Saving Planet Earth

A team of celebrities is heading to Kenya for Saving Planet Earth – Running Wild.

Jon Culshaw (Dead Ringers), Kelli Young (Liberty X), Les Dennis (comedian), Michaela Strachan (presenter) and Jeremy Edwards (Holby City) are donning their running shoes to raise money for the BBC Wildlife Fund.

They will be joined by Ruby Wax (comedienne) who is grabbing her ra-ra skirt to go along as the team’s sponge girl.

The Safaricom Marathon in Lewa, Kenya, is run on dirt roads and has gained a reputation for being one of the ten toughest marathon events in the world.

The results of the race will be shown during the exciting fund-raising finale Saving Planet Earth – Live on Friday 6 July.

This will be followed on Monday 9 July by Saving Planet Earth – Running Wild, a special programme which will follow the celebrities as they embark on the race of their life.

The Saving Planet Earth season across the BBC is focusing on the plight of endangered wildlife. It kicks off on Sunday 24 June with a show presented by Sir David Attenborough examining the impact of humans on the planet.

Michaela Strachan says: “There are a lot of parallels between the marathon and saving endangered animals. It’s a race against time. There’s no quick fix – it takes time and determination.

“At times it’s an uphill struggle, progress is easier when a lot of people are aiming for the same thing. It’s a huge undertaking but if people want to do it and put their minds to it it’s achievable.”

Run on a rough terrain and under harsh climatic conditions, the Safaricom Marathon is run within a game reserve at 5,500 feet above sea level, allowing competitors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to run alongside zebras, giraffes and other wildlife.

Citing Sir David as the person he would most like to be stuck in a lift with, Les is delighted to be doing his bit for the BBC Wildlife Fund. He has started on his training schedule in earnest and is working hard to ensure he’s fit enough to brave the blistering sun and rough terrain in Kenya.

Kelli Young says: “I’m particularly looking forward to the Maori tribe teaching me some traditional African dance moves!”

She’s not as excited about the camping but is happy to give it a go to help raise money for the BBC Wildlife Fund.

You can show your support for the runners by donating to the BBC Wildlife fund to help save the world’s endangered wildlife.

To show your support for the team log on to bbc.co.uk/savingplanetearth or call 08705 100 700 or send a cheque by post to BBC Wildlife Fund, PO Box 60905, London, W12 7UU.

Will Young, Graham Norton, Nick Knowles and Edith Bowman are among a host of stars joining Sir David Attenborough and Alan Titchmarsh in Saving Planet Earth, a wide-reaching season of programmes supporting wildlife conservation across BBC this summer.

The celebrities, who also include Jack Osbourne, Carol Thatcher, Fiona Bruce, Phil Tufnell and Saira Khan, explore the work of global conservation charities before appealing for public donations to help save endangered wildlife.

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the world-renowned BBC Natural History Unit, Saving Planet Earth begins with a show presented by Sir David Attenborough examining the impact of humans on the planet. The season culminates in a live fund-raising finale on BBC One.

Saving Planet Earth also features on CBBC, local BBC programming, BBC Two and online at bbc.co.uk/savingplanetearth. Conservation charities will be hosting a number of events across the UK.

At the end of each programme in the season, and during the fundraising finale, Alan Titchmarsh makes an appeal for donations to help save Planet Earth’s wildlife.

Viewers can donate to the BBC Wildlife Fund by calling 08705 100 700, or by going to bbc.co.uk/savingplanetearth. The money raised will fund wildlife conservation projects in the UK and around the world.

Will Young, Graham Norton, Nick Knowles and Edith Bowman are among a host of stars joining Sir David Attenborough and Alan Titchmarsh for Saving Planet Earth, a wide-reaching series supporting animal conservation on BBC One this summer.

The celebrities, who also include Jack Osbourne, Carol Thatcher, Fiona Bruce, Phil Tufnell and Saira Khan, explore the work of global conservation charities before appealing for public donations. The Saving Planet Earth season then culminates in a live fund raising finale.

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the world-renowned BBC Natural History Unit, Saving Planet Earth kicks off on BBC One with a launch show hosted by Sir David.

Using previously unseen footage from BBC One’s award-winning series Planet Earth, Sir David explains how destruction of crucial habitat is affecting the future of many of the planet’s animals.

He says: “Some scientists suggest that up to a quarter of animal species could be extinct by 2050. But it’s not too late – you can be involved in Saving Planet Earth.

“If you are a child, this is your future. If you’re a parent, it’s your legacy. The time to act is now.”

Alan Titchmarsh joins Sir David to present the celebrity expeditions, featuring nine UK-based charities raising cash for global issues. The endangered animals featured in the documentaries are:

Crocodiles – Edith Bowman highlights how Cambodian crocodiles are threatened by the leather trade;

Tigers – Fiona Bruce travels to India where tigers are suffering because of habitat loss and poaching;

Turtles –- Saira Khan explores the problems of turtle egg stealing in Sri Lanka;

Orang-utans – Nick Knowles discovers that orang-utans in Borneo are suffering from the deforestation of their habitat for commercial crops;

Ethiopian wolves – Graham Norton reveals that Ethiopian wolves’ numbers are being threatened by domestic dogs;

Elephants – Jack Osbourne finds that Namibian elephants are in competition with man for food and water;

Albatross – Carol Thatcher sees how long-line fishing is reducing albatross numbers in the Falklands;

Rhinoceros – Phil Tufnell travels to India to highlight the plight of rhinos still hunted for their horn;

Gorillas – Will Young finds out about the problems faced by lowland gorillas who are hunted for bushmeat and whose habitat, in Gabon, is being destroyed by logging.

Saving Planet Earth will also feature on CBBC and local BBC programming and on bbc.co.uk.

On CBBC seven lucky kids have won the chance to step into Sir David’s distinguished shoes to become part of the Saving Planet Earth team, reporting on the plight of globally endangered animals in the wild.

And a host of celebrities, including Brian Blessed, Tom Conti, Sean Hughes, Myleene Klass and Shobna Gulati explore the plight of threatened wildlife across the UK.

From basking sharks in the South West of England to eagles in Scotland, the regional programmes will show how viewers can make a difference to their local patch and play their part in Saving Planet Earth.

Visitors to bbc.co.uk/savingplanetearth can find how they can join in the team effort to help endangered animals. These will range from details of the off-air fundraising events running throughout the summer to support Saving Planet Earth, ways of donating to the Saving Planet Earth fund and links to the conservation projects featured.

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