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Evolution

   2013    Nature    3D
No two islands in the Galapagos are the same. The imperceptible drift of a continental plate keeps each island biologically isolated. David Attenborough explores this evolutionary crucible, encountering tortoises that weigh up to half a tonne, finches that use tools and lizards that communicate using press-ups; for Darwin, this was all evidence for his theory of evolution. We see the final footage of the world famous tortoise fondly known as Lonesome George, the last survivor of his species. David Attenborough was the last person to have ever filmed with him. Darwin’s famous visit had a downside – the arrival of man. David investigates the impact we’ve had in these islands, as our influence is a double-edged sword. We’ve disrupted the natural balance but he also believes Darwin would be thrilled with the advances we have made in science. We’re also now uncovering evidence that evolution is more rapid than Darwin could ever have imagined. Whatever wonders the Galapagos Islands hold today, they are only a hint of what awaits them in the future.
Series: Galapagos with David Attenborough

Jacques-Louis David

   2006    Art
Painting became an important means of communication for David since his face was slashed during a sword fight and his speech became impeded by a benign tumour that developed from the wound, leading him to stammer. He was interested in painting in a new classical style that departed from the frivolity of the Rococo period and reflected the moral and austere climate before the French Revolution. David became closely aligned with the republican government and his work was increasingly used as propaganda with the Death of Marat proving his most controversial work.
Series: Power of Art

Reclaiming the Blade

   2009    History
Filmmaker Daniel McNicoll explores the emerging movement to reclaim the ancient medieval and renaissance martial arts in this documentary narrated by Welsh actor John Rhys-Davies, and produced on corroboration with Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson. The Medieval and Renaissance blade was a remarkable weapon crafted with the utmost attention to detail. Though the history of the sword remains largely shrouded in mystery for younger moviegoers, their presence on the big screen can still be felt in the Star Wars saga, as well as films like Chronicles of Narnia and The Pirates of the Caribbean. Join host Davies as he traces the history of this remarkable weapon throughout the ages, in the process giving us a better understanding of the sword's unique role in both history, and films.

Samurai Sword

   2014    History
The film is the inside track on the World's most influential weapon. For over a thousand years this weapon dominated the battlefields of Japan, instilled fear and terror into every enemy it faced, and created a new spiritual way of life that lasts through to the present day. The Samurai sword – a weapon so technologically perfect in structure, so formidable in strength and so beautiful in creation. For the first time unique access has been granted and we travel into the core of the ancient foundries, sword-smiths and fighting schools to reveal what makes the so-called perfect sword. This is a no holds barred look at one of the most iconic man-made objects ever forged.

The Insatiable Appetite

   1998    Nature
The next instalment focuses on dietary needs and how different species have evolved beaks to suit their individual requirements. The latter come in a multitude of forms. Blue tits and goldfinches have beaks akin to tweezers, with which to extract seeds, while the hawfinch's razor-like bill can deal with a cherry-stone. However, the crossbill is the only finch that can twist its mandibles in opposite directions. Jays store acorns for winter by burying them in the ground, whereas woodpeckers can keep up to 60,000 of them in one tree trunk. Sap is also desirable, and there are a variety of methods used to obtain it. The hoatzin is the only specialised leaf-eater, and accordingly has a digestive system more akin to that of cattle. Plants recruit birds to aid pollination, and offer nectar as a reward. Hummingbirds eat little else, and the sword-bill's beak is the longest of any bird in relation to its body. Insects are also highly prized, and Galapagos finches are shown to possess some ingenuity as they not only strip bark, but also use 'tools' to reach their prey. Crows are hailed as being among the most intelligent birds, and one is shown using a twig to spear a grub within a fallen log. The robin is an opportunist, and Sir Attenborough observes one seizing morsels as he digs a patch of earth. In South America, a cattle tyrant sits atop an obliging capybara and uses its vantage point to spot passing food that may be dislodged by its grazing partner.
Series: The Life of Birds
The Sky at Night
The Sky at Night

   2020    Science
The Men Who Built America
The Men Who Built America

   2012    History
Alien Worlds
Alien Worlds

   2020    Science
History of the Eagles
History of the Eagles

   2013    History
How the Universe Works
How the Universe Works

   2014    Science
Wings
Wings

      Nature
Wild Russia
Wild Russia

   2009    Nature