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Walking with Cavemen: The Survivors

   2003    History
Nearly half a million years ago, the most advanced human yet roams Europe. Strong and powerful, Homo heidelbergensis are fierce hunters, use sophisticated tools and live in close-knit family groups. Over 200,000 years they become split into two populations by extremes of weather and environment and evolve separately into two very different species. In the North are the Neanderthals, whose physical power and resilience is the key to surviving in ice age Northern Europe. About 140,000 years ago, Africa is in the grip of a devastating drought, and something remarkable has happened to the descendants of heidelbergensis who live there. The combination of environment and chance has bred in them a unique ability that will change the course of human history. It will be this small band of southern survivors, perhaps numbering just a few tens of thousands, who will come to dominate the world and be known as Homo sapiens.
Series: Walking with Cavemen

Kings

   2013    History
Dr Michael Scott looks at the dramatic decline of Athens and the remarkable triumph and transformation of theatre. During the 4th century BC Athens would lose its Empire, its influence and even its democracy. But theatre, that most Athenian of inventions, would thrive, spreading throughout the Greek world and beyond and giving rise to a new kind of comedy, one so popular and prevalent that it is still at the heart of our comedy today.
Series: Ancient Greece

Easy Listening

   2013    Art
Series concludes with the focus shifting to the United States in the post-war years of the 1950s and beyond. Beginning with arguably the most notorious work of 20th century classical music, John Cage's 'silent' composition 4'33", it looks at how a series of maverick Americans re-invented the sound of classical music into a more simple form, bringing back harmonies and rhythms that made it increasingly popular with audiences across the world. It also examines how this music found its way into a spiritual realm, with the strain of pared-down religious composition that came to be known as 'holy minimalism'. From the Maverick concert hall in Woodstock, New York to an Orthodox cathedral in Estonia to a car park in Peckham, south London, the story is told by a stellar line-up of contributors including Philip Glass, Steve Reich, John Adams, Arvo Pärt and John Tavener.
Series: The Sound and the Fury

Frozen Planet: Winter

   2011    Nature
There is no greater test for life than winter, as temperatures plummet to 70 below and winds reach 200kph. Darkness and ice extend across the polar regions and only a few remarkable survivors gamble on remaining. We join a female polar bear trekking into the Arctic mountains to give birth as the first blizzards arrive. Out on the frozen ocean, the entire world's population of spectacled eider ducks brave the winter in a giant ice hole kept open by ferocious currents. Arctic forests transform into a wonderland of frost and snow - the scene of a desperate and bloody battle between wolf and bison, but also where a remarkable alliance between raven and wolverine is made. Beneath the snow lies a magical world of winter survivors. Here tiny voles dodge the clutches of the great grey owl, but cannot escape the ultimate under-show predator - the least weasel. Midwinter and a male polar bear wanders alone across the dark, empty icescape. Below the snow, polar bear cubs begin life in an icy den while fantastical auroras light the night skies above. In Antarctica, we join male emperor penguins in their darkest hour, battling to protect precious eggs from fierce polar storms. Weddell seals escape to a hidden world of jewel-coloured corals and alien-looking creatures but frozen devastation follows as sinister ice stalactites reach down with deadly effect.
Series: Frozen Planet

Homo Interneticus

   2010    Technology
Dr Aleks Krotoski concludes her investigation of how the World Wide Web is transforming almost every aspect of our lives. Joined by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Al Gore and the neuroscientist Susan Greenfield, Aleks examines the popularity of social networks such as Facebook and asks how they are changing our relationships. And, in a ground-breaking test at University College London, Aleks investigates how the Web may be distracting and overloading our brains.
Series: The Virtual Revolution
The Men Who Built America
The Men Who Built America

   2012    History
Wings
Wings

      Nature
Shine a Light
Shine a Light

   2008    Art
The Planets
The Planets

   2000    Science
Space
Space

   2001    Science
The Sky at Night
The Sky at Night

   2018    Science
It Was Fifty Years Ago Today
It Was Fifty Years Ago Today

   2017    Art