IT WAS the astonishing and groundbreaking nature documentary which took us under the sea like never before.
And 20 years on, the BBC is bringing you a new series of Blue Planet after film crews spent four years scouring the seas for a fresh cast of aquatic animals. Here is what you need to know…
When is Blue Planet II on BBC1?
The new series of Blue Planet II was announced back in February and will air on October 29.
The seven-part documentary sequel comes 20 years after the original series, which set out to explore the deepest and darkest realms of the world’s oceans.
One of the most memorable and heartbreaking scenes was a brutal attack by a group of killer whales on one of their babies.
Other creatures featured included dolphins, fish including marlins and sea birds.
And when it aired in 2001, it received widespread acclaim from both the public and critics alike.
It also made nearly £20 million in the sales of DVDs, books and broadcast rights, while the show was sold to more than 150 territories across the globe.
Is there a trailer for Blue Planet II?
Yes – the latest trailer gave fans an extraordinary, tantalising peek at what’s in store.
This includes a soundtrack created by rock band Radiohead and esteemed film composer, Hans Zimmer.
Is David Attenborough involved?
Renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough will be presenting the series and his familiar voice will form part of the narration.
Sir David turned 90 last year and had been rumoured to have been on the verge of retirement.
But his involvement in Blue Planet II is being seen as a coup for the BBC.
Sir David said: “I am truly thrilled to be joining this new exploration of the underwater worlds which cover most of our planet, yet are still its least known.”
Last year, he was the voice of the successful Planet Earth II series, which regularly drew in more than 10 million viewers.
And it is believed Sir David’s reputation will help the BBC with international sales of the new programme.
What new sea creatures are involved?
Blue Planet II is set to feature even more aquatic animals and has used highly ambitious filming techniques to capture them in their natural environment.
Some never before seen animals have been caught on film for the first time – including the Hoff Crab, which is named after Baywatch star, David Hasselhoff.
Among the creatures to be filmed for the first time and featured in the series include hairy-chested Hoff crabs, snub fin dolphins that spit water through the air and a tool-using tusk fish.
Other animals set to be shown also include coral groupers, reef octopus and giant trevally fish.
New specially developed camera technology allowed the crew to film predators front-on, and even “travel” on the backs of whales, sharks and orcas.
One scene will even show a sperm whale mother and her young calf as they head deep into the abyss to hunt.
Where was it filmed?
Camera crews travelled to every continent and worked across every ocean to film scenes for the new documentary.
The series is set to show both icy polar seas, vibrant coral atolls and the storm beaten Atlantic coastline.
Viewers will also be shown new landscapes such as methane volcanoes which erupt in the Gulf of Mexico and the so-called boiling sea phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean.
For the first time, the show will also show footage of the Antarctic at 1000 metres deep after taking two manned submersibles to explore the polar ice cap.
Executive Producer James Honeyborne said: “The oceans are the most exciting place to be right now, because new scientific discoveries have given us a new perspective of life beneath the waves.
“It will provide a timely reminder that this is a critical moment for the health of the world’s oceans.”
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