On an epic railway journey from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh to Kolkata in West Bengal, Michael Portillo uses his Bradshaw's 1913 Handbook of Indian, Foreign and Colonial Travel, published when the British Raj was 55 years old, to chart a course through India's history from the days of The East India Company to the dawn of independence. In Lucknow, Michael tastes the famous local kebabs before seeking the truth about 1857 Siege of Lucknow, a key moment in the rebellion which precipitated the end of the East India Company's grip on India and the start of direct British rule.
S1E4 • Great Indian Railway Journeys • 2018 • Travel
Michael Portillo's Bradshaw's 1913 Handbook of Indian, Foreign and Colonial Travel leads him on railway journey through the modern south Indian states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, from the former princely state of Mysore to the first stronghold of the East India Company in Chennai, formerly Madras. At sunset Michael joins selfie-stick wielding crowds back at the palace as they wait to capture it being illuminated by thousands of bulbs. An early morning yoga class is the perfect way to stretch out before boarding a train to Bengalaru. After a sticky encounter with a mango, he meets the entrepreneurs whose innovations are driving India's hi-tech boom with inventions from mobile heart scanners to cooking apps.
S1E3 • Great Indian Railway Journeys • 2018 • Travel
Michael embarks on a stunning rail journey from the Thar Desert in Rajasthan to the Indian capital, taking in desert landscapes and dazzling historic palaces. From Jodhpur, Michael strikes out into the desert, taking a camel ride to a village where life has changed little in centuries, before embarking on the Jaipur-Agra-Delhi 'Golden Triangle' tour. Continuing east, Michael breaks his journey in drought-prone Bandikui, where he marvels at the extraordinary architecture of one of India's largest and deepest step wells.
S1E2 • Great Indian Railway Journeys • 2018 • Travel
Beginning in the Sikh holy city, Michael is dazzled by the beauty of the Golden Temple and awed by the scale of its langar - the world's largest free kitchen. His route then takes him through the Punjab, India's breadbasket. Michael samples traditional chapattis, has a colourful kurta made up in one of the Punjab's biggest cloth markets, and can't resist the foot-tapping rhythms of Punjabi bhangra dancing, made famous by Bollywood. At Kalka, Michael glimpses the Himalayas for the first time and joins the 1906-built mountain railway for a stunning climb to Shimla.
S1E1 • Great Indian Railway Journeys • 2018 • Travel
Benito Mussolini seized power in Italy in October 1922, after his March on Rome. He would hold it in his grasp until his death in 1945, establishing a dictatorship that lasted more than two decades. Long considered a buffoon and a second-rate dictator, Il Duce invented fascism that was imitated by Adolf Hitler, who viewed the Italian as his political master. Mussolini wanted to transform his country into a warrior nation and promised Italians a return to the grandeur of the Roman Empire. He governed by violence and trickery and was one of the first populist leaders of modern times, leading his country into the catastrophe of the Second World War. But who was Benito Mussolini, this former teacher who came from the extreme left to become a newspaper editor and creator of the Italian Fascist Party? Why did he ally himself with Adolf Hitler? Were the Italian people really behind him? With rare archives, some of which have been colorized, and interviews with the last-surviving witnesses of the era, along with perspectives from historian Marie-Anne Matard-Bonucci, this portrait takes a look back at one of the most notorious dictators of the 20th century.
2022 • People
Somewhere in your body, your immune system just quietly killed one of your own cells, stopping it from becoming cancer, and saving your life. It does that all the time. The vast majority of cancer cells you develop will be killed without you ever noticing. Which is an incredibly hard job because of what cancer cells are: parts of yourself that start to behave as individuals even if it hurts you. What is cancer and how does your body kill it all the time?
In a Nutshell • 2023 • Health
How do these objects differ from one another, if at all? Nick Moskovitz, an astronomer at the Lowell Observatory, compares these space solar system bodies.
2015 • Astronomy
Amol Rajan joins Sir Richard Branson on one of his cruise ships in Miami to discuss his life, loves, passions and challenges. In a sometimes uncomfortable interview with rarely seen archive footage, Rajan delves into Branson's background to discover how he went from 60s hippy to global business icon, reshaping multiple industries and ending up in space.
2023 • People
Chapter 1: Steve Backshall visits the Maldives, a country facing significant challenges because of climate change. Warming seas and the acidification of the oceans have led to coral bleaching on a massive scale. And increasingly unpredictable weather patterns could deal the final blow. 2022 saw the first mass coral bleaching during La Ni?a, a climate pattern that historically keeps oceans cool enough to avoid bleaching. The earth's reefs are now at a tipping point. But these extreme challenges are galvanising the science community to get out of their labs and into the field, experimenting with more novel and innovative techniques and trialling ideas that could just make a difference. Steve returns to Laamu Atoll to find out about one such cutting-edge project. Professor Steve Simpson and his team from Bristol University have identified that coral larvae, baby corals no bigger than a pinhead, move towards the sound of a healthy reef, a response that guides them to settle amongst a more biodiverse and healthier habitat, and in so doing, add to the coral population. Steve dives with Professor Simpson and records the sound of a healthy reef. With the help of a 360-degree camera, they are able to identify key marine life that make up these coral playlists. Liz Bonnin returns to California to investigate some surprising solutions for the relentless onslaught of the state's wildfire season. California's wildfires are becoming a yearly catastrophe, with the state government spending billions of dollars in the last five years to fight these out-of-control blazes. Liz discovers that ancient forest management techniques and the beaver, a misunderstood mammal, could help prevent them in the first place, providing powerful tools to sustainably protect our planet against the ravages of climate change. Liz visits the traditional reservation of the indigenous Tule River tribe, who have been practising a technique called 'controlled burning' for thousands of years. By regularly burning the twigs and leaf litter that collect on the forest floor, they reduce the amount of material that typically collects in forests and fuels megablazes. Liz joins the tribe on one of their cultural burns and finds out how they have protected their land and, importantly, their sacred sequoia trees. To prevent the fires from moving at speed across the landscape, scientists and indigenous communities are hoping that beavers can help solve the problem. Once found across North America, by 1900 beavers had been hunted virtually to extinction. Liz joins scientist Dr Emily Fairfax, who has been studying the benefits of introducing beavers into a landscape. Surrounded by burnt-out forest, a green oasis sits at it centre, the territory of a beaver family that has created what Emily describes as a 'speed bump' for wildfires. Chris Packham is in Greenland to learn more about the effects of global warming and the rate at which snow and ice are melting and retreating in the Arctic. He travels to a science research station on the island's remote north east coast, one of the most important locations in the world for the understanding of warming in the Arctic and its global impact. Chris joins an Arctic expedition as scientists from Aarhus University and Copenhagen Zoo track across the snow-covered tundra in search of musk oxen, an ice age survivor that can tolerate temperatures ranging from - 40 to +10 degrees Celsius. With the gradual warming of the Arctic, future conditions may not resemble anything the species has ever encountered. Now moving slowly northwards as temperatures rise, there are many questions to be answered: will populations become vulnerable to warm weather disease? How long will they have a territory that's cold enough for them to survive in? And what will they leave behind them? The conditions are gruelling. Chris and the team have to move fast across the vast landscape, hoping to dart and collar 21 of these huge, powerful creatures, taking hair, blood and stomach samples. We learn how the sophisticated collars and an array of science techniques will be able to tell us if they breed, feed, survive or perish in the years to come. Chapter 2: Gordon Buchanan returns to Brazil, Ella Al-Shamahi to Cambodia and Ade Adepitan to Kenya. Gordon Buchanan returns to Brazil, the most biodiverse country on our planet and home to one of the world's most important wetlands, the Pantanal. Gordon's here to revisit a pioneering project that is committed to saving one of the Amazon's iconic predators, the jaguar, and to understand the importance of a healthy ecosystem. The Pantanal is vital to the health of the jaguar's territory. Fed by the Amazon Rainforest's water cycle, it's an extraordinarily rich habitat, and home to an array of water and land species. Gordon takes to the water and sees first-hand how this place is perched on a knife edge. As climate change accelerates, the Pantanal is becoming drier, endangering its wildlife and vegetation, including the jaguar. Gordon hears from a local conservationist how the plans for up-river dams could severely impact this precious ecosystem. Habituating jaguars is a vital part of ecotourism, enabling paying guests to experience these iconic creatures. The profits fund vital research and this year Gordon follows the team on their annual collaring project, darting jaguars and collecting samples and data from these super-sized cats. Once sedated, Gordon gets the opportunity to get hands on with the scientists, witnessing for himself the range of samples and data the team are collecting. This will provide valuable insights into the jaguar's movements within their ever-changing habitat. Ella Al-Shamahi returns to Cambodia, an area experiencing increasing economic growth. This growth is putting massive pressure on natural resources, and is leading to expanding cities and potentially devastating over-exploitation of the natural world. Ella discovers the reality about our planet's most exploited resource after water – sand. The Mekong River is vital to the health of not only this region but to five other countries, and is being dredged for this valuable resource, endangering the structure and health of this mighty river system. Ella takes to the water with a leading Mekong expert to see the extent of the extraction. Unsustainable and highly destructive, mining could possibly sound the death bell for this precious ecosystem. UK scientists are using high quality satellite imagery that reveals the extent of the damage and there's hope that regulation can slow this exploitation. Biodiversity plays a vital role in building resilience in these threatened landscapes. Ella joins an expedition that will reintroduce the nearly extinct Siamese crocodile into the depths of the Cardamom Mountains. To date, the survival of these critically endangered animals has been down to the cultural connection between the local people and the crocodiles, who they consider sacred. Ella and the team are taking ten crocodiles to a safe and very remote site. The crocodiles are inserted into bamboo rolls, which are soaked in water to keep them cool, then bundled onto the back of mopeds and driven to the release site. It's a 24-hour journey, crossing rivers and tackling forest pathways, all the time ensuring the crocodiles are safely stowed. On arrival, the team acclimatise the animals before their final release. We meet those who discovered one of the last remaining crocodiles and an elder of the village explains the role of crocodiles and the natural world to his people. Ade Adepitan returns to Kenya to report on the devastating effect of rising temperatures and failed rains. The conditions are extreme, and the challenges, unimaginable. Both communities and wildlife are fighting to survive the worst drought in 40 years. When Ade visited Kenya in 2021, the elephants were severely affected by drought, but 2022 saw a new and sinister problem. People and elephants were now fighting over dwindling food and water supplies, even killing each other in their desperation to survive. Ade finds out about a project that could help farmers and elephants to co-exist until the next rains finally arrive. Using biology and behavioural science, leading elephant scientists, with the input of locals, have created affordable tools for repelling elephants from farms and reducing conflict. Ade travels to Sagalla, near Tsavo National Park, where its community is leading the way and testing these devices. He meets local farmer Jones, who has created what he calls a 'noisy gun' from tin cans and wood. Other devices include condoms full of chilli powder and beehives strung along fences. Ade finds a community under extreme pressure, but the ingenuity of the 'Human Elephant Coexistence' toolbox is providing a genuine ray of hope.
2023 • Environment
Chapter 1: Rapid Dominance From Julius Caesar to Napoleon Bonaparte, ancient generals took advantage of a military tactic still used in modern warfare, employing overwhelming power to paralyse the enemy. A tactic known as Rapid Dominance. This episode explores the lives and feats of four men who used it to achieve victory: Moshe Dayan, Erwin Rommel, Colin Powell and Isoroku Yamomoto. Chapter 2: Combat Power Combined arms operations use the force of different military corps to increase the combat power deployed against an enemy. Combining these forces needs incredible planning, decisiveness and authority. This episode explores the lives and feats of four military leaders who used the tactic to achieve victory: Bernard Montgomery, William Westmoreland, Georgy Zhukov and Norman Schwarzkopf. Chapter 3: Deception Disinformation, decoys, and traps. Strategy and tactics can be creative. But behind every deception and masquerade are the Military Masterminds creating, planning and executing each strategy to defeat an enemy. This episode explores how leaders Winston Churchill, Nikita Khrushchev, George Patton and Muhammad Anwar Sadat, used the tactic to achieve victory. Chapter 4: Guerrilla Warfare To surprise the enemy, attacking and disappearing without a trace. To harass, sabotage, ambush. Throughout the 20th Century the majority of guerrilla warfare centred around the confrontation between right and left ideologies. This episode looks at how Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, Josip Broz Tito and V? Nguy?n Gi?p used Guerrilla Warfare to overcome a militarily superior enemy.
2022 • History
Marco Polo: World's Greatest Overland Explorer? Or World's Biggest Liar? Perhaps no land journey in human history is more famous than Marco Polo's legendary 24 year trek across Asia. But was it all just a big lie? As described in his 1299 book, the peripatetic Venetian merchant encountered such wonders as the "singing sand dunes" of Dunhuang, China, "mountains of salt" in present-day Afghanistan, and the glories of the Mongol court of Kublai Khan. Generations of Europeans were spellbound by Polo's account, yet in recent years some scholars have questioned its authenticity. National Geographic Photographer Mike Yamashita sets out to visually document one of the greatest overland journeys ever made: the 24-year odyssey of Marco Polo. 700 years ago a young Venetian set out on what was to become one of the most influential journeys ever made. His adventures took him well beyond the boundaries of the known world of Persia to a land that was almost completely unexplored - the mysterious Middle Kingdom. But ever since he returned there were those who doubted Marco Polo. Did he really see what he described in his legendary book, 'Description of the World' or did he merely describe what others told him. In this film, Mike Yamashita follows Marco's book from the lofty heights of the Pamir Mountains to the fabled city of Xanadu in Mongolia. In so doing he attempts to unravel some of the age old mystery: Did Marco Polo really go to China? In the course of this incredible journey Mike stumbles onto a nomadic Kazak wedding in Aksai and investigates the controversy of the Great Wall - why did Polo never mention this in his famous travelogue "The Description of the World"? And why did he never mention tea or chopsticks? Yamashita talks to noted Chinese historian Professor Liu Yingsheng about these and many other Polo conundrums. In Yunnan province, he visits the bound feet women, and travels to inner Mongolia to film the famous herds of the Mongolian horsemen. As Yamashita reaches Xanadu he ponders on how Polo became a trusted confidant to the Khan and spent 17 years in his service. What sights he must have seen. But did he? The mystery slowly but surely reveals itself.
2022 • People
As King Charles III is crowned, Katty Kay sets out to discover what he could learn from Europe's royal families. They face many of the same challenges as Charles: how to modernise, how to steer clear of politics and how to heal very public family rifts. So how do they handle them – and what's the point of a monarchy in a 21st century democracy? Travelling from Denmark to Albania, she meets Europe's modern royals.
2023 • History
As marine life around the world embarks on epic journeys across the planet’s oceans, we discover how ocean traffic, over-fishing and noise pollution could have an impact.
3/4 • Blue Planet Live • 2019 • Nature
The world's electric grids are aging and vulnerable. Now, engineers are making a dangerous trek to prove there is a better way to bring power to the people. Engineers make a dangerous trek across the Himalayas to bring power to a remote monastery.
S2E6 • Breakthrough National Geographic • 2017 • Technology
Professor Andre Geim is a condensed matter physicist at the University of Manchester. His life's work has been to gain a better understanding of the materials that make up the world around us. While just one subject can be a scientist's life's work, Andre has made switching fields a feature of his career. But while straying from the conventional path can be risky for a scientist, Andre has repeatedly turned it to his advantage. His "let's try it and see" approach means he's the only individual winner of the both the Nobel and the more light hearted Ig Nobel Prizes. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010 for uncovering the extraordinary properties of a material called graphene, but Geim can also lay claim to seeding two other new areas of physics research--levitation and gecko tape.
S2E2 • Beautiful Minds • 2012 • People
Using the latest camera technology, David Attenborough reveals the extraordinary ways in which animals use colour: to win a mate, to fight off rivals and to warn enemies.
S1E1 • Attenborough's Life in Colour • 2021 • Nature
This programme looks at the evolution of fish. They have developed a multitude of shapes, sizes and methods of propulsion and navigation. The sea squirt, the lancelet and the lamprey are given as examples of the earliest, simplest types. Then, about 400 million years ago, the first back-boned fish appeared. The Kimberley Ranges of Western Australia are, in fact, the remnants of a coral reef and the ancient seabed. There, Attenborough discovers fossils of the earliest fish to have developed jaws. These evolved into two shapes of creature with cartilaginous skeletons: wide ones (like rays and skates) and long ones (like sharks).
5/13 • Life on Earth • 1979 • Nature
The Earth, the sun, the stars, and everything we can see, only comprise five percent of the universe. But what about the other 95 percent? Scientists are puzzling over dark matter and dark energy, the mysterious components that make up the rest.
The Economist • 2015 • Astronomy
The life of Pablo Picasso is an exciting story of rebellion, riches, women and great art. In this episode of a four-part series dedicated to Modern Art, journalist Alastair Sooke travels through France, Spain and the US to see some of the artist's great works and recount tales from his life story. Talking to architects, fashion experts and artists, he investigates how Picasso's influence, particularly that of his Cubist work, continues to pervade modern life today, in the shape of buildings, interior design, clothes and of course contemporary art. Tracking down former Picasso model Sylvette David to her current home in Britain, he also hears how Picasso's images of her inspired the look of screen siren Brigitte Bardot.
3/4 • Modern Masters • 2010 • Creativity
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 1 • Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema • 2018 • Creativity
This time Mark explores the genre that captures the joy and pain of growing up - the coming-of-age movie. It is the most universal of all genres, the one we can all relate to from our own experience, yet it can also be the most autobiographical and personal. Film-makers across the world repeatedly return to core themes such as first love, breaking away from small-town life and grown-ups who don't understand. And wherever and whenever they are set, these stories are vividly brought to life using techniques such as casting non-professional actors, camerawork that captures a child's-eye view and nostalgic pop soundtracks. From Rebel without a Cause to Lady Bird by way of Kes, Boyz n the Hood and This Is England, Mark shows how recurring sequences like the makeover and the group singalong, and characters like the gang and mentor figure, have helped create some of the most moving and resonant films in cinema.
Part 3 • Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema • 2018 • Creativity
In 2013, all of Norway celebrated the 150th anniversary of the birth of Edvard Munch, one of the towering figures of modern art. It was hailed a 'once-in-a-lifetime show'. This film goes behind the scenes to show the process of putting the exhibition together, as well as providing an in-depth biography of a man who lived from the mid-19th century right through to the German occupation of Norway in the Second World War.
S3E3 • Great Art • 2019 • Creativity
Salvador Dali was art's greatest clown, but was he also one of its great geniuses? Journalist Alastair Sooke traces the life and work of the popular surrealist artist travelling throughout Europe and America. From his origins in turn of the century Spain, to his high jinx in New York in the 1970s, Sook reveals this artist's fascinating life story and explains the thinking behind and impact of his most famous works. Talking to Dali fans from Mighty Boosh comedian Noel Fielding to contemporary artist Jeff Koons, Sooke reveals the pervading influence of Dali and his brand of surrealism. Featuring testimonies from film giant Alfred Hitchcock and excerpts from the film Dali made with Walt Disney, Destino, as well as looking at contemporary advertising, this programme shows how the hand of Dali has touched almost every aspect of popular culture.
4/4 • Modern Masters • 2010 • Creativity
This time Mark explores the most visionary of all genres - science fiction, and shows how film-makers have risen to the challenge of making the unbelievable believable. Always at the forefront of cinema technology, science fiction films have used cutting-edge visual effects to transport us to other worlds or into the far future. But as Mark shows, it's not just about the effects. Films as diverse as 2001, the Back to the Future trilogy and Blade Runner have used product placement and commercial brand references to make their future worlds seem more credible. The recent hit Arrival proved that the art of film editing can play with our sense of past and future as well as any time machine. Meanwhile, films such as Silent Running and WALL-E have drawn on silent era acting techniques to help robot characters convey emotion. And District 9 reached back to Orson Welles by using news reporting techniques to render an alien visitation credible. Mark argues that for all their spectacle, science fiction films ultimately derive their power from being about us. They take us to other worlds and eras, and introduce us to alien and artificial beings, in order to help us better understand our own humanity.
Part 4 • Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema • 2018 • Creativity
"It's alive!" Since Dr. Frankenstein spoke those famous words, we've been alternately enthralled and terrified by the idea of creating life in the lab. Now, a revolution in genetic engineering and thrilling innovations in synthetic biology are bringing that dream—or nightmare, as the case may be—closer to reality. New tools allow researchers to use cells to create their own DNA and edit it into existing genomes with more ease and less cost than ever before. Along with renewed hopes for treating some genetic diseases, there's serious talk of using the newest technologies to bring long-extinct animals back from the dead – like the team hoping to resurrect the woolly mammoth. Science fiction is quickly becoming science fact. NOVA Wonders explores the benefits and the burden of risk surrounding the controversial new technology
5 • Nova Wonders • 2018 • Science
New research is beginning to reveal a hidden force in the universe - one that penetrates space with trillions of invisible connections, instantly linking every place in our world and joining our future with our past. Is the Force with us?
S8E01 • Through the Wormhole • 2017 • Science
Without the chemistry of photosynthesis, ozone, and a molecule called Rubisco, none of us would be here. So how did we get so lucky? To find out, host David Pogue investigates the surprising molecules that allowed life on Earth to begin, and ultimately thrive. Along the way, he finds out what we’re all made of—literally.
2/3 • Beyond the Elements • 2020 • Science
From a wild ride with a pack of huskies and a family of urban mushers to the weird and wonderful world of Instagram dogs to a puppy pile-on with a squad of trainee service dogs, Jeff meets every kind of working dog imaginable and gets to the heart of why dogs mean so much to us.
S2E1 • The World According to Jeff Goldblum • 2021 • Science
Hank discusses some of the taboos which have plagued scientific inquiry in the past and a few that still exist today.
2020 has been an unprecedented year in science. From a global pandemic and race to find a cure, to exploring our planetary neighbors and our own world, stay in the know with the latest stories that defined this tumultuous year.
2020 • Science
Indonesia's marine rainforests are under threat, and rising sea temperatures and destructive fishing practices have taken a toll. However, conservation initiatives in hundreds of protected marine zones have given hope to the giant manta rays, 300 species of coral, and six of the world's seven sea turtle species that call this ecosystem home.
11 • Great Blue Wild • 2017 • Nature
Discover why restoring nature might be our best tool to slow global warming. From Borneo to Antarctica, the resilience of the planet is helping us find solutions to cope and even mitigate climate change, providing hope for a more positive future.
3/3 • The Age of Nature • 2020 • Nature
With the plastic industry expanding like never before, and the crisis of ocean pollution growing, FRONTLINE and NPR investigate the fight over the future of plastics.
Frontline • 2020 • Environment
A look at how without volcanoes, there would be no life on Earth. Although destructive, magma from the planet’s molten core builds land, and mineral-rich ash from eruptions fertilises the surface.
S1E1 • A Perfect Planet • 2021 • Nature
Southern Thailand is the Thailand we think we all know. It is a place of both spectacular natural beauty and of wild parties, but behind this well-known image is also a place of unexpected surprise, where spirituality pervades every bit of life. For the animals that live here, this is natural wonderland.
1/3 • Thailand: Earth's Tropical Paradise • 2017 • Travel
The second episode takes us into a sci-fi world that reminds us of a 'Terminator'-like scenario, where machines are on their way to becoming ’almost human’.
S1E2 • Supersapiens Rise of the Mind • 2017 • Brain