Netflix’s Our Planet ‘stole Sir David Attenborough in rip-off series,’ says BBC

BBC bosses have branded Netflix show Our Planet a rip-off of their own ­programmes about Earth and accused the network of stealing ­presenter Sir David Attenborough.

The 92-year-old broadcaster will voice all eight episodes of the lavish series, filmed over four years by a 600-strong crew scattered around the globe.

Insiders insist it is a copy of the award-winning shows produced every year by the Natural History Unit, particularly Planet Earth.

Our Planet was made by former NHU chief Alastair Fothergill, who has a long-standing relationship with Sir David.

A unit source said: “They’ve nicked the filming techniques, the stories, even the title from us, not to mention the presenter. And it’s been made by an ex-BBC producer who still makes natural history programmes for the BBC. There is nothing in any way original about this series.

"The only difference is they used 600 crew for work we’d have done with around 60. Sir David will always be part of the BBC. This is not the end of the ­relationship with him. We’ve just lent him to Netflix.”

Shot in 50 countries, the Netflix series will be released to subscribers in April.

Sir David’s latest ­landmark BBC1 show Dynasties, with a heart-rending story about the plight of an Alpha male chimp, starts tomorrow.

The veteran presenter currently has no fewer than three series in production for BBC1, as well as smaller individual projects.

Following Dynasties, he will return next year with Seven Worlds, an ­examination of the different continents.

That is to be followed by Perfect Planet in 2020, produced by Fothergill’s company Silverback Films.

Sir David is expected to narrate the shows and possibly take part in the filming, where circumstances allow.

The NHU’s Frozen Planet II is expected for 2021, when Sir David will be 95.

Plans for this follow-up series emerged when producers advertised for crew to work in icy climates.

Sir David has in the past worked on projects for broadcasters other than the BBC, including Sky, but this work is always markedly different to what he does for the corporation.

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