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.
There’s a shot of the young being fed, and what comes out of the beak of the adult? Plastic. It’s heart-breaking.
“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.”
The series, which has been four years in the making, visits every continent and ocean. It promises new filming techniques, from probe cameras that can capture life in miniature to suction cameras that sit on the backs of sharks.
“I’m going to have to say we’ve got new techniques and new technologies and we’re going to places we’ve never been before. It’s true to an extent but it’s not what it’s about. What it’s about is that life underwater is amazing.”
On the Shiants Isles in Scotland, a puffin holds a piece of plastic netting in its beak. Photo: Will Rose / Greenpeace.