Latest Documentaries

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angolins: The World's Most Wanted Animal

The endearing pangolin is a little-known scaly mammal. Found in Africa and Asia, these shy creatures have an unfortunate tagline - they are the most poached and illegally trafficked animals in the world. Based in Namibia, conservationist Maria Diekmann rescues and rehabilitates her local pangolins. In a bid to better understand the global issues they are facing, we follow Maria to Vietnam, Thailand and China into the very heart of the crisis, where demand for pangolin products is greatest. In what turns out to be an emotional journey, Maria joins forces with a Chinese megastar to build a campaign to bring awareness to the plight of an animal most people have never even heard of.

Natural World • 2018 • Nature

Sri Lanka: Elephant Island

Sri Lanka, the tropical island lying off the southern coast of India, is home to its own special elephants. A subspecies of the Asian elephant, they have their own unique characteristics. In this programme, award-winning wildlife cameraman Martyn Colbeck of Echo of the Elephants fame travels to Sri Lanka to try and get to know them. Martyn has planned his arrival to coincide with the start of the monsoon, hoping it will be the best time to find and follow a newborn calf. By drawing on local knowledge, Martyn begins to unravel the complex social world of Sri Lanka's elephants - he witnesses a fight over a calf, a battle between two bulls in musk and, at an elephant sanctuary, befriends an orphaned elephant who sadly lost a leg to a snare and is facing an uncertain future.

Natural World • 2013 • Nature

Roraima: The Climb of a Lifetime

An Austrian documentary where rock climbers Kurt Albert, Holger Heuber, and Stefan Glowacz climb to the top of Mount Roraima from the Guyana side. Chapter 1: The Climb of a Lifetime (98min) Climbing partners Kurt Albert and Holger Heuber don't know what they're in for when they join competitive climbing superstar Stefan Glowacz for an expedition to Mount Roraima, a steep-walled South American peak shrouded in both rainforest and legend. Chapter 2: Behind the Scenes (29min) They may have set out to climb a mountain, but what awaited them was nothing short of an odyssey. This behind-the-scenes look at the journey to make the film shows how the filmmakers' experience bonded the team together as a family. Chapter 3: Remembering Kurt Albert (6min) Though he tragically died before the expedition was completed, Kurt Albert was a thinker and adventurer and one of the trio of climbers who saw the potential in the journey to Mt Roraima. His passing gave new meaning to the completion of the film. AKA Climbers of the Lost World

2013 • Travel

A Rain Story

The beautiful, mysterious world of rain is visualized using the latest filming technology. Ultra-high speed cameras capture breathtaking images in Odaigahara, the rainiest area in Japan that receives an annual rainfall of 5,000 millimeters. On the ground form lakes that only appear after summer heavy rains, allowing rare frogs to thrive. In winter, a unique natural phenomenon called Glazed Frost takes place if rain falls unfrozen and the air temperature is below zero. Through poetic cinematography, we discover just how rain enriches the natural beauty in Japan, a country unusually blessed with rain.

2009 • Nature

Could Solar Storms Destroy Civilization? Solar Flares & Coronal Mass Ejections

The sun. Smooth and round and peaceful. Except when it suddenly vomits radiation and plasma in random directions. These solar flares and coronal mass ejections, or CMEs can hit earth and have serious consequences for humanity.

In a Nutshell • 2020 • Astronomy

Who Is Responsible For Climate Change? – Who Needs To Fix It?

Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have released over 1.5 trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide or CO2 into the earth's atmosphere. In the year 2019 we were still pumping out around 37 billion more. That’s 50% more than the year 2000 and almost three times as much as 50 years ago. And it’s not just CO2. We’re also pumping out growing volumes of other greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide. Combining all of our greenhouse gases, we’re emitting 51 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents each year. And emissions keep rising – but they need to get down to 0!

In a Nutshell • 2020 • Environment

Recommended Documentaries

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Ice Station Antarctica

Antarctica is the last great wilderness. It's the coldest, windiest, driest and most isolated place on Earth. And every winter, for over three months of the year, the sun never rises. But it's also home to the British Antarctic Survey's Halley Research Station. A veteran of living and working at Halley in the early eighties, BBC weatherman Peter Gibbs makes an emotional return to the place he once called home. A place that, during his time, was key to the discovery of the ozone hole. The journey starts with an arduous 12-day, 3000-mile voyage onboard the RRS Ernest Shackleton. Once on the ice shelf, Peter is delighted to finally arrive at the futuristic research station and marvels at the cutting edge science being done at Halley today. From vital discoveries about how our lives are vulnerable to the sun's activities, to studying interplanetary travel and the threat of man-made climate change. But Peter's journey is also something of a rescue mission. The research station's home is a floating ice shelf that constantly moves and cracks, and the ice shelf has developed a chasm that could cast Halley adrift on a massive iceberg.

Horizon • 2016 • Science

The Lost Tribes of Humanity

Alice Roberts explores the latest discoveries in the study of human origins, revealing the transformation that has been brought about in this field by genetics. Traditional paleo-anthropology, based on fossils, is being transformed by advanced genome sequencing techniques. We now know that there were at least four other distinct species of human on the planet at the same time as us - some of them identified from astonishingly well-preserved DNA extracted from 50,000-year-old bones, others hinted at by archaic sections of DNA hidden in our modern genome. What's more, we now know that our ancestors met and interacted with these other humans, in ways that still have ramifications today. Alice uses these revelations to update our picture of the human family tree.

Horizon • 2016 • People

Brains

In the final episode Dr Alice Roberts explores how our species, homo sapiens, developed our large brain; and asks why we are the only one of our kind left on the planet today?

3/3Origins of UsBrain

Living Together

The last episode deals with the future of conservation. It begins by looking at previous efforts. The 'Save The Whales' campaign, which started in the 1960s, is seen to have had a limited effect, as whaling continues and fish stocks also decline.

3/3Planet Earth: The FutureEnvironment

The Age of Invention

How harnessing the link between magnetism and electricity transformed the world.

2/3Shock and Awe: The Story of ElectricityPhysics

The Making Of

What is involved in creating a groundbreaking film that documents the latest paleoanthropological findings? This film will shed light on the talent, research, and scientific discoveries that made Out of the Cradle possible.

2/2Out of the Cradle • 2019 • History

Astronomy Documentaries

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Man Made Planet: Earth from Space

In 1972, the crew of Apollo 17 captured the iconic 'Blue Marble': the first photograph ever taken by an astronaut of the entire Earth. This photo had a profound effect on our perception of ourselves. Since then, Nasa has taken millions more. In this epic, powerful and revelatory documentary, a new generation of astronauts, including Tim Peake, use those images of the Earth from space to reveal the astonishing transformation humanity has wrought in the 45 years since 'Blue Marble'. Together, the astronauts provide an armchair tour of the change they've witnessed from orbit, as humankind etches our presence on the planet. Using stunning time-lapse sequences, the programme reveals how we are reshaping our world, for better and for worse: from the sprawling megacities of China to vast desert farms in the Middle East and from the melting snowcap of Kilimanjaro to giant solar arrays in Nevada.

2017 • Astronomy

Goodbye Cassini: Hello Saturn

A billion miles from home, running low on fuel, and almost out of time. After 13 years traversing the Saturn system, the spacecraft Cassini is plunging to a fiery death, becoming part of the very planet it has been exploring. As it embarks on its final assignment - a one-way trip into the heart of Saturn - Horizon celebrates the incredible achievements and discoveries of a mission that has changed the way we see the solar system. Strange new worlds with gigantic ice geysers, hidden underground oceans that could harbour life and a brand new moon coalescing in Saturn's magnificent rings. As the world says goodbye to the great explorer Cassini, Horizon will be there for with a ringside seat for its final moments.

Horizon • 2017 • Astronomy

The Explorers

A look at the continuing evolution of the cosmos. What our existence tells us about the universe and how complicated it is. Why are things the way that they are? The spacecraft Artemis initiates launch sequence and begins its 4.7 light year journey to Minerva B - an Earth-like exoplanet.

2/4Living Universe • 2018 • Astronomy

From Space

The first of the two-part series, titled "From Space," explores the birth and early life of Earth, as seen from orbit, using clues from over 300 satellites and space stations surveying Earth’s landmarks to work backwards and piece together what the planet’s early days might have looked like.

1/2The Life of Earth • 2019 • Astronomy

Alien Worlds: Stranger Than Fiction

Astronaut Mike Massimino explores the incredible new alien planets being found daily by astronomers; using the latest science, he investigates everything from worlds that appear to eat light to planets that resemble Earth in shocking ways.

S1E7The Planets (US) • 2017 • Astronomy

Jupiter's Moons

Before moving on from Jupiter to Saturn, we’re going to linger for a moment on Jupiter’s moons. There are 67 known moons, and 4 huge ones that we want to explore in greater detail. Ganymede is the largest - larger, in fact, than any other moon in the solar system and the planet Mercury! Callisto, orbiting the farthest out, is smaller but quite similar to Ganymede in many ways. Io, meanwhile, is most noteworthy for its tremendous volcanic activity. There’s also water on Ganymede and Europa!

17Crash Course AstronomyAstronomy

Economics Documentaries

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Inside the Social Network: Facebook's Difficult Year

Facebook is a company that has grown from nothing to be worth half a trillion dollars in just 15 years. Today nearly a third of all humans are using it, and yet we rarely get to see the people actually in charge of the biggest social network in the world. The company has suffered a series of deepening scandals and intense media scrutiny. In 2018, their mission - to connect everyone on the planet - seemed to be going dramatically wrong. Data leaks, fake news and hacks on user security were threatening to destroy everything Mark Zuckerberg had built. Yet throughout this difficult time, the company allowed the BBC’s flagship science strand Horizon to follow key members of the team trying to fix the problems and secure the platform. This film goes behind the scenes and follows the teams inside Facebook. It tackles difficult questions, like how our data is used and what content should and shouldn’t be on the site, but also shows how Facebook works, what the teams are doing to secure it, and reveals a hidden technological playground, where some of the smartest engineers in the world are being hired to build systems and technology no one has built before.

Horizon • 2019 • Economics

One Child Nation

Thirty-five years of relentless propaganda and harsh brutal punishments left the Chinese people living in fear of their country's one-child policy. That rule, which was abandoned in 2015, has left the country with an ageing population and tens of millions more men than women. The documentary's directors, Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang, unmask the tightly held, hidden secrets of how the Chinese government enforced its one-child policy and explores its devastating effect. Wang, a new mother now living in the US, travels back to the rural village she was born in and speaks to midwives, village leaders and journalists, revealing chilling stories of forced abortions, sterilisation, abandoned babies and state-sponsored kidnappings. Her own family share the grim choices they were forced to make in order to avoid harsh punishments from the state. With new information on tens of thousands of abandoned and kidnapped children (nearly all of them infant girls), One Child Nation breaks open decades of silence on a vast, unprecedented social experiment that shaped - and destroyed - countless lives.

Storyville • 2019 • Economics

Mankind From Space

Using mind-boggling data and CGI, it traces humankind’s story from hunter-gatherer to dominant global species. Seen from the global perspective of space, this special shows the breathtaking extent of our influence, revealing how we’ve transformed our planet and produced an interconnected world of extraordinary complexity.

2015 • Economics

How Oil Made Us

As we entered the 21st century, the world was guzzling oil, coal and gas like never before. Despite fears of 'peak oil', Professor Iain Stewart discovers that while huge technological advances are helping extend the life of existing oilfields, new unconventional oil and gas supplies like shale gas and tar sands are extending the hydrocarbon age well into the 21st century.

3/3Planet OilEconomics

Chernobyl and Fukushima: The Lesson

Chernobyl 1986. A nuclear reactor exploded, spewing out massive quantities of radiation into the atmosphere. Within days, the pollution had spread across Europe. Living on land contaminated with radioactivity would be a life-changing ordeal for the people of Belarus, but also for the Sami reindeer herders of central Norway. It even affected the Gaels of the distant Hebrides. Five years ago there was a meltdown at the Fukushima reactor, and thousands of Japanese people found their homes, fields and farms irradiated, just as had happened in Europe. This international documentary, filmed in Belarus, Japan, the lands of Norway's Sami reindeer herders and in the Outer Hebrides, poses the question: what lessons have we learned? Gaelic title: Chernobyl agus Fukushima: Na Leasanan

2016 • Economics

Randoms! Documentaries

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Quantum Computing

The promise of quantum computers is that what would otherwise take a billion years to calculate, could be done in a few seconds. First-generation quantum computers have started to appear. Indeed, earlier this year, Google bought one, The D-Wave 2. How will this advance change our future lives?

5/10Catalyst: Season 1 • 2015 • Technology

Survivors of the Plains

In hyena society, the females call the shots--but they're also charged with making difficult decisions. So when drought pushes a spotted hyena clan to the brink of starvation, the matriarch has a call to make: wait in the Liuwa Plains for rain that will bring wildebeest, or set out in search of a nourishing kill?

S1E6Africa's Hunters • 2015 • Nature

How to Find Love Online

Dr Xand Van Tulleken is single and looking for love. Mathematician Dr Hannah Fry wants to use him as her guinea pig to test whether the algorithms that dating sites use to match people actually work. While Hannah builds a dating site, Xand meets the scientists investigating online dating - and learns what pictures to use and what to write in his profile. He tries out a 'bot' that has automated a swiping app and has an MRI scan to find out whether his brain is equipped for love. 50 members of the public take part in some mini experiments at a date night - and Xand goes on various dates to test whether the algorithm is better than him choosing randomly.

Horizon • 2016 • Lifehack

Man Made Planet: Earth from Space

In 1972, the crew of Apollo 17 captured the iconic 'Blue Marble': the first photograph ever taken by an astronaut of the entire Earth. This photo had a profound effect on our perception of ourselves. Since then, Nasa has taken millions more. In this epic, powerful and revelatory documentary, a new generation of astronauts, including Tim Peake, use those images of the Earth from space to reveal the astonishing transformation humanity has wrought in the 45 years since 'Blue Marble'. Together, the astronauts provide an armchair tour of the change they've witnessed from orbit, as humankind etches our presence on the planet. Using stunning time-lapse sequences, the programme reveals how we are reshaping our world, for better and for worse: from the sprawling megacities of China to vast desert farms in the Middle East and from the melting snowcap of Kilimanjaro to giant solar arrays in Nevada.

2017 • Astronomy

Where Did the Universe Come from?

In this mind-bending episode can the participants work out where the universe comes from?

Part 4Genius by Stephen Hawking • 2016 • Science

Miami Beach Underwater

As scientific studies confirm sea level changes throughout the globe, major coastal cities like Miami are now fighting back against these rising tides, before it's too late. Parts of Miami Beach are under serious threat, with major economic and social dangers looming large.

2Science Breakthroughs • 2017 • Environment