“Our planet is still full of wonders. As we explore them, so we gain not only understanding, but power. It’s not just the future of the whale that today lies in our hands: it’s the survival of the natural world in all parts of the living planet. We can now destroy or we can cherish. The choice is ours.” – Sir David Attenborough
Those powerful words drew to a close the first season of BBC’s Planet Earth in 2006.
It was a masterpiece: landscapes so vast one can’t help but feel confronted; a polar bear leading her cubs on a pilgrimage across the Arctic circle; lions watching on as wildebeest sipped from a watering hole.
Planet Earth was eye-opening.
In our homes, David Attenborough informed us without patronising; he enriched our lives by pulling the curtain on a natural world within our own - one we were previously blind too.
Ten years later, in 2016, Planet Earth II premiered. And it was every bit as awe-inspiring as the first
No doubt much of the series' success lies in the cinematography: the cameramen and women laying still for hours, waiting for an act of nature - a behaviour within a species - to unfold.
Watch: David Attenborough narrates a powerful battle between predators and prey in Planet Earth II. Post continues after video.
However the Planet Earth series goes hand-in-hand with Sir David Attenborough's narration. The smooth Attenborough voice is a critical to any animal documentary as the camerawork is.
He's irreplaceable. Without Attenborough, it simply doesn't feel... right.
Listen: Bec Sparrow and Robin Bailey discuss a phenomenon Attenborough has absolutely mastered - living your eulogy, not your resumé - on The Well. Post continues after audio.
So - considering the ten year production schedule of researching, filming and editing a single series - you can only imagine the hesitance with which Planet Earth's producers have announced a third season.
A producer told the Express, "I think it's fair to say without him it definitely wouldn't be the same, no. All of us owe so much to Sir David for making the series what it is. There's no way else to tell the stories than he does. The bosses will kill me for saying Planet Earth III is happening, by the way! Maybe it's good because then it will be commissioned."
If Season three follows the same ten year timeline as the first two, the veteran voice of nature will be 101-years-old by the time it's released.
"Who knows," he goes on. "We hope David will be with us. You never know. If he's here, he'll be doing it. That's for sure. He is the voice of natural history. He's the voice of Planet Earth II, and if he's still willing to do it, then he'll do Planet Earth III."
Here's to hoping.
The 90-year-old was awarded a knighthood for his services to television in 1985. And we can't imagine a world without him on our screens.
Is there anyone with a voice that could replace Sir David? Will you watch Planet Earth III if he's not narrating? Let us know in the comments below.