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BBC’s ‘Blue Planet II’ Makes Ratings Splash

The natural history program is the most-watched show in Britain this year

Natural history program “Blue Planet II” has delivered epic numbers for the BBC, becoming the most-watched show of the year in Britain.

The opening installment of the show, which explores the world’s oceans, drew 14.1 million viewers. The Oct. 29 linear broadcast attracted a peak audience of 10.3 million, a 41.4% share, with the rest watching via catch-up.

Those numbers make “Blue Planet II” the U.K.’s most-watched natural history show in 15 years, and the third-most-watched show of any kind in the last five years, trailing only the 2014 World Cup Final and the “Great British Bake Off.”

The series is narrated by venerable presenter David Attenborough and is broadcast in the family-friendly 8 p.m. Sunday slot on flagship channel BBC One.

The second episode of the seven-part series this past Sunday performed even more strongly than the first, garnering a peak audience of 11 million and an average of 10.7 million, a 44.7% share. The BBC said that 2.3 million of the linear viewers were in the crucial 16-to-34-year-old demographic.

“Blue Planet II” is produced by the natural history department of the British pubcaster’s production arm, BBC Studios, in association with BBC America, WDR, and France Televisions. The series is distributed by BBC Worldwide, which also handled sales for the recent “Planet Earth 2.”

Radiohead and Hans Zimmer recorded a new version of the band’s “Bloom” for the series.

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