David embarks on an extraordinary journey to unravel one of nature’s most gripping stories – the evolution of flying animals. He begins by exploring the unexpectedly advanced world of the very first flyers – the insects. Stunning new images give us fresh insights into an astonishing story – from the first dragonfly-like creatures that emerged from the water to fly on four wings, to the beetles that built hard wing-cases to colonise the land, and butterflies capable of migrating halfway round the globe. He concludes by investigating the remarkable skills of jet fighter of the insect world – the humble but surprisingly acrobatic fly.
Fortey travels to the rainforests of Madagascar - an ancient island that has spawned some of the most extraordinary groups of plants and animals anywhere in the world. From beautiful Indri lemurs, toxic frogs, and the cat-like giant mongoose called the fossa, to evolutionary oddities like the giraffe-necked weevil and the otherworldly aye-aye, he uncovers the secrets of the evolutionary niche - examining how, given millions of years, animals and plants can adapt to fill almost any opportunity they find.
58m • 2016 • Nature's Wonderlands: Islands of Evolution
Isolated since the time of the dinosaurs, New Zealand's wildlife has been left to its own devices, with surprising consequences. Its ancient forests are still stalked by predators from the Jurassic era. It's also one of the most geologically active countries on earth. From Kiwis with their giant eggs, to forest-dwelling penguins and helicopter-riding sheep dogs, meet the astonishing creatures and resilient people who must rise to the challenges of their beautiful, dramatic and demanding home.
59m • 2016 • New Zealand: Earth's Mythical Islands
With the help of some surprising creatures from around the world, this series sets out to discover how animals take to the air, defying the force all airborne animals must conquer, gravity. Part 2: Masters of the Sky This episode looks at powered flight, revealing why peregrine falcons can top 200 miles an hour, how a hummingbird is a slave to its own rather manic lifestyle and that the albatross's secret to flying for free is its nose. Heavyweight beetles break the rules to find love, a devious sparrow-hawk uses agility to execute a lightning-fast raid on his prey and half a million mother bats dominate the sky above, and below, the ground with a dazzling display of aerial prowess.
58m • 2016 • Life in the Air
A behind-the-scenes view of the extraordinary idea of deploying the Spy Creatures, showing how the concept evolved and became the inspiration for the animatronic animals of the series. This documentary reveals the painstaking work behind building the lifelike models, from first concept until they become `alive' for the first time.
58m • 2017 • Spy in the Wild
From the food on our tables to the fuel in our cars, crude oil seeps invisibly into almost every part of our modern lives. Yet many of us have little idea of the incredible journey it has made to reach our petrol tanks and plastic bags from its origins millions of years ago.
89m • 2007