Narrated by Michael Sheen, with music by Sir Karl Jenkins and Jody Jenkins performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales, this series sees some of the rarest species in the country captured on camera over a year of extremes, with some unusual tales.
In the desert-like sand dunes of Ynyslas, west Wales, there’s an extraordinary sight as a rare reptile called the sand lizard and a snake compete in a battle of wits in the shaded grass. In freshwater pools close to Gronant, north Wales, majestic natterjack toads begin their distinct breeding calls as they try to out-sing each other in an attempt to find a mate. And one of Wales’ rarest creatures, the black grouse, fights for the right to mate in Llandegla near Wrexham.
Watched closely by the team’s cameras is the story of the four-foot-long monster-like sea lampreys. After migrating from the depths of the ocean to the River Wye, they embrace to create life, but with that comes the ultimate sacrifice, dying together.
There is also a remarkable look at the silver studded blue butterflies on the Great Orme Peninsula that have a unique symbiotic relationship with ants. The butterfly in its early stages of life secretes food for the ants, which then rewards the butterfly with protection from threats, predators and mates.
As well as the rarer species in Wales, the team worked tirelessly day and night to capture the more familiar animals up close like red kites, dippers, red deer, mountain goats and wild Carneddau ponies that add to the magic of rural Wales.
Some of the most visually stunning scenes show rare natural phenomena including the Northern Lights, captured by time-lapse photographer Alyn Wallace in the Brecon Beacons and bio-luminescent plankton on the Anglesey coast, captured by photographer Kris Williams.
Wales: Land of the Wild is produced by Plimsoll Productions’ award-winning wildlife team which has also worked on Blue Planet, Planet Earth II and Springwatch for the BBC.
Thanks to the expertise of wildlife enthusiasts, including series consultant Iolo Williams, the four-part series uncovers the secrets of Wales’ rich habitats, as well as using the latest wildlife-filming technology to give viewers unprecedented access to a huge cast of creatures both great and small.
Julian Carey, the Executive Producer at the BBC, says: “This is Wales as you’ve never seen before. A magnificent series, it celebrates the incredible diversity in landscape and species that we have in Wales. And it highlights just how accessible it all is and that Wales really is a place, where the wild is always within touching distance. Watch it and you realise just how lucky we are to have all this amazing natural beauty on our doorstep.”
James Smith, Executive Producer at Plimsoll Productions says: “It was a real privilege making this series and getting to know Wales’s amazing wild animals. One of the things that surprised us were some of the unexpected locations we ended up filming in, such as old iron works in Merthyr or a spoil heap next to Cwm Colliery. It just shows how in Wales you’re never too far from wildlife.”
Wales: Land Of The Wild will be broadcast on 4 April at 8pm on BBC One Wales.