I've just taken delivery of my new 3D TV just in time to experience the start of Galapagos 3D on New Years Day. This groundbreaking series starts at 7pm on Tuesday 1st January with the following episodes airing on Saturday 5th and 12th January. The series will also be simulcast in 2D on Sky 1/HD.
Following in the footsteps of the highly acclaimed 2009 BBC Two series 'Galapagos', each of the 3 episodes of 'Galapagos 3D' will cover different chapters in the fascinating history of these remote islands. Origin (1st January) looks at how the islands rose explosively from the ocean four million years ago, with episode two, Adaptation (5th January), investigating the evolutionary innovations which helped life develop into unique and spectacular form. Evolution (12th January), explores the fact that no two islands in the Galapagos are the same and we see the final footage of the islands’ world-famous giant tortoise Lonesome George, the last survivor of his species, who sadly died earlier this year.
“After Kingdom of Plants, David and I were sitting contemplating future projects, and I mentioned the Galapagos. David turned to me, paused, and then his face just lit up. I knew immediately that we had our next film.” “This was one of the most challenging 3D documentaries ever undertaken; it involved working in extremely difficult locations on land, in the air and under the sea using custom built kit. But the resulting 3D allows you to step into the Galapagos as if you are actually there with David Attenborough, experiencing the extraordinary wildlife and discovering the history of these magical islands.” - Anthony Geffen, Producer and CEO of Atlantic Productions
"It’s only now that the latest developments in camera technology have given us the possibility of filming the full range of wildlife in 3D, and the first place I wanted to put that to the test was the Galapagos. I mean, lizards that swim, swim down to the bottom of the seabed and graze seaweed, has to be really an extraordinary thing. Galapagos is full of dramas, and it is also full of very, very charismatic animals." - David Attenborough
One of the things that make them even more extraordinary is that because the islands were not discovered by human beings until relatively recently, and they had remained isolated for so long, the animals still haven't become frightened of human beings. You can walk among them carrying your own snap shot cameras or even carrying a 3D rig and they won't go away. They continue behaving in just the way that they would do naturally. Galapagos is full of drama, full of charismatic creatures which you can film; it is a natural for 3D" - David Attenborough
Origin (1st January)
The islands of the Galapagos rose explosively from the ocean four million years ago. Although life would not seem viable in such a remote Pacific outpost, the first arrivals landed as the fires still burned. David Attenborough explores the islands for the animals and plants that descend from these pioneers: from the sea birds carrying the seeds that made a tentative foothold on these rocks, to equator-dwelling penguins and a dancing bird with blue feet.
Adaptation (5th January)
Once life arrived in the Galapagos, it exploded into unique and spectacular forms. David Attenborough investigates the driving forces behind such evolutionary innovations. We learn that life must be able to adapt quickly in these ever-changing volcanic landscapes. It has resulted in species found nowhere else in the world, such as giant whale sharks and marine iguanas that can spit sea-salt from their noses, dandelion seeds that grow into tree-sized plants and spiders that can blend perfectly into the darkness.
Adaptation has been the key to survival in these islands so far, but the story of life in the Galapagos doesn’t end here. The catalyst that triggers these explosions of life remains in place.
Evolution (12th January)
No two islands in the Galapagos are the same. The imperceptible drift of a continental plate keeps each island biologically isolated. David Attenborough explores this evolutionary crucible, encountering tortoises that weigh up to half a tonne, finches that use tools and lizards that communicate using press-ups; for Darwin, this was all evidence for his theory of evolution. We see the final footage of the world famous tortoise fondly known as Lonesome George, the last survivor of his species. David Attenborough was the last person to have ever filmed with him.
Darwin’s famous visit had a downside – the arrival of man. David investigates the impact we’ve had in these islands, as our influence is a double-edged sword. We’ve disrupted the natural balance but he also believes Darwin would be thrilled with the advances we have made in science. We’re also now uncovering evidence that evolution is more rapid than Darwin could ever have imagined. Whatever wonders the Galapagos Islands hold today, they are only a hint of what awaits them in the future.
Attenborough with Lonesome George, shortly before the tortoise died (Colossus Productions)