Frozen Planet II — air date, trailer and everything you need to know about Sir David Attenborough’s documentary

A polar bear cub snuggles up to its mother as they stand in the snow in Frozen Planet II.
A polar bear cub and its mother snuggle up in the Arctic in Frozen Planet II. (Image credit: BBC Florian Ledoux)

Frozen Planet II is heading our way very soon to lift the lid on how a host of extraordinary creatures battle to survive in icy habitats across the globe.

The six-part series, airing this September, follows on from the original award-winning 2011 documentary Frozen Planet, and sees veteran broadcaster Sir David Attenborough explore the challenges faced in each region due to extreme temperatures and the increasingly worrying impact of climate change.

Here’s everything we know about Frozen Planet II

Frozen Planet II — what is the release date?

The documentary begins on BBC One on Sunday, September 11 at 8pm and will air weekly. It will also be available on BBC iPlayer, where the original Frozen Planet can also be streamed. 

We will let you when a US release date is announced. 

Sir David Attenborough in a blue shirt sits at a table against a dark background in Frozen Planet II.

Sir David Attenborough takes us on a magical journey through our iciest habitats in Frozen Planet II. (Image credit: BBC Studios, Alex Board)

Frozen Planet II — what is it about?

The series, four years in the making, explores many of the snow-bound landscapes that cover a fifth of our planet, from the Arctic and the Antarctic to icy mountains, forests, oceans and even deserts. Cutting-edge technology including drones, HD camera traps and time-lapse cameras have been used to capture footage of a range of spectacular animals that live there. But the series also gives a powerful look at how these environments are undergoing devastating change.

“It takes you to surprising corners of the planet, where the temperatures fall to well below zero,” says Sir David Attenborough. “Some of the extraordinary ways by which animals survive in extreme cold have never been filmed before. But the world is heating up and they may soon disappear forever.”

Frozen Planet II — episode guide

Emperor penguins stand in a huge huddle with their chicks as it snows in Frozen Planet II.

Emperor penguins try to keep their chicks warm in Frozen Planet II. (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Episode One: Frozen Worlds

The opener explores frozen environments across the globe and cameras follow emperor penguin chicks trekking across sea ice, a polar bear mother battling to feed her cubs, and killer whales hunting Weddell seals by ‘wave-washing’.

“We also filmed a Siberian tiger looking for bears in Russia, which was incredible,” says the episode’s producer Alex Lanchester. “Then in Canada, grizzly bears emerge from hibernation just when musk oxen have their calves and there’s nowhere to hide…”

Episode Two: Frozen Ocean

Wildlife in the Arctic Ocean experiences huge seasonal challenges, from walruses evading the summer heat, to beluga whales trapped in an ice hole until spring arrives.

“Seeing two polar bears dance on the frozen ocean was joyful. But watching a harp seal mother leave its baby in a fractured ice environment because of climate change was unbearable,” says producer Rachel Scott. “We also saw a 'spa' for bowhead whales - they live to 200 years old, so their skin needs TLC and they rub against the rocks.”

A giant panda balances at the top of a tree with a snowy mountain in the background in Frozen Planet II.

A giant panda shows off its climbing skills in Frozen Planet II. (Image credit: Juan Carloz Munoz)

Episode Three: Frozen Peaks

Mountain-dwelling animals that cope with high altitude and icy temperatures are spotlighted including Japanese macaques, the kea parrot in New Zealand, plus pumas and flamingos in Chile.

“We saw golden eagles in the Alps hunting mountain goats by dropping them over cliffs as a predation technique,” says Alex Lanchester. “And in China, we saw a twerking Giant Panda! The male's scent mark their territories and, to get it higher up the tree, they do a handstand and shimmy!”

Episode Four: Frozen South

The Antarctic wilderness is home to hardy species including albatrosses, Antarctic blue whales and chinstrap penguins, while the episode also unveils hidden mountain ranges, volcanoes and a lake full of primitive creatures.

“This giant hunk of ice at the bottom of our planet is impenetrable yet surrounded by the rich Southern Ocean, which maintains so much life,” says producer Orla Doherty. ”We reveal this giant white desert and the effects of the loss of ice and of the warming of Antarctica.”

Episode Five: Frozen Lands

Residents of the forests and tundra of the far north are profiled, such as an Arctic fox who hunts lemmings underground and baby painted turtles who are frozen until the spring thaw.

“It’s about this huge arboreal forest from Alaska over Russia up to the Arctic Ocean,” says episode producer Jane Atkins. “In Canada, we found a large pack of wolves searching the frozen wasteland for bison. We also see rare Amur leopards in Russia who use the same paths as the Siberian tiger.”

Episode Six: Our Frozen Planet

The finale examines the sobering effect of climate change and the consequences for vulnerable harp seals and polar bears from earlier in the series, as well as the wider planet.

“We showcase scientists working in the field to record what's going on in our changing frozen regions and how that feeds back to every one of us,” says the series’ executive producer Mark Brownlow. “With the harp seals, scientists say they may not exist into the next century if climate change continues at its current rate. But it’s not too late…”

Frozen Planet II —  is there a trailer?

Yes, a stunning teaser featuring a new song Take Me Back Home by Camila Cabello and legendary composer Hans Zimmer showcases breathtaking footage of seals, penguins, and a majestic Siberian tiger. There are also glimpses of gorgeous Japanese macaques, polar bears, killer whales, walruses and even a bumble bee. 

Caren Clark

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.

Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.

Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.

In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.