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Frozen Peaks

   2022    Nature
Mountains create frozen habitats on every continent on Earth, and each of these high-altitude worlds holds unique challenges for its surprising and remarkable life.
We begin our journey close to the equator - the furthest point from the poles - in East Africa. Here on the high slopes of Mount Kenya, during the day the tropical sun keeps the cold at bay, but at night the frost descends. During this cycle of freeze and thaw, a pregnant high-casqued chameleon must choose the right time to give birth if her newborns are to escape the deadly night freeze.
Away from the equator in the European Alps, long cold winters give way to short, bountiful summers. For a pair of golden eagles raising their chick, the demand to provide enough food for it drives them to tackle prey five times their size. To catch a goat-like chamois, they risk it all using one of the most daring and breathtaking hunting techniques ever witnessed.
The mountains of Japan are the snowiest place on Earth, providing hostile conditions for a lone male macaque cast away from his troop. His only chance of survival comes with finding another male whose embrace will provide him with life-saving warmth. But in the frozen peaks, the deadliest force is an avalanche whose full destructive power is captured for the first time using high-speed camera racer drones.
The roof of the world is home to an array of unexpected cold-loving creatures. In the remote Southern Alps of New Zealand, a species of parrot - the kea - uses its famed intelligence to feed on the dead. And in the Andes in South America, flamingos thrive in high-altitude volcanic lakes, but their chicks must race to escape the winter freeze or risk becoming trapped in the ice.
Today, due to climate change, our frozen peaks are undergoing rapid change. Using groundbreaking time-lapse photography, we reveal mountain glaciers vanishing before our very eyes and discover what a warming world may mean for our most famous mountain resident of all, the giant panda.
Series: Frozen Planet II

Frozen South

   2022    Nature
Antarctica is the most hostile of all earth’s frozen worlds. Yet even here, amongst some of the most challenging conditions on the planet, life finds a way not just to survive, but thrive.
Our journey begins at the far edge of the continent, on its far-flung sub-Antarctic islands. Here we meet king penguins that, to feed at sea, must face the danger of ferocious leopard seals lurking in the shallows. On another island, we witness for the first time male Antipodean wandering albatross partnering up with each other as the females in their population are disappearing due to fishing activity.
Heading towards the continent of Antarctica, we traverse the roughest seas on earth - the Southern Ocean - where we find the rarely filmed Antarctic blue whale, the largest animal to have ever lived. At the edge of Antarctica, the sea is so cold that it freezes over, creating a vital ice platform for a mother Weddell seal to raise her precious pup. Still, she needs to protect him from aggressive males.
In spring, the coast of Antarctica is free of snow, drawing in thousands of breeding chinstrap penguins. Stones are at a premium to build their elevated nests and protect chicks from meltwater. But stealing is commonplace, and to make matters worse, with climate change we find chicks today shivering with hypothermia – a warming Antarctica means increased meltwater. Other residents are facing an uncertain future too, including wave-washing killer whales. We discover that their favourite prey, Weddell seals, are now harder to reach, so instead they are resorting to targeting much more feisty prey, including leopard seals, an apex predator in its own right. This dramatic encounter has never been filmed before.
Travelling into the interior of the continent - into the frozen heart of Antarctica - we find great surprises. This is one of the most volcanic regions on earth, and one of the driest. We reveal unexpected sand dunes, hidden in a rare ice-free valley. Then, on the exposed mountain tops, sticking out from the otherwise ice-covered interior, we find tiny snow petrels, which raise their chicks further south than any other bird, and defend their territory by projectile vomiting!
The greatest revelation lies deep in the interior, beneath the surface of an ice-covered lake, where we discover ancient alien-like structures - giant stromatolites - built by primitive lifeforms. If life can make it here, in the extremes of Antarctica, it raises the possibility that life can exist elsewhere, including in the frozen lakes of distant planets.
Series: Frozen Planet II

Frozen Lands

   2022    Nature
In the far north of our planet lies the largest land habitat on earth, home to snow-covered forests and the icy open tundra. These are lands of extremes that push animals to their limits: in winter they are so cold that much of the ground has remained frozen since the last ice age. To stand any chance of survival, animals must adapt in extreme ways: here a super pack of wolves, 25 strong, has come together to take on the only large prey available to them in winter, American bison.
On the featureless tundra, an Arctic fox must strike a living alone. She is a wanderer and will roam many hundreds of miles searching for tiny lemmings, hidden deep underground. The only way to reach them is with a head dive. In the remote far east of Russia, a rare Amur leopard prowls the seemingly empty, snow-covered forest. With little prey available, it must use its ingenuity to find a meal. It follows crows in the hope of finding carrion, but it must not stay long, for it shares the forest with a far larger but equally hungry big cat, the Siberian tiger.
As spring arrives, the forests begin to thaw and life returns. Beneath the ground, a nest of tiny painted turtle hatchlings now emerge, having remained frozen in a state of suspended animation throughout winter. To the north, it is a further month before the sun’s warmth baths the frozen ground of the tundra. Tucked away underground lies a tiny snow queen – a Lapland bumble bee. She is the sole survivor of her colony - the rest perished in the winter freeze - but her larger size, her furry body and antifreeze in her blood have allowed her to survive. Now she is in a hurry. She must feed herself and raise a brood in the brief window of summer while the flowers are in bloom.
Snowy owls also use the open tundra to breed: one pair have raised a nest full of fluffy chicks. With 24-hour daylight in which to hunt, the dedicated parents bring back meal after meal for their ever-growing brood. But one day, they return to find the nest empty.
Today, the biggest challenge in the tundra is climate change. Warming summers are melting the permafrost deep within the soil, causing the ground to thaw and, in places, the land to collapse. These changes are impacting the animals too. Caribou arrive in herds of 200,000 individuals to raise their calves in the rich pastures, but warming means mosquitos emerge sooner and bother the calves before they have had a chance to gain strength. The parents drive their young to cooler, mosquito-free land, but to get there they must cross rivers running with increased meltwater and escape hungry grizzly bears. They, like much of the tundra's wildlife, are adapted to live in the extremes - but the challenge of today’s warming climate could be one extreme too many.
Series: Frozen Planet II

Tidal

   2021    Technology
As tides rise and fall twice a day, vast amounts of water swirl around the earth. This is a huge energy source that's currently largely untapped. An estimated 3000 gigawatts are available to be harvested globally, enough to power a third of the earth's homes. Yet compared to wind and solar, the technology needed to harness tidal power is still in its infancy. The power of the ocean’s tides is the last great untapped energy source on Earth. From sub-sea kites to floating platforms, teams of engineers are racing to perfect the technology to harness the vast flows of water.
Series: Engineering the Future Series 3

Maritime

   2021    Technology
The world's shipping industry is facing a major challenge. If global shipping were a country it would be the sixth largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions. At current growth rates, if we do nothing, those emissions could double or even triple by 2050. But shipping companies and engineers are creating remarkable new machines to make their industry greener, using a resource that has moved man across the world’s oceans for thousands of years…Wind.
Series: Engineering the Future Series 3

Solar

   2021    Technology
We face one of the greatest challenges in the history of humanity, to eliminate the fuels that have driven progress and technology for over a century, while our thirst for energy only grows. The sun is the biggest source of energy in the solar system. It's like a nuclear reactor in the sky, and it provides endless power. If we can harvest just fractions of this, it can power all our consumption. Innovators are searching for new ways to capture more of the sun’s power, and make it available through the night, everywhere.
Series: Engineering the Future Series 3
Clarkson Farm

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2021  Nature
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