When is Wild Isles on TV?

David Attenborough's new documentary Wild Isles begins on Sunday 12 March at 7pm on BBC One, and will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer.


How many episodes of Wild Isles are there?

There will be five episodes in the series, kicking off with an introductory episode that explains why Britain and Ireland are so important globally for nature. The following four episodes will each celebrate a different habitat: woodlands, grasslands, freshwater and marine.

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What is Wild Isles about?

Co-produced by Silverback Films, the Open University, the RSPB and WWF, Wild Isles is a celebration of British and Irish wildlife.

Britain and Ireland have some of the most diverse wildlife and beautiful landscapes on Earth. In this major new landmark series, Sir David Attenborough will celebrate the wonders of the islands that we call home, revealing the surprising and dramatic habitats that exist right on our doorstep. It’s our home, as you’ve never seen it before.

Filmed over the course of three years, this new five-part series will investigate how our woodland, grassland, freshwater and ocean habitats support wildlife of all kinds. Using the very latest technology, each episode will capture dramatic and new behaviour across the British Isles, from battling butterflies to mighty killer whales on the hunt.

Nature in our islands will prove just as spectacular as anywhere else on the planet, but it is increasingly fragile. With intricately connected species relying on habitats, and one another, for survival, we ask what can be done to protect them and the delicate ecosystems that remain, and to make our wild isles even wilder for future generations.

“In my long lifetime, I have travelled to almost every corner of our planet,” said presenter Sir David Attenborough when the series was announced. “I can assure you that in the British Isles, as well as astonishing scenery there are extraordinary animal dramas and wildlife spectacles to match anything I have seen on my global travels.”

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A photograph of a common puffin
A common puffin on Skomer Island, off the Pembrokeshire coast. © Alex Board/Silverback Films/BBC

“I have always wanted to make a landmark series that really does justice to our own extraordinary wildlife. I am sure people will be amazed at what is happening right on their own doorstep,” said executive producer Alastair Fothergill, who has produced a variety of natural history documentaries for the BBC, Netflix and Disney, including Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, Our Planet, and David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet.

Who is presenting Wild Isles?

David Attenborough sitting outside looking into the camera, with puffins and Skomer Island in the background.
Sir David Attenborough, filming for the Wild Isles series, next to common puffins on Skomer Island. © Alex Board/Silverback Films/BBC

This new BBC series will be presented by Sir David Attenborough, who will be a familiar face and voice to millions of people around the world.

Wild Isles is one of a number of new natural world documentaries the BBC has commissioned recently. Others include Wild Isles (presented by David Attenborough) Paul Whitehouse: Our Troubled Rivers, Mammals, Big Little Journeys and Wild Scandinavia

Where was Wild Isles filmed?

The series was filmed in a number of different locations and counties across the UK, including;

Forest of Dean, Wales
New Forest, Hampshire
Bodmin Moor
Skomer Island, off Pembrokeshire
Richmond Park

Wild Isles episode guide

Episode One

In episode one of Wild Isles Sir David Attenborough celebrates the rich variety of wildlife that exists in the British Isles and explains why our small and uniquely positioned set of isles are so critical for the survival of species from right across the globe.

Filmed in extraordinary detail across the country, we see new behaviour from animals we think we know well, and from others whose existence here may come as a surprise. Killer whales hunt for seals in our seas, rare golden eagles scavenge in snowy mountains, puffins are chased by greedy gulls that try to steal their hard-won catch, and sinister woodland plants hold unsuspecting insects hostage.

Episode Two

Episode two of Wild Isles takes a look at our woodlands. The woodlands of the British Isles are magical and mystical places, but as one of the least-forested countries in Europe, they are also under threat. Sir David Attenborough follows our woodlands through the seasons, revealing a host of spectacular animals and the hidden dramas that rule their lives.

In the deep winter, a layer of snow keeps a hungry robin from the worms beneath. The reintroduction of wild boar to the Forest of Dean gives the little bird a harmonious lifeline, as the boar unearth worms with their snouts in a surprising and fruitful partnership.

Episode Three

In episode three of Wild Isles Sir David Attenborough explores our grasslands, some of Britain and Ireland’s most beautiful places. From the coastal flower meadows in the Scottish Outer Hebrides to the rich open landscapes in the mountains of south-west Ireland, we enter surprising and dramatic worlds inhabited by creatures great and small.

Whether it’s rough and untamed, flower-rich, or farmed, rooted in chalk or scree, our varied grasslands set the stage for spell-binding spectacles.

Episode four

Freshwater is the lifeblood of our wild isles. From highland burns in the Scottish Cairngorms to vast mudflats in Norfolk, Sir David Attenborough takes us on a journey from source to sea, in episode four of Wild Isles, following the course of our freshwater as it journeys through our landscapes.

Along the way we meet a host of wildlife that lives in, on and around our rivers, lakes, ponds and lochs, revealing the crucial role that water plays in supporting wildlife of all kinds.

Episode five

If you thought our seas were cold, grey and lifeless, think again! In the fifth and final episode of Wild Isles, Sir David Attenborough introduces us to the colourful underwater world of Britain and Ireland’s oceans. This episode will take viewers below the waves to uncover the stories of the animals that live along 22,000 miles of our coastline.

Who composed the music and theme tune for Wild Isles?

The music for Wild Isles was composed by George Fenton, a veteran of Natural History scoring, having composed the music for some of the BBC’s very finest documentaries over the last few decades, from The Trials of Life through to the original series’ of The Blue Planet, Planet Earth and Frozen Planet.

And it was a return the Oscar-nominated composer was all too happy to embrace, as he told BBC Music Magazine


Main image: Sir David Attenborough, filming for the Wild Isles series, next to common puffins on Skomer Island. © Alex Board/Silverback Films/BBC


Megan ShersbyNaturalist, writer and content creator