Liz Bonnin "I will never forget screaming at the television when that marine iguana was running for its life!"

Liz Bonnin "I will never forget screaming at the television when that marine iguana was running for its life!"

Planet Earth II Live in Concert is set to tour the UK in 2020. Sensational footage from the BAFTA and EMMY award winning BBC series will be shown, accompanied by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Matthew Freeman, playing the remarkable music by Oscar winner Hans Zimmer, Jacob Shea and Jasha Klebe for Bleeding Fingers Music. 

The tour will be hosted by Liz Bonnin, science and natural TV presenter, who has presented Blue Planet Live, Super Smart Animals, Galapagos and Horizon. Check out the interview below with her discussing Planet Earth II.

1.  At what age and how did your interest begin in wildlife and the environment?

Ever since I was very young I was lucky to be surrounded by nature. My sister and I used to have lots of adventures in the countryside where I grew up in the South of France, amongst spiders, snakes and hedgehogs. My parents’ families lived in the Caribbean and we visited them often so I also developed a love for the ocean from an early age.  

You only have to be immersed in nature for it to work its magic. I didn’t realise it at the time but it instilled in me a deep passion and respect for wildlife that influences my life to this day.

2.   We know you’ve created many of your own remarkable animal documentaries, Planet Earth II is well known to be associated with Sir David Attenborough. How does it feel stepping into his shoes?

I don’t think I or any of my peers ever think about stepping into Sir David’s shoes – they are far too big to fill! But it’s a very lovely feeling to be part of something so special and to be able to continue to spread the awareness and joy that comes from his world class programmes. It’s a real privilege to be able to do that.

3.      Why do you think the Planet Earth II franchise has proven to be so successful among the numerous other animal documentaries that are aired on TV every year?

I think it stems from decades of expertise, passion and dedication, as well as a healthy dose of ambition to continuously raise the bar. I am constantly amazed at what Sir David and the team conjure up in their imagination about how else they can deliver wildlife stories and spectacles to their audience. And how inevitably they succeed in the seemingly impossible, thanks to improving technology and lots of hard work. With Planet Earth II they certainly didn’t disappoint! Just when you think they’ve done it all they manage to bring the natural world even closer to us.

4.   How much of a role do you think programmes like Planet Earth II can play in getting people (especially the younger generations) to understand more about the world we live in?

I think their role cannot be overestimated. I personally know so many people who were inspired to follow careers in science and conservation because of these programmes, and they played a big part in my own journey too.

We know that young people are enjoying them more than ever too - they are giving popular entertainment programmes a good run for their money! With the current zeitgeist young people are hungrier than ever for programmes that can reconnect them to the natural world and can offer up a better understanding of the vital role every species on earth plays in keeping the planet healthy. 

But there’s also something incredibly powerful about discovering the capabilities all these species have evolved to survive– extraordinary adaptations we could hardly have imagined. It can be very humbling, challenging us to reassess our relationship with the wildlife we share the planet with.

5.  What would you say to people that have enjoyed watching Planet Earth II on the TV – who are thinking about going to see it Live in concert?

The thought of seeing these spectacular images of nature on a gigantic, high definition screen while listening to a Live orchestra playing the score of Hans Zimmer sends tingles down my spine. 

The series was incredibly moving from the comfort of my sofa but I think this audio visual spectacle will be on an entirely different scale – it will be visceral and emotional, and I have no doubt that it will create an incredible energy in the arena, connecting us all to the majesty of nature, to art and music, but also connecting us to each other. So from a personal and somewhat selfish point of view I can’t wait to experience that! But I am also so excited to be able to present it to audiences of all ages.  It’s going to be very special indeed.

6.  What were your thoughts when you first watched Planet Earth II on TV – were you as hooked as the rest of the nation?

Well I will never forget screaming at the television when that marine iguana was running for its life! Or being completely awestruck at the tiny glass frog protecting its clutch of eggs from wasps using karate kicks, at how stunning the cinematography was and how gripping the scenes were – natural history programming at its best! 

To find out more about Planet Earth II - Live In Concert and for tickets click here.

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