Latest Documentaries

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Fairy Tales

Fairy tales have survived thousands of years for a reason. Explore their far-flung history and how the stories speak to fundamental human concerns.

S3E14Explained • 2021 • Creativity

Country Music

Dirt roads. Pickup trucks. Hip-hop? As the borders around country music shift, who decides what defines the popular genre, and who gets to be a star?

S3E13Explained • 2021 • Music

Time

Time flies - sometimes. Its passage can seem to speed up and slow down. Why do we experience time the way we do, and how do we take back some control?

S3E12Explained • 2021 • Physics

Dance Crazes

From the waltz to voguing, dance crazes have connected people throughout history. But when a dance catches on, who gets the credit - and compensation?

S3E11Explained • 2021 • Music

Plastic Surgery

The Instagram face. A shapely posterior. Cosmetic surgery can make the latest beauty trends a reality. Explore its origins and effects, inside and out.

S3E10Explained • 2021 • Health

Hurricanes

As the planet warms, hurricanes could become even more dangerous and destructive. What can be done to survive and minimize the threat of these storms?

S3E9Explained • 2021 • Nature

Apologies

Apologizing is tough, and in this era of public mea culpas, forgiveness isn't guaranteed. What makes for a good apology, and why does it hold such power?

S3E8Explained • 2021 • Lifehack

Your Skin

Don't panic, but our skin plays host to trillions of bacteria, fungi, mites and other microscopic guests. Go beyond skin-deep with our largest organ.

S3E7Explained • 2021 • Health

Chess

For centuries, chess has captured hearts and minds - and pawns - and it's more popular than ever. What makes this ever-changing board game so special?

S3E6Explained • 2021 • Brain

Coextinction

Two passionate filmmakers connect with activists, Indigenous leaders, and renowned scientists to understand the fate of the endangered southern resident orca and find solutions to our most pressing environmental threats.

2021 • Nature

Inside the K-Pop Dream Machine

The Korean Wave is taking the world by storm, and Korean Pop, or K-pop, is at the forefront. Krishnan Guru-Murthy goes inside South Korea's K-pop dance schools, investigating the hidden cost of becoming the next big idol. He learns how teenagers are crafted to be idols with relentless training regimes, scripted answers and picture-perfect looks, though just one per cent will 'make it big'.

2024 • Music

Secrets of the Neanderthals

A unique excavation unravels the complex and creative nature of Neanderthals, shattering preconceptions through the lens of a landmark discovery - the best-preserved Neanderthal skeleton found in over 25 years.

2024 • History

Recommended Documentaries

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Professor Julia Higgins discusses Michael Faraday

President of the Institute of Physics Professor Julia Higgins explores the life and work of Michael Faraday and how his curiosity and passion for communicating science inspires her.

S1E6People of Science with Brian Cox • 2018 • Science

Man on Mars: Mission to the Red Planet

Horizon goes behind the scenes at Nasa to discover how it is preparing for its most ambitious and daring mission: to land men - and possibly women - on the surface of Mars.

Horizon • 2014 • Astronomy

E-Cigarettes: Miracle or Menace

Michael Mosley investigates the dramatic rise in e-cigarettes. They're everywhere these days, but what does the latest scientific research on them reveal? Michael reveals what e-cigarettes are really doing to your health. Are they really better for you than cigarettes? What is actually in them? Is passive vapour harmful? And can they really stop you from smoking? Michael meets some of the scientists around the world studying them, asks a group of volunteers to try to give up smoking regular cigarettes using them, and even takes up 'vaping' himself, smoking an e-cigarette every day for a month to see the effects on his own health - no easy task for such a committed non-smoker.

Horizon • 2016 • Health

International Space Station

Currently, the only destination for Astronauts and Cosmonauts is the orbiting research platform known as the International space station. This episode exposes the working life of people who spend months orbiting in microgravity.

S1E4Zenith: Advances in Space Exploration • 2021 • Technology

Apeman - Spaceman

Beginning in Ethiopia, Professor Brian Cox discovers how the universe played a key role in our ascent from apeman to spaceman by driving the expansion of our brains. But big brains alone did not get us to space.

S1E1Human Universe • 2014 • People

The Restaurant that Burns Off Calories

Maitre d' and Extraordinary Places to Eat host Fred Sirieix and GP Zoe Williams open a restaurant with a difference, welcoming 20 unsuspecting diners for a slap-up meal. It all sounds normal enough, but this restaurant has something unexpected back of house - a functioning gym, where a group of fitness fanatics are poised on exercise bikes, treadmills and rowing machines, ready to burn off every single calorie ordered and consumed by the diners.

Horizon • 2020 • Health

Science Documentaries

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The Science of Dust

All we are is dust in the (cosmic) wind.

Science

Top Science Stories 2021

Brings viewers all the amazing news-breaking advances in science in technology from 2021. Startling discoveries from around the globe, from a prehistoric nursery to a covid treatment breakthrough. Join us for an exclusive hyper-tour from earth to space.

2021 • Science

The Honeybee Brain

Dr. Barron is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow, and the Deputy Head of the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University in Sydney. He discusses how the brains of honeybees can provide a model for studying diverse intelligence.

S1E1Stories of Impact • 2019 • Science

The Moust Astounding Fact

Astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson was asked by a reader of TIME magazine, "What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the Universe?" This is his answer.

2012 • Science

Avalanche: Making a Deadly Snowstorm

In March 2018 an international team of scientists gathered in a remote valley in the Canadian Rockies to conduct a unique experiment - to attempt to see into the heart of a massive avalanche to see if we can find ways to save lives in the future. Avalanches kill hundreds of people every year. Even in the UK 25 people have been killed by these forces of nature since the year 2000. But we know surprisingly little about them - why they happen or how they are able to produce destructive forces so powerful that they can flatten entire villages. Equally disturbing is the fact that climate change means that the pattern of avalanches is changing. They are occurring in places where they have never happened before. Finding out where might be in danger in the future is of vital importance. Answering all these questions could help save lives. The experiment attempts to provide those answers. The team of experts, gathered from all over the world, includes the programme's presenter Prof Danielle George. Her day job is studying space at Manchester University, but she is also a specialist in the design of experiments. She is even getting personally involved. As part of an experiment to test out safety equipment, Danielle puts on the latest breathing device intended to help you survive being caught in an avalanche. She then agrees to be buried under half a tonne of snow. The scientists hope to do what no one has ever managed before - to reveal the mysteries of an avalanche's destructive power by finding out what is going on at its very heart. Hitherto, our understanding of avalanches has been based on computer models - but these consistently underestimate the sheer power of these natural phenomena. To try and work out why, the scientists will conduct a range of cutting-edge tests, using the latest technology, including placing a car rigged with sensors right in the path of the avalanche. The plan is to set up the equipment and then unleash the avalanche by dropping explosives near the top of the slope. But the team are in a race against time. They have just three days to rig the mountain before the snow will come down the slope naturally. If they aren't ready in time, all their efforts will be wasted. Even worse, they are working in an active avalanche zone. For some scientists going out on the slopes to install their equipment means risking their lives. Interwoven with the main experiment are powerful and moving stories from survivors of these violent natural forces. We meet Casey George, whose two children were buried when an avalanche struck the small town of Missoula, Montana, completely out of the blue while they were playing. Their neighbour Fred Allendorf was inside his house when it was completely destroyed. The cataclysm claimed the life of his wife. Missoula had never been struck by an avalanche before. And no one could understand how a well-built house could be utterly demolished. The film meets British snowboarder Johno Verity, who was being filmed when an avalanche started right underneath him. His story provides clues as to what causes these disasters - a subtle change in the microscopic structure of snow deep beneath the surface. In a unique snow lab, where they can recreate different snow conditions, Danielle discovers exactly how snow can be transformed from something light and fluffy into a potential killer. And there is Elyse Saugstad, an expert skier who, despite years of experience, was caught unawares in an avalanche that killed three of her friends. All these stories emphasise just how unpredictable and devastating these events can be and why we need to understand and so be able to predict them better. In addition to being buried, Danielle George conducts another experiment into equipment that may help skiers survive being caught in an avalanche. Your chances of living rapidly diminish if you are buried for more than 15 minutes. She conducts a test with an inflatable airbag that is designed to keep you near the surface of an avalanche, making you easier to find. After two intense days of work by the scientific team, the experiment ends with over 1,000 tonnes of snow rushing down the mountainside. It triggers a whole host of censors and observational equipment. There is then a tense wait for results. But when they come, they are revealing. It seems that the team may have uncovered the first clues to an avalanche's unexplained power. If so, this could one day lead to significant breakthroughs in how we build houses and infrastructure that may lie in an avalanche's path and in how we devise safety equipment for skiers. It could be that this experiment will help save lives in the future.

2018 • Science

Surveillance

Ever feel like you're being watched? Well, you may be right. Latif explores the sometimes cute, often creepy ways surveillance pervades our lives.

S1E1Connected - The Hidden Science of Everything • 2020 • Science

Nature Documentaries

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Wild France

France is known for its delicious food and wines, great art and architecture and celebrated culture of all kinds. But there’s another side to this popular destination that is not as visible, its wild side. Deep in the French countryside, it is possible for the adventurous to spot brown bears, wild boar, griffon vultures or wolves.

PBS Nature • 2015 • Nature

Amazonian Manatee

Stephen and Mark set out to discover how the lugubrious Amazonian manatee, a freshwater mammal, has survived the last two decades.

S1E1Last Chance to See • 2009 • Nature

Internal Adaptations

Clownfish can change genders, male seahorses carry their young, and some snakes have remnants of leg bones--but why? Discover how significant evolutionary changes inside these creatures have equipped them for survival.

S1E3Mysteries of Evolution • 2017 • Nature

The Making Of

Making of David Attenborough’s Galapagos, which is aired first, offers an unrivalled and actually far more interesting view of the dramas that went into capturing all that footage. The way all the shots have been so calmly edited together makes the process look so effortless, but nothing could be further from the truth. There are broken helicopters and broken camera cables that threaten the whole enterprise and the grunting of mating tortoises that threaten to drown out Attenborough’s pieces to camera. This making of programme also includes the discovery of a previously unknown species of pink iguana, as well as the final television appearance of the last-remaining member of another species – the iconic long-necked tortoise known as Lonesome George. “He’s about 80 years old and he’s getting a bit creaky in his joints,” whispers Attenborough. “As indeed am I.”

S1E4Galapagos with David Attenborough • 2010 • Nature

The Negev Desert

Covering more than half of Israel, the Negev Desert is a land of harsh extremes, one where flora and fauna must adapt to searing summers and bitter winters. Spend a year alongside some of its toughest inhabitants in their ongoing quests for survival.

S1E1Wild Israel • 2018 • Nature

Part 2

With scientist Kerisha Kntayya, Judi joins a crocodile hunt with a difference. Kerisha plucks young crocodiles out of the water. Judi then joins Kerisha's team as they wrestle an adult croc as part of the study Kerisha hopes will help save these prehistoric creatures. Judi, who's had a fascination with bats from an early age, also explores the Gomantong cave, home to more than a million bats.

S1E2Judi Dench's Wild Borneo Adventure • 2019 • Nature

Randoms! Documentaries

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Day the Dinosaurs Died

66 million years ago a seven-mile-wide asteroid collided with Earth, triggering a chain of events suspected of ending the dinosaurs' reign. But experts have long debated exactly what happened when the asteroid struck and how the giant beasts met their end. Now, scientists have uncovered compelling new clues about the catastrophe - from New Jersey to the wilds of Patagonia, and an international expedition of scientists has drilled into the impact crater off the coast of Mexico, recovering crucial direct evidence of the searing energy and giant tsunami unleashed by the asteroid. Join NOVA as scientists piece together a chillingly precise unfolding of the Earth's biggest cataclysm, moment by moment. And discover how our early mammalian ancestors managed to survive and repopulate the Earth.

NOVA PBS • 2017 • History

The Cove

In Taiji, Japan, local fishermen hide a gruesome secret: the capture and slaughter of dolphins. Activist Ric O'Barry, who trained dolphins for the "Flipper" TV series, joins forces with filmmaker Louis Psihoyos and the Ocean Preservation Society to expose the brutal practice, risking life and limb in the process.

2009 • Nature

The Magic of Mushrooms

Professor Richard Fortey delves into the fascinating and normally-hidden kingdom of fungi. From their spectacular birth, through their secretive underground life to their final explosive death, Richard reveals a remarkable world that few of us understand or even realise exists - yet all life on Earth depends on it. In a specially-built mushroom lab, with the help of mycologist Dr Patrick Hickey and some state-of-the-art technology, Richard brings to life the secret world of mushrooms as never seen before and reveals the spectacular abilities of fungi to break down waste and sustain new plant life, keeping our planet alive. Beyond the lab, Richard travels across Britain and beyond to show us the biggest, fastest and most deadly organisms on the planet - all of them fungi. He reveals their almost magical powers that have world-changing potential - opening up new frontiers in science, medicine and technology.

2014 • Nature

The Fruit Hunters: Evolution of Desire (Part 1 of 2)

A journey through nature, commerce and adventure, The Fruit Hunters takes us from the dawn of humanity to the cutting of edge of modern agriculture — a series that will change not just the way we look at what we eat, but what it means to be human. The Fruit Hunters' first episode, "The Evolution of Desire," explores the origins of fruit's diversity and tells the story of humanity and fruit's intimate co-evolution. Every variety of fruit has a story, the story of the person who cultivated an individual plant, and then shared something wonderful with the world. To preserve this diversity is to retain this living memory. A passionate few, the fruit hunters, fight to preserve this diversity in a world increasingly dominated by economically driven monoculture.

S52E11The Nature of Things • 2013 • Nature

The 1940s

Color footage of America in the 1940s gives a rare look at the decade's most significant moments, including Nazi sympathisers in World War Two, Pearl Harbor, the Manhattan Project and the rise of post-war prosperity.

S1E3America in Colour • 2017 • History

Mission to Mars

Horizon goes behind the scenes at NASA as they countdown to the landing of a 2.5 billion-dollar rover on the surface of Mars. In six days time, the nuclear-powered vehicle - the size of a car - will be winched down onto the surface of the Red Planet from a rocket-powered crane. That's if things go according to plan: Mars has become known as the Bermuda Triangle of space because so many missions there have ended in failure. The Curiosity mission is the most audacious - and expensive - attempt to answer the question: is there life on Mars?

HorizonAstronomy