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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Kate Ng

Olivia Colman, Idris Elba and stars read King’s speeches for new climate YouTube channel


Olivia Colman, Idris Elba, Woody Harrelson, and a number of other famous faces have recited King Charles III’s speeches for the launch of a new YouTube channel that focuses on climate change.

The channel, called RE:TV, was founded in 2020 by Charles while he was the Prince of Wales, and has since released more than 100 short films about sustainable solutions to help the environment.

A new short film, The Speeches, has been released today (Monday 26 June) and features 19 actors and environmentalists to celebrate the channel’s arrival on YouTube.

Aside from Colman, Elba and Harrelson, Fatal Attraction star Glenn Close will also be among those reading lines from the King’s numerous speeches about the environment.

Charles, who has famously championed environmental-friendly initiatives and ideas throughout his time as the Prince of Wales, made his first speech about the climate in February 1970, when he highlighted conservation issues in the UK.

In a preview clip, while reciting a 2020 address by the now-monarch in Davos, the voice of Charles is cut into Elba speaking today.

Their voices are heard saying parts of the following: “Global warming, climate change, the devastating loss of biodiversity are the greatest threats that humanity has ever faced and one largely of our own creation.”

The video features clips of natural disasters exacerbated by the climate crisis, including flooding, drought and severe weather events, and locations such as the glasshouses of Kew Gardens and ancient woodland of Burnham Beaches.

Also making an appearance in the film are BBC presenter Danny Clarke,The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse author Charlie Mackesy, YouTube environmental campaigner Jack Harries, and climate activist Leah Thomas.

Glenn Close appears in The Speeches by RE:TV
— (YouTube/RE:TV)

The film quotes the King’s speeches from the North Sea Conference in 1987, the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in 2009, and the COP21 Opening Session in 2015, among others.

It ends with Charles speaking during his interview for the original RE:TV launch film in 2020, in which he said: “There is real hope, but we’ve just got to get our act together and we’ve got to remember that it’s the natural world that sustains us.”

In the video description, RE: Tv said: “To mark the launch of our new YouTube channel, RE:TV has pulled together a cast of actors, activists and environmental campaigners to revisit lines from some of the inspiring speeches [King Charles] made.”

RE:TV was launched during Climate Week three years ago, with Charles as editor-in-chief as part of his Sustainable Markets Initiative. The initiative aims to accelerate the world’s transition to a sustainable future, as a way to inform and inspire audiences.

Colman, who portrayed the late Queen Elizabeth II in the third and fourth series of The Crown, has previously showed her support for environmentally friendly causes. In 2021, she supported a short film titled Deserves To Bloom to raise awareness of rewilding in Britain, created by rewilding charity Heal.

She said: “I’m thrilled to be supporting Deserves To Bloom. It has never been as important to care about our planet and for us all to do what we can to protect our natural world and to fight climate change.”

Luther star Elba has also been a vocal campaigner for the environment, having previously lent his voice to raise awareness of the impact of animal poaching and speaking alongside his wife Sabrina Dhowre Elba about what people can do to make a difference.

During a speech at Cop26 in 2021, he acknowledged that “people might be a little irritated” to see celebrities weighing in on the subject of the climate crisis, but highlighted the importance of using his platform to amplify the issues.

Additional reporting by PA

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