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Life: Primates

   2009    Nature
Intelligence and adaptability allow primates to tackle the many challenges of life, and this is what makes our closest relatives so successful. This resourcefulness has enabled primates to conquer an incredible diversity of habitat. Hamadryas baboons live on the open plains of Ethiopia in groups up to 400 strong. Strength in numbers gives them some protection from potential predators. But, should their path cross with other baboon troops, it can lead to all-out battle, as males try to steal females from one another, and even settle old scores. Japanese macaques are the most northerly-dwelling primates and they experience completely different challenges. Some beat the freezing conditions by having access to a thermal spa in the middle of winter. But this privilege is only for those born of the right female bloodline. For western lowland gorillas, it's the male silverback that leads his family group in the rich forests of the Congo basin. He advertises his status to all with a powerful chest-beating display. Most primates are forest dwellers, and one of the strangest is the tarsier – the only purely carnivorous primate. As it hunts for insects the tarsier leaps from tree to tree in the dead of night, using its huge forward-facing eyes to safely judge each jump. Good communication is essential for success in primate society.
Series: Life

The Hunt The Hardest Challenge

   2015    Nature
The contests between predators and prey are the most dramatic events in nature. Taking an intimate and detailed look at the remarkable strategies employed by hunters to catch their prey and the hunted to escape. Sir David Attenborough narrates. "The Hardest Challenge" reveals the extraordinary range of techniques predators use to catch their prey - from a leopard using all its powers of stealth to stalk impala in broad daylight to wild dogs, whose tactic is to wear down their prey over long distances; from Nile crocodiles, the planet's most patient predators, to killer whales who use teamwork and intelligence to take on humpback whales. But even with these finely tuned strategies, the outcome is far from certain. Surprisingly, most predators fail most of the time.
Series: The Hunt

Great Plains

   2007    Nature
After filming for three years, Planet Earth finally captures the shy Mongolian gazelle. Only a handful of people have witnessed its annual migration. Don't miss the bizarre-looking Tibetan fox, captured on film for the first time. Over six weeks the team follow a pride of 30 lions as they attempt to hunt elephants. Using the latest night vision equipment, the crew film the chaotic battles that ensue at close quarters.
Series: Planet Earth

The Silk Spinners

   2005    Nature
Silk is the invertebrates' great invention, used in a range of ways from from the protective stalks of lacewing eggs to the amazing hanging threads of New Zealand's 'glow worms'. Spiders, though, have taken silk-spinning to extremes. The common wolf spider has no web, but the female is a gentle parent, encasing her eggs in silk and carrying the precious bundle wherever she goes. The bolas spider uses a ball of sticky silk soaked in a copy of moth pheromone to lure its prey. Millions of communal spiders live and feed together in a vast, towering web - an arachnophobe's nightmare.
Series: Life in the Undergrowth

Surviving

   1995    Nature
the final episode deals with plants that live in hostile environments. Attenborough visits Ellesmere Island, north of the Arctic Circle, to demonstrate that even in a place that is unconducive to life, it can be found. Algae and lichens grow in or on rock, and during summer, when the ice melts, flowers are much more apparent. However, they must remain close to the ground to stay out of the chilling wind. In the Tasmanian mountains, plants conserve heat by growing into 'cushions' that act as solar panels, with as many as a million individual shoots grouped together as one. Others, such as the lobelia in Mount Kenya, have a 'fur coat' of dense hairs on their leaves. The saguaro cactus in the Sonoran Desert flourishes because of its ability to retain vast amounts of water, which can't be lost through leaves because it has none. Many desert dwellers benefit from an accelerated life cycle, blooming rapidly within weeks after rainfall. Conversely, Mount Roraima is one of the wettest places on Earth. It is a huge sandstone plateau with high waterfalls and nutrients are continuously washed away, so plants have to adapt their diet if they are to survive. A bladderwort is shown invading a bromeliad. Inhabitants of lakes have other problems to contend with: those that dominate the surface will proliferate, and the Amazon water lily provides an apt illustration. Attenborough ends the series with an entreaty for the conservation of plant species.
Series: The Private Life of Plants
Enemies of Reason
Enemies of Reason

      Medicine
In Search of Beethoven
In Search of Beethoven

   2009    Art
The Story of India
The Story of India

   2007    History
Science and Islam
Science and Islam

   2017    History
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome

   2006    History
Earth, the Power of the Planet
Earth, the Power of the Planet

   2007    Nature
Stephen Hawking's Favorite Places
Stephen Hawking's Favorite Places

   2016    Science
First Life
First Life

   2010    Science