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Blood Filled Streets

   2016    History
After the murder of his brother Frank, Al Capone is out for revenge against William Dever and the Chicago police. He plots to kill every undercover cop that was in Cicero on the day of Frank’s death. Before he can set his plan in motion, however, Johnny Torrio returns from Italy and reclaims his control of their criminal empire. Torrio forbids Capone from killing cops, fearing it would spark an all-out war. Despite Capone’s personal loss, Torrio returns to a booming business that’s raking in $10 million a month. However, as Torrio and Capone’s empire grows, it becomes harder to keep smaller factions under control. After a small group of Italian mobsters attacks one of Dean O’Banion’s distilleries, O’Banion blames Torrio and decides to end their business partnership. He announces his retirement to Torrio and offers Torrio an opportunity to buy him out. Torrio meets O’Banion at the Seine Brewery on May 19, 1924, with the buyout money. Chicago police raid the brewery and arrest Torrio while letting O’Banion walk free: O’Banion had set the whole thing up. With prior convictions, Torrio serves a mandatory prison sentence but is first released on bail. He vows to kill O’Banion as payback and gives Capone his blessing to kill O’Banion. Capone spends months planning the hit. Capone knows that catching O’Banion off guard is nearly impossible, so he places an order with O’Banion’s flower shop for nearly $20,000 worth of flowers, knowing that O’Banion personally oversees his biggest arrangements. On November 10, 1924, O’Banion works in his shop preparing the flower delivery. Two of Capone’s men enter the shop and fatally gun O’Banion down. Four days later, Chicago’s most powerful Irish gangster is laid to rest in one of the most lavish funerals Chicago has ever seen. More than two dozen cars are required to transport floral arrangements as a crowd of 10,000 mourns the death of the infamous gangster. Torrio and Capone attend the funeral, infuriating O’Banion’s top lieutenants, Hymie Weiss and Bugs Moran. Chaos breaks out as smaller gangs through the city begin a turf war. It’s the beginning of an era of bloodshed in Chicago known as the Beer Wars. Over 300 people are murdered at a rate of 75 to 100 murders a year.
Series: The Making of the Mob

Numbers as God

   2018    Science
Mathematician Dr Hannah Fry explores the mystery of maths. It underpins so much of our modern world that it's hard to imagine life without its technological advances, but where exactly does maths come from? Is it invented like a language or is it something discovered and part of the fabric of the universe? It's a question that some of the most eminent mathematical minds have been wrestling with. To investigate this question, Hannah goes head first down the fastest zip wire in the world to learn more about Newton's law of gravity, she paraglides to understand where the theory of maths and its practice application collide, and she travels to infinity and beyond to discover that some infinities are bigger than others.
In this episode, Hannah goes back to the time of the ancient Greeks to find out why they were so fascinated by the connection between beautiful music and maths. The patterns our ancestors found in music are all around us, from the way a sunflower stores its seeds to the number of petals in a flower. Even the shapes of some of the smallest structures in nature, such as viruses, seem to follow the rules of maths. All strong evidence for maths being discovered. But there are those who claim maths is all in our heads and something we invented. To find out if this is true, Hannah has her brain scanned. It turns out there is a place in all our brains where we do maths, but that doesn't prove its invented.
Experiments with infants, who have never had a maths lesson in their lives, suggests we all come hardwired to do maths. Far from being a creation of the human mind, this is evidence for maths being something we discover. Then along comes the invention of zero to help make counting more convenient and the creation of imaginary numbers, and the balance is tilted in the direction of maths being something we invented. The question of whether maths is invented or discovered just got a whole lot more difficult to answer
Series: Magic Numbers

The Private Life of Plants Living Together

   1995    Nature
The fifth programme explores the alliances formed between the animal and plant worlds. Attenborough dives into Australia's Great Barrier Reef and contrasts the nocturnal feeding of coral, on microscopic creatures, with its daytime diet of algae. Some acacias are protected by ants, which will defend their refuge from any predator. Besides accommodation, the guards are rewarded with nectar and, from certain species, protein for their larvae as well. Fungi feed on plants but can also provide essential nutriment to saplings (Mycorrhiza). The connection is never broken throughout a tree's life and a quarter of the sugars and starches produced in its leaves is channelled back to its fungal partners. Meanwhile, fungi that feed on dead wood leave a hollow trunk, which also benefits the tree. Orchids enjoy a similar affiliation. Lichens are the product of a relationship between fungi and a photosynthetic associate, usually algae. They are extremely slow-growing, and a graveyard is the perfect location to discover their exact longevity. Mistletoe is a hemiparasite that obtains its moisture from a host tree, while using own leaves to manufacture food. Its seeds are deposited on another by the mistletoe tyrannulet, following digestion of the fruit. The dodder (Cuscuta) is also parasitic, generally favouring nettles, and siphons its nourishment through periodic 'plugs' along its stem. The rafflesia has no stem or leaves and only emerges from its host in order to bloom — and it produces the largest single flower: one metre across.
Series: The Private Life of Plants

The Deserts

   2011    Culture
We can survive for weeks without food, but only days without water: it is the essential element of life. Yet many millions of us live in parched deserts around the world. In the second episode of Human Planet, we discover how the eternal quest for water brings huge challenges - and ingenious solutions - in the driest places on Earth. Battling through a sand storm in Mali, Mamadou must get his cows to a remote lake but desert elephants have arrived first. Can he find a safe way through the elephant blockade? Alone for weeks on end, Tubu women and children navigate the endless dunes of the Sahara. How does young Shede know where to find the last oasis, three days walk across the sea of sand? At the height of the drought we witness a spectacular frenzy: two thousand men rushing into Antogo Lake to catch the fish trapped by the evaporating water. When the rain finally arrives in the desert it's a time for flowering and jubilation - and love. The Wodaabe men of Niger put on make-up for an intoxicating courtship dance and beauty contest.
Series: Human Planet

Libraries Gave Us Power

   2012    Art
The story of the British Library's Royal Manuscripts collection reaches its end with the last great flowering of illumination, in the magnificent courts of the Tudors. Dr Janina Ramirez investigates astrological texts created for Henry VII, and unwraps his will - still in its original, extravagantly-decorated velvet and gold cover. She hears music written for Henry VIII, which went unperformed for centuries; and reads love notes between the king and Anne Boleyn, written in the margins of a prayer book. Nina also visits Bruges, the source of many of the greatest manuscripts, where this medieval art form collided with the artistic innovations of the Renaissance.
Series: Illuminations: the private lives of medieval kings
In Search of
In Search of

   2018    Technology
Leaving Neverland
Leaving Neverland

   2019    Culture
The Crusades
The Crusades

   2012    History
Inside the Medieval Mind
Inside the Medieval Mind

   2008    History
Senna
Senna

   2010    Culture
The Story of Maths
The Story of Maths

   2008    Science
Vegan
Vegan

   2020    Culture