Sky to transform Sir David Attenborough into a virtual reality hologram

Sky and Sir David Attenborough will take people behind the glass at London’s Natural History Museum in a world-first interactive virtual reality experience. Users will get ‘hands-on’ access to rare objects, while a three-dimensional hologram of Sir David offers his own unique insight on each specimen in a one-on-one interactive experience.

In Hold the World, Sir David and the Natural History Museum will be brought together using a combination of interactive video game technology and TV documentary. Sir David will be transformed into a hologram and will guide participants to virtually ‘handle’ fossils, using his passion for the natural world to bring the objects to life.

The cutting-edge technology will allow users to hold up, peer inside, tilt and look more closely at the objects, which include fossils, bones and skulls from the museum’s world-famous collection. Hold the World represents the first time these technologies have been combined in this way and will offer people the opportunity to explore one of the world’s top cultural institutions in the company of the world’s leading natural history broadcaster.

The new VR experience is commissioned by the Sky VR Studio and produced by immersive content studio Factory 42, in association with Dream Reality Interactive and Talesmith. It marks the next phase in Sky’s VR development, as the first fully interactive production from Sky.

Sir David Attenborough commented: "I have enjoyed helping people to discover more about the natural world, and Hold The World offers people a unique opportunity: to examine rare objects, some millions of years old, up close. It represents an extraordinary new step in how people can explore and experience nature, all from the comfort of their own homes and I am delighted to be able to help users uncover some of the treasures the Natural History Museum has to offer in a thrilling new way."

Gary Davey, managing director for content at Sky, added: “Virtual reality is all about experiencing things you could only ever dream of in real life. So in this ground-breaking new experience from Sky, people can handle precious dinosaur fossils and delicate insects with a holographic Sir David Attenborough as their guide. We’re delighted to be bringing together this world-best technology and Sir David, a legend on all things nature, to make this ambitious project a reality.”

Sir Michael Dixon, director of the Natural History Museum, said: “We are always looking for innovative ways to share our collection, and Hold the World offers the chance to explore it as never before. Objects in the Museum collection offer invaluable insight about the origins of life, the Earth and our solar system – stories that are key to understanding how we can best protect our planet’s future. We are delighted to be working with Sky, Sir David Attenborough and Factory 42 to tell these stories using the very latest technology.”

John Cassy, chief executive of Factory 42, commented: “Hold the World will bring a new level of immersion, interactivity and fun to natural history experiences. We’re thrilled to be working with Sir David as he once again leads from the front with new story-telling techniques and with the support of Sky as it continues to push the boundaries with new technology.”

Hold the World will go into production later this year.

Sky VR Studio is a dedicated in-house facility established to create high quality, immersive VR content. The Sky VR app is the home of high quality, immersive VR content from Sky, and from selected third party VR producers. It currently plays host to a wide range of high end VR experiences, from Factory 42 produced Giselle, to full length VR documentaries featuring the likes of Team Sky and World Heavyweight Champion boxer Anthony Joshua.

For more information, please contact:


Sarah El-Hadidy

Factory 42

Manisha Ferdinand

Natural History Museum

Chloe Kembery

Notes to Editors

About Sky

Sky is Europe's leading entertainment company, serving 22 million customers across five countries - UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy. The company has annual revenues of £12 billion and is Europe’s leading investor in television content with annual programming spend of over £5 billion.

From exclusive partnerships with HBO and Showtime, to Sky’s own original programming, Sky offers the best and broadest range of content along with the best viewing experience to suit each and every customer. Whether that’s through the multi-award winning next generation box, Sky Q, or Sky’s contract-free online streaming service, NOW TV, customers have access to the latest movies, drama, sports and kids entertainment wherever and whenever they like. This is all supported by Sky’s best in class customer service.

Sky’s success is not just based on what the company does but how it does it. Named as one of the Top 10 Green Companies in the World by Newsweek, one of the world’s most recognised rankings of business’s environmental performance, Sky ensures its responsible business strategy is embedded right across the group.

Sky has over 30,000 employees and is listed as one of The Times Top 50 employers for women. Sky is listed on the London Stock Exchange (SKY).

About Factory 42

Factory 42 is a London based immersive content studio with a BAFTA winning creative team. The company was co-founded by former Sky executive John Cassy and Dan Smith, the BAFTA winning director of Sir David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive 3D for Sky. Smith will direct and Cassy will produce the project. Dream Reality Interactive is an independent VR studio with a core team that previously worked at Sony’s London studio where they developed the best-seller ‘Playstation VR Worlds’. Talesmith was founded by BAFTA winning natural history film maker Martin Williams.

About the Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum welcomes more than five million visitors a year and is a world-leading science research centre. It works to inspire a love of our natural world and unlock answers to the big issues facing humanity and the planet. Through its unique collection and unrivalled expertise it helps enable food security, control and eliminate disease and manage the scarcity of raw materials.