Planet Earth is a 2006 British television series produced by the BBC Natural History Unit. Five years in the making, it was the most expensive nature documentary series ever commissioned by the BBC and also the first to be filmed in high definition.
Planet Earth premiered on 5 March 2006 in the United Kingdom on BBC One. It had been shown in 130 countries worldwide by June 2007. Its first broadcast in the United States was on 25 March 2007 on the Discovery Channel, with Sigourney Weaver replacing David Attenborough’s original commentary.
The series comprises eleven episodes, each of which features a global overview of a different biome or habitat on Earth. At the end of each fifty-minute episode, a ten-minute featurette takes a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges of filming the series.
Planet Earth received widespread critical acclaim. Time magazine’s James Poniewozik named it one of the Top 10 New TV Series of 2007, ranking it at #4. It is ranked 4 in IMDb’s list of the highest-rated TV shows, with at least 5,000 votes, with a score of 9.5/10, outranked only by the series Breaking Bad and Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.
Planet Earth won the Science and Natural History award at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards in 2007. The RTS also awarded it a Judge’s Award and a Photography Award at its Craft and Design Awards. The series picked up two awards from the Broadcasting Press Guild for Best Documentary Series and Innovation in Broadcasting, and won Best Documentary Series at the 2007 Broadcast Awards. At the 2007 BAFTA Television Awards, Planet Earth was nominated in the Specialist Factual and Pioneer Audience Award categories, but lost out to Nuremberg: Goering’s Last Stand and Life on Mars respectively. It received three nominations at the BAFTA Television Craft Awards later the same year. George Fenton’s original score won him Soundtrack Composer of the Year at the 2007 Classical BRIT Awards.
Planet Earth was recognised by the American television industry, collecting the award for Nonfiction Series at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards in September 2007 and winning a further three prizes in technical categories at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards. It also collected two awards from the Television Critics Association in Los Angeles in July 2007 and a Peabody Award in April 2008.
The series was also fêted at wildlife film festivals around the globe, collected multiple prizes at the Wildscreen Festival 2006, the International Wildlife Film Festival 2007 and the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival 2007.