Blue Planet II – and Judi Dench – nominated in ‘wildlife Oscars’

The spellbinding marine natural history series received multiple nominations at the Wildscreen Panda Awards, while Dench is up for best presenter

Judi Dench: My Passion For Trees (BBC, EH)

The shelving in the offices of the BBC’s Blue Planet II production team is already beginning to creak under the weight of TV awards – now it might just need some serious underpinning.  The epic series has been nominated seven times in what in industry circles are known as the wildlife Oscars.

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The Wildscreen Panda Awards celebrate the best in natural history film-making and the nominations announced this (Thursday) morning feature a bevy of big hitters. None greater of course than David Attenborough, but also one whose greatness matches his, though not usually in this field.

Judi Dench will be contesting the best presenter category for her delightful BBC1 Christmas documentary My Passion for Trees – about the collection of trees she has nurtured (and planted in memory of departed friends) at the bottom of her six-acre Surrey garden.

But interestingly, some might say controversially, Dench is not up against Attenborough. Though he was the voice of the acclaimed oceans series, and did appear on camera, he has not been nominated. A snub? No, says Wildscreen, simply a reflection of his role on the series which was principally that of narrator, not presenter.

Wildscreen’s Molly Gibney told us: “He was entered into that category, but the general feeling (of the jury) was that the presenters who were selected had much more involvement in the presenting and storytelling.”

She said that the judges, in their comments about the nominated three presenters, had summarised: “The nominated films were selected based on the genuine and personal link the presenters had with the stories and their passion and enthusiasm for the subject matter.”

The two other presenters nominated with Dench are Chris Packham for his programme The Real T Rex and  cameraman Vianet Djenguet for his Natural World documentary My Congo.

Wildscreen’s CEO Lucie Muir said of all the films nominated: “We’re at a point in our history where we either choose to protect nature or we all suffer the consequences. Storytelling is a powerful tool for positive change. These stories share hope and optimism for the future of our natural world and our place within it.”

The award winners – in all 17 categories – will be announced at the Wildscreen Festival in October.

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See the full list of nominations for the Wildscreen Panda Awards here