Planet Earth Live! Interview with Liz Bonin

Delivering an extraordinarily vivid window on the natural world, the BBC’s Planet Earth II series held audiences captivated with its visually breath-taking insights and now it’s about to arrive in Birmingham giving audience members the chance to experience sensational footage from the BAFTA and EMMY® award winning BBC series in 4K ultra high-definition on a gigantic LED screen, as the City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Matthew Freeman, play the remarkable music by Oscar winner Hans Zimmer, Jacob Shea & Jasha Klebe. Neil Barston talked to host Liz Bonin to find out more.

The scale of its creative ambitions made major headlines, using innovative camerawork to capture everything from tracking lions hunting in Namibia, primates navigating the jungles of Madagascar,through to the dramatic trials of a baby marine iguana racing for its life.

Set a decade on from the initial series, the award-winning programme casts a memorable spotlight on just how fragile our remarkable global ecosystems are.

Its core narrative of valuing and sensing the urgency for protecting our environment served as a key companion to the equally compelling Blue Planet II, which laid bare the plight of our world’s oceans.

Such was the impact on consumers’ level of awareness, it led directly to major shifts in global corporate and government environmental policies.

Following in the show’s footsteps, Planet Earth II is set for a similarly grand live UK arena tour featuring a 4K LED screen supported with music by Hans Zimmer performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic orchestra.

As the event’s host Liz Bonnin, who has presented primetime BBC series including Horizon, as well as the Blue Planet Live, explains, it’s a hugely emotive venture.

“It hasn’t really quite sunk in that I’ll be involved with this, so to be stepping out as part of the tour for this and getting to see it all on a gigantic screen with a full orchestra playing as well – I think I’ll be quite emotional,” she remarks of the project. “I believe it’s going to have quite an impact, and it will be a great medium for both entertaining and educating people about the issues that it addresses.

“People are much more aware of what is happening to our planet now – which we’ve seen through young people fighting for their future,” adds the presenter. She has not been afraid to tackle difficult issues, such as with her recent Drowning In Plastic screen series.

As Liz reveals, there has been an incredible amount of work placed into bringing audiences closer to the natural world than has ever before with Planet Earth II.

Its finely realised storytelling has been particularly highly praised, leading to the programme winning several BAFTA awards, as well as gaining Emmy honours.

“It was just a game-changing series with some iconic moments that stay with you, like when you see creatures like the marine iguana which was incredible, so getting to see them on the on the big screen is going to be an amazing experience,” adds Liz of the upcoming tour, which showcases the key highlights from the series.

The 43-year old presenter, who has a master’s degree in animal biology, admits she has enjoyed a very fortunate career with opportunities to travel the world and test her skills and knowledge to their fullest extent.

As far as Planet Earth II is concerned, she says one of its magic ingredients is the narration by Sir David Attenborough, whom she praises for continuing to lead the way for nature documentaries into his 90s.

“I’ve met Sir David on a few occasions now, and I will never forget the first time I saw him about 12 years ago when he was talking at an event – I was a bit star struck, but it was great to go on to discuss some of those programmes like Blue Planet with him.

“He was my hero when I was growing up. He went from production work into inventing natural history programming with the BBC. There really is nobody else like him and I doubt there ever will be again. He’s not just a national treasure, but one for the whole world.”

As for her own early experiences, she says that she was fortunate to grow up with her sister in rural French surroundings near Nice, which proved influential in forging her love of the natural world. Having the chance to communicate her clear passion for nature through her work is something that she finds especially rewarding.

However, Liz is under no illusion of the major challenges facing our environment, which she believes series such as Planet Earth, and Sir David’s latest BBC series, Seven Worlds, One Planet can have a dramatic influence on how we treat our environment.

Liz adds: “We are facing an existential crisis in terms of the effects that human behaviour is having on the planet. We have reached a tipping point in terms our impact, and one of the things that I am most astounded in relation to this is by the fact that petrochemical companies are just seemingly carrying on as if it is business as usual.

“I believe we can make a difference, but we need to be aware of the facts of what is happening to our planet, and how we can change. I think series like Planet Earth can both move and inspire people.”

Planet Earth II Live was scheduled to be at Resort World Arena, Birmingham on 3rd April and has now been rescheduled to tuesday 3rd november 2020!
For tickets and to find out more visit

BBC Studios and concert promoter FKP Scorpio UK have announced their rescheduled tour dates as Autumn 2020 for the Planet Earth II Live in Concert arena tour of the UK & Ireland.

The Spring 2020 tour was postponed following government advice and the closure of venues across the UK as part of the nationwide effort to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Says host Liz Bonnin ” I’m thrilled that Planet Earth II Live has been rescheduled to October and November 2020. The last few months have been incredibly difficult for everyone and we are reeling from the impact of this pandemic. Our hope is that, once we begin to recover from this extraordinary situation, our tour can play a small part in offering joy, healing and optimism. It will be an uplifting experience, celebrating the majesty of life and all the beauty and wonder that Mother Earth has to offer. I’m all the more excited to be able to share it with you.”

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