From the team at BBC Wildlife Magazine

When is Earth's Tropical Islands on TV?

Airing in early 2020, this new BBC series explores some of the world's most isolated and iconic tropical islands.

Published: December 19, 2019 at 10:00 am
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When is Earth's Tropical Islands on TV?

The first episode of Earth's Tropical Islands airs on BBC Two on New Year's Day at 9pm.


The second and third episodes air at the same time on BBC Two on the following two days.

Where is Earth's Tropical Islands filmed?

The three islands in this series are: Madagascar (episode one), Borneo (episode two) and Hawaii (episode three).

Grandidier's baobab in Madagascar. © Justin Maguire
Boheydulang Island, just off the North East coast of Borneo. © Nokuro/Shutterstock

What is Earth's Tropical Islands about?

A tiny fish patiently inches its way up the glistening rock of a waterfall. A snake leaps, flailing, from a tree. On ancient and far-flung islands, species found nowhere else on Earth have evolved while being isolated from all other life. 

The pelican spider is a living fossil. Existing in the sanctuary of Madagascar’s forests since the age of the dinosaurs, these ancient creatures are spider killers. © Paul Bertner

This new BBC series, from the makers of Earth’s Great Rivers, brings the wildlife of three remote tropical islands closer than ever before. 

Covering Madagascar, Borneo and Hawaii, in three separate episodes, this series looks at how the islands were formed, the remarkable life they support, and the threats they now face.

A humpback whale mother and calf resting in the warm, shallow waters off the Hawaiian coast. © Chris Holman/Shutterstock

The programme doesn’t shy away from showing the impacts of humans. In Madagascar, as little as 20 per cent of the island’s original forest remains.

While, in Borneo, species such as the iconic orangutan are threatened by industrial logging. 

The Bornean orangutan is a sub-species of orangutan found only on the island of Borneo.
The Bornean orang-utan is a sub-species of orangutan found only on the island of Borneo. © Chien C. Lee

But it’s not all doom and gloom. We get to see some amazing wildlife spectacles and follow interesting individuals, too.

We meet the world’s oldest known bird, which has raised 37 chicks, and encounter a chameleon that lives a short life of just four months.

As narrator David Harewood says, these islands are “home to remarkable animal castaways and human cultures that have adapted in extraordinary ways.”

Green turtle, known in Hawaiian as the 'honu'. © Shane Myers Photography/Shutterstock

“From the jungles of Borneo with their staggering wild diversity, to Hawaii, the most remote island chain, colonised by only the hardiest pioneers.”

“And Madagascar, the oldest island of all, where time has given rise to thousands of unique species.”

A tiny Bornean tree-hole frog, just a few centimetres long, is found only on the island of Borneo. © Chien C. Lee

Who is narrating Earth's Tropical Islands?

David Harewood at the 33rd Annual PaleyFest Los Angeles. © Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic/Getty

Earth's Tropical Islands is narrated by actor David Harewood MBE, known for his roles in Blood Diamond, Homeland, Supergirl, and The Merchant of Venice.



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