Nature, Science

Degrees of Life


Prepare to discover Planet Earth like never before. This strongly conceptual, visually stunning six-part series follows the world’s most iconic and charismatic species as they battle for life beneath immense external forces.

Take a look at a globe. Bands of green, rust and white circle around it. Lush jungles, lonely deserts, seasonal forests, winter wonderlands; ever wondered why these different realms exist in fixed stripes around the Earth? Told through the eyes of the iconic creatures that call these places home, we follow the changing power of the sun between equator and pole as it binds all life on our planet.

What makes this series stand out? Spectacular imagery and behaviour. Immersive, conceptual storytelling sets us apart. Our animal characters are but players on a cosmic stage, their fates bound by elemental forces ruled over by the sun. Change comes in seconds or years. Fire, flood, snow and ice bring drama, conflict and co-operation. The struggle for life is bound not by country or continent, but by degrees of latitude: the degrees of life.

Series Overview
Strong, conceptual storytelling meets stunning natural history. Spectacular visuals and behavioural sequences are made all the more extraordinary by tying them to the elemental forces that make our world so diverse.

Between equator and pole lie 90 degrees of latitude. As we head north and south from the equator at 0°, the sun’s intensity changes, driving patterns of wind, rain and seasonal variation that shape the world’s great biomes. It is no coincidence that desert prevails at 30°, or boreal forest at 60°. Modern drone, timelapse and moving camera techniques allow us to bring these processes to life, revealing the planet as a living, breathing organism. When used alongside breathtaking behavioural sequences, the series will bring an immersive experience and fresh feel to natural history television.

0° – 90° – Circles of Life
Told through epic climatic events and the eyes of a charismatic cast, this first episode reveals how the sun’s changing power defines our planet and shapes all life. As the tropical sun heats the equator, it sets in motion a flow of elements that travels all the way to the frozen poles, forming savannahs, deserts and great forests. A young orang-utan learns to build a leaf umbrella to protect herself from the downpour. Arctic wolves pull down musk oxen on the icy, windswept tundra. They may seem worlds apart, but are bound by this flow of elements, driven by a cosmic force.

90° – Night and Day
A single night breaks to a single day at 90 degrees latitude. As green lights dance in the sky, musk ox stand sentinel in the bitter wind. Polar bears stalk seals across the sea ice. Walls and rivers of ice shatter as temperatures swing from -60 C to +30 C. A polar bear and her cubs face starvation as snowy owls nest amongst thousands of snow geese. Nowhere is the line between life, death, success and failure more apparent.

50° – Four Seasons
A year of endless change in Earth’s great seasonal forests, where timing is the difference between success and failure. Great grey owls and wolves rule the silent, snow-covered winter. Bluebells and cherry blossom welcome spring. A race to breed begins before summer’s heat and devastating fires engulf the land. Amongst heavy rain and autumn’s splendour, bears race to fatten up and deer battle for a mate.

30° – Mirage
One day in the driest places on Earth, where animals face a lack of water, searing temperatures and immense sandstorms. Beetles perform handstands in the dawn mist. Lions roam the dunes looking for prey. Temperatures rise as red kangaroos fight for mating rights. At midday, lizards dance, lifting their feet in turn to avoid being burnt by the sand. Night brings a new cast of predators, like fennec foxes, as temperatures plummet towards freezing.

15° – Boom and Bust
The story of wet and dry on the savannah. An elephant herd relies on its matriarch to find water in a dust-swept wilderness. A lion pride on the edge of starvation. A young capuchin must learn to crack nuts with a stone if he is to survive. The first clouds bring lightening and devastating fire. But soon, the rains, the herds, the good times return.

0° – Perfect Paradox
One day in the richest habitat on Earth, the tropical rainforest. Gibbons sing out in the mist. Flocks of macaws light up the forest. Orang-utans and gorillas have only until midday to feed before the sun becomes too intense. The afternoon brings intense downpours, which carnivorous plants use to catch prey. The forest floods and dolphins now swim between the trees. With abundant sunlight and water, there are perfect conditions for life here. But it is the battle for space that drives such extreme diversity.