The Baking Deserts • 1984 • episode "6/12" The Living Planet

Category: Nature

Starts in the Sahara, where the highest land temperatures have been recorded. Rock paintings depict creatures such as giraffes and antelopes, suggesting that at one point there was enough vegetation to support them.

The Living Planet • 1984 • 12 episodes •

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.

1984 • Nature

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.

1984 • Nature

The Northern Forests

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.

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.

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.

1984 • Nature

The Baking Deserts

Starts in the Sahara, where the highest land temperatures have been recorded. Rock paintings depict creatures such as giraffes and antelopes, suggesting that at one point there was enough vegetation to support them.

1984 • Nature

The Sky Above

Starts in NASA's gravity research aircraft to illustrate the effect of weightlessness. There are surprisingly many plants whose seeds are, in effect, lighter than air.

1984 • Nature

Sweet Fresh Water

Attenborough describes the course the Amazon, starting high up in the Andes of Peru, whose streams flow into the great river. Young rivers are by nature vigorous and dangerous: they flow fast and form rapids, thick with mud and sediment.

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.

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.

1984 • Nature

The Open Ocean

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

1984 • Nature

New Worlds

Surveys those environments that have been created by and for humans.

1984 • Nature

You might also like


A look at one of the most magical lands on the planet. Its unique wildlife includes tree-dwelling kangaroos, spiders that survives under water and a bird that spreads fire.

Part 1Australia: Earth's Magical Kingdom • 2019 • Nature

Man's Best Friend

A look at how dogs have become part of human life and the closest of companions. An example of this special relationship is the amazing story of a cliff-diving Jack Russell.

1/3Secret Life of Dogs • 2016 • Nature

Meet the Spies

A behind-the-scenes view of the extraordinary idea of deploying the Spy Creatures, showing how the concept evolved and became the inspiration for the animatronic animals of the series. This documentary reveals the painstaking work behind building the lifelike models, from first concept until they become `alive' for the first time.

5/5Spy in the Wild • 2017 • Nature

Playing God

Adam Rutherford meets a new creature created by American scientists - the spider-goat. It is part goat, part spider, and its milk can be used to create artificial spider's web. It is part of a new field of research, synthetic biology, with a radical aim: to break down nature into spare parts so that we can rebuild it however we please.


The High Seas

Venture into the deep, dark and desolate oceans that are home to an abundance of beautiful -- and downright strange -- creatures.

6/8Our Planet • 2019 • Nature

Infinite Variety

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.

1/13Life on Earth • 1979 • Nature