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Sir David Attenborough, 95, is pictured dancing in the Arctic to stay warm in -18 degrees

Still got the moves! Sir David Attenborough, 95, learned ‘penguin dance’ from the Arctic’s indigenous people to stay warm while filming in -18 degrees (and wore SIX coats)

  • Video stills taken behind-the-scenes while filming last Sunday’s episode of the BBC Ones series The Green Planet show the then 93-year-old naturalist doing the ‘penguin dance’
  • Show’s executive producer Mike Gunton said a sound recordist on the crew had learned the dance from indigenous people in the region, who had long used the comical dance to stay warm in sub-zero temperatures
  • The BBC One crew filmed the episode in the Finnish Arctic just before the pandemic hit in February 2020   
  • Next Sunday’s episode sees the other end of the weather extreme, as the programme sees Sir David reporting from the blistering hot Arizona desert

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New photos show Sir David Attenborough, 95, breaking out his best ‘penguin dance’ moves while filming in Arctic temperatures of -18 for the latest series of BBC One show The Green Planet.   

The nonagenarian, who was 93 at the time of filming, is pictured with the programme’s film crew – including team doctor Patrick Avery – in ‘brutally cold’ northern Finland as they filmed the Seasonal Worlds episode, which aired on Sunday. 

Waiting for a drone to capture the perfect shot, the British national treasure, wearing clothing that included ‘six coats at one point’, and his colleagues filmed the programme while knee-deep in an Arctic snow drift.  

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Sir David Attenborough and BBC One’s The Green Planet crew filmed an episode of the programme in the Finnish Arctic just before the pandemic hit, with Sir David using hot water bottles, heated blankets and the penguin dance to keep warm

The show's executive producer, Mike Gunton (pictured alongside Sir David and team doctor Patrick Avery), said a sound recordist on the show had learned the dance from indigenous people in the region, who used the penguin moves to stay warm

The show’s executive producer, Mike Gunton (pictured alongside Sir David and team doctor Patrick Avery), said a sound recordist on the show had learned the dance from indigenous people in the region, who used the penguin moves to stay warm

Let's dance: The penguin-style movements are particularly good for keeping blood pumping around the body, according to indigenous people in the region, who've used the technique in sub-zero temperatures for decades

Let’s dance: The penguin-style movements are particularly good for keeping blood pumping around the body, according to indigenous people in the region, who’ve used the technique in sub-zero temperatures for decades 

The environmentalist is pictured wearing a blue outer jacket, red woolly hat, thick gloves and salopettes during the extraordinary footage. 

Executive producer Mike Gunton said Sir David and the rest of the crew decided to take tips from the Finnish people who live in the icy region – close to the Borealis forest – to keep their blood pumping in plummeting temperatures.

He told the Mirror: ‘One of our sound recordists had spent some time in that part of the world, working with the local indigenous people there, who have a particular way of keeping warm.  

‘They do a thing called a penguin dance. Not that they’re ever get any – it’s the wrong place for penguins!’

Describing the dance, the producer said the locals wiggled their toes up and down, moving on to their tip toes, while flapping their hands up and down beside the body to encourage blood circulation. 

Gunton added: ‘What it does is it pumps blood in a particular way around your body, and it helps send it to the extremities to keep your fingers and your toes warm. It really works.’ 

Video stills taken behind-the-scenes while filming last Sunday's episode of The Green Planet in 2020 show the then 93-year-old naturalist wearing 'six coats' in a bid to stay warm

Video stills taken behind-the-scenes while filming last Sunday’s episode of The Green Planet in 2020 show the then 93-year-old naturalist wearing ‘six coats’ in a bid to stay warm 

Sir David was credited with bringing fine weather to the region though, with much of the filming done under clear blue skies

Sir David was credited with bringing fine weather to the region though, with much of the filming done under clear blue skies

Young at heart: In Croatia, the environmentalist impressed The Green Planet crew with his rowing skills during filming

Young at heart: In Croatia, the environmentalist impressed The Green Planet crew with his rowing skills during filming

The episode was filmed under blue skies in February 2020, just before the world shut down for the Covid pandemic. 

Sir David was credited with bringing fine weather with him to the Finnish portion of the Arctic as filming went ahead in clear conditions. 

Series producer Rosie Thomas detailed: ‘Temperatures in Finland in February are by no means warm, even with the sun. It was -18°C. 

‘Batteries were losing charge extraordinarily quickly, our drones were struggling and no one could stay warm for long. Thankfully the crew were able to stay relatively warm in a tiny hut at the top of the mountain.’ 

The crew went to great lengths to ensure Sir David stayed safe, keeping heated blankets and hot water bottles to hand to ensure the then 93-year-old kept warm. 

Next Sunday’s episode sees the other end of the weather extreme, as the programme explores deserts, with footage showing Sir David in Arizona’s blistering hot arid plains. 

The Green Planet airs on Sundays at 7pm on BBC1 

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