Kenya: Big Five - Last Five?
It seems to be a true paradise, and it is a stunning adventure for everybody who experiences his first safari in one of Africa's national parks. The foreigners' focus is mainly on the «Big Five«. Will they be found? Will they be seen? Buffalo, Elefant, Rhino, Lion and even Leopard...? With stunning pictures from air and ground this film explores the most exciting landscapes of Kenya and its wildlife. It shows that not only losing one of the »Big Five« would cause a sobering loss. Kenya's wildlife blooms due to its rich diversity. But it is an unstable diversity which could also brush away other iconic animals like the Grevy's zebras or the wild dogs in short term.
Vietnam - From Green Hell to Green Paradise
This unique land offers ecological diversity and exotic wildlife, some of its animals discovered only a few years ago; a land torn into pieces, burned and destroyed - but now on its way to become paradise again: this is Vietnam. More than 3.000 kilometers of amazing coastline connect the country with the fascinating waterworld of the South Chinese Sea. In the North, where the water is cooler, some of the world's richest Coral reefs can be found. The mountainous regions up in Vietnam's northern parts hide last biological mysteries: some species have been observed for the first time only in our generation.
Istria - a secret destination, turned by its isolation into a hidden sanctuary for the wildlife of Southern Europe, a steep Adriatic karst labyrinth in today's Croatia. Fieldfare thrushes, crowded in bushes at the edge of forests, fire demoralising digestive missiles rearwards from their behinds, a persuasive deterrent to predators. And predators there are, though the short-toed eagles are paying more attention to the rodents gambolling on the burning rocks, while griffon vultures bide their time in the updraughts, waiting for the spoils. This is a theatre of life in layers. Layered in time too. When darkness comes wild boar snuffle through the forest past a deserted village. Autumn is hog heaven here, the time of the truffles. But hogs avoid the village, because here there be wolves, among the roots in the abandoned cellars, gliding past the trunks rearing from windows. The whole wolf pack lives here. Noone comes near, save mother bears in the springtime, exploring with their cubs.
Seefeld - Tyrolean Wonderland
Part I: Realm of the Peregrine Falcon
Part II: Managing Mountains
In February 2019, Seefeld hosts the year's biggest winter sports event: the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Seefeld lies at the heart of Tyrol, surrounded by the most beautiful and wildest Alpine peaks. The diversity of the landscape is breathtaking: primeval forests, rushing rivers, rocky peaks, pastures and waterfalls, as well as innumerable lakes and moors. Higher elevations are home to ibex, chamois and rock partridges, while Western capercaillies and grey-headed woodpeckers inhabit the forests.
Maria Theresa - Europe's Mother-in-Law
No-one played the game of diplomacy better than Austria's Empress Maria Theresa. She made peace between the Habsburg Empire and its oldest enemies, the Bourbons, rulers of France, Spain and the kingdoms of Parma and Naples. To gain an ally against the Prussian upstarts to the north, this deeply Catholic mother of 16 was even prepared to deal with the woman whose morals she most despised: Madame Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV. Their unlikely alliance helped usher in a new era in European politics, poised between absolutism and Enlightenment. Maria Theresa's most powerful strategic tool was a weapon that had always come in handy in the Habsburg arsenal: «Tu felix Austria, nube». «Others make war, but you, happy Austria, marry!» As a result, six of her children were married into the House of Bourbon. Maria Theresa knew these marriages would largely be unhappy. When her youngest daughter Marie-Antoinette wed King Louis XVI of France in 1770, all her political goals were won, but at a high personal price. Only Maria Theresa's death in 1780 spared her from experiencing Marie-Antoinette's tragic end, executed by guillotine. The biography of Maria Theresa and of the Habsburg family, is the story of the clash between private life and political power-play, between dynastic responsibility and motherly love. The blue chip drama-documentary »Maria Theresa - Europe's Mother-in-Law« marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of the most famous member of the Habsburg dynasty, and reveals a previously unseen side of the regent based on recently-discovered personal letters of the Empress to Countess Enzenberg, her lady-in-waiting.
It may be the world's oldest zoo (Joseph II founded it in 1752), but Schönbrunn is still at the cutting edge of global conservation: Polar Bears in Canada, Elephants in Sri Lanka - even Water Buffalos in Upper Austria! Following Lukas Beck's delightful and emotional first film with Schönbrunn, «A Life for Animals», «Schönbrunn's Ark» now portrays the intimate, dynamic relationships that develop between a zoo's experts and the species they reach out to save, on three continents.
Charlie is a young Bearded Vulture chick growing up among the sheer mountainsides of Switzerland's Engadin National Park. Helped by his family, Charlie will learn how to fly, will watch as his relatives paint themselves in the orange mud that is the preferred make-up of all their kind, and above all: he will be taught how to master the skills of dive-bombing with marrow-bones, his species' unique way to access high-nutrition food. But at the age of two Charlie's dark plumage will become paler, and he will be rejected. Then he must fly away, as far as the skies of Milan or Rotterdam, only to return as an adult. Now he will most likely find another chick in his nest, and it's up to him to find his own mate, and cement the new relationship with the vultures' glorious mating flights. Bearded Vultures were eradicated from the Alps by 1907, but in the 1980s they were reintroduced, and now for the first time in a century, three generations of vultures live side by side.
Meet the Martens
Inspired by Erich Kästner's Conference of the Animals, this film by Kurt Mayer («Planet Sparrow») gathers members of the remarkable Marten family from four continents to an international meeting in Vienna. The venue, a traditional hotel (think «Grand Budapest Hotel») becomes their temporary home. Honey-badgers, wolverines, ermines and stone martens - even otters - each have their own way of making their room their territory, and each room has magical access to the natural habitat they left behind. «Meet the Martens» combines blue chip wildlife photography with the comedy of unexpected encounters between relatives.
Stars and Stripes
Why is a baby deer born with white spots - and why do they disappear as it grows? Why is a young wild boar striped? What makes the stripes fade with age? And why is a thrush spotted when it's young, and striped when it's older? «Somatolysis» is the answer. This ancient Greek expression means «dissolution of the body»: by changing its shape and contour. For many animals it's the key to survival in the critical first days and weeks. It works like a magic cloak, that makes hatchlings and youngsters virtually invisible. A female deer leaves her fawn unattended for hours. It's not strong enough to follow her, but she needs to graze to produce milk to feed it. The fawn's only hope is to be invisible. Maybe bright white spots aren't such a bad idea in a meadow full of daisies ...
Mysteries of the Stone Age
They seem to have come from another world: circles and buildings made of gigantic stones. The most famous are Stonehenge in Britain and Carnac in France. But these megaliths from the Stone Age - 5,000 years BCE - are found all round the world, as recent discoveries show. There appears to be a network of sites from the north of Scotland to the Mediterranean (Malta alone has around 30 temples) to the Far East - with gigantic graves in Korea. It's still not clear how ancient civilizations managed to create these fantastic stone structures. How did they lift the huge blocks into place? And what can we learn about those societies? What were the turning points in their history? Was there a secret connection between the cultures that built the megalith circles? New studies and the latest international research reveal fresh clues to the biggest mysteries of the Stone Age.
The Prince and the Chief: Travels in the Interiors of North America
He has been a hero for generations of readers: Winnetou, the noble Apache, created by author Karl May in the late 19th Century. Millions of readers and viewers have been riveted by his adventures, and his friendship with the frontiersman Old Shatterhand. Behind the fiction lies a true story. In April 1833, scientist Maximilian von Wied, a German prince, and Swiss painter Karl Bodmer travelled up the Missouri by steamboat. They planned to observe and record the indigenous peoples and the epic landscape of the American West. During the trip, Von Wied befriended Mato Tope ('Four Bears') the deputy chief of the Mandan Tribe. Thanks to this relationship it became possible for Von Wied and Karl Bodmer to see the world of the indigenous peoples through different eyes. This documentary as well as the writings of Karl May are based on both accounts and memories of Prince Maximilian and Karl Bodmer.
Walking with the Alpine Ibex
They rest by night, a silhouette of snoring and sighing horns, with Capricorn's stars high above in the milky Alpine skies. Only at full moon will they walk. Then the herd moves together, silently, gracefully, peacefully. Like ghosts their horned heads appear on the limestone ridges of the Hochschwab mountains. This massive range absorbs snowmelt and rainfall like a gigantic sponge, supplying a million people in Vienna a hundred miles away with crystal- clear water. Entering the distant, archaic, mystic world of the ibex was Bernhard Schatz's dream. In this unique film we follow the Alpine ibex under Bernhard's guidance over a whole year; we experience the amazing, sometimes hilarious, social behavior of these magical animals, filmed in the heaviest snowstorms and in the cracking summer heat. And with the ibex we also meet their animal companions: chamois, marmots, golden eagles and European adders.
Through a Raven's Eye
The Common Raven is the largest, cleverest and bravest European corvid - brave enough to make its home in the harsh landscape of the 'Totes Gebirge'- the 'Dead Mountains'. This barren limestone plateau at 2,500 meters soaks up rainwater, leaving the peaks bone-dry. Further down, the precipitation creates a paradise of turquoise lakes, pristine springs, moss-covered forests and mysterious moors. The temporary karst springs bring further specialist behaviour: landlocked Danube bleak make short and spectacular migrations to their spawning grounds, and wallcreepers scurry up and down steep cliffs, looking for larvae; while chamois, ptarmigans and mountain hares eke out a living amongst the jagged rocks. Gliding on silent wings through this landscape of contrasts, the raven takes us on a tour of his realm: this forbidding limestone massif may appear dead - but in the raven's eyes, it's anything but!
Bears of the Karawank
No other part in Southern Europe has such a high concentration of brown bears as Slovenia's and Croatia's mediterranean karst. The bears hide in the untouched forests - no need for them to cross paths with people. The bear cubs stay with their mother until she returns to oestrous. Then, she chases them away and the cubs have to find their own territory. The young brown bears wander north until the massive Karawank mountains block their way. But young bears are curious hunters and fearless climbers. And yet crossing these mountains at up to 2,500 meters is not even their most challenging mission - an encounter with humans can bring a sudden end to their daring journey through one of Europe's wildest landscapes. These spectacular Karawank peaks with their harsh north faces and gentle southern slopes, home to teeming mediterranean wildlife, mark the southern barrier of the Alps.
Kestrels at Close Quarters
The drama of life is unpredictable. This is as true for humans as for wild animals. Kestrels have learned to live close to man. They even raise their hatchlings in our towns. This is the story of two kestrel couples bringing up their chicks in the same neighbourhood in the center of Vienna. While destiny crowns one pair's breeding with success, the other kestrels face a more brutal fate: they have chosen an inappropriate place to brood and raise their hatchlings. With a close look and unflinching passion this film reveals the family lives of Kestrels, their needs and efforts when breeding, but also the life which follows a successful brood. Once the fledglings learn to fly, both parents and offspring face a vital decision: shall they stay in Europe over the winter or head off to southern climes with abundant prey? Whatever they decide, another unpredictable drama of life beckons.
Cuba's Wild Revolution
Cuba has some of the richest wildlife in the Caribbean: 3,700 km of pristine coastline, mountain ranges still draped in primeval forest, swamps teeming with moisture-loving creatures - and much of it thrives because of Cuba's revolution. Decades of socialist government, U.S. embargoes and minimal development have left the island virtually unchanged.
This film will feature Cuba's wildlife where it meets the island's colonial and revolutionary past, and present: from the clouds of vultures riding the updrafts around Havana's legendary 'Habana Libre' hotel to the Cuban boa constrictors making their homes in the deserted mansions of long-gone sugar barons, to the coral-smothered cannon of wrecked Spanish galleons. Neighbors from Haiti to Jamaica may have flushed their natural wealth into the sea; Cuba sits like a green jewel in azure Caribbean waters, pulsing with life.
Europe's Wild West - Portugal
Sustained by water from the mountains, nature thrives in Portugal's north, offering a lush habitat to flocks of Greater flamingo. They seek out river estuaries or abandoned saline pools where they feed on shrimps. The shrimps' eggs survive in dry salt up to 5 years, until conditions are right to emerge. High in the mountains the Spanish imperial eagle hunts rabbits and birds. Montados, forests of cork oaks, are the perfect hideout for Iberian lynx. Here the great bustard, Europe's heaviest bird, performs a captivating mating dance while reciting a song irresistible to females. The whole display is sometimes watched by a Mediterranean chameleon, Europe's endemic chameleon species. Far in the Atlantic, Madeira's Desertas Islands are the only home of one of the largest and rarest species of wolf-spider. Here rare Mediterranean monk seals have one of the last colonies, while sperm whales enjoy the ocean's rich feeding grounds.
Wild Way of the Vikings
We follow the Vikings' footsteps from the Norwegian Coast to Newfoundland, visiting each of the magical islands of 'Fire and Ice' on the way: the Shetlands, the Faroes, Greenland and Iceland. In summer, pilot whales appear in huge numbers in Faroese waters. On Iceland the dominant hunters aren't humans but arctic foxes. In mid-summer guillemot chicks leap from high ledges, aiming for the churning sea 150 meters below. Besides the polar bears, musk ox, wolves and arctic foxes, Greenland is home to vast breeding colonies of geese and the dashing gyr falcon - one of the most formidable hunting machines in Nature. Finally reaching the well-wooded shores of Newfoundland, the camera dives beneath the surface to watch the humpbacks as they breach and roll in pure exuberance.
Wild Austria - Created by Water
Part I: Frozen Peaks
Part II: Rivers and Plains
Austria's Alpine glaciers, ancient seas and mighty rivers carved out amazing landscapes - key to her wildlife today. Eagles, ibex, otters and deer are well-known, but there are other, stranger creatures: Goldeneye ducks breed high in tree nests. Once hatched, the ducklings follow their mother to the life-giving river below. But they can't fly , so it's a leap of faith up to ten metres down. The tiny Bullhead is a fish that can't swim. It claws with its fins along the gravelly bed of brooks and creeks to resist the current. One creature even survived unchanged from the days of the dinosaurs: the tadpole shrimp, a three-eyed hermaphrodite whose eggs can lie dormant for decades - if necessary. Adults can self-fertilize, one shrimp is enough to ensure future generations. They all fit in to Austria's unforgettable landscapes and Water's endless cycle and ever-changing forms.
Empire of the Vineyard
A well-tended vineyard develops the quality of a wine over generations. But its micro-world is a battleground, an animal empire fought over in hundreds of tiny dramas every day. The irresistible smell of fresh vine leaves tempts deer out of the bushes. European and Asian ladybugs swarm out of their underground colony beside the vine after sleeping though the cold season. Young rabbits play in the morning mists, under the watchful eye of their mothers. An eagle owl swoops from the forest to snatch voles between the vines, then flies 200 meters further to prey on the ducks in the river. The owl shares its territory with a buzzard, which only hunts during the day. A European green lizard flashes the flamboyant blue of its neck to impress the females, as it basks on the limestone walls, not far from its natural enemy, a smooth snake.
Wild Wonders of Iran
Iran's landscapes and wildlife exceed all expectations. In the North, the Caspian Sea abuts on the Elburz Mountains, a massive range at up to 5,600 metres Iran's highest peak, extinct Mount Damavand. Over 50 per cent of Iran is barren deserts or vast steppes. Dasht-e Kavir is one of the biggest salt deserts in the world, while Dasht-e-Lut has Iran's great sand dunes, where deadly saw-scaled vipers battle with the poisonous fat-tailed scorpions, and even with long-eared hedgehogs! Further south, Lake Baghtegan is a vital winter home for thousands of pink flamingos. On Iran's southern shores where the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman meet, pelicans and eagles, sharks and dolphins patrol the coastlines hunting fish and crabs.
Corsica - The Island Continent
This large Mediterranean island combines several continents; a corner turned reveals a different world: crystalline mountain streams, gorges, with fragrant pine and chestnut forests next to brushland. Spinner dolphins, midget sharks and sperm whales play in sight of snow-capped peaks where fish eagles lazily circle. Corsica even has two distinct breeds of mouflon that have never met, introduced from Europe and Iran. 146 endemic plant and 12 animal species survive here, including a lizard that only lives on one wall of one stone hut on an offshore island!
The Woman who Knew Too Much: A Cold Case from the Cold War
Brilliant young Austrian economist Margarethe Ottillinger was arrested on 5th November 1948, crossing a bridge between the Soviet and American zones in post-war Vienna. It was a classic Cold War kidnapping. Ottilinger had been researching the Soviet exploitation of Austrian industry, but even after her release from a Russian prison seven years later, she never learned the official reason for her detention and torture. The rumour persisted that she was sacrificed by her boss and lover, the Austrian economics minister Peter Krauland. He had a Nazi past and there was evidence of a complicated web of corruption and political conspiracy. Using latest revelations from Russian and Austrian archives, this film turns a tragic personal story into an iconic account of Cold War deceit and skullduggery.
Luis Trenker - Hitler's Mountain Hero
Luis Trenker is a legend. Best known internationally for his mountain films with then actress Leni Riefenstahl ("The White Hell of Piz Pallü"), he had a controversial movie career under the Nazis and was championed by Italian Fascists, before being reborn after the War telling stories of his life on German television. This documentary shows the highs and lows of a long life, the delicate balance between Hitler and Mussolini, adaptation and resistance, box office success and cinematic art. Was he a Nazi collaborator or opposed to the Regime? Or simply an amoral survivor who never ceased moulding his own image?
The Shape of Africa
I The Ancient Bridge
A Walk on the Wild Side - The Vienna Prater
Vienna's Prater: the expanse of woodland at the heart of one of the world's great cities was created by the Danube and shaped by humans over the centuries; it still remains a remarkable natural oasis. On warm summer days Viennese and tourists alike flock to the Prater in their thousands. The iconic Big Wheel gives them spectacular views of the city's urban and wild sides, but few get to see the hidden dramas happening around them: the beavers, badgers, roe deer and hedgehogs that take over as soon as the people have left. This film rediscovers the secret residents and surprising wildlife of Europe's oldest pleasure gardens. Specially- developed remote cameras with infra-red lighting reveal the everyday (or rather night) life of a badger family, without disturbing these shy nocturnal animals.
Mexico's Animal Migrants
Mexico is one of earth's few mega-biodiverse regions. Aside from residents like jaguars, eagles, roadrunners and tarantulas, there are also migrants that come in their millions from all across North and South America. Some animal adventurers set out from Mexico, others return to it or travel through. Snow Geese, Gray Whales, Free-Tailed Bats, Monarch Butterfl ies, Whale Sharks, Rufous Hummingbirds and the River of Raptors: together their stories create a living map of all of Mexico, with its most iconic animals and most spectacular landscapes.
The Secret Life of Snakes
They are among the most hated und feared animals on the planet - only few people recognize their beauty. This documentary features some of Europe's most stunning species, like the European adder, the nose-horned viper, the dice snake, the ringed snake and the Aesculapian snake. After a winter safe in burrows, sometimes in bundles of hundreds, the spring's warmth brings them back to life. Adders at 2,000 metres in the Alps have extra survival skills: they are almost pitch-black to absorb every last ray from the sun, and their offspring are born alive - it would be too cold for eggs. Storks and herons, martens and polecats predate their lower altitude cousins. Most snakes avoid humans. The Aesculapian snake likes to shimmy up trees to catch birds, but it's happiest where humans store grain or dump waste - that attracts lots of mice. And Europe has its own constrictor! So watch out next time you're walking in the park ...
Giants of the Atlantic - Azores
It's a gigantic underwater mountain range, rising in the mid-Atlantic. Only a few peaks can be seen near the surface, yet some reach even higher to build nine green gems: the Azores Islands. These volcanic rocks, the only toehold between Europe and America, are of extra- ordinary beauty. The Azores' steep shelves are a play- and mating ground for several kinds of whales. Here, groups of male sperm whales meet females on their never-ending journey from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Humpback whales and gray whales break the surface but blue whales also come to feed from the vast biomass produced in the ocean's depths. Drifting up from the deep, plankton and krill attract huge schools of fish and squid. Portuguese Men o' War drift threateningly on the surface, while undersea caves host cannibalistic shrimps, manta rays and moray eels. On the islands, the grassy craters of the volcanoes are a winter home to songbirds from Iceland, Russia and North America, while their rocky outer walls form nests for vast colonies of Cory's Shearwaters.
High Life at Low Temperatures
The summits and sheer mountain ridges of Austria's 'Little Siberia' funnel the freezing air from snow-covered peaks into a gigantic hollow - a high-level Plateau at 1,000 metres from which it cannot escape: Lungau is Austria's coldest region. Creeks and streams start higher here, and create bogs, moors and countless alpine lakes. Summer is short but lively, as eagles rear their precious chicks and ermines eat their fill before the sparse winter returns, while black alpine salamanders give birth to live miniature versions of themselves beneath the tree-line.
Wild Boar - The Comeback
This is the surprising story of the most underrated animal in our forests - and its remarkable comeback. Hunted, slaughtered and exterminated - that was the European wild boar's fate throughout the last century. But now it's back! Its weapons: wiliness, intelligence, and the ability to cope with society's encroachments. Just 20 years ago an encounter with a wild boar in central Europe was a rarity. But now in some countries the stocks of wild boar have become a plague.
Nero - Monster or Victim?
He's the most notorious of all Roman Emperors. He burned Rome, he killed his mother and his wife and engaged in incest. He killed thousands of Christians. He committed suicide by thrusting a dagger into his own neck. He was, basically, a psycho. But suppose it was all lies. Suppose the 'crimes' he committed either didn't happen - or were normal behaviour for a Roman Emperor. Suppose other Romans had grounds to trash his reputation and succeeded for two thousand years. Suppose Nero was a hero. Like a television detective series, the documentary follows the clues of the ancient case: historical crime scenes are investigated, the credibility of witnesses is reviewed, modern investigative methods are applied and experts from different scientific fields including history, psychology and criminology are brought in to consult on the case. Together they reveal a complex web of lies, deflections and intrigue. Flashbacks and re-enactments encourage the viewer to explore theories that are suddenly disproved by unexpected twists. The result: a re-assessment of Roman history. It's time. To re-open the Nero Files.
The Canary Islands
Wild Ephesus - Old Ruins, New Life
Sophisticated, pulsing with life and unbelievably wealthy - that was ancient Ephesus with its 250,000 inhabitants, its temples, baths and theatres. Public squares were paved with mosaics, the city was filled with shops, gardens
and fountains, its broad streets flanked with glowing marble statues. Two thousand years ago this port and trading center on the west coast of today's Turkey was the most important market place for marble, precious metals, ceramics, oil and luxury textiles. Its Temple of Artemis was one of the seven wonders of the world. Today nothing remains but ruins. Porcupines live in the cracks between artfully hewn marble blocks, tortoises sunbathe on the Altar of Artemis, barn owls brood among the marble pillars of a luxury villa. The former harbor, long silted up, has become a paradise for birds. Cormorants and herons raise their chicks here, pelicans drop in for a visit. Jackals and caracals turned the quays where merchant ships once unloaded their goods into their hunting grounds. Wild boars trot along the Roman road that led from the main street to the arena, stopping to gnaw on the exposed roots snaking from the ancient city walls - and so bring some of those walls tumbling down. Marbled polecats, scorpions, lizards and snakes live in Ephesus today, as does the world's smallest mammal: the Etruscan shrew, whose heart beats 1,500 times a second. Humans had to quit this wealthy metropolis - its enormous fuel consumption caused deforestation that eroded the hillsides till the harbor was blocked with silt and the sea left the city. And then Nature took over.
Wild Caribbean - Rhythms of Life
Part I: Predators in Paradise
The Grey and the Red - Secrets of Squirrels
Everybody loves squirrels, and yet we only know them from their brief visits to ground level. Now, extraordinary HD storytelling shows them in their own environment: high up in the treetops. This documentary examines their intelligence and explores the deadly struggle for dominance between the two main species. The cute and cuddly russet acrobats are so clever they're drawing increased attention from scientists. Indeed, as they face extinction, they now depend on These scientists for their survival. Grey squirrels from North-America are spreading fast across Europe, displacing the native red squirrel.
This documentary charts both their lovable antics and the life-and-death struggle for survival of an animal that still has plenty of secrets to reveal. It observes a family of red squirrels over the course of a year, as they mate, care for their young, and battle for food and against predators.
Greece - Highlands and Islands
Greece is a land of unique contrasts, with wild animals that have disappeared from the rest of Europe! Archaic relationships, as befits one of Civilization's sources, and seemingly special powers like Greek Gods!
Highlands takes us to isolated places like the Vikos Gorge, Europe's Grand Canyon and wild mountain streams. Scorpions perform their mating dance, gripping each other's pincers for hours. At the foot of Meteora monasteries lives the Scheltopusik, a bizarre legless lizard.
Islands is dedicated to Greece's milder side: on Rhodes, crabs hunt butterflies as they hang from the branches of the pine. A caterpillar defends itself by turning into an Alien. And offshore, a cuttlefish flashes its message of fear, stress or courtship.
Hell and Paradise - Russia's Wild Sea
The Sea of Okhotsk lies between the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Japanese island of Hokkaido: the last and greatest unspoiled ocean on Earth. High and low tides vary by 14 meters, typhoons and tsunamis lash the shore with ten-meter waves. This is a wildlife paradise where animals grow bigger, stronger and more numerous than anywhere else. Its iconic animals are giant brown bears, the world's biggest sea eagles and the acrobatic spotted seals. Grizzlies here dip into the thermal baths and geysers left by the world's most active volcanoes. The few human inhabitants are held by the glory of the natural spectacles, the world's largest seabird colonies, starfish, sea urchins, orcas, porpoises and fin whales.
Far away in Europe's south east is a country dominated by high peaks and crystal-clear waters, and home to a vast range of wild animals: Albania. Lake Ohrid, Europe's oldest lake, in the east, supports hundreds of endemic animals. It has outlived earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and even Ice Ages. The Balkans' largest lake, Lake Scutari, once part of the Adriatic Sea, is a vast bird reserve protecting Dalmatian pelicans, the rarest on the planet. Just 7 meters deep, Lake Scutari hosts a variety of small animals in its marshlands, that feed the herons, ibis and flamingoes. In spring it's covered by millions of water lilies, perfect shelter for snakes and other predators. The rare greater spotted eagle doesn't just swoop on its prey from the skies, but stalks it on the ground, too! This region has big predators, too: brown bears, wolves, lynx and jackals, in an intact habitat scarcely disturbed by humanity. This is truly a hidden Eden!
Wild Ireland - The Edge of the World
Explore Ireland's wild wonders as they have never been captured before - from humpback whales breaching off its southern shores, to golden eagles fighting the gales of the northern highlands to raise their young on the steep cliffsides. The majestic salmon return from the Arctic and swim upriver into the purest freshwaters in Europe.
The stunning metropolis has a flavor of two continents - Asia and Europe, divided and connected by the Bosphorus straits. Though the Bosporus is one of the world's busiest shipping routes you can still see three species of dolphin here. For migrating birds it is a toehold as they head north for the European spring. Some animals have come to stay: wild wolves, invading from the east.
Lost City of the Gladiators
The gladiator school at Carnuntum, Roman city on the Banks of the Danube, turned slaves, prisoners, and also volunteers like our hero Atticus into skilled and brutal entertainers who could be re-exported throughout the Empire. Precision, speed and spectacular technique made them true sports stars, kept in peak condition by their vegetarian diet and rigorous training. Gladiators earned well and paid private visits to wealthy women admirers. But a moment's loss of concentration in the arena was lethal, and even in death, the loser must show no emotion. For two millennia, Carnuntum's gladiator school washidden beneath cornfi elds, but archaeologist Wolfgang Neubauer's scanners uncovered the training complex, reconstructed for this drama-documentary as part of a complete virtual Roman city; while gladiator experts and re-enactors give a uniquely authentic account of a gladiator's life.
The world's least-populated country is home to the largest steppe in the world, a fascinating desert, expansive jungles, mighty mountain summits, swamps, and more than a thousand rivers and lakes. Each landscape has its own climate, flora and fauna: snow leopards hunt argali sheep in the mountains, wolverines and lynx roam the taiga alongside reindeer and mountain hares. The steppes are home to hundreds of thousands of Mongolian gazelles, steppe eagles and Houbara bustards, while wild donkeys, camels and extremely rare Gobi bears inhabit the desert. The Tsaatan and Dukha people wander the taiga with their reindeer, Kazakh herdsmen drive yaks through the mountains and steppe nomads relocate several times a year to find new grazing land. Nowhere in the world are nature and culture so intertwined as in Mongolia. In two episodes, the documentary reveals the wonders of this fascinating country as they have never been seen before.
Europe's Last Nomads
A spectacular ancient tradition is being revived right across Europe: shepherds leading flocks across the continent through the most savage and extreme landscapes. From Spain's legendary La Mancha plains, the last cowboys of this continent and their cattle migrate into the green highlands of Cuenca. In Romania sheep climb the Carpathian Mountains, all the way to the Ukrainian border, constantly under threat from wolves. On a Welsh island, migrating sheep even generate a habitat for rare birds.
When a female barn-owl's home - an old disused barn - is demolished, she has to seek a new place to live. On the way, flying through forests and across grasslands, she encounters most of the common owl species in Central Europe: long- and short- eared owls, little, tawny and eagle owls, some she can live peace- fully beside, others she must shun or risk becoming their prey. During her journey, the film shows how owls fly so silently and hunt so efficiently. It illustrates what they have meant to humans since ancient times, and how they live beside us today. It explains why they have become - unfairly - associated with death. Our owl finally finds a new home, as the guest of a barn owl family, in time to see the new clutch of young following their mother on their first majestic flight.