Written by: Jean-Baptiste Gouyon, Associate professor in Science Communication, UCL
The BBC’s new wildlife television series featuring David Attenborough, Seven Worlds, One Planet, marks a drastic departure from previous programmes. For the first time, the presenter can be heard repeatedly uttering the phrase “climate change” in a BBC documentary otherwise devoted to exploring and explaining animals’ behaviour and how they adapt to their environment.
The series marks a turn in the history of wildlife television broadcasting. In the UK, it is being celebrated as the long-awaited engagement of one of the most trusted public figures with the most pressing issue of our time. But why has it taken so long, and how will it shape the genre going forward?
Critics might want to claim that the move is simply a case of “greenwashing” – the BBC jumping on the bandwagon of the climate emergency so that its wildlife programming remains relevant.