Latest Issue

Whale tale: what it’s like to go behind the scenes on David Attenborough’s Our Planet

The Netflix series was a runaway hit when it was released this spring—and understanding the lengths to which the teams go in order to secure their footage makes watching it even more profound

By Ralph Jones  

Our Planet was a runaway hit. But what is it like to work on the series? Photo: PA/Prospect composite

I’m on a boat in the middle of Alaska, holding a hydrophone under the icy water, trying to hear humpback whales talking to each other so that a £500,000 camera can film them. It’s not what I would describe as a normal day.

What I’m doing, as per the instructions of onboard marine biology professor Jan Straley, is rotating the hydrophone while the boat is stationary. We’re trying to pick…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect