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Attenboroughs Paradise Birds

   2015    Nature
Birds of paradise are one of David Attenborough's lifelong passions. He was the first to film many of their beautiful and often bizarre displays, and over his lifetime he has tracked them all over the jungles of New Guinea. In this very personal film, he uncovers the remarkable story of how these 'birds from paradise' have captivated explorers, naturalists, artists, film-makers and even royalty. He explores the myths surrounding their discovery 500 years ago, the latest extraordinary behaviour captured on camera and reveals the scientific truth behind their beauty": the evolution of their spectacular appearance has in fact been driven by sex. And in a final contemporary twist to this story of obsession and royalty, he travels to the desert of Qatar, to a state-of-the-art facility which houses the largest breeding group of these birds in the world - a sheikh's very own private collection. There he has his closest ever encounter with a greater bird of paradise and its dramatic display, reliving the experience that captivated him in the forests of New Guinea more than 50 years ago.

Battle for the Himalayas: The Fight to Film Everest

   2015    History
Between the 1920s and the 1960s the world's great powers sent vast military-style expeditions to conquer the peaks of the Himalayas, with Everest at their head. This was a great game played - camera in hand - by Imperial Britain, Nazi Germany and superpower America. As a result, Himalayan mountaineering's most iconic, epic and tragic moments didn't just go down in history, but were caught on film - from the deaths of Mallory and Irvine on Everest in 1924, to Everest's final conquest in 1953 by Hillary and Tensing. Using footage never before seen on British television, this is the story how of how film-makers turned the great peaks into great propaganda.

Birth of the British Novel

   2011    Art
Author Henry Hitchings explores the lives and works of Britain's radical and pioneering 18th-century novelists who, in just 80 years, established all the literary genres we recognise today. It was a golden age of creativity led by Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Fanny Burney and William Godwin, amongst others. Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver's Travels, Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy are novels that still sparkle with audacity and innovation. On his journey through 18th-century fiction, Hitchings reveals how the novel was more than mere entertainment, it was also a subversive hand-grenade that would change British society for the better. He travels from the homes of Britain's great and good to its lowliest prisons, meeting contemporary writers like Martin Amis, Will Self, Tom McCarthy and Jenny Uglow on the way.

Bitter Lake

   2015    Culture
And epic film by Adam Curtis that explains why the big stories that politicians tell us have become so simplified that we can’t really see the world any longer. The narrative goes all over the world, America, Britain, Russia and Saudi Arabia, but the country at the heart of it is Afghanistan. Because Afghanistan is the place that has confronted our politicians with the terrible truth, that they cannot understand what is going on any longer". The coumentary reveals the forces that over the past thirty years rose up and undermined the confidence of politics to understand the world. And it shows the strange, dark role that Saudi Arabia has played in this. But Bitter Lake is also experimental. Curtis has taken the unedited rushes of everything that the BBC has ever shot in Afghanistan - and used them in new and radical ways. He has tried to build a different and more emotional way of depicting what really happened in Afghanistan. A counterpoint to the thin, narrow and increasingly destructive stories told by those in power today.

Blackfish

   2013    Nature    HD
The documentary focuses on the captivity of Tilikum, an orca involved in the deaths of three individuals, and the consequences of keeping orcas in captivity. It includes his capture in 1983 off the coast of Iceland, and purported harassment by fellow captive orcas at Sealand of the Pacific, incidents that Cowperthwaite argues contributed to the orca's aggression. Many of us have experienced the excitement and awe of watching 8,000-pound orcas, or "killer whales," soar out of the water and fly through the air at sea parks, as if in perfect harmony with their trainers. Yet, in our contemporary lore this mighty black-and-white mammal is like a two-faced Janus-beloved as a majestic, friendly giant yet infamous for its capacity to kill viciously. BLACKFISH unravels the complexities of this dichotomy, employing the story of notorious performing whale Tilikum, who-unlike any orca in the wild-has taken the lives of several people while in captivity. So what exactly went wrong? Shocking, never-before-seen footage and riveting interviews with trainers and experts manifest the orca's extraordinary nature, the species' cruel treatment in captivity over the last four decades, and the growing disillusionment of workers who were misled and endangered by the highly profitable sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals.
Reel Rock
Reel Rock

   2014    Culture
The Story of India
The Story of India

   2007    History
The Private Life of Plants
The Private Life of Plants

   1994    Nature
Senna
Senna

   2010    Culture
The Truth About
The Truth About

   2018    Medicine
Dangerous knowledge
Dangerous knowledge

   2007    Science
Inside the Medieval Mind
Inside the Medieval Mind

   2008    History