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The Mastery of Flight

   1998    Nature
The second programme deals with the mechanics of flight. Getting into the air is by far the most exhausting of a bird's activities, and Sir Attenborough observes shearwaters in Japan that have taken to climbing trees to give them a good jumping-off point. The albatross is so large that it can only launch itself after a run-up to create a flow of air over its wings. A combination of aerodynamics and upward air currents (or thermals), together with the act of flapping or gliding is what keeps a bird aloft. Landing requires less energy but a greater degree of skill, particularly for a big bird, such as a swan. Weight is kept to a minimum by having a beak made of keratin instead of bone, a light frame, and a coat of feathers, which is maintained fastidiously. The peregrine falcon holds the record for being fastest in the air, diving at speeds of over 300 km/h. Conversely, the barn owl owes its predatory success to flying slowly, while the kestrel spots its quarry by hovering. However, the true specialists in this regard are the hummingbirds, whose wings beat at the rate of 25 times a second. The habits of migratory birds are explored. After stocking up with food during the brief summer of the north, such species will set off on huge journeys southwards. Some, such as snow geese, travel continuously, using both the stars and the sun for navigation. They are contrasted with hawks and vultures, which glide overland on warm air, and therefore have to stop overnight.
Series: The Life of Birds

The Wall: Climb for Gold

   2022    Culture
(Click CC for subtitles) Four female climbers face the sporting challenge of a lifetime as they attempt to compete in the first ever Olympic climbing competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Follow elite climbers Janja Garnbret, Shauna Coxsey, Brooke Raboutou, and Miho Nonaka over an extraordinary two years: They battle through Olympic qualifying events to earn their place at Tokyo, then face a gruelling season of competition and training that sees everything put on hold when the Covid-19 pandemic forces the Games to be postponed.
As the young women confront their own mental and physical demons en-route to Tokyo, the film reveals an astonishing and inspiring insight into what it takes to be an Olympian and ultimately what it means to be human. A uniquely emotional documentary feature film that will touch the heart of audiences around the world.

The Wildest Dream Conquest of Everest

   2010    History
The film explores George Mallory's obsession with becoming the first person to reach the highest place on Earth. Told through the explorer's poignant and evocative letters to his wife, Ruth, previously unseen photos and film archive from 1924 (restored from the original nitrate especially for the film), dramatization and a modern-day expedition retracing the original route taken in 1924, Mallory's incredible adventure lives again. The expedition was led by renowned mountaineer Conrad Anker, whose life became inextricably linked with Mallory after he found Mallory s body on Everest in 1999. Using replica 1920s-era clothing and equipment, Anker sets out to solve the great mystery of whether Mallory succeeded in summiting Everest before he died he was last seen just 800 feet from the summit before the clouds closed in and he disappeared into legend. The most heart-breaking clue: All of Mallory's belongings were found intact on his body, except the photograph of his beloved Ruth, which he promised to leave at the top of the world if he succeeded.

Touching the Void

   2003    Culture
In 1985, two adventurous young mountaineers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, set off to climb the treacherous west face of the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. They were experienced climbers, and climbed "Alpine-style," climbing the mountain in "one great push," without setting up ropes or base camps ahead of time. After dealing with a snowstorm and some dangerous climbing over powder formations, they reached the summit (about 21,000 feet) on the third day. The climb down proved to be far more difficult. Simpson fell and broke his leg badly. Yates decided to try to lower Simpson down the mountain, one 300-foot section of rope at a time. The climbers had run out of gas to melt snow, so they couldn't risk stopping as night came, and a violent snowstorm began. Their plodding, painful journey hit a snag when Yates inadvertently lowered Simpson over the edge of a cliff. In the storm, the men couldn't hear each other's cries, and, Yates, uncertain as to Simpson's position, and gradually sliding down the slope himself, decided to cut the rope that connected them, sending Simpson plummeting to certain death. Miraculously, Simpson survived the fall, and was faced with the prospect of getting off the mountain alone with no food, no water, and a broken leg. In Touching the Void, filmmaker Kevin Macdonald (One Day in September) tells their story, based on Simpson's book, using contemporary interviews with the two men, and a reenactment of their climb and descent, featuring Brendan Mackey as Simpson and Nicholas Aaron as Yates

Valley Uprising

   2014    Culture
In the shady camp grounds of Yosemite valley, climbers carved out a counterculture lifestyle of dumpster-diving and wild parties that clashed with the conservative values of the National Park Service. And up on the walls, generation after generation has pushed the limits of climbing, vying amongst each other for supremacy on Yosemite's cliffs.
'Valley Uprising' is the riveting, unforgettable tale of this bold rock climbing tradition in Yosemite National Park: half a century of struggle against the laws of gravity - and the laws of the land.
Series: Reel Rock
Meet the Romans

Meet the Romans

2012  History
Clash of the Gods

Clash of the Gods

2009  History
History of the Eagles

History of the Eagles

2013  History
The Jinx

The Jinx

  History
Universe

Universe

2021  Science
Wonders Of The Universe

Wonders Of The Universe

2011  Science