Stormborn 2021

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Stormborn Evaluation and cuttings

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Stormborn (BBC2) revealed a different way of seeing, a wholly new perspective


Gloriously atmospheric




…a docu­series to savour


Magnificently shot


Comfort viewing as fine art

tpr media consultants – February 2021

Stormborn About Stormborn Stormborn is a three­part wildlife series made by Glasgow indie Maramedia for BBC TWO and was originally shown on BBC Scotland. The series follows a compelling cast of charismatic and tenacious animal characters in Scotland, Iceland and Norway, including Arctic foxes, orcas, reindeer and puffins over the course of a dramatic breeding season. The documentary tracks their race against the darkness and increasingly unpredictable weather, due to climate change, as the animals raise their young. Award­winning Scottish actor Ewan McGregor was the narrator for the series.

PR Overview After a couple of false starts in December 2020, Stormborn was finally confirmed for 30 January 2021, with just over a weeks’ notice, presenting obvious challenges. We had missed all listing magazine deadlines (apart from those who had watched it before Christmas when contacted about an earlier transmission date). One of the main challenges was that, despite being visually stunning, there wasn’t a clear news angle. After in­depth discussions with Jackie Savery and Nigel Pope, we focused on climate change and how this was impacting the animals’ survival and the extreme weather conditions in the UK via Storm Christoph. We were delighted when The Mirror ran a visually spectacular two­page spread, iNews focused on behind­the­scenes filming and trailed Stormborn on the front cover; guardian online ran a picture gallery with a reach of just under two million. Half­way through the series, BBC Breakfast interviewed the production team in an extensive interview, nearly 10 minutes long. With an average daily reach is 6.8 million viewers, this helped us to reach a new audience. Despite the tight turnaround, we contacted and followed up with dozens of previewers to ensure maximum exposure in nationals and regionals and a number of outlets e.g. The Times and The Telegraph ran multiple previews. The Sun TV magazine covered Stormborn three weeks running. The Daily Mail also ran two 4­star reviews and Closer magazine made Stormborn one of its top 20 hits of the week. Due to its prior broadcast on BBC Scotland, the series was listed as a repeat on BBC 2 scheduling. This posed a further challenge and initially deterred some press (which is worth bearing in mind for future projects). There were 99 pieces of coverage in total with an audience reach of 14.7 million. According to analytics used by Kantar media, the total news value was just over £1 million. We have included key cuttings in this evaluation.

tpr media consultants – February 2021

Analytics Total News value

Total news Reach

Total Items







Stormborn – Top 20 Sources by Value Source Name Daily Mail

Article Value 166,576.35

The Guardian.Com (Web)


Yahoo! UK and Ireland (Web)


Mail Online UK (Web)


Daily Mail (Scotland)


The Sun (Scotland) The Sun

46,028 45,841.4

Inews (Web)


The Irish Sun


The Daily Telegraph


Irish Daily Mail


RTE Guide


I (The Paper For Today)


I (The Paper For Today) (Scotland)


Yahoo! Sports UK and Ireland (Web)


Msn Ireland (Web)


The Times MSN UK (Web) Radio Times The Irish News (Web) All Others

10,546.08 8,872 6,283.76 4,794 24

tpr media consultants – February 2021

Stormborn – Top 20 Sources by Reach Source Name

Article Reach

Mail Online Uk (Web)


The Guardian.Com (Web)


The Sun


The Sun (Ulster)


Daily Mail


Daily Mail (Ulster)


The Mail On Sunday


The Sunday Times


Radio Times


The Daily Mirror


The Times


The Daily Telegraph


Daily Star


I (The Paper For Today)


This Is Money (Web)


Tv Times Magazine


Daily Star On Sunday (Ulster)


Daily Star Sunday


Msn Uk (Web)


The Sun (Scotland)


All Others

53 36

UK Nationals




UK Key Regionals


UK Additional Regionals


Magazine, Comsumer Irish Nationals 7


Irish Magazines Irish Regionals



Irish Online

tpr media consultants – February 2021


BBC Breakfast is one of the highest rating national breakfast shows with an average of 6.8 million viewers per day. Filmmakers Jackie Savery, Nigel Pope and wildlife cameraman Fergus Gill were interviewed for approx 10 minutes on the sofa at the end of the show. It was an uplifting segment, where they discussed the series and their work.

tpr media consultants – February 2021

National Features Double Page Feature by Rhian Lubin

Fighting for deer life

New TV series on wildlife of frozen north


Huge herd swirls around to defend against predators

FAMILY Gannets and egg in their nest



he reindeer cyclone swirls thunderously, confounding any predator that tries to make a meal of one of them. This natural phenomenon is a formidable defence strategy that makes it almost impossible for any hunter fancying reindeer for lunch to pick off a single beast. Biologist and filmmaker Jackie Savery explains: “The reindeers use it to confuse predators like wolves or eagles “It produces these amazing visual circles as they spin around. “They’re a herd animal, they do everything together. “When you see them in these huge

documentary Stormborn. Narrated by Ewan McGregor, it’s the story of the animals surviving on the edge of the Arctic Circle. Star Wars actor McGregor, who recorded the voiceover in a caravan due to lockdown, said: “It’s amazing to get such a personal glimpse into the lives of such amazing animals.” Arctic animals must race against the darkness, breeding and raising young during a short warmer season before harsh winter returns. With weather patterns across

circular groups if they’ve been spooked it’s a spectacle to watch.” The reindeer cyclone, filmed via a drone in Norway, is just one of many stunning scenes in new BBC nature d S b

tpr media consultants – February 2021

Scotland, Iceland and Norway becoming even more unpredictable because of climate change, their habitats are under threat and their lives ever more precarious. Jackie adds of Stormborn: “It’s a portrait of the animals of the north that live in these incredible land-


■ Stormborn starts tonight at 7pm scapes that are really on the edge of on BBC Two. how species survive. The sad thing is, their lives are so difficult but we’re @rhianlubin pushing them even further. How w much further can we push wildlife?” w She adds: “The effects of climate change on so many species like these are horrendous and what this series does is it allows you to get a glimpse into their world.” New behaviour was captured by the team, who spent most of 2019 filming. One of them was among orcas, filmed off the coast of the Shetland Islands. Jackie says: “We filmed the first ever behaviour of orca NARRATOR Ewan

pods catching a porpoise. The orca is the biggest member of the dolphin family and the top predator in the world, but people are really surprised we have them in Britain. “Shetland has amazing pods of orcas hunting seals.” There are also heartwarming scenes of puffins, filmed at colonies on the Shetlands’ Fair Isle and the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth. Globally, seabirds are considered the most vulnerable group of birds. Within the UK, 22 species are now on the red or amber lists of Birds of Conservation Concern. Jackie says of another star of the doc: “Puffins are an amazing animal. They’re so funny to film and are such brilliant characters. Scotland and the UK have some of the greatest number of seabirds in the world. “We filmed a pair of puffins getting together, then we see a puffling who makes his first journey out to sea. “We hope people will experience an escape to the North Atlantic where they’ll really feel what these animals have to face.” The three-part series also follows the adventures of two families of Arctic foxes in Iceland and an otter cub’s fight for survival after she gets separated from her family. ■S b i h 7

BEAUTIFUL Reindeer in huge herd

BEAKY BLINDERS Film got footage of puffins coupling up

HUNTERS Orcas are seen chasing down a porpoise in Scotland

FIGHT FUR LIFE Arctic fox cubs in Iceland are featured

OTT WATER An otter cub gets in trouble in the BBC documentary

tpr media consultants – February 2021

‘In Pictures’ Feature by Sarah Gilbert Link: 0/animals­of­the­far­north­in­pictures

tpr media consultants – February 2021

tpr media consultants – February 2021

tpr media consultants – February 2021

tpr media consultants – February 2021

Interview feature of cameraman Fergus Gill by Kasia Delgado


Braving blizzards to film the wildlife of the North Storms are worth enduring for footage of whales and seals, camera operator Fergus Gill tells Kasia Delgado


t was while filming grey seals in the Outer Hebrides that camera operator Fergus Gill got a call telling him to pack up his equipment and forget about getting the perfect shot. A storm was heading towards Gill and his team, one so bad that, if they didn’t leave soon, they could be stranded for weeks on the remote and uninhabited Monach islands, with only the eight days’ worth of food they had brought on the dinghy. “That was a difficult moment, where we knew that the storm would look really good on camera, because sometimes the rougher the weather, the more spectacular the imagery,” says Gill. “But because the islands were so remote, we weren’t able to stay for it or we’d have started worrying about running out of supplies.” Luckily, just before the team set off, before the Atlantic gale came hurtling in, Gill and his colleagues managed to capture the shots they wanted of Europe’s biggest seal colony – 10,000 strong – including a

fight between two alpha males. Brutal weather was one of the biggest challenges for 28-year-old Gill while he was filming Stormborn, a new three-part BBC series about the wildlife of the most remote parts of Norway, Iceland and Scotland, narrated by Ewan McGregor.

“The cameras don’t always stand up to the weather quite so well,” Gill tells i. “ Because extreme cold affects things like batteries, and if your lens is full of snow, it’s hard to film anything. It’s amazing seeing the animals put up with the storms, but you have to find a

Killer shot Whale of a time One of Fergus Gill’s high points in the Stormborn series was managing to capture killer whales hunting seals; the shot he had dreamed of getting. It was a slog, and sometimes demoralising, but after a final 14-hour wait and a game of I Spy with his colleague, the orcas (right) appeared. Part of the excitement for Gill, who is based in Perthshire, was that he was filming this magnificent beast in his Scottish homeland. “The joy of being a wildlife filmmaker in this country is that you get to celebrate and show off the amazing things we do have here,” he says. “All of a sudden this killer whale

appears, two feet away from me, his dorsal fin bigger than I am. “Nothing else gives me an adrenaline rush like that.”

tpr media consultants – February 2021

way to stop your lens and camera shaking uncontrollably.” There are tips and tricks for getting the snow off the camera, he explains, such as sheltering behind a boulder, or getting down in the snow so you are not being bounced around by the wind. It is not just the equipment that has a tough time in storms, it can also get dangerous for the film-makers themselves. When in Norway filming reindeer, Gill and his colleagues would brave blizzard conditions, with the weather changing fast. “You can go out and it can be a really nice day. And within an hour things can completely close in on you.” Some days Gill was trying to film and could barely see 15ft in front of him. “It was really easy to just get disorientated and obviously when it’s –20°C and there’s a blizzard, that can be quite a dangerous situation so we had to take a lot of precautions. We had GPS and we worked with people from those Northern areas, too.” The coldest place where Gill filmed was Norway, not only because it was –20°C but because the wind was often gusting at 40mph or 50mph, creating severe windchill. In Iceland, in a part of the country so remote that it took a 10-hour drive, a five-hour boat trip and then some more walking to get there, Gill endured chilblains and 60

blisters from the cold, even though it was the middle of summer and constant daylight. “It’s funny,” he says. “In these really cold places, if there’s no wind the –15°C doesn’t feel that cold if you’ve got the right clothes on, whereas you can be in Scotland in zero-degree weather but if there is wind gusting at 70mph, that feels much much colder than –15°C with no wind. It’s the winds that absolutely goes through you. “It must be nice for people watching at home in the warm with a cup of tea.” Does Gill, in the eye of the storm, ever wish he were back on the sofa curled with a cuppa? “No,” he says. “The rough weather can definitely make you feel alive. I love seeing how the animals are able to try and survive in these amazing places, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.” But he does always have a flask of tea while outside in the cold filming conditions, and usually a packet of fruit pastilles for a sugar boost. “You do look forward to your tea. And when I’m waiting on the wildlife, sometimes for hours, I set myself mini challenges. Like, if I wait 47 minutes, I’m allowed to have one square of chocolate and in another 20 minutes I can have half a cup of tea.” ‘Stormborn’ begins on BBC Two tomorrow at 7pm

Reindeer face the oncoming wind during a blizzard in the Norwegian mountains in the first episode of BBC Two’s new series ‘Stormborn’; Fergus Gill (inset below) sets up his camera FERGUS GILL

tpr media consultants – February 2021

TV Previews & Reviews National TV Previews National previews and reviews appeared in eight different outlets ranging from The Daily Telegraph to The Times and included two positive reviews in the Mail on Sunday.

Television Saturday 6 February WHAT TO WATCH



Near-constant summer daylight suffuses the second part of this gorgeous series about wildlife surviving and thriving on the northern fringes of the Atlantic, much of it focused on Shetland where puffins go courting, reindeer calves take their first steps and orca pods hunt harbour seals in the shallows.

Stormborn Saturday, BBC One However, we are now all too familiar with blasts of icy wind – as are the critters in this documentary about animals surviving in wintry conditions. p.22

Television Saturday 13 February WHAT TO WATCH


For viewers who prefer the sound of grey seals grunting to humans singing on the other channels, BBC Two offers up tonight’s wildlife documentary. Gloriously atmospheric, its final episode follows the effect of autumn’s arrival on wildlife in Norway, Iceland and Scotland.

tpr media consultants – February 2021

Saturday 30 | Viewing guide Stormborn BBC Two, 7pm The actor Ewan McGregor is a creature hewn from the hostile climes of the far north of Britain, which is probably why he was chosen to narrate this three-part documentary about animals surviving on the northern edges of the Atlantic Ocean. As winter finally abates, our stars include a single Arctic fox scampering determinedly across the mountains of Iceland on a mission to reunite with its mate from last year. Meanwhile, closer to home, on Shetland an otter has successfully raised twin cubs that are about to start finding their own way in life. BD

Saturday 6 | Stormborn BBC Two, 7pm On a volcanic shore in Iceland a group of Arctic foxes are struggling to raise their cubs with the father of the group hoping to catch sea birds to fill the empty bellies of his young. In Shetland an otter family have been split by a storm while in the sea orca pods work out a strategy for catching seals. Some of the photography of this bleak natural history series continues to be stunning and Ewan McGregor’s narration has a dark and portentous air, which matches what we see: there’s little that’s cutesy here and the overall portrait of the struggle for life on the northern edges of the Atlantic remains commendably unflinching. BD

Saturday 13 | Stormborn BBC Two, 7.10pm On a volcanic shore in Iceland, an Arctic fox cub peeps out behind some rocks. Five of her siblings are dead, her mother has abandoned her and she must scavenge scraps of food to get through what the narrator Ewan McGregor calls the “great darkness”. He means winter, of course, and his doom-laded timbre and overblown language are characteristic of this series about wild animals’ tooth-andclaw struggles in and around the northern reaches of the Atlantic. Tonight’s final film of the three-part series includes grey seals and reindeer, and much of the photography is breathtaking. BD

tpr media consultants – February 2021



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Don’t get your hopes up, Game Of Thrones fans – this three-part series has nothing to do with the Mother of Dragons. Its title instead refers to the wildlife that lives in the harsh northern sectors of the planet, where storms of snow and ice don’t prevent them living full lives despite having to brave the elements. Narrated by actor Ewan McGregor and following animals in Iceland, Scotland and Norway – which are all lashed by the Arctic Ocean – the first episode captures the playful courting rituals of Arctic foxes (right), the peril facing a young otter family living on the shoreline, and the aggressive musk oxen forever knocking their heads together. Bobble-hats off to the cameramen and women who braved blizzards to capture these remarkable animals – there’s amazing footage of the otter family fishing, eating and under siege from an encroaching male, among much else. The drone shots are spectacular, particularly




of reindeer in Norway organising themselves into a spiral formation to ward off predators. Occasionally the pace may drag a bit, but that’s because it’s a docuseries to savour, allowing us to drink in the scenery as we admire the tenacious animals that thrive in these hostile lands.

The sight – and strange sounds – of a puffin courtship ritual are one of many charming moments to soothe a troubled mind as this lovely natural-history series continues. While one little guy is busy looking for stuff to line his nest, a rival makes a move on his girlfriend. Throw in six beautiful and wobbly-kneed arctic fox cubs (above) making their way in the world, some fluffy reindeer calves and a heap of dramatic coastline footage, and you’ve got a delightful hour of telly.

Saturday PICKS OF THE DAY DzǴ D0 ° Ñ

Ewan McGregor …has proved to be quite the narrator in the Beeb’s wildlife series Stormborn (7.10pm BBC2), and in tonight’s concluding episode we meet two Arctic fox families. While one is thriving at the cliff, the foxes on the shoreline are struggling as only one of the six cubs has survived.


tpr media consultants – February 2021


We’ve had a cold snap in the UK recently, with parts of the country covered in snow or, at best, a heavy frost. However, no matter how bad we think that was, it’s nothing compared with the conditions faced by the animals who make the northern edges of the Atlantic their home. Cameras capture stunning footage in remote rural and aquatic areas of Scotland, Iceland and Norway, places humans fear to tread, but where creatures such as Arctic foxes (cubs, right), orcas, otters, reindeer and puffins reign. But, as we discover in this first of three episodes, their existence is becoming increasingly precarious and unpredictable due to climate change. Ewan McGregor narrates the action, which includes such incredible sights as aerial shots of a whale catching a porpoise and the first-ever 4K footage of a seal killing a pup. It’s not all cute and cuddly, but it’s certainly unforgettable. )))))



BBC2, 7.10pm Ewan McGregor narrates the concluding programme in which the animals inhabiting the northernmost shores of the Atlantic Ocean prepare for the oncoming winter in a number of ways. For grey seals and reindeer, it's the mating season, but for young adults, it’s time to venture into the world without the protection of their parents for the first time. )))))

tpr media consultants – February 2021



Stormborn 7.00pm BBC2


Arctic fox clans struggle to raise their cubs on Iceland’s volcanic shores, while on Shetland a young otter strikes out alone.

Grey seals and reindeer are turning their attentions to mating, but how will the worsening autumn weather impact on their lives?

7.10pm BBC2


Stormborn (BBC iPlayer) Narrated by Ewan McGregor in best “bedtime story” whisper, this nature three-parter follows the lives of the hardiest wee animals in Iceland, Norway and Scotland (otters, seals etc) as they navigate a brutal northern winter. Knowingly structured as drama, with some ironic Game of Thrones references, this is comfort viewing as fine art, especially the storyline involving an impossibly cute family of Arctic foxes. (Andrew Male)

tpr media consultants – February 2021


Stormborn ))))* A Perfect Planet ))))*

Magical view from above that only Santa usually gets to see


E’VE been looking at things all wrong. Wildlife filmmakers endure all kinds of hardship, crouched in hides for weeks on end and suffering frostbite or heatstroke to get as close to animals as possible. The mistake they’ve always made is to watch from ground level. Stormborn (BBC2) revealed a different way of seeing, a wholly new perspective — with stunning aerial photography. At first, its pictures of a reindeer herd migrating across the snowbound tundra in Norway took a conventional view. The stolid beasts lowered their horns to face a blizzard, while the herders’ collies with frozen whiskers rounded up stragglers. But then the camera leapt into the icy air to show us the herd as almost no one has ever viewed it before — apart, perhaps, from Father Christmas. Reindeer seen from above look like a living, spinning Catherine wheel. They constantly drift in a circle 20 or 30 animals deep, so that the ones at the centre barely move and the ones at the perimeter are almost galloping. It’s a defence they have evolved to deter predators such as wolves. If the sonorous tones of Ewan McGregor hadn’t explained what

Equally unique aerial footage was captured as the crew followed a pod of orcas or killer whales, hunting off the coast of Shetland. It’s hard to grasp how large these animals are until you see them chasing a porpoise. They looked like a pack of rottweilers tormenting a kitten. The drone-cam hovered above the hunt as the black-and-white orcas traced intricate, criss-crossing paths below the surface of the water. One porpoise saved itself by beaching on rocks at the shore, where the orcas could not follow, and waiting hours for the rising tide to float it to freedom — a highrisk strategy. No camera on a boat could have captured this drama. I was left hungry to see more footage of this sort. Surprisingly, the Beeb seemed to lack confidence that these amazing sequences would be enough to thrill us, because the documentary oversold itself cheesily. The opening credits, swooping over a 3D map of Scotland and Scandinavia,

After programmes that explained the four super-forces that maintain all life (volcanoes, ocean currents, weather systems and the heat of the sun), he turned to a fifth: ‘A force so powerful it threatens the future of life on Earth— humans.’ One environmentalist, Jeremy Rifkin, warned that wildlife ffaces the biggest mass extinction since the dinosaurs were wiped out, and that half of all species could be gone by the end of the century. There was little new in this round-up. It largely reiterated what went before. But there were glimmers of hope — such as the children planting trees on the edge of the Sahara, and conservationists reclaiming deforested areas of the Amazon. It served as a reminder that, when the pandemic is over, much more international co-operation is going to be needed.

with stabbing cellos and thunderous percussion, imitated Game Of Thrones. McGregor intoned his lines as if he was narrating the end of the world. ‘The gales and icy blasts endure,’ he rumbled. ‘Winter, the great darkness, can be reluctant to release her iron grip.’ He might as well have thrown in a ‘yea, verily’. Sir David

Attenborough was more understated on the final episode of A we were watching, it could even be Perfect Planet (BBC1), though imagined that the pattern was he really did seem to be narratcreated by a kaleidoscope. ing the end of the world. E ll i i lf t Aft th t


y With the TV schedules clogged by fluff like this, it’s inexplicable that the visually dramatic wildlife documentary Stormborn (BBC2) has been hidden away at Saturday teatimes. This three-part series — filmed on the Scottish coast, as well as in Iceland and Norway — has stunning photography. Shots of the Northern Lights, animals silhouetted against the sunset and explosions of icy spray on a waterfall were all ravishing. The crew captured new behaviour too, including a male grey seal rampaging across a beach packed with females and pups in the Monach Isles, in the Outer Hebrides. The bull seized a baby seal in its jaws and, gripping it b th t il fl it f id t

j , g pp g by the tail, flung it from side to side before leaving it for dead. We saw this brutal scene twice, once through the close-up lens and then in behind-the-scenes footage, as the cameraman filmed it. He looked as shocked as I felt.

tpr media consultants – February 2021

Regional TV Previews Regional previews of the series appeared in outlets including The Highland News, The Echo, The Newcastle Evening Chronicles and The Bristol Post.



STORMBORN Tomorrow, BBC2, 7pm IN THIS second of three parts of the wildlife documentary, cameras follow a family of Arctic foxes as they struggle to raise their young on the rugged volcanic shores of Iceland. It’s summertime, and the Arctic circle is experiencing almost constant sunshine, the land at the north Atlantic blooming into life under the midnight sun. An otter cub strikes out alone in Shetland, while a lone puffin begins the search for a mate.

STORMBORN Tonight, BBC2, 7pm IN THIS second of three parts of the wildlife documentary, cameras follow a family of Arctic foxes as they struggle to raise their young on the rugged volcanic shores of Iceland. It’s summertime, and the Arctic circle is experiencing almost constant sunshine, the land at the north Atlantic blooming into life under the midnight sun. An otter cub strikes out alone in Shetland, while a lone puffin begins the search for a mate.

tpr media consultants – February 2021

tpr media consultants – February 2021

Media Campaign conducted by tpr media consultants +44 (0)20 8347 7020 |