Trials of Life • 1990 • 13 episodes • 10h:31m

Originally broadcast in 1990, Trials of Life is still one of the most comprehensive wildlife documentaries ever made. It examines animal behaviour in all its infinite variety and in doing so we are allowed to witness some of the most enchanting animal personalities, as well as some of the most fearsome. Leaving parents, searching for food, building a home, finding a mate; each day brings a new test, a challenge for even the fittest and best adapted animal. Taking some three and a half years to make, Sir David Attenborough travelled almost a quarter of a million miles to complete this fascinating and insightful documentary.

Arriving

An examination of the diverse techniques employed by animals to disperse and protect offspring.

1990 • Nature

Growing Up

For animals, there is no greater challenge than surviving the vulnerable first years of life. This episode demonstrates that nature's solutions are as varied as those in human society.

1990 • Nature

Finding Food

The search for food in the animal world. With leaves defended by poisons and seeds clad in thorns, animals fight back in very innovative ways.

1990 • Nature

Hunting and Escaping

Life-and-death duels are fought daily in the wild: an orchid turns out to be a predator, killer whales ambush sea lions and chimps pursue colobus monkeys.

1990 • Nature

Finding the Way

How animals ranging from albatrosses to ants can navigate themselves over long distances.

1990 • Nature

Home Making

How all animal architects aim to keep both the elements and intruders at bay through features that include defensive moats.

1990 • Nature

Living Together

Examining some of the weird relationships that develop between species, from birds that relieve clients of hangers-on to hermit crabs that enlist stinging anemones to repel octopuses.

1990 • Nature

Fighting

How many animals - including zebras, moose and stalk-eyes flies - assess their opponents' fighting prowess before making an attack that risks injury or death.

1990 • Nature

Friends and Rivals

From vampire bats to baboons, Sir David Attenborough investigates the importance of recognising friends and respecting the power of rivals throughout the animal kingdom.

1990 • Nature

Talking to Strangers

From the love songs of fish to the flashes of millions of tiny beetles, Sir David Attenborough examines methods of communication used by animals.

1990 • Nature

Courting

This edition looks at the various methods employed by species to attract a mate, including whales that sing "songs", hamsters that emit an odour, and manakins that do acrobatic dances.

1990 • Nature

Continuing the Line

A look at the many and varied ways in which animals procreate in order to ensure that their genes are passed on to the next generation.

1990 • Nature

Once More into the Termite Mound

The inside of a termite mound proved especially challenging for Attenborough: it was so cramped that he could only face in one direction. He therefore had to slowly crawl backwards out of shot when performing re-takes.

1990 • Nature