Antarctica is Earth’s southernmost continent where the geographic South Pole is located. The frozen desert is home to some 1,000 scientists who live in the blistering conditions that reach -90C at times, as they attempt to understand more about the history of Earth and climate change. At the beginning of this month, Sir David Attenborough – the legendary BBC presenter – took viewers there for the first episode of his new series.
While exposing some of the animals that call this frozen desert home, the crew also set cameras up below the ice of the Southern Ocean, too, exposing waters teeming with marine life.
Sir David said: “Winter is coming and Antarctica now undergoes a major transformation, every day, 40,000 more square miles of sea freeze over and by the end of winter, the continent has doubled in size.
“This is by far the largest desert in the world, but the frozen surface at sea hides a great secret.
“It may be hostile above the ice, but below it, conditions are so stable that life over millennia has had time to diversify.
“Creatures here grow to great sizes like predatory nemertean worms – three metres long.
“They only become visible when the cameras are sped up and we’re only now able to discover the details of the lives of such strange creatures.”
Sir David revealed how life below the ice was much different and was only exposed thanks to the painstaking work of his team.
However, there was one creature in particular that stood out from the rest.
Sir David added: “Nudibranchs are hermaphrodites and each individual possesses both male and female reproductive organs.
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Sir David explained why he still gets the same buzz from making documentaries and hopes it will inspire others.
He explained: “It is extraordinary.
“At the time people thought we were cranks but suddenly, after Blue Planet II, you hit the right note.
“I’m thrilled that we’re about to share this incredible series with the world.
“Seven Worlds, One Planet celebrates the variety of life on our planet while also shining a spotlight on its challenges.”
The third episode of Seven Worlds, One Planet was aired on BBC One on Sunday, November 10, at 6.15pm.
Viewers can now catch up with each instalment in Ultra-High-Definition (UHD) on BBC iPlayer.