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BBC America continues to expand its iconic nature program offerings with the launch of Wonderstruck in November.

Wonderstruck
Wonderstruck — Image courtesy of BBC America

Starting November 2nd, BBC America will transform every Saturday into Wonderstruck, a new weekly 24-hour destination of wildlife and wonder.

Wonderstruck will launch with a special presentation of the upcoming landmark series Seven Worlds, One Planet, featuring narration by Sir David Attenborough, a score from Hans Zimmer’s Bleeding Fingers, and production by the Emmy®-winning creative team behind the Planet Earth franchise.

On November 9th, Blue Planet Now arrives as a follow-up to the critically-acclaimed landmark series Blue Planet II, exploring the health of our oceans and marine life across the globe.

Based on research from a commissioned study, BBC America developed Wonderstruck to awaken a sense of awe and inspiration, while connecting viewers to something bigger than themselves.

Wonderstruck comes at a time when these benefits are particularly needed. Today, humans are facing growing polarization, constant technological change, rising extremism, and increasing urbanization — all of which have resulted in feelings of disconnection.

Said Courtney Thomasma, Executive Director of BBC America:

“It’s a privilege to be the U.S. home of the most iconic wildlife programming on the planet. The study inspired us to create an entire destination dedicated to this universal and stunning content. Wonderstruck will showcase the best wildlife filmmaking in an environment specifically designed to promote a sense of awe and wonder. Our hope is that this new Saturday ritual will offer relief from the daily grind and serve as a much-needed antidote to the chaos of the modern world.”

The study, commissioned by BBC America and BBC Studios, was conducted by Kresnicka Research & Insights to determine the underlying value people derive from watching nature content.

  • Watching nature programming has been shown to create benefits similar to those experienced from being directly in nature.
  • Nature series can promote a sense of deep relaxation, providing relief from stress, anxiety, and mental fatigue. This open and relaxed state, identified by environmental psychologists as “soft fascination,” heightens clarity, concentration and creativity, increases learning and productivity, and provokes a deep sense of awe and wonder.
  • Seeing nature on-screen — from the cosmic to the microscopic — alters one’s sense of scale; it reminds us that we are but one piece of something bigger, more magnificent and profound, and thereby enhances our sense of connection to the planet, its creatures, and one another.

According to the research, study participants gained various benefits from consuming nature content:

  • In 78% of viewing instances, nature viewing resulted in improved emotional states, giving rise to positive emotions like awe, comfort, gratitude, happiness, inspiration and contentment, and reducing negative ones including anxiety, exhaustion, loneliness and sadness.
  • 91% of study participants who reported anxiety before watching nature content showed a drop in anxiety afterward.
  • In 76% of viewing instances, nature viewing resulted in participants feeling more connected to the Earth.
  • In 59% of viewing instances, participants said nature programming inspired a feeling of awe.
  • In 62% of viewing instances, participants said they felt like they learned something, and in 43% of instances, felt like they understood the world better.

Susan Kresnicka, cultural anthropologist and pioneer of the study, remarked:

“It’s fascinating that the benefits of watching nature content mirror those you get from actually being in nature: the anxiety reduction, the feelings of inspiration, awe, and connectedness. You don’t have to have physical access to the most beautiful places on Earth to feel the effects. There is something incredibly powerful in the way TV can produce those same feelings.”

Seven Worlds One Planet
Seven Worlds, One Planet: Guanaco in Torres del Paines NP, Chile — Photo by Chadden Hunter/BBCAmerica

Launching Wonderstruck is a special presentation of Seven Worlds, One Planet on Saturday, November 2, at 9 PM ET. The entire season will premiere as a television event in the US in early 2020.

Presented by Sir David Attenborough, Seven Worlds, One Planet will reveal how each of the Earth’s seven continents — created millions of years ago when incredible forces ripped apart this planet’s crust — has shaped the unique animal life found there. The series will feature remarkable, new animal behavior from all the continents and celebrate the diversity of life on each one. It will also feature the many challenges faced by animals in a modern world dominated by humanity. By telling unknown, unseen, and unexpected wildlife stories, we will uncover the fundamental truth about what makes each one of our seven worlds unique.

Blue Planet Now
Blue Planet Now: Heron Reef provides food and shelter for thousands of species including these Spotted Eagle Rays — Photo Credit: Michael Pitts/BBCAmerica

One week later Blue Planet Now premieres — on Saturday, November 9, at 9 PM ET. The four-part series follows hosts Chris Packham, Liz Bonnin, and Steve Backshall as they travel to different locales around the globe where marine life is coping with increasing changes. In “Whale Sanctuary,” the premiere episode, Chris heads to Mexico, where he and the team explore the world’s biggest whale nursery for gray whales and their young, while in the Great Barrier Reef, Liz observes as sea turtles hatch on the beach and make the treacherous trip back to the ocean. And in the Bahamas, Steve gets up close and personal with some of the ocean’s biggest predators, including Tiger sharks, and gets to meet a real-life “Shark Whisperer.”

So mark your calendars for the launch of Wonderstruck on BBC America, and stay tuned for more Wonderstruck program announcements.

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Wonderstruck: New Nature Programming Destination on BBC America