The launch of the BBC's ambitious seven-year natural history project, in which six presenters visit six of the planet's most threatened ecosystems to meet the people fighting to restore the Earth's delicate balance. Chapter 1: Steve Backshall travels to the Maldives, an area facing significant challenges because of climate change. Warming seas and the acidification of the oceans have led to coral bleaching on a massive scale, destroying the surrounding ecosystem. The biodiversity of the reefs provides food security, income and other benefits to the people of the Maldives, and Steve finds that they are working hard to try to stem the tide of destruction. He also goes diving off the reefs to check on a group of manta rays, whose presence offers a clear indication of the health of the reef. In Iceland, Chris Packham learns more about the effects of global warming. Temperatures in the Arctic are rising at more than twice the annual global average. Snow and ice are melting at an increasing rate, which contributes to rising sea levels and is likely to provoke extreme temperature events beyond the Arctic. As one of the eight Arctic States, Iceland is being dramatically affected by rising temperatures, with the lives and livelihoods of many islanders being threatened. Chris also discovers that melting sea ice is opening the Arctic to navigation. These seas are home to many species of whales, so Chris joins a team of young scientists monitoring the impact of increased commercial shipping on humpback whales. On the other side of the world, Ella Al-Shamahi visits Cambodia in Southeast Asia, an area experiencing increasing economic growth. However, growth is putting massive pressure on natural resources, with ever-expanding cities and devastating overexploitation of the natural world. The Mekong river is the lifeblood of this region, but whole sections of it are under pressure. Ella meets a fishing community living on the Tonle Sap lake. The lake used to offer rich fishing grounds for local communities, but the construction of many dams along the wider Mekong is now threatening to destroy the biodiversity of this once abundant lake. The building of new roads has given poachers easier access to forests, and the illegal wildlife trade is big international business. Ella visits a project in Cambodia that rescues and rehabilitates illegally trafficked wildlife, including pangolins, the most trafficked mammal on Earth. Chapter 2: Liz Bonnin travels to California to learn about the increasingly invasive wildfires hitting the headlines. Scientists can see clear links between the fires, climate change, raised temperatures and an extended drought season. There is one crucial element that is key to a sustainable future in California: biodiversity. Loss of keystone species and large carnivores is a threat to the state's ecosystems, and conservationists and scientists are mobilising to save wildlife from wildfires and to treat their burns. Liz also visits the Pacific coast of California, where warming seas have brought with them a new resident, great white sharks. With each shark consuming up to 18 kilos of prey at a time, the impact they could have on the marine ecosystem is being studied intently. Ade Adepitan travels to Kenya to look at the effects rising temperatures are having on the land. Hundreds of millions of Africans depend on rainfall to grow their food and keep livestock, and the capacity for adaptation is low. Ade also visits a project in Kenya that is going to extraordinary lengths to safeguard the future of its most charismatic creature, the African elephant. Over in Brazil, Gordon Buchanan discovers a pioneering project that is trying to save one of the Amazon's iconic predators, the jaguar. Brazil is the most biodiverse country in the world, and as well as the Amazon rainforest, it is home to one of the world's most important wetlands, the Pantanal. This area is home to high numbers of jaguars, but in 2020, wildfires destroyed 30 per cent of the Pantanal, killing an estimated 17 million animals. More than a quarter of the resident jaguars were directly impacted by these fires, through habitat loss, food shortages, injury and death.
2022 • Environment
Are electric cars, solar panels, wind turbines conserving earth's resources and putting an end to pollution? Quite the contrary; these technologies rely on rare minerals and add pressure on their resources. Mining for them releases radioactive substances & refining them needs thousands of gallons of water. Global leaders are aware of this. Why are they withholding the whole truth about green tech?
2020 • Environment
Scientists on the BICEP and Planck missions are attempting to solve a mystery about the earliest moments of our universe, by searching for patterns in the cosmic microwave background. If successful, the missions will help to answer the biggest question anyone can ask: how did our universe begin?
Julia Bradbury talks about her battle with the disease, filmed from the very early days of her diagnosis as she comes to terms with the news, and prepares for a mastectomy. The documentary features Julia's immediate family including her three children, her parents - both of whom are cancer survivors - and her older sister Gina, who are all impacted by Julia's diagnosis and intrinsic to her efforts to recover.
2022 • Health
In August 2020, a plane travelling from Siberia to Moscow made an emergency landing. One of its passengers, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was deathly ill. Taken to a local Siberian hospital and eventually evacuated to Berlin, doctors there confirmed that he had been poisoned with Novichok, a nerve agent implicated in attacks on other opponents of the Russian government. Vladimir Putin immediately cast doubt on the findings and denied any involvement. While recovering, Navalny and his team unravel the plot against him, finding evidence of the Kremlin’s involvement, and prepare to go public with their findings.
2022 • People
For decades, scientists have dreamed of finding life on Mars. But despite their best efforts, no signs of life have been found. Could that be about to change? This is the story of the scientists and engineers behind Perseverance: the rover that could change our view of Mars forever.
This is the story of two of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of the 21st century, told by the incredible scientists who made them happen. The first is LIGO’s measurement of gravitational waves coming from a black hole merger, and the second, the Event Horizon Telescope’s image of a black hole.
Gaudi left us a spectacular work. An unfinished creation: the Sagrada Familia. A huge, senseless cathedral project, whose rules and spirit must be understood in order to be completed. A challenge that has occupied the successors of the great Catalan architect for more than a century.
2021 • People
The two Voyager spacecraft have traveled farther than any human-made object in history. As they reach interstellar space, experts explore their most astonishing discoveries and how their extended operation has transformed into the ultimate mission.
David Attenborough brings to life, in unprecedented detail, the last days of the dinosaurs. Palaeontologist Robert DePalma has made an incredible discovery in a prehistoric graveyard: fossilised creatures, astonishingly well preserved, that could help change our understanding of the last days of the dinosaurs. Evidence from his site records the day when an asteroid bigger than Mount Everest devastated our planet and caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. Based on brand new evidence, witness the catastrophic events of that day play out minute by minute.
2022 • Nature
Explores the growing tension between China and the west over allegations that the Chinese state has engaged for years in large-scale industrial espionage and hacking to steal the west's business secrets and technological know-how. One former US official has described it as the 'largest transfer of wealth in human history'. China denies the charges – but growing anger in the US is fuelling the trade war with China.
Explores how Xi has made China a more assertive presence on the world stage. For decades, Beijing followed a policy of 'hide your strength and bide your time', but since Xi's accession that has changed, creating alarm in the West over China's growing influence. As Xi faces his greatest test yet - a confrontation in Hong Kong - how will the newly resurgent China react?
Ch1. Zambezi Follow the journey of the mighty Zambezi - Africa's wildest river. It floods across endless plains, fuelling the migration of 30,000 wildebeest, turning villages into islands accessible only by boat. It plunges over cliffs, creating the largest curtain of water on Earth - Victoria falls. Ch2. Danube From crystal-clear waterfalls to baby turtles the size of a thumb nail - explore the magical wonders of the Danube. Branching out across Europe, its tributaries gather water from 19 countries, making it the world's most international river. Ch3. Yukon Cameras focus on the Yukon, a river of wild extremes. Home to grizzlies, moose, and great runs of salmon, the Yukon lies at the heart of a vast Northern wilderness. Bears delay their winter hibernation to fish for a final salmon feast, while the frozen river provides a lifeline for lynx and a race track for intrepid dog sledders.
New astronomical research is beginning to reveal an invisible scaffold of dark matter known as the Cosmic Web. This intergalactic network transformed the universe from a chaotic Big Bang into the structured beauty of the present-day cosmos.
Follow Three women at risk of developing Alzheimer’s join a groundbreaking study to try to prevent the disease, while sharing their ups and downs, anxiously watching for symptoms, and hoping they can make a difference. Barb, Sigrid, and Karen all had mothers with Alzheimer’s and witnessed first hand the devastation wrought by the disease, not only on the mind and body, but on patients’ families.
In just one generation, our ability to search for planets beyond our solar system has transformed. With modern techniques and telescopes, planetary scientists have found thousands of exoplanets in our universe, and many of them have the perfect conditions for life. Are we about to find Earth’s twin?
We’re going back to the moon. This episode explores how we did it in the past and how and why we will do it again. The moon is critical to future exploration. It will be where we learn to build sustainable colonies on other worlds.
A third of the population regularly struggle with our sleep, which rose to one in two during the pandemic - the highest it’s ever been. However, as more and more people seek help, an explosion in sleep science is enabling the study of sleep in ways not possible before. What’s more, recent breakthroughs are uncovering what’s happening in our brains and bodies while we’re asleep, getting us closer than ever to understanding the importance of sleep for our health. Michael Mosley has struggled with his sleep for years and wants to know if the latest insights can help him and the millions like him. He discovers why cutting our sleep short can be linked to a host of illnesses, including serious diseases like Alzheimer’s. Putting his own sleeping brain and body to the test, Michael signs up for two revealing experiments: wearing a new device that maps his sleep and allows scientists to see how it measures up to an ideal night, and taking part in a sleep deprivation experiment, where he is confronted by the fact that just one sleepless night impacts his cognitive performance. Revealing the very latest science breakthroughs and packed with personal anecdotes, this programme is a useful guide to anyone looking for tips and insights on how to get the benefits from learning how to sleep well.
This is the story of the James Webb Space Telescope, told by the people who have devoted their lives to it. It is the world’s largest, most advanced, and most expensive telescope, and building it has been fraught with challenges. But it will all be worth it if the December 2021 launch is successful.