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We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks

   2013    Culture
In 2006, an Iceland-based outfit called The Sunshine Press launched the website WikiLeaks.org. As run by Australian Internet activist Julian Assange, the site's mandate involved regularly publishing top-secret documents and covert information, often regarding governments and their respective military operations". As might be expected, this set off a firestorm between those who admired the organization's bravado and resourcefulness, and those who argued, not unjustly, that the dissemination of data regarding such events as the U.S. war in Afghanistan could put untold numbers of lives at risk. In We Steal Secrets, Gibney relays the story of the WikiLeaks website from the inside, and moves beyond black and white to penetrate a complex network of activity guided by courage and idealism but also allegedly guilty of ethical insensitivity and hypocrisy. Acclaimed documentarian Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) takes the reins for this no-holds-barred look at one of the most unusual phenomena of early 21st century media.

Weapons of Mass Extinction

   2014    Nature
Asteroids strike, planets collide, black holes blast out death rays, volcanoes erupt and ice engulfs the planet. These are the universe's weapons of extinction. They've happened before - wiping out entire species, and they will happen again. Are we next?
Series: How the Universe Works

Weirder and Weirder

   2018    Science
Dr Hannah Fry explores a paradox at the heart of modern maths, discovered by Bertrand Russell, which undermines the very foundations of logic that all of maths is built on. These flaws suggest that maths isn't a true part of the universe but might just be a human language - fallible and imprecise. However, Hannah argues that Einstein's theoretical equations, such as E=mc2 and his theory of general relativity, are so good at predicting the universe that they must be reflecting some basic structure in it. This idea is supported by Kurt Godel, who proved that there are parts of maths that we have to take on faith.
Hannah then explores what maths can reveal about the fundamental building blocks of the universe - the subatomic, quantum world. The maths tells us that particles can exist in two states at once, and yet quantum physics is at the core of photosynthesis and therefore fundamental to most of life on earth - more evidence of discovering mathematical rules in nature. But if we accept that maths is part of the structure of the universe, there are two main problems: firstly, the two main theories that predict and describe the universe - quantum physics and general relativity - are actually incompatible; and secondly, most of the maths behind them suggests the likelihood of something even stranger - multiple universes.
We may just have to accept that the world really is weirder than we thought, and Hannah concludes that while we have invented the language of maths, the structure behind it all is something we discover. And beyond that, it is the debate about the origins of maths that has had the most profound consequences: it has truly transformed the human experience, giving us powerful new number systems and an understanding that now underpins the modern world.
Series: Magic Numbers

Whale Killer

       Science
Moving on to the Late Eocene period 36 million years ago and mammals have prospered and are now the largest creatures on land and sea. This is an era of animals like andrewsarchus, the biggest mammal carnivore ever to walk on land, and the brontotheres, small-brained herbivores. It is in the sea, however, that the most monstrous mammals of all can be found. We follow the fate of a female basilosaurus, a huge serpent-like early whale, but nothing like the gentle filter feeding whales of the 21st century. Four times the length of the great white shark, with jaws to match, she is every inch a killer.
Series: Walking with Prehistoric Beast

What a King Should Know

   2012    History
Dr Janina Ramirez shows how medieval manuscripts gave power to the king and united the kingdom in an age of plague, warfare and rebellion, discovers that Edward III used the manuscripts he read as a boy to prepare him for his great victory at the battle of Crecy and reveals how a vigorous new national identity bloomed during the 100 Years War with France. In the British Library's Royal Manuscripts collection Dr Ramirez finds out that magnificent manuscripts like the Bedford Hours, taken as war booty from the French royal family, were adapted for the education of English princes. She also explores how knowledge spread through a new form of book - the encyclopaedia.
Series: Illuminations: the private lives of medieval kings
The Beauty of Maps
The Beauty of Maps

   2010    Art
How to Grow a Planet
How to Grow a Planet

   2012    Science
A History of Christianity
A History of Christianity

   2011    History
Ice Age Giants
Ice Age Giants

   2013    Science
Galapagos
Galapagos

   2006    Nature
Kingdom of Plants
Kingdom of Plants

   2012    Nature
Power of Art
Power of Art

   2006    Art