Royals

Prince William channels his grandfather in TV hosting role to promote Earthshot Prize

As a future king, he hardly needs the work. But the Duke of Cambridge has turned his hand to a potential new career, as he scales a mountain, strolls down a beach, and climbs a wind turbine for his television hosting debut.Following in the footsteps of his grandfather Prince Philip and Sir David Attenborough, his environmental mentor, the Duke is taking a star turn in front of the camera for a five-part series about his Earthshot Prize.In the hosting seat, he is seen talking directly to camera and filming on location in Snowdonia, Orkney, a London waste barge and an off-shore wind farm.The programme, which begins on Sunday night on BBC One, will broadcast at tea time, with the Cambridge children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis able to stay up to watch it on television at home.The Duchess of Cambridge was able to witness some of the filming while the royal couple were on a visit to Orkney, and is said to have enjoyed watching from behind the camera.While members of the Royal family have often been interviewed on television, the Duke’s decision to host sees him follow a model set by his grandfather more than half a century ago.Then, in the 1960s, the Duke of Edinburgh presented and appeared in three special episodes of wildlife documentary Survival for Anglia Television, in his role with the WWF.Prince William, who has tended to shy away from being personally in the limelight, is understood to have been persuaded in front of the cameras as part of a “team effort” to bring the Earthshot Prize to global attention.Speaking to experts on the prize council, he has previously joked he was the “very boring coach looking for some very skillful players”.Now, a source says: “He knows that he’s got a really important role to play in that, but he’s realised that to create the space to hear the voices you see in the series, he had to use his own voice.“Using his voice gives others a platform. All the amazing projects you see on the show and the finalists for the Earthshot Prize, he is trying to give those projects a voice.”The programme is made by Silverback Films, famous for natural history programming including David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet, and was originally conceived as a round-the-world tour of environmental innovations.When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, plans changed to allow to Duke to keep filming at a range of UK locations instead.In one episode, he broadcasts from a boat off the coast of Essex, and from the top of a wind turbine. Another sees him at the top of a mountain in Snowdonia, speaking about the importance of clean air.A third offers a walk through a 5,000-year-old settlement in Orkney, built by the beach for access to clean water.The fifth episode sees the Duke on a waste barge on the Thames, and delivering a walking piece to camera summing up the Earthshot Prize’s aims in front of the panoramic views from London’s Sky Garden.The first episode, which airs on Sunday night, required the Duke to wait for the perfect natural lighting for a full moon, sitting in the dark in Norfolk to deliver a scripted introduction to the problems facing the planet.The Duke “absolutely loved” the filming, a member of the Earthshot team said, adding: “He is a natural. We had an easy job.”Explaining the objective of the prize, he said: “We stand at a fork in the road. We continue on our current path, the natural world will decline around us, and with it potentially everything we now take for granted.”The prize will award £1 million to 50 winners over the next decade, hoping to scale their inventions to make the biggest impact in saving the planet.”It is within our reach but only if we reach for it now,” said the Duke.”Today everyone of us may, unintentionally, be part of the problem but from today, working together, we can all become part of the solution.”The five-part series will air from Sunday, 6.05pm on BBC One, with the Earthshot Prize winners announced on October 17.


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