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BBC films live Alaskan wildlife documentary


The BBC has filmed in Alaska for an ambitious TV wildlife documentary series that involves live location broadcasts.

Wild Alaska Live is based at the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau in the south-east of Alaska.

The show is a co-production between the BBC and American network PBS, and is a follow-up to the successful series Big Blue Live, which was filmed on California’s coast in 2015 and similarly included live broadcasts.

The new series follows the renowned salmon run and includes location reports from Tongass National Forest and Katmai National Park.

For information on filming in Alaska, including locations, permit info, studios and equipment rental possibilities, take a look at our Alaska Production Guide.

“The thing we found is that here in Alaska there’s this incredible story to be told of this event that happens during the salmon run and this sort of engine that drives all of these animals — and not only animals, but it’s so impactful on Alaskans — and it comes down to capturing this moment,” said Bill Margol, senior director of programming development for PBS, in comments to Alaskan media outlet Juneau Empire.

More than 100 crew have been involved with the production. Juneau is accessible mainly by sea and air but filming equipment had to be transported to the town by barge as the usual production trucks were too large for the Alaska Marine Highway ferry.

Hydrogen fuel cells have been used to power filming in the volcanic Katmai National Park, in order to minimise the production’s environmental impact, a move that is reportedly a location filming first.

In production terms, Alaska is popular primarily for wildlife documentary filming. The state offered incentive support for a few years earlier this decade but authorities eventually brought the programme to a close and decided to prioritise the state’s energy industry.

Image: and Chilkoot