Mikhail Gorbachev helped to shape the 20th century, being the architect of glasnost and perestroika. His actions brought down the Berlin Wall, giving countries of the former Soviet Union a chance to break away and be free. But while to many in the west he remains a hero, in his own country Gorbachev is condemned for destroying the Soviet empire. This film is an intimate portrait of the former Russian leader in his final years, before his death in August 2022, living alone in an empty house outside Moscow and carrying the burdens of his past.
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What makes us good or evil? It's a simple but deeply unsettling question. One that scientists are now starting to answer. Horizon meets the researchers who have studied some of the most terrifying people behind bars - psychopathic killers. But there was a shock in store for one of these scientists, Professor Jim Fallon, when he discovered that he had the profile of a psychopath. And the reason he didn't turn out to be a killer holds important lessons for all of us. We meet the scientist who believes he has found the moral molecule and the man who is using this new understanding to rewrite our ideas of crime and punishment.
Jenny Clack recounts how she overcame setbacks before she found and described a fossil which offered new evidence of how fish made the transition onto land. For paleontologist Professor Jenny Clack, who solved one of the greatest mysteries in the history of life on Earth, success was far from inevitable. A chance discovery in 1986 in the earth sciences department of Cambridge University, of long-forgotten fossils collected from the Devonian rocks of East Greenland in 1970, was to shape the rest of her career. She recounts how she had to overcome a series of setbacks before she found and described the fossil Acanthostega, a 365 million-year-old creature that offered dramatic new evidence of how fish made the transition onto land. She authored or co-authored more than 120 research papers as well as numerous popular articles and book reviews. A measure of the significance of her work is that 15 of her research papers were published in the journal Nature. Her one book, "Gaining Ground, The Origin and Evolution of Tetrapods" (2002), summarises the results of research on early tetrapods over the previous 25 years.
Peaks of Life is a short Documentary about UK rider and downhill racer Tom Wheeler. The documentary illustrates Tom's lengthy recovery and rehabilitation process after loosing the use of his right arm whilst racing in Rheola, Wales back in 2011. Despite paralysing his right arm, Tom's determination and dedication means he's able to do the things he loves most including riding his mountain bike again. A touching story that some may consider a tragedy at first, but with such a great out look of life Tom isn't letting his paralysed arm slow him down.
According to the UN, it is predicted that the human population could reach ten billion people by the year 2050. For broadcaster and naturalist Chris Packham, who has dedicated his life to championing the natural world, the subject of our growing population and the impact it is having on our planet is one of the most vital – and often overlooked – topics of discussion in an era of increasing environmental awareness. Chris is worried that a world of ten billion may simply be too many people for the earth to sustain, given the impact 7.7 billion humans are already having. Travelling around the globe in search of answers to difficult and sometimes controversial questions, Chris investigates why our population is growing so rapidly, what impact it is having on the natural world, and whether there is anything that can be done. Chris travels to Brazil to discover a megacity on the verge of running out of water and an industry expanding to feed our growing numbers – with dire consequences for biodiversity. In Nigeria, a country set to become the third most populous nation on earth by 2050, overtaking the United States, Chris visits an extraordinary community surviving against the odds and a school that might hold the answer to a future fall in the birth rate. Back home in Britain, Chris interviews Sir David Attenborough – like Chris, he is a patron of the charity Population Matters. Chris also examines the role of falling birth rates around the world, the impact of an aging population, and meets a couple who are struggling to get pregnant through IVF. With interviews from several population experts, Chris's focus ultimately turns to the impact our levels of consumption are already having, and asks whether the world can rebalance to accommodate the needs of over two billion more people.
Morgan Freeman travels the world to study the cycles of war and peace. From the ritualized combat of the sacred Tinku festival in Bolivia to Rwanda's post-genocide reconciliation program, this episode deals with humanity's enormous capacity for violence and the endless pursuit of harmony. Conflict can drive innovation, but is war necessary?