31/01/2018 22:00 GMT

Theresa May Will Present China's President Xi Jinping With Box Set Of BBC's Blue Planet II

With a special message from Sir David Attenborough himself.

PA Wire/PA Images
Blue Planet II, starring Sir David Attenborough, was so popular in China, it slowed the country's internet.

Theresa May will give China’s President Xi Jinping a box set of the BBC’s Blue Planet II series, specially signed by Sir David Attenborough.

Downing Street revealed the Prime Ministerial gift ahead of a meeting between the two leaders in Beijing on Thursday.

The marine wildlife series was such a huge success in China that it pulled in 80 million viewers nationwide and was so popular it even slowed down the country’s internet on social media.

A box set of the series, along with a book signed with a personal message from Sir David, was deemed by No 10 as the perfect gift to underline the UK and China’s co-operation on the environment.

The programme is viewed by Whitehall as one of the BBC’s biggest export success stories of recent years.

During a trip to the Yangtze river near Wuhan on Wednesday, May saw for herself some pioneering Chinese technologies designed to remove tiny plastic particles from the country’s rivers.

Five rivers in China are among the 10 waterways that send 90% of the world’s plastic into the oceans.

Blue Planet II, which depicted a turtle choking from a plastic bag, sparked huge public pressure for action when it was aired last year.


May is due to take part in a tea ceremony with President Xi in Beijing, before they discuss foreign affairs including North Korea and other security threats.

Her gift to the Chinese leader is certainly smaller and cheaper than that of French President Emmanuel Macron last year. He presented Xi with a thoroughbred horse.

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