Blue beauty Doc­u­men­tary’s coral scenes are a sure-fire bet

The People - - NEWS FEATURES & - By Ja­nine Yaqoob ACT­ING TV EDITOR

THEY’RE send­ing in the clowns on tonight’s Blue Planet II – and the show’s boss is sure that you’ll love it.

Last week the spell­bind­ing se­ries at­tracted 14 mil­lion view­ers – the year’s big­gest au­di­ence – when it ex­plored the weird world of the deep oceans.

This evening the cam­eras are nearer the sur­face to re­veal the vi­brant but equally bizarre life of the coral reef.

And the star of the show, ac­cord­ing to Blue Planet II pro­ducer Jonathan Smith, is an in­cred­i­ble clown­fish.

We will see it muster enough en­ergy to push a co­conut shell ten times its own body weight into its anemone, so the fe­male can lay eggs on it.

Jonathan said: “Across this se­ries there’s been so many mind­blow­ing mo­ments. We take the alien and take you into their world.

“My favourite was the clown­fish, when we saw it do so much more then we ever re­alised it could. I now look at the clown­fish in such a dif­fer­ent way.”

For painstak­ing cam­era­man Roger Munns the best mo­ments came from the cut­tle­fish, which hyp­no­tises its crab prey by con­stantly chang­ing colour.

He said: “It’s such an amaz­ing an­i­mal and was made for high def­i­ni­tion. It looks so alien and other worldly.”


Al­most as stag­ger­ing as the scenes be­neath the waves is the amount of time and ef­fort that went into mak­ing this seven-part vis­ual treat.

Roger spent five days film­ing just to cap­ture the clown­fish se­quence.

He said: “We re­searched the sto­ries very well be­fore­hand – pa­tience is definitely key. Ev­ery suc­cess­ful cam­era­man has a mas­sive store of pa­tience. We spent 120 hours on the sand, pa­tiently wait­ing for the tide to bring some­thing. You sit, wait and hope it’s go­ing to hap­pen.”

He added: “There are days when it doesn’t, and it’s hard, then they’re days when it all comes to­gether.

“Be­ing able to show an au­di­ence who won’t be able to go div­ing, snorkelling, see be­neath the ocean, so they can ap­pre­ci­ate and learn about the an­i­mals down there, that’s why we do what we do. It’s great that peo­ple en­joy it.”

Jonathan and his fam­ily, like mil­lions of us, are trans­fixed by the se­ries nar­rated by Sir David At­ten­bor­ough.

Jonathan said: “What we’ve cap­tured still man­ages to blow my mind. I’m con­stantly taken aback.

“I just want to watch the scenes over and over again.

“Such ex­tra­or­di­nary view­ing fig­ures have re­ally hum­bled us with the thought that peo­ple share our sense of ex­cite­ment about the ocean.

“And it’s great see­ing my chil­dren’s eyes light up and how ex­cited they get when they see these in­cred­i­ble crea­tures and be­hav­iours.

“That’s one of the best bits about this show – the im­pact it has on chil­dren.”

Fans will have to wait and see whether there will be a Blue Planet III.

Jonathan added: “I haven’t heard about a third se­ries. I’m just re­ally look­ing for­ward to sit­ting down with my fam­ily and watch­ing the other episodes with my three lit­tle girls in front of the fire on a Sun­day evening.

“I want to watch the won­ders of the ocean realm through their eyes.”

Blue Planet II, BBC1, 8pm tonight.

HYPNOTIC: Broad­back cut­tle­fish FUNNY: Clown­fish and co­conut shell SUPER GROUP: Coral grouper gets help in its hunt

PAINSTAK­ING: Film­ing Blue Planet II and cam­era­man Roger

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