A BBC documentary producer has expressed optimism that “a lot of hidden stories” can be found in the Gulf, just like coasts in various parts of the world.

“It also gets me thinking about how many hidden stories there are off the coasts here and around as well,” BBC’s Blue Planet documentary producer Jonathan Smith exclaimed on the sidelines of Blue Planet II’s “Coral Reefs” screening at The Pearl-Qatar.
The documentary, narrated by Sir David Attenborough and with a music score by Hans Zimmer, has rapidly become the most talked about shows around the world with 220mn views in China alone. It was the number one show in the UK in 2017, attracting nearly 38mn people across the country.
“I don’t know what plans there are for (a possible) Blue Planet III, all that what we found and all that what we managed to film, I truly believe that we’ve only touched the surface,” Smith said.

Jonathan Smith at the screening of Blue Planet II's Coral Reefs. PICTURE: Jayan Orma

“Of how much there is still to be discovered underwater, I think it is almost infinite, and so therefore certainly there will be enough content for it, and there are so many stories to be found, a lot of surprises,” he pointed out.
About the airing of the critically acclaimed documentary in the country and the region via beIN’s platform, Smith said the positive response from the people in Qatar makes it “a real pleasure to be here.”
Based on the experience of filming Blue Planet II, the producer pointed out that plastics and coral bleaching have become among the many causes of environmental concerns on the current state of the planet.
“We have filmed from the arctic to Antartica and almost everywhere in between in the ocean and wherever you go, you see the influence of plastics,” Smith stressed.
He said the BBC Earth crew’s filming in the arctic was part of the documentary, which will be aired in the Mena region.
While the crew never set out to make an environmental series for Blue Planet II, Smith recounted that the more time they spend out in the oceans the more they are seeing change.
He said they never intended to do an episode on coral bleaching for their Coral Reefs episode but while filming the behaviour sequences underwater, the crew witnessed the biggest coral bleaching event the world has ever seen.
The producer added that there has never been a coral bleaching event of the scale his crew has witnessed in two years (of the total four) of filming Blue Planet II. “I think the bottom line is we have a lot of reason to be concerned.”
“We couldn’t turn away instead we turned our cameras into it and we managed to get lapse time over weeks of the corals disintegrating in front of our own eyes,” he added. “With all of that and many other things that people are seeing through these series, yes there is cause for concern.”
“But equally, there is a cause for optimism and I feel that it is not too late and I feel like we can make changes and those changes can make a big difference,” Smith stressed.
“The mere fact that we are talking about it now, the mere fact that the conversation is going on, I think it gives you hope that there is solution to be found,” he said. “As long as we can believe there is hope, as long as we, the human race make the right changes.”

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