Planet Earth is one of the most comprehensive television documentaries ever made about our planet. It was produced by the BBC Natural History Unit in 2006 and it consisted of eleven episodes of 50 minutes each. It took the BBC teams five years to complete it, and it is so far the most expensive nature documentary ever to be produced by the BBC, but it was also co-produced by the Discovery Channel and others. Planet Earth was the first documentary to be filmed in high definition and since its original broadcast on BBC One in March 2006 it was distributed and shown in 130 countries. The original British version was narrated by Sir David Attenborough, famous naturalist and presenter, as well as fervent activist for environmental causes. As for the American version, it was narrated by famous actress, Sigourney Weaver.
As mentioned before, the televised documentary series was divided into eleven episodes, each presenting a different side of the Earth, a different habitat or biome. Each episode ended with a behind the scenes video presenting some of the challenges confronted for the making of that episode. Planet Earth was created after the production of the BBC’s The Blue Planet, which presented the Earth’s oceans on a large and comprehensive scale. The worldwide success of this documentary led to the idea of Planet Earth, so BBC, in collaboration with Discovery Channel and NHK (a Japanese state broadcaster) started to work. BBC invested no less than £ 16 million and it clearly paid off because the series was a huge success.
The first episode of Planet Earth “From Pole to Pole” presents a trip around the globe and speaks about climate change and presents many of the habitats and animals existing at the Poles. The second episode is called “Mountains” and it presents all the mountains on our planet. The other episodes are as follows: “Fresh Water”, “Caves”, “Deserts”, “Ice Worlds”, “Great Plains”, “Jungles”, “Shallow Seas”, “Seasonal Forests” and “Ocean Deep”. Another difference between the British and the US broadcast, excepting the replacement of David Attenborough with Sigourney Weaver, was a different script that the actress had to voice. Unlike the BBC, the Americans chose to show the bits about the making of the documentary in a two-hour special when Planet Earth was finished showing. A great aspect of this documentary is that it showed premiere footage of animals or places never seen before on television, such as wild Bactrian camels in the Gobi desert, eating snow.