BBC unveils broad range of new natural history commissions

The great battle for survival, the unexplored world of the night and the first ever HD images of a wild Arabian leopard are all part of a raft of new commissions from the BBC’s Natural History Unit.

Two new commissions for BBC Two promise to open up worlds that have previously remained unexplored. Wild Arabia takes viewers on a romantic journey into the very heart of a lost world – one of virtually impenetrable wilderness and unimaginable landscapes. The series also features the first ever wild Arabian leopards to be captured in crystal clear high definition.

The Dark, also on BBC Two, reveals a nocturnal land of terrifying creatures by harnessing the latest in military night filming technology. Bringing viewers an exciting new perspective on the nocturnal activities of animals (over 60% of animals are nocturnal), the team venture deep into the unknown, becoming creatures of the night themselves – wading through piranha-filled rivers, braving shark-infested waters and squeezing into the narrowest, snake-ridden caves.

Elsewhere on BBC Two, it’s the minutiae of life and the interdependence of species’ relationships that come under scrutiny from Chris Packham in How Life Works. With insight from recent scientific discoveries, Chris delves into this complicated world to reveal why, for example, the tiny termite needs the rhino and why the shark needs the tiger.

Meanwhile, on BBC One, Survival is an epic new six-part series that will uncover the life stories of some of the world’s most unusual animals through their great struggle for success. With stunning landscapes, cinematic filming techniques and closely observed behaviour captured on tiny remote mini-cameras, Survival promises to deliver a wildlife extravaganza of impressive proportions.

Kim Shillinglaw, Commissioning Editor, Science and Natural History, says: “The range of subjects we are exploring in this new raft of natural history programmes will hopefully provide something for everyone. From BBC One’s epic series Survival to the deeper dive offered by the likes of Wild Arabia and How Life Works on BBC Two, I hope viewers across the board will find something to satisfy their curiosity about the natural world.”

Andrew Jackson, Head of the NHU, said: “After almost 60 years of natural history filming you would think there were few places and subjects left for us to cover. The diversity of these new programmes proves that, thanks to the unit’s vast experience and expertise, coupled with some staggering new advances in technology, we can continue to surprise and delight our audiences.

“The Dark is a prime example of how filmmakers have harnessed the latest in military technology to give viewers a unique insight into animal behaviour at night. I’m very excited to see what they uncover.”

Here’s a showreel from the BBC which showcases the new Natural History programmes…


Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.