Saturday, December 12, 2015

BBC’s Snow Chick to follow penguin’s battle to survive, from egg to adolescent (video)

Documentary’s producer says account of chick’s struggle against rivals and -60C blizzards is ‘one of greatest wildlife stories ever’

Emperor penguin chicks huddling together as blizzards with temperatures of -60 blow across Antarctica. Photograph: Frans Lanting/Getty/Mint Images

The BBC is to air Snow Chick, a natural history documentary about a baby emperor penguin battling for survival in the Antarctic.

The BBC1 programme follows the story of the emperor penguin chick from egg to adolescence and its battle for supremacy with Adélie penguins – the same species as the computer-generated stars of the John Lewis Christmas ad, Monty and Mabel.

Scientists warned this year that emperor penguins may be at risk of extinction due to disappearing sea ice.

Snow Chick shows the chick’s fight for survival against the odds in Antarctic blizzards and temperatures of -60C, while his parents take turns trekking 50 miles to the sea to bring back food.
According to the BBC, the programme shows the emperor chick’s world being “turned upside down by the arrival of Adélie penguins” as the emperors now occupy their summer breeding grounds. The chicks must “fight for their very survival.”

Snow Chick follows Penguins: Spy in the Huddle, which was aired on BBC1 last year and is being made by the same producer, John Downer. He said: “No other animal faces so many challenges on its journey from birth to adulthood – Snow Chick quite simply will offer viewers one of the greatest wildlife stories ever told.”

Tom McDonald, BBC acting head of commissioning for science and natural history, said: “It is a tale full of drama and pathos as well as comedy and character – emotionally uplifting and intensely moving in equal parts and one that I am sure viewers will love.”

Filming has already started on the one-off hour-long programme, which will be shown towards the end of next year.

Penguins may be under threat but their appeal endures, as John Lewis has discovered.

The retailer’s lovelorn penguin advert has had more than 15m views on YouTube since it was released on 6 November and has inspired a range of gifts, from a book called Monty’s Christmas to penguin onesies, toys and tablecloths.

There has been such demand for the Monty and Mabel toys that, according to the John Lewis website, the figures are currently out of stock.


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