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Blue Planet 2: Release date, 4K streaming and more for Sir David Attenborough's new series

BBC's Blue Planet 2 is coming to the UK later in 2017 and here's all you need to know about Sir David Attenborough's latest wildlife documentary series, including the release date, planned episodes, watching in 4K UHD and more.

After the spellbinding highs of Planet Earth 2, the world waits with tingly crotches for the arrival of Sir Attenborough's next wildlife documentary. Good news is, you won't have to wait long. The BBC just announced that Blue Planet 2 will hit our TV screens in 2017, giving us more up-close accounts of the lives, trials and tribulations of some of the more extraordinary species living in Earth's oceans.

Here's everything you need to know about Blue Planet 2, including anything revealed so far about the UK release date and how to watch in glorious 4K.

What is the Blue Planet TV show?

The original Blue Planet series was released back in 2001, and like Sir Attenborough's other nature shows, boasted expert production and the big man's glorious narration. Rather than taking a broad look at some of the planet's more fascinating life-forms, this series focused on aquatic creatures. 

Sharks, whales, coral reefs, dolphins and other fan favourites were covered by the eight-episode series, but Blue Planet's finest moments revealed some of the lesser known species dwelling in the deep. Episode two was our personal favourite, capturing some of the blind creatures that lurk down where sunlight doesn't touch.

How can I watch Blue Planet right now?

If you've missed the Blue Planet series thus far, never fear. You can bag it on DVD or Blu-ray from the likes of Amazon, while Blue Planet is also available via digital download on Amazon, iTunes and direct from the BBC.

And if you're a bit skint, check out BBC iPlayer on your smart TV, laptop or mobile device. Blue Planet is often repeated at weird times by the Beeb, which means episodes pop up on the iPlayer streaming service to watch and download for free.

How many episodes will there be in Blue Planet 2, and what will they be about?

Blue Planet 2 will collect seven new episodes, each one aiming to highlight recent scientific discoveries, according to the BBC.

As well as following familiar and new aquatic species, the second series will also focus on some hostile landscapes including erupting methane volcanoes in the Gulf of Mexico and the depths of the Antarctic ocean, filmed from 1000 metres beneath the surface thanks to some high-tech manned submersibles.

Stars of Blue Planet 2 include a tuskfish that uses tools to survive, plus a new species of crab sporting a hairy chest. Hilariously, the team nicknamed it the Hoff Crab, after everyone's favourite lifeguard and burger muncher. Viewers will also see a giant trevally fish that catches birds in the air and a coral grouper and reef octopus with 'sophisticated hunting techniques'.

We'll also take a dive with a sperm whale mother and her calf, to see how these underwater giants live.

Behind the scenes of Blue Planet 2: New shooting techniques and innovations

To capture the images shown in Blue Planet 2, the BBC's Natural History Unit spent a long four years filming in every ocean across Earth's surface. They were accompanied by marine biologists who helped them to record some unique and no doubt stunning footage.

The Natural History Unit adopted some fresh new filming techniques to ensure that Blue Planet 2 is just as spellbinding as Planet Earth 2. This includes some smart new "tow cams" and suction cams which the team actually attached to the back of whale sharks and orcas, for an up-close view of their lives. A new kind of probe camera was used to record the more miniature marine life.

When is the Blue Planet 2 UK release date?

So far the BBC hasn't revealed a specific UK release date for Blue Planet 2. However, we're expecting the series to air in the Autumn, similar to Planet Earth 2. We'll update this feature when we have a specific date.

Can I watch Blue Planet 2 in 4K UHD?

The BBC is expected to broadcast the new Blue Planet series in glorious 4K Ultra HD resolution, just like with Planet Earth 2. Of course, to take advantage of these supremely crisp visuals, you'll need to own a 4K TV - check out our guide to the best affordable 4K televisions if you want some ideas.

Of course, the Beeb doesn't have a 4K Ultra HD channel right now, so you'll need to stream Blue Planet 2 via the likes of iPlayer if you want to watch it with these next-gen visuals (assuming there's no channel release in 2017). Check out our complete guide to streaming 4K shows for more info.

How can I get more hot David Attenborough action right now?

Can't wait until late 2017 for your Blue Planet 2 fix? Good news is, you can download Sir Attenborough's excellent Story of Life app right now, for your Android device, iPhone or iPad.

The Story of Life presents over a thousand clips of our favourite wildlife expert in action, across the breadth of his sixty year career. That includes astonishing footage from Planet Earth 2, which you can watch over and over, as well as behind-the-scenes footage and bonus content. Yep, even the bit with the iguana is present and correct.

You can download Story of Life right now for free, via the App Store or Google Play store.

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