiling sea.” And camera go aboard manned submersibles deep off Antarctica for the first time.

Doherty says the audience will see many new and surprising things, including a coral grouper enlisting the help of an octopus to hunt little fish hiding among the coral and how the industrious tusk fish uses an anvil to crack open clams.

Doherty says the job takes tremendous cooperation among a lot of talented people and encourages Chinese documentary-makers to follow their heart and passion.

A third “Blue Planet” is under planning.

Ti Gong
Ti Gong
Ti Gong
Ti Gong

"Blue Planet II" producer Orla Doherty

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