Latest Documentaries

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Easter Island Origins

They are some of the most famous and mysterious monuments on the planet. Nearly 900 giant stone heads scattered across a remote island in the middle of the Pacific. Now, brand new evidence is challenging everything we thought we knew about Easter Island’s awe-inspiring statues – and those who made them. Drawing on the latest science, this authoritative documentary radically rewrites the story of Easter Island.

2024 • Nature

The Lost Territories

The third episode opens on a world of drug trafficking that has been fragmented by the efforts of the police. Dealers have now changed; invisibility is their chief weapon. The trade has shifted to areas beyond law-and-order, like war zones in Afghanistan or areas with guerilla activity like Colombia. Designer drugs, which are easy to manufacture and conceal, play a key role in the transformation of the traffic. In Mexico, the cartels have dragged the whole country into a merciless spiral of violence – wherever one looks, the toll of the war on drugs makes for grim reading. Synthetic drugs, which are easy to manufacture and conceal, herald the fourth generation to come: traffickers in white coats. This poses the question: Is it time to legalize drugs, radically changing the current situation and perhaps the way we perceive them?

S1E3The Story of Drug Trafficking • 2020 • People

Era of the Drug Lords

The first world power goes to war against drugs: the United States strikes hard. But the drug trade never dies. It moves, transforms, adapts. As the war on drugs progresses around the world, a new generation of drug lords emerged at the end of the 1970s, more powerful than ever. These criminals were not only in it for the money; they also wanted power. Pablo Escobar was the most notorious, but there was also Toto Riina in Sicily, Khun Sa in the Golden Triangle, and Felix Gallardo in Mexico, all of whom changed the destinies of their respective territories by taking drug trafficking to a global scale. They defied states and threatened the powers-that-be. It took almost 20 years for states to get organized and come up with strategies to bring down the drug barons.

S1E2The Story of Drug Trafficking • 2020 • People

The Era of Empires

Drug trafficking was not invented by a mafia but by the European colonial powers in the 19th century. Opium use spread throughout Asia, promoted by colonial powers. Meanwhile, the western pharmaceutical industry was developing some miraculous products, such as morphine, cocaine, and heroin. Addiction became a global scourge, and prohibition gradually became the norm. But outlawing these substances at the beginning of the 20th century gave rise to the first drug-trafficking networks, which often sought to operate under state protection, in Mexico, France and China… These networks underwent unprecedented growth during the Cold War, when secret services used the drug trade as a geopolitical instrument. The United States paid the price for this: In 1970, one third of their troops in Vietnam were addicted to heroin. A year later, in an historic speech, President Richard Nixon launched the war on drugs.

S1E1The Story of Drug Trafficking • 2020 • People

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

Recommended Documentaries

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Bill Bryson discusses Benjamin Franklin

The writer Bill Bryson talks to Brian Cox about his admiration for the US scientist, author and inventor Benjamin Franklin and his many achievements.

S1E3People of Science with Brian Cox • 2018 • Science

Accidental Genius

Can brain damage make you brilliant? George Widener is autistic, but he has a remarkable ability to remember days and dates in history. Follow his genius story

S1E2My Brilliant Brain • 2007 • Brain

Lost Horizons - The Big Bang

To coincide with the switch-on of the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest particle accelerator complex, Professor Jim Al Khalili from the University of Surrey delves into over 50 years of the BBC science archive to tell the story behind the emergence of one of the greatest theories of modern science, the Big Bang. The remarkable idea that our universe simply began from nothing has not always been accepted with the conviction it is today and, from fiercely disputed leftfield beginnings, took the best part of the 20th century to emerge as the triumphant explanation of how the universe began. Using curious horn-shaped antennas, U-2 spy planes, satellites and particle accelerators, scientists have slowly pieced together the cosmological jigsaw, and this documentary charts the overwhelming evidence for a universe created by a Big Bang. Professor Al-Khalili comments: "This one-off documentary was made by the BBC Horizon team and was great fun to be involved with. The archive footage is fantastic too."

Horizon • 2008 • Astronomy

Guts

In this second episode Dr Alice Roberts charts how our ancestors’ hunt for food has driven the way we look and behave today – from the shape of our face, to the way we see and even the way we attract the opposite sex.

S1E2Origins of UsNature

Our Blue Planet

Blue Planet II explores parts of the ocean that nobody has ever visited, encountered extraordinary animals, and discovered new insights into life beneath the waves. In Our Blue Planet, Sir David Attenborough examines the impact of human life on life in the ocean. In this final episode, we uncover the impact that our modern lives are having on our best-loved characters from across the series, including devoted albatross parents unwittingly feeding their chicks discarded plastic and mother dolphins potentially exposing their newborn calves to pollutants through their contaminated milk. Scientists have even discovered that increasing noise levels may stop baby clownfish finding their way home.

S1E7Blue Planet II • 2017 • Nature

Theme and Variation

This episode continues the study of mammals, and particularly those whose young gestate inside their bodies. Attenborough asks why these have become so varied and tries to discover the common theme that links them. Examples of primitive mammals that are still alive today include the treeshrew, the desman and the star-nosed mole. Insect eaters vary enormously from the aardvark, giant anteater and pangolin to those to which much of this programme is devoted: the bats, of which there are nearly 1,000 different species. These took to flying at night, and its possible that they evolved from treeshrews that jumped from tree to tree, in much the same way as a flying squirrel.

10/13Life on Earth • 1979 • Nature

Environment Documentaries

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The Next Pompeii

In the shadow of Italy?s Vesuvius, a lesser-known volcano rumbles: Campi Flegrei. An eruption could endanger the millions of residents of the city of Naples. Scientists gain new insights into what happened in nearby Pompeii, and dig into the unique geology of Campi Flegrei. How will they know if the ever-shifting ground is reaching a breaking point? And can an innovative eruption warning system prevent Naples becoming the next Pompeii?

NOVA PBS • 2019 • Environment

Extreme Weather

This special report looks at the domino effect of environmental and atmospheric factors that drive the globe to wetter, hotter, drier and colder extremes.

7/10Catalyst: Season 1 • 2015 • Environment

The Core

For centuries we have dreamt of reaching the centre of the Earth. Now scientists are uncovering a bizarre and alien world that lies 4,000 miles beneath our feet, unlike anything we know on the surface. It is a planet buried within the planet we know, where storms rage within a sea of white-hot metal and a giant forest of crystals make up a metal core the size of the Moon.

Environment

Climate Crisis

The real impact of global warming is now being felt in communities around the world. Climate scientists explain what to expect where you live, and what steps might still be taken to reverse the climate crisis.

Breakthrough • 2019 • Environment

Driest Place on Earth

Chile's Atacama Desert is the driest, oldest and deadest desert on earth. Yet it's plays host to living creatures and penguins even thrive nearby. It may provide clues to where to look for life on other, seemingly barren, planets.

S1E6How the Earth Was Made • 2009 • Environment

San Andreas Fault

The discovery of the San Andreas Fault and efforts to understand it are described.

S1E1How the Earth Was Made • 2009 • Environment

Brain Documentaries

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How You Really Make Decisions

Horizon uncovers the truth about how you really make decisions. Every day you make thousands of decisions, big and small, and behind all them is a powerful battle in your mind, pitting intuition against logic. This conflict affects every aspect of your life - from what you eat to what you believe, and especially to how you spend your money. And it turns out that the intuitive part of your mind is a lot more powerful than you may realise.

Brain

The Brain

James May cranks open your cranium to reveal what's really taking place inside your head.

S2E2James May's Things You Need to Know • 2012 • Brain

The Stilwell Brain

There are 100 billion individual neurons in the human brain. Working together, they allow us to make sense of, and move through, the world around us. Scientists have built replicas of the human brain with computers, but no one has ever successfully made a brain out of humans. On this episode, I’ll travel back to my hometown of Stilwell, Kansas, and turn it into a working brain!

S3E3Mind Field • 2018 • Brain

Extremism

An investigation into hate, produced by Steven Spielberg and Alex Gibney. Extremism expert Sasha Havlicek explores ideological factors that fuel hate and violence.

S1E4Why We Hate • 2019 • Brain

Culture of Fear

Michael Mosley and a team of experts place human behaviour under the microscope. In the final episode, Michael and scientists Dr Jack Lewis and Dr Jennifer Wild explore the biology of fear and anxiety in the modern world. Fear is one of our most basic human emotions. In the past, it kept us from being eaten by a wild animal. But today, that isn't so much of a threat and yet we live in a state of anxiety - it's becoming unhealthy.

S1E5Meet the Humans • 2017 • Brain

Augmented

Follow the dramatic personal journey of Hugh Herr, a biophysicist working to create brain-controlled robotic limbs. At age 17, Herr’s legs were amputated after a climbing accident. Frustrated by the crude prosthetic limbs he was given, Herr set out to remedy their design, leading him to a career as an inventor of innovative prosthetic devices.

NOVA PBS • 2022 • Brain

Randoms! Documentaries

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The Secret Life of the Cat

Horizon discovers what your cat really gets up to when it leaves the cat flap. In a groundbreaking experiment, 50 cats from a village in Surrey are tagged with GPS collars and their every movement is recorded, day and night, as they hunt in our backyards and patrol the garden fences and hedgerows. Cats are fitted with specially developed cat-cams which reveal their unique view of our world. You may think you understand your pet, but their secret life is more surprising than we thought.

Nature

World's Best Dinosaur Fossil

An extraordinary new discovery of a dinosaur fossil so pristine and complete, that it shows off the texture, patterns, and colour of a prehistoric giant. Discover this brand new species that roamed during the late Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta has spent five years and over 7,000 hours preparing the fossil for research and display.

Science Breakthroughs • 2017 • Nature

Space: Unraveling the Cosmos

From the origins of the universe, to the present time in mankind's exploration of the unknown, and forward into the future of what lies beyond the outer reaches, Space Unraveling the Cosmos brings audiences closer than ever before to the far off planets, galaxies, and terrestrial phenomenon that make up the limitless expanse all around us. Groundbreaking 4K/Ultra High Definition and 3D computer graphics immerse filmgoers within the mysteries of the cosmos in a way never before seen.

2013 • Astronomy

Heart vs Mind: What Makes Us Human?

The heart is the most symbolic organ of the human body. Throughout history it has been seen as the site of our emotions, the very centre of our being. But modern medicine has come to see the heart as just a pump; a brilliant pump, but nothing more. And we see ourselves as ruled by our heads and not our hearts. In this documentary, filmmaker David Malone asks whether we are right to take this view. He explores the heart's conflicting histories as an emotional symbol and a physical organ, and investigates what the latest science is learning about its structures, its capacities and its role. In the age-old battle of hearts and minds, will these new discoveries alter the balance and allow the heart to reclaim something of its traditional place at the centre of our humanity?

Health

The View From The Gods

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

S1E1Greece: The Wild Side • 2021 • Nature

Ocean of Volcanoes

Witness the birth, growth and death of an island in the greatest ocean on Earth.

S1E4South PacificEnvironment