The extraordinary and dramatic story of Gertrude Bell, the most powerful woman in the British Empire in her day. She shaped the modern Middle East after World War I in ways that still reverberate today. More influential than her friend and colleague Lawrence of Arabia, Bell helped draw the borders of Iraq and established the Iraq Museum. Using never-seen-before footage of the region, the film chronicles Bell's extraordinary journey into both the uncharted Arabian desert and the inner sanctum of British male colonial power. With unique access to documents from the Iraq National Library and Archive and Gertrude Bell's own 1,600 letters, the story is told entirely in the words of the players of the day, excerpted verbatim from intimate letters, private diaries and secret communiques. It is a unique look at both a remarkable woman and the tangled history of Iraq.
2017 • People
Picture the last two hundred years without the publication of Darwin's "On The Origin of Species" -- how might the scientific conversation have developed? What were the influences in Victorian England during Darwin's youth, and how tenuous was his opportunity for sailing on the Beagle's voyage?
Mercury is a deadly world, facing attacks from the sun, comets, and other planets, and even though it's the smallest planet in the solar system, it has a dangerous secret a dangerous secret that might one day threaten life on Earth.
As France fell to the German armies in May 1940, 300,000 Allied troops were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk. Their annihilation seemed certain - a disaster that could have led to Britain's surrender. But then, in a last-minute rescue dramatized in Christopher Nolan's recent film, Royal Navy ships and a flotilla of tiny civilian boats evacuated hundreds of thousands of soldiers to safety across the Channel - the legendary "miracle of Dunkirk." Now, NOVA follows a team of archaeologists, historians, and divers as they recover the remains of ships, planes, and personal effects lost during the epic operation. With access to previously classified files recently released by the UK government, they also uncover the truth behind the myths of Dunkirk - notably, a claim that the Royal Air Force failed to protect the stranded men from the Luftwaffe's constant bombing of the beaches. Featuring an exclusive excavation of a newly-found Spitfire wreck, NOVA debunks the myth and highlights the essential role that the RAF's iconic fighter played in reversing the desperate stakes that played out in the air above the beleaguered men.
By 2050 the world’s population is estimated to reach over 9 billion, 30% larger than it currently is. If we continue to farm and eat the way we do today, we’d potentially need an additional landmass the size of Europe to produce enough food to meet the growing demand. So what does the future of food look like and how will we grow enough food for us all to eat in the years to come? In Tonight’s programme we visit some of the urban ventures that are maximising the use of public space to grow fruit and vegetables and teach the next generation how to farm. We speak to the owner of an indoor miniature farm housed inside a small shop about the new aquaponic technology he uses, and we go 100 feet below ground to see how one entrepreneur is growing high-value salad crops in old WWII bomb shelters, four storeys beneath the London Underground!
Seventy years ago, when the coldest thing in your house was a pantry, most of the food we ate was harvested, sent straight to the shops and would have been on our plates before it started to go off. However, the advent of the home freezer and advances in various preservation techniques changed all of that and now we’re used to eating what we want, when we want, regardless of the time of year when the food is actually grown. So how do they keep the food for so long? And does the quality stay the same?
With more research being done into the link between what we eat and how we feel, the health-food industry is booming, and so-called superfoods are leading the way. Many people admit to buying such products because they believe they make them feel significantly better - but is this true? Jonathan Maitland investigates whether superfood claims are fact or fiction
One in five families eat convenience foods at least three times a week and a government survey showed only one in six mothers cook from scratch every day. In the first of four food programmes over the next fortnight, the Tonight programme investigates why some of us can’t cook or won’t cook and what can be done to get Britain back in the kitchen. The UK has the largest consumption of ready meals in Europe. It’s no surprise; they are cheap, convenient and easy. A few minutes in a microwave and dinner is served. But for some families the ready meal isn’t always the first choice, it’s sometimes the only choice.
Julius Caesar is the most famous Roman of them all: brutal conqueror, dictator and victim of a gruesome assassination on the Ides of March 44 BC. 2,000 years on, he still shapes the world. He has given us some political slogans we still use today (Crossing the Rubicon), his name lives on in the month of July, and there is nothing new about Vladmir Putin's carefully cultivated military image and no real novelty in Donald Trump's tweets and slogans. Mary Beard is on a mission to uncover the real Caesar, and to challenge public perception. She seeks the answers to some big questions. How did he become a one-man ruler of Rome? How did he use spin and PR on his way to the top? Why was he killed? And she asks some equally intriguing little questions. How did he conceal his bald patch? Did he really die, as William Shakespeare put it, with the words Et tu, Brute on his lips? Above all, Mary explores his surprising legacy right up to the present day. Like it or not, Caesar is still present in our everyday lives, our language, and our politics. Many dictators since, not to mention some other less autocratic leaders, have learned the tricks of their trade from Julius Caesar.
2018 • History
Once a mountain kingdom of ancient palaces and emperors, Korea in the 21st century is largely known for its modern cities and decades of conflict. Tensions between North and South may be what defines it to outsiders but beyond the battle scars there is another side to Korea. In the south are large pockets of untouched wilderness where extraordinary animals flourish and Koreans continue to practice age-old traditions in tandem with the seasons and with nature. It is in these connections, rather than in division, that we see the true Korea. At the southernmost tip of the peninsular we follow a pod of bottlenose dolphins through the volcanic islands of Jeju. They click at each other as they encounter a human in their midst, but the dolphins know this diver well - they have shared the ocean with the Haenyeo, or sea women, for thousands of years. We travel onwards to the isolated island of Marado, where three generations of sea women are preparing for a dive. Today is the start of the conch season, and they work hard whatever the weather to maximise their catch. In the grounds of an ancient palace on the mainland, a raccoon dog family takes advantage of a rare event. Just once every five years, hundreds of cicadas emerge from below ground providing an easy feast for the raccoon dogs who voraciously fill their bellies. Those that escape their jaws make for the safety of the trees, where they metamorphosise into their flying form. On the mud flats of Suncheon Bay we find a habitat that is neither land nor sea. Only recently has the ecological value of mudflats been recognised. A staggering 50 per cent of the earth's oxygen is produced by phytoplankton - microscopic algae that are found here in great abundance. That is why the mudflats are known locally as the lungs of the earth. Plankton is far from the only life here - the mud of the bay is rich in nutrients and supports one of the most diverse ecosystems on the peninsula. We follow the story of a young mudskipper who has emerged for his first mating season. His journey to find love is paved with obstacles.
2018 • Nature
Part three of this entertaining, behind-the-scenes series about how the music business works, explores the phenomenon of band reunions. With unique revelations, rare archive and backstage access to an impressive line-up of old favourites strutting their stuff once more, music PR legend Alan Edwards tells the story of why so many bands are getting back together, what happens when they do - and how it's changing the music business. Alan Edwards, who has looked after everyone from Prince to The Rolling Stones, from David Bowie to The Spice Girls, is our musical guide. He's been in the business long enough to see countless acts enjoy pop stardom, split up, fall out, only to re-emerge triumphant decades later, to the joy of their fans.
Music promoter John Giddings takes us on an entertaining ride behind the stage lights to tell the story of how live performance has become a billion-pound industry. As the founder and promoter of the modern Isle of Wight festival and one of the world's biggest live promoters, John knows more than most how to put a show on the road. And how the world of live performance has changed. Where once bands would tour to promote an album, in the age of downloads and disappearing record sales, the live arena is a huge business. Bigger than ever before.
In the first programme of the series, music agent Emma Banks looks at how the music business finds talent and creates superstars. Over 25 years as one of the top agents in the business, Emma has worked with some of the world's most famous artists, including Katy Perry, Kanye West and Red Hot Chili Peppers. She's seen first-hand the fine line between success and failure, following the careers of hundreds of acts - from geniuses who never quite made it to megastars who conquered the world.
Details coastal environments and the effect of tides, of which the highest can be found in the Bay of Fundy in North America. In places, erosion is causing the land to retreat, while in others — such as the tropics — the expansion of mangroves causes it to advance.
Ascends a kapok in the South American tropical rainforest to observe "the greatest proliferation of life that you can find anywhere on the surface of the Earth. There are two main causes for this: warmth and wetness. As this climate is constant, there are no seasons, so trees vary greatly in their flowering cycles.
Begins in northern Norway, 500 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. Here, there is only just enough light for the pine trees to survive, but it is extremely cold during the winter. Pine cone seeds provide one of the few foods available at this time of year, and large herbivores such as the moose must also rely on their fat reserves.
Describes the inhospitable habitats of snow and ice. Mount Rainier in America is an example of such a place: there is no vegetation, therefore no herbivores and thus no carnivores. However, beneath its frosty surface, algae grow and some insects, such as ladybirds visit the slopes. Africa’s mountains are permanently snow-covered, and beneath peaks such as Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, there are communities of plants and animals.
Visits the world's deepest valley: the Kali Gandaki river in the Himalayas. Its temperatures range from those of the tropics in its lower reaches to that of the poles higher up. It therefore shows how creatures become adapted to living in certain environments.
In the third episode, Iain discovers the remarkable impact of just one plant: grass. On the savannah of South Africa he sees how grass unleashed a firestorm to fight its greatest enemy, the forests. He shows how cutting your finger on a blade of grass shows us how it transformed life in the oceans. In Senegal, he meets the cleverest chimps in the world. And, in the ruins of the oldest temple on Earth, he tells the extraordinary story of how grass triggered human civilisation.
In the second episode, Iain discovers how flowers have transformed our planet. He journeys to the remote islands of the South Pacific to track down the earliest flowers. In the deserts of Africa and rainforests of Vietnam, he sees how they brought brilliant colour to the most barren landscapes and sculpted the earth itself. And he learns how they drove the evolution of all animals - kick-starting our human story.
In this first episode Iain journeys from the spectacular caves of Vietnam to the remote deserts of Africa. He sees how plants first harnessed light from the sun and created our life-giving atmosphere. He uncovers the epic battle between the dinosaurs and the tallest trees on the planet. And, using remarkable imagery, he shows plants breathing - and for the first time talking to each other.
Lunar days are about 14 Earth days long, and when night comes, temperatures plummet. But there are other issues to deal with as well. For instance, how can we overcome the moon's lack of atmosphere; difficult terrain with abrasive particles, and the effects of cosmic background radiation?
The US efforts to colonize the Moon will follow the Lunar Exploration Roadmap, laid out with events taking place over decades. Other countries have plans as well. How will robots be deployed to work on the Moon? At what stage will people inhabit the environment? What minerals will be harvested?
Right now, we know there is water on the Moon. But how much water? Is water largely at the poles? These are Strategic Knowledge Gaps that scientists are working to fill in, and a Resource Prospector robot will be launched to the moon in the 2020's to look for the presence of water
Where and how are we going into space post Space Shuttle? Further travel in space is inhibited by the challenges of gravity wells and the science and cost of developing vehicles that can transcend them. How can the moon possibly help with this problem and move space exploration to the next level?
Mars One plans one-way missions to Mars; the goal is not simply to explore, but to colonize the red planet. A one-way trip saves billions and eliminates the risk of a return voyage. But can the crew survive in such utter isolation? Some candidates for the mission reflect on this challenge.
From a greenhouse in Holland to a desert landscape in Iceland, scientists are using the earth to tests ways to keep a Mars settlement alive and well. It’s the ultimate survival challenge, requiring major innovations to find water, grow food and clean the air.
The trek from earth to Mars is fraught with difficulties, from surviving radiation en route to landing in a space craft not yet designed. Mars One founder Bas Lansdorp attends the Mars Society Convention in Washington, DC, to debate the risks and rewards with scientists from around the world.
When Mars One invited citizens to journey to Mars, 200,000 people applied. The final 100 include a military jet pilot, an ER doctor, and an IT consultant -- all willing to leave their loved ones forever. They share a common dream -- and a willingness to endure almost unimaginable isolation.
The United States and China are considering launching manned missions to Mars -- in 25 years. But Netherlands-based Mars One has a bold plan to land humans on Mars in 2027. Is the mission fuelled by wishful thinking and unproven science -- or will private explorations get us there?
Horizon follows the story of Richard Gray and his remarkable recovery from a life-changing catastrophic stroke. The film shows the rarely seen journey back to recovery. Recorded by his documentary film-maker wife Fiona over four years, this film shows the hard work of recovery. Initially bed bound and unable to do anything, including speak, the initial outlook was bleak, yet occasionally small glimmers of hope emerged. Armed always with her camera, Fiona captures the moment Richard moves his fingers for the first time, and then over months she documents his struggle to relearn how to walk again. The story also features poignant footage delivered in a series of flashbacks, in which we see and hear Richard at his professional best. He was a peacekeeper with the United Nations, immersed in the brutal war in Sarajevo, Bosnia. We also hear from the surgeons and clinicians who were integral to Richard's remarkable recovery, from describing life-saving, high-risk reconstructive surgery to intensive rehabilitation programmes that push the former soldier to his limits.
Explore the hidden history and super science of hot air balloons, synthetic rubber and metal detectors.
We explore the hidden history and super science of the wrist watch, the digital watch and the prosthetic leg.
Uses the latest, most detailed imagery to reveal the monthly life cycle of the moon. From Wales to Wyoming, Hong Kong to Croydon, the programme finds out how the moon shapes life on Earth, as well as exploring its mysterious dark side and discovering how the moon's journey around Earth delivers one of nature's most awe-inspiring events - a total solar eclipse. And at the end of a remarkable year of lunar activity, we find out why so many supermoons have been lighting up the night sky.
2018 • Astronomy
Adolf Hitler is infamous today as a war criminal - arguably one of the worst war criminals in history. Yet during the 1930s he was loved by millions of Germans. How was this possible? In this fascinating series, award-winning historian and documentary maker Laurence Rees examines the background to Hitler's 'charismatic' rule.
Adolf Hitler is infamous today as a war criminal - arguably one of the worst war criminals in history. Yet during the 1930s he was loved by millions of Germans. How was this possible? In this fascinating series, award-winning historian and documentary maker Laurence Rees examines the background to Hitler's 'charismatic' rule.
Adolf Hitler is infamous today as a war criminal - arguably one of the worst war criminals in history. Yet during the 1930s he was loved by millions of Germans. How was this possible? In this fascinating series, award-winning historian and documentary maker Laurence Rees examines the background to Hitler's 'charismatic' rule.
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer is one of the most enduring paintings in the history of art, but despite its popularity, the painting itself is surrounded by mystery. Who was this girl, why and how was it painted, and why is it so revered? This film takes us on a journey through the masterpieces of the extensively-renovated Mauritshuis in The Hague in the Netherlands to try to answer many of the questions surrounding this enigmatic painting and its mysterious creator.
Every Rembrandt exhibition is eagerly anticipated, but a once-in-a-lifetime show at London's National Gallery and Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum that took 15 years to prepare was remarkable. With exclusive and privileged access to both galleries, this film documents this landmark exhibition while interweaving Rembrandt's life story with behind-the-scenes preparations at these world-famous institutions. Rembrandt is the greatest artist that ever lived to many, and this film seeks to explore the truth.
The spectacular sculptures and paintings of Michelangelo seem so familiar to us, but what do we really know about this Renaissance genius, and who was this ambitious and passionate man? A virtuoso craftsman, Michelangelo's artistry is evident in everything that he touched. Spanning his 89 years, this episode takes a cinematic journey from the print and drawing rooms of Europe through the great chapels and museums of Florence, Rome and the Vatican to explore the tempestuous life of Michelangelo.
Monet, Cezanne, Degas and Renoir are some of the world's most popular artists. Their works, and that of their contemporaries, fetch tens of millions of dollars around the globe. Who were they and how exactly did they paint? To help answer these questions, this film focuses on the man credited with inventing impressionism as we know it - 19th-century Parisian art collector Paul Durand-Ruel. It was his brave decision to back these radical artists and then, on the verge of bankruptcy, to exhibit them in New York in 1886 that created impressionism as we know it. Thanks to his sales to enlightened wealthy Americans that subsequently filled US galleries with impressionist masterworks, Durand-Ruel kept impressionism alive at a time when it faced complete failure. This film tells his remarkable story, along with that of the impressionists themselves.
We start with an immersive journey into the life and art of Venice's famous view-painter Canaletto. The film also offers the chance to step inside two official royal residences - Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle - to learn more about the artist and Joseph Smith, the man who introduced Canaletto to Britain. The programme visits some of the sites immortalised in Canaletto's views, from the Rialto Bridge to the Piazza San Marco, and the Palazzo Ducale to the Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo. Featuring contributions from Royal Collection curators and the world's leading experts in Venetian history.
This film follows Judi’s journey through the seasons and her mission to understand her woodland’s vital role in our history and our future. With the help of some of the best tree scientists and historians in the world, Judi unlocks the remarkable secret lives of trees and the stories that they tell us.
2017 • Environment
In March 2015, Solar Impulse II launched the greatest aviation undertaking of our time: to be the first solar-powered airplane to fly around the world. It was a feat 12 years in the making, and was anything but a sure bet. NOVA follows intrepid pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg - two men bent on pushing the boundaries of human flight and proving renewable energy's potential. Along with a team of brilliant engineers, the two designed and built Solar Impulse from scratch - though top airplane manufacturers told them would be too big, too light, and impossible to control. NOVA follows the team as it overcomes seemingly insurmountable challenges to build and fly the first solar plane around the world.
Rhod Gilbert is painfully shy. He might hide it well, but he can't even go into a cafe to buy a coffee. No joke. In fact, his social anxiety has had a massive effect on his life. Rhod's going to try find out why and what can be done. Talking to fellow shy comedian Greg Davies, other shy sufferers, and scientists, Rhod comes up with a radical solution for how we can all stand up to shyness. Rhod can stand up in front of 20,000 people and make them laugh for two hours solid. But he has always found it virtually impossible to talk to people one to one. From childhood, it has been a life-limiting condition. And in this Rhod is certainly not alone. It is estimated that nearly half the population in the UK have some manifestation of shyness and social anxiety. For many it is a minor irritation, for some it is a condition that can virtually destroy a life.
2018 • Brain
Finding alien life on a distant planet would be amazing news - or would it? If we are not the only intelligent life in the universe, this probably means our days are numbered and doom is certain.
Blue Whisper immerges into the ocean's fascinating underwater world and gets to the bottom of a widely unexplored field of underwater science: the communication among fish. The documentary accompanies a team of specialists to overwhelmingly beautiful coral reefs, ancient shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea and sunken submarines that are clouded in secrecy, to explore the versatile forms of underwater communication. What language do fish use? Do they make sounds? Do they have a body language? And what role do colours play? With the aid of complex underwater video and audio equipment those and further questions are answered during a suspenseful journey around the world.
2013 • Nature
Bob Marley's musical (and cultural) shadow is so large that the man clearly needed an authoritative documentary portrait--and Marley steps in with all the right stuff to fill the role. Working with official rights to the music and access to Marley's family and friends, Oscar-winning documentarian Kevin Macdonald (One Day in September) creates a thorough account that hits the major points, not stinting on some of the less admirable aspects of Marley's life (including his brood of children fathered with women other than his patient wife, Rita, whose presence indicates just how much she puts Marley's legacy above his personal infidelities). Especially interesting is the sketch of Bob Marley's youth, as a mixed-race--and thus socially ostracized--kid from the village of Nine Mile who began to put together a reggae sound with a group of like-minded musicians in Jamaica in the late '50s and early '60s. That period comes to life, and the account of Marley's ascent, while familiar from such sagas, has its share of offbeat incidents. His death, at age 36 in 1981, does not dominate the movie, but Macdonald does a good job of getting that story laid out. In the meantime, the music and the concert footage are more than enough to justify the movie's existence, and Macdonald makes time to include thoughts about politics, ganja smoking, and Rastafarianism, too. If it's not the final word on Marley, it's an excellent start.
2012 • Music
This new age of discovery is revealing there is still so much to learn about the cat family. Using high-tech collars, Professor Alan Wilson has discovered it is not straight-line speed that is a cheetah's greatest weapon but their ability to break, change direction and accelerate. His research is rewriting what we understand about the fastest animal on land. This is also a crucial time for cat conservation - most are threatened, facing extreme habitat loss and conflict with humans. Yet there are many positive stories of cats bouncing back from the brink,
The secret lives of the world’s most mysterious cats are brought to light by advances in remote and low-light filming technology. In South Africa, we follow the nocturnal pursuits of the tiny black-footed cat that stakes its claim to the title of the world's deadliest, and in remotest Mongolia we reveal the rarely seen Pallas's cat, at home with her kittens - she hunts by looking like a rock. Finally, in South Africa, we uncover the secret of the serval that thrives amongst the futuristic landscape of Africa's biggest industrial complex. These are remarkable cats, with surprising lives in extraordinary places.
In Ruaha, Tanzania, lions form huge super prides in order to hunt giants. Amongst cats lions are unusual, the only one to live in groups. In numbers they find the strength and audacity to hunt the most formidable prey. In Sri Lanka a tiny rusty-spotted cat explores his forest home - 200 times smaller than a lion, the rusty-spotted is the smallest of all cats, but just as curious. The Canada lynx lives further north than any cat, relying on snowshoe hares to survive the bitterly cold winters. Until now, lynx were creatures of mystery, but now technology provides an insight into their secret lives.
A fight on Everest? It seemed incredible. But in 2013 news channels around the world reported an ugly brawl at 6400 m (21,000 ft) as European climbers fled a mob of angry Sherpas. In 1953, New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay had reached the summit in a spirit of co-operation and brave optimism. Now climbers and Sherpas were trading insults - even blows. What had happened to the happy, smiling Sherpas and their dedication in getting foreigners to the top of the mountain they hold so sacred?
2015 • People
In the dying days of World War II, a secret organisation of Holocaust survivors plans a terrible revenge. Six million Jews are dead but, by 1946, just a handful of Nazis face trial. Most of the guilty will never face justice. For many of Hitler's victims, this is not enough. Based on previously unheard recordings and exclusive interviews with those involved - all of whom are over 90 - this documentary tells the story of a remarkable secret group known as The Avengers, who decide to take matters into their own hands. Assembled by the warrior-poet Abba Kovner, their aim is 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life.' Their plan: to murder six million Germans by infiltrating German cities and poisoning the water supply.
In 1998, wildlife enthusiast and photographer Chris Packham had a remarkable encounter with the Orang Rimba, a tribe of hunter gatherers in the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia. It was the first time he had ever seen people living in perfect harmony with their environment. One photograph in particular that Chris took, a picture of a young tribal girl, has since become immensely important to him as a barometer of how we are treating our planet. In this real-life detective story, with no clues as to her identity or whereabouts other than his original photograph, Chris sets off to Sumatra 20 years on to try to find her; the girl in the picture. Chris's search is further complicated because her tribe is nomadic and often cover vast distances on foot, and since he was last there, millions of hectares of her rainforest habitat has been destroyed. Piecing together the clues, Chris discovers to his horror that the girl's close-knit group of Orang Rimba was attacked not long after he met them, and a number of them killed. But was the girl among them? Chris travels into the heart of Sumatra and tries to discover the girl's fate by meeting the men who pulled the murdered tribespeople's bodies out of the river. On his way, he discovers just how much of Sumatra's once pristine rainforests have been replaced by palm oil plantations, palm oil which is in around 50% of the products we buy in our supermarkets. Chris learns some uncomfortable truths about how we are all in some way connected to deforestation.
2018 • Environment
Professor Richard Fortey investigates the remains of ancient volcanic lake in Germany where stunningly well-preserved fossils of early mammals, giant insects and even perhaps our oldest known ancestor have been found. Among the amazing finds are bats as advanced and sophisticated as anything living today, more than 50-million-years-later; dog-sized 'Dawn' horses, the ancestor of the modern horse; and giant ants as large as a hummingbird.
Professor Richard Fortey travels to northeastern China to see a fossil site known as the 'Dinosaur Pompeii' - a place that has yielded spectacular remains of feathered dinosaurs and rewritten the story of the origins of birds. Among the amazing finds he investigates are the feathered cousin of T-rex, a feathered dinosaur with strong parallels to living pandas and some of the most remarkable flying animals that have ever lived.
Professor Richard Fortey journeys high in the Rocky Mountains to explore a 520-million-year-old fossilised seabed containing bizarre and experimental lifeforms that have revolutionised our understanding about the beginnings of complex life. Among the amazing finds he uncovers are marine creatures with five eyes and a proboscis; filter-feeders shaped like tulips; worm-like scavengers covered in spikes but with no identifiable head or anus; and a metre-long predator resembling a giant shrimp.
Even after thousands of years of ice crushing the northern hemisphere and temperatures of 20 degrees lower than those of today, many of the great giants of the ice age still walked the earth. It was only when the world had warmed up again that mammoths, woolly rhinos, sabre-toothed cats, giant ground sloths and glyptodonts finally became extinct. Professor Alice Roberts sets off on her last voyage back to the Ice Age to discover why.
In the Land of the Cave Bear, Alice ventures to the parts of the northern hemisphere, hit hardest by the cold - Europe and Siberia. High in the mountains of Transylvania, a cave sealed for thousands of years reveals grisly evidence for a fight to the death between two staving giants, a cave bear and a cave lion. Yet Alice discovers that for woolly rhinos and woolly mammoths, the Ice Age created a bounty. The Mammoth Steppe, a vast tract of land which went half way round the world, provided food all year round, for those that liked the cold. It was these mammoths that Europe's most dangerous predators hunted for their survival.
The series begins in the 'land of the sabre-tooth'; North America, a continent that was half covered by ice that was up to two miles thick. Yet this frozen land also boasted the most impressive cast of Ice Age giants in the world. Across locations such as the Grand Canyon, the sands of Arizona and the coast of California, Alice traces the movements of Ice Age beasts like bear-sized sloths, vast mammoths and the strange beast known as the glyptodon. These leviathans all have one thing in common: they were stalked by the meanest big cat that ever prowled the Earth, armed with seven-inch teeth and hunting in packs - Smilodon fatalis, the sabre-toothed cat.
These scientists' motto is simple: just because a mystery is 4,500 years old doesn't mean it can't be solved. Their mission: to see through the Great Pyramid of Giza and determine, without moving or destroying a single stone, if there are hidden chambers and passages inside. What will they find? Thanks to new technologies, Japanese scientists will fly Drones equipped with photo-gravimetric cameras over of the Giza Plateau, collecting data in order to create a 3D mapping. First attempts have already detected unexpected anomalies.
2017 • History
Alastair Sooke charts the decline and fall of the Roman Empire through some of its hidden and most magical artistic treasures. He travels to Leptis Magna in Libya, shortly after the overthrow of Gaddafi, and finds one of the best preserved Roman cities in the world and the cradle of later Roman art. Sooke discovers glorious mosaics which have never been filmed before but also finds evidence of shocking neglect of Libya's Roman heritage by the Gaddafi regime. His artistic tour takes him to Egypt and the northern frontiers of the empire where he encounters stunning mummy paintings and exquisite silver and glassware. As Rome careered from one crisis to another, official art became more hard boiled and militaristic and an obscure cult called Christianity rose up to seize the mantle of Western art for centuries to come.
Alastair Sooke follows in the footsteps of Rome's mad, bad and dangerous emperors in the second part of his celebration of Roman art. He dons a wetsuit to explore the underwater remains of the Emperor Claudius's pleasure palace and ventures into the cave where Tiberius held wild parties. He finds their taste in art chimes perfectly with their obsession with sex and violence. The other side of the coin was the bombastic art the Romans are best remembered for - monumental arches and columns that boast about their conquests. Trajan's Column in Rome reads like the storyboard of a modern-day propaganda film. Sooke concludes with the remarkable legacy of the Emperor Hadrian. He gave the world the magnificent Pantheon in Rome - the eternal image of his lover Antinous, the most beautiful boy in the history of art - and a villa in Tivoli where he created one of the most ambitious art collections ever created.
The Romans were brilliant engineers and soldiers, but what isn't as well known is that they also gave us wonderful artistic treasures. In this three-part series, Alastair Sooke argues that the old-fashioned view that the Romans didn't do art is nonsense. He traces how the Romans during the Republic went from being art thieves and copycats to pioneering a new artistic style - warts 'n' all realism. Roman portraits reveal what the great names from history, men like Julius Caesar and Cicero, actually looked like. Modern-day artists demonstrate the ingenious techniques used to create these true to life masterpieces in marble, bronze and paint. We can step back into the Roman world thanks to their invention of the documentary-style marble relief and to a volcano called Vesuvius. Sooke explores the remarkable artistic legacy of Pompeii before showing how Rome's first emperor, Augustus, used the power of art to help forge an empire.
Alastair explores the extraordinary afterlife of the Greek masterpieces that changed the course of western culture. Succeeding centuries have found in ancient Greek art inspiration for their own ideals and ambitions. Filming in Italy, Germany, France and Britain, Alastair's investigation includes The Venus of Knidos, the first naked woman in Western art, the bronze horses of St Mark's in Venice which became a pawn in an imperial game and the naked discus thrower, the Discobolus, personally bought by Adolf Hitler and used by him as a symbol of Aryan supremacy.
Alastair unpicks the reasons behind the dazzling revolution that gave birth to classical Greek art, asking how the Greeks got so good so quickly. He travels to the beautiful Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, and to the island of Mozia to see the astonishing charioteer found there in 1979, and marvels at the athletic bodies of the warriors dragged from the seabed - the Riace Bronzes. It was a creative explosion that covered architecture, sculpting in marble, casting in bronze, even painting on vases. Perhaps the most powerful factor was also its greatest legacy - a fascination with the naked human body.
Alastair explores the surprising roots of Greek art, beginning his journey in Crete at the palace of Knossos, legendary home of the Minotaur. He travels to Santorini to the 'Greek Pompeii', and finds gold in the fabled stronghold of Mycenae and dazzling remains from Greece's Dark Ages. Alastair discovers the beginnings of a defining spirit in Greek art, embracing mythology, a passion for symmetry, and an obsession with the human body.
Angela Sun's journey of discovery to one of the most remote places on Earth, Midway Atoll, to uncover the truth behind the mystery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Along the way she encounters scientists, industry, legislators and activists who shed light on what our society's vast consumption of disposable plastic is doing to our oceans, and what it may be doing to our health.
2013 • Environment
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.
The Big Crash” relates the dramatic history of how the continent of Europe came to be – from the carboniferous period to the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. During its long creation process Europe has “traveled” through various climate zones, has been shaped by the elements and transformed by collisions with other continents. Dinosaurs were also at home here – until the Big Crash came.
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
Alastair concludes the epic story of Egyptian art by looking at how, despite political decline, the final era of the Egyptian Empire saw its art enjoy revival and rebirth. From the colossal statues of Rameses II that proclaimed the pharaoh's power to the final flourishes under Queen Cleopatra, Sooke discovers that the subsequent invasions by foreign rulers from the Nubians to Alexander the Great and the Romans produced a new hybrid art full of surprise. He also unearths a seam of astonishing satirical work, produced by ordinary men, that continues to inspire Egypt's graffiti artists today.
On a journey through Ancient Egyptian art, Alastair Sooke picks treasures from its most opulent and glittering moment. Starting with troubling psychological portraits of tyrant king Senwosret III and ending with the golden mask of boy king Tutankhamun, Sooke also explores architectural wonders, exquisite tombs and a lost city - site of the greatest artistic revolution in Egypt's history where a new sinuous style was born under King Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti. Along the way Egyptologists and artists reveal that the golden veneer conceals a touching humanity.
Tracing the origins of Egypt's unique visual style, he treks across the Sahara and travels the Nile to find the rarely-seen art of its earliest peoples. Exploring how this civilisation's art reflected its religion, he looks anew at the Great Pyramid, and the statuary and painting of the Old Kingdom. Sooke is amazed by the technical prowess of ancient artists whose skills confound contemporary craftsmen.
The personalities behind the creation of the world's first atomic bomb were as extraordinary, and often as explosive, as the science they were working in. This is the inside-the-barbed-wire story of the men and women who worked on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos. Through first-hand accounts and never-before-seen interviews, this documentary looks inside the atomic insiders' hearts and minds, their triumphs and failures, their bravery in the face of paralyzing fear and, ultimately, their war-winning and world-changing accomplishments.
2015 • History
At the very northern edge of North America is Ellesmere Island, where the unforgiving Arctic winds tear through the tundra, dipping temperatures to 40 below zero. Running through this shifting sea of snow and ice is one of the most hardened predators on the planet, the White Wolf. But as the spring melt approaches, these roaming hunters must adapt to being tethered parents as new additions to the pack have just been born. With their herds of prey continuing to move, we witness a desperate race to keep up and bring back a kill to the hungry mothers and cubs. Traveling farther and farther away from their den each day puts these hunters and their children at risk in this fight for survival.
2018 • Nature
Living with sharks is one of Andy Brandy Casagrande greatest passions in life. A two-time, Emmy Award winning, wildlife cinematographer and on-air talent for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, Andy is helping revolutionize the way the world sees the ocean’s top predators.
2015 • Nature
The traditional system of education was designed in the industrial age and is now outdated and ineffective. Learn about the 6 major problems with the system. At NEXT School, we are bringing a much needed upgrade to the education system to address these problems. We are India's 1st Big Picture School. The highly innovative Big Picture Learning framework allows us to personalise each child's educational journey making learning more engaging and relevant. Visit www.nextschool.org to know more.
2016 • Lifehack
The prodigies of the animal kingdom have feathers, beaks – and unexpectedly large brains! Just how high does their intellect soar? Rest upon the wings of the Keas in New Zealand and the New Caledonian Crows and take part in this ultimate avian I.Q. test.
2014 • Nature
Intelligence and adaptability allow primates to tackle the many challenges of life, and this is what makes our closest relatives so successful. This resourcefulness has enabled primates to conquer an incredible diversity of habitat. Hamadryas baboons live on the open plains of Ethiopia in groups up to 400 strong. Strength in numbers gives them some protection from potential predators. But, should their path cross with other baboon troops, it can lead to all-out battle, as males try to steal females from one another, and even settle old scores. Japanese macaques are the most northerly-dwelling primates and they experience completely different challenges. Some beat the freezing conditions by having access to a thermal spa in the middle of winter. But this privilege is only for those born of the right female bloodline. For western lowland gorillas, it's the male silverback that leads his family group in the rich forests of the Congo basin. He advertises his status to all with a powerful chest-beating display. Most primates are forest dwellers, and one of the strangest is the tarsier – the only purely carnivorous primate. As it hunts for insects the tarsier leaps from tree to tree in the dead of night, using its huge forward-facing eyes to safely judge each jump. Good communication is essential for success in primate society.
Plants' solutions to life's challenges are as ingenious and manipulative as any animal's. Innovative time-lapse photography opens up a parallel world where plants act like fly-paper, or spring-loaded traps, to catch insects. Vines develop suckers and claws to haul themselves into the rainforest canopy. Every peculiar shape proves to have a clever purpose. The dragon's blood tree is like an upturned umbrella to capture mist and shade its roots. The seed of a Bornean tree has wings so aerodynamic they inspired the design of early gliders. The barrel-shaped desert rose is full of water. The heliconia plant even enslaves a humming bird and turns it into an addict for its nectar.
Marine invertebrates are some of the most bizarre and beautiful animals on the planet, and thrive in the toughest parts of the oceans. Divers swim into a shoal of predatory Humboldt squid as they emerge from the ocean depths to hunt in packs. When cuttlefish gather to mate, their bodies flash in stroboscopic colours. Time-lapse photography reveals thousands of starfish gathering under the Arctic ice to devour a seal carcass. A giant octopus commits suicide for her young. A camera follows her into a cave which she walls up, then she protects her eggs until she starves. The greatest living structures on earth, coral reefs, are created by tiny animals in some of the world's most inhospitable waters.
Mammals' ability to learn new tricks is the key to survival in the knife-edge world of hunters and hunted. In a TV first, a killer whale off the Falklands does something unique: it sneaks into a pool where elephant seal pups learn to swim and snatches them, saving itself the trouble of hunting in the open sea. Slow-motion cameras reveal the star-nosed mole's newly-discovered technique for smelling prey underwater: it exhales then inhales a bubble of air ten times per second. Young ibex soon learn the only way to escape a fox - run up an almost vertical cliff face - and young stoats fight mock battles, learning the skills that make them one of the world's most efficient predators.
There are 200 million insects for each of us. They are the most successful animal group ever. Their key is an armoured covering that takes on almost any shape. Darwin's stag beetle fights in the tree tops with huge curved jaws. The camera flies with millions of monarch butterflies which migrate 2000 miles, navigating by the sun. Super slow motion shows a bombardier beetle firing boiling liquid at enemies through a rotating nozzle. A honey bee army stings a raiding bear into submission. Grass cutter ants march like a Roman army, harvesting grass they cannot actually eat. They cultivate a fungus that breaks the grass down for them. Their giant colony is the closest thing in nature to the complexity of a human city.
Birds owe their global success to feathers - something no other animal has. They allow birds to do extraordinary things. For the first time, a slow-motion camera captures the unique flight of the marvellous spatuletail hummingbird as he flashes long, iridescent tail feathers in the gloomy undergrowth. Aerial photography takes us into the sky with an Ethiopian lammergeier dropping bones to smash them into edible-sized bits. Thousands of pink flamingoes promenade in one of nature's greatest spectacles. The sage grouse rubs his feathers against his chest in a comic display to make popping noises that attract females. The Vogelkop bowerbird makes up for his dull colour by building an intricate structure and decorating it with colourful beetles and snails.
Fish dominate the planet's waters through their astonishing variety of shape and behaviour. The beautiful weedy sea dragon looks like a creature from a fairytale, and the male protects their eggs by carrying them on his tail for months. The sarcastic fringehead, meanwhile, appears to turn its head inside out when it fights. Slow-motion cameras show the flying fish gliding through the air like a flock of birds and capture the world's fastest swimmer, the sailfish, plucking sardines from a shoal at 70 mph. And the tiny Hawaiian goby undertakes one of nature's most daunting journeys, climbing a massive waterfall to find safe pools for breeding.
Mammals dominate the planet. They do it through having warm blood and by the care they lavish on their young. Weeks of filming in the bitter Antarctic winter reveal how a mother Weddell seal wears her teeth down keeping open a hole in the ice so she can catch fish for her pup. A powered hot air balloon produces stunning images of millions of migrating bats as they converge on fruiting trees in Zambia, and slow-motion cameras reveal how a mother rufous sengi exhausts a chasing lizard. A gyroscopically stabilised camera moves alongside migrating caribou, and a diving team swim among the planet's biggest fight as male humpback whales battle for a female.
Reptiles and amphibians look like hang-overs from the past. But they overcome their shortcomings through amazing innovation. The pebble toad turns into a rubber ball to roll and bounce from its enemies. Extreme slow-motion shows how a Jesus Christ lizard runs on water, and how a chameleon fires an extendible tongue at its prey with unfailing accuracy. The camera dives with a Niuean sea snake, which must breed on land but avoids predators by swimming to an air bubble at the end of an underwater tunnel. In a TV first, Komodo dragons hunt a huge water-buffalo, biting it to inject venom, then waiting for weeks until it dies. Ten dragons strip the carcass to the bone in four hours.
In nature, living long enough to breed is a monumental struggle. Many animals and plants go to extremes to give themselves a chance. Uniquely, three brother cheetahs band together to bring down a huge ostrich. Aerial photography reveals how bottle-nosed dolphins trap fish in a ring of mud, and time-lapse cameras show how the Venus flytrap ensnares insect victims. The strawberry frog carries a tadpole high into a tree and drops it in a water-filled bromeliad. The frog must climb back from the ground every day to feed it. Fledgling chinstrap penguins undertake a heroic and tragic journey through the broken ice to get out to sea. Many can barely swim and the formidable leopard seal lies in wait.
CERN and the University of California-Santa Barbara are collaborating in the search for the elusive substance that physicists and astronomers believe holds the universe together -- dark matter. Where is this search now in the realm of particle physics and what comes next?
2017 • Astronomy
Black holes are the most enigmatic and exotic objects in the universe. They’re also the most powerful; with gravity so strong it can trap light. And they’re destructive, swallowing entire planets, even giant stars. Anything that falls into them vanishes…gone forever. Now, astrophysicists are realizing that black holes may be essential to how our universe evolved—their influence possibly leading to life on Earth and, ultimately, us. In this two-hour special, astrophysicist and author Janna Levin takes viewers on a journey to the frontiers of black hole science. Along the way, we meet leading astronomers and physicists on the verge of finding new answers to provocative questions about these shadowy monsters: Where do they come from? What’s inside? What happens if you fall into one? And what can they tell us about the nature of space, time, and gravity?
David Spiegelhalter discusses how the work of amateur mathematician Thomas Bayes and statistician Ronald Fisher helped to shape the current thinking of probability.
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.
The composer examines the history of the past 100 years in music, known as the popular age. During this period, classical music - as it is now termed - seemed to be in decline, but Howard argues that while some cutting-edge works proved too challenging to be appreciated by the mainstream audience, the DNA of the genre is alive and well in musical theatre, cinema and popular music.
Howard Goodall examines the ways in which modernism and the birth of recorded sound in the late 19th century changed the way music was played, heard and distributed. He reveals how the works of Mussorgsky made a huge impression on European composers when aired at the 1889 Paris World Fair, and discusses how increasingly disparate musical influences were woven together to create groundbreaking new sounds.
The composer examines the middle to late 19th century, exploring the European craze for opera and music that dealt with death and destiny. He suggests that composers were inspired by Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique to write about witches, ghouls, trolls and hellish torment, and that the death of the heroine in Verdi's La Traviata was a comment on the hypocrisies of wider society. Howard also argues that the image of the composer as a misunderstood genius was cemented in the public imagination during this period.
The composer examines the age of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann and Chopin. This period from 1750 to 1850 saw composers going from being paid, liveried servants of princes and archbishops to working as freelancers required to appeal to a new, middle-class audience. The era also saw tremendous social upheaval, including the American, French and Industrial revolutions, but until around the turn of the 19th century, the music that was being written bore little relevance to the tumultuous changes in society.
The composer examines the extraordinarily fertile musical period between 1650 and 1750, which saw innovations including the orchestra, the overture, modern tuning, the oratorio and the piano. Vivaldi developed a form of concerto where a charismatic solo violin was pitted against the rest of the orchestra, Bach wrote complex and heartfelt music in his mission to glorify God, and Handel brought all the techniques of the preceding 100 years to his oratorio Messiah.
The composer examines the history and development of music, beginning by looking back at the first faltering steps humanity took toward creating it. He considers archaeological evidence showing that music was as important in the late Stone Age as it is now and charts how Gregorian chant started with a handful of monks singing the same tune in unison. Over the course of several centuries, medieval musicians painstakingly put together the basics of what has become termed harmony and then added rhythm - the building blocks of the music the world enjoys today
This special, narrated by Andrew Scott, celebrates spring on planet Earth, and the extraordinary tricks that animals and plants find to rise to the new challenges it brings. This magical season brings a burst of new life - but as soon as the air starts to warm, it's a race to wake up and get ahead of everyone else. For many, it's the perfect time to find a mate and raise babies - but for everything, from adventurous grizzly bear cubs and amorous dancing grebes, to flowers in the desert and swifts that fly marathons, spring is about rushing to make the most of the opportunities this busy season brings.
Andrew Scott narrates a special programme which celebrates winter and explores how animals and plants rise to the challenges it brings. With their world encased in snow and ice, animals must find the most inventive ways to survive and even benefit from the cold. Caribou become ice road travellers as it gets slippery underfoot, stoats make their own fur bedding, and snow monkeys find a warm bath. Emperor penguins are built for the cold weather, but even they must find their own tricks to endure the world's most savage winter.
This special, narrated by Andrew Scott, celebrates the drama of Autumn and how animals and plants deal with the new challenges it brings. This is the time of year that brings the world's most spectacular transformations. With winter fast approaching, life has to get ready and that means feeding up while you can, fighting for the last chance to breed and rushing to grow up before the cold returns. While chipmunks and beavers dash to stash their winter supplies, many animals from musk oxen to beetles have to battle for mates and young gannets must face life's first dangerous challenges.
This programme, narrated by Andrew Scott, celebrates the glorious nature of summer on Earth and the extraordinary ways animals and plants rise to the challenges it brings. With the sun shining and the flowers blooming, this is the season of splendid abundance, and the long hours of daylight make life burst out in a riot of activity. But you have to find clever ways to get your share of the good times while they last, and as temperatures soar, everything has to deal with sweltering heat. For a whole range of animals, from sneaky ring-tailed lemurs to battling ibex, and from overheated penguins to astonishing colour-changing lizards, summer is a time when the living is not always easy.
New discoveries are challenging everything we know about black holes -- astronomers are beginning to question if they even exist. The latest science tries to explain how they work & what they look like, despite the fact we've never actually seen one.
Freeman's quest to understand what makes a rebellion successful brings him face-to-face with exiles, whistleblowers, hackers and movement leaders. From Berlin to Bolivia to the United States, he'll see the courage, dedication, hard work and hope that it takes to try to change the world.
Can we find a way to distribute power so that everyone has their say? A U.S. president explains the challenges of making decisions that affect hundreds of millions of lives, and Freeman learns about an African woman who has created a society without men. He explores how the rise of the internet may fundamentally change how democracy works.
Can we bridge the divide between "us" and "them"? At a time when the whole world seems to be polarizing into irreconcilable camps, Morgan Freeman sets out on a journey in search of the forces that push us apart, from intolerance of differences to fear of outsiders, and the possibilities of coming together.
Can love change the world? Morgan Freeman is on a global quest to understand how this primal force binds us together as a species. From orphanages to battlefields, from arranged marriages to life on the streets, Freeman sees how love can be found in unexpected places - and how this force inspires us all.
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?
Freeman travels around the world in search of a greater understanding of the concept of freedom. From solitary confinement and forced labor camps, to social taboos and laws that hinder speech and expression, freedom seems to be a constant struggle. As individuals and as entire nations, we are confronted with the question: Will we all ever be truly free?
It begins when journalist Craig Leeson, searching for the elusive blue whale, discovers plastic waste in what should be pristine ocean. Craig teams up with free diver Tanya Streeter and an international team of scientists and researchers, and they travel to twenty locations around the world over the next four years to explore the fragile state of our oceans, uncover alarming truths about plastic pollution, and reveal working solutions that can be put into immediate effect.
2016 • Environment
David Attenborough attempts to animate the life of the ichthyosaur whose 200-million-year-old fossil remains were found on Britain's Jurassic coast. Using state-of-the-art imaging technology and CGI, the team reconstruct the skeleton and create the most detailed animation of an ichthyosaur ever made. Along the way, they stumble into a 200-million-year-old murder mystery - and only painstaking forensic investigation can unravel the story of this extraordinary creature's fate.
2018 • Nature
Chris Packham explores a childhood fantasy - discovering the true animal behind centuries of Hollywood misrepresentation. Using knowledge from groundbreaking paleontological discoveries and utilising the latest CGI wizardry, Chris creates the most authentic T-Rex ever.
2018 • Nature
Samsara is a documentary that explores the world through images to discover the connection between humanity and nature. The film was shot in 25 different countries over 5 years to deliver a powerful and unique insight into natural wonders, disaster zones and sacred places around the world. The world Samsara means “The ever turning wheel of life”; a Tibetan word which is something Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson have explored in a precisely filmed documentary using 70mm camera specially made for the film as well as using a dynamic music score. Prepare for a journey through the human soul.
2011 • People
David Attenborough is in the Swiss Jura Mountains to discover the secrets of a giant. Beneath his feet lies a vast network of tunnels and chambers, home to a huge empire of ants. It is believed to be one of the largest animal societies in the world, where over a billion ants from rival colonies live in peace. Their harmonious existence breaks many of the rules for both ants and evolution, and raises some important questions. Through winter, spring and into summer, David turns detective to find the answers.
Supersonic tells the phenomenal story of iconic band Oasis - in their own words. Featuring extensive unseen archive, the film charts the meteoric rise of Oasis from the council estates of Manchester to some of the biggest concerts of all time in just three short years. This palpable, raw and moving account shines a light on one of the most genre and generation-defining British bands that has ever existed, and features footage of new interviews with Noel and Liam Gallagher, their mother and members of the band and road crew.
2017 • Music
66 million years ago a seven-mile-wide asteroid collided with Earth, triggering a chain of events suspected of ending the dinosaurs' reign. But experts have long debated exactly what happened when the asteroid struck and how the giant beasts met their end. Now, scientists have uncovered compelling new clues about the catastrophe - from New Jersey to the wilds of Patagonia, and an international expedition of scientists has drilled into the impact crater off the coast of Mexico, recovering crucial direct evidence of the searing energy and giant tsunami unleashed by the asteroid. Join NOVA as scientists piece together a chillingly precise unfolding of the Earth's biggest cataclysm, moment by moment. And discover how our early mammalian ancestors managed to survive and repopulate the Earth.
The birth of our Solar System was both violent and chaotic. As planets formed around our Sun, gravity and luck determined their fate: some are tossed into the Sun, others thrown into interstellar space, never to return. It is survival of the fittest, on an interplanetary scale.
2017 • Astronomy
Riding onboard with a cheetah, a green turtle and a white-tailed sea eagle as they show us around their respective homes. With natural sounds and elegant embedded graphics delivering information, this is an immersive journey into their world like no other. Each section rides onboard with one of the animals as it shows us around its world. Revealing how they go through their daily routines, journey across different parts of their homes and introduce us to the other animals they share them with, in this extraordinary immersive show. A trio of cheetahs hunting on the Namibian bushveld, a green turtle cruising the reefs of Indonesia and a white-tailed sea eagle as it soars above the west coast of Scotland. All the animals are part of ongoing scientific studies or research projects, they are habituated or trained to carry small, lightweight cameras capable of capturing images in high definition. With often bespoke technology developed and pioneered by research scientists and the teams from Blue Planet II and forthcoming series Animals With Cameras. This is the core of this immersive BBC Four series that reveals the natural world through the perspective of its subjects, and has afforded the scientific community an even deeper understanding of their subjects.
2017 • Nature
Sophie looks at one skill in particular that seems to give humans an advantage over all other animals - our superior talent for language. She explores what language really is, and how close other animals come to having it. She considers the world of primates and the theory that some apes may communicate through sign language, and reveals how, even in the womb, humans start to practise making the mouth movements needed for speech. But language isn't just a power to combine words. Professor Scott explores how we convey information through the tone of voice, our accents and the pace and pitch of our speech. But in a world when we regularly talk to computers, she also shows why scientists need to develop machines that can understand the subtleties of our speech. Finally, she looks at language in this digital age and explores the role that emojis play.
Sophie explores the world of silent communication in the animal kingdom and the human world - showing how much we can actually say without ever opening our mouths or making a noise. She reveals how some species have harnessed bacteria to generate light and how light messages are used by insects and deep-sea fish for a range of reasons, including attracting prey. Exploring how body language communicates huge amounts about us and other species, Professor Scott shows why a dog's wagging tail does not always mean it is happy and how humans can tell a lot about someone's state of mind from their posture alone. She reveals why yawns and smiles are contagious and how this can play a key role in social bonding and cohesion.
Sophie is joined in the theatre by chirping crickets, hissing cockroaches and groaning deer to reveal the very different ways that animals have adapted their bodies to send audible messages that are vital to their species. She also explores how and why the human voice evolved to become the most versatile sound producer in the natural world. She demonstrates what sound actually is and how it travels. Unpacking the power behind sound, she uses it to shatter glass and reveal how the human body can resonate in a way that amplifies our voices to send our messages further. She also explores how different species use very different frequencies to communicate and why humans can only hear a fraction of these animal messages. Finally, she investigates why we all have unique vocal prints, and how computers are learning to recognise these.
Planned Obsolescence is the deliberate shortening of product life spans to guarantee consumer demand. As a magazine for advertisers succinctly puts it: “The article that refuses to wear out is a tragedy of business “ - and a tragedy for the modern growth society which relies on an ever-accelerating cycle of production, consumption and throwing away. THE LIGHT BULB CONSPIRACY combines investigative research and rare archive footage to trace the untold story of Planned Obsolescence, from its beginnings in the 1920s with a secret cartel, set up expressly to limit the life span of light bulbs, to present-day stories involving cutting edge electronics (such as the iPod) and the growing spirit of resistance amongst ordinary consumers. This film travels to France, Germany, Spain and the US to find witnesses of a business practice which has become the basis of the modern economy, and brings back disquieting pictures from Africa where discarded electronics are piling up in huge cemeteries for electronic waste. Economists and environmentalists believe that the growth society as we know it is unsustainable in the long run and that Planned Obsolescence needs to become a thing of the past, as it is impossible to combine the limitless consumption of resources with a finite planet. But what are the alternatives? The film offers thought-provoking analysis by thinkers working on ways of saving both the economy and the environment, and presents hands-on stories showing entrepreneurs putting new business models into practice.
2010 • Economics
Richard Feynman was one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists and original thinkers of the 20th century. He rebuilt the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and it was for this work that he won the Nobel Prize in 1965. In 1981, he gave Horizon a candid interview, talking about many things close to his heart.
Can we imagine a film that would change the way people look at the ocean? Can we explain simply, to everyone, the greatest natural mystery of our planet? And lastly, can we help our children believe in a better and more sustainable world tomorrow? This is the triple challenge of a new cinema adventure signed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and editor- in-chief Michael Pitiot, who brings with him the scientific missions of TARA, a unique pool of researchers, oceanographers and biologists from several countries. Thanks to its astonishing photography, the film takes us on a magnificent and unprecedented journey into the heart of the least known regions of our planet. For more info visit goodplanet.org/
2012 • Environment
The Andes is the longest mountain range in the world and home to astonishing hidden worlds, extraordinary animals and remarkable people. A female puma and her three cubs hunt in the mountains of the frozen south. Spectacled bears search for water on scorched mountain forests and the descendants of the Inca gather in an ancient ceremony to build a bridge made from woven grass. High in the cloud forest, a newly discovered shape-shifting frog baffles scientists with its superpowers and in the Atacama desert - the driest place in the world - strange reptiles battle for access to precious water. This is the mountain range of surprise and wonder.
The highest mountain range on earth is home to extraordinary animals and remarkable ancient cultures. In the depths of winter, snow leopards creep into isolated mountain villages in search of food. In hidden valleys, bizarre-looking monkeys huddle for warmth in a frozen forest. Ancient Buddhist monasteries have age-old rituals creating beautiful works of art made from mountain sand and athletes compete in the gruelling Everest marathon. Strange and exotic creatures live in the Himalaya - the chiru, with the warmest wool in the world, snakes bathing in hot springs and wild yak competing in their annual rut. Breathtaking photography reveals a lost world of surprises in the latest landmark wildlife series from the BBC.
The Rockies are the spine of North America, a beautiful wilderness of snow-capped peaks and hidden valleys. Cougars hunt in abandoned ranches, wolverines search the deep snow for food and grizzly bears hunt in the high mountain meadows. Daredevil wingsuit flier’s leap from mile-high cliffs and Native American tribes compete in breakneck horse races. It is also the range of surprises, with tiny cannibal salamanders hunting in mountain ponds and hummingbirds making enormous migrations
Cats are said to hate water, crave warmth and only eat meat. But in episode three, Super Cats, viewers are introduced to the wild cats that break all the feline rules. From jaguars with sub-aqua skills to tigers that can survive temperatures of minus forty, the programme reveals how cats have developed super powers to survive in the most unlikely landscapes. As well as the iconic big cats, in this final episode viewers get a glimpse into the lives of the most rare and strange cats of all – including a real-life Garfield recently discovered living high in the Himalayas. It’s revealed how the cats’ ability to adapt to extremes has made them some of the most successful predators on the planet.
The second episode; tells the story of how wild predators became such popular pets. Kittens trigger an emotional reaction in us. Their baby-like features make us want to nurture them. Its part of the reason we brought cats into our homes. Viewers will discover how the animal’s amazing senses and mouse-catching prowess brought man and cat together ten thousand years ago. And how domestic cats are still evolving and will in the future become less wild, and more mild.
In the first episode and for the first time ever, the programme compares the humble moggy with their big cat cousins, gaining surprising insights into the entire cat family. In Africa, lion whisperer Kevin Richardson proves how similar domestic pets are to the fearsome big cats and why there's more to feline communication than meets the eye. In the thick jungles of South East Asia, the series discovers which sabre-tooth wild cat has given tabbies their gravity defying climbing skills and in Namibia, shows how a strange looking cat called a caracal has given them the ability to jump over three metres and catch birds in flight, inspiring the phrase "put the cat amongst the pigeons". To truly understand the world’s most beloved purring pets, there needs to be an understanding of their wild relatives.
Second Genesis follows planetary scientist Carolyn Porco as she explores what it takes to look for life beyond Earth, and what conditions are required for life to exist. Porco makes the case that Saturn’s moon Enceladus—with its plumes of water vapor spewing into space, confirmed organic materials, and evidence of hydrothermal vents at the bottom of its liquid ocean—is the most promising place to look. Could Enceladus be the key to proving once and for all that life is not unique to Earth? And what it would mean—both scientifically, and spiritually—if we found evidence of a true second genesis right here in our own galactic back yard?
2017 • Astronomy
The series concludes with Be My Baby, which reflects on the evolution of rock 'n' roll music and its impact in America, including Buddy Holly's tragic death in a plane crash in 1959 at the age of 22, the game-changing arrival of The Beatles in America in 1964, and everything in between. Philadelphia produced 'teen idols' like Fabian who were beamed around the country by the daily TV show Bandstand. Rock 'n' roll even fuelled the Motown sound in Detroit and soundtracked the sunshiny west coast dream from guitar instrumental groups like The Ventures to LA's emerging Beach Boys. In the early 60s, rock 'n' roll was birthing increasingly polished pop sounds across the States, but American teens seemed to have settled back into sensible young adulthood. Enter the long-haired boys from Liverpool, Newcastle and London.
In episode two, Whole Lotta Shakin', the rock 'n' roll story continues with the boom in the sound across America and its move into mainstream culture thanks to seminal TV appearances from Elvis, who made his small-screen debut with a rendition of Heartbreak Hotel before his notoriously sexualised performance of Hound Dog that caused shockwaves across conservative America. The programme explores the media's failed attempts to suppress the genre before wholesome Buddy Holly calmed the waters, converting geeky looks into chart success, before scandal again in 1958 with Elvis's conscription to the army and Jerry Lee Lewis's career suicide when he married his 13-year-old cousin.
Part one, Sweet Little Sixteen, focuses on the origins of the sound in 1950s America - a rhythm-driven mix of blues, boogie woogie and vocal harmony championed by young music pioneers such as Fats Domino and Little Richard, which was nurtured by small independent record labels and, pre-Civil Rights Act, drew young white and black kids together. This episode also discusses the start of Elvis Presley's career as a local singer in Memphis and examines the impact the film industry had on the movement. In particular, bad boy heartthrob Marlon Brando's iconic performance in 1953's The Wild One as the biker that ignited a rebellious spirit and style in teens across America, and 1955's Blackboard Jungle, which featured Bill Haley & His Comets' Rock Around The Clock, which went on to become the first rock 'n' roll number one and an anthem for the country's disaffected youth.
In 1957, Britain exploded its first megaton hydrogen bomb - codenamed Operation Grapple X. It was the culmination of an extraordinary scientific project, which against almost insuperable odds turned Britain into a nuclear superpower. Featuring access to the top-secret nuclear research facility at Aldermaston, the programme features interviews with veterans and scientists who took part in the atomic bomb programme, some speaking for the first time, and newly released footage of the British atomic bomb tests.
2017 • History
The contrast between the majestic statues of Easter Island and the desolation of their surroundings is stark. For decades Easter Island, or Rapa Nui as the islanders call it, has been seen as a warning from history for the planet as a whole - wilfully expend natural resources and the collapse of civilisation is inevitable. But archaeologist Dr Jago Cooper believes this is a disastrous misreading of what happened on Easter Island. He believes that its culture was a success story not a failure, and the real reasons for its ultimate demise were far more shocking. Cooper argues that there is an important lesson that the experience of Easter Island can teach the rest of the world, but it doesn't begin by blaming its inhabitants for their own downfall. This film examines the latest scientific and archaeological evidence to reveal a compelling new narrative, one that sees the famous statues as only part of a complex culture that thrived in isolation. Cooper finds a path between competing theories about what happened to Easter Island to make us see this unique place in a fresh light.
2014 • History
In Japan, one couple gets divorced every 2 minutes. Often, the wife initiates the split. Many women say their partners don't understand their feelings, while many husbands seem unaware of the daily stress this can create. The latest research suggests that common marital misunderstandings are rooted in differences between the male and female brain. The problems couples experience today are the result of millions of years of evolution. This program uses findings from neuroscience to explore the issue, and suggests ways for couples to strengthen their bonds.
2017 • Lifehack
Dallas Campbell looks back through almost 50 years of the Horizon archives to chart the scientific breakthroughs that have transformed our understanding of the universe. From Einstein's concept of spacetime to alien planets and extra dimensions, science has revealed a cosmos that is more bizarre and more spectacular than could have ever been imagined. But with every breakthrough, even more intriguing mysteries that lie beyond are found. This great journey of discovery is only just beginning.
Sleep has long been regarded as nothing more than a way to charge our batteries. But what if it can control our weight, allow us to make memories, and help us to fight off diseases like Alzheimer’s? We travel the world to investigate how revolutionary new technology has revealed the sleeping brain as an energetic and purposeful machine.
2016 • Health
Imagine a world without the power to capture or transmit sound. Journey with Steven Johnson to the Arcy sur Cure caves in northern France, where he finds the first traces of the desire to record sound — 30,000 years ago. He also learns about the difference that radio made in the civil rights movement and reveals the Hollywood star who designed a WW2 weapon that would make possible the modern cell phone network. During an ultrasound on a pregnant dolphin, he realizes just how big a role sound has played in medicine. The unsung heroes of sound have had an impact on our working lives, race relations, saving lives and the radical alteration of cities.
Only in the last 200 years have humans learned how to make things cold. Steven Johnson explains how ice entrepreneur Frederic Tudor made ice delivery one of the biggest export business in the U.S. and describes the place where Clarence Birdseye, the father of the frozen food industry, experienced his eureka moment. He also travels to Dubai to see how mastery of cold has led to penguins in the desert. From IVF to food, politics and Hollywood to human migration, the unsung heroes of cold have led the way.
Steven Johnson relates the story of people who take us out of the dark and into the light. Hear about Edison’s light bulb, which he didn’t actually invent, and learn how an 18th-century shipping community discovered a source of illumination by putting a kid inside a whale’s head. See how a French scientist accidentally discovered how to create neon light, leading to a revolution in advertising. Dispelling the myth of the individual “eureka” moment, Johnson reveals that teamwork and collaboration led the way to the most transformative ideas. Whether, altering the world’s sleeping patterns, giving rise to mass spectator sports, revolutionizing how global business is done or triggering one of the great social reforms in American history, the pioneers of light have made themselves indispensable throughout human history.
Join Steven Johnson and consider how the invention of the mirror spurred on the Renaissance, how glass lenses allow us to reveal worlds within worlds and how, deep beneath the ocean, glass is essential to communication. Johnson learns about the daring exploits of glassmakers who were forced to work under threat of the death penalty, a physics teacher who liked to fire molten glass from a crossbow and a scientist whose tinkering with a glass lens allowed 600 million people to see a man set foot on the moon. The link between the worlds of art, science, astronomy, disease prevention and global communication starts with the little-known maverick innovators of glass.
Board a submarine with Steven Johnson to discover what a lack of natural light means for a sailor’s working day and visit Heathrow, the world’s busiest airport, to try to get timings right at air traffic control. The story of getting a grip on time is full of curious garage tinkerers. One of them, railway clerk William F. Allen, was so exasperated by the chaos caused by the hundreds of local times zones in the U.S. that he fought tirelessly to standardize time into four zones. Learn how advancements in navigation, the way we work, technology and travel would have been impossible without the unsung heroes of time.
Dirty water has killed more humans than all the wars of history combined, but in the last 150 years, a series of radical ideas, extraordinary innovations and unsung heroes have changed our world. Steven Johnson plunges into a sewer to understand what made a maverick engineer decide to lift the city of Chicago with jackscrews in order to build America’s first sewer system. He talks about John Leal, who deliberately “poisoned” the water supply of 200,000 people when, without authorization, he added chlorine, considered lethal in 1908, into Jersey City’s water and made it safe to drink. This isn’t only about the world becoming a cleaner place — the iPhone, the subway, flat screen TVs and even the two piece swimsuit are the result of the valiant efforts of the unsung heroes of clean.
Channel 4 investigation looks into Coca Cola’s fight back on the incoming sugar tax, its close ties with influential scientists and some of the private lengths they are going to undermine a raft of public policy initiatives. The Coca Cola Company controls half the global soft drinks market; the one issue at the top of their agenda is a sugar tax.
The Horizon team have gathered together a team of scientists and doctors to investigate the incredible, natural material that is growing out of our heads - our hair. With access to the research laboratories of some of the world's leading hair care companies, including L'Oreal and ghd, the team explore the latest cutting-edge research and technology designed to push the boundaries of hair and hair care. Each one of us has a unique head of hair - an average of 150,000 individual hair strands growing approximately one centimetre every month. Over your lifetime, that is over 800 miles. The time and effort we put into styling, sculpting and maintaining this precious material has created a global hair care market worth a staggering 60 billion pounds. With such high stakes, it is inevitable that when developing hair-care products, science and business operate hand in hand. The team reveal how this industry science compares to the rigorous academic standards that they are used to. These investigations also reveal why we care so much about our hair, and whether or not it is worth splashing out on expensive shampoos. They uncover the magic ingredients found in conditioners and lay bare the secrets of the shiny, glossy hair seen in the adverts.
We all feel qualified to talk about the weather but despite it going on around us all the time, many of its secrets are hidden from view. All weather, even the everyday stuff, is riddled with mystery and wonder, though you may not think so when caught without an umbrella. Find out how weather happens when the forces of wind, water and temperature collide, combine and even occasionally cooperate.
2015 • Environment
David Attenborough narrates the intimate story of a leopard mother and her two cubs. This very special family must survive in the wilds of Botswana alongside some less-than-friendly neighbours: lions, wild dogs and hyenas. The competition for food is tough, and if they are going to make it they must learn a new skill - they must learn to fish. This is an epic family drama. With them every step of the way is local cameraman Brad Bestelink. Brad's 18-month journey following the lives of these secretive big cats offers a rare glimpse into an otherwise hidden world.
The Galapagos Islands are home to some animals that washed up on the islands millions of years ago and have made adaptations. Penguins, iguanas, tortoises and cormorants have changed so they can survive the harsh climate. But possibly the oddest adaptation is that of the Vampire finch.
The incredible reef life and the birds, lizards and reptiles who cope with the lava rock islands of the Galapagos make this remote series of islands a unique natural habitat. The Panama and Humboldt currents regulate the seasons and the rhythm of life onshore and off.
Adventurer and journalist Simon Reeve heads to Cuba to find a communist country in the middle of a capitalist revolution. Two years ago Cuba announced the most sweeping and radical economic reforms the country has seen in decades. From ending state rationing to cutting one million public-sector jobs, one of the last communist bastions in the world has begun rolling back the state on an unprecedented scale. Simon Reeve meets ordinary Cubans whose lives are being transformed, from the owners of fledgling businesses to the newly rich estate agents selling properties worth up to 750,000. Simon gets under the skin of a colourful and vibrant country famous for its hospitality and humour and asks if this new economic openness could lead to political liberalisation in a totalitarian country with a poor human rights record. Will Cuba be able to maintain the positive aspects of its long isolation under socialism - low crime, top-notch education and one of the best health systems in the world - while embracing what certainly looks like capitalism? Is this the last chance to see Cuba before it becomes just like any other country?
What new methods of analysis have been developed in the age-old struggle to discover if someone is telling the truth...or not? Some scientists have gone beyond the polygraph to model other ways of detecting whether we are getting a straight answer or being led down a crooked path.
2017 • Brain
In the final part of the series Bettany Hughes recalls the time that marked Rome's symbolic break with its 1,000-year pagan past - the day in 337AD that Emperor Constantine the Great was baptised a Christian. It was a moment of profound significance not just for the empire, but for the history of the world and one of its major religions. Constantine was one of the last great Roman emperors to rule over a united empire, giving it a new capital - Constantinople, today known as Istanbul - a city which would one day eclipse Rome as the greatest city on Earth.
Bettany Hughes explores the day in 80AD when the Colosseum opened its gates for the first time. For new emperor Titus, the spectacular games and events were an opportunity to win over the people and secure his place on the imperial throne, but why did the Romans - cultured and civilised in so many ways - enjoy witnessing such brutality and bloodletting? Bettany travels across the Roman world in a bid to find answers.
On 9th June 68 AD, Nero, Emperor of Rome, took his own life with the help of a servant, as troops came to arrest him for crimes against the state. His death ended the empire's first dynasty and ushered in an age of anarchy and civil war. With the aid of evidence from across the Roman world, including Nero's Golden House, Bettany examines his reign, his character and his relationships with his mother Agrippina, the Senate and the Roman populace.
Beginning with the day, around 60 AD, when Roman troops invaded Boudica's settlement, flogged her and raped her daughters, Bettany Hughes reveals the stark realities of brutal Roman rule. The outrage provoked the Iceni queen to lead a revolt that came perilously close to ending the Roman occupation of Britannia.
Presenter Bettany Hughes explores the day in 32BC when Octavian, Julius Caesar's adopted son, stole the secret will of Mark Antony, his most dangerous political rival. The document's release gave Octavian crucial support in the civil war that followed and allowed him to establish himself as Rome's first emperor, Augustus.
Presenter Bettany Hughes explores the day in 49BC when, defying the Senate, Julius Caesar and his army crossed the river Rubicon, plunging the Republic into civil war. With the aid of the most recent archaeological finds and theories, she examines Caesar's character, his dealings with Crassus, Pompey the Great and Cicero, and how his quest for absolute power effectively sounded the death knell for the Roman Republic and paved the way for dictatorial rule.
In 73 BC, Spartacus broke out of gladiator school and started the most terrifying slave revolt in Rome's history. Visiting Pompeii, southern Italy and the British Museum, Bettany explores the importance and appalling reality of slavery in ancient Rome and how the revolt played a major role in shaping Rome's political future. She also reveals that not all of Spartacus's followers were slaves.
Bettany Hughes recalls eight pivotal days that defined the Roman Empire and its establishment as the world's first superpower. She begins by exploring the day in 202BC when Rome defeated the might of Carthage under Hannibal at the Battle of Zama in modern-day Tunisia "Eight Days That Made Rome is a docu-drama that leaves behind the conventional chronologies of Rome's thousand-year history and brings razor-sharp focus to eight days that created, tested and defined its greatness. Each programme works as a stand-alone, as strong in its own right as part of a series and reveals a Rome relevant to us today, with its noblest and darkest instincts still resonating in the world around us."
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.
There's a power revolution heading for our homes – a device that allows you to take power into your own hands. It starts with batteries, home batteries, and they've been called the holy grail of renewables – the key to the transition away from fossil fuels.
If you were told you could get fit with just a few minutes of exercise a week would you believe it? Anja Taylor looks at whether exercise impacts aging and if changes in your mitochondria resulting from exercise effectively retard aging.
For 10,000 years or more, humans created new plant varieties for food by trial and error and a touch of serendipity. Then 150 years ago, a new era began. Pioneer botanists unlocked the patterns found in different types of plants and opened the door to a new branch of science - plant genetics. They discovered what controlled the random colours of snapdragon petals and the strange colours found in wild maize. This was vital information. Some botanists even gave their lives to protect their collection of seeds. American wheat farmer Norman Borlaug was awarded the Nobel peace prize after he bred a new strain of wheat that lifted millions of people around the world out of starvation. Today, botanists believe advances in plant genetics hold the key to feeding the world's growing population.
The air we breathe, and all the food we eat, is created from water, sunlight, carbon dioxide and a few minerals. It sounds simple, but this process is one of the most fascinating and complicated in all of science, and without it there could be no life on earth. For centuries people believed that plants grew by eating soil. In the 17th century, pioneer botanists began to make the connection between the growth of a plant and the energy from the sun. They discovered how plants use water, sunlight and carbon dioxide to produce sugars - how, in fact, a plant grows. The process of photosynthesis is still at the heart of scientific research today, with universities across the world working hard to replicate in the lab what plants do with ruthless efficiency. Their goal is to produce a clean, limitless fuel and if they get it right it will change all our lives.
What makes plants grow is a simple enough question, but the answer turns out to be one of the most complicated and fascinating stories in science and took over 300 years to unravel. Timothy Walker, director of the Oxford University Botanic Garden, reveals how the breakthroughs of Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, Chelsea gardener Phillip Miller and English naturalist John Ray created the science of botany. Between them these quirky, temperamental characters unlocked the mysteries of the plant kingdom and they began to glimpse a world where bigger, better and stronger plants could be created. Nurseryman Thomas Fairchild created the world's first artificial hybrid flower - an entirely new plant that didn't exist in nature. Today, botanists continue the search for new flowers, better crops and improved medicines to treat life-threatening diseases.
Professor Simon Schaffer presents the amazing and untold story of automata - extraordinary clockwork machines designed hundreds of years ago to mimic and recreate life. The film brings the past to life in vivid detail as we see how and why these masterpieces were built. Travelling around Europe, Simon uncovers the history of these machines and shows us some of the most spectacular examples, from an entire working automaton city to a small boy who can be programmed to write and even a device that can play chess. All the machines Simon visits show a level of technical sophistication and ambition that still amazes today. As well as the automata, Simon explains in great detail the world in which they were made - the hardship of the workers who built them, their role in global trade and the industrial revolution and the eccentric designers who dreamt them up. Finally, Simon reveals that to us that these long-forgotten marriages of art and engineering are actually the ancestors of many of our most loved modern technologies, from recorded music to the cinema and much of the digital world.
2013 • Physics
What is UBI? How would free money change our lives.
A spectacular journey to the birth of stars and matter a billion years after the big bang. Scientists look for evidence of an extraordinary phenomenon known as the Cosmic Dawn, a dramatic moment in the history of the universe when the very first stars were created.
2015 • Astronomy
Technology isn’t just changing our lives. It’s literally changing our brains -- and maybe for the better. In this episode, I’m a human lab rat in a groundbreaking study at UC Irvine, where scientists test how playing 3D video games affects my spatial memory. Will 10 days of gaming improve my ability to physically navigate a giant, 60-foot maze? And will an fMRI machine detect any physical changes to my brain?
Psychology. Neuroscience. Drugs. All can be tools of interrogation. In this episode, an expert shows me how to coerce unsuspecting subjects into signing false confessions; a police psychologist questions me about my personal life after I am injected with a truth serum; and I match wits against a new brainwave-reading lie-detection method developed at Northwestern University.
Do psychedelic drugs really bring about self-healing and personal enlightenment? New research says they may. In this episode, I travel to the Amazonian jungle of Peru to experience the mind-expanding effects of the psychedelic brew Ayahuasca.
Would you reroute a train to run over one person to prevent it from running over five others? In the classic “Trolley Problem” survey, most people say they would. But I wanted to test what people would actually do in a real-life situation. In the world’s first realistic simulation of this controversial moral dilemma, unsuspecting subjects will be forced to make what they believe is a life-or-death decision.
Take a look back at many of the most fascinating science stories of 2017, a year full of stunning advancements in individual fields of study, from astronomy to biology, geology to history – when we piece these discoveries together we see the year in a new light.
2017 • Science
In this final episode, Iolo explores bird design - from their ability to fly to the way that their beak design, colour and camouflage enable them to live in the many habitats Wales has to offer. Using ultra-slow motion photography, Iolo looks at how garden birds have such control over take off and landing, and explains why fulmars are one of our most supreme fliers.
In this fourth episode, Iolo Williams explores how birds in Wales have adapted to living alongside us, making use of our buildings, parks and gardens and even the waste we throw away. One of the most notorious urban birds is the gull and Iolo explains why these very adaptable and intelligent birds are doing so well in Cardiff
In this episode, Iolo investigates the courtship and nesting behaviour of birds, including the amazing courtship display of great crested grebes at a reservoir near Pontypool, the impressive sky dance of hen harriers in the dramatic Cambrian Mountains, how nuthatch use mud like cement to prepare their nest in a woodland near Harlech, and why long-tailed tits near Newtown are exceptional nest builders. On the Lleyn Peninsula near Trefor, he looks at why one colony of shags nest earlier than any others in Wales, and in Pembrokeshire he finds out where house martins nested before they used our buildings. Iolo also looks at the variety of places birds like to nest, from little ringed plovers on shingle banks along the River Tywi to puffins underground on Skomer.
In this first episode, he investigates how and why birds communicate, looking at the reasons snipe use their tail feathers to make a very distinctive noise and what's happening when thousands of starlings participate in stunning aerial displays in Aberystwyth.
At the coast, two worlds collide. Coasts is the story of how our Blue Planet’s wildlife survives in this ever changing world. It’s a roller-coaster ride of heart stopping action and epic drama, with characters from beautiful to bizarre. This episode is a rollercoaster ride of heart-stopping action and epic drama, peopled with characters from the beautiful to the bizarre. We meet fish that live on dry land and puffins that must travel 60 miles or more for a single meal, and witness a life-and-death struggle in a technicolour rock pool.
Twelve billion miles away a tiny spaceship is leaving our solar system and entering the void of deep space. It is the first human-made object ever to do so. Slowly dying within its heart is a plutonium generator that will beat for perhaps another decade before the lights on Voyager finally go out. But this little craft will travel on for millions of years, carrying a Golden Record bearing recordings and images of life on Earth. The story of Voyager is an epic of human achievement, personal drama and almost miraculous success. Launched 16 days apart in 1977, the twin Voyager space probes have defied all the odds, survived countless near misses and almost 40 years later continue to beam revolutionary information across unimaginable distances. With less computing power than a modern hearing aid, they have unlocked the stunning secrets of our solar system. This film tells the story of these magnificent machines, the men and women who built them and the vision that propelled them farther than anyone could ever have hoped.
Dr George McGavin investigates the highly varied and dramatic life of oak tree. Part science documentary, part historical investigation, this film is a celebration of one of the most iconic trees in the British countryside. It aims to give viewers a sense of what an extraordinary species the oak is and provide an insight into how this venerable tree experiences life.
2017 • Nature
The surprising story of the hidden powerhouse behind the globalised world - the diesel engine, a 19th-century invention that has become indispensable to the 21st century. It's a turtle versus hare tale in which the diesel engine races the petrol engine in a competition to replace ageing steam technology - a race eventually won hands down by diesel. Splendidly, car enthusiast presenter Mark Evans gets excitedly hands on with some of the many applications of Mr Diesel's - yes, there was one - original creation, from vintage submarines and tractors to locomotive trains and container ships. You'll never feel the same about that humble old diesel family car again.
Footage of wildlife inhabiting underwater kelp forests, including thousands of giant cuttlefish spawning along a restricted area of rocky reef off the south coast of Australia. Males outnumber females 11 to one, which leads to fierce competition. Larger males use brute force to drive off competition, while their smaller rivals use deception by mimicking the appearance of females. The programme also features tiger sharks hunting for green turtles in fields of seagrass and spider crabs trying to avoid predators while they shed their shells.
NOVA and National Geographic present exclusive access to a unique discovery of ancient remains. Located in an almost inaccessible chamber deep in a South African cave, the site required recruiting a special team of experts slender enough to wriggle down a vertical, pitch-dark, seven-inch-wide passage. Most fossil discoveries of human relatives consist of just a handful of bones. But down in this hidden chamber, the team uncovered an unprecedented trove—so far, over 1,500 bones—with the potential to rewrite the story of our origins. They may help fill in a crucial gap in the fossil record and tell us how Homo, the first member of the human family, emerged from ape-like ancestors like the famous Lucy. But how did hundreds of bones end up in the remote chamber? The experts are considering every mind-boggling possibility. Join NOVA on the treacherous descent into this cave of spectacular and enigmatic finds, and discover their startling implications for the saga of what made us human.
Our first steps into space were leaps into the unknown. Outer space is still the most hostile environment ever encountered, but someday, we may be forced to leave earth in order to save our species. The question now is whether human ingenuity can overcome the human body’s limitations.
After we reached the moon, NASA refocused energy on mastering routine spaceflight and living in earth orbit. With the retirement of the Shuttle program, we explore the massive contributions Low Earth Orbit operations have brought to our lives and watch the new guys in town spread their wings, ready to take their place in space history
NASA is sizing up a new but familiar challenge: how to transport humans back into deep space - to the moon, to Mars, to asteroids, and beyond. New destinations require new hardware - more powerful rockets and radical new landing modules. Venture back to our early space adventures with Buzz Aldrin, Jim Lovell and NASA experts and learn about the successes and failures of the Apollo missions. Follow today's technicians as they reach for the stars by learning from these lessons of the past. The programme also looks at the extreme power created by an SLS rocket during a test at the Stennis Space Centre in Mississippi, along with NASA’s latest multi-purpose crew vehicle
The first episode of Space Voyages looks at the Mars Curiosity Rover - an incredible 21st century machine. And it would never have been possible without the accomplishments of early NASA astronauts and engineers. Everything was new – rocket science, astronaut survival – even simply steering in space! This is the story of how both humans and robots laid the foundations for space exploration that continues today.
The Mona Lisa: bewitching, seductive, world famous. In the minds of millions, she is the ultimate work of art. Yet behind the enigmatic smile, she remains a mystery, fuelling endless speculation and theories. But is that all about to change? Is the world's most famous painting finally giving up its secrets? Presented by Andrew Graham-Dixon, this landmark film uses new evidence to investigate the truth behind her identity and where she lived. It decodes centuries-old documents and uses state-of-the-art technology that could unlock the long-hidden truths of history's most iconic work of art.
2015 • Design
Sagan reflects on the future of humanity and the question of "who speaks for Earth?" when meeting extraterrestrials. He discusses the very different meetings of the Tlingit people and explorer Jean-Francois de La Perouse with the destruction of the Aztecs by Spanish conquistadors, the looming threat of nuclear warfare, and the threats shown by destruction of the Library of Alexandria and the murder of Hypatia. The episode ends with an overview of the beginning of the universe, the evolution of life, and the accomplishments of humanity and makes a plea to mankind to cherish life and continue its journey in the cosmos. The Cosmos Update notes the preliminary reconnaissance of planets with spacecraft, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of apartheid in South Africa, and measures towards the reduction of nuclear weapons.
Questions are raised about the search for intelligent life beyond the Earth, with UFOs and other close encounters refuted in favor of communications through SETI and radio telescope such as the Arecibo Observatory. The probability of technically advanced civilizations existing elsewhere in the Milky Way is interpreted using the Drake equation and a future hypothetical Encyclopedia Galactica is discussed as a repository of information about other worlds in the galaxy. The Cosmos Update notes that there have been fewer sightings of UFOs and more stories of abductions, while mentioning the META scanning the skies for signals.
The idea of intelligence is explored in the concepts of computers (using bits as their basic units of information), whales (in their songs and their disruptions by human activities), DNA, the human brain (the evolution of the brain stem, frontal lobes, neurons, cerebral hemispheres, and corpus callosum under the Triune Brain Model), and man-made structures for collective intelligence (cities, libraries, books, computers, and satellites). The episode ends with speculation on alien intelligence and the information conveyed on the Voyager Golden Record.
Beginning with the origins of the universe in the Big Bang, Sagan describes the formation of different types of galaxies and anomalies such as galactic collisions and quasars. The episodes moves further into ideas about the structure of the Universe, such as different dimensions (in the imaginary Flatland and four-dimensional hypercubes), an infinite vs. a finite universe, and the idea of an oscillating Universe (similar to that in Hindu cosmology). The search into other ideas such as dark matter and the multiverse is shown, using tools such as the Very Large Array in New Mexico. Cosmos Update shows new information about the odd, irregular surfaces of galaxies and the Milky Way perhaps being a barred spiral galaxy.
The simple act of making an apple pie is extrapolated into the atoms and subatomic particles (electrons, protons, and neutrons) necessary. Many of the ingredients necessary are formed of chemical elements formed in the life and deaths of stars (such as our own Sun), resulting in massive red giants and supernovae or collapsing into white dwarfs, neutron stars, pulsars, and even black holes. These produce all sorts of phenomena, such as radioactivity, cosmic rays, and even the curving of spacetime by gravity. Cosmos Update mentions the supernova SN 1987A and neutrino astronomy.
Ideas about time and space are explored in the changes that constellations undergo over time, the redshift and blue shift measured in interstellar objects, time dilation in Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, the designs of both Leonardo da Vinci and spacecraft that could travel near light speed, time travel and its hypothetical effects on human history, the origins of the Solar System, the history of life, and the immensity of space. In Cosmos Update, the idea of faster-than-light travel by wormholes (researched by Kip Thorne and shown in Sagan’s novel Contact) is discussed.
Carl Sagan teaches students in a classroom in his childhood home in Brooklyn, New York, which leads into a history of the different mythologies about stars and the gradual revelation of their true nature. In ancient Greece, some philosophers (Aristarchus of Samos, Thales of Miletus, Anaximander, Theodorus of Samos, Empedocles, Democritus) freely pursue scientific knowledge, while others (Plato, Aristotle, and the Pythagoreans) advocate slavery and epistemic secrecy.
The journeys of the Voyager probes is put in the context of the Netherlands in the seventeenth century, with a centuries-long tradition of sailing ship explorers, and its contemporary thinkers (such as Constantijn Huygens and his son Christian). Their discoveries are compared to the Voyager probes' discoveries among the Jovian and Saturn systems. In Cosmos Update, image processing reconstructs Voyager’s worlds and Voyager’s last portrait of the Solar System as it leaves is shown.
The episode, devoted to the planet Mars, begins with scientific and fictional speculation about the Red Planet during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, Edgar Rice Burroughs' science fiction books, and Percival Lowell's false vision of canals on Mars). It then moves to Robert Goddard's early experiments in rocket-building, inspired by reading science fiction, and the work by Mars probes, including the Viking, searching for life on Mars. The episode ends with the possibility of the terraforming and colonization of Mars and a Cosmos Update on the relevance of Mars' environment to Earth's and the possibility of a manned mission to Mars.
Sagan discusses comets and asteroids as planetary impactors, giving recent examples of the Tunguska event and a lunar impact described by Canterbury monks in 1178. It moves to a description of the environment of Venus, from the previous fantastic theories of people such as Immanuel Velikovsky to the information gained by the Venera landers and its implications for Earth's greenhouse effect. The Cosmos Update highlights the connection to global warming.
Beginning with the separation of the fuzzy thinking and pious fraud of astrology from the careful observations of astronomy, Sagan follows the development of astronomical observation. Beginning with constellations and ceremonial calendars (such as those of the Anasazi), the story moves to the debate between Earth and Sun-centered models: Ptolemy and the geocentric worldview, Copernicus' theory, the data-gathering of Tycho Brahe, and the achievements of Johannes Kepler (Kepler's laws of planetary motion and the first science-fiction novel).
Sagan discusses the story of the Heike crab and artificial selection of crabs resembling samurai warriors, as an opening into a larger discussion of evolution through natural selection (and the pitfalls of intelligent design). Among the topics are the development of life on the Cosmic Calendar and the Cambrian explosion; the function of DNA in growth; genetic replication, repairs, and mutation; the common biochemistry of terrestrial organisms; the creation of the molecules of life in the Miller-Urey experiment; and speculation on alien life (such as life in Jupiter's clouds). In the Cosmos Update ten years later, Sagan remarks on RNA also controlling chemical reactions and reproducing itself and the different roles of comets (potentially carrying organic molecules or causing the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event).
Carl Sagan opens the program with a description of the cosmos and a "Spaceship of the Imagination" (shaped like a dandelion seed). The ship journeys through the universe's hundred billion galaxies, the Local Group, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Milky Way, the Orion Nebula, our Solar System, and finally the planet Earth. Eratosthenes' successful calculation of the circumference of Earth leads to a description of the ancient Library of Alexandria. Finally, the "Ages of Science" are described, before pulling back to the full span of the Cosmic Calendar. Note: This revised version of the series adds an introduction by Ann Druyan, in which she discusses some of the changes that occurred in the years after its broadcast.
Science explains why some cleaning methods work better than others, and that we do not need to purchase multiple cleansers when a few basic ingredients from our pantry and our local pharmacy can get the entire house spic and span.
The Boeing 787 according to its manufacturers is a revolution in air travel. Similar to the Airbus A380, the plane is made from carbon fiber reinforced plastics and aluminum glass fiber materials which are lighter and more resistant to fatigue. It is one of many planes that have been developed to reduce the carbon footprint while improving space, comfort and entertainment for its passengers.
Traditionally, regulators had insisted that all passenger aircraft be powered by at least three engines. But the development of more sophisticated airplanes eventually made twin-engine, long-distance travel feasible. A new standard was introduced, known as Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards, or ETOPS.
The Boeing 737 twin-engine jetliner was to become Boeing's greatest success. It had one of the lowest approach speeds of any jet transport, a great asset when landing at smaller airports with shorter runways. It also required minimum equipment for use in refueling. However, despite all its advantages, the 737 was soon overshadowed by the new, improved 747 Jumbo Jet.
Britain and France collaborated to build the world's first Concorde, a jet that could traverse the Atlantic in just 3 hours, at twice the speed of sound. The all-metal Trident jet was a popular choice for airlines but couldn't compete with the glamour and allure of the Concorde
In the early years, air fields were more concerned with utility than comfort with the first passengers becoming used to enduring the elements as they walked out to their flight. As the popularity of air transport increased, cities recognized the need to provide better service to passengers, and airports grew in design, to become the hub of activity and convenience they are today.
Airlines began to spring up everywhere, catering to the demands of passengers wanting to go just about anywhere, but the flights were only domestic at the time. Pre-war travel was sold as a luxury experience afforded only by the rich, but post war, the emphasis was on comfort and customer service for both the rich and middle class.
In 1966, British aviation expert Sir Frank Whittle was honored for his services to the aviation industry. Twenty-five years earlier, the aeronautical engineer had invented the jet engine, and ushered in a new era of air travel. On May the 15th, 1941, the first experimental flight using Whittle's engine took off over Cranwell, England and flew for 17 minutes, at a top speed of 545km per hour.
Seaplanes saw the dawn of the aviation industry as they could accommodate large numbers of passengers between continents, and only required a smooth body of water to land. Since the 1920's, advances in floatplane technology saw metal hulls introduced, a cantilevered design and single engine. Seaplanes continue to be an extremely popular mode of transportation.
The years following the First World War saw flying take off as serious business. Previously unimagined opportunities opened up, among them, skywriting and sightseeing tours. Flying became a bigger feature of life all around the world, not just as a novelty "adventure" for rich people but as a mode of transport available to just about anyone.
The decades following the First World War saw aircraft designers pushing the boundaries of aeronautical technology, moving the industry forward at a rapid pace. With new commercial markets opening up, it was the visionaries who held the key to success. Each invention promising a future filled with endless possibilities.
To fly an early airplane required skill, courage and a sense of adventure. The advent of the movie camera meant that their exploits could be broadcast to every corner of the globe, and recorded for posterity. The pilots of Germany, France and Britain who were able to master combat flying in time to prevent an early death were known as "Air Aces".
This program looks at the beginnings of flight, with innovators such as Benjamin Franklin and Leonardo DaVinci coming up with new ways to give man wings, and chronicles the invention of hot air balloons, Zeppelins, box kites, and of course the story of the most influential aviation inventors of all - Wilbur and Orville Wright.
The big blue is the world's greatest wilderness, far from shore and many kilometres deep. It's a vast marine desert where there is little to eat and nowhere to hide. Yet it's home to some of the biggest and most spectacular creatures on earth. This episode reveals what it takes to survive in this savage and forbidding world. We witness feats of incredible endurance, moments of high drama and extraordinary acts of heart-wrenching self-sacrifice. Every animal in the big blue must find their own unique way to survive.
Secret History documentary charting an astounding archaeological investigation in South Africa that has discovered the remains of an entirely new species of human ancestor: Homo naledi. Following an expedition by a team of experts, led by Professor Lee Berger, as they recover over 1,500 fossilised bone fragments from a deep and nearly inaccessible cave and conduct extensive analysis
2015 • Nature
Our lives are going digital. We shop, bank, and even date online. Computers hold our treasured photographs, private emails, and all of our personal information. This data is precious—and cybercriminals want it. Now, NOVA goes behind the scenes of the fast-paced world of cryptography to meet the scientists battling to keep our data safe. They are experts in extreme physics, math, and a new field called "ultra-paranoid computing," all working to forge unbreakable codes and build ultra-fast computers. From the sleuths who decoded the world's most advanced cyber weapon to scientists who believe they can store a password in your unconscious brain, NOVA investigates how a new global geek squad is harnessing cutting-edge science—all to stay one step ahead of the hackers.
This is the ultimate hidden kingdom - the urban jungle. In the colourful and chaotic streets of Rio, a young marmoset is separated from his street gang and forced to confront of the dangers of the city alone. In the futuristic metropolis of Tokyo, a rhinoceros beetle escapes his captors and begins an extraordinary journey through this alien world to find sanctuary.
This is the story of two tiny animals coming of age. In the wild woods of North America, a young chipmunk is gathering a vital store of nuts ahead of his first winter - in his way are ruthless rivals and giant predators. In the steaming rainforest, a young tree-shrew is forced deep into the jungle to find food. She must draw on all her intelligence and agility if she is to escape the ultimate jungle predator - a reticulated python!
This is the story of two young animals forced to grow up fast. In Africa's savannah, a baby elephant shrew learns how speed is the secret to survival amongst the largest animals on Earth; and in America, a young grasshopper mouse confronts the Wild West's deadliest creatures to stake a claim of his own.
Leonardo da Vinci is well known for his inventions as well as his art. New evidence shows that many of his ideas were realized long before he sketched them out in his notebooks-some even 1,700 years before him! Of these “inventions” Leonardo never affirmed that his projects came from his original ideas. The film features drawings of his most famous ideas and inventions some of which trace their original creation to ancient Greece while others were a product of the scientific inventions of golden age of Islamic learning. This knowledge seemed to be lost in Europe during the Dark Ages until the Renaissance when Leonardo recovered it.
Coral reefs are home to a quarter of all marine species. Survival in these undersea mega-cities is a challenge with many different solutions. A turtle heads to the reef's equivalent of a health spa - but she must use trickery to avoid the queue. A remarkable Grouper uses the fish equivalent of sign language to collaborate with an octopus, flushing their prey out of hiding holes. A metre-long, ferocious-jawed Bobbit Worm hides in its tunnel. Monocle Bream retaliate by squirting water to expose its sandy lair.
All over the world, scientists are discovering traces of ancient floods on a scale that dwarfs even the most severe flood disasters of recent times. What triggered these cataclysmic floods, and could they strike again? In the Channeled Scablands of Washington State, the level prairie gives way to bizarre, gargantuan rock formations: house-sized boulders seemingly dropped from the sky, a cliff carved by a waterfall twice the height of Niagara, and potholes large enough to swallow cars. Like forensic detectives at a crime scene, geologists study these strange features and reconstruct catastrophic Ice Age floods more powerful than all the world’s top ten rivers combined. NOVA follows their efforts to uncover the geologic fingerprints of other colossal megafloods in Iceland and, improbably, on the seabed of the English Channel. There, another deluge smashed through a land bridge connecting Britain and France hundreds of thousands of years ago and turned Britain into an island for the first time. These great disasters ripped through terrain and transformed continents in a matter of hours—and similar forces reawakened by climate change are posing an active threat to mountain communities throughout the world today.
The Okavango Delta is one of the world's largest inland deltas - and supports a variety of life as rich as any you will see in Africa. Yet this lush wetland of islands and lagoons lies in the middle of the vast, featureless Kalahari Desert. This is the story of how it happens. Following groups of wildlife, including hippos, baboons, catfish, kingfishers, leopards, warthogs and elephants, the film reveals how the yearly flood transforms the landscape and impacts their lives. But more surprisingly, it reveals how, with the help of termites and hippos, the flood actually creates this extraordinary delta in the first place.
Svalbard in the Arctic spends many months of the year in complete darkness, an unrelenting frozen winter with temperatures down to -40 Celsius. But when the sun finally reappears, the landscape magically transforms from an ice world into a rich tundra, full of exotic plants, birds, arctic foxes, polar bears, walrus and reindeer. This film captures the changes in all their glory and reveals how this transformation is only possible thanks to some bizarre micro-organisms that feed on ice and the stunning abilities of migrating birds.
New England is the stage for the most incredible colour change on earth, when the vivid greens of summer give way to the gold’s and reds of autumn. This film reveals how this vibrant fiesta is created by the battles between the trees and the forests' inhabitants. Moose, chipmunks, rattlesnakes and a bizarre mixture of caterpillars all play a crucial role, but surprisingly the forest itself was made so colourful thanks to a combination of hard work by beavers, ants and humans.
John Eliot Gardiner goes in search of Bach the man and the musician. The famous portrait of Bach portrays a grumpy 62-year-old man in a wig and formal coat, yet his greatest works were composed 20 years earlier in an almost unrivalled blaze of creativity. We reveal a complex and passionate artist; a warm and convivial family man at the same time a rebellious spirit struggling with the hierarchies of state and church who wrote timeless music that is today known world-wide. Gardiner undertakes a 'Bach Tour' of Germany, and sifts the relatively few clues we have - some newly-found. Most of all, he uses the music to reveal the real Bach.
2013 • Music
Alexander, a student of the brilliant philosopher Aristotle, worshiped the god Amun which he believed to be his father. He suffered from epilepsy and was gay, when his partner died he sacrificed all 5,000 inhabitants of a village for him. Alexander's legacy was that a man could be a god, by he has many peoples, cultures and beliefs influenced his vast empire. Alexander the Great had a vision: one civilized world with him as absolute leader! An ambition which had all districts with enormous bloodshed as a result. His craving for power was so great that in our modern world has no equal! While his influence is still noticeable, we know still very little about him. Greek and English archaeologists searching for years for one of the world's greatest mysteries:. the last resting place of Alexander the Great and his golden sarcophagus Alexander The God King is a fascinating journey through time and separate the truth from the legends. The ambition of one man, the course changed our history!
2007 • History
The deep is perhaps the most hostile environment on earth, at least to us - a world of crushing pressure, brutal cold and utter darkness. We have barely begun to explore it, and yet it is the largest living space on the planet. Scientists already think that there is more life in the deep than anywhere else on earth. This episode takes us on an epic journey into the unknown, a realm that feels almost like science fiction. We discover alien worlds, bizarre creatures and extraordinary new behaviours never seen before. We encounter savage hordes of Humboldt squid hunting lanternfish in the depths and coral gardens flourishing in absolute darkness, with more species of coral to be found in the deep than on shallow tropical reefs.. Narrated by David Attenborough,
Scientists investigate the way the Sun builds its power -- through fusion -- hoping to find a way to use fusion as a less dangerous and less radioactive waste-producing path to energy than fission. But there are some major difficulties along the way...
2017 • Physics
Before man ruled the world, Earth was a land of giants. Count down the biggest beasts of their kind to ever roam the planet in this eye-opening special, and uncover the secret lives of these supersized species. Birds with plane-length wingspans, dinosaurs rivalling a Boeing 737; this stunning CGI special goes in search of the truth behind these monsters, counting down the ten largest and most extraordinary finds. From handling the recently unearthed bones of a dinosaur far larger than previously known, to analysing the flight technique of a giant seven-metre bird uncover the unique adaptations that allowed each animal to thrive. Visual stunts and surprising size comparisons bring each beast vividly back to life in ever-increasing sizes. Get ready for a dramatic countdown of the most mind-blowing lost giants.
2015 • Nature
Mathematical formulas can be found in the arrangement of seeds on a sunflower, the structure of the spirals in the shells of certain marine animals, and the distribution of leaves around a plant stem. These formulas recur in nature from snowflakes to the stripes on a zebra.
Wherever we find patterns and symmetry in nature, we also find that nature conforms to certain rules. Rules that combine elegance with efficiency. Rules that shape trees and river estuaries alike, and that continue to baffle scientists by their often unfathomable ubiquity.
Take a journey through majestic primeval forests of the Urals. These protected sites are known for their extremes, where the fine side by side, and giant deer, and giant leviathan, weighing half a ton, and tiny animals. This also, in search of food, make their seasonal raiding Eurasian elk. Unlike other types of elk Eurasian elk live alone, so for the pregnant female elk stress of meeting with other animals usually leads to a fight. As soon as the snow begins to melt in the woods, baring the ground, a lone wolf set out in search of food, not disdaining the frozen remains of animals
The Arctic region of Russia is considered the most inhospitable places to live. But polar bears, lemmings, Arctic foxes, and seals - Arctic - simply heaven. In late August, with the onset of the breeding season is going very strong male musk for traditional competitions for the right leadership in the pairing with females. Weight of an adult bull can reach 400 kilograms. In a skirmish with a rival musk ox to deliver a decisive blow running away at 40 miles per hour. Sound from the blow horns fighting males can be heard at a distance of more than one kilometer.
From the snow-white peaks to scorching sun of deserts - all the Caucasus. Caucasus Mountains - not just a mountain ridge. This is a rich habitat for many species of flora and fauna, which feel great on the wooded slopes, and alpine meadows, and even in salt marshes. It is well settled down wild boar, Eurasian lynx, European bison and the rare fragile ophidian lizard. Caucasus - is another jewel in the crown of Wildlife Russia.
Siberia - It accounts for 10% of the land on our planet. Siberia is known for its frost and is known worldwide as one of the coldest places on earth. However, Siberia is home to numerous species of large wild animals, beasts and other creatures, including musk deer, camel, gazelle and rare species of lizard - Siberian salamander, which can be several years in a frozen state at - 40gradusov C and survive. From the cold north to the southern steppes - all Siberia, in all its splendor. Kamchatka - Land exploding volcanoes and glaciers, a country of ice and fire.
There is no uncommon sight hanging on the trees of Asian black bears, chipmunks, scurrying about in search of food, as well as the sika deer, gracefully descend to the water to supplement your diet with brown algae. The very presence of deer and deer attracts the largest predator in this region - the Amur tiger. But the world's largest wild cat is also at risk. Poaching and destruction of habitat of tigers in the Ussuri taiga in Russia for many years have created a real threat of extinction of this rare animal.
The volcanic Kamchatka peninsula is located on the far east of Russia. Because of the frequent volcanic eruptions and landslides, the terrain is constantly changing. But, despite the fact that the remote Kamchatka region is considered dangerous, it is unusually rich and fertile. Exploring the riches of this magical land, our film does not miss anything. In the frame - the golden eagles soaring in the sky, the wolverine, scavenge, the whole family of red foxes, and even the owners of these places - brown bears, happy to take baths in natural hot springs.
Francois Duvalier trained as a medical doctor, but his healing touch was lost as he became the ruthless dictator "Papa Doc". The tools of his tyranny were violence and Voodoo. He killed 30,000 people, and kept a nation in fear of his mystical powers.
See how Osama bin Laden's journey unfolds; from his roots as a privileged young Saudi boy to becoming the formidable leader of al-Qaeda, and his lifetime commitment to violent jihad against the West, which results in the horrific attacks in 2001.
The story of Saddam Hussein the sadistic tyrant who rules Iraq with an utter contempt for humanity for 23 years - a man whose cruelty knows no limits and who'll stop at nothing to achieve the power of life and death over millions of people.
Mao Zedong, Supreme Leader of Communist China for 30 years, is one of the 20th Century's most ruthless tyrants. His reign of cruelty and revenge, transforms him to a position of authority so great, his personality cult remains to this day.
Japanese General, Hideki Tojo is a cold blooded control freak, who takes millions to their deaths in the dirtiest war ever known. This is the story of the dictator responsible for Pearl Harbor, an Asian Holocaust and the torture of thousands of POWs.
The story of the world's longest serving dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, and his 42 year reign of terror at home in Libya and around the world. His actions are so increasingly insane that President Reagan dubs him The Mad Dog of the Middle East
Mysteries of the Unseen World transports audiences to places on this planet that they have never been before, to see things that are beyond their normal vision, yet literally right in front of their eyes. Mysteries of the Unseen World reveals phenomena that can't be seen with the naked eye, taking audiences into earthly worlds secreted away in different dimensions of time and scale. Viewers experience events that unfold too slowly for human perception; They "see" the beauty, drama, and even humor of phenomena of that occur in the flash of a microsecond; They enter the microscopic world that was once reserved only for scientists, but that Mysteries of the Unseen World makes accessible to the rest of us; They begin to understand that what we actually see is only a fraction of what there is TO see on this Earth. High-speed and time-lapse photography, electron microscopy, and nanotechnology are just a few of the advancements in science that now allow us to see a whole new universe of things, events, creatures, and processes we never even knew existed and now give us new "super powers" to see beyond what is in front of us. Visually stunning and rooted in cutting-edge research, Mysteries of the Unseen World will leave audiences in complete thrall as they begin to understand the enormity of the world they can't see, a world that exists in the air they breathe, on their own bodies, and in all of the events that occur around them minute-by-minute, and nanosecond-by-nanosecond. And with this understanding comes a new appreciation of the wonder and possibilities of science.
2013 • Science
NOVA follows a team of volcano sleuths as they embark on a worldwide hunt for an elusive volcanic mega-eruption that plunged the medieval earth into a deep freeze. The mystery begins when archaeologists find a hastily dug mass grave of 4,000 men, women, and children in London. At first they assume it's a plague pit from the Black Death, but when they date the bones, they're a century too early. So what killed off these families? The chronicles of that time describe a run of wild weather that devastated crops and spread famine across Europe. NOVA's expert team looks for the signature of a volcanic eruption big enough to have blasted a huge cloud of ash and sulfuric acid into the atmosphere, which chilled the entire planet. From Greenland to Antarctica, the team finds telltale "fingerprints" in ice and soil layers until, finally, they narrow down the culprit to a smoldering crater on a remote Indonesian island. Nearly 750 years ago, this volcano's colossal explosion shot a million tons of rock and ash into the atmosphere. Across the globe, it turned summer into winter. What would happen if another such cataclysm struck again today?
In recent years, our knowledge of life beneath the waves has been transformed. Using cutting-edge technology, One Ocean takes us on a journey from the intense heat of the tropics to our planet's frozen poles to reveal new worlds and extraordinary never-before-seen animal behaviours.
Britain's best-loved broadcaster brings his favourite extinct creatures back to life in David Attenborough's Natural History Museum Alive. In this ground-breaking film, Sir David takes us on a journey through the world-famous Natural History Museum in London in a captivating tale of discovery, adventure, and magic, where state-of-the-art CGI, science, and research combine to bring the museum's now long-extinct inhabitants to life to discover how these animals once roamed the planet. As the doors are locked and night falls, Attenborough stays behind and meets some of the most fascinating extinct creatures which come alive in front of his eyes; dinosaurs, ice age beasts, and giant reptiles. The film fulfils a lifelong dream of the nation's favourite naturalist, who said: "I have been coming to the Natural History Museum since I was a boy. It's one of the great places to come to learn about natural history. In this film we have the technology to bring back to life some of the most romantic and extraordinary extinct creatures that can be conceived; some are relatively recent animals like the dodo, others older like the dinosaurs, and some we only know through fossil evidence. Using our current scientific knowledge, this film brings these creatures alive, allowing me to look at some of the biggest questions surrounding them."
2013 • Nature
Gordon Welchman was one of the original elite codebreakers crucial to the allies defeating the Nazis in World War II. He is the forgotten genius of Bletchley Park. Filmed extensively at Bletchley Park, the centre for codebreaking operations during World War II, this documentary features the abandoned buildings where thousands of people worked tirelessly trying to crack the codes, Hut 6, where Welchman pioneered his groundbreaking work, and the machines that Welchman helped design.
2015 • Technology
In the third episode Mary takes an in-depth look at the question of identity and citizenship within the Roman Empire. What did it mean to be, or to become, Roman, and how did the very different parts of the empire react to Roman rule?
Mankind takes on godlike powers: to feed billions of people, reshape the landscape, re-engineer the human body. The greatest power of all was unleashed over Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. Since entering the Atomic Age we’ve been living between eternity and oblivion. But at the same time, we’ve become more connected as a species. 100,000 years ago there were a few thousand hunter-gatherers on the African savannah. Today there are 7 billion of us in every corner of the globe. It’s been an amazing journey.
The end of the American Civil War allows Mankind to go into overdrive. This is an age of innovation, transformation and mass production. People believe that ‘Anything, everything, is possible.’ Japan goes from feudal society to industrial superpower within 50 years. But progress has its dark side. The demand for rubber devastates Africa. And the desire to build bigger, faster, better leads to a titanic disaster…
Two great revolutions entwine. The American Revolution inspires dreams of political and personal liberty. The Industrial Revolution replaces muscle power with machines, freeing Mankind from nature’s limits. But our oldest foe – disease – thrives in industrial cities. With the American Civil War, the two revolutions collide. The world’s first industrial war, it is a battle to define ‘freedom’.
Mankind embarks on a new age of exploration, and tames the wilderness. In North America, Siberia and Australia, ancient traditions are swept away in the name of commerce and science. Within a hundred years, the irrational fear that produced a witch trial in Salem gives way to a very rational cry for freedom. American revolutionaries confront a mighty empire. The battle for the modern world begins.
In the Andes, the Spanish open up the largest silver mine in the world – and mint millions of pesos de ocho (pieces of eight). These coins transform the global economy. They fill the treasure chests of pirates. They fuel a stock market boom. They help pay for the Taj Mahal. As trade booms, millions of people come to the New World as slaves. But a handful of Pilgrims come as pioneers – looking for freedom.
The Aztecs have built a mighty empire that dominates Central America. But it will be destroyed because of a domino effect. 7,000 miles away in modern-day Turkey, the great trading centre of Constantinople is overrun by an Islamic army. Europeans race to find a new route to the spice-rich East. Instead, Christopher Columbus lands in America – and discovers gold. Within 30 years the Aztecs will be conquered.
Gold from Africa kick-starts the rebirth of Europe. Money flows into Venice – creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs willing to take risks. In China, a new weapon – the gun – allows a peasant uprising to unify the country. Chinese innovations inspire Europe – leading to the printing press. Millions of books are printed. One of them will inspire a journey to the New World. America beckons.
Genghis Khan--the bloodiest warlord in history--sweeps south from Mongolia into China and creates a mighty empire. He leaves 40 million dead bodies in his wake. But a greater killer stalks Mankind--the Plague. Traveling along Mongol trade routes, the disease wreaks havoc in Asia and Europe--the greatest biological disaster in history. But the Americas are unaffected. Here, civilizations flourish in isolation.
When Rome is sacked by barbarians, Europe enters a Dark Age. But from the fringes of the old empire, two new forces remake the world. The Arabs, funded by a gold rush, unite under the banner of Islam. The Vikings rejuvenate the cities of Europe, travel to America and become Christian knights. The stage is set for a clash of civilisations - the Crusades.
In the city of Jerusalem, a man is crucified - Jesus of Nazareth. His death gives birth to a global religion. But Christianity may never have happened without the Roman Empire. A vast network of roads and shipping lanes, it allows goods and ideas to flow across three continents. Jesus’ message transforms Mankind. Today one in three people on the planet are Christians.
A mysterious band of pirates plunders the Mediterranean coast – leaving destruction in its wake. Empires fall, but out of the chaos, we discover iron. Armed with this wonder metal, ordinary folk can overthrow tyrants and build a new world order. From the birth of democracy in Athens, to the creation of the Bible in Babylon – people power reshapes Mankind.
On a unique planet, a unique species takes its first steps: Mankind begins. But it’s a world full of danger. Threatened by extinction, we innovate to survive – discovering fire and farming; building cities and pyramids; inventing trade – and mastering the art of war. From humble beginnings, we become the dominant creature on the planet. Now the future belongs to us…
Conscious Capitalism is a new twist on the system that fuels wealth and industry in America and for many countries around the globe. Thought leaders, along with the leaders of two corporations — Whole Foods Market and Waste Management — give us an insider’s look at the new face of capitalism.
2016 • Economics
Young animals prepare for their first winter away from their parents, humpback whales return to Alaska's rich feeding grounds and salmon return to spawn in the rivers where they were hatched. But the returning salmon have to negotiate a path past hungry brown bears fattening themselves before they hibernate.
As temperatures hit minus 60 food becomes scarce, and animals such as foxes and hares shed their colourful coats to camouflage themselves in the snow. The end of winter heralds one of the world's greatest feeding frenzies as large ocean predators target the millions of fish who have found refuge in the Gulf of Alaska.
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.
In 1991, a small Medieval prayer book was sold at auction. Miraculously, some original writings of Archimedes, the brilliant Greek mathematician, were discovered hidden beneath the religious text. Through scholarly detective work with the help of modern technology, this book now reveals Archimedes' stunningly original concepts, ideas, and theories--revelations that, if known sooner, might have reshaped our world.
The third leg takes him from the illegally annexed peninsula of Crimea to the historic Baltic city of St Petersburg. Crimea is part of neighbouring Ukraine but was annexed by Russia in 2014. President Putin's government is investing heavily in the illegally occupied territory - building a huge bridge linking Crimea to Russia. Simon meets the eccentric and fearless owner of a safari park who likes to get up close and personal with his pride of lions. The owner is struggling to get water to his park after a canal that supplied much of Crimea's water was shut off by the Ukraine. And it is not just the lions that are affected - the diminishing water supplies are now beginning to threaten a humanitarian crisis.
The second leg begins in Siberia and takes him to Russia's far south west and the majestic Caucasus Mountains. From Lake Baikal, the oldest and deepest lake on Earth, Simon takes the Trans-Siberian Railway to the city of Krasnoyarsk, the scene of brutal violence in the 1990s, and now the location of a cafe paying homage to Vladimir Putin. Simon is introduced to a Siberian community that worships a former traffic cop they believe to be the reincarnation of Christ. Along with a rare interview with the messiah himself, Simon meets some of the daughters of his followers being educated to become future brides of worthy men. After encounters with Tuvan throat singers and Cossack street patrols, Simon visits Dagestan, a largely Muslim region that has been scarred by jihadist violence. He meets security forces who use highly trained dogs to tackle the terrorist threat, and villagers attempting to keep their ancient tightrope-walking traditions alive.
Setting out amongst the active, snow-capped volcanoes of Kamchatka, over 4,000 miles from Moscow, Simon explores one of the remotest regions of the country. The population of Russia's far east has fallen dramatically in recent years, but travelling by chopper and skidoo, Simon finds indigenous reindeer herders who are still eking out a fragile existence. In the port city of Vladivostok, Simon visits a newly built mega casino, designed to attract high rollers and tourists from neighbouring China. Deep in the forest, Simon meets the inspirational conservationist who has created a sanctuary for the country's most iconic predator, the giant Amur tiger. Simon ends his journey on the rim of a giant crater that has emerged in the Siberian landscape - chilling evidence of the impact of global climate change.
Captured in a single, animated time lapsed shot, and based on archeological findings, we trace our epic journey from the first spark of life billions of years ago up to our present status as the most successful species on the planet. Humans are the pinnacle of a chain of species that has survived by way of evolution, natural selection, adaptation, and pure luck. From the formation of primordial genetic material to the development of speech, this is the improbable story of the incredible set of circumstances that led to human existence.
Life and Death explores the impact of Darwin’s ideas on our understanding of the meaning of extinction and the interconnections between all life on earth and the environment. Darwin learned many lessons from the giant fossils of extinct animals he found in Argentina and Chile. He eventually revealed to us the unpalatable truth that the logical conclusion to evolution is not perfection but extinction. The extinction of one species creates an environmental niche for new species to fill. Darwin’s theory also gives us vital knowledge we can use to help prolong the existence of our species by respecting the interconnections between all elements of the natural world and the environment. It’s a story in which Darwin’s ideas are taken up with great enthusiasm by his followers throughout the 20th century. But humanity misses one opportunity after another to acknowledge and reduce its destructive impact on the planet. As a result we have set in motion the sixth mass extinction of life on earth. And we are running out of time to do something about it by preserving ecological "hotspots" like certain rainforests which are some of the most productive cradles of evolution. This programme is a warning, but also a celebration, of the knowledge Charles Darwin gave us in his theory of evolution. It confirms that Darwin’s theory continues to inform our understanding of ourselves, our planet and the intricate interconnections between all life on earth.
The second episode of Andrew Marr's exploration of Darwin explores the impact of Darwin’s ideas on society and politics. Darwin’s first port of call on the Beagle was Salvador in Brazil – then a major port for the international slave trade. His experience there confirmed his enlightenment views of liberty and progress and his hatred of slavery. But his theory of evolution that began to take root on that epic voyage would describe a world of conflict, ruthless competition and struggle. It would be taken up and abused by some of the most reactionary movements of the late-19th and 20th centuries. The phrase “survival of the fittest” would help propel Darwin’s theory as a scientific justification for eugenics, enforced sterilisation and genocide. But after the Second World War, Darwin’s theory finds redemption in the United Nations statement on race which confirms Darwin’s long-held view that all humans are members of the same race and deserving of equal treatment. This is further reinforced in the extraordinary work of a small Jewish community in New York who used DNA testing and a voluntary and anonymous form of selective breeding to eliminate a debilitating disease from the Jewish community. DNA testing is the final frontier of Darwin’s Dangerous idea. But the lessons from history suggest that the new choices we face about what to do with the knowledge Darwin has given us when combined with genetics and DNA testing remains a major social and political challenge.
The first programme of Darwin's Dangerous Idea explores the impact of Darwin’s ideas on religion and morality. Andrew Marr discovers that an important part of the Beagle’s mission was to return three natives to their homeland, Tierra del Fuego, at the southernmost tip of Argentina. Years before he reached the Galapagos, they raised questions in his mind about the fragility of civilisation and what it really means to be human. Marr explores how Darwin developed his ideas when he returned to Britain and finally unleashed his theory of evolution by natural selection on the world. Darwin’s ideas are taken up by many of the major thinkers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries: Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud. We discover that his ideas helped motivate the Kaiser’s army in the First World War and would also help convince the United States government to drop its isolationist policy and enter the conflict. In the 20th century, we discover a growing backlash against Darwin’s ideas among fundamentalists from the world’s major religions. At the same time science has been showing that Darwin’s theory of natural selection holds sway over our behaviour - including our morality - as much as it does over the evolution of our bodies. There is significant scientific evidence that suggests that Darwin has returned humanity to nature, in all its wonder, its glory and its danger.
Following the success of Helen Macdonald's bestselling novel of the same name, H is for Hawk: A New Chapter is an intimate and personal journey. After the loss of her father, Helen trained the hardest bird in falconry, a goshawk. The cathartic experience helped her to grieve and now she is ready to do it again, but this time she hopes it will be her wings to somewhere new. In this beautiful and moving film, Helen trains a new bird and follows a wild goshawk family at the nest, getting closer than ever before to these fiery eyed birds of prey.
After Caesar, Antony and Octavian divided the empire for a time. But there could only be one successor to Caesar. Ten years later, the supreme strategist Octavian waged a critical naval battle, the Battle of Actium, against his former ally, Antony, who now had the backing of Cleopatra.
Marc Antony and Octavian were part of the triumvirate seeking to avenge Caesar. The two leaders managed to combine their forces to punish Brutus and Cassius, Caesar’s assassins, following the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC. But how would the ambitions of the two men collide as time went on?
A group of world-renowned scientists are on a quest to uncover the secrets of the most significant day in our planet's history: the day that killed the dinosaurs. 66 million years ago an asteroid the size of London hit the planet in the modern-day Gulf of Mexico. Now, as co-leaders of an expedition to drill deep into the Chicxulub asteroid impact crater, Geologists Sean Gulick and Jo Morgan have set out to answer how this resulted in the extinction of dinosaurs.
Off Australia's northeast coast lies a wonder of the world, a living structure so big it can be seen from space, more intricate and complex than any city, and so diverse it hosts a third of all fish species in Australia. The Great Barrier Reef as we know it -- 8,000 years old and home to thousands of marine species -- is dying in our lifetime.
Right now researchers are hunting for extra-terrestrial life on several fronts. To find out just how close we might be to a breakthrough, astrophysicist Dr Graham Phillips visits telescopes, swims among the stromatolites on the remote West Australian coastline, and chats with scientists from around the world
Imagine you could make a copy of a loved one. A digital clone with a life of its own – their Avatar. That’s the dream of biomechanical engineer, Dr Jordan Nguyen, and he says we have the technology to do it right now in the form of Virtual Reality.
Is there anyone out there? Does the popular movie quote 'ET phone home' have any substance? Astronomers have been pointing their radio telescopes at the skies for decades trying to pick up alien signals. Hitch a ride as we join astronomers trawling through the galaxy looking for signs of life.
Fifty meters beneath the teeming mega-city of Tokyo is an underworld river system - 6.4km of tunnels, colossal water tanks, massive pillars, giant pumps that remove 200 tons of floodwater every second. It’s an engineering marvel built to protect Tokyo against the increasing threat of flooding.
What is memory? How do our memories change from childhood to adulthood? How we can build up greater brain reserves to power our mind into old age? Brain epigenetics, how the expression of our DNA can be changed by our experiences, is an intriguing new area of science with huge health implications.
The promise of quantum computers is that what would otherwise take a billion years to calculate, could be done in a few seconds. First-generation quantum computers have started to appear. Indeed, earlier this year, Google bought one, The D-Wave 2. How will this advance change our future lives?
Thousands of chemicals are used in everyday products – in our water, our food and in the air we breathe. It’s the chemical soup of modern life and it’s virtually impossible to escape them. Is there adequate regulation and testing, or are we in the midst of an uncontrolled, human experiment?
Each year, over 2000 people apply for jobs in Antarctica, but few are successful. What are the physical and psychological attributes required to work in the most remote location on Earth? Could you snag a job in sub-zero temperatures at an Antarctic station?
Chris Packham invites us inside his autistic world to try to show what it is really like being him. For most of his life, broadcaster and naturalist Chris didn't tell anyone about the one thing that in many ways has defined his entire existence. Chris is autistic - he has Asperger's Syndrome, which means he struggles in social situations, has difficulty with human relationships and is, by his own admission, 'a little bit weird'. But what if there was a way of taking away these autistic traits? Would Chris ever choose to be 'normal'? Chris's long-term partner Charlotte discusses the problems Asperger's creates in their relationship, and Chris travels to America to witness radical therapies that appear to offer the possibility of entirely eradicating problematic autistic traits.
2017 • Health
Game Loading Rise of the Indies, explores the new global subculture of independent game development. In the spirit of movements like the French New Wave, the Punk and Grunge scenes, hundreds of indie auteurs are emerging and finding success with their own unique voices and artistic goals. Independent filmmakers Lester Francois and Anna Brady began their project documenting the indie gaming scene in Australia. However, the scope of the project expanded from there with dozens of prominent independent game creators from more countries, including the US, Britain, Canada and Belgium. Developers like Davey Wreden, creator of the critically acclaimed The Stanley Parable,a free modification for Half-Life 2.
2015 • Technology
Suzy Klein explores the use, abuse and manipulation of music in the Second World War - from swinging jazz to film soundtracks and from ballads to ballets. The war, she demonstrates, wasn't just a military fight but an ideological battle where both sides used music as a weapon to secure their vision for civilisation. Suzy reveals how the forces' sweetheart Vera Lynn was taken off air by the BBC for fear her sentimental songs undermined the British war effort. She reveals the war work of two British composers. Walton's Spitfire Prelude became the archetype for a particularly British form of patriotic music. By contrast, Tippett was sent to prison for being a conscientious objector, but his anti-war oratorio A Child of Our Time was showcased at the Royal Albert Hall. Suzy examines Olivier Messiaen's haunting Quartet for the End of Time, written in a POW camp. At Auschwitz, Suzy reveals how music was co-opted to serve the Nazis' evil purposes.
Suzy Klein reaches the 1930s, when the totalitarian dictators sought to use and abuse music for ideological ends. Suzy looks at the lives of Richard Strauss, Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev, who produced some of the 20th-century's best-loved music whilst working for Hitler and Stalin. The political message of Peter and the Wolf is revealed as well as the secret code hidden in Shostakovich's quartets and Strauss's personal reasons for trying to please the Nazis. Suzy also uncovers why Hitler adored Wagner but banned Mendelssohn's Wedding March; how Stalin used music to subtly infiltrate minds; and why Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, a Nazi favourite, appeals to our most primitive senses. Suzy also raises some intriguing questions: Can we pin meaning onto music? What are the moral responsibilities of artists? And did the violence and tyranny of those regimes leave an indelible stain on the music they produced?
Suzy Klein takes us back to the volatile years following the Russian Revolution and World War I, when music was seen as a tool to change society. Suzy explores the gender-bending cabarets of 1920s Berlin and smashes a piano in the spirit of the Bolshevik revolution. She also reveals why one orchestra decided to work without a conductor, uncovers the dark politics behind Mack the Knife and probes the satirical songs which tried to puncture the rise of the Nazis. Suzy's musical stories are brought to life with the help of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and its Chorus, as well as solo performers. This was a golden age for music, and its jazz, popular songs, experimental symphonies and classics like Rachmaninoff all provoke debate - what kind of culture do we want? Is music for the elite or for the people? Was this a new age of liberal freedom to be relished - or were we hurtling towards the apocalypse?
Over 100 years ago, Albert Einstein grappled with the implications of his revolutionary special theory of relativity and came to a startling conclusion: mass and energy are one, related by the formula E = mc2. In "Einstein's Big Idea," NOVA dramatizes the remarkable story behind this equation. E = mc2 was just one of several extraordinary breakthroughs that Einstein made in 1905, including the completion of his special theory of relativity, his identification of proof that atoms exist, and his explanation of the nature of light, which would win him the Nobel Prize in Physics. Among Einstein's ideas, E = mc2 is by far the most famous. Yet how many people know what it really means? In a thought-provoking and engrossing docudrama, NOVA illuminates this deceptively simple formula by unraveling the story of how it came to be.
Many people believe the Hiroshima atomic bomb instantly incinerated nearly everyone in the Japanese city. That was true at ground zero, but not everywhere. Hiroshima government officials have been tirelessly collecting records on those killed to find out how they died. Using this "big data", NHK created a visualization of the movements of the 557,000 victims of the 6th August 1945 attack. Some did indeed perish instantly. Others burned to death in collapsed buildings. But what about the people who died in a strange "donut zone of death" days after the bombing and in areas more than 2 kilometers from ground zero? This documentary goes beyond big data to provide heart-rending accounts from people close to victims and survivors, revealing the true story of what happened on that dark day more than 70 years ago.
2017 • History
'The Economics of Happiness' features a chorus of voices from six continents calling for systemic economic change. The documentary describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions. On the one hand, government and big business continue to promote globalization and the consolidation of corporate power. At the same time, all around the world people are resisting those policies, demanding a re-regulation of trade and finance - and, far from the old institutions of power, they're starting to forge a very different future. Communities are coming together to re-build more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm - an economics of localization.
2011 • Economics
One hundred and fifty years ago, the corporation was a relatively insignificant entity. Today, it is a vivid, dramatic and pervasive presence in all our lives. Like the Church, the Monarchy and the Communist Party in other times and places, the corporation is today's dominant institution. But history humbles dominant institutions. All have been crushed, belittled or absorbed into some new order. The corporation is unlikely to be the first institution to defy history. Based on Joel Bakan's book, "The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power," this documentary is a timely, critical inquiry that examines the very nature of the corporation--its inner workings, curious history, controversial impacts and possible futures. We begin by learning that under the law, corporations have all the rights and yet few of the responsibilities of people. By viewing the behavior of the corporation through the prism of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (or DSM III, the gold standard of psychiatric evaluation) the filmmakers discover that if the corporation were indeed a person, the person would be considered a psychopath. Featuring candid interviews with CEOs, whistle-blowers, brokers, gurus, spies, players, pawns and pundits, the chronicle charts the spectacular rise of an institution aimed at achieving specific economic goals as it also recounts victories against this seemingly invincible force. Once you see it, you may find yourself thinking twice about what you eat, what you wear, what you watch and what you read.
2003 • Economics
This documentary travels through a world of joblessness, debt, and economic uncertainty to the sovereign nation of the plutocrats, where each crisis seems to offer a new business opportunity. In America, where the 2008 financial meltdown cost $4 trillion in economic output, fortunes were made by the very people who precipitated the disaster while millions lost their homes and their savings. Austerity in Europe, economic stagnation in Asia, a lost generation of the young and unemployed - signs we are living through a fundamental global reorganization, the result of which no-one can predict. The world of the 1% has arrived, and the wealth gap is now greater in many countries than during the Gilded Age, the era of the Rockefellers, Carnegies and Vanderbilts. Can our stressed democracies deal with the fallout? Or have governments simply become instruments of the new elite?
2017 • Economics
Atari: Game Over chronicles the fall of the Atari Corporation through the lens of one of the biggest mysteries of all time, dubbed “The Great Video Game Burial of 1983.” As the story goes, the Atari Corporation, faced with an overwhelmingly negative response to “E.T.,” the video game for the Atari 2600, disposed of hundreds of thousands of unsold game cartridges by burying them in the small town of Alamogordo, New Mexico.
2014 • Technology
As YouTube turns ten, we chart the history of the last decade through the lens of the world's most famous video sharing site. It's the human story of those who created it, the stars it gave birth to, and the countries whose fates it changed. On April 23, 2005 the first YouTube video, "Meet Me at the Zoo," featuring co-founder Jawed Karim, was uploaded. Ten Years later, the video sharing platform has harnessed a power that has changed the world -transforming pop culture, rewriting the rules of politics, overthrowing governments, redefining the nature of news, and exposing us all to tweaking, planking, Psy, Beiber, and the car in the shark outfit on the robo-vac.
2015 • Technology
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.
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.
This programme is the second in a series looking at four great modern artists: Warhol, Matisse, Picasso and Dali. Tracing the biography of this fascinating artist, and travelling through France, America and Russia, the programme explores some of the painter's greatest works. Sooke explains why Matisse's art is considered so great and also looks at how Matisse's brilliant use of colour and simplification of form continues to inspire illustrators, designers and of course artists today. Acknowledging the debt the famous couturier Yves St Laurent owed the painter, Sooke also talks to British designers Sir Paul Smith and Tricia Guild about their passion for Matisse, he travels to Utrecht to discover how even children's character Miffy the rabbit owes its origin to art, and reveals how logos and images as diverse as Apple's iPod advertising and even the 2012 olympic logo are inspired by the modern master.
The first in a four-part series exploring the life and works of the 20th century's most important artists: Matisse; Picasso; Dali and Warhol. Art critic Alastair Sooke sets out to discover why these artists are considered so great and how they still influence our lives today. He begins with Andy Warhol, the king of Pop Art. On his journey he parties with Dennis Hopper, has a brush with Carla Bruni and gets to grips with Marilyn. Along the way he uncovers just how brilliantly Andy Warhol pinpointed and portrayed our obsessions with consumerism, celebrity and the media, and then went on to re-invent them.
This programme explores the way our experiences shape our minds and bodies as we make the journey from the most helpless to the most sophisticated organism on earth. Dr Chris and Dr Xand van Tullekan uncover how we develop new skills - whether riding a bike or learning to walk.
In this programme, Drs Chris and Xand van Tulleken discover the everyday miracles that keep you alive. They explore the extraordinary lengths our bodies go to in order to keep our organs working at every moment of every day.
Making of David Attenborough’s Galapagos, which is aired first, offers an unrivalled and actually far more interesting view of the dramas that went into capturing all that footage. The way all the shots have been so calmly edited together makes the process look so effortless, but nothing could be further from the truth. There are broken helicopters and broken camera cables that threaten the whole enterprise and the grunting of mating tortoises that threaten to drown out Attenborough’s pieces to camera. This making of programme also includes the discovery of a previously unknown species of pink iguana, as well as the final television appearance of the last-remaining member of another species – the iconic long-necked tortoise known as Lonesome George. “He’s about 80 years old and he’s getting a bit creaky in his joints,” whispers Attenborough. “As indeed am I.”
No two islands in the Galapagos are the same. The imperceptible drift of a continental plate keeps each island biologically isolated. David Attenborough explores this evolutionary crucible, encountering tortoises that weigh up to half a tonne, finches that use tools and lizards that communicate using press-ups; for Darwin, this was all evidence for his theory of evolution. We see the final footage of the world famous tortoise fondly known as Lonesome George, the last survivor of his species. David Attenborough was the last person to have ever filmed with him. Darwin’s famous visit had a downside – the arrival of man. David investigates the impact we’ve had in these islands, as our influence is a double-edged sword. We’ve disrupted the natural balance but he also believes Darwin would be thrilled with the advances we have made in science. We’re also now uncovering evidence that evolution is more rapid than Darwin could ever have imagined. Whatever wonders the Galapagos Islands hold today, they are only a hint of what awaits them in the future.
Once life arrived in the Galapagos, it exploded into unique and spectacular forms. David Attenborough investigates the driving forces behind such evolutionary innovations. We learn that life must be able to adapt quickly in these ever-changing volcanic landscapes. It has resulted in species found nowhere else in the world, such as giant whale sharks and marine iguanas that can spit sea-salt from their noses, dandelion seeds that grow into tree-sized plants and spiders that can blend perfectly into the darkness. Adaptation has been the key to survival in these islands so far, but the story of life in the Galapagos doesn’t end here. The catalyst that triggers these explosions of life remains in place.
The islands of the Galapagos rose explosively from the ocean four million years ago. Although life would not seem viable in such a remote Pacific outpost, the first arrivals landed as the fires still burned. David Attenborough explores the islands for the animals and plants that descend from these pioneers: from the sea birds carrying the seeds that made a tentative foothold on these rocks, to equator-dwelling penguins and a dancing bird with blue feet. This is a story of treacherous journeys, life-forms that forged unlikely companionships, and surviving against all odds. It is the story of an evolutionary melting pot in which anything and everything is possible.
Professor Shapiro shows us how some images can prompt two, or even three, equally valid interpretations. Rather than settling on one interpretation, our brains tend to switch among all of them – leading to some baffling and astonishing visual experiences.
In part 3, Prof. Shapiro shows us that the brain is challenged to process some stimuli from the eyes and sometimes "guesses" what you are seeing. Join him as he takes us through visual perception challenges like the "Curveball Illusion". Has he thrown you for a loop yet?
In part 2, Prof. Arthur Shapiro takes us through visual illusions that show how our brain processes retinal impressions from light and dark. Watch as things "move" while they are standing still. It will be hard to believe your eyes after watching this program!
Part 1 of this eight-part series of shorts introduces the world of the visual scientist. Beyond boggling your mind, Prof. Arthur Shapiro explains how and why you see what you see -- and what part of what you see is actually "real", as opposed to how your mind fills in the blanks.
In what turns out to be an explosive year, witness Iceland through the eyes of the animals and people that have made this wild island home. An arctic fox family must eke out a cliff-top living, an eider farmer has his hands full playing duck dad to hundreds of new arrivals and Viking horsemen prepare to saddle up for the autumn round up. But nature's clock is ticking, and the constant volcanic threat eventually boils over with one of Iceland's biggest eruptions in more than 200 years. This land of ice and fire will not be tamed.
Documentary which follows six brilliant scientists during the launch of the Large Hadron Collider, marking the start of the biggest and most expensive experiment in the history of the planet. Filmed over seven years, it is an emotionally charged journey with scientists attempting to push the edge of human innovation. For the first time, a documentary gives viewers a front row seat to a significant and inspiring scientific breakthrough as it happens. As they seek to unravel the mysteries of the universe, 10,000 scientists from over 100 countries join forces in pursuit of a single goal - to recreate conditions that existed just moments after the big bang and find the Higgs boson, potentially explaining the origin of all matter. Directed by a physicist-turned-filmmaker and masterfully edited by Walter Murch (The Godfather trilogy), Particle Fever is a celebration of discovery, revealing the human stories behind this epic machine.
2014 • Physics
Adventurer and journalist Simon Reeve heads to Vietnam to uncover the stories behind the nation's morning pick-me-up. While we drink millions of cups of the stuff each week, how many of us know where our coffee actually comes from? The surprising answer is that it is not Brazil, Columbia or Jamaica, but Vietnam. Eighty per cent of the coffee we drink in Britain isn't posh cappuccinos or lattes but instant coffee and Vietnam is the biggest supplier. From Hanoi in the north, Simon follows the coffee trail into the remote central highlands where he meets the people who grow, pick and pack our coffee. Millions of small scale famers, each working two or three acres, produce most of the coffee beans that go into well known instant coffee brands. Thirty years ago Vietnam only produced a tiny proportion of the world's coffee, but after the end of the Vietnam war there was a widescale plan to become a coffee growing nation and Vietnam is now the second biggest in the world. It has provided employment for millions, making some very rich indeed, and Simon meets Vietnam's biggest coffee billionaire. But Simon learns that their rapid success has come at a cost to both the local people and the environment.
2014 • Travel
The Bomb tells the story of the most powerful and destructive device ever invented. Learn how humans harnessed this incredible power and what challenges we have faced living with it since 1945. With newly restored footage of nuclear weaponry, some of which has only recently been declassified, go behind the scenes of the first atomic bomb, revealing how it was developed and how it changed the planet, ushering in a new era and reshaping our lives even today. Rare footage from bomb tests through the 1950s and 60s demonstrates the power and strangely compelling beauty of nuclear explosions. Hear from foremost nuclear bomb historian Richard Rhodes, former Secretary of Defense William Perry, and former Secretary of State George Shultz, as well as from scientists, weapons designers, pilots, witnesses, and ordinary men and women who have lived and worked with the nuclear bomb. Examine the choices society has made--and continues to make--to live with an invention that could destroy the planet.
2015 • Economics
As a boy, frogs were the first animals Sir David Attenborough kept and today he is still just as passionate about them. Through his eyes, the weird and wonderful world of frogs is explored, shedding new light on these charismatic, colourful and frequently bizarre creatures. David reveals all aspects of the frogs' life, their anatomy, their extraordinary behaviour and their ability to live in some of the most extreme places on the planet, as he goes on an eye-opening journey into the fabulous lives of frogs.
The clean minimalism of the Japanese home has been exported around the world, from modernist architecture to lifestyle stores like Muji. But the origins of this ubiquitous aesthetic evolved from a system of spiritual and philosophical values dating back centuries. James visits one of Japan's last surviving traditional wooden villages, and the 17th-century villa of Rinshunkaku, and reveals how the unique spirit of Japanese craftsmen turned joinery into an artform - creating houses without the need for nails, screws or glue. Exploring some of the traditional arts of the Japanese home, James also investigates attitudes to domestic culture in modern Japan, meeting photographer Kyoichi Tsuzuki, chronicler of Japan's crowded cities and tiny apartments. Other highlights include a performance by calligrapher and artist Tomoko Kawao and a visit to the hometown of architect Terunobu Fujimori.
He explores how the artistic life of three Japanese cities shaped the country's attitudes to past and present, east and west, and helped forge the very idea of Japan itself. In Kyoto, James reveals how the flowering of classical culture produced many treasures of Japanese art, including The Tale of Genji, considered to be the first novel ever written. In Edo, where Tokyo now stands, a very different art form emerged, in the wood block prints of artists such as Hokusai and Hiroshige. James meets the artisans still creating these prints today, and discovers original works by a great master, Utamaro, who documented the so-called 'floating world'. In contemporary Tokyo, James discovers the darker side of Japan's urbanisation through the photographs of Daido Moriyama, and meets a founder of the Studio Ghibli, Isao Takahata, whose film Grave of the Fireflies helped establish anime as a powerful and serious art form.
James journeys through Japan's mountainous forests, marvels at its zen gardens and admires centuries-old bonsai, to explore the connections between Japanese culture and the natural environment. Travelling around Japan's stunning island geography, he examines how the country's two great religions, Shinto and Buddhism, helped shape a creative response to nature often very different to the West. But he also considers modern Japan's changing relationship to the natural world and travels to Naoshima Art Island to see how contemporary artists are finding new ways to engage with nature.
Dr Alice Roberts asks one of the great questions about our species: are we still evolving? There's no doubt that we're a product of millions of years of evolution. But thanks to modern technology and medicine, did we escape Darwin's law of the survival of the fittest? Alice follows a trail of clues from ancient human bones to studies of remarkable people living in the most inhospitable parts of the planet and the frontiers of genetic research, to discover if we are still evolving - and where we might be heading.
Drama-documentary about Winston Churchill's extraordinary experiences during the Great War, with intimate letters to his wife Clementine allowing the story to be told largely in his own words. Just 39 and at the peak of his powers running the Royal Navy, Churchill in 1914 dreamt of Napoleonic glory, but suffered a catastrophic fall into disgrace and humiliation over the Dardanelles disaster. The film follows his road to redemption, beginning in the trenches of Flanders in 1916, revealing how he became the 'godfather' of the tank and his forgotten contribution to final victory in 1918 as Minister of Munitions. Dark political intrigue, a passionate love story and remarkable military adventures on land, sea and air combine to show how the Churchill of 1940 was shaped and forged by his experience of the First World War.
2013 • History
David Attenborough narrates this astonishing story of a wild cheetah family. Known for being fast, captivating and extremely elusive, a new insight into their remarkable lives is offered by cameraman Kim Wolhuter. For nearly two years, he walked alongside a wild cheetah mother and her young family to unravel in intimate detail what it takes to turn tiny cubs into accomplished predators.
Automation in the Information Age is different.
Egypt's Great Pyramid may be humanity's greatest achievement: a skyscraper of stone built without computers or complex machinery. This super-sized tomb has fascinated historians and archaeologists for centuries, but exactly how the ancient Egyptians finished the monument and fitted its two and a half million blocks in a quarter of a century has long remained an enigma. Today the secrets of the pyramid are finally being revealed thanks to a series of new findings. At the foot of the monument, archaeologists are uncovering the last surviving relic of the pharaoh Khufu, whose tomb it is: a huge ceremonial boat buried in flat-pack form for more than 4500 years. It's a clue that points to the important role that ships and water could have played in the pyramids' construction. This documentary follows investigations that reveal how strong the link between pyramids and boats is. It's a story of more than how Egypt built a pyramid: it's about how the pyramid helped build the modern world.
2017 • History
The final episode deals with the evolution of the most widespread and dominant species on Earth: humans. The story begins in Africa, where, some 10 million years ago, apes descended from the trees and ventured out into the open grasslands in search of food. They slowly adapted to the habitat and grew in size. Their acute sense of vision led to them standing erect to spot predators, leaving their hands free to bear weapons. In addition, the primitive apemen also had stones that were chipped into cutting tools. Slowly, they grew taller and more upright, and their stone implements became ever more elaborate.
The penultimate instalment investigates the primates, whose defining characteristics are forward-facing eyes for judging distance, and gripping hands with which to grasp branches, manipulate food and groom one another. The programme begins in Madagascar, home to the lemurs, of which there are some 20 different types. Two examples are the sifaka, which is a specialised jumper, and the indri, which has a well-developed voice. Away from Madagascar, the only lemur relatives to have survived are nocturnal, such as the bushbaby, the potto and the loris. The others were supplanted by the monkeys and a primitive species that still exists is the smallest, the marmoset. However, Attenborough selects the squirrel monkey as being typical of the group. Howler monkeys demonstrate why they are so named their chorus is said to the loudest of any mammal and their prehensile tails illustrate their agility.
This programme surveys mammal herbivores and their predators. The herbivores began to populate the forests when the dinosaurs disappeared, and many took to gathering food at night. To prepare for winter, some store it in vast quantities, some hibernate and others make do as best they can. However, the carnivores joined them, and when a drying climate triggered the spread of grass, they followed their prey out on to the plains. Grass is not easily digestible and most animals that eat it have to regurgitate it and chew the cud. Out in the open, the leaf-eaters had to develop means of protection.
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.
This instalment is the first of several to concentrate on mammals. The platypus and the echidna are the only mammals that lay eggs (in much the same manner of reptiles), and it is from such animals that others in the group evolved. Since mammals have warm blood and most have dense fur, they can hunt at night when temperatures drop. It is for this reason that they became more successful than their reptile ancestors, who needed to heat themselves externally. Much of the programme is devoted to marsupials (whose young are partially formed at birth) of which fossils have been found in the Americas dating back 60 million years.
This programme focuses on birds. The feather is key to everything that is crucial about a bird: it is both its aerofoil and its insulator. The earliest feathers were found on a fossilised Archaeopteryx skeleton in Bavaria. However, it had claws on its wings and there is only one species alive today that does so: the hoatzin, whose chicks possess them for about a week or so. Nevertheless, it serves to illustrate the probable movement of its ancestor. It may have taken to the trees to avoid predators, and over time, its bony, reptilian tail was replaced by feathers and its heavy jaw evolved into a keratin beak.
This episode is devoted to the evolution of reptiles. They are not as restricted as their amphibian ancestors, since they can survive in the hottest climates. The reason is their scaly, practically watertight skin. The scales protect the body from wear and tear and in the case of some species of lizard, such as the Australian thorny devil, serve to protect from attack. The horned iguana from the West Indies is also one of the most heavily armoured. The skin is rich in pigment cells, which provide effective means of camouflage, and the chameleon is a well-known example. Temperature control is important to reptiles: they cant generate body heat internally or sweat to keep cool.
The next instalment describes the move from water to land. The fish that did so may have been forced to because of drought, or chose to in search of food. Either way, they eventually evolved into amphibians. Such creatures needed two things: limbs for mobility and lungs to breathe. The coelacanth is shown as a fish with bony fins that could have developed into legs, and the lungfish is able to absorb gaseous oxygen. However, evidence of an animal that possessed both is presented in the 450 million-year-old fossilised remains of a fish called a eusthenopteron. Three groups of amphibians are explored.
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).
This episode details the relationship between flowers and insects. There are some one million classified species of insect, and two or three times as many that are yet to be labelled. Around 300 million years ago, plants began to enlist insects to help with their reproduction, and they did so with flowers. Although the magnolia, for instance, contains male and female cells, pollination from another plant is preferable as it ensures greater variation and thus evolution. Flowers advertise themselves by either scent or display. Some evolved to produce sweet-smelling nectar and in turn, several insects developed their mouth parts into feeding tubes in order to reach it.
This instalment examines the earliest land vegetation and insects. The first plants, being devoid of stems, mainly comprised mosses and liverworts. Using both sexual and asexual methods of reproduction, they proliferated. Descended from segmented sea creatures, millipedes were among the first to take advantage of such a habitat and were quickly followed by other species. Without water to carry eggs, bodily contact between the sexes was now necessary. This was problematical for some hunters, such as spiders and scorpions, who developed courtship rituals to ensure that the female didn't eat the male.
The next programme explores the various sea-living invertebrates. In Morocco, the limestones are 600 million years old, and contain many invertebrate fossils. They fall broadly into three categories: shells, crinoids and segmented shells. The evolution of shelled creatures is demonstrated with the flatworm, which eventually changed its body shape when burrowing became a necessity for either food or safety. It then evolved shielded tentacles and the casings eventually enveloped the entire body: these creatures are the brachiopods. The most successful shelled animals are the molluscs, of which there are some 80,000 different species.
The episode begins in the South American rainforest whose rich variety of life forms is used to illustrate the sheer number of different species. Since many are dependent on others for food or means of reproduction, David Attenborough argues that they couldn't all have appeared at once. He sets out to discover which came first, and the reasons for such diversity. He starts by explaining the theories of Charles Darwin and the process of natural selection, using the giant tortoises of the Galapagos Islands (where Darwin voyaged on HMS Beagle) as an example. Fossils provide evidence of the earliest life, and Attenborough travels a vertical mile into the Grand Canyon in search of them.
In this extraordinary documentary we are going to witness very different kinds and situations of snowing: from howling blizzards to the gentlest and loveliest of weather events, from huge handkerchiefs quietly falling to the needle-sharp attack of hard, heavy grains. Snow - what is it really? How is it created - naturally and artificially? Thanks to CGI and new camera techniques we can actually see this process for the first time and listen to the incredible, inaudible music of snowfall, of myriads of tiny crystals touching and rolling and settling. Each snowflake is unique and bears more secrets than we could imagine. Did you know that different kinds of music influence the crystallization process and the shape of snowflakes? And have you ever imagined that we would be able to produce artificial snow that melts at 30 degrees Celsius? With this in mind: just let it snow!
2008 • Physics
A film about one of the greatest singers of all time. Whitney Houston was the epitome of superstar, an 'American princess' and the most awarded female artist ever. Even though Whitney had made millions of dollars, had more consecutive number ones than The Beatles and became recognised as having one of the greatest voices of all time, she still wasn't free to be herself and died at the age of 48. Made with largely never-before-seen footage and exclusive live recordings, Whitney: Can I Be Me tells Whitney Houston's incredible and poignant life story with insights from those closest to her.
2017 • Music
Join the members of the historic Rosetta mission through the years as they launch, wait and then deploy the lander onto the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Experience the dramatic highs and lows of the first mission to land a probe on a comet in space.
2017 • Astronomy
Two hundred million years ago there was an extraordinary development in the history of life: an ancient group of reptiles made a giant evolutionary leap into the skies. In this groundbreaking, BAFTA winning, documentary, David Attenborough travels back in time to discover how and why these creatures took flight, and why after 150 million years of aerial domination they vanished. Using state of the art CGI, and based on new finds and the latest research, Flying Monsters recreates these spectacular creatures and takes us into their world. Beginning on Dorset’s 'Jurassic Coast', David’s journey takes him to sites around the world, from Southern France to New Mexico. With the help of a team of scientists he unravels one of palaeontologys enduring mysteries, how did lizards the size of giraffes defy gravity and soar through prehistoric skies? Driven by the information he finds as he attempts to answer these questions, Attenborough finds that the marvel of pterosaur flight has evolutionary echoes that resonate even today.
2011 • Nature
A billion miles from home, running low on fuel, and almost out of time. After 13 years traversing the Saturn system, the spacecraft Cassini is plunging to a fiery death, becoming part of the very planet it has been exploring. As it embarks on its final assignment - a one-way trip into the heart of Saturn - Horizon celebrates the incredible achievements and discoveries of a mission that has changed the way we see the solar system. Strange new worlds with gigantic ice geysers, hidden underground oceans that could harbour life and a brand new moon coalescing in Saturn's magnificent rings. As the world says goodbye to the great explorer Cassini, Horizon will be there for with a ringside seat for its final moments.
Almost everything we know today about the beautiful giant ringed planet comes from Cassini, the NASA mission that launched in 1997 and arrived at Saturn in 2004. Since then, the space probe has been beaming home miraculous images and scientific data, revealing countless wonders about the planet, its rings and 62 moons - including some that could harbor life. As the mission approaches its final days in 2017, it attempts one last set of daring maneuvers - diving between the innermost ring and the top of Saturn's atmosphere. Aiming to skim less than 2000 miles above the cloud tops, no spacecraft has ever gone so close to Saturn, and hopes are high for incredible observations that could solve major mysteries about the planet's core. But such a daring maneuver comes with many risks and is no slam dunk. In fact, slamming into rocks in the rings is a real possibility. Join NASA engineers for the tense and triumphant moments as they find out if their bold re-programming has worked, and discover the wonders that Cassini has revealed over the years.
Do you know when an advert is really an advert? Can you be sure that the game you're playing isn't trying to make you buy something? When it comes to protecting our children from sugary food, the world of online advertising is the new frontier. Harry Wallop investigates and finds big name brands marketing fattening food in the games children play. Dispatches goes undercover in the ad world, creating a high-sugar drink to see who's willing to promote it to young children, and revealing the tricks of the trade.
2014 • Health
It's known as the Miracle of Dunkirk: in May 1940, approximately 340,000 Allied troops were trapped with their backs to the sea. Sitting ducks, the troops were subjected to an endless barrage of bombs and bullets as the Luftwaffe apparently bombed at will. The situation seemed hopeless. Then a fleet of ships appeared on the horizon, mostly sent by the Royal Navy but joined by smaller craft captained by plucky civilians. The soldiers were rescued from the beaches and taken safely back to Britain. They would later return to win the war. But behind the Miracle of Dunkirk there's another, hidden story. Soldiers and mariners, angry that they'd apparently been left undefended against the Luftwaffe, blamed the RAF. Historians have long viewed Dunkirk as the RAF's poorest hour. But now, recently released MoD files reveal that, far from being absent, the RAF were suffering massive losses supporting the evacuation.
Planet Earth has been home to humankind for over 200,000 years, but with a population of 7.3 billion and counting and limited resources, this planet might not support us forever. Professor Stephen Hawking thinks the human species will have to populate a new planet within 100 years if it is to survive. With climate change, pollution, deforestation, pandemics and population growth, our own planet is becoming increasingly precarious.
2017 • Astronomy
The dream of sending humans to Mars is closer than ever before. In fact, many scientists think that the first person to set foot on the Red Planet is alive today. But where should the first explorers visit when they get there? Horizon has gathered the world's leading experts on Mars and asked them where would they go if they got the chance - and what would they need to survive? Using incredible real images and data, Horizon brings these Martian landmarks to life - from vast plains to towering volcanoes, from deep valleys to hidden underground caverns. This film also shows where to land, where to live and even where to hunt for traces of extraterrestrial life.
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.
Right now, billions of neurons in your brain are working together to generate a conscious experience -- and not just any conscious experience, your experience of the world around you and of yourself within it. How does this happen? According to neuroscientist Anil Seth, we're all hallucinating all the time; when we agree about our hallucinations, we call it "reality." Join Seth for a delightfully disorienting talk that may leave you questioning the very nature of your existence.
For most of the Earth's history, life consisted of the simplest organisms; but then something happened that would give rise to staggering diversity, and, ultimately, life as complex as that which we see today. Scientists are still struggling to figure out just what that was.
An elaborate river portrait-in this case of one of the greatest rivers of Europe. An epic journey of discovery into the continent's unknown wild lands, "Danube - Europe's Amazon" shows how the river's famous currents helped sculpt the incredible landscapes, and it links them together.
Reveals the unknown side of a world-famous river that has shaped a whole continent. Over a period of two years, the Science Vision team traveled 90,000 kilometers and spent 481 days on location, returning with over 400 hours of material. Only two hours will be included in the finished film.
A behind-the-scenes special offering an insider's look at Sir David Attenborough's innovative series exploring the macroscopic world of bugs. David reveals how the film-makers got up close with the insect and arachnid world for the innovative documentary series
Watching the fascinating display of leafcutter ants at the Natural History Museum in London is one of my favourite ways to while away a few hours, but David Attenborough is operating on a much grander scale here in the last in the series. In Argentina he observes some cousins of the leafcutters who are part of a community so vast it spans an entire continent. It’s one of the mandible-dropping facts in a look at one of the key inventions of arthropods: colonies. From termites and honey bees to the leafcutters, it seems that if you want to get ahead, you move to the big city.
While most of the series has focused on conflict, this episode is all about co-operation. The suitably named social spiders spin one enormous, 30m web for the whole colony, a queen bee rules her hive with a strict hierarchy and some green ants show great team spirit to help build a nest together. There are no broken societies here. David Attenborough shifts the focus to bugs that prefer cooperation rather than conflict. They include burrowing cockroaches, the suitably named social spiders - which share a 30-metre web.
A close-up view of sex, bug-style, as David Attenborough talks viewers through the different ways in which creepy-crawlies reproduce. Size matters for the minuscule male orb spider, creepily sneaking up on its intended and trying to mate without her noticing, while there's no rest for the lothario-like butterfly, which has plenty of notches on its proverbial bedpost. However, the harvestman spider has no use for sex at all, and reproduces by cloning itself.
It’s sexy time with the arthropods! This week David Attenborough takes a look at the courtship rituals of the creatures beneath our feet. But lovebugs won’t want to take tips from these bugs. The male Chilean rose tarantula, for instance, weaves a silk mat; deposits sperm on it, then sucks that sperm into a finger-like appendage near his mouth before he looks for a mate. Then there’s the gruesome, but surprisingly effective, coupling of praying mantis. The cinematography is as amazing as ever, catching the mating battles of tramp ants and providing luminescent footage of the courtship dance of Tanzanian red claw scorpions.
The broadcaster continues his bug-eyed view of the world of creepy-crawlies, revealing how predators defuse the defences of their prey. Highlights include the cockroach wasp, busy preparing a tasty - and very live - treat for its young, the whirligig beetle, which employs a water-based radar system, and the jumping Portia spider, which feeds on other arachnids.
David Attenborough employs the latest technologies to explore the violence, rivalries and deadly weaponry existing within the world of bugs. This first episode examines the survival tactics of its terrifying residents including killer ants, trap-setting spiders and beetles with the ability to shoot boiling chemicals at their enemies.
On the last leg of his journey across the South American country, Michael explores the Brazilian south, where he is surprised by the rich diversity of European and Asian influences. Along the way he meets Dom Joao de Orleans e Braganca, second in line of succession to Brazil's defunct throne, goes flying with a man who has made a fortune out of rubbish and meets rap star Criolo, who believes social equality is a distant dream for most of his countrymen. Travelling farther south to Blumenau, the former Python's views on what makes a typical Brazilian are challenged when he finds German speakers and Bavarian dancers, before he catches piranha for sushi and helps cowboys treat a calf attacked by a jaguar
Michael begins the third leg of his journey in the mineral-rich state of Minas Gerais, where he learns about the Brazilian mining industry and meets some of the people dedicated to overturning the environmental damage it causes. He then heads to Rio de Janeiro, focus of the next World Cup and Olympics, where the authorities are ridding the streets of violent drug gangs that have controlled the city's shanty towns. On a lighter note, the globe-trotting broadcaster also learns to celebrate a goal like a well-known radio commentator and visits a `love hotel'.
The Python star continues his first visit to Brazil by travelling by river from the northern border with Venezuela to the capital of Brasilia. Along the way he visits indigenous tribe the Yanomami, learning about the threat to their hunter-gatherer way of life, before watching a rehearsal by the Amazon Philharmonic Orchestra and searching for the remains of Henry Ford's unsuccessful attempt to build a vast rubber plantation in the middle of the rainforest. In Belem, music producer Priscilla explains why Amazonian women are such powerful forces, then he moves southwards, meeting rock star and political activist Dinho Ouro Preto, who believes that despite its social and environmental problems, the country is on the brink of becoming a superpower.
The seasoned traveller explores the South American country, beginning in the north-east - where Europeans first landed and grew rich on the profits from sugar and tobacco plantations run with slave labour. In Sao Luis, Michael finds out about a ceremony based on a 200-year-old tale before heading to the coastal lagoons of the Lencois Maranhenses National Park. Journeying inland, he gets a glimpse of the fast-disappearing world of old-style cowboys known as vaqueiros, has his fortune read by a Candomble priest and learns to drum with the Olodum cultural collective.
Each day, some 2.5 trillion bytes of data are exchanged, a deluge known as "big data." How can we classify, store, and give meaning to this mass of digital information? Will our digital society remain capable of producing a lasting memory? Learn the fate of memory storage in the future.
2014 • Technology
The Pray will immerse you into the forested world of the dead leaf mantis. This action packed film boasts incredibly unique and dynamic shots. Fly through the forest with flies, witness the cunning behavior between the mantis and the hawk and experience a hunt like you’ve never seen before. Using stunning cinematography we divulge the truth of a catch and behold the incredible way a mantis devours its prey. It’s everything a fantasy movie would have except this time, it’s real.
2017 • Nature
A new age of space exploration, and exploitation, is dawning. But surprisingly, some of the boldest efforts at putting humans into space are now those of private companies started by a handful of maverick billionaire businessmen. Brian Cox gains exclusive access behind the scenes at Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and Spaceport America, exploring what is really happening in privately financed space flight right now. From space tourism to asteroid mining, and even dreams of colonies on Mars, these new masters of the universe refuse to limit their imaginations. But are private companies led by Jeff Bezos, Sir Richard Branson and Elon Musk really going to be able to pull this off? How will they overcome the technical challenges to achieve it? And is it really a good idea, or just a fool's errand? Cox meets key players in the story - Bezos, founder of Blue Origin as well as Amazon, and Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic. He wants to find out how entrepreneurs - and engineers - really plan to overcome the daunting challenges of human space travel. It certainly hasn't been easy so far. Jeff Bezos has sold a further billion dollars of Amazon stock this year to fund Blue Origin. Branson has been working on Galactic for more than a decade. Lives have been lost. And some companies have already all but given up. But real progress has been made too. The origins of the new space boom, the X-prize in 2004, proved that reusable space craft could be built by private enterprise. Now the challenge is to work out how to run reliable, safe, affordable services that will show a return on the massive financial investments. Sixteen years since Dennis Tito became the first civilian in space, Cox explores the hardware and companies that are aiming to make daily tourist flights to space. Beyond mass space travel, and even space mining and manufacturing, the dream of Elon Musk and others is true space exploration. His company, SpaceX, already delivers supplies to the International Space Station, and their next step is delivering astronauts too. But their true ambition is to ensure the survival of the human race by crossing our solar system and colonizing Mars in the next decade. Could commercial spaceflight companies eventually make us a space-faring civilization?
2017 • Astronomy
Presenter Michael Mosley finds out how the early days of surgery were dark and barbaric, when the surgeon’s knife was more likely to kill you than save you, and invasive medicine generally meant being bloodlet by leeches to within an inch of your life.
Thought of as a modern phenomenon, it actually started over 400 years ago with a spate of botched nose jobs. Since then, surgeons have been entranced with the idea that not only could they fix the body, but could even fix our sense of self-esteem. Presenter Michael Mosley undergoes both 16th-century bondage and 21st-century botox in his journey of discovery.
These days, transplant surgery saves thousands of lives every year and almost everything, from heart to eyes, can be replaced. But in the beginning, transplants killed rather than cured, because surgeons didn’t understand that they were taking on one of the most efficient killing systems we know of – the human immune system.
With a family history of heart problems, presenter Michael Mosley takes a personal interest in these pioneers, who teetered on the scalpel-edge between saviour and executioner. Michael has a go at heart surgery, meets a man with no heartbeat and witnesses an operation where the patient is cooled until their brain stops and has all of their blood sucked out.
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.
M.C. Escher is among the most intriguing of artists. In 1956 he challenged the laws of perspective with his graphic Print Gallery and his uncompleted master-piece quickly became the most puzzling enigma of modern art. Fifty years later, can mathematician Hendrik Lenstra complete it? Should he?
2007 • Creativity
The use of embryonic stem cells has ignited fierce debate across the spiritual and political spectrum. But what if we could create manmade stem cells - or find super cells in adults that could forever replace embryonic cells and remove the controversy? Today, we are on the brink of a new era - an age where we may be able to cure our bodies of any illness. Stephen Hawking has spent his life exploring the mysteries of the cosmos, now there is another universe that fascinates him - the one hidden inside our bodies - our own personal galaxies of cells. Hawking takes us on a fascinating journey exploring what these wondrous and baffling mechanisms are capable of. He is joined by the scientists who are on the front lines of discovery in this field including Dr. Doris Taylor who is customizing a donor's heart with the recipient's stem cells - her goal is to revolutionize heart transplants, Dr. Paul Lu and Dr. Mark Tuszynski may have created a breakthrough that could cure paralysis, and Dr. Vincent Giampapa who believes that stem cells can be used to stem the tide of aging and create a fountain of youth.
2014 • Health
A fascinating look at the secret, underground world of the ant colony in a way that has never been seen before. At its heart is a massive, full-scale ant nest, specially-designed and built to allow cameras to see its inner workings. The nest is a new home for a million-strong colony of leafcutter ants from Trinidad. For a month, entomologist Dr George McGavin and leafcutter expert Professor Adam Hart capture every aspect of the life of the colony, using time-lapse cameras, microscopes, microphones and radio tracking technology. The ants instantly begin to forage, farm, mine and build. Within weeks, the colony has established everything from nurseries to gardens to graveyards. The programme explores how these tiny insects can achieve such spectacular feats of collective organisation. This unique project reveals the workings of one of the most complex and mysterious societies in the natural world and shows the surprising ways in which ants are helping us solve global problems.
2013 • Nature
This is the glorious story of the Hittites - the most powerful people in the Near East of their time. Narrated by Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons, "The Hittites" brings the fascinating history of this mighty empire to life with expert interviews, stunning cinematography, dramatic reenactments, and visual effects. Highlights include a breathtaking recreation of the controversial battle of Kadesh that decimated the armies of Egypt's Pharaoh Ramesses II. Based on the actual words of the Hittites, deciphered from ancient clay tablets excavated in the 20th century, their story unfolds as beautifully as it written almost 3500 years earlier.
2003 • History
Psychopaths have long captured the public imagination. Painted as charismatic, violent predators lacking in all empathy, they provide intrigue and horror in equal measure. But what precisely is a psychopath? What is it that drives them to cause harm, even kill? And can they ever be cured? Presented by psychologist professor Uta Frith, this is an in-depth exploration of the psychopathic mind including one of the most notorious of all, Moors murderer Ian Brady. Through an ongoing correspondence between the Horizon team and Brady, the film features some of the very last letters he wrote. The film also features a series of candid interviews with prison inmates who not only describe their crimes but why they think they committed them. Horizon explores not only how each individual's crimes were shaped by their own life experiences, but also gives an insight into how these people think and behave. Working with the world's experts in the field, the film sheds light on the biological, psychological and environmental influences that shape a psychopath. And it looks to the future, with groundbreaking research that suggests a lifetime of incarceration is not the only option to manage violent and dangerous psychopaths.
In this Short Documentary, Geologists in New Zealand created a stir earlier this year when they declared their discovery of the eighth continent of the world. Learn how was it formed and how something so massive could remain undetected until now.
As scientific studies confirm sea level changes throughout the globe, major coastal cities like Miami are now fighting back against these rising tides, before it's too late. Parts of Miami Beach are under serious threat, with major economic and social dangers looming large.
Twenty years after its launch, we bid farewell to the Cassini spacecraft as it plunges into Saturn’s atmosphere in a planned death spiral. Productive right to the end, Cassini has rewritten the textbook on not only Saturn and its moons, but our whole solar system as well.
NASA may have just gotten one step closer to the answering the question: are we alone? The Spitzer Telescope has made a groundbreaking discovery of exoplanets that could be similar to our own. And as Kepler also continues its search, our understanding of the universe continues to be redefined.
Combining scintillating film clips of the 32 greatest adult movies ever produced with in-depth interviews from the biggest stars in the industry, this erotic documentary is the definitive look at the art of carnal films. Hosted by Chanel Preston, with Jenna Jameson, Ron Jeremy, Marilyn Chambers, Christy Canyon, Jessica Drake, Georgina Spelvin and many more.
2015 • People
David Attenborough narrates this documentary about the giant squid, a creature of legend and myth which even in the 21st century, has rarely been seen in it's natural environment. But now, an international team of scientists think they have finally found their lair, one thousand metres down, off the coast of Japan. This is the culmination of decades of research. The team deploys underwater robots and state of the art submersible vessels for a world first - to find and film the impossible.
Over 60,000 years ago, the first modern humans—people physically identical to us today—left their African homeland and entered Europe, then a bleak and inhospitable continent in the grip of the Ice Age. But when they arrived, they were not alone: the stocky, powerfully built Neanderthals had already been living there for hundred of thousands of years. So what happened when the first modern humans encountered the Neanderthals? Did we make love or war?
2013 • History
Unearth over 2000 years of history deep below the streets of London On the surface, London is a buzzing, modern metropolis--but underneath lies a secret, hidden world, all but forgotten by the millions of people above. Secrets of Underground London uncovers 2000 years of subterranean history: a world of ancient caves and perfectly preserved Roman remains; mysterious rivers and gruesome plague pits; impenetrable vaults and top-secret bunkers. As we dig deep, we'll unearth some of the most extraordinary stories of the darkest side of the city.
2014 • History
Looks at the black market website known as the Silk Road, which emerged on the darknet in 2011. This 'Amazon of illegal drugs' was the brainchild of a mysterious, libertarian intellectual operating under the avatar The Dread Pirate Roberts. Promising its users complete anonymity and total freedom from government regulation or scrutiny, Silk Road became a million-dollar digital drugs cartel. Homeland Security, the DEA, the FBI and even the Secret Service mounted multiple investigations in the largest online manhunt the world had ever seen. But it would be a young tax inspector from the IRS, who had grown up in the projects of Brooklyn, who would finally crack the case and unmask 'DPR'.
2017 • Technology
Jamie Bartlett reveals how Silicon Valley's mission to connect the world is disrupting democracy, helping plunge us into an age of political turbulence. Many of the Tech Gods were dismayed when Donald Trump - who holds a very different worldview - won the American presidency, but did they actually help him to win? With the help of a key insider from the Trump campaign's digital operation, Jamie unravels for the first time the role played by social media and Facebook's vital role in getting Trump into the White House. But how did Facebook become such a powerful player? Jamie learns how Facebook's vast power to persuade was first built for advertisers, combining data about our internet use and psychological insights into how we think. A leading psychologist then shows Jamie how Facebook's hoard of data about us can be used to predict our personalities and other psychological traits. He interrogates the head of the big data analytics firm that targeted millions of voters on Facebook for Trump - he tells Jamie this revolution is unstoppable. But is this great persuasion machine now out of control? Exploring the emotional mechanisms that supercharge the spread of fake news on social media, Jamie reveals how Silicon Valley's persuasion machine is now being exploited by political forces of all kinds, in ways no one - including the Tech Gods who created it - may be able to stop.
Jamie Bartlett uncovers the dark reality behind Silicon Valley's glittering promise to build a better world. The tech gods believe progress is powered by technology tearing up the world as it is - a process they call disruption. He visits Uber's lavish offices in San Francisco and hears how the company believes it is improving our cities. But in Hyderabad in India, Jamie sees for himself the human consequences of Uber's utopian vision - drivers driven to suicide over falling earnings. Riding shotgun in a truck as it drives itself for more than a hundred miles on a highway, Jamie asks what the next wave of Silicon Valley's global disruption - the automation of millions of jobs - will mean for all of us. In search of answers, he gets a warning from an artificial intelligence pioneer who is replacing doctors with software - an economic shock is coming, faster than any of us have realized. Jamie's journey ends in the remote island hideout of a former Facebook executive who has armed himself with a gun because he fears this new industrial revolution could lead to social breakdown and the collapse of capitalism.
Plants amazingly dominate this green world by employing poisons, recruiting defensive armies, feeding off the dead and using animals for pollination and seed dispersal. For predators this world presents exceptional challenges, not only in finding prey in such a tangled place, but in how to deal with the toxins that so many animals and plants are laced with.
Africa's coasts were formed by the break-up of Gondwanaland 100 million years ago. They define the familiar shape of this special continent, and touch on a variety of environments including deserts, mountains, forests, wetlands and savannahs. Wild Africa takes us back in time to witness the birth of Africa and also carries us on a spectacular journey around the edge of the continent.
As a whole, Africa is a dry continent with deserts dominating the landscape. Wild Africa explores how these deserts were created, and the amazing ways in which animals and plants have evolved to cope with the meagre and unpredictable rainfall, intense solar radiation, shortages of food and lack of shelter. By traveling through the African deserts, Wild Africa reveals that given enough time, a diverse variety of animals and plants can make a living in even the harshest conditions.
The savannah is home to some of the greatest herds on Earth, and in this episode, Wild Africa brings you close encounters with these animals. The savannah is Africa's youngest landscape, shaped by the weather and the animals themselves as the continent dried. It is now home to baboons, wildebeest, lions, cheetah, and aardvarks who must struggle through the eight-month dry season to survive.
Is there any way to slow or even prevent the ravages of time? Veteran presenter Johnny Ball looks back over the 45 years that Horizon, and he, have been on air to find out what science has learned about how and why we grow old. Charting developments from macabre early claims of rejuvenation to the latest cutting-edge breakthroughs, Johnny discovers the sense of a personal mission that drives many scientists and asks whether we are really any closer to achieving the dream of immortality.
A journey into the BBC archives unearthing glorious performances and candid interviews from the golden age of jazz. Featuring some of the greatest names in American music, including the godfather of New Orleans jazz Louis Armstrong, the King of Swing Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald. Broadcasted as part of the Old Masters, Rising Stars: Jazz On BBC Four season, this film unlocks the BBC archives to explore the words and music of some of the greatest names in jazz. The BBC soon moved on from Lord Reith's proclamation, made in the 1930s, that jazz was "a filthy product of modernity", and invited some of the legends from the golden age of American jazz to perform and talk on British television. This film is a series of revealing portraits, from Louis Armstrong, jazz's first great soloist and global ambassador, to Duke Ellington, the ever-suave bandleader and composer who brought a new sophistication and ambition to the music. Count Basie is sheer swing, Dizzy Gillespie provoked a musical revolution with bebop, and Ella Fitzgerald is just incomparable. Through long-forgotten archive and specially shot interviews, Jazz Legends In Their Own Words tells the story of an art form that has been called "America's gift to the world".
2014 • Music
Reconstructing a dinosaur skeleton for a museum is a balance between art and science - but getting that balance right is a tricky diplomatic, as well as scientific, process. Presenter and anatomist Dr. Alice Roberts follows the reconstruction of L.A.'s Natural History Museum's 2011 dinosaur exhibit.
2011 • Nature
In recent years, eating has become a health hazard. We love our potato chips, candy, and fast food…however bad they are for our health. And we still continue to consume these products in ever greater quantities. After the war on tobacco, a new battle is underway: the fight for healthier food. So, why do we consume so much processed food and why are we so hooked on it? How exactly does the relentless agribusiness keep us coming back for more? How does it mold our tastes, influence our cravings and feed our addictions? The few independent researchers who dare raise concerns about processed food are often ignored. Opposite them, the giant multinationals who fund the majority of research into nutrition are highly organized, and present at every level of decision-making. They are even involved in government campaigns on nutrition and health. Remi, our French-American reporter, will investigate current eating habits in Europe and America, and meet those involved in this new global food war. We will hear from scientists tracking sugar addiction, the businessmen playing on our weaknesses, legal experts preparing to challenge the might of the industry, and simple lovers of good food. A compelling documentary that reveals the latest ways the agribusiness is trying to tempt us, and the ways we as consumers can try to resist.
2013 • Health
The NHK team that captured the world's first footage of a live giant squid in its natural habitat is setting out for another deep-sea adventure. They will give us a look at the amazing life forms with luminous bodies that have survived the harsh, pitch-dark deep sea environment of the Pacific.
The same submarine which successfully captured the world’s first moving images of a giant squid in its natural habitat is used for exploring the deep sea cliffs off the coast of New Guinea. The team encounters true living fossil species one after another. Join this exciting deep sea adventure!
While much of the information on our universe that we have acquired through studying the stars ultimately leads to more questions, this program accurately conveys what information we've learned since we began using Hubble and other super telescopes to explore distant regions of space.
2016 • Astronomy
Chris and Martha discover which of our tagged bees have survived over the midsummer week - a frenetic nectar and pollen gathering period - and if they have collected enough food at this critical time to see them through the winter. With the help of Prof Adam Hart they will also explore the queen's remarkably deadly mating ritual and look at how bees can help us medically and how we can help them.
Using a specially designed hive, with a formidable arsenal of cutting-edge technology to monitor the bees, we enter the bees' miniature world. Chris and Martha also put to the test the very latest scientific findings about bees, to discover why they are one of the most incredible creatures on our planet.
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.
From the food on our tables to the fuel in our cars, crude oil seeps invisibly into almost every part of our modern lives. Yet many of us have little idea of the incredible journey it has made to reach our petrol tanks and plastic bags from its origins millions of years ago.
2007 • Nature
Vikings cast members Katheryn Winnick and Alyssa Sutherland join leading experts in an investigation of the different roles women played within Norse society-and they are surprised at what they discover and in Ragnar and His Sons,Vikings creator Michael Hirst, actor Clive Standen and a host of experts sort through historic accounts, Icelandic sagas and archaeological discoveries to gain insight into the real lives of Ragnar Lothbrok and his famous sons.
Actor Clive Standon travels across Europe with Viking experts to discover how the Vikings were able to invade England and France. In Rise of the Pagans,Vikings actors Clive Standen and Maude Hirst travel to Scandinavia to explore the pagan beliefs and warrior culture of the Vikings-and dispel myths about their violent society.
The Sun created our Solar System and in a fit of cosmic cannibalism will engulf and destroy it. However, our Solar System will see many changes before the light of our star goes out. So, what will be happening with the planets over the next four billion years, before the Sun swallows us and them?
As we continue to discover the diversity of life on Earth, we are forced to stop and marvel at how tenacious and inventive life is. So, as we forge onward in our robotic explorations of other worlds, we shouldn't be too surprised to find other places where conditions seem to be right for life.
For millennia humans have seen our star, the Sun, through the Earth’s atmosphere. But the Space Age has given us a new perspective that has revealed the many faces of the Sun in X-rays, ultraviolet/visible light, heat, and radio. We reveal hidden secrets of the Sun, like the power of solar wind.
Earth has a companion in space so large that it rules our nights, our months, our ocean tides. Why Earth should have such a moon is one of the deepest mysteries of the Solar System. We tell the story of how the Earth’s satellite became the unlikely object of desire of the two Cold War superpowers.
For centuries the giant planets floated on the fringes of the solar system as distant objects in the eyepieces of astronomers. But in December 1973 mankind had its first close encounter with Jupiter. We chart the story of our discovery of these massive planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
This is the story of pioneering missions to neighboring planets and our first glimpses of their awe-inspiring terrains. From the giant lava plains of Venus to the volcanoes on Mars that dwarf Mount Everest, we journey around the rocky planets and then to the icy moons of Jupiter, Saturn and beyond.
We reveal the planetary enigmas on our doorstep and embark on the New Horizons voyage to photograph Pluto. Will our encounter with this tiny ball of ice and rock and the trillions of icy objects beyond it paint a clearer picture of how the planets came to be?
Captivating documentary profiling Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, the fastest man in history and one of the greatest Olympians of all time. The film follows Bolt as he prepares to go for gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Competing in the 100m and 200m races, he attempts to make history by winning these events for a record third time. In addition to following his training, the documentary features archival footage of his life and phenomenal accomplishments. With a career that has already rewritten the record books, Bolt stakes his claim as one of the greatest athletes of all time.
2016 • People
Scientists are only now starting to unravel the secrets of comets. Often referred to as dirty snowballs, they contain ice and elements from the very start of the universe. Some theorize that a comet, crashing into our planet, brought with it the organic material that started life on Earth. Spacecraft continues to offer new information on their makeup, from bringing back samples from a comet's tail to direct contact when a NASA-launched craft slammed into the comet Tempel-1.
The Singularity, or the arrival of superhuman intelligence, has been described as both the “rapture of the nerds” and inevitable. Futurist and philosopher Jason Silva explores the ways in which this radical transformation may occur through biotechnology, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.
2016 • Technology
As his name suggests, rapper and documentary maker Professor Green has a past relationship with cannabis. Before finding success as a musician he sold weed, and between the ages of 16 and 24 he smoked cannabis every day - but things have changed since then. With those days behind him, Professor Green, aka Stephen Manderson, embarks on a uniquely personal film to take an in-depth look at our relationship with Britain’s most popular illegal drug and explores the arguments for and against legalisation. Stephen explores today’s booming UK cannabis industry, from the realities of life as a dealer, grower and even weed robber, to the consumers with ever-increasing options about how and what they buy. With cannabis laws around the world now changing – as US States like California fully legalise the drug – Stephen meets those hoping to make their future millions out of legalisation here in the UK. As he comes to reflect on his background and wrestle with his own past, Stephen explores addiction and the links between cannabis use and mental health.
2017 • Health
Gloria and Chris settle the argument over whether tea and coffee are good or bad for us - and if the same is true for both. There is also the truth about a food often touted as a way to fight cancer. And, after reports suggesting reusing plastic water bottles is a bad idea, tests reveal if we should be using a fresh one every time.
In the future will we spend our leisure time with smart and sophisticated machines designed for fun - Entertainment Robots? Marvel at Mantis, a two ton insect and Tradinno, a giant fire-spitting dragon. Then take a seat and watch a mechanical actor and a robotic pianist perform.
From brains to eyes, hands to legs, and deep down to the internal organs; implants, prosthesis and rehabilitation are entering a new era potentially creating a new type of human being - The Bionic Man- in reality, not on retro TV. But what ethical concerns arise as we mix technology with biology?
Inhospitable environments that would normally be unreachable become accessible thanks to a new class of robot - Robot Explorers. Robots can help us in difficult tasks like search and rescue operations. Is there any danger in letting machines handle so many tasks that used to belong to us?
By the year 2050, three quarters of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Looking at robotic systems being developed worldwide we can take a glimpse at the city life of the future. Private transportation with self-driving cars, our homes with automated systems - robots are in our future.
Mankind has always looked at nature to solve problems, taking a cue from the solutions that biological systems have refined through natural selection. In this episode we look at a robotic plant that mimics the mechanics of plant roots, and dive underwater to see robots inspired by fish.
They look like us. They move like us. And very soon they will live among us. They are humanoid robots. Meet an astonishing group of humanoids, among them: iCub, the world's first baby robot, and REEM, the Service Robot, ready to be launched as a guide in public spaces. Get to know humanoids!
Materials Science is set to define the next century of human history, and it promises to revolutionize every aspect of our lives. This film takes us on a journey where we meet the pioneers of Materials Science and see the extraordinary discoveries that are transforming the world around us.
2015 • Physics
Through her unique understanding of some of our greatest presidents, Doris Kearns Goodwin, writer and presidential biographer, provides leadership lessons we all can learn from in our never-ending pursuit to live our fullest and most successful lives.
Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the United States, draws a practical roadmap for how we can use the marketplace to promote the welfare of all living creatures, and how industries, innovators and consumers are coming together in this powerful social movement.
Geneticist Spencer Wells presents a broad view of the DNA Testing industry from its beginnings to its broader acceptance by the general public. Now an individual can, for the first time in history, read his own genetic blueprints.
As the ability to blur the physical and digital worlds becomes a global phenomenon, Nonny de la Pena is harnessing that transformative ability to tell stories like never before. Learn how she uses the immersive power of VR to help people connect to important issues they might otherwise ignore.
In the 21st century devices create more data than humans do. Rick Smolan, author of The Human Face of Big Data, shows the positive force of the collection of data in worldwide examples of the uses of medical data, personal data and business data to enrich people's lives.
Paul Saffo looks at the development of the US economy through the 20th and into the 21st century. What are the trends that have shaped the economy? How are innovations in technology and communications making the 21st century an entirely different landscape for producers and consumers?
How has Capitalism affected the world? Raj Sisodia, economic analyst, takes us back to pre-Industrial Revolution to show how our standard of living has improved. But now , he feels, it is time for another kind of capitalism - conscious capitalism - based on a value system deeper than profits.
Jason Silva is a positive futurist who wants us to be excited about "the adjacent possible" and the ways we need to embrace the coming technological changes -- the "tools" that will change us as a people and alter humankind.
It is hard to imagine a sky without an airplane in it. But David McCullough takes us back to the first days of aviation. We learn about the Wright Brothers, not only through their achievements, but by discovering who they were as people and the early family influences that shaped their characters.
You may think you know who wrote the Declaration of Independence and what it says -- but do you really? Political theorist Danielle Allen looks at the document's origin and originators to give us a picture of the men and the moment in time that shaped the United States of today.
What does quantum mechanics tell us about our world -- or are there many worlds due to probability waves? How does the general theory of relativity mesh with quantum mechanics? If you've wished you understood quantum mechanics (or at least grasped the basics) physicist Brian Greene can help!
As the Ganges nears the sea, it joins its mightiest tributary the Brahmaputra, creating a vast flood-prone delta. Here the bustling cities of Calcutta and Dhaka meet the wetlands, home to giant lizards and snakes, huge mean-eating crocodiles and forests full of monkeys. This is a story of human life persisting in wildly variable conditions in a domain that is still the preserve of the royal Bengal tiger.
Once a rich wilderness teeming with lions, tigers and cheetahs, the Gangetic plains of northern India have been transformed into the most densely populated place on Earth. The film explores the impact of this tide of humanity on the wildlife of the plains - from the all-out war between elephants and villagers to worship of the deadly cobra.
A journey to the source of the Ganges in the Himalayas unearths deep gorges, lush forests and flower-filled valleys, and brings encounters with wildlife, elusive snow leopards and black bears, to bone-crunching vultures and the monkeys that may lie behind the legend of the yeti. Plus a look at the journeys made by Hindu pilgrims to worship at the four sacred sources of the river.
An inspirational portrayal of the triumphs and tragedies punctuating the first 50 years of NASA's manned missions. From the pioneering Mercury launches to the daring Gemini project, this program reveals the epic behind the scenes struggle that ultimately carried men to the Moon.
2015 • Astronomy
Joanna ends her 5,000 mile journey in the place where she was born, Srinagar in Kashmir. She starts off in the Ranthambhore National Park, where she hopes to spot a tiger in the wild. Meeting tiger conservationist Belinda Wright, Joanna witnesses the work of local NGO Tiger Watch, who are attempting to break a cycle of poaching and poverty through education. Home to over 18 million people, Delhi is a city of stark contrasts. The extreme differences are obvious when Joanna visits a homeless community - where 10,000 men live under a flyover - and visits the modern part of the city where she has a go at working in a hi-tech call centre. The final leg of her journey takes her north from Delhi to Dharamsala, where she is granted a private audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Joanna concludes her trip with a stay on a houseboat in Srinagar, as her parents did on honeymoon in 1941.
Joanna meets the Maharaja of Dungarpur, who shows her around his lakeside palace. In stark contrast, Joanna visits a Dalit community - considered to be India's lowest caste - in Gujarat, and hears of the everyday discrimination these people experience under India's still deeply entrenched 3,000-year-old caste system. She later joins in a Hindu house warming ceremony, where a cow and calf are brought into the new house for luck. Braving the roads of Mumbai, Joanna takes a ride in the city's only all-female taxi company and visits the Times of India, where her uncle was editor of the paper in the 1930s and 40s. She then overcomes her vertigo to explore the World One Tower, soon to be Mumbai's tallest luxury residential building.
Joanna witnesses religious ceremonies in temples, learns how scientists are enabling people in tea plantations to live alongside wild elephants and with the help of computers is turned into a multi-limbed Indian goddess. In Kolkata, Joanna takes to the streets at night with a local guide and meets members of India's transgender community. Finally she journeys high into the Himalayas to visit Gangtok in Sikkim, where her mother lived as a child.
From earthquakes to tsunamis to volcanic eruptions, natural disasters are both terrifying and fascinating - providing endless fresh material for documentary makers. But how well do disaster documentaries keep pace with the scientific theories that advance every day? To try and answer that question, Professor Danielle George is plunging into five decades of BBC archive. What she uncovers provides an extraordinary insight into one of the fastest moving branches of knowledge. From the legendary loss of Atlantis to the eruption that destroyed Pompeii, Danielle reveals how film-makers have changed their approach again and again in the light of new scientific theories. While we rarely associate Britain with major natural disaster, at the end of the programme Danielle brings us close to home, exploring programmes which suggest that 400 years ago Britain was hit by a tidal wave that killed hundreds of people, and that an even bigger tsunami could threaten us again.
On June 8th 793 Europe changed, forever. The famous monastery at Lindisfarne on the Northumbrian coast was suddenly attacked and looted by seafaring Scandinavians. The Viking Age had begun. Professor Alice Roberts examines how dramatically the story of the Vikings has changed on TV since the 1960s. She investigates how our focus has shifted from viewing them as brutal, pagan barbarians to pioneering traders, able to integrate into multiple cultures. We also discover that without their naval technology we would never have heard of the Vikings, how their huge trading empire spread, and their surprising legacy in the modern world.
Oxygen – we all need it, we can't live without it. It's integral to life on this planet. And it's probable that, as you watch this film, you will be breathing in an oxygen atom that was also breathed by Genghis Khan – or by the first ever apes to stand upright on the plains of Africa. The oxygen that we breathe is made from two oxygen atoms joined together – O2. They were first joined more than 3 billion years ago by the earliest blue-green algae to evolve. The oxygen molecule first came from bacteria and was present in the fires that destroyed the dinosaurs and the chemical reactions in all human cells, and as ozone they protect the earth from radiation. Since then, both together and apart, they've had the most extraordinary adventures. Each of the two atoms in an oxygen molecule is virtually indestructible – so they have been first-hand players in some of the most dramatic events in the whole of Earth's history. It's often said that we are breathing the same oxygen that the cavemen did. The life of a single molecule of oxygen is traced on it's astonishing journey spanning millions of years, from its creation, into photosynthesis, through the age of the dinosaurs, early man, and on into today.
2008 • Nature
Giles and Monica don their best thermals and extreme weather gear, and travel 200km north of the Arctic Circle to Sweden's Lapland. They enter a magical world of snow, ice, inky blue and pink skies, and ICEHOTEL, a regular feature of bucket lists, now in its 27th year.
Giles Coren and Monica Galetti experience the warm embrace of Fogo Island Inn on a rocky, sea-sprayed outpost of remote Fogo Island in Newfoundland. White, angular and perched atop zig-zagged stilts like the local fishermen's houses.
Giles and Monica arrive at Royal Mansour, one of the world's most discreet hotels, hidden deep in the heart of Marrakech's ancient Medina. In stark contrast to the developing country it inhabits, the 'jewel of the city' was built with a limitless budget by royal decree to showcase the kingdom to world leaders and to billionaire and celebrity guests.
Giles Coren and Monica Galetti head to the Andean Cloud Forest of Ecuador to work at Mashpi Lodge, a $10-million modernist hotel featuring an extraordinary gondola cable car that 'flies' guests one mile through the jungle canopy at a dizzying height.
In the first episode of this eye-opening series, Giles Coren and Monica Galetti join the 9,500-strong workforce in one of the world's biggest hotels - Singapore's Marina Bay Sands. This epic hotel caters for one million guests every year, cost 3.5 billion to build and was created as part of a government plan to triple tourist income to Singapore within ten years.
The human race has succeeded in explaining nearly everything in this universe using mathematical formulae. Yet there is one place that remains shrouded in mystery -– black holes. Physicists believe that if they could discover a formula that explains the center of black holes, the last remaining mystery of the universe could finally be unraveled -– how the universe came into being. Their attempts have been mired by unforeseen pitfalls but with the development of superstring theory, physicists have arrived at a formula that could finally end their century-long search. What the formula described was a world beyond our wildest imaginations. This is the incredible story of physicists like Einstein, Hawking and the superstring theorists who have endeavored to solve the mystery of the origin of the universe.
For over a century, physicists have searched for a blueprint of the universe in the form of a single mathematical formula. This ultimate formula would explain the fundamental building blocks of the universe -– the elementary particles and the different forces that govern them. In their quest, physicists dedicated themselves to the pursuit of mathematical beauty but they were to be met with unexpected setbacks. The discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 at last confirmed the Standard Model –- a culmination of the theories of various physicists that finally seemed to explain what this universe is made of. But is this where the story ends...? Using the latest computer graphics and interviews with Nobel Prize-winning physicists, we look at the fascinating and dramatic story of the search for the ultimate formula.
The British back garden is a familiar setting, but underneath the peonies and petunias is a much wilder hidden world, a miniature Serengeti, with beauty and brutality in equal measure. Chris Packham and a team of wildlife experts spend an entire year exploring every inch of a series of interlinked back gardens in Welwyn Garden City. They want to answer a fundamental question: how much wildlife lives beyond our back doors? How good for wildlife is the great British garden? Through all four seasons, Chris reveals a stranger side to some of our more familiar garden residents. In summer he meets a very modern family of foxes - with a single dad in charge - and finds that a single fox litter can have up to five different fathers. In winter he shows that a robin's red breast is actually war paint. And finally, in spring he finds a boiling ball of frisky frogs in a once-in-a-year mating frenzy. The secret lives of the gardens' smallest residents are even weirder. The team finds male crickets that bribe females with food during sex, spiders that change colour to help catch prey, and life-and-death battles going on under our noses in the compost heap. So how many different species call our gardens home? How well do our gardens support wildlife? By the end of the year, with the help of a crack team from London's Natural History Museum and some of the country's top naturalists, Chris will find out. He'll also discover which type of garden attracts the most wildlife. The results are not what you might expect... You'll never look at your garden in quite the same way again.
2017 • Nature
Memory is not a photo album where your images of the past are faithfully recorded. The latest neuroscience discoveries show that memory can be affected in many ways and with surprising results: false memories, distortions, modifications and deja vu. To what extent can we rely on our memories?
2016 • Brain
Elvis Presley paid $4 to record two songs for his mother and the rest, as they say, is history. But without Elvis, would rock and roll have gone the same route? And how have the many iterations of rock and roll developed and changed our taste and culture since the 1950's?
The choices that Kong Qui, known in the West as Confucius, made during his career as a civil servant and administrator influenced an entire civilization. What if Kong Qui had been as opportunistic and corrupt as other officials? How might the fate of China and its worldview be changed?
A series of battles in France had an impact on modern day Europe and the fates of three countries down to our modern century. What might have happened if Richard the Lionheart had not been wounded? Or Philippe Auguste of France had fled the battlefield?
What if Alexander had not died at the age of 32? What if he had listened to advisors and returned to Macedonia instead of going on his worldwide conquest? How does the legacy of ideals and leadership left from Alexander's time resonate today?
We take viewers into the tangle of magnetic fields and super-hot plasma that vent the Sun’s rage in dramatic flares, violent solar tornadoes, and the largest eruptions in the solar system: Coronal Mass Ejections. What’s driving these strange phenomena? How do they affect planet Earth?
2016 • Astronomy
The car has shrunk the world, increased personal freedom and in so many ways expanded our horizons, but there is a flipside. Fumes from car exhausts have helped to destroy our environment, poisoned the air we breathe and killed us in far more straightforward ways. But all that is going to change. Horizon enters a world where cars can drive themselves, a world where we are simply passengers, ferried about by wholesome green compassionate technology which will never ever go wrong. And it is almost here. Horizon explores the artificial intelligence required to replace human drivers for cars themselves, peers into the future driverless world and discovers that, despite the glossy driverless PR (and assuming that they really can be made to work reliably), the reality is that it might not be all good news. From the ethics of driverless car crashes to the impact on jobs, it might be that cars are about to rise up against us in ways that none of us are expecting.
This episode looks at the effects of modern life and aging , how excessive cleanliness affects asthma & allergies, how poverty gets under the skin to cause lifelong damage, the physical effects of social isolation, and predicting mental illness and Alzheimer's by just looking at the back of people's eyes. Plus the latest research and where the research is going next.
The Dunedin Study has identified a fundamental developmental mechanism that completely rewrites the nature versus nurture argument. It is a genetic switch which is thrown by life events , nature loads the gun but nurture pulls the trigger. This episode tracks the hunt for the mechanism using three specific examples - violence in men, depression, and cannabis induced schizophrenia
Troubled teens , why some go bad and others come right. What happens when young people run off the rails? Youth offending is very common , almost everyone does dumb things and many of us break the law. However youth offenders consist of two core groups; life present offenders (people who are going to continue offending regardless), and people who given the right conditions will return to become mainstream citizens.
Meet the most scientifically studied people in the world. A group of 1,037 New Zealanders born in one city have been followed since their births in 1972. Members are now dispersed around the globe but 96% of the original group are still taking part - an extraordinary achievement in such a long running study.
What is a virus? How does it affect humans and how does it spread? Doctors, virologists and scientists examine the spread of the Zika virus, what effect this growing epidemic may have on large populations, and possible next steps to stop the illness.
2016 • Health
Look at a parallel world that humans cannot see. Among other stories, we delve into how boxers and table tennis pros see; the skills of Shaolin Monks; the way a bee transmits the locale of flowers, and the amazing lion fish and how it hunts.
Phenomena of incredible speed that we cannot see, captured in stunning detail using high-speed cameras. Watch the mechanics of dogs in motion (do their feet touch the ground?) Learn how a cat’s tongue works, experience the shockwaves of explosions, see the dynamics of fire -- and more!
With specialized photography we can view some amazing sights not visible to the human eye. Watch the "Kiss Experiment", the dynamics of the oldest weapon ever discovered, the brain waves of musicians and the scales on a butterfly's wing, amongst other awesome moments captured for our eyes to see.
We cannot see things like the movement of a sponge because its movements are too slow. But with specialized photography we can see imperceptibly slow and fast movements. See the dynamics of a child's first steps, rainfall, nocturnal animals and butterflies in flight-and the incredible archer fish.
Following the release of his book on the gut, Dr Michael Mosley returns to Insight for a discussion with fellow experts and ordinary Australians about how the gut can play an integral role in our overall physical and mental health.Increasingly, research is shedding light on the previously mysterious world of the gut and the 1-2 kilograms of microbes that live there, forming each person's unique microbiome , the genetic ecosystem of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other organisms that lives inside and on our bodies from birth. This week's Insight tackles the ground-breaking science and personal stories around the gut's potential to change our lives.
2017 • Health
We look at scientific research that links the way babies are born with health in later life, particularly the increased risk of children developing certain immune-related conditions, including asthma, type 1 diabetes, obesity, cardio-vascular diseases, mental health disorders and even some cancers.
2015 • Health
It really is a big bad world out there. So what happens if you are the little guy? This film tells the epic survival stories of the world's smallest animals. To make a living, these tiny heroes have evolved extraordinary skills and achieved mind-boggling feats. From the animal kingdom's greatest artist to the tiny creatures that provide us with so much of the air we breathe, we discover what it takes to be a miniature miracle.
2017 • Nature
Horizon looks at the issues that will change the way we live our lives in the future. Rather than relying on the minds of science fiction writers, mathematician Hannah Fry delves into the data we have today to provide an evidence-based vision of tomorrow. With the help of the BBC's science experts - and a few surprise guests - Hannah investigates the questions the British public want answered about the future. Hannah tries to discover whether we could ever live forever or if there will ever be a cure for cancer. She finds out how research into the human brain may one day help with mental health, and if it is possible to ever ditch fossil fuels. Hannah and her guests also discover the future of transport - and when, if ever, we really will see flying cars. She discovers whether a robot will take your job or if, as some believe, we will all one day actually become cyborgs. The programme predicts what the weather will be like and discovers if we are on the verge of another mass extinction. Hannah's tenth prediction is something she - and Horizon - are confident will definitely happen, and that is to expect the unexpected!
Episode 4 – reveals the surprising impact sugar can have on our health. The added sugars in most packaged foods are one of the deadliest ingredients in our modern diet. But the naturally-occurring sugars, antioxidants and nutrients found in most fruits and berries make these sweet treats some of the healthiest foods on our planet.
Episode 3 – spotlights some of nature's tiniest packages that deliver a powerful protein punch. Protein is an essential component of our diet, and for centuries, products of animal origin were thought to be one of the best sources. But, new evidence proves diets high in beans are one of the most important dietary predictors of survival for older people around the world.
Episode 2 – exposes how the industrial revolution opened the floodgates for highly-processed convenience foods that became "our daily bread." But those pseudo-grains are known to contribute to chronic disease. Natural, whole grains support longevity and lower the risk of heart disease. Grain of Truth also explores the debate over gluten as a dietary evil.