Superhuman • 2001 • 6 episodes • 4h:48m

We live surrounded by 20th Century technology, yet still have bodies that were designed for the Stone Age. The biggest challenge for modern medicine is to reconcile the two. This groundbreaking series shows how pioneers at the cutting edge of medicine are shaping the physical future by harnessing the body's extraordinary capacity for self-repair and re-invention. Superhuman shows the beauty and faults that lie within the human body, how it operates both in sickness and in health, and the extraordinary ways that it adapts and responds to the world. Stunning graphic embeds and imaging techniques illustrate how modern science is making the possibility of becoming superhuman a serious reality in the 21st Century.


The body's superhuman abilities are most starkly revealed in the area of trauma - one of the world's biggest killers. Medical teams have traditionally tried to reverse the changes which occur when the body goes into trauma, but doctors are now beginning to realise that the changes which occur in the body after an injury such as the loss of blood and severe drops in temperature serve an important purpose in the recovery process.

1/6 • 2001 • Health

Spare Parts

The possibility of medicine to replace damaged organs in the body is making important headway. This programme reports on efforts to replace the most inaccessible organs with spare parts - the cochlea of a profoundly deaf two year-old and damaged retinal cells with light sensitive electronic chips are two case studies featured in the programme.

2/6 • 2001 • Health

Self Repair

The human body is constantly regenerating itself, but as we get older, the ability for self-repair diminishes. The human foetus, however, has far greater powers of regeneration. The programme explores how modern medicine is looking at ways to tap into the superhuman power of the embryo.

3/6 • 2001 • Health

The Enemy Within

One in three of us will develop cancer and many will die from it.

4/6 • 2001 • Health

The Baby Builders

Inherited genetic diseases are the second most common reason why babies die but people who carry defective genes, such as the ones that cause cystic fibrosis, are being helped by a technique called PGD - pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.

6/6 • 2001 • Health

Killers into Cures

Not all the microbes that live on us or inside us are benign, and it is only thanks to the superhuman nature of our bodies that we survive constant attack. However, humans are becoming increasingly vulnerable to disease. This programme examines the dramatic increase in allergic diseases such as asthma, eczema and hayfever.

5/6 • 2001 • Health