Dalmatian pelicans fly north to their high altitude breeding grounds on Lake Prespa. Beneath them a brown bear mother and cubs enjoy the springtime in the forests of the Pindos mountains. The 300-meter cliffs of the world famous Meteora monasteries shelter Greece’s last Egyptian vulture breeding pair
The hidden scientific secrets of butterflies reveal them to be more inventive and resilient than we ever imagined. Follow their extraordinary life cycle and migrations to tropical rainforests, windswept prairies, and even inside a chrysalis as it’s being spun.
Sir David Attenborough joins an archaeological dig uncovering Britain’s biggest mammoth discovery in almost 20 years. In 2017, in a gravel quarry near Swindon, two amateur fossil hunters found an extraordinary cache of Ice Age mammoth remains and a stone hand-axe made by a Neanderthal. Professor Ben Garrod joins the team at DigVentures during the excavation as they try to discover why the mammoths were here and how they died. Could the Neanderthals have killed these Ice Age giants?
2021 • Nature
Ch1. Oceans In Cape Verde, Gordon starts the adventure with a look at one of the world's largest populations of nesting loggerhead turtles. He then heads to the Bahamas with Caribbean reef sharks, California to see young elephant seals and the British Isles to attach featherweight cameras to a squadron of gannets. Ch2. Australia In New South Wales, Gordon encounters a marsupial facing a complex set of challenges when he meets a population of kangaroos that are being pushed to the very brink by a coastal development boom. How are they surviving on the edge of this urban expansion? Gordon meets the scientists driven to find out more about what the roos are feeding on as they are pushed onto the coastal fringes. As we become immersed in their world, we get a better understanding of kangaroos' social lives and the impact of human encroachment on their diet. In southern Australia, we head to Adelaide, where one of the team's toughest challenges yet is to create the lightest of cameras to find out what the lure of the big city is to a colony of newly arrived fruit bats. Their appearance is a bit of a puzzle. Are they a threat to the local commercial fruit crops or have they found other ways to adapt to city life? For the first time ever, the fruit bats take our cameras up above the cityscape, showing us a unique view of their nocturnal worlds while providing information crucial to their future. In Queensland, we help scientists find out if koalas really deserve their dozy daytime reputation when we join researchers at a reserve to discover some incredible revelations surrounding their night-time manoeuvres. The team's tech allows us to shadow them after sundown, unveiling their remarkable agility and surprising navigational skills. Specially designed with tree-hugging in mind, koalacams offer an insight which could help koalas as we find out what they need to survive - not just here, but elsewhere in the country.
In the heart of the Atlantic, Gordon Buchanan joins a team looking to discover why huge numbers of devil rays, fish with 'wings' nearly four metres across, and gather every summer near the Azores archipelago. In northeast Turkey the on-board cameras are carried by brown bears as part of a study trying to understand why so many bears survive in a small patch of forest. In southern France on-board cameras help scientists trying to prove that guard dogs can help protect sheep flocks from wolf attacks. The night-vision cameras show how the dogs work together as a team to fend off the wolves.
In Namibia, Gordon joins a cheetah conservationist who wants to see if three orphaned cheetahs, which she has raised from a day old, can learn to hunt effectively in the thick vegetation. The on-board cameras, the first to ever be worn by cheetahs hunting in Africa, In Australia, the team puts cameras on fur seals to try to see how they hunt their prey and avoid attacks by great white sharks. In South Africa, we deploy the first ever cameras on wild baboons in an effort to understand why these clever monkeys sometimes raid farmers' crops.
In the first episode, the team uncover the hidden lives of three iconic animals. In the Kalahari Desert the team put cameras on wild meerkats for the first time, allowing scientists to finally understand what these miniature mammals get up to underground. Heading to Cameroon, Gordon works with scientist Mimi Swift, who is desperate to understand whether Kimbang, a four-year-old orphan chimp, has the skills she needs to be able to join a chimp family living wild in the forest. Leaving Africa for Argentina, the team have penguins carry tiny cameras far out to sea on an epic journey of up to 300 kilometres (200 miles). For the first time, scientists are able to see the tactics these charismatic characters use to catch their prey.
Sir David Attenborough chooses his favourite recordings from the natural world that have revolutionised our understanding of song. Each one - from the song of the largest lemur to the song of the humpback whale to the song of the lyrebird - was recorded in his lifetime. When Sir David was born, the science of song had already been transformed by Charles Darwin’s theory of sexual selection: singing is dangerous as it reveals the singer’s location to predators, but it also offers the male a huge reward, the chance to attract a female and pass on genes to the next generation. Hence males sing and females don't. Today, new science in the field of birdsong is transforming those long-held ideas. Scientists are discovering that, in fact, in the majority of all songbird species, females sing - and it is only now they are being properly heard. Through this revelation and others, we can understand that animal songs are marvelous examples of the spectacular survival strategies that species have developed in order to stay alive.
2021 • Nature
We investigate the emerging threats posed by plastic pollution to life on Earth. The hyper-convenience of our modern way of living produces staggering volumes of plastic waste daily. Scientists now know that this waste breaks down into ever tinier pieces, spreading right across the globe and posing direct health risks, including through bioamplification of toxic additives moving up the food chain. We explore the drastic changes it will take to deliver a sustainable future for our planet.
2021 • Environment
England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer and epidemiologist Jonathan Van-Tam takes a deep dive into viruses and reveals why discoveries and advances made during the on-going Covid-19 pandemic mean biological science will never be the same again.
S1E3 • Royal Institution Christmas Lectures - Going Viral • 2021 • Health
Personality explores what it is that makes us who we are and uncovers the universal battle we face to master our emotions and control our behaviour. Professor Robert Winston explores how our minds shape our personalities throughout our lives, and reveals how personality traits like extroversion and introversion develop.
The great mountain ranges are some of the planet's most spectacular landscapes, but they are unforgiving places to live in, and only a few animals have what it takes to live at extreme altitude. Mountain animals are amongst the most elusive in the world, and this film provides unique and intimate glimpses into their secretive lives. Witness the moment four snow leopards come together when a mother and cub become trapped between two rival males. Join grizzly bears as they dance against trees to rub off their winter fur and soar with golden eagles hunting amongst Europe's snow-capped peaks.
Michio Kaku, best-selling author and physicist, imagining the not-so-distant future, offers his projections for advancements in humanity's understanding of the brain over the next century. Kaku envisions a world in which progress in neuroscience and biotechnology will demystify the human mind.
The wheels in your brain are constantly turning, even when you're asleep or not paying attention. In fact, most of your brain’s activities are ones you’d never be aware of … unless they suddenly stopped. Nathan S. Jacobs takes us inside the always active, surprisingly spontaneous brain.
Could the power of fake pills be used to treat some of our most common medical complaints? To find out, Dr Michael Mosley embarks on Britain's largest ever trial to investigate the placebo effect. He is heading to Blackpool to gather 117 people suffering from backache - one of the leading types of chronic pain - before trying to treat them with nothing but fake pills and the power of the mind. Working with experts from the University of Oxford, Michael discovers that the placebo effect is more than just a medical curiosity. The brain is actually capable of producing its own drugs, and these can be more powerful than prescription painkillers. Michael's volunteers come from all walks of life, but they have all suffered with bad backs for years and feel their conventional medication isn't up to the job. They include Stacey, who is struggling to keep up with her two energetic daughters, wheelchair user Jim, who longs to be able to get back on a boat, and poker player Moyra, who is looking for a painkiller which doesn't affect her performance. They think they are taking part in the trial of a powerful new painkiller, but their blue and white capsules actually contain nothing but ground-up rice. Can this fake treatment make a real difference? And how will the volunteers react when Michael reveals the truth? Michael also finds out about some remarkable placebo experiments from around the world, including a woman in Oxfordshire who experienced a near-miraculous recovery after undergoing fake surgery to fix her chronic shoulder pain. Plus a team in Lancashire who want to see if the placebo effect can cure a broken heart. And Michael discovers a team in Germany working on a placebo that works even if you know you are taking it, which might improve the lives of transplant patients. Michael also tests this out on himself - attempting to train his own body to respond to a fake treatment - a foul-tasting green drink - as if he were taking actual drugs.
What new methods of analysis have been developed in the age-old struggle to discover if someone is telling the truth...or not? Some scientists have gone beyond the polygraph to model other ways of detecting whether we are getting a straight answer or being led down a crooked path.
2017 • Brain
In today's world, looks count especially with the popularity of social media. In this episode, Dr Michael Mosley invites 10 singletons to the country house on a dating weekend with a difference. He strips down the dating game to animal attraction and puts their very basic instincts to the test. With the help of behavioural psychologist Tracey Cox and dating expert Emma Kenny
Horizon follows the story of Richard Gray and his remarkable recovery from a life-changing catastrophic stroke. The film shows the rarely seen journey back to recovery. Recorded by his documentary film-maker wife Fiona over four years, this film shows the hard work of recovery. Initially bed bound and unable to do anything, including speak, the initial outlook was bleak, yet occasionally small glimmers of hope emerged. Armed always with her camera, Fiona captures the moment Richard moves his fingers for the first time, and then over months she documents his struggle to relearn how to walk again. The story also features poignant footage delivered in a series of flashbacks, in which we see and hear Richard at his professional best. He was a peacekeeper with the United Nations, immersed in the brutal war in Sarajevo, Bosnia. We also hear from the surgeons and clinicians who were integral to Richard's remarkable recovery, from describing life-saving, high-risk reconstructive surgery to intensive rehabilitation programmes that push the former soldier to his limits.
Bestselling author, popular scholar and existentialist Irvin D. Yalom is one of the most influential living psychotherapists. This cinematic feature is more than a classic biography. Together with Dr. Yalom we travel in an existential journey through the many layers of the human mind while he shares his fundamental insights and wisdom. Dr. Yalom's books sold millions of copies worldwide and critics describe him as: mind-bending, stunning, inspiring, haunting, life-changing.
2014 • Lifehack
Have you ever thought to yourself, "I wish I were ____"? Adjectives may have included: thinner, taller, smarter, etc. If so, you're like virtually everyone else, and afflicted by "The Missing Tile Syndrome." As Dennis Prager explains, we often focus on the missing tile(s) in our lives, which robs us of happiness. In five minutes, learn how to fix your focus.
What motivates us to work? Contrary to conventional wisdom, it isn't just money. But it's not exactly joy either. It seems that most of us thrive by making constant progress and feeling a sense of purpose. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely presents two eye-opening experiments that reveal our unexpected and nuanced attitudes toward meaning in our work.
The new treasure map leads Albert Lin to discover lost pyramids at the ancient city of El Palmar and beneath the site of a sacrificial ball game. Hidden treasures reveal the epic scale of the ancient Mayan civilization.
This episode looks at the effects of modern life and aging , how excessive cleanliness affects asthma & allergies, how poverty gets under the skin to cause lifelong damage, the physical effects of social isolation, and predicting mental illness and Alzheimer's by just looking at the back of people's eyes. Plus the latest research and where the research is going next.
For two years BBC cameras have followed, Dr Sheperd Doeleman of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the work of the Event Horizon Telescope project team, a collective of the top scientific minds from around the world. The project combines radio observatories and telescope facilities from around the world to make up a virtual telescope with a diameter spanning the entire planet. This mega-telescope’s ultimate mission is to capture the first image ever of a black hole. Although the concept of black holes has been long assumed to be fact, the Event Horizon Telescope’s success would definitively prove the existence of this scientific phenomena for the first time – and provide clear visual evidence. The programme brings viewers into the laboratories, behind the computer screens and beside the telescopes of what may prove to be one of the great astrophysical achievements in human history.
2019 • Astronomy
As climate change begins to feel like an impossible challenge, this documentary tells the story of the first man-made threat to the planet's environment - the hole in the ozone layer - and how the world managed to fix it. The scientists and politicians at the heart of the story reveal how they spotted the giant hole in the stratosphere and, against all odds, persuaded Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher - two of the most unlikely eco-warriors in history - to take action.
2018 • Environment
A series of battles in France had an impact on modern day Europe and the fates of three countries down to our modern century. What might have happened if Richard the Lionheart had not been wounded? Or Philippe Auguste of France had fled the battlefield?