The Netflix series Our Planet will be seen by a billion people and has the global reach to change the world, something the BBC cannot achieve, its maker has claimed.

Alastair Fothergill, the show's producer, believes it could spur politicians and citizens into making changes that could save the environment. While the BBC's 2017 series Blue Planet II sparked a national conversation about plastic by illustrating its devastating effect on the oceans, Fothergill said that subject made up only a few minutes of each episode. Our Planet's message was wholly focused on the man-made threat to natural habitats. The series, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, will be available in 190 countries from Friday.

In a sign of Netflix's ambitions, its world premiere will be at the Natural History Museum before the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex. Fothergill was previously head of the BBC Natural History Unit where he made Planet Earth, Blue Planet and Frozen Planet.

Netflix approached him to create the new series, which has been four years in the making.


He said: "The most important thing that Netflix brings is that on April 5 it will be in 190 countries and it will be there for months and years.

"The BBC still only has 30 days on iPlayer, it doesn't simultaneously globally transmit. And a lot of people who watch Netflix are that 16 to 30-year-old age group that is deserting terrestrial TV — and they ... care about these issues because they're the ones inheriting the planet.

"For us and for this project Netflix is the perfect partner."

But Fothergill played down any rivalry between the BBC and Netflix, praising the former's Natural History Unit as "the jewel in the BBC's crown".

He said: "Whether it's the BBC or Netflix isn't the biggest story. However, if you want global reach and you have a global story, at the moment the only [place] that has the audience is Netflix.

"Our ambition is a billion people and I'm very confident we'll reach that".

Fothergill was delighted to have the support of Prince William, who interviewed Attenborough in Davos and helped to put environmental issues on the map.

A similar session in Davos was hosted by Attenborough before "an extraordinary gathering of important people". He said: "They were in tears. If you can get to those sorts of people, you may effect some change."