Frozen Planet • 2011 • 3 episodes • 6h:45m

Frozen Planet is a nature documentary series, produced and filmed by the BBC Natural History Unit. The production team, which includes executive producer Alastair Fothergill and series producer Vanessa Berlowitz, were previously responsible for the award-winning series The Blue Planet (2001) and Planet Earth (2006), and Frozen Planet is being billed as a sequel. David Attenborough returns as narrator and as with Planet Earth, the series will be shot entirely in HD. The seven-part series will focus on life in the Arctic and Antarctic. The production team were keen to film a comprehensive record of the natural history of the Polar Regions, because climate change is affecting landforms such as glaciers, ice shelves, and the extent of sea ice. Sir David first visited Antarctica 17 years ago, but this was his first time ever to visit the geographical North Pole. To get there, meant flying in to a Russian ice camp on the frozen Arctic Ocean, where he could (after several days of bad weather) finally reach the pole itself by helicopter. He also returned to Scott's hut, a place he first visited several years ago, but still touches him today. This is the place where Sir Robert Falcon Scott and his men began their fateful journey to reach the geographical South Pole. "I remember very vividly indeed the first time I entered this extraordinary building…it was not like any other place - because it isn't like any other place on earth. If ever there was a place that held the personality of the people that had lived in it, a century ago, this surely must be it". Sir David authors On Thin Ice, the seventh film of the series, which explores the effects of climate change on the Polar Regions and the lengths that scientists are going to, to understand it. Some regions, like the Antarctic Peninsula, have warmed significantly in the years since Sir David first visited them. He explores what this means, not just for the animals and people of the polar regions, but for the whole planet.

To the Ends of the Earth

Our journey begins with David at the North Pole, as the sun returns after six months of darkness. We follow a pair of courting polar bears, which reveal a surprisingly tender side. Next stop is the giant Greenland ice cap, where waterfalls plunge into the heart of the ice and a colossal iceberg carves into the sea. Humpback whales join the largest gathering of seabirds on earth to feast in rich Alaskan waters. Further south, the tree line marks the start of the Taiga forest, containing one third of all trees on earth. Here, 25 of the world's largest wolves take on formidable bison prey. At the other end of our planet, the Antarctic begins in the Southern Ocean where surfing penguins struggle to escape a hungry sea-lion and teams of orcas create giant waves to wash seals from ice floes -a filming first. Diving below the ice, we discover prehistoric giants, including terrifying sea spiders and woodlice the size of dinner plates. Above ground, crystal caverns ring the summit of Erebus, the most southerly volcano on earth. From here we retrace the routes of early explorers across the formidable Antarctic ice-cap - the largest expanse of ice on our planet. Finally, we rejoin David at the South Pole, exactly one hundred years after Amundsen then Scott were the first humans to stand there

1/7 • 2011 • Nature

Spring

Spring arrives in the polar regions, and the sun appears after an absence of five months; warmth and life return to these magical ice worlds - the greatest seasonal transformation on our planet is underway. Male Adelie penguins arrive in Antarctica to build their nests - it takes a good property to attract the best mates and the males will stop at nothing to better their rivals! But these early birds face the fiercest storms on the planet. In the Arctic, a polar bear mother is hunting with her cubs. Inland, the frozen rivers start to break up and billions of tons of ice are swept downstream in the greatest of polar spectacles. This melt-water fertilizes the Arctic Ocean, feeding vast shoals of Arctic cod and narwhal. The influx of freshwater accelerates the breakup of the sea-ice - an area of ice the size of Australia will soon vanish from the Arctic. On land, a woolly bear caterpillar emerges from the snow having spent the winter frozen solid. Caterpillars normally become moths within months of hatching, but life is so harsh here that the woolly bear takes 14 years to reach adulthood. Once mature it has only days to find a mate before it dies! Alongside the caterpillars white Arctic wolves race to raise their adorable cubs before the cold returns.

2/7 • 2011 • Nature

Winter

There is no greater test for life than winter, as temperatures plummet to 70 below and winds reach 200kph. Darkness and ice extend across the polar regions and only a few remarkable survivors gamble on remaining. We join a female polar bear trekking into the Arctic mountains to give birth as the first blizzards arrive. Out on the frozen ocean, the entire world's population of spectacled eider ducks brave the winter in a giant ice hole kept open by ferocious currents. Arctic forests transform into a wonderland of frost and snow - the scene of a desperate and bloody battle between wolf and bison, but also where a remarkable alliance between raven and wolverine is made. Beneath the snow lies a magical world of winter survivors. Here tiny voles dodge the clutches of the great grey owl, but cannot escape the ultimate under-show predator - the least weasel. Midwinter and a male polar bear wanders alone across the dark, empty icescape. Below the snow, polar bear cubs begin life in an icy den while fantastical auroras light the night skies above. In Antarctica, we join male emperor penguins in their darkest hour, battling to protect precious eggs from fierce polar storms. Weddell seals escape to a hidden world of jewel-coloured corals and alien-looking creatures but frozen devastation follows as sinister ice stalactites reach down with deadly effect.

5/7 • 2011 • Nature