As the waters of the Amazon and its tributaries reach their lowest, torrential rain begins to beat down with brutal force. In a few months’ time, the forest will be submerged under almost thirty meters of water: enough to swallow up a ten-storey building! The youngest animals are dealing with the deluge for the first time in their lives. We follow them all: the sloth, terribly vulnerable; the opossum, the only marsupial outside Oceania; the harpy eagle, one of the greatest in the world; the shy, solitary armadillo; the squirrel monkey, a treetop acrobat… and many other inhabitants of a gleaming, transfigured world shown in this way for the first time. This documentary tells their tale: a story of competition and dangers, unease and courage; a story that will inspire every viewer and remain engraved in their memory for a long, long time...
Zebra stripes vary subtly between the different species but there is one group of animals that has evolved colourful patterns of seemingly infinite variety, the butterflies. In this episode David looks at two examples of animal patterns that have bedazzled and baffled science for a long time, and uses modern tools to unlock their secrets.
22m • Natural Curiosities
Slip through millennia-old caves in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. These spooky, labyrinth-like places were considered magical as early as the Mayan era. Plus you can hitch a ride with sucker fish, dodge gigantic ocean devil fish and be entranced by the dance of a majestic 6-metre long manta ray.
41m • 2011 • The Magic of The Big Blue
Meet the big birds, a feathered family who have never flown a day in their lives! From ostriches to kiwis, these bizarre birds appear to be nature's greatest novelty act. How they came to be and how they continue to survive is a fascinating tale that has long captivated Sir David Attenborough. It is a story of dedicated dads, enormous eggs and a serious need for speed. And far from being the court jesters of the animal world, these flightless curiosities once nearly ruled the land.
59m • 2015 • Natural World
From the steaming rainforests of Borneo to the freezing fossil beds of China, the arid canyons of Spain and the remote cloud-forests of Ecuador, this series spans the globe and travels through time to explore the thrilling and surprising story of how flying animals came to conquer the skies. The team used ground-breaking 3D cameras, high speed filming and stunning CGI to immerse the viewer in an astounding aerial world. 3D demands that subjects be filmed relatively close to the camera – far from ideal in a wildlife documentary. This represented an extremely tricky task, so the team liaised extensively with UAV designers, macro-rig engineers and directors-of-photography who helped us to develop entirely new systems that took 3D to places it had never been before. The Octocopter is a multi-rotor UAV with customised gimbal capable of carrying 2 Red Epic cameras in order to shoot 3D. The octocopter was developed to help the team film in 3D in places no other 3D rig has ever got to, but it also posed many challenges. Its weight meant that flight-time was severely limited, and in volatile environments like the rainforest, where conditions can change rapidly, every flight was valuable and any failed attempt would have been costly.
43m • 2015 • David Attenborough's Conquest of the Skies