David Attenborough’s final nature series to feature Shetland seals and orcas

Shetland orcas and seals are to play a starring role in what is expected to be Sir David Attenborough’s final nature series.

In a career dating back more than half a century, the legendary broadcaster has visited every continent on Earth, documenting the living world in all its splendour.

Now aged 96, the nature presenter is returning home for what is understood to be his final series filmed on location.

Wild Isles will air on Sunday “celebrating the wonders of the islands that we call home”. 

Killer whales hunting for seals off Shetland. Photo: The Big Picture/naturepl.com

Filmed over three years, the five-part series uses the latest technology to capture dramatic new behaviour across the British Isles – with many of the most spectacular scenes shot in Shetland.

Episode one, titled Our Precious Isles, features killer whales hunting seals around the coast – including a remarkable behaviour never before caught on camera.

While tracking the familiar “27s pod”, the crew filmed a feeding strategy in which the orca appear to go silent as they approach the seals, in an apparent attempt not to scare them off.

The team filmed their footage over three years using drones and specialist camera equipment on board their boat.

Episode one also features a “making of” segment, showing how the crew  enlisted local knowledge – a WhatsApp group of 250 islanders who regularly update each other on their sightings – to help trace the orca and film the hunt in its entirety.

Away from Shetland, the crew also filmed golden eagles in the Highlands, badgers and bluebells in Oxfordshire and puffins in Pembrokeshire.

The series aims to prove that nature in the British Isles is just as spectacular as anywhere else on the planet – but increasingly fragile.

Despite the rich and varied habitats covered in the documentary, Britain and Ireland are reported to be among the most nature-depleted countries in the world.

From a busy puffin colony in the first episode, Sir David highlights these issues and asks how we can restore our once wild isles for future generations. 

‘’In my long life, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to almost every part the globe and gaze upon some of its most beautiful and dramatic sights,” he said. 

“But I can assure you that nature in these islands, if you know where to look, can be just as dramatic and spectacular as anything I’ve seen elsewhere.

“The British Isles are globally important for nature. In this series we’ll show you why that is so and celebrate the wonders of these islands that we call home.”

Episode one airs on BBC One at 7pm on Sunday. 


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