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Frozen Planet is a nature documentary series, co-produced by the BBC, the Discovery Channel and The Open University. It was filmed by the BBC Natural History Unit. Other production partners are the Discovery Channel Canada, ZDF (Germany), Antena 3 (Spain) and Skai TV (Greece).
The production team, which includes executive producer Alastair Fothergill and series producer Vanessa Berlowitz, were previously responsible for the award-winning series The Blue Planet (2001) and Planet Earth (2006), and Frozen Planet is billed as a sequel of sorts. David Attenborough returns as narrator.
The seven-part series focuses on life and the environment in both the Arctic and Antarctic. The production team were keen to film a comprehensive record of the natural history of the polar regions, because climate change is affecting landforms such as glaciers, ice shelves, and the extent of sea ice.
Whilst the series was broadcast in full in the UK, the BBC has made the series available to syndicate with the seventh part which focuses on climate change episode optional in order to help the show sell better abroad. It was originally announced that in the United States, the Discovery Channel would air only the first six parts although it has since been announced they would screen all seven parts.
Filming finished in 2010 and focused on the challenges facing polar bears and arctic wolves in the north and adelie penguins and wandering albatrosses in the south, although many other storylines are developed. After an introductory episode, the subsequent four episodes depict the changing seasons at the poles, before an episode focusing on mankind’s activities there.
The final episode, "On Thin Ice", examines how global warming is affecting the polar regions.
Filmmakers worked in new locations, including Antarctica’s active volcanoes and the Russian Arctic. Sequences captured include migrating eider ducks, footage of a fur seal colony from the air, and pack hunting of seals by orca. The aerial photography used the Cineflex and Gyron cameras pioneered on Planet Earth, which enable steady footage to be captured from long-range without disturbing the animals.
From late April to early May 2009, BBC crews were in Hay River, Northwest Territories, Canada filming the annual breakup of the river of the same name, which flows into Great Slave Lake.
Frozen Planet was broadcast on BBC One and BBC HD starting 26 October 2011 and quickly became a ratings success, with the second episode broadcasted on 2 November 2011 becoming the highest rating Natural History programme in the UK since 2001. The Australian broadcast followed one day later on 27 October on the Nine Network and the United States broadcast on Discovery scheduled for early 2012.
The Discovery Channel originally declined to broadcast the final episode, dealing with climate warming issues, in the United States. They have subsequently reversed that standing and will air the controversial 7th episode as aired in the UK, hosted by David Attenborough. Alec Baldwin will provide narration for the first six instalments.
All episode names from BBC website Ratings include overnight audience shares, with consolidated viewers supplied by BARB.
Series average (ep.1-7): 8.24 million viewers
1. "To the Ends of the Earth"
UK broadcast 26 October 2011, 8.81 million viewers (27.4% audience share);
UK broadcast 2 November 2011, 9.72 million viewers (31.4% audience share);
Produced by Mark Linfield.
UK broadcast 9 November 2011, 8.84 million viewers (29.0% audience share);
Produced by Miles Barton.
UK broadcast 16 November 2011, 7.29 million viewers (22.3% audience share);
UK broadcast 23 November 2011, 8.29 million viewers (27.2% audience share);
6. "The Last Frontier"
UK broadcast 30 November 2011, 6.64 million viewers (19.2% audience share);
7. "On Thin Ice"
UK broadcast 7 December 2011, 8.07m million viewers (27.4% audience share);
8. "The Epic Journey"
UK broadcast 28 December 2011;
There was some controversy regarding the final episode of the series due to its focus on climate change, particularly in the United States where the topic is politically sensitive.
In an interview with Radio Times cited in the Daily Mail, Attenborough explains that "data from satellites collected over the last 40 years show a drop of 30% in the area of the Arctic sea ice at the end of each summer." Former UK Conservative politician Lord Lawson dismissed the idea as "alarmism", provoking a polar oceanographer working with the show to describe his criticism as "patronising", wrong and the "usual tired obfuscation and generalisation". Attenborough subsequently rebutted Lawson's allegations.
This episode was initially not expected to be shown in the United States. Ten networks that would have run the episode opted out, citing fear of controversy and "the reaction it might draw from America's climate change skeptics", including the fact that "the timing of a one-sided global warming programme could be particularly sensitive in the U.S., where climate change is an issue in the presidential race."
On 6 December 2011, the Discovery Channel announced that it would air the seventh and final episode of Frozen Planet. Controversy erupted last month when reports surfaced that Discovery was considering not showing the seventh episode of the series, which discusses global warming. That episode, "Frozen Planet: On Thin Ice," includes on-camera shots of Attenborough, who narrates the British version, discussing what shrinking glaciers and rising temperatures mean for people and wildlife that live in the region as well as the rest of the planet.
The BBC was accused of faking shots after it was revealed that a scene of a polar bear giving birth was filmed in a Dutch (initially reported as German) animal park. The BBC defended the shots, claiming that it would have been impossible to film the event in the wild, and that the commentary was careful not to mislead the audience. The Frozen Planet website had already explained how the filming had taken place before the story appeared in the media.
Due to the success of the two previous series (The Blue Planet and Planet Earth), the BBC has announced several items of merchandise with the anticipation of this series' success.
A Frozen Planet Book that accompanies the series has been published and released ISBN 1846079624 ISBN 978-1846079627
Open University Poster
A Frozen Planet Poster has been produced in collaboration with and distributed for free by The Open University. Both the Arctic Circle and Antarctica are mapped. In addition detailed profiles of the respective flora and fauna, geology and ice formations are provided as well as timelines of human exploration.
A Frozen Planet Calendar for 2012 has been released. ISBN 1847708560 ISBN 978-1847708564
Blu-ray Disc & DVD
Three disc region-free Blu-ray Disc and Region 2+4 DVD boxsets of the complete series were released on 8 December 2010. These are also narrated by David Attenborough as with the TV series
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22. ^ David Attenborough is accused of climate change sensationalism by Lord Lawson. In the Daily Mail, November 30, 2011. Page found 2011-12-05.
23. ^ 'Patronising and wrong': Frozen Planet scientist refutes Nigel Lawson criticism. The Guardian, December 8, 2011. Page found 2011-12-08.
24. ^ David Attenborough: Frozen Planet was not alarmist about climate change, Environment, The Guardian, 3 January 2012. Page found 2012-01-03.
25. ^ "Climate change episode of Frozen Planet won't be shown in the U.S. as viewers don't believe in global warming". Daily Mail (London). 15 November 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
26. ^ "David Attenborough weighs in on the consequences of climate change -- but you won't hear him in the U.S". io9. 5 December 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
27. ^ Singh, Anita (2011-12-12). "Frozen Planet: BBC 'faked' polar bear birth". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
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source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frozen_Planet