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TV Documentaries



Planet Earth - Episode 03: Freshwater

BBC
Fresh water defines the distribution of life on land. Follow the descent of rivers from their mountain sources to the sea. Watch spectacular waterfalls, fly inside the Grand Canyon and explore the wildlife in the world's deepest lake.
Geography

Planet Earth - Episode 04: Caves

BBC
Caves are remarkable habitats with equally bizarre wildlife. Cave angel fish cling to the walls behind waterfalls with microscopic hooks on their fins. Cave swiftlets navigate by echo-location and build nests out of saliva. The Texas cave salamander has neither eyes nor pigment. Planet Earth gets unique access to a hidden world of stalactites, stalagmites, snotites and troglodytes.
Geography


Planet Earth - Episode 06: Ice Worlds

BBC
The Arctic and Antarctic experience the most extreme seasons on Earth. Time-lapse cameras watch a colony of emperor penguins, transforming them into a single organism. The film reveals new science about the dynamics of emperor penguin behaviour. In the north, unique aerial images show a polar bear swimming more than 100km. Diving for up to two minutes at a time. The exhausted polar bear later attacks a herd of walrus in a true clash of the Titans.
Geography

Planet Earth - Episode 10: Seasonal Forests

BBC
05-01-2007, The Taiga forest, on the edge of the Arctic, is a silent world of stunted conifers. The trees may be small but filming from the air reveals its true scale. A third of all trees on Earth grow here and during the short summer they produce enough oxygen to change the atmosphere.
Geography



The Beauty of Maps - Episode 01: Medieval Maps - Mapping the Medieval Mind

BBC
Documentary series charting the visual appeal and historical meaning of maps. The Hereford Mappa Mundi is the largest intact Medieval wall map in the world and its ambition is breathtaking - to picture all of human knowledge in a single image. The work of a team of artists, the world it portrays is overflowing with life, featuring Classical and Biblical history, contemporary buildings and events, animals and plants from across the globe, and the infamous 'monstrous races' which were believed to inhabit the remotest corners of the Earth. The Mappa Mundi, meaning 'cloth of the world', has spent most of its long life at Hereford Cathedral, rarely emerging from behind its glass case. The programme represents a rare opportunity to get close to the map and explore its detail, giving a unique insight into the Medieval mind. This is also the first programme to show the map in its original glory, revealing the results of a remarkable year-long project by the Folio Society to restore it using the latest digital technology. The map has a chequered history. Since its glory days in the 1300s it has languished forgotten in storerooms, been dismissed as a curious 'monstrosity', and controversially almost sold. Only in the last 20 years have scholars and artists realised its true depth and meaning, with the map exerting an extraordinary power over those who come into contact with it. The programme meets some of these individuals, from scholars and map lovers to Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry, whose own work, the Map of Nowhere, is inspired by the Mappa Mundi.
Geography

The Beauty of Maps - Episode 02: City Maps - Order out of Chaos

BBC
The British Library is home to a staggering 4.5 million maps, most of which remain hidden away in its colossal basement, and the programme delves behind the scenes to explore some amazing treasures in more detail. This is the story of three maps, three 'visions' of London over three centuries; visions of beauty that celebrate but also distort the truth. It's the story of how urban maps try to impose order on chaos. On Sunday 2 September 1660, the Great Fire of London began reducing most of the city to ashes, and among the huge losses were many maps of the city itself. The Morgan Map of 1682 was the first to show the whole of the City of London after the fire. Consisting of sixteen separate sheets, measuring eight feet by five feet, it took six years to complete. Morgan's beautiful map symbolised the hoped-for ideal city. In 1746 John Rocque produced what was at the time the most detailed map ever made of London. Like Morgan's, Rocque's map is all neo-Classical beauty and clinical precision, but the London it represented had become the opposite. In engravings of the time, such as Night, the artist William Hogarth shows a city boiling with vice and corruption. Stephen Walter's contemporary image, The Island, plays with notions of cartographic order and respectability. His extraordinary London map looks at first glance to be just as precise and ordered as his hero Rocque's but, looking closer, it includes 21st-century markings, such as 'favourite kebab vans' and sites of 'personal heartbreak'.
Geography

The Beauty of Maps - Episode 03: Atlas Maps - Thinking Big

BBC
The Dutch Golden Age saw map-making reach a fever pitch of creative and commercial ambition. This was the era of the first ever atlases - elaborate, lavish and beautiful. This was the great age of discovery and marked an unprecedented opportunity for mapmakers, who sought to record and categorise the newly acquired knowledge of the world. Rising above the many mapmakers in this period was Gerard Mercator, inventor of the Mercator projection, who changed mapmaking forever when he published his collection of world maps in 1598 and coined the term 'atlas'. The programme looks at some of the largest and most elaborate maps ever produced, from the vast maps on the floor of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, to the 24-volume atlas covering just the Netherlands, to the largest atlas in the world, The Klencke Atlas. It was made for Charles II to mark his restoration in 1660. But whilst being one of the British Library's most important items, it is also one of its most fragile, so hardly ever opened. This is a unique opportunity to see inside this enormous and lavish work, and see the world through the eyes of a king.
Geography

The Beauty of Maps - Episode 04: Cartoon Maps - Politics and Satire

BBC
The series concludes by delving into the world of satirical maps. How did maps take on a new form, not as geographical tools, but as devices for humour, satire or storytelling? Graphic artist Fred Rose perfectly captured the public mood in 1880 with his general election maps featuring Gladstone and Disraeli, using the maps to comment upon crucial election issues still familiar to us today. Technology was on the satirist's side, with the advent of high-speed printing allowing for larger runs at lower cost. In 1877, when Rose produced his Serio Comic Map of Europe at War, maps began to take on a new direction and form, reflecting a changing world. Rose's map exploited these possibilities to the full using a combination of creatures and human figures to represent each European nation. The personification of Russia as a grotesque-looking octopus, extending its tentacles around the surrounding nations, perfectly symbolised the threat the country posed to its neighbours.
Geography

The Box That Changed Britain

Graeme McAulay
Poet Roger McGough narrates the extraordinary story of how a simple invention - the shipping container - changed the world forever and forced Britain into the modern era of globalisation.
Geography

The Eiger Wall of Death

BBC 4
A history of one of the world's most challenging mountains, the Eiger, and its infamous north face. The film gets to the heart of one of Europe's most notorious peaks, exploring its character and its impact on the people who climb it and live in its awesome shadow.
Geography

The Great Rift: Africa's Wild Heart - Episode 01: Fire

BBC
Visible from space, Africa's Great Rift Valley runs three thousand miles from the Red Sea to the mouth of the Zambezi. It's a diverse terrain of erupting volcanoes, forest-clad mountains, spectacular valleys, rolling grasslands, huge lakes and mighty rivers, and is home to crocodiles, hippos, lions, elephants, flocks of flamingos and a diversity of indigenous peoples. Using state-of-the-art high definition filming techniques, this series investigates the geological forces which shaped East Africa's Great Rift, and which make it one of the world's most wildlife-rich landscapes. The valley is the product of deep-seated geological forces which have spewed out a line of cloud-wreathed volcanoes stretching from Ethiopia to Tanzania. Their peaks provide a refuge for East Africa's most extraordinary wildlife, including newly discovered and previously unfilmed species which have evolved surprising survival strategies to cope with their challenging mountain environment.
Geography

The Great Rift: Africa's Wild Heart - Episode 02: Water

BBC
Visible from space, Africa's Great Rift Valley runs three thousand miles from the Red Sea to the mouth of the Zambezi. It's a diverse terrain of erupting volcanoes, forest-clad mountains, spectacular valleys, rolling grasslands, huge lakes and mighty rivers, and is home to crocodiles, hippos, lions, elephants, flocks of flamingos and a diversity of indigenous peoples. Using state-of-the-art high definition filming techniques, this series investigates the geological forces which shaped East Africa's Great Rift and which make it one of the world's most wildlife-rich landscapes. The Great Rift Valley channels a huge diversity of waterways - rivers, lakes, waterfalls, caustic springs and coral seas - spanning from Egypt to Mozambique. Some lake and ocean deeps harbour previously unseen life-forms, while caustic waters challenge life to the extreme. But where volcanic minerals enrich the Great Rift's waterways, they provide the most spectacular concentrations of birds, mammals and fish in all Africa.
Geography

The Great Rift: Africa's Wild Heart - Episode 03: Grass

BBC
Visible from space, Africa's Great Rift Valley runs three thousand miles from the Red Sea to the mouth of the Zambezi. It's a diverse terrain of erupting volcanoes, forest-clad mountains, spectacular valleys, rolling grasslands, huge lakes and mighty rivers, and is home to crocodiles, hippos, lions, elephants, flocks of flamingos and a diversity of indigenous peoples. Using state-of-the-art high definition filming techniques, this series investigates the geological forces which shaped East Africa's Great Rift and which make it one of the world's most wildlife-rich landscapes. The Great Rift Valley provides the stage for an epic battle between trees and grass - its course influenced by volcanic eruptions, landscape and rainfall. On its outcome rests the fate of Africa's great game herds. In the Rift's savannas, grazers and their predators struggle to outwit each other, forcing one group of primates to develop a social system that paved the way for the evolution of mankind.
Geography

The Nile - Episode 01: Crocodiles and Kings

BBC Natural History Unit
Since the dawn of history the miraculous annual floodwaters have risen to transform the desert into a fertile paradise where the great civilisation of Ancient Egypt grew, but their existence was on a knife-edge held hostage by the river and the Pharaoh maintained the balance by appeasing the gods to ensure the gifts of the river.
Geography

The Nile - Episode 02: The Great Flood

BBC Natural History Unit
The annual flooding of the Nile brought the water and fertile volcanic soil that made the Ancient Egyptian civilisation possible, but impassable rapids made it impossible for them to discover the source of this bounty they attributed to the gods.
Geography

The Nile - Episode 03: The Search for the Source

BBC Natural History Unit
From the heart of Africa to the Mediterranean Sea runs the world’s longest river. Since the Egyptians first settled along its banks men have dreamt of discovering where the Nile was born, but for centuries the river kept its secrets close. The obsession grew and by the mid-19th century some were prepared to risk their lives to be the first to discover the source of the Nile.
Geography

The Perfect Disaster - Super Tornado

Channel Five
A documentary series in which expert scientific testimony and stunning CGI visuals combine to create the most realistic perfect storms imaginable. This edition speculates on what could happen if a mega-tornado were to strike.
Geography



Wild China: 01 Heart of the Dragon

BBC
China is a vast country with an astonishingly diverse landscape. Through unprecedented access, this six-part series reveals the little-known natural treasures and secret wildlife havens of China's wildest regions.
Geography

Yellowstone - Autumn

BBC 4
A natural history portrait of a year in Yellowstone, following the fortunes of America's wildlife icons as they face the challenges of one of the most extraordinary wildernesses on Earth.
Geography