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David Attenborough branded ‘superhuman’ as Planet Earth boss addresses show future without 97-year-old

today17/10/2023

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Executive producer of Planet Earth III, Mike Gunton, has spoken out about Sir David Attenborough’s future with the Planet series of documentaries.

The Planet Earth cameras are heading to Raine Island for the first of the new series of picturesque documentaries, located just off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.


The location is one close to Attenborough’s heart having first visited the island almost seven decades ago.

However, the way in which the incredibly wildlife on the island and in locations similar has changed drastically in the near-70 years since Attenborough’s first visit.

Long gone are the days of black and white screens as Attenborough’s documentaries are now brought to life in piercing 4k quality with technology such as drones meaning footage like never seen before can be captured.

But with the third Planet Earth by no means set to be the last – Gunton has already thought about plans for IV – the face of the Planet Earth docs is set to change again going forward.

David Attenborough

David Attenborough and Mike Gunton at the Planet Earth III premiere

GETTY

At 97-years of age, however, and given the lengthy amount of time it takes to bring each Planet Earth to screens, the question of Attenborough’s inclusion in further instalments is one that’s not been dismissed.

When asked if the series could continue with the familiar tone of Attenborough in the recording booth, Gunton said: “That’s a very difficult question to answer.

“If the situation you describe were to happen that would be a reset – inevitably it would be different, of course.

“But David’s almost superhuman, so we’ll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it,” he told Radio Times.

Attenborough may no longer venture across land and sea to get up close and personal with the wildlife like yesteryear, but he remains pivotal in how each episode is constructed.

Gunton revealed elsewhere in the interview that he “often asks him for his take on things” thanks to the 97-year-old’s “phenomenal instinct for TV – what’s right, what’s wrong”.

This even included a “fart gag” from the new series involving a fish which lets out an air bubble, which Gunton admitted he left out with Attenborough in mind.

However, it transpired that Attenborough was actually fond of the joke, although fans will have to wait and see if it makes it into the finished script.

David Attenborough and Mike Gunton

David Attenborough and Mike Gunton spoke in this week’s Radio Times

RADIO TIMES

The new series unfolds over the course of eight action-packed and wildlife-filled spectaculars.

The BBC cameras head all over the globe as well as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef as fans can expect to see the likes of South Africa, Namibia and even the Arctic Circle explored by the show’s crew.



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