The Living Planet • 1984 • 7 episodes • 11h:11m

David Attenborough examines the ways in which animals and plants adapt to their surroundings.

The Frozen World

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.

2/12 • 1984 • Nature


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.

4/12 • 1984 • Nature

The Building of the Earth

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.

1/12 • 1984 • Nature

Seas of Grass

Explores the grasses which are present all over the world. Grass sustains huge numbers of creatures the world over, particularly in the African grasslands, where huge numbers of savannah animals have made their homes.

5/12 • 1984 • Nature

The Margins of the Land

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.

9/12 • 1984 • Nature

Worlds Apart

Investigates remote islands and their inhabitants. Some islands are tips of volcanoes; others are coral atolls. Those that colonise them transform into new species with comparative speed.

10/12 • 1984 • Nature

The Open Ocean

Attenborough goes underwater to observe the ocean's life forms and comment on them at first hand.

11/12 • 1984 • Nature