Latest Documentaries

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The Poison Squad

By the close of the Industrial Revolution, the American food supply was tainted with frauds, fakes and legions of new and untested chemicals, dangerously threatening the health of consumers. Based on the book by Deborah Blum, The Poison Squad tells the story of government chemist Dr. Harvey Wiley who, determined to banish these dangerous substances from dinner tables, took on the powerful food manufacturers and their allies. Wiley embarked upon a series of bold and controversial trials on 12 human subjects who would become known as the “Poison Squad.” Following Wiley’s unusual experiments and tireless advocacy, the film charts the path of the forgotten man who laid the groundwork for U.S. consumer protection laws, and ultimately the creation of the FDA.

American Experience • 2020 • Health

The Great Plague

Xand van Tulleken, Raksha Dave and John Sergeant discover the parallels of the Great Plague of 1665 with the Covid-19 pandemic. Ch1. Outbreak The epidemic is traced back to its source in the parish of St Giles in the Fields, now at the heart of London's theatre district. The program also examines the symptoms of the disease and uncovers new research into the plague bacteria that could overthrow accepted ideas about how the infection was spread. Ch2. Decimation Xand heads to St Barts hospital to look back at historical records which show that nursing staff stayed behind and risked their lives to help the sick. Elsewhere, John investigates why infection rates were so different between the rich and poor, examining clothes typical for each group in the 17th century. Ch3. Aftermath Xand visits Samuel Pepys' parish church and discovers the sad tale of the Poole family, who within 11 days lost all five of their children. He also heads to Eyam in Derbyshire, revealing the heroic story of self-sacrifice that saw all 700 villagers lock themselves in to try to stop the disease from spreading to surrounding areas. Raksha Dave trials 17th-century disinfection methods and reveal a surprising substitute that can be just as effective as modern antibacterial cleaners.

2020 • Health

When Weather Strikes

Flying through bad weather can be a harrowing experience, and for NASA, it can be doubly unnerving, as violent storms can strike from below the atmosphere or above it. Witness the true power of nature in space and on Earth as astronauts and ground crews battle to overcome the elements, including a severe lightning strike that crippled Apollo 12's computer system, the freezing temps that compromised the Space Shuttle Challenger, and the tempest of space debris that sent a dead satellite on a collision course with the International Space Station.

S1E5Space Disasters • 2020 • Astronomy

Level Up

Nintendo goes 3D with Star Fox. Wolfenstein 3D popularizes the first-person shooter format, while Doom ups the ante with networked gaming.

6/6High Score • 2020 • Technology

Fight!

Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat give rise to head-to-head fighting genre, but the increasing graphic violence in games brings controversy.

5/6High Score • 2020 • Technology

This is War

Sega's Genesis console and its speedy character, Sonic, hit the market. Electronic Arts kicks off a partnership with football legend John Madden.

4/6High Score • 2020 • Technology

Role Players

Inspired by Dungeons and Dragons, adventure and role-playing computer games introduce unprecedented levels of choice and complexity to players.

3/6High Score • 2020 • Technology

Comeback Kid

A Japanese playing card company called Nintendo enters gaming and hits it big with Donkey Kong, then later takes over home gaming with the NES.

2/6High Score • 2020 • Technology

Boom & Bust

Space Invaders and Pac-Man lead an arcade craze, while Atari's cartridge system dominates home gaming until high-profile failure sparks a downfall.

1/6High Score • 2020 • Technology

The Human Factor

See how little things like a stripped screw or a faulty toilet can become big emergencies when they happen in space.

S1E4Why We Hate • 2020 • Astronomy

Fixing on the Fly

Relive some of the most unexpected accidents in spaceflight and meet the astronauts who had to fix them on the fly

S1E3Why We Hate • 2020 • Astronomy

Failure at Re-Entry

Discover what makes re-entry into our atmosphere so challenging and relive some of the most perilous returns to Earth

S1E2Space Disasters • 2020 • Astronomy

Recommended Documentaries

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The Heist

This time it is the turn of the heist movie, with its unique combination of suspense and action. Whether it is the big bank job or netting a fortune in diamonds, why, asks Mark, do otherwise law-abiding audiences find themselves rooting for robbers and even killers? More than any other genre, the heist movie plays with our sympathies, encouraging us to identify with characters we would run a mile from in real life. From The Asphalt Jungle to Ocean's Eleven by way of The Italian Job and even The Wrong Trousers, Mark shows how recurring character types, such as the mastermind, and sequences like the planning scene and the getaway, draw us into the big score. And he demonstrates how recent hits like Inception, The Wolf of Wall Street and Baby Driver have pushed the conventions of the heist in thrilling new directions. At the box office, at least, crime really does pay.

Part 2Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema • 2018 • Creativity

Think like a Martian

"... we had a lot of little games, like you would say at the dinner table..."

The Feynman Series • 2011 • People

In the Name of God 1559- 1561

The rise of Protestantism is dividing Europe. This is the beginning of the Wars of Religion. While celebrating an alliance treaty, Henry II dies during a jousting tournament. Espionage, conspiracies, treason - his son, the sickly Francis II, sees his life and his reign threatened by the Protestants.

S2E2The Real War of Thrones: The True History of Europe • 2018 • History

Behaviour and Belief

How can a lie become true? In this episode, Dr. Aaron Blaisdell and I create a game show that is actually a giant “human Skinner Box” to observe the formation of superstitious beliefs. And Dr. Samuel Veissière helps me design and perform a placebo reverse exorcism, harnessing the power of belief in both science and religion to convince normal people that a spirit has possessed their bodies.

S3E7Mind Field • 2019 • Brain

Dame Sally Davies discusses Alexander Fleming and Howard Florey

Dame Sally Davies talks to Brian Cox about her interest in antibiotic resistance and admiration of Alexander Fleming and Howard Florey for their development of penicillin.

4/6People of Science with Brian Cox • 2018 • Science

Bones

In the first episode, Dr Alice Roberts looks at how our skeleton reveals our incredible evolutionary journey.

1/3Origins of UsNature

History Documentaries

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Joan of Arc: God's Warrior

Dr Helen Castor explores the life - and death - of Joan of Arc. Joan was an extraordinary figure - a female warrior in an age that believed women couldn't fight, let alone lead an army. But Joan was driven by faith, and today more than ever we are acutely aware of the power of faith to drive actions for good or ill. Since her death, Joan has become an icon for almost everyone - the left and the right, Catholics and Protestants, traditionalists and feminists. But where in all of this is the real Joan - the experiences of a teenage peasant girl who achieved the seemingly impossible? Through an astonishing manuscript, we can hear Joan's own words at her trial, and as Helen unpicks Joan's story and places her back in the world that she inhabited, the real human Joan emerges.

2015 • History

Meltdown

Exit strategies are put into action by the members of the inner circle when the Allies surround the capitol and Hitler perishes by his own hand.

10/10Hitler's Circle of Evil • 2017 • History

The Real Cleopatra

Cleopatra was one of the most famous women who ever lived, yet she remains an enigma as most of her world has long since vanished. Roman sources portray her as a seductress but by examining evidence from all over Egypt a different picture emerges. With drama and CGI we bring back to life some of amazing monuments that made her city of Alexandria great and construct a new 3D image of the woman herself.

Part 8Egypt Unwrapped • 2008 • History

Dien Bien Phu: a Losing Battle

Since the end of the 19th century, Indochina has been a flourishing colony, the gem of the French Empire. However, the Second World War turns everything upside down. At the end of the war, the Viet Minh movement announces its independence.

S3E13Butterfly Effect • 2018 • History

The Wall: A World Divided

The Berlin Wall separating East and West Germany was the most potent symbol of Communist oppression in Europe during the Cold War. The documentary "The Wall: A World Divided" profiles how a source of violence, hostility and pain was torn down by ordinary journalists and citizens who risked their life to bring down an oppressive regime and achieve what politicians and world leaders could not. "The Wall: A World Divided" looks deep inside the revolution that swept across Europe two decades ago — with the November 1989 opening of the Berlin Wall — to understand how this remarkable event helped end the Cold War without a shot being fired. The film explores the lives of ordinary people caught up in Cold War politics: a young father forced to tunnel beneath the wall to reunite his family; a teenager whose love of pop culture got him in deep trouble with the state; a student activist helping make a peaceful revolution while facing down tanks; and a young man broken by the ruthless interrogation methods of the secret police. With insights from political leaders like George H.W. Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev, Helmut Kohl, James Baker and Condoleezza Rice, explore the origins and demise of the notorious Berlin Wall, the structure's affect on ordinary German lives and the peaceful end to the Cold War. Full of detailed information, this historical PBS documentary explains the stark differences between East and West Germany and their process of reunification.

2010 • History

My Human Earth

In the subsequent 65 million years, mammals are part of Europe’s history. Sea mammals conquered the oceans while herds of herbivores crisscrossed the land. It was 600,000 years ago that Homo Heidelbergensis first began hunting. Seen from a geological perspective, human beings have been on the earth for only a few short moments, but within this brief time we have already fundamentally transformed the planet. Rivers have been straightened, forests cleared and roads laid down across the natural habitats of nearly all the earth’s animals.

2/2300 Million Years: Where Life Began • 2015 • History

People Documentaries

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Life after Death

Richard Dawkins tackles death. He investigates what, in place of religion, science can tell us about death.

Part 2Dawkins: Sex Death and the Meaning of Life • 2012 • People

Code: Debugging the Gender Gap

Women and girls in computing science discuss the lack of diversity and gender equality in the industry and strategies to change this.

2015 • People

Relics: Einstein's Brain

In 1955, the great scientist Albert Einstein died in Princeton - his express wish was that his body be cremated, so as to leave no earthly remains. But, on the day of his death, his brain was secretly removed by doctors at Princeton Hospital - supposedly for “scientific study.” Nearly 40 years later, no study is complete, and there are only rumors as to whereabouts of the missing brain. This film follows the quest of an Einstein expert, Professor Sugimoto Kenji, who travelled from his home in Japan to the USA to try and find the greatest relic of 20th century science.

1994 • People

Part 2

The connections that shaped Bill's life come into focus, including a childhood friendship and his unique bond with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

2/3Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates • 2019 • People

For Sama

Documentary capturing one woman's experiences working in a hospital in a Syrian war zone, while also raising a daughter as well as becoming involved in the uprising against the Assad regime. The film captures her and her husband's efforts to create and run a series of makeshift hospitals in the midst of a bombing campaign by the Russian air force over the course of five years.

2019 • People

Episode 7

From a painter who changed the face of modern art to the most recognised figure of WWII, this episode spans the century, highlighting people of such profound influence that they can reasonably be termed “iconic”. Whether they’re reshaping a nation or reinventing the tools that will forever change the way we live, no one could argue that the Top Twenty are all people who made the twentieth century.

7/8The 101 People who Made the 20th Century • 2016 • People

Randoms! Documentaries

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Life of a Mountain: A Year on Blencathra

The highly anticipated sequel to Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike sees award-winning film-maker Terry Abraham return to the Lake District to showcase 'the people's mountain' - Blencathra. This spectacular documentary looks at the lives of local residents, school children and visitors to the mountain with contributions from comedian Ed Byrne, broadcaster Stuart Maconie, mountaineer Alan Hinkes OBE and record-breaking fell runner Steve Birkinshaw. Abraham's breathtaking photography and stunning time-lapse sequences of this unique landscape will inspire newcomers and regular visitors alike.

2017 • Nature

Can Science Make Me Perfect?

Anatomist Alice Roberts embarks on an audacious scientific stunt - to rebuild her own body from scratch, editing out errors left behind by evolution; to create the perfect body. With the help of one of the world's best virtual sculptors, Scott Eaton, and top SFX model maker Sangeet Prabhaker, Alice creates a life-size model of the perfect human body, to be revealed in front of 150 people at London's Science Museum. Through natural selection, animals have evolved incredible biological designs, from supersharp senses to superpowered limbs. Alice is on a hunt to find the very best designs the natural world has to offer and use them to fix the flaws in our own human anatomy. By meeting leading medical and animal experts, Alice finds out what the body's biggest problems are, and how amazing adaptations in the rest of the animal kingdom could provide inspiration for her perfect body. Using incredible CGI to morph her existing body into new forms, she demonstrates how rethinking our bodies could overcome millennia of natural selection. Finally, in an epic reveal, Alice unveils the life-sized model of her perfect self in the Science Museum. There, in front of an audience, Alice meets the 'perfect human' version of herself for the first time. Ambitious, audacious and packed with cutting-edge science, Can Science Make Me Perfect? With Alice Roberts challenges everything you thought you knew about the perfect body.

2018 • Science

King Henry VIII

Discover Henry VIII's early years, many loves, and the accident that created the tyrant we know today.

2/5Private Lives of the Monarchs • 2017 • People

Into the Brain

Just over 100 years ago, cutting into the brain was a terrifying prospect for both patient and surgeon. They could expect the result to be the surgeon bloodied and defeated, and the patient dead. From freak accidents involving crowbars through the skull to notorious lobotomies with icepicks, this programme reveals how, through mishap and misadventure, brain surgery has become the life-saving discipline it is today.

1Blood and Guts: A History of Surgery • 2009 • Astronomy

Fury

On June 28th, 1914, the assassination of an obscure Austrian archduke in Sarajevo triggers the most disastrous conflict the world has ever known. Germany becomes an enemy to France, invades Belgium, and in September arrives at the gates of Paris.

1/5Apocalypse: World War 1 • 2014 • History

How the Universe Built Your Car

Beneath the hood of your car lies the history of the Universe. The iron in your chassis, the gold in your stereo and the copper in your electronics all owe their existence to violent cosmic events that took place billions of years ago.

S4E1How the Universe Works • 2015 • Astronomy