Planet Earth II : Norfolk film company co-owner reveals what it’s like to work on David Attenborough’s new TV series

Planet Earth II beautifully documents all sorts of animals, including snow leopards, in their natura

Planet Earth II beautifully documents all sorts of animals, including snow leopards, in their natural environment (Picture: BBC) - Credit: PA

The BBC's Planet Earth II has taken the nation by storm and this amazing series is partly thanks to a film company based in Norfolk.

Ember goes from strength to strength, the company owned by cinematographer Jonathan Jones and his wi

Ember goes from strength to strength, the company owned by cinematographer Jonathan Jones and his wife have just finished working on the Planet Earth II series. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2016 - Credit: Sonya Duncan

It has taken us from the frozen roof of the world to the teeming tangles of tropical jungles.

We've cheered on a baby iguana as it outran a pack of racer snakes, laughed at grizzly bears using trees to dance away their itchy fur and sat entranced as komodo dragons wrestled over mating rights.

The BBC's Planet Earth II has taken the nation by storm, drawing in more than 10 million viewers every Sunday evening and becoming one of the most-loved nature documentaries of all time.

An Indri lemur in the rainforest of Madagascar (Picture: BBC)

An Indri lemur in the rainforest of Madagascar (Picture: BBC) - Credit: PA

And this amazing series is partly thanks to a film company based in Norfolk.


You may also want to watch:


Ember Films, based in the village of Hackford, near Wymondham, was one of 12 principal photography teams working on the series.

Its co-owner, Jonathan Jones, said the show had changed the way we looked at nature.

Chinstrap penguins and their chicks cover the slope of Zavodovski Island, an active volcano in the S

Chinstrap penguins and their chicks cover the slope of Zavodovski Island, an active volcano in the Southern Ocean (Picture: PA) - Credit: PA

Most Read

He said: 'It's shown the amazing diversity of life on Earth.

'There are no rehearsals – it's all completely wild.'

Working with just one other person, Mr Jones, 35, made expeditions to the Himalayas, the Seychelles, Africa's Namib desert and the urban jungle of Hong Kong.

He said: 'You want to keep the team away as long as possible, so for budgetary reasons you keep the it small.

'It also means you have a minimal impact and the animals often aren't aware that you are there.

'But that's where natural world cinematography is really unique – you have to be able to do everything and if anything breaks you have to fix it.'

Mr Jones's subjects for the show have included fog-drinking beetles, golden moles, exotic birds, crabs and city-dwelling lizards.

He said each location threw up its own unique challenges, and even filming in the Seychelles – a tropical paradise – was exacting.

He said: 'I thought it was going to be great.

'But it was so physically demanding – lugging equipment up and down big cliff faces, getting on and off boats, cuts and bruises. I was even bitten by a large centipede.

'In the Himalayas we were at 6,000m for three weeks. And there's lots you have to be careful about in the desert – just coping with the heat is enough.'

Mr Jones said the process – as you would expect – had taken a lot of patience.

He said: 'You might be filming for a month just for a few minutes' footage.

'You have to realise that not every shot is going to pay off. But who knows, you might get three snow leopards in one shot fighting each other.

'That's unheard of and something that's never been seen before.'

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter