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Nature / Otters, orcas and…Ewan McGregor

Shetland’s wildlife will feature in a new BBC documentary.

SHETLAND’s renowned wildlife is set for another airing on national TV as a Ewan McGregor-narrated documentary hits the screens next week.

Wild Shetland: Scotland’s Viking Frontier will be broadcast on BBC One on Wednesday (23 January) at 9pm.

The one-off programme will “trace the course of a breeding season from the depths of winter to high summer as the animals on the islands battle for survival”.

There will also be fresh footage of an orca pod hunting seals, while viewers will watch a mother otter struggling to protect her twin cubs from male otters and storms.

Also on the programme will be puffins, gannets, storm petrels – as well as nods to Shetland’s culture, from crofting to Up Helly Aa.

Shetland Nature owner Brydon Thomason was heavily involved in the production and he said the filming was “really special”.

The team behind the documentary included Maramedia, which had previously made award-winning films such as Highlands – Scotland’s Wild Heart and Hebrides – Life on the Edge.

“As well as facilitating and advising on many aspects of the film, our main role was as otter consultants and field guides,” Thomason said.

“This was a dream assignment for us – to work on a family from their first few weeks of venturing out of their natal holt, through to the eventual family separation.

“We work on otters week in, week out throughout the seasons and especially for projects like these, need to know what they are doing, where and when.”

Thomason, who was joined by fellow local photographer Richard Shucksmith in assisting the crew, said this latest documentary is another example of high quality film production.

Shetland’s wildlife isn’t shy of appearing on national TV – in recent years it has featured on the likes of Springwatch and Simon King’s Shetland Diaries.

“The standard of wildlife filmmaking has moved on to an astonishing level in recent years through the combination of technology and indeed tenacity,” Thomason said.

“Each new documentary series reaches new heights in how wildlife is filmed and brought to our screens and now, through this fantastic film Shetland will stand out like never before.

“Many of the sequences shot are truly unique, never having been filmed in Britain before and I am especially pleased for Richard to have some incredible footage in the film as well as a stunning timelapse done by Rob Brookes.

“This film is a beautiful, exciting and inspiring celebration of Shetland, its wildlife, cultural heritage and natural beauty. It is the result of many individuals and professionals committing whole heartedly to have made it what it is and we, like everyone involved are extremely proud – we hope it’s as much fun to watch as it was to make.”