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King of the plants

It’s not often that you are in the presence of greatness. But that was the case last night at a preview screening of Sky’s latest series, David Attenborough’s Kingdom Of Plants, attended by the man himself.

Plants may not on the face of it be the most interesting creatures, but thanks to the very latest 3D technology - and more importantly the genius of David Attenborough’s narration - Sky 3D/Atlantic’s latest production casts a whole new intricate light on the plant world.

Speaking at a special screening of the first episode in the series at BAFTA’s headquarters last night, Attenborough sang the praises of the new 3D technology used on the series. “We’ve made time lapse films before, but for me the 3D has a transcendental impact. The technology brings it to life. I find it hypnotic.”

Rather than heading out to the rainforests of South America, the series was filmed entirely in London, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which houses 90% of all known plant species, and also happens to be down the road from Attenborough’s home in Richmond. Shooting took place between February and November 2011.

Sky’s head of factual and features Celia Taylor said she had partly commissioned the series because her mum loves Kew Gardens, but she was also attracted to the idea of centering around a “British Insitution” (I think she was referring to Kew rather than Sir David).

Sky’s director of 3D John Cassy added that Sky would be upping its original British content by 50% over the next three years, hoping to invest £600million a year in British programmes across its portfolio of channels by 2014.

Much to everyone’s relief, Attenborough revealed that he has no plans to hang up his magnifying glass, despite being 86 years old. In fact, he is due to head out to the Galapagos islands for his fourth 3D project with Sky, a three-part natural history series centering on the Galapagos islands which is set to air on Sky 3D late 2012.

“The world is infinteily complex, there are major things that we have discussed that we we will go on discovering,” said Attenborough, in typically lyrical fashion before heading off to the bar for a drink.

The 3D may be hypnotic, but so is that voice.

David Attenborough’s Kingdom Of Plants 3D will air on Sky 3D and Sky Atlantic on May 26.

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