'Blue Planet II' Named Best TV Programme Of 2017 In Critics' Poll

TV has definitely produced some jaw-droppingly brilliant programmes in recent years, and 2017 has been no exception. From the second season of The Crown to Line Of Duty, Catastrophe to Big Little Lies, there has been a wealth of really good telly in the last 12 months.

Credit: BBC

Those four shows - alongside Peter Kay's Car Share, Broadchurch and Doctor Foster - were all rated in a poll of television critics conducted by the Radio Times as some of the very best programmes of the 2017 - but there was one that stood head and shoulders above the rest to claim the top spot - the BBC's Blue Planet II.

Sixteen years after the original programme aired on the BBC, it returned to screens in October, November and December as Blue Planet II. Its stunning portrayal of the world's oceans - full of tragedy and trauma, heartbreaking sadness and vicious savagery - meant its place at the head of the list was pretty conclusive.

"It's been the most incredible 12 months for TV," said Mark Frith, the editor of the Radio Times, "but in the end Sir David Attenborough's Blue Planet II won our critics poll by quite a margin."

Credit: BBC

It also drew an incredibly large number of viewers. The first episode was watched by 14.1 million people the week it was broadcast, making it the most watched TV programme of the year.

So many people were transfixed by the tragic images of a walrus herd trying - and failing - to find blocks of ice to rest on that it's also the third most-watched show of the last five years, behind the 2014 World Cup final and - what else? - last year's Great British Bake Off final.

While it didn't outperform the amateur baking show, Blue Planet II's viewing figures did consistently beat both Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor in the battle for weekend ratings.

Credit: BBC

However they work these things out, it was determined that the show attracted millions of 16 to 34 year-olds, which is a key demographic for the BBC. More importantly, David Attenborough hopes the programme's unflinching depiction of the effects of global warming will make people think about what they can do to help save the planet.

"What we're going to do about a 1.5 degrees rise in the temperature of the ocean over the next 10 years, I don't know, but we could actually do something about plastic right now," he said at the launch of the programme.

"We have a responsibility, every one of us. We may think we live a long way from the oceans, but we don't. What we actually do here, and in the middle of Asia and wherever, has a direct effect on the oceans - and what the oceans do then reflects back on us."

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Mischa Pearlman

Mischa is a freelance journalist usually based in either New York or London. He has written for Kerrang!, Record Collector, NME, the New York Observer and FLOOD magazine, among others. Contact him at [email protected]

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