Latest Documentaries

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The Bat Man of Mexico

David Attenborough narrates the story of Rodrigo Medellin. Since he first kept vampire bats in his bathroom as a child, Rodrigo has dedicated his life to saving them. Now Mexico's most famous export, tequila, is at stake. Rodrigo's beloved lesser long-nosed bat is crucial to the liquor - pollinating the plants the drink is made from. To save both, Rodrigo must track the bats' epic migration across Mexico - braving hurricanes, snakes, Mayan tombs and seas of cockroaches. The threats are very real for not only Rodrigo and the bats, but also for anyone with a taste for tequila.

Natural World • 2014 • Nature

Continents of Wonder

Also known as "The Best of Seven Worlds, One Planet". The most spectacular moments from the Seven Worlds, One Planet series that highlights the incredible rich and wonderful diversity of life found on our planets seven unique continents. Millions of years ago huge forces ripped apart the Earth's crust, creating seven distinct continents. Over time, each one developed its own remarkable wildlife. We see the extraordinary variety of life found in South America and visit the largest of all continents - Asia, so big it still hides rarely seen creatures. We explore the cities of Europe, full of surprises, and the wilds of Africa, home to the greatest gatherings of animals. We travel to the searing heat of Australia with its weird and wonderful wildlife, and witness the pioneering animals of North America that make the most of every opportunity. Finally, we venture to the frozen wilderness of Antarctica were, on the most hostile continent of all, life manages to thrive against the odds. And we reveal how today the biggest challenge faced by wildlife is the impact of human activity on all seven of our incredible continents.

Seven Worlds, One Planet • 2020 • Nature

Napoleon's Waterloo

It lasted only one day on a small piece of land, but the impact the Battle of Waterloo had on history is massive and far-reaching. This is the definitive account of the fight that ended Napoleon's rule as emperor and altered the destinies of France, Europe, and the world. Based on testimonies of those involved, we reveal the tactical decisions and human dramas that transpired on both sides of the battle to give you an unprecedented look of one of history's most epic conflicts.

2014 • History

How Can We All Win?

Dr Hannah Fry explores the limits of our control, from dangerous miscalculations to creating and spotting fake videos, and questions how far we should be going with our mathematical skills. A gravity-defying BMX stunt kick-starts the debate around trusting the numbers, and launches us into an investigation of just how sure we can be about anything in our messy world. Together with maths comedian Matt Parker, Hannah uses flaming balloons and gigantic slices of melting cheese to get to the bottom of the guesswork used in real world calculations. A visiting drone zips through the corridors of the historic Royal Institution building, introducing the mother of all drones, a human-sized machine that delivers urgent parcels, and we welcome the team designing driverless helicopters and buying up London rooftops to prepare for the future. But these physical challenges are just the beginning of the debate on handing control over to machines. Hannah explores whether human jurors or robots make fairer decisions, and welcomes Atima Lui, who is on a mission to design the most unbiased facial detection software in the world, which will say goodbye to the 'fast track for white people' at automatic passport gates. Hannah dives into the issues around privacy in our modern world, with Glow Up make-up star Tiffany Hunt making a member of the audience invisible to CCTV, while Hannah explores the truth behind cookies and anonymity online. Finally, she delves into the world of fake news, to separate the truth from the lies. Leading deep fake creators team up with the Christmas Lectures to create a television first – a custom-made deep fake video of a child in the audience, highlighting our ability to use maths to warp reality however we please. Hannah ultimately explores who the real winners are, in an escalating arms race of mathematical tricks.

3/3Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: Secrets and Lies - The Hidden Power of Maths • 2019 • Math

How to Bend the Rules

Dr Hannah Fry reveals how data-gobbling algorithms have taken over our lives and now control almost everything we do, without us being aware of it. Pitching the UK speed-cubing champion against a machine in the opening seconds of the lecture, Hannah sets the pace for a rapid voyage through this superhuman world. Hannah teams up with famed YouTuber Tom Scott to create a viral video and decipher YouTube's secret algorithm, comes face to face with four-legged guests to put animal image recognition machines to the test, and reveals how the NHS is matching organ donors in chains across the country to save hundreds of lives. But the breakthroughs are not restricted to the real world. Bafta award-winning special guests reveal the secrets of CGI in films such as The Avengers and Lord of the Rings, and supersized laser illusions bring the Royal Institution to life. An unexpected feathery guest opens our eyes to a new type of coding, where computers can be trained like animals using tasty rewards, with maths comedian Matt Parker and computing expert Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon bringing the topic to life. Finally, Hannah reveals how we've all been training up Google's AI in this way for years without realising it, and discovers how Google Health is using big data to give doctors a helping hand. The power of algorithms is undeniable. Hannah ultimately discovers how we can bend the world to our will and make anything possible, with a bit of mathematical thinking.

2/3Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: Secrets and Lies - The Hidden Power of Maths • 2019 • Math

How to Get Lucky

Kicking off the lectures with a mind-boggling stunt to prove how counterintuitive our gut instincts can be, Hannah launches into a lecture full of daring live experiments and surprising discoveries. From predicting the chance of snow at Christmas to dodging erupting volcanoes with Prof Chris Jackson, Hannah explores whether we really can predict the future. She meets the maths gurus behind Liverpool Football Club's winning streak to spill the beans on how analysing the numbers can give a team an edge in the Premier League, and reveals the tricks to perfecting your Christmas cracker pull to win the prize every time. Hannah also gathers tips from mind-performance coach Dr Michael Gervais, the 'secret weapon' crafting Olympic athletes' lucky mindsets, and the man responsible for Felix Baumgartner's jump from space, when 'first time lucky' meant life or death. Enrolling the help of maths comedian Matt Parker for the pinnacles of the lecture, the duo find order in unruly crowds, and whittle the audience down to the luckiest person in a series of challenges, before finally putting them to the test to prove whether they truly are one in a million. Using a host of maths tricks - from probability to game theory - Hannah discovers if we can in fact make our own luck, and ultimately shares the secrets to help us all lead luckier lives.

1/3Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: Secrets and Lies - The Hidden Power of Maths • 2019 • Math

Recommended Documentaries

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Blood Wedding 1567- 1574

In the name of religious tolerance, Catherine de Medici weds her Catholic daughter, Margaret of Valois, to the young Protestant heir of the Bourbon dynasty, Henry of Navarre. Protestants and Catholics are both in attendance. This event leads to the most infamous bloodbath in France's history.

S2E4The Real War of Thrones: The True History of Europe • 2018 • History

Oceans

Delving beneath the surface of the Earth's oceans to uncover a world of extraordinary extremes, including crushing depths, stormy coasts, vast blue deserts, and crowded reefs; how seals fend off sharks; how orcas fight to survive.

2/6Hostile Planet • 2019 • Nature

Curing Alzheimer's

Horizon investigates a new era of Alzheimer's research, which is bringing hope to millions of sufferers across the world. New scanning and gene technology is allowing scientists to identify the disease at its earliest stages, often 15 years before symptoms appear and the brain cells are destroyed. A series of new drugs trials in Colombia, the USA and Europe are showing startling success in reducing beta amyloid, the protein which is a hallmark of the disease. It is also becoming clear that changes in lifestyle can prevent the development of the disease. A new system inside the brain has been discovered which clears amyloid when we are in deep sleep, but allows it to accumulate if we don't sleep well. The programme reveals that for sufferers in the early stages of the disease, brain connections, or synapses, can be strengthened and even replaced by absorbing enough of the right nutrients. A UK-wide trail helps sufferers in the early stages to concentrate on improving everyday tasks, and in the process not only make their lives easier, but helps to reactivate the planning and organisational parts of the brain. In an ageing world, where the biggest risk of developing Alzheimer's is old age, the scientific breakthroughs in Alzheimer's disease are bringing hope where once there was despair.

Horizon • 2016 • Health

Part 1

The series offers a fresh look at the science behind teeth and dentistry, and what we can all do to improve our oral health. The programmes feature patients undergoing treatment for missing or broken teeth, decay, gum disease, and a range of other problems – sometimes to the extreme. The series also features a strong public health message, with experiments on and information about everything from correct tooth brushing to the effectiveness (or otherwise) of over-the-counter tooth whitening kits.

1/2The Truth About Your Teeth • 2015 • Health

Part II

In a race to find out what great pressures confront life in our ocean, the team continue their mission to investigate the effect human impact has had on our marine ecosystem.

2/4Blue Planet Live • 2019 • Nature

The Rom-Com

Mark begins with one of the most popular genres of all. They are sometimes sneered at by critics, but from the 1930s to the present day, many of our most beloved movies have been romantic comedies. From Bringing Up Baby and The Lady Eve by way of Annie Hall, When Harry Met Sally and Pretty Woman to Love, Actually (a particular Kermode favourite) - as well as recent hits such as The Big Sick and La La Land - Mark examines the cinematic tricks and techniques involved in creating a classic romcom. Mark celebrates old favourites, reveals hidden treasures and springs plenty of surprises. Examining films from Hollywood to Bollywood via other gems of world cinema, he reminds us how, much like love itself, the art of the romantic comedy is international.

Part 1Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema • 2018 • Creativity

Health Documentaries

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Part 1

The volunteers are put through a series of tests at a residential clinic to understand how their genes, hormones and psychology influence their eating behaviour. They are then put on the diets the experts believe are best suited to them. Can science succeed where other diets have failed?

1/3What's the Right Diet for YouHealth

Edo, City of Fire

More than 150 years ago, Edo, the forerunner of Tokyo, had the highest population of any city in the world. But it was ravaged by large-scale fires more frequently than any other major urban center. Yet after each conflagration, Edo rose from the ashes like a phoenix. We'll take a look at how the city managed to overcome such huge disasters and continue to grow.

2/2Rooted • 2018 • Health

The Female Orgasm

The female orgasm is more elusive when a man is involved. Discover the reasons why -- and how women are embracing hands-on solutions.

S1E16Explained • 2018 • Health

The Fantastical World of Hormones

A hormone is a class of regulatory biochemicals that is produced in all multicellular organisms by glands, and transported by the circulatory system to a distant target organ to coordinate its physiology and behavior. Hormones serve as a major form of communication between different organs and tissues.

Health

24 Hours: Inside Your Body

It’s the world’s first human body rig – two ordinary people are filmed going about their typical day while covered from head to toe in medical, monitoring equipment. What will they discover about how their lifestyle affects their health and what will the rest of us learn about how the human body works?

2017 • Health

The Big Health Dilemma

Dr Michael Mosley finds out what eating beef and bacon every day does to his health.

1/2Should I Eat MeatHealth

Environment Documentaries

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Blizzards

Blizzards; it's one of the Earth's most beautiful secrets until it turns into a storm that can bring entire cities to a grinding halt.

S1E8Secrets of the Earth • 2013 • Environment

Paradise or Oblivion

The Venus Project proposes an alternative vision of what the future can be if we apply what we already know in order to achieve a sustainable new world civilization. It calls for a straightforward redesign of our culture in which the age-old inadequacies of war, poverty, hunger, debt and unnecessary human suffering are viewed not only as avoidable, but as totally unacceptable. More at thevenusproject.com

Environment

Homo Sapiens

No music. No commentary. HOMO SAPIENS is a film about the finiteness and fragility of human existence and the end of the industrial age, and what it means to be a human being. What will remain of our lives after we’re gone? Empty spaces, ruins, cities increasingly overgrown with vegetation, crumbling asphalt: the areas we currently inhabit, though humanity has disappeared. Now abandoned and decaying, gradually reclaimed by nature after being taken from it so long ago.

2016 • Environment

Fragile Paradise

A look at what is being done to preserve the South Pacific and its wildlife.

6/6South PacificEnvironment

Colourful Planet

From space, Earth is a kaleidoscope. Turquoise plankton blooms trigger a feeding frenzy, China turns yellow with rapeseed flowers, and mysterious green lights appear in the ocean.

3/4Earth from Space • 2019 • Environment

Strange Islands

Why do animals perfectly adapted to island life give up the ghost when new species arrive?

5/6South PacificEnvironment

Randoms! Documentaries

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The moon illusion

Have you noticed how the full moon looks bigger on the horizon than high overhead? Actually, the two images are exactly the same size -- so why do we perceive them differently? Scientists aren't sure, but there are plenty of intriguing theories. Andrew Vanden Heuvel unravels the details of focus, distance and proportion that contribute to this mystifying optical illusion.

TED-Ed • 2013 • Brain

Europe

Sail the stunning Azores as large shoals of migrating humpback whales visit its waters. A sight to behold! Plus spot the symbol of the islands, giant sperm whales. These majestic protected creatures are the biggest tourist attraction of the Azores.

Part 4The Magic of The Big Blue • 2011 • Nature

Discovery

In this episode, Gabriel uncovers the cases of an engineer who fixed his own heart, a toddler whose bones were repaired before he was even born and a girl whose immune system attacked her own brain. We meet a man who can taste words and find out how his condition is helping develop new ways to enable blind people to navigate and even recognise colours. And we encounter a man who was immobilised by MS but can now cycle and scuba-dive thanks to a pioneering new treatment that has reversed his disease.

6/6Incredible Medicine: Dr Weston's Casebook • 2017 • Health

Meet the Avatars

Imagine you could make a copy of a loved one. A digital clone with a life of its own – their Avatar. That’s the dream of biomechanical engineer, Dr Jordan Nguyen, and he says we have the technology to do it right now in the form of Virtual Reality.

1/6Catalyst: Series 18 • 2017 • Technology

Alien Oceans: Search for Life

Astronaut Mike Massimino explores the mysterious oceans of the solar system, where the latest discoveries provide new clues in the search for alien life.

S2E15The Planets (US) • 2017 • Astronomy

What Is Out There?

How we came to understand our planet was not at the centre of everything in the cosmos.

1/6The Story of Science • 2010 • Creativity