Unearthed: “All we have to do is keep declaring the facts as we see the facts, and producing the evidence whenever we can”

Sir David Attenborough may be 91, but he is a busy 91. As we set up in his Richmond home, he is upstairs studying footage of orcas and humpback whales on a herring hunt. He has just come back from Edinburgh. And last night he was up late writing the latest programme for his new series: Blue Planet Two.

Sixteen years on from the first Blue Planet series, Attenborough is both delighted and saddened by his return to the oceans.

It wasn’t until the 50s that I first got put on an aqualung, but when you do – here is the richest, the most diverse, the most beautiful, the most exciting, the least known of all earth’s ecosystems.”

The programme he has been writing is about how the oceans are changing. One change he has noticed is the plastic. Lots of it.

“Plastics are of crucial importance. It’s heart-breaking of course. Which example do you choose as being the most heart-breaking? There are so many of them.”

“The one I would choose because I feel most strongly for them…is the albatross. Such marvellous birds! They form partnerships for 50 years, they circle Antarctica searching for food, they come back to their mates in the same place, but they also feed their young.”

“There’s a shot of the young being fed, and what comes out of the mouth of the beak of the adult? Not sand eels, not fish, not squid…it’s plastic. It’s heart-breaking. Heart-breaking.”

It’s a topic Attenborough was keen to return to at the documentary’s premiere in London on Wednesday.

The prequel is out now – with a soundtrack from Hans Zimmer and Radiohead.

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