Wild Scandinavia: Rebecca Ferguson to front new BBC Scandinavian wildlife series

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Sunday: Wild Scandinavia (BBC2, 8.25pm)

Actress Rebecca Ferguson is probably best known for starring in The Greatest Showman and the Mission: Impossible franchise, but now she’s taken on a new role as the narrator of the nature series Wild Scandinavia.

The three part-documentary explores the dramatic landscapes, stunning wildlife and unique cultures of some of the most northern reaches of Europe, which is familiar territory for the Swedish-born star.

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So, it’s not surprising that she was keen to sign up. Rebecca says: “I was brought up having a magical connection to nature. When later introduced to the world of BBC wildlife programmes it brought back so much nostalgia. Being asked to be part of this series therefore was a huge honour for me.”

A male osprey plunges into the waters of a Norwegian lake to bring back fish for his growing chickA male osprey plunges into the waters of a Norwegian lake to bring back fish for his growing chick
A male osprey plunges into the waters of a Norwegian lake to bring back fish for his growing chick

So ,what does she think makes Scandinavia so special? It seems for her, it’s that it’s a region of extremes, something she has experienced first hand.

Rebecca says: “I was brought up in Stockholm then moved to the south of Sweden to a remote fishing village, meaning I got to explore such drastic difference in environments and temperatures.”

She adds: “The landscape is the main characteristic, it’s sharp and harsh and the animals have had to learn to shape to their environment. [There is an] extreme difference between the north of Sweden with its angular landscapes to the south of Sweden with its rolling hillsides, orchards and apple trees.”

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For viewers who are less familiar with Scandinavia, producer Tuppence Stone hopes that the series will show them a new side of the region.

She says: “We were keen to show the audience the icons of Scandinavia – the intelligent orcas in the arctic fjords , the mysterious lynx of the Swedish forests, but also the quirky – like the flamboyant ruffs, birds of the high tundra, where males play devious political games as they dance to attract mates, and the unexpected: our teams were the first ever to film wolf spiders that survive through the bitter Icelandic winters, where temperatures can drop to -20C, by tip toeing through the volcanic hot springs to hunt their prey.”

Tuppence adds: “Each episode has its own cast of characters, with intimate human stories which each reflect a very special connection with the natural world – from Sámi reindeer herders and Icelandic Trawlermen, to Nordic wild ice skaters and wing-suited base jumpers.”

The series, which is broadcast over three consecutive evenings, begins with a look at the Scandinavian coasts, from the sheltered Baltic Sea to the wild Atlantic Ocean and the freezing Arctic waters, while also following Norway’s iconic fjords, which can stretch up to 100 miles inland.

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The animals featured include Europe’s largest eagles, seal pups, otters and the pods of orca and humpback whales, which are seen feasting on great shoals of herring in Scandinavia’s greatest wildlife spectacle.

Meanwhile, puffins return to the snowy islands to breed, but with burrows in short supply, they face a fight to find a home.

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