Sir David Attenborough and his friends enjoyed the “completely different soundtrack” left after planes stopped flying over their homes during lockdown, the executive producer on his new show has said.
The veteran broadcaster, 94, narrates a forthcoming documentary called The Year Earth Changed, detailing how the natural world adapted as much of the world’s human population took shelter amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Filmed across five continents from March 2020, the Apple TV+ programme features footage of turtles hatching on once busy beaches and deer exploring city centres.
Produced by the BBC Studios Natural History Unit, the special is launching on Friday April 16, ahead of Earth Day on April 22.
Executive producer Mike Gunton said Sir David had told him he enjoyed being able to hear birdsong and other sounds of natural life during the early months of the pandemic.
He told the PA news agency: “I live in actually the middle of Bristol, but we have the big park near us, so actually we do get quite a reversal.
“Interestingly, Sir David Attenborough was the narrator of the programme and he said that he lives in Richmond in the centre of London, and one of the things that he liked about this project and liked being involved in was that a lot of his friends and associates said they had noticed – because of course, in that part of London, there is a lot of plane noise, because you’re on the flight path – a completely different soundtrack.
“Especially as lockdown continued, a lot of people found real comfort from that, from being able to sort of almost reconnect with nature. The light was shone upon the world that they live in.”
Gunton suggested the pandemic had reminded people they are part of nature.
He said: “There are lots of more solid things that come out of this, but there’s a more of a – for want of a better word – spiritual side of this – that, actually, it does remind us that we are part of nature and that there are lots of benefits about embracing that.
“Because there’s no doubt everybody’s mental health has struggled a little bit during this period, it’s been such a shock to us all.
“Yet it seems that whenever you can reconnect with nature has helped improve people’s mental health.
“There’s been a little bit of a silver lining in that respect as well, apart from the benefits to the animals themselves, there’s also been a bit of a benefit, to some of us anyway, and maybe people don’t even know it.”
The Year Earth Changed launches on Apple TV+ on Friday April 16.