What time is Blue Planet II episode 1 on TV? Where is it filmed, and what animals are featured?

Find out where in the world David Attenborough and the Blue Planet II team travelled to in order to film the first incredible episode

Blue Planet 2 3

Blue Planet II begins this Sunday 29th October, with Sir David Attenborough taking us on another incredible journey below the waves.

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Episode one, titled One Ocean, travels from the tip of South Africa to the far north in Svalbard, from surfing bottlenose dolphins to bird-devouring fish.

Find out everything you need to know about Blue Planet II episode one below.

What time is Blue Planet II episode one on TV?

The first episode airs on BBC1 at 8pm on Sunday 29th October. 

Episode one features nine key filming locations and sequences. Find out more about each section below.

Surfing bottlenose dolphins
Filmed on the Wild Coast, South Africa

Surfing bottlenose dolphins on the Wild Coast in South Africa (BBC NHU, JG)
Surfing bottlenose dolphins on the Wild Coast in South Africa (BBC NHU)

Camera crews headed to the East Cape of South Africa for the heavy surf of the appropriately named Wild Coast.

While there, they witnessed Bottlenose Dolphins catching the waves, playing and surfing near the shoreline. “As far as we can tell, the do so for the sheer joy of it,” says David Attenborough.

Giant Waves breaking along the Wild Coast, South Africa (BBC NHU, JG)
Giant Waves breaking along the Wild Coast, South Africa (BBC NHU)

While filming, the crew witnessed one of the biggest swells to hit this stretch of coastline in five years.


Bottlenose dolphins rubbing themselves in the coral
Filmed in the Red Sea, Egypt

The action quickly shifts from South Africa to Egypt, where bottlenose dolphins can be found rubbing themselves on a particular coral frond called a Gorgonian said to help protect them from infection.


Orange-spotted Tuskfish
Filmed on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

An orange dotted tuskfish (Choerodon anchorago) on the Great Barrier Reef (BBC NHU, JG)
An orange dotted tuskfish (Choerodon anchorago) on the Great Barrier Reef (BBC NHU)

This smart reef dweller uses a bowl-shaped anvil to help break open clams in order to get to the meat inside. An incredible example of a fish using tools.


Bird-eating giant trevally fish
Filmed in the Seychelles

One of the most dramatic scenes in the first episode of Blue Planet II – the BBC natural history unit first heard a tale about fish picking birds out of the sky from local fishermen. On a remote atoll in the Seychelles, the team finally captured the behaviour on camera.


Glowing mobula rays
Filmed in the Sea of Cortez in Mexico

Bioluminescent plankton help produce an incredible ligthshow when mobula rays rub up against them, making the sea shimmer with a neon glow.


False killer whales and bottlenose dolphins
Filmed off the North Island in New Zealand

The False Killer Whale is actually a type of large dolphin, mainly found in the open ocean. (BBC NHU, JG)
The False Killer Whale is actually a type of large dolphin, mainly found in the open ocean. (BBC NHU)

When is a deadly chase not a chase? When it’s actually a happy reunion. In the waters off New Zealand, false killer whales (Pseudorca) are dark black, up to six metres long and look incredibly intimidating. However, their ‘pursuit’ of smaller bottlenose dolphins actually appears to be a way of the two species cooperating as part of a huge hunting party.


Sex-changing Kobudai
Filmed in Northern Japan

A male Kobudai (Asian Sheephead Wrasse) in Japan (BBC NHU, JG)
A male Kobudai (Asian Sheephead Wrasse) in Japan (BBC NHU)

These bulbous-looking fish are known as Kobudai, or Asian Sheepshead Wrasse, and they have a special trick up their sleeve. When a female Kobudai reaches a certain age, they are able to change sex. The male, which can weigh up to 15kg, is said to benefit from this transformation as they are able to pass on more of their genes by mating with multiple females.


Killer whales and humpback whales
Filmed in Vengsoya & Andfjord, Norway

Killer whales Blue Planet II

The Aurora Borealis shining overhead, this section proves one of the most atmospheric in the first episode. The fjords in Norway are ice-free thanks to the Gulf Stream bringing warm water up from the south, and fruitful hunting grounds for killer whales.


Walruses and polar bears
Filmed in Svalbard, Norway

A walrus mother and calf rest on an iceberg in Svalbard, in the Arctic Circle (BBC NHU, JG)
A walrus mother and calf rest on an iceberg in Svalbard, in the Arctic Circle (BBC NHU)
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The final sequence is a powerful reminder of how climate change has had a profound impact on the natural world. Attenborough explains that in the Arctic, in the past 30 years the extent of the sea ice in summer has been reduced by 40 per cent. Safe ground is becoming harder and harder to find…