Last Watched

All the series

 

The Life of Birds

   1998    Nature
The first episode looks at how birds first took to the skies in the wake of the insects. It begins in Mexico, where Sir Attenborough observes bats being outmanoeuvred by a red-tailed hawk. Pterosaurs were the birds' forerunners, some 150 million years after dragonflies developed the means of flight, but eventually went extinct together with the dinosaurs. Birds had by then already evolved from early forms like archaeopteryx, the first creature to possess feathers. Its ancestry can be traced through reptiles, and some current species, such as the flying lizard, possibly show paths this evolution may have taken." One of the biggest birds to have ever existed was the terror bird, which proliferated after dinosaurs vanished and stood up to 2.5 metres tall. By comparison, the ostrich, while not closely related, is the largest and heaviest living bird. It was probably the evasion of predators that drove most birds into the air, so their flightless cousins evolved because they had few enemies. Accordingly, such species are more likely to be found on islands, and Sir Attenborough visits New Zealand to observe its great variety, most especially the kiwi. Also depicted is the moa, another huge creature that is now gone. The takahē is extremely rare, and high in the mountains of New Zealand, Sir Attenborough discovers one from a population of only 40 pairs. Finally, another example on the brink of extinction is the kakapo, which at one point numbered only 61 individuals. A male is heard calling — an immensely amplified deep note that can be heard at great distances from its nest.

How Earth Made Us

   2010    Science
Our planet has amazing power, and yet that's rarely mentioned in our history books. This series tells the story of how the Earth has influenced human history, from the dawn of civilisation to the modern industrial age. It reveals how geology, geography and climate have been a far more powerful influence on the human story than has previously been acknowledged. A combination of epic story telling, visually stunning camerawork, extraordinary locations and passionate presenting combine to form a highly original version of human history" In the first episode professor Iain Stewart explores the relationship between the deep Earth and the development of human civilisation. He visits an extraordinary crystal cave in Mexico, drops down a hole in the Iranian desert and crawls through seven-thousand-year-old tunnels in Israel. His exploration reveals that throughout history, our ancestors were strangely drawn to fault lines, areas which connect the surface with the deep interior of the planet. These fault lines gave access to important resources, but also brought with them great danger.

Human Planet

   2011    Culture
Human Planet is a majestic portrait of humankind and the power of nature in extraordinary symbiosis, struggle and strife. For the first time, the camera has turned on ourselves. In doing so, we see how amazing human beings can be and how we adapt to any habitat, anywhere. Human Planet is epic in ambition, extreme in content, intimate in effect. It explores how we have devised ways of surviving in every corner of Earth – from the remotest deserts to the busiest urban metropolis. Each episode focuses on an iconic environment and reveals how we have adapted to the challenges of the landscape and the endless diversity of animals and plants we live with. Discover how our remarkable intelligence, tool use, and close-knit social lives have enabled us to cope with just about anything nature can throw at us". As an air-breathing animal, the human is not built to survive in water. But people have found ways to live an almost aquatic life so they can exploit the sea's riches. From a 'shark-whisperer' in the Pacific to Brazilian fishermen collaborating with dolphins to catch mullet, this journey into the blue reveals astonishing tales of ingenuity and bravery. Daredevil Galician barnacle-collectors defy death on the rocks for a catch worth 200 pounds per kilo. In Indonesia an epic whale-hunt, using traditional hand-made boats and harpoons, brings in a sperm whale. The Bajau 'sea gypsies' of the Sulu Sea spend so much time on water they get 'land sick' when they set foot on the land! We dive 40 metres down to the dangerous world of the Pa-aling fishermen, where dozens of young men, breathing air through a tangled web of pipes attached to a diesel engine, capture thousands of fish in a vast net. We see how surfing has its origins in the ancient beliefs of the ocean-loving Polynesians, and we join a Borneo free-diving spear-fisherman on a breath-taking journey 20 metres down in search of supper.

Africa with David Attenborough

   2013    Nature
In Africa's ancient south west corner, two extraordinary deserts sit side by side. Water is in short supply, yet these deserts are somehow full of life because the creatures that live here have turned the rules of survival on their head. This film celebrates nature's ingenuity, no matter how tough it gets. In the Kalahari scrublands, clever meerkats are outsmarted by a wily bird, solitary and belligerent black rhinos get together to party and giant insects stalk huge flocks of birds. Rain almost never falls in the Namib - instead it must make do with vaporous, vanishing fog. The creatures in this, the world's oldest desert, have gone to the extremes, as spiders wheel to escape and a desert giraffe fights to defend his scant resources in the greatest giraffe battle ever filmed.

The Life of Mammals

   2002    Nature
A Winning Design clarifies what makes a mammal different from reptiles and birds. No, it isn't egg-laying: both the platypus and the echidna are egg-laying mammals; it's their ability to adapt. And it's this adaptability that becomes the crux of the remainder of the series. From the tiniest bat to the massive blue whale, all mammals share the ability to nurture their young on milk and regulate their own temperatures.
The Human Body
The Human Body

   1998    Medicine
Tales by Light Season 2
Tales by Light Season 2

   2017    Nature
The Crusades
The Crusades

   2012    History
Nova Wonders
Nova Wonders

   2018    Technology
Generation Iron
Generation Iron

   2017    Culture
Superstructures: Engineering Marvels
Superstructures: Engineering Marvels

   2019    Technology
Wonders of Life
Wonders of Life

   2013    Science