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Simply the Best Documentaries

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Boko Haram and Unnatural Selection
One Life on the Limit
The Nazis, A Warning From History. Episode 5
Requiem for the American Dream
Building the Sun The 250 Million Degree Problem
Humpback Whales
When Did Time Begin
What the World is Waiting for - British Indie
Little Das Hunt
Mission Pluto
Is Anybody Out There
Great Plains
Great Plains
IMAX Hubble
Age of Empire
The Birth of Israel
Life: Hunters and Hunted
Planet Earth II Islands
Happy People A Year in the Taiga
Panorama
Cold War 2.0
20,000 Days on Earth
Raging Teens
Space Station
Return to Jurassic Park
The Beatles Eight days a week
Lost Horizons: The Big Bang
Survival
Heart of a Dog
Dangerous Knowledge: The Enigma
The Science of Doctor Who
Harmony of the Worlds
Oasis Supersonic
Chemistry: The Power of the Elements
Great Cathedral Mystery
Hagia Sophia: Istanbuls Ancient Mystery

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The Private Life of Plants Living Together
The Private Life of Plants Living Together 1995

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.

Category:Nature  Duration:49:00   Series: The Private Life of Plants

Kingdom of Plants Life in the Wet Zone
Kingdom of Plants Life in the Wet Zone 2012

Written and presented by David Attenborough, who said: 'One of the most wonderful things about filming plants is that you can reveal hidden aspects of their lives, you can capture the moment as one plant strangles another, and as they burst into flower. But whilst time-lapse photography allows you to see things that no human being has ever seen before". David begins his journey inside the magnificent Palm House, a unique global rainforest in London. Here, he explores the extraordinary plants that are so well adapted to wet and humid environments and unravels the intimate relationships between wet zone plants and the animals that depend on them. It was in the wet zones of the world that plants first moved on to land and in the Waterlily House David reveals how flowers first evolved some 140 million years ago. Watching a kaleidoscope of breath-taking time-lapses of these most primitive of flowers swelling and blooming in 3D, he is able to piece together the very first evolutionary steps that plants took to employ a wealth of insects to carry their precious pollen for the first time. David discovers clues to answer a question that even had Charles Darwin stumped: how did flowering plants evolve so fast to go on to colonise the entire planet so successfully?

Category:Nature  Duration:52:26      Series: Kingdom of Plants

The Hunt The Hardest Challenge
The Hunt The Hardest Challenge 2015

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.

Category:Nature  Duration:58:07   Series: The Hunt

Surviving
Surviving 1995

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.

Category:Nature  Duration:49:00   Series: The Private Life of Plants

 
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