More than than nine million people (us included!) tuned in to BBC1 on a Sunday evening to see Sir David Attenborough begin his new series Planet Earth II in a hot air balloon.
The new series opened with silence, broken a few seconds later by the firing of the burners as the world famous naturalist drifted majestically over the Swiss Alps.
Then Sir David delivered his very first line of the series – and one which we feel sums up perfectly the feeling you get during a hot air balloon flight:
“Looking down from two miles above the surface of the earth, it’s impossible not to be impressed by the sheer grandeur and splendour and power of the natural world.”
It is reportedly one of only two ‘cameo’ appearances he will make in Planet Earth II over all six episodes, handing over the spotlight fully to the wonderful natural world he narrates from off camera.
The opening sequence reminded us of both occasions we took our big red balloons to fly over those same Swiss Alps back in 2007 and in 2008. Newton Faulkner even joined us to perform an amazing acoustic set in the air during the latter visit.
And from what we’ve heard, Sir David also thoroughly enjoyed his hot air balloon ride over the Alps.
As reported in the Mirror newspaper online, he said it was a “doddle”.
“You get in this laundry basket – it is perfect for the job because it is light and strong and pliable, so it doesn’t shatter when you land,” he is reported to have said.
“When you get in, you start talking and suddenly realise you are 50ft up because there is no noise and no wind, so there is nothing to tell you that you are moving. Once you get up there you just sit there and think, ‘this is great’.”
The first Planet Earth series, broadcast 10 years ago, broached new ground as the first wildlife documentary filmed in full HD. The most expensive and programme of its kind the BBC had ever made, it set a new standard for nature shows.
And the opening episode its sequel Planet Earth II, the first to air in Ultra HD, has proved an even bigger hit, becoming the most watched natural history programme in the UK for more than 15 years.
The crew completed 117 shoots across the world, filming in 40 different countries for a total of 2,089 days to gather the incredible footage featured in the series.
We’re certainly all set to tune in for Planet Earth II, episode three this Sunday evening.
An unforgettable hot air balloon ride gives everyone the chance to experience having the whole world at their feet.
As the only national passenger hot air balloon company, we have more than 100 launch sites across the UK for when you’re ready to enjoy your own airborne adventure.
You can view the Planet Earth II official extended trailer below.
There’s also a behind the scenes look at what went into that beautiful opening montage of the balloon over the Swiss Alps.