New Brian Cox series to be co-produced by Chinese state television

Wonders of Life deal also includes new science series Generation Earth

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Brian Cox’s major new BBC1 series Wonders of Life – the follow-up to Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe – is to be co-produced by Chinese state television.

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In the first arrangement of its kind between CCTV and the BBC Science Unit, Cox’s new show will air on CCTV-9, the Chinese state broadcaster’s documentary channel.

The co-production deal also covers another landmark series, Generation Earth, which examines the planet’s most ambitious engineering projects.

The five-part Wonders of Life is set to air here and in China at the end of this year, with Generation Life – which is not presented by Cox – to follow in three instalments early in 2013.

Wonders of Life is described by Cox as “a physicist’s take” on natural history and the story of life. It will, like Cox’s previous series, feature spectacular locations from around the globe. Wonders of the Universe attracted more than six million viewers to BBC1 in 2011.

CCTV-9 channel director Liu Wen said: “The BBC is world-renowned for its factual programming, and we’ve had great success [showing] titles such as Human Planet and Frozen Planet, so we’re very pleased to be partnering with them on two ground-breaking new series.”

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The BBC and CCTV have collaborated before: Wild China, known in China as Beautiful China, was a co-production by the BBC Natural History Unit and a CCTV production company.