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Interview: Anita Rani


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The impressive cinematography of Blue Planet II and the soothing voice of David Attenborough have become a quintessential feature of British television. And, accompanying these awe-inspiring images, is a soundtrack that has made our hearts soar and our eyes blur with tears.

In March, this powerful soundtrack is going on tour and coming to an arena near you, in the form of an eighty-piece orchestra against a huge backdrop of some of Blue Planet II’s most iconic scenes.

 Video: Blue Planet II Live in Concert Youtube Channel

Anita Rani is the live host of this new tour and will provide narration throughout the performance. Rani has danced across our screens on Strictly Come Dancing, presented ground-breaking documentaries on the BBC and reported for some of our favourite TV programmes.

During these immersive musical events, Rani will take audiences on an immersive journey through our oceans. The National Student spoke to her about this exciting new phase of Blue Planet II.

Why did you want to become involved in the tour?

Anita Rani: "They asked me! I don’t think you can say no to something like this - this is it, isn’t it? Blue Planet is so much more than a TV show; it was a moment in television history. Big brands that are really successful go on live arena tours now and this one is taking it to the next level. Imagine a 200 square metre screen with some of those iconic scenes from the programme and an 80 piece orchestra playing that score by Hans Zimmer. It’s going to be so powerful, with thousands of people experiencing it at once, and me hosting!"

Why do you think there is so much demand for a music tour of Blue Planet?

AR: "Certainly here, in London, there’s often big movie screens at the Royal Albert Hall, with a live orchestra doing the soundtrack. This programme lends itself well to that set-up because the score is so phenomenal and so fundamental. It took four years to shoot the footage, and Attenborough of course, and on top of that, the music – all three elements make Blue Planet."

What would you say to people who haven’t seen the Blue Planet series before why should they watch the programme?

AR: "It’s really important telly, even if you don’t care about the environment or the planet. Even if you don’t care that two thirds of this planet that you live on is ocean. There is something very humbling about humans recognising that there is more to our planet than just us – we are part of an ecosystem and we need to feel responsible for that. It’s so grounding to watch the programme, and to see the creatures that share this planet with us and have just as much right to be here, if not more, than us."

There is a huge emphasis on conservation in the programme, is this a feature of the tour as well?

AR: "This is a celebration and two hours of entertainment for family but [conservation] is implicit in there. I think if a ten-year-old comes to watch it, they’ll never forget that dolphins surf for fun and that they should have a right to be able to do that. It connects children to the planet in a way they’ll never forget."

Has the series inspired you to make any pro-environmental changes in your own life?

AR: "We are trying to go plastic free in our house. Trying – it’s very difficult because it’s all around us. I shop locally, and I get my fruit and veg from the greengrocers, and I take my own shopping bags with me when I go – little things like that we can all do.

It’s going to be a hard thing to do but it’s totally do-able. Remember when they banned smoking in pubs, no one believed that would be possible – people were up in arms. Now, the thought of anyone smoking in a pub is just horrifying. And I think it’s going to be the same, once we get beyond the initial difficult stage of readjusting our lives. Big business has to help us out a bit, supermarkets need to get on board. I think it would be great if Britain could lead the charge in protecting the planet."

How important is it for channels like the BBC to support these climate change messages?

AR: "Think about the impact TV shows can have on the nation, they can make people feel something. I did a programme about a refugee camp in Jordan. Before that, there was a lot of anti-refugee rhetoric. When that programme went out, I got a lot of messages from people saying how it reminded them that these are human beings with lives, and loves, and feelings, just like us. That is what telly does at its best, it just reminds people, and that’s why I do it. Fundamentally, it connects us to other people and things going on in the world around us. It takes us out of our little bubble. Telly brings issues into your living room and it lets you make your own mind up. That’s the way it should be."

Find out more about the 13-date UK & Eire Arena tour here.

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