Blue Planet 2 producer promises a ‘real life Pixar’ from underwater sequel

The producer of Blue Planet 2 says the stories seen in the new series of the show are so gripping, it’s like watching a “real life Pixar” movie.

The series is a sequel to Blue Planet, a David Attenborough documentary which was first shown on the BBC 16 years ago.

“You’re meeting little tusk fish that can pick up shells and smash them.

“You’ve got an octopus that can disguise itself from a shark attack,” producer Mark Brownlow tells Newsbeat.

Sea lions

“The level of characterisation we’re getting from our animals, they are almost like real life Pixar stories.”

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The show is (of course) narrated by David Attenborough, who stays safe and dry during the filming, which took years to complete.

David Attenborough

“My responsibility was the words but I’ve seen marvellous pictures,” David told press at a VIP launch for the new show.

“I hope those are great stories and important stories which will be a joy to watch.”

Like Planet Earth 2 (which gave us this unforgettable snake-escape sequence) Blue Planet 2 uses new technology to get closer to the action underwater than ever before.

“I think the things that really astounded me were when we go down deeper into the oceans than ever before and see sights that are really mind-blowing,” says David.

But “mind-blowing” moments don’t come easily and often the Blue Planet 2 crew would wait years to get the shots they wanted.

Dolphin family

“We really wanted to capture these deep sea fish called Lantern Fish, who come up at night from the deep to spawn,” he tells Newsbeat.

“On our first trip to Australia, we didn’t see a single one, despite the fact they are the second most common fish on the planet.”

Prince William and BBC producer Katie Hall

He says El Niño “scuppered” their plans when a rise in sea temperatures “switched off the ocean.”

But all was not lost, and a year and a half later the team finally got its wish of seeing the lantern fish being eaten by sea predators.

“18 months later we filmed them off the coast of Costa Rica,” he says.


“We finally got to film them as they came to the surface in these giant bait balls where they were fed upon by tuna, by hundreds of dolphin.

“I was in the helicopter filming aerials of this event and the sea literally boiled with activity.”

Blue Planet 2

But the sequence which really stood out, and which Mark thinks could rival the iguana baby’s escape in Planet Earth 2, involved unexpected deaths for seabirds, not fish.

“We have an incredible story of these massive fish, giant trevally, that rush out of the water and catch birds in mid-air,” he says.

“I defy anyone not to be excited by that.”

Blue Planet 2 will premiere on the BBC later in 2017.

Watch the BBC’s prequel to the series.

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