Planet Earth/BBC

More young people are watching David Attenborough than The X Factor

There's hope for the future.

FIONA MACDONALD
2 DEC 2016
 

BBC has announced that more young people are watching David Attenborough's new series Planet Earth II  than The X Factor.

"I’m told that we are attracting a larger than normal number of younger viewers," Attenborough told TheTimes this week. "That pleases me enormously."

 

So far, three episode of Planet Earth II have screened on BBC in the UK in the 8pm Sunday evening spot.

The most-watched second episode, which focussed on mountains, attracted 1.8 million viewers in the 16 to 35 age bracket, compared to 1.4 million young viewers for ITV's The X Factor, which screens at the same time.

Those numbers were released by the BBC, but ITV has confirmed similar figures.

The victory isn't all that surprising, when you consider the incredible footage that's been released by Planet Earth II so far.

The now-famous video of a bunch of fast-moving racer snakes chasing a poor iguana in the Galapagos was seen by more than 2.4 million people online (and, no, it wasn't photoshopped).

New technology and the ability to get so close to the animals this season has taken things to the next level - animal documentaries have always been awesome, but many of the old-school ones were filmed from far away with static cameras.

 

Now thanks to high definition, remote cameras, the Planet Earth II team can bring the audience right into the moment.

"Visually, where Planet Earth took an almost God-like perspective and said, 'Let’s look down on the Earth and see the scale of the planet', what Planet Earth II is doing is saying 'Let’s get ourselves into the lives of the animals, and see it from their perspective,'" series producer Mike Gunton told The Independent before the show premiered.

The score from Hans Zimmer - the composer who also did the soundtrack for films such as The Lion King and Interstellar - also doesn't hurt.

But maybe it's not just better technology and music. As Attenborough explained in the print edition of The Radio Times, maybe we all just need to watch something pretty at the moment.

As The Guardian reports, in the interview, he called the show a type of "two-way therapy" and compared it to the incredible success of BBC series Blue Planet, which screened the day after the September 11 attacks in 2001.

"As a nation we craved refuge from the horror and uncertainty," said Attenborough. 

"Of course, there is no single appalling catalyst as there was in 2001, but our concerns for the world, the confusion we have about its direction of travel, are every bit as great."

Whatever the reason, let's hope that Planet Earth II continues its popular run with younger viewers, because we definitely need a new generation that's inspired by the great diversity and beauty of our planet - particularly at a time when it's more trouble than ever before.

"It is our environmental legacy that the younger generation of today will inherit; we need them to become the environmental champions of the future," Attenborough told The Telegraph.

"It isn’t just delivering animals into our homes but transporting us into theirs. It’s enabled us to see just how full of wonder those habitats are and underlines why we must protect them ... Their survival is our survival."

To keep you going until the next episode, here are some of our favourite moments from Planet Earth II (and its Twitter feed) so far.

More From ScienceAlert

WATCH: Jupiter's moons make actual sine waves

Our mathematical Universe is not what it seems.

3 hours ago