by Dale Templar, Series Producer
Last Thursday saw the final episode of Human Planet transmit in the UK. I had mixed feelings as I watched the end credits roll for the last time. After three intense years, sending teams to over 70 locations including some of the remotest places on earth, this really did mark the end of the formal production process on the series. It is always sad when a production ends. Virtually all of my amazingly talent team have gone – many already on new adventures around the world. There is literally just a handful of us left in the Bristol and Cardiff offices.
But Human Planet has been different from any other programme I have ever worked on. Normally the last UK transmission would be the end of the series. For Human Planet it feels like a new beginning. For a start I am still in slight shock at the amazingly intense and positive reaction we have had to the series from people of all age groups. The series has been praised by members of the Royal Geographical Society, it’s been the focus of talk and gossip around office water coolers and it’s been making news particuarly online. I’m especially pleased that the series has connected with a younger audience – there’s been a buzz on Twitter and Facebook and millions of hits on You Tube. One young mum told me her 3 year old son was a huge fan of Human Planet, watching every episode without fail! No programme maker can ever be sure of a hit. This is a very fickle industry and audiences can never be guaranteed even when you’ve made a landmark series for the BBC. The feeling is that Human Planet is a fresh and different type of landmark. Many people, even those who don’t normally enjoy natural history have become hooked on humans!
Personally I hope this new found passion for humanity will continue. The series is a spectacular snapshot of the diverse human world we live in. But the world is changing fast, very fast. It’s becoming increasingly hermogenised. Even now one City looks much like the next – same Starbucks , same McDonald’s. Human Planet filmed with people who still directly depend on the natural world for their survival but their wisdom and customs may soon be disappear. The human species cannot be set in aspic but I think many of the stories we filmed will be gone within the next 10 years.
So what next? The series is now out on DVD/Blu-Ray and the book is in the shops. Next month it jumps across the Atlantic to be shown on Discovery Channel (a different version from the one showing in the UK) Then the UK version will start being shown on television around the world. So look out for Human Planet in your neck of the woods! Hopefully the BBC will commission a second series, watch this space…
So hopefully the end is truly just the beginning…I can only hope that this series sparks an interest in the challenges facing our human planet and that more is done to protect the incredible diversity, languages and cultures of our magnificent species.
Long live the Human Planet and all that sail on her!