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BBC Four HD Tales of Tudor Travel The Explorer's Handbook (2018)

BBC Four HD Tales of Tudor Travel The Explorer's Handbook (2018)


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A remarkable travel guide compiled from first-hand records of Tudor seafarers in the 16th century. Professor Nandini Das explores Hakluyt's Principal Navigations, which records accounts of ventures in search of lucrative spices and dyes. It is a prototype for today's travel guides with advice, warnings, descriptions of remarkable people and a list of vocabulary to converse with foreigners. It became a book that all English seafarers kept on board ship. But the descriptions of encounters with foreigners also lay the foundations for later colonialism and conquest.


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Contents

Attenborough was born in Isleworth, Middlesex (now part of west London), and grew up in College House on the campus of the University College, Leicester, where his father, Frederick, was principal. [13] He is the middle of three long-lived sons his elder brother, Richard (died in 2014), became an actor and director, and his younger brother, John (died in 2012), was an executive at Italian car manufacturer Alfa Romeo. [14] During the Second World War, through a British volunteer network known as the Refugee Children's Movement, his parents also fostered two Jewish refugee girls from Germany. [15]

Attenborough spent his childhood collecting fossils, stones, and natural specimens. [16] He received encouragement aged seven, when a young Jacquetta Hawkes admired his "museum". He also spent much time in the grounds of the university, and, aged 11, he heard that the zoology department needed a large supply of newts, which he offered through his father to supply for 3d each. The source, which he did not reveal at the time, was a pond less than five metres from the department. [17] A few years later, one of his adoptive sisters gave him a piece of amber containing prehistoric creatures some fifty years later, it would be the focus of his programme The Amber Time Machine.

In 1936, Attenborough and his brother Richard attended a lecture by Grey Owl (Archibald Belaney) at De Montfort Hall, Leicester, and were influenced by his advocacy of conservation. According to Richard, David was "bowled over by the man's determination to save the beaver, by his profound knowledge of the flora and fauna of the Canadian wilderness and by his warnings of ecological disaster should the delicate balance between them be destroyed. The idea that mankind was endangering nature by recklessly despoiling and plundering its riches was unheard of at the time, but it is one that has remained part of Dave's own credo to this day." In 1999, Richard directed a biopic of Belaney entitled Grey Owl. [18]

Attenborough was educated at Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys in Leicester and then won a scholarship to Clare College, Cambridge in 1945, where he studied geology and zoology and obtained a degree in natural sciences. [19] In 1947, he was called up for national service in the Royal Navy and spent two years stationed in North Wales and the Firth of Forth.

In 1950, Attenborough married Jane Elizabeth Ebsworth Oriel she died in 1997. The couple had two children, Robert and Susan. [20] Robert is a senior lecturer in bioanthropology for the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at the Australian National University in Canberra. [21] [22] Susan is a former primary school headmistress. [23]

After leaving the Navy, Attenborough took a position editing children's science textbooks for a publishing company. He soon became disillusioned with the work and in 1950 applied for a job as a radio talk producer with the BBC. Although he was rejected for this job, his CV later attracted the interest of Mary Adams, head of the Talks (factual broadcasting) department of the BBC's fledgling television service.

Attenborough, like most Britons at that time, did not own a television, and he had seen only one programme in his life. [24] However, he accepted Adams' offer of a three-month training course, and in 1952 he joined the BBC full-time. Initially discouraged from appearing on camera because Adams thought his teeth were too big, [25] he became a producer for the Talks department, which handled all non-fiction broadcasts. His early projects included the quiz show Animal, Vegetable, Mineral? and Song Hunter, a series about folk music presented by Alan Lomax. [25]

Attenborough's association with natural history programmes began when he produced and presented the three-part series Animal Patterns. The studio-bound programme featured animals from London Zoo, with the naturalist Julian Huxley discussing their use of camouflage, aposematism and courtship displays. Through this programme, Attenborough met Jack Lester, the curator of the zoo's reptile house, and they decided to make a series about an animal-collecting expedition. The result was Zoo Quest, first broadcast in 1954, where Attenborough became the presenter at short notice due to Lester being taken ill. [26]

In 1957, the BBC Natural History Unit was formally established in Bristol. Attenborough was asked to join it, but declined, not wishing to move from London where he and his young family were settled. Instead, he formed his own department, the Travel and Exploration Unit, [27] which allowed him to continue to front Zoo Quest as well as produce other documentaries, notably the Travellers' Tales and Adventure series. [27]

In the early 1960s, Attenborough resigned from the permanent staff of the BBC to study for a postgraduate degree in social anthropology at the London School of Economics, interweaving his study with further filming. [28] However, he accepted an invitation to return to the BBC as controller of BBC Two before he could finish the degree. [29]

Attenborough became Controller of BBC 2 in March 1965 succeeding Michael Peacock. [30] He had a clause inserted in his contract that would allow him to continue making programmes on an occasional basis. Later the same year he filmed elephants in Tanzania, and in 1969 he made a three-part series on the cultural history of the Indonesian island of Bali. For the 1971 film A Blank on the Map, he joined the first Western expedition to a remote highland valley in New Guinea to seek out a lost tribe.

BBC Two had been launched in 1964, but had struggled to capture the public's imagination. When Attenborough arrived as controller, he quickly abolished the channel's quirky kangaroo mascot and shook up the schedule. With a mission to make BBC Two's output diverse and different from that offered by other networks, he began to establish a portfolio of programmes that defined the channel's identity for decades to come. Under his tenure, music, the arts, entertainment, archaeology, experimental comedy, travel, drama, sport, business, science and natural history all found a place in the weekly schedules. Often, an eclectic mix was offered within a single evening's viewing. Programmes he commissioned included Man Alive, Call My Bluff, Chronicle, Match of the Day, The Old Grey Whistle Test, Monty Python's Flying Circus and The Money Programme. [31]

One of his most significant decisions was to order a 13-part series on the history of Western art, to show off the quality of the new UHF colour television service that BBC Two offered. Broadcast to universal acclaim in 1969, Civilisation set the blueprint for landmark authored documentaries, which were informally known as "tombstone" or "sledgehammer" projects. Others followed, including Jacob Bronowski's The Ascent of Man (also commissioned by Attenborough), and Alistair Cooke's America. Attenborough thought that the story of evolution would be a natural subject for such a series. He shared his idea with Chris Parsons, a producer at the Natural History Unit, who came up with the title Life on Earth and returned to Bristol to start planning the series. Attenborough harboured a strong desire to present the series himself, but this would not be possible so long as he remained in a management post.

While in charge of BBC Two, Attenborough turned down Terry Wogan's job application to be a presenter on the channel, stating that there weren't any suitable vacancies. The channel already had an Irish announcer, with Attenborough reflecting in 2016: "To have had two Irishmen presenting on BBC Two would have looked ridiculous. This is no comment whatsoever on Terry Wogan's talents." [32] Attenborough has also acknowledged that he sanctioned the wiping of programmes during this period to cut costs, including sketches by Alan Bennett, which he later regretted. [33]

In 1969 Attenborough was promoted to director of programmes, making him responsible for the output of both BBC channels. His tasks, which included agreeing budgets, attending board meetings and firing staff, were now far removed from the business of filming programmes. When Attenborough's name was being suggested as a candidate for the position of Director-General of the BBC in 1972, he phoned his brother Richard to confess that he had no appetite for the job. Early the following year, he left his post to return to full-time programme-making, leaving him free to write and present the planned natural history epic. [16]

After his resignation, Attenborough became a freelance broadcaster and immediately started work on his next project, a pre-arranged trip to Indonesia with a crew from the Natural History Unit. It resulted in the 1973 series Eastwards with Attenborough, which was similar in tone to the earlier Zoo Quest but without the animal-collecting element.

After his return, he began to work on the scripts for Life on Earth. Due to the scale of his ambition, the BBC decided to partner with an American network to secure the necessary funding. While the negotiations were proceeding, he worked on a number of other television projects. He presented a series on tribal art (The Tribal Eye, 1975) and another on the voyages of discovery (The Explorers, 1975). He also presented a BBC children's series about cryptozoology entitled Fabulous Animals (1975), which featured mythical creatures such as the griffin and kraken. [34] Eventually the BBC signed a co-production deal with Turner Broadcasting and Life on Earth moved into production in 1976.

Life series

Beginning with Life on Earth in 1979, Attenborough set about creating a body of work which became a benchmark of quality in wildlife film-making and influenced a generation of documentary film-makers. The series also established many of the hallmarks of the BBC's natural history output. By treating his subject seriously and researching the latest discoveries, Attenborough and his production team gained the trust of scientists, who responded by allowing him to feature their subjects in his programmes. In Rwanda, for example, Attenborough and his crew were granted privileged access to film Dian Fossey's research group of mountain gorillas. Innovation was another factor in Life on Earth's success: new film-making techniques were devised to get the shots Attenborough wanted, with a focus on events and animals that were hitherto unfilmed. Computerised airline schedules, which had only recently been introduced, enabled the series to be elaborately devised so that Attenborough visited several locations around the globe in each episode, sometimes even changing continents mid-sentence. Although appearing as the on-screen presenter, he consciously restricted his time on camera to give his subjects top billing.

The success of Life on Earth prompted the BBC to consider a follow-up, and five years later, The Living Planet was screened. This time, Attenborough built his series around the theme of ecology, the adaptations of living things to their environment. It was another critical and commercial success, generating huge international sales for the BBC. In 1990, The Trials of Life completed the original Life trilogy, looking at animal behaviour through the different stages of life. The series drew strong reactions from the viewing public for its sequences of killer whales hunting sea lions on a Patagonian beach and chimpanzees hunting and violently killing a colobus monkey.

In the 1990s, Attenborough continued to use the "Life" title for a succession of authored documentaries. In 1993, he presented Life in the Freezer, the first television series to survey the natural history of Antarctica. Although past normal retirement age, he then embarked on a number of more specialised surveys of the natural world, beginning with plants. They proved a difficult subject for his producers, who had to deliver five hours of television featuring what are essentially immobile objects. The result was The Private Life of Plants (1995), which showed plants as dynamic organisms by using time-lapse photography to speed up their growth, and went on to earn a Peabody Award. [35]

Prompted by an enthusiastic ornithologist at the BBC Natural History Unit, Attenborough then turned his attention to the animal kingdom and in particular, birds. As he was neither an obsessive twitcher nor a bird expert, he decided he was better qualified to make The Life of Birds (1998) on the theme of behaviour. The documentary series won a second Peabody Award the following year. [36] The order of the remaining "Life" series was dictated by developments in camera technology. For The Life of Mammals (2002), low-light and infrared cameras were deployed to reveal the behaviour of nocturnal mammals. The series contains a number of memorable two shots of Attenborough and his subjects, which included chimpanzees, a blue whale and a grizzly bear. Advances in macro photography made it possible to capture natural behaviour of very small creatures for the first time, and in 2005, Life in the Undergrowth introduced audiences to the world of invertebrates.

At this point, Attenborough realised that he had spent 20 years unconsciously assembling a collection of programmes on all the major groups of terrestrial animals and plants – only reptiles and amphibians were missing. When Life in Cold Blood was broadcast in 2008, he had the satisfaction of completing the set, brought together in a DVD encyclopaedia called Life on Land. In an interview that year, Attenborough was asked to sum up his achievement, and responded:

The evolutionary history is finished. The endeavour is complete. If you'd asked me 20 years ago whether we'd be attempting such a mammoth task, I'd have said "Don't be ridiculous!" These programmes tell a particular story and I'm sure others will come along and tell it much better than I did, but I do hope that if people watch it in 50 years' time, it will still have something to say about the world we live in. [37]

However, in 2010 Attenborough asserted that his First Life – dealing with evolutionary history before Life on Earth – should also be included within the "Life" series. In the documentary Attenborough's Journey, he stated, "This series, to a degree which I really didn't fully appreciate until I started working on it, really completes the set." [38]

Other documentaries

Alongside the "Life" series, Attenborough has continued to work on other television documentaries, mainly in the natural history genre. He wrote and presented a series on man's influence on the natural history of the Mediterranean basin, The First Eden, in 1987. Two years later, he demonstrated his passion for fossils in Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives.

Attenborough narrated every episode of Wildlife on One, a BBC One wildlife series that ran for 253 episodes between 1977 and 2005. At its peak, it drew a weekly audience of eight to ten million, and the 1987 episode "Meerkats United" was voted the best wildlife documentary of all time by BBC viewers. [39] He has also narrated over 50 episodes of Natural World, BBC Two's flagship wildlife series. (Its forerunner, The World About Us, was created by Attenborough in 1969, as a vehicle for colour television. [40] ) In 1997, he narrated the BBC Wildlife Specials, each focussing on a charismatic species, and screened to mark the Natural History Unit's 40th anniversary.

As a writer and narrator, Attenborough continued to collaborate with the BBC Natural History Unit in the new millennium. Alastair Fothergill, a senior producer with whom Attenborough had worked on The Trials of Life and Life in the Freezer, was making The Blue Planet (2001), the Unit's first comprehensive series on marine life. He decided not to use an on-screen presenter due to difficulties in speaking to a camera through diving apparatus, but asked Attenborough to narrate the films. The same team reunited for Planet Earth (2006), the biggest nature documentary ever made for television and the first BBC wildlife series to be shot in high definition. In 2009, he co-wrote and narrated Life, a ten-part series focussing on extraordinary animal behaviour, [41] and narrated Nature's Great Events, which showed how seasonal changes trigger major natural spectacles. [42] In 2011, Fothergill gave Attenborough a more prominent role in Frozen Planet, a major series on the natural history of the polar regions Attenborough appeared on screen and authored the final episode, in addition to performing voiceover duties. Attenborough introduced and narrated the Unit's first 4K production Life Story. For Planet Earth II (2016), Attenborough returned as narrator and presenter, with the main theme music composed by Hans Zimmer. [43] [44]

In October 2014, the corporation announced a trio of new one-off Attenborough documentaries as part of a raft of new natural history programmes. "Attenborough's Paradise Birds" and "Attenborough's Big Birds" was shown on BBC Two and "Waking Giants", which follows the discovery of giant dinosaur bones in South America, aired on BBC One. [45] The BBC also commissioned Atlantic Productions to make a three-part, Attenborough-fronted series Great Barrier Reef in 2015. The series marked the 10th project for Attenborough and Atlantic, and saw him returning to a location he first filmed at in 1957. [46] [47]

By the turn of the millennium, Attenborough's authored documentaries were adopting a more overtly environmentalist stance. In State of the Planet (2000), he used the latest scientific evidence and interviews with leading scientists and conservationists to assess the impact of man's activities on the natural world. He later turned to the issues of global warming (The Truth about Climate Change, 2006) and human population growth (How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth?, 2009). He also contributed a programme which highlighted the plight of endangered species to the BBC's Saving Planet Earth project in 2007, the 50th anniversary of the Natural History Unit. [48]

Attenborough also forged a partnership with Sky, working on documentaries for the broadcaster's new 3D network, Sky 3D. Their first collaboration was Flying Monsters 3D, a film about pterosaurs which debuted on Christmas Day of 2010. [49] A second film, The Bachelor King 3D, followed a year later. His next 3D project, Conquest of the Skies, made by the team behind the BAFTA-winning David Attenborough's Natural History Museum Alive, aired on Sky 3D at Christmas 2014.

Attenborough has narrated three series of David Attenborough's Natural Curiosities for UKTV channel Watch, with the third series showing in 2015. He has also narrated A majestic celebration: Wild Karnataka, India's first blue-chip natural history film, directed by Kalyan Varma and Amoghavarsha. [50]

In 2020, Attenborough narrated the documentary film David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet. The film acts as Attenborough's witness statement, reflecting on his career as a naturalist and his hopes for the future. It was released on Netflix on 4 October 2020. [51]

In April 2021, Netflix announced that Attenborough would be narrating a new documentary titled Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet, due to be released on 4 June 2021. [52]

More recent projects

On radio, Attenborough has continued as one of the presenters of BBC Radio 4's Tweet of the Day, which began a second series in September 2014. [53]

Blue Planet II was broadcast in 2017, with Attenborough returning as presenter. [54] The series was critically acclaimed [55] and gained the highest UK viewing figure for 2017: 14.1 million. [56] Attenborough narrates the 2018 five part series Dynasties, each episode dealing with one species in particular. [57] [58]

In 2019, Attenborough narrated Our Planet, an eight-part documentary series, for Netflix. [59] He also narrated Wild Karnataka, a documentary about the Karnataka forest area. [60] In March 2019, It was announced that Attenborough is to present an "urgent" one-off film documentary about climate change for BBC One called Climate Change – The Facts. [61] This was followed by Extinction: The Facts, which is partly based on the 2019 IPBES report on the decline of biodiversity. [62] [63]

In October 2020, Attenborough began filming in Cambridge for the upcoming series The Green Planet. [64]

In 2021, Attenborough narrated A Perfect Planet, a five-part earth science series for BBC One. [65]

From 1983, Attenborough worked on two environmentally themed musicals with the WWF and writers Peter Rose and Anne Conlon. Yanomamo was the first, about the Amazon rainforest, and the second, Ocean World, premiered at the Royal Festival Hall in 1991. They were both narrated by Attenborough on their national tour and recorded on to audio cassette. Ocean World was also filmed for Channel 4 and later released. In 1990, he highlighted the case of Mahjoub Sharif as part of the BBC's Prisoners of Conscience series. [66]

In May 2005, Attenborough was appointed as patron of the UK's Blood Pressure Association, which provides information and support to people with hypertension. [67] In January 2009, the BBC commissioned Attenborough to provide a series of 20 ten-minute monologues covering the history of nature. Entitled David Attenborough's Life Stories, they are broadcast on Radio 4 on Friday nights. [68] Part of Radio 4's A Point of View strand, the talks are also available as podcasts. [69]

He appeared in the 2009 Children's Prom at the BBC Promenade Concerts and in the Last Night of the Proms on 12 September 2009, playing a floor polisher in Sir Malcolm Arnold's "A Grand, Grand Overture" (after which he was "shot" by Rory Bremner, who was playing the gun). In 2009, he also became a patron of Population Matters (formerly known as the Optimum Population Trust), [70] a UK charity advocating sustainable human populations. [71]

He is also a patron of the Friends of Richmond Park [72] and serves on the advisory board of BBC Wildlife magazine. Attenborough is also an honorary member of BSES Expeditions, a youth development charity that operates challenging scientific research expeditions to remote wilderness environments.

Attenborough's contribution to broadcasting and wildlife film-making has brought him international recognition. He has been called "the great communicator, the peerless educator" [73] and "the greatest broadcaster of our time." [74] His programmes are often cited as an example of what public service broadcasting should be, even by critics of the BBC, and have influenced a generation of wildlife film-makers. [75]

Honorary titles

By January 2013, Attenborough had collected 32 honorary degrees from British universities, [76] more than any other person. [77] [78] In 1980, he was honoured by the Open University with whom he has had a close association throughout his career. He also has honorary Doctor of Science degrees from Durham University (1982) [79] and the University of Cambridge (1984) [80] and an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Oxford (1988). [80] In 2006, the two eldest Attenborough brothers returned to their home city to receive the title of Distinguished Honorary Fellows of the University of Leicester, "in recognition of a record of continuing distinguished service to the University." [81] David Attenborough was previously awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the university in 1970, and was made an honorary Freeman of the City of Leicester in 1990. In 2013, he was made an Honorary Freeman of the City of Bristol. [82] In 2010, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and Nottingham Trent University. [83]

Attenborough has received the title Honorary Fellow from Clare College, Cambridge (1980), the Zoological Society of London (1998), the Linnean Society (1999), the Institute of Biology (Now the Royal Society of Biology) (2000) and the Society of Antiquaries (2007). He is Honorary Patron of the North American Native Plant Society [84] and was elected as a Corresponding Member of the Australian Academy of Science. [85]

Recognition

Attenborough has been featured as the subject of a number of BBC television programmes. Life on Air (2002) examined the legacy of his work and Attenborough the Controller (2002) focused on his time in charge of BBC Two. He was also featured prominently in The Way We Went Wild (2004), a series about natural history television presenters, and 100 Years of Wildlife Films (2007), a special programme marking the centenary of the nature documentary. In 2006, British television viewers were asked to vote for their Favourite Attenborough Moments for a UKTV poll to coincide with the broadcaster's 80th birthday. The winning clip showed Attenborough observing the mimicry skills of the superb lyrebird.

Attenborough was named the most trusted celebrity in the UK in a 2006 Reader's Digest poll, [86] and in 2007 he won The Culture Show's Living Icon Award. [87] He has also been named among the 100 Greatest Britons in a 2002 BBC poll and is one of the top ten "Heroes of Our Time" according to New Statesman magazine. [88]

In September 2009, London's Natural History Museum opened the Attenborough Studio, part of its Darwin Centre development. [89] In December 2013, he was awarded the freedom of the city of Bristol. [90]

In 2012, Attenborough was among the British cultural icons selected by artist Sir Peter Blake to appear in a new version of his most famous artwork – the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover – to celebrate the British cultural figures of his life. [91] The same year, Attenborough featured in the BBC Radio 4 series The New Elizabethans to mark the diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. A panel of seven academics, journalists and historians named him among the group of people in the UK "whose actions during the reign of Elizabeth II have had a significant impact on lives in these islands". [92]

In May 2016, it was announced that a new British polar research ship would be named RRS Sir David Attenborough in his honour. While an Internet poll suggesting the name of the ship had the most votes for Boaty McBoatface, Science Minister Jo Johnson said there were "more suitable names", and the official name was eventually picked up from one of the more favoured choices. However, one of its research subs was named "Boaty" in recognition of the public vote. [93]

Species named in Attenborough's honour

At least 20 species and genera, both living and extinct, have been named in Attenborough's honour. [94] Plants named after him include an alpine hawkweed (Hieracium attenboroughianum) discovered in the Brecon Beacons, [95] a species of Ecuadorian flowering tree (Blakea attenboroughi), one of the world's largest-pitchered carnivorous plants (Nepenthes attenboroughii), along with a genus of flowering plants (Sirdavidia). [96] Arthropods named after Attenborough include a butterfly, Attenborough's black-eyed satyr (Euptychia attenboroughi), [97] a dragonfly, Attenborough's pintail (Acisoma attenboroughi), [98] a millimetre-long goblin spider (Prethopalpus attenboroughi), an ornate Caribbean smiley-faced spider (Spintharus davidattenboroughi), [99] [100] an Indonesian flightless weevil (Trigonopterus attenboroughi), [101] [102] a Madagascan ghost shrimp (Ctenocheloides attenboroughi), and a soil snail (Palaina attenboroughi). [103] The Monogenean Cichlidogyrus attenboroughi, a parasite from a deep-sea fish in the Lake Tanganyika, is probably the only parasite species named after him. [104] Vertebrates have also been named after Attenborough, including a Namibian lizard (Platysaurus attenboroughi), [105] a bird (Polioptila attenboroughi), [105] a Peruvian frog (Pristimantis attenboroughi), [106] a Madagascan stump-toed frog (Stumpffia davidattenboroughi), [107] and one of only four species of long-beaked echidna (Zaglossus attenboroughi). [108]

In 1993, after discovering that the Mesozoic reptile Plesiosaurus conybeari did not belong to the genus Plesiosaurus, the palaeontologist Robert Bakker renamed the species Attenborosaurus conybeari. [109] A fossilised armoured fish discovered in Western Australia in 2008 was named Materpiscis attenboroughi, after Attenborough had filmed at the site and highlighted its scientific importance in Life on Earth. [110] The Materpiscis fossil is believed to be the earliest organism capable of internal fertilisation. A miniature marsupial lion, Microleo attenboroughi, was named in his honour in 2016. [111] [112] The fossil grasshopper Electrotettix attenboroughi was named after Attenborough. In March 2017, a 430 million year old tiny crustacean was named after him. Called Cascolus ravitis, the first word is a Latin translation of the root meaning of "Attenborough", and the second is based on a description of him in Latin. [113] [114] In July 2017, the Caribbean bat Myotis attenboroughi was named after him. [115] A new species of fan-throated lizard from coastal Kerala in southern India was named Sitana attenboroughii in his honour when it was described in 2018. [116]

In 2018, a new species of phytoplankton, Syracosphaera azureaplaneta, was named to honour The Blue Planet, the TV documentary presented by Attenborough, and to recognise his contribution to promoting understanding of the oceanic environment. [117] The same year, Attenborough was also commemorated in the name of the scarab beetle Sylvicanthon attenboroughi. [118]

Awards

  • 1970: BAFTADesmond Davis Award
  • 1972: Royal Geographical Society's Cherry Kearton Medal and Award[119]
  • 1974: Appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to nature conservation in the 1974 Birthday Honours[120]
  • 1980: BAFTA Fellowship[121]
  • 1981: Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science from UNESCO[122][123]
  • 1985: Knight Bachelor in the 1985 Birthday Honours[124]
  • 1991: Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) for producing Queen Elizabeth II's Christmas broadcast for a number of years from 1986 in the 1991 Birthday Honours[125]
  • 1991: Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences[126]
  • 1996: Kew International Medal[1]
  • 1996: Companion of Honour (CH) for services to nature broadcasting in the 1996 New Year Honours[127]
  • 1997: Honorary Degree awarded by Ghent University[128]
  • 1998: International Cosmos Prize[129]
  • 2000: RSPB Medal[130]
  • 2003: Michael Faraday Prize awarded by the Royal Society
  • 2004: Descartes Prize for Outstanding Science Communication Actions
  • 2004: Caird Medal of the National Maritime Museum
  • 2004: José Vasconcelos World Award of Education awarded by the World Cultural Council
  • 2005: Order of Merit (OM) [131]
  • 2005: Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest
  • 2006: National Television Awards Special Recognition Award
  • 2006: Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management[132] – Institute Medal in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the public perception and understanding of ecology
  • 2006: The Culture Show British Icon Award
  • 2007: British Naturalists' AssociationPeter Scott Memorial Award
  • 2007: Fellowship of Society of Antiquaries
  • 2008 The Royal Photographic Society awarded Attenborough its Progress medal and Honorary Fellowship in recognition of any invention, research, publication or other contribution which has resulted in an important advance in the scientific or technological development of photography or imaging in the widest sense.
  • 2009: Prince of Asturias Award[133]
  • 2010: Fonseca Prize
  • 2010: Queensland Museum Medal [134]
  • 2011: Society for the History of Natural History Founders' Medal
  • 2011: Association for International Broadcasting AIB International TV Personality of the year
  • 2012: IUCN Phillips Memorial Medal for outstanding service in international conservation [135]
  • 2015: Individual Peabody Award[136]
  • 2017: Britain-Australia Society Award for outstanding contribution to strengthening British/Australian bilateral understanding and relations. [137]
  • 2017: Honorary Member of the Moscow Society of Naturalists[138]
  • 2017: Gold Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society[139]
  • 2018: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Narrator[7]
  • 2018: The Perfect World Foundation Award The Conservationist of the years 2018 & Prize "The Fragile Rhino"
  • 2019: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Narrator [8]
  • 2019: Landscape Institute Medal for Lifetime Achievement [140]
  • 2019: Landscape Institute Honorary Fellow (HonFLI) [140]
  • 2019: Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. [141][142]
  • 2019: Indira Gandhi Peace Prize[143]
  • 2020: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) in the 2020 Birthday Honours for services to television broadcasting and to conservation. [144][145]

Lectures

In 1973, Attenborough was invited to deliver the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture on The Language of Animals.

Environment

Attenborough's programmes have often included references to the impact of human society on the natural world. The last episode of The Living Planet, for example, focuses almost entirely on humans' destruction of the environment and ways that it could be stopped or reversed. Despite this, he has been criticised for not giving enough prominence to environmental messages. Some environmentalists feel that programmes like Attenborough's give a false picture of idyllic wilderness and do not do enough to acknowledge that such areas are increasingly encroached upon by humans. [146] [147]

Attenborough has subsequently become more vocal in his support of environmental causes. In 2005 and 2006, he backed a BirdLife International project to stop the killing of albatross by longline fishing boats. [148] He gave public support to WWF's campaign to have 220,000 square kilometres of Borneo's rainforest designated a protected area. [149] He also serves as a vice-president of BTCV, vice-president of Fauna and Flora International, president of Butterfly Conservation and president of Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. In 2003, he launched an appeal on behalf of the World Land Trust to create a rainforest reserve in Ecuador in memory of Christopher Parsons, the producer of Life on Earth and a personal friend, who had died the previous year. The same year, he helped to launch ARKive, [150] a global project instigated by Parsons to gather together natural history media into a digital library. ARKive is an initiative of Wildscreen, of which Attenborough is a patron. [151] He later became patron of the World Land Trust, and an active supporter. He supported Glyndebourne in their successful application to obtain planning permission for a wind turbine in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and gave evidence at the planning inquiry arguing in favour of the proposal. [152]

Attenborough again took up the topic of population in an episode of Horizon entitled, How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth? He has written and spoken publicly about the fact that, despite past scepticism, he believes the Earth's climate is warming in a way that is cause for concern, and that this can likely be attributed to human activity. [153]

In a January 2013 interview with the Radio Times, Attenborough described humans as a "plague on the Earth", [154] [155] and criticised the act of sending food to famine-stricken countries while overlooking population control. [156] In May 2015, United States President Barack Obama interviewed Attenborough at the White House in Washington D.C. Together, they discussed the future of the planet, their passion for nature and what measures can be taken to protect the environment. [157]

In July 2020, Attenborough advocated on behalf of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and its conservation efforts, which have been impacted by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. He said: "London and Whipsnade [zoos] are home to over 20,000 animals, many of which are endangered in the wild, from tiny dart frogs to majestic tigers and everything in between. The Zoological Society of London now faces its toughest challenge to date. Put bluntly, the national institution is now itself at risk of extinction." [158]

In his 2020 documentary film David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet, Attenborough advocates for people to adopt a vegetarian diet or to reduce meat consumption in order to save wildlife, noting that "the planet can’t support billions of meat-eaters." [159]

In October 2020, Attenborough was named as a member of the Earthshot Prize Council, [160] an initiative of Prince William to find solutions to environmental issues. [161] [162]

Attitude to religion and creationism

In a December 2005 interview with Simon Mayo on BBC Radio Five Live, Attenborough stated that he considers himself an agnostic. [163] When asked whether his observation of the natural world has given him faith in a creator, he generally responds with some version of this story, making reference to the Onchocerca volvulus parasitic worm:

My response is that when Creationists talk about God creating every individual species as a separate act, they always instance hummingbirds, or orchids, sunflowers and beautiful things. But I tend to think instead of a parasitic worm that is boring through the eye of a boy sitting on the bank of a river in West Africa, [a worm] that's going to make him blind. And [I ask them], 'Are you telling me that the God you believe in, who you also say is an all-merciful God, who cares for each one of us individually, are you saying that God created this worm that can live in no other way than in an innocent child's eyeball? Because that doesn't seem to me to coincide with a God who's full of mercy'. [164]

He has explained that he feels the evidence all over the planet clearly shows evolution to be the best way to explain the diversity of life, and that "as far as [he's] concerned, if there is a supreme being then he chose organic evolution as a way of bringing into existence the natural world". In a BBC Four interview with Mark Lawson, he was asked if he at any time had any religious faith. He replied simply, "No." [165] He has also said "It never really occurred to me to believe in God". [166]

In 2002, Attenborough joined an effort by leading clerics and scientists to oppose the inclusion of creationism in the curriculum of UK state-funded independent schools which receive private sponsorship, such as the Emmanuel Schools Foundation. [167] In 2009, he stated that the Book of Genesis, by saying that the world was there for people to dominate, had taught generations that they can "dominate" the environment, and that this has resulted in the devastation of vast areas of the environment. He further explained to the science journal Nature, "That's why Darwinism, and the fact of evolution, is of great importance, because it is that attitude which has led to the devastation of so much, and we are in the situation that we are in." [168]

Also in early 2009, the BBC broadcast an Attenborough one-hour special, Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life. In reference to the programme, Attenborough stated that "People write to me that evolution is only a theory. Well, it is not a theory. Evolution is as solid a historical fact as you could conceive. Evidence from every quarter. What is a theory is whether natural selection is the mechanism and the only mechanism. That is a theory. But the historical reality that dinosaurs led to birds and mammals produced whales, that's not theory." [74] He strongly opposes creationism and its offshoot "intelligent design", saying that a survey that found a quarter of science teachers in state schools believe that creationism should be taught alongside evolution in science lessons was "really terrible". [74]

In March 2009, Attenborough appeared on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. Attenborough stated that he felt evolution did not rule out the existence of a God and accepted the title of agnostic saying, "My view is: I don't know one way or the other but I don't think that evolution is against a belief in God." [169]

Attenborough has joined the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and other top scientists in signing a campaign statement co-ordinated by the British Humanist Association (BHA). The statement calls for "creationism to be banned from the school science curriculum and for evolution to be taught more widely in schools." [170]

BBC and public service broadcasting

Attenborough is a lifelong supporter of the BBC, public service broadcasting and the television licence. He has said that public service broadcasting "is one of the things that distinguishes this country and makes me want to live here", [171] and believes that it is not reducible to individual programmes, but "can only effectively operate as a network [. ] that measures its success not only by its audience size but by the range of its schedule". [172]

. the BBC per minute in almost every category is as cheap as you can find anywhere in the world and produces the best quality. [. ] The BBC has gone through swingeing staff cuts. It has been cut to the bone, if you divert licence fee money elsewhere, you cut quality and services. [. ] There is a lot of people who want to see the BBC weakened. They talk of this terrible tax of the licence fee. Yet it is the best bargain that is going. Four radio channels and god knows how many TV channels. It is piffling. [171]

Attenborough expressed the view "there have always been politicians or business people who have wanted to cut the BBC back or stop it", adding "there's always been trouble about the licence and if you dropped your guard you could bet our bottom dollar there'd be plenty of people who'd want to take it away. The licence fee is the basis on which the BBC is based and if you destroy it, broadcasting. becomes a wasteland." [173] He expressed regret at some of the changes made to the BBC in the 1990s by its Director-General, John Birt, who introduced an internal market at the corporation, slimmed and even closed some departments and outsourced much of the corporation's output to private production companies, in line with the Broadcasting Act 1990. Although he said Birt's policies "had some terrible results", Attenborough also acknowledged "the BBC had to change. Now it has to produce programmes no one else can do. Otherwise, forget the licence fee." [174] [175] In 2008, he criticised the BBC's television schedules, positing that the two senior networks, BBC One and BBC Two – which Attenborough stated were "first set up as a partnership" – now "schedule simultaneously programmes of identical character, thereby contradicting the very reason that the BBC was given a second network." [172]

Politics

In 1998, Attenborough described himself as "a standard, boring left-wing liberal" and expressed the view that the market economy was "misery". [174]

In 2013, Attenborough joined rock guitarists Brian May and Slash in opposing the government's policy on the cull of badgers in the UK by participating in a song dedicated to badgers. [176]

In August 2014, Attenborough was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian expressing their hope that Scotland would vote to remain part of the United Kingdom in September's referendum on that issue. [177]

Prior to the 2015 UK general election, Attenborough was one of several celebrities who endorsed the parliamentary candidacy of the Green Party's Caroline Lucas. [178]

Commenting on the 2016 US presidential election in an interview by Radio Times, Attenborough jokingly commented on the rise of Donald Trump: "Do we have any control or influence over the American elections? Of course we don’t. We could shoot him, it's not a bad idea." [179]

In a 2020 interview, Attenborough criticized excess capitalism as a driver of ecological imbalance, stating "the excesses the capitalist system has brought us, have got to be curbed somehow", and that "greed does not actually lead to joy", although he added "That doesn't mean to say that capitalism is dead". [180] He also lamented the lack of international cooperation on climate change, and said "there should be no dominant nation on this planet." [181]

In June 2021, Attenborough told the leaders of the 47th G7 summit that "tackling climate change was now as much as a political challenge as it was a scientific or technological one" and urged more action. [182] Attenborough also stated that the "(we) are on the verge of destabilising the entire planet." [183]

Attenborough had a pacemaker fitted in June 2013, as well as a double knee replacement in 2015. [184] In September 2013 he commented:

If I was earning my money by hewing coal I would be very glad indeed to stop. But I'm not. I'm swanning round the world looking at the most fabulously interesting things. Such good fortune. [185]

David Attenborough's television credits span eight decades and his association with natural history programmes dates back to The Pattern of Animals and Zoo Quest in the early 1950s. His most influential work, 1979's Life on Earth, launched a strand of nine authored documentaries with the BBC Natural History Unit which shared the Life strand name and spanned 30 years. He narrated every episode of the long-running BBC series Wildlife on One and in his later career has voiced several high-profile BBC wildlife documentaries, among them The Blue Planet and Planet Earth. He became a pioneer in the 3D documentary format with Flying Monsters in 2010.

David Attenborough's work as an author has strong parallels with his broadcasting career. In the 1950s and 1960s, his published work included accounts of his animal collecting expeditions around the world, which became the Zoo Quest series. He wrote an accompanying volume to each of his nine Life documentaries, along with books on tribal art and birds of paradise. His autobiography, Life on Air, was published in 2002, revised in 2009 and is one of a number of his works which is available as a self-narrated audiobook. Attenborough has also contributed forewords and introductions to many other works, notably those accompanying Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, Africa and other BBC series he has narrated.

Bibliography

  • Zoo Quest to Guyana (1956)
  • Zoo Quest for a Dragon (1957) – republished in 1959 to include an additional 85 pages titled Quest for the Paradise Birds
  • Zoo Quest in Paraguay (1959)
  • Quest in Paradise (1960)
  • People of Paradise (1960)
  • Zoo Quest to Madagascar (1961)
  • Quest Under Capricorn (1963)
  • Fabulous Animals (1975)
  • The Tribal Eye (1976)
  • Life on Earth (1979)
  • Discovering Life on Earth (1981)
  • The Living Planet (1984)
  • The First Eden: The Mediterranean World and Man (1987)
  • The Atlas of the Living World (1989)
  • The Trials of Life (1990)
  • The Private Life of Plants (1994)
  • The Life of Birds (1998)
  • The Life of Mammals (2002)
  • Life on Air: Memoirs of a Broadcaster (2002) – autobiography, revised in 2009
  • Life in the Undergrowth (2005)
  • Amazing Rare Things: The Art of Natural History in the Age of Discovery (2007) – with Susan Owens, Martin Clayton and Rea Alexandratos
  • Life in Cold Blood (2007)
  • David Attenborough's Life Stories (2009)
  • David Attenborough's New Life Stories (2011)
  • Drawn From Paradise: The Discovery, Art and Natural History of the Birds of Paradise (2012) – with Errol Fuller
  • Adventures of a Young Naturalist: The Zoo Quest Expeditions (2017)
  • Journeys to the Other Side of the World: Further Adventures of a Young Naturalist (2018)
  • Dynasties: The Rise and Fall of Animal Families with Stephen Moss (BBC Books, 2018) ISBN978-1-78594-301-0
  • A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future (2020)
  • Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson (available on audiocassette, 1978)
  • Yanomamo (musical entertainment, 1983) by Peter Rose and Anne Conlon on-stage narration and published audio recording
  • Ocean World (musical entertainment, 1990) by Peter Rose and Anne Conlon on-stage narration (including at The Royal Festival Hall), for audio recording and video broadcast (both published)
  • Peter and the Wolf for BBC Music Magazine (free CD with the June 2000 issue).
  • The Peregrine by J.A. Baker for BBC Radio 4. Available for a year from 18 December 2019, at the BBC Radio 4 website. [186]

In addition, Attenborough has recorded some of his own works in audiobook form, including Life on Earth, Zoo Quest for a Dragon, his 2010 autobiography Life on Air: Memoirs of a Broadcaster and his 2020 book A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and Vision for the Future.


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The Polish astronomer Nicholaus Copernicus published his blasphemous theory that the earth and planets revolved around the sun in 1543 King Henry VIII died in England in 1547. The Ming Dynasty government of China led by Zhu Houcong, the Jiajing Emperor, closed the nation to all foreign trade in 1548.

The political disruption led by Henry VIII continued after this death. In 1553, his daughter Mary Tudor, known as Bloody Mary, became queen regent of England and restored the Church of England to papal authority. But in 1558, after Mary died Henry's daughter by Anne Boleyn, her half-sister Elizabeth Tudor became Queen Elizabeth I, beginning the Elizabethan Era, widely regarded as the pinnacle of the English Renaissance.


From 12 to 18 April 2021 we hosted 60 free events as a special thank you for your continued support. Some of these were virtual events which we recorded so that you can enjoy them here at your leisure.

In this video series in collaboration with The Nest Collective, we explore the stories behind traditional English folk songs that have connections to historic places.

Join Matt Thompson and Sam Lee for the eleventh episode as they discuss 'The Lady of Carlisle' which tells the tale of a woman &ndash courted by two men &ndash who tests her suitors with a dangerous trial of courage in a den of beasts. The song has been paired with England's most beseiged castle: Carlisle Castle in Cumbria.

Salisbury Plain

Join Sam Lee and Matt Thompson as they discuss the song 'Salisbury Plain' set on the vast landscape of the same name.

A Ship To Old England Came

Join Sam Lee and Matt Thompson as they discuss a song whose lyrics speak of the long naval history of Dover Castle.

The Bedfordshire May Carol

Sam Lee and Matt Thompson talk about this traditional May carol, performed in days gone by on the doorsteps of homes such as Wrest Park.

High Germany

Join Sam Lee and Matt Thompson as they discuss a song that evokes the many partings that have taken place at Pendennis Castle over the centuries.

John Barleycorn

Join Sam Lee and Matt Thompson as they discuss a song about a fictional man's murder and burial, with Stonehenge a fitting match for this dark tale.

The Four Loom Weaver

Join Sam Lee and Matt Thompson as they discuss 'The Four Loom Weaver', a traditional song that reflects the Industrial Revolution and the Iron Bridge.

The Old Garden Gate

Join Sam Lee and Matt Thompson as they discuss 'The Old Garden Gate', a mournful tale inspired by Audley End House and Gardens.

When Fortune Turns the Wheel

Join Sam Lee and Matt Thompson as they discuss 'When Fortune Turns the Wheel', a traditional parting song inspired by Hadrian's Wall.

Sweet Nightingale, Tintagel Castle

Join Sam Lee and Matt Thompson as they discuss 'Sweet Nightingale', thought to have been imported from Germany by Cornish tin miners in the 1800s.

The Whitby Lad, Whitby Abbey

Join Sam Lee and Matt Thompson as they examine the musical tale of the 'Whitby Lad', a wayward boy sentenced to life in a penal colony in Australia.


BBC Four HD Tales of Tudor Travel The Explorer's Handbook (2018) - History

“Sherlock” on MASTERPIECE:  Mary Watson (AMANDA ABBINGTON), Sherlock Holmes (BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH) and John Watson (MARTIN FREEMAN).  Courtesy of Robert Viglasky/Hartswood Films 2016 for MASTERPIECE. Alicia Keys: Courtesy of GREAT PERFORMANCES​

Lineup Showcases New Drama, Arts, History and Nature Programs in 2017

Major New Arts Strand LANDMARKS LIVE IN CONCERT from
GREAT PERFORMANCES

New VICTORIA on MASTERPIECE and MERCY STREET Anchor Drama-filled January

Also, SHERLOCK on MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! Returns

ARLINGTON, VA December 1, 2016 [Updated December 5, 2016] – PBS unveiled today a strong 2017 winter/spring season lineup that includes the January 15 premiere of the seven-part drama “Victoria” on  MASTERPIECE (watch the trailer) about the early years and fraught relationships of the 19 th -century teenage queen the much-anticipated returns of “Sherlock” on  MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! on New Year’s Day and the second season of PBS’ original American drama series MERCY STREET (watch the trailer) on January 22. For the first time, PBS is announcing a major new arts strand, LANDMARKS LIVE IN CONCERT, part of GREAT PERFORMANCES, which features performances by Alicia Keys on January 20 and Brad Paisley on January 27. Also in the line-up beginning February 1 is a new NATURE series called SPY IN THE WILD, A NATURE MINISERIES, a John Downer Production for BBC, PBS and THIRTEEN Productions LLC the three-part, six-hour film “The Great War” airs on AMERICAN EXPERIENCE April 10, as well as the tandem premieres of “Oklahoma City” and “Ruby Ridge” on February 7 and February 14, respectively Africa’s Great CIvilizations from Henry Louis Gates, Jr. starts February 27, AMERICAN MASTERSMaya Angelou: And Still I Rise” premieres on February 21 and a GERSHWIN PRIZE special honoring Smokey Robinson airs on February 10 and much more.                                       

Throughout early 2017, PBS offers an abundance of new and returning drama, history and science programs. Spring brings the sixth season of the acclaimed drama CALL THE MIDWIFE beginning April 2, followed by the final season of “Home Fires” on MASTERPIECE. On March 26, “To Walk Invisible: The Bronte Sisters” on MASTERPIECE is a special that chronicles how Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte’s genius for writing romantic novels was, against all odds, recognized in a male-dominated 19 th -century world. A preview of VIETNAM, the highly anticipated new film from award-winning filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, airs May 28. 

“Our winter/spring 2017 schedule represents the very best of PBS,” said Beth Hoppe, PBS’ Chief Programming Executive and General Manager. “We’re delivering new seasons of our award-winning Sunday dramas, awe-inspiring science and nature programs, deep dives into history and up-to-the-minute takes on current events that will leave viewers informed and entertained.”

PBS’ winter/spring 2017 programs are typically available to stream each morning after broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and PBS apps for iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. Select programs can also be streamed on Passport, a benefit for local PBS station donors that offers extended access to a rich library of public television programming.

Sunday nights remain PBS’ most-watched nights, and Sundays in January feature the premieres of four new and returning series. The long-awaited “Sherlock”  on MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! will premiere in the U.S. on the same date as BBC One’s broadcast on January 1. Starting January 15, “Victoria” on MASTERPIECE stars Jenna Coleman as the titular queen. The seven-part series follows her ascension to the throne in 1837 at 18, through her relationship with her first prime minister and intimate friend Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell), as well as her courtship with and marriage to Prince Albert (Tom Hughes).   

On January 22, MERCY STREET Season Two premieres, pushing the drama beyond the hospital walls and picking up where season one ended. The show chronicles the chaos in Alexandria, Virginia the complicated lives of Dr. Foster (Josh Radnor), Nurse Mary Phinney (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and the Mansion House staff the increasingly precarious position of the Green family and the changing world of the burgeoning black population. Joining the  Sunday lineup on January 22 is a new three-part series, SECRETS OF THE SIX WIVES, which follows popular English historian Lucy Worsley as she travels back to the Tudor court to witness some of the most dramatic moments in the lives of notorious King Henry VIII’s numerous spouses.

For PBS’ celebration of Black History Month, the music special SMOKEY ROBINSON: THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS GERSHWIN PRIZE FOR POPULAR SONG, hosted by Samuel L. Jackson, honors the famed singer/songwriter — a rhythm and blues icon — on February 10. THE TALK – RACE IN AMERICA provides a unique perspective, through six independent producers, on how black and Hispanic families counsel their kids to stay safe if they are stopped by the police. The two-hour film airs February 20.  AMERICAN MASTERS“Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, the first documentary feature about the incomparable poet, memoirist and civil rights activist, airs February 21.

A spate of powerful documentaries and new independent films continues with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s new documentary series AFRICA’S GREAT CIVILIZATIONS on February 27, bringing little-known yet epic stories of to life, detailing African kingdoms and cultures. INDEPENDENT LENS brings “Birth of a Movement” on February 6, exploring race relations and representation, and the power and influence of Hollywood “TOWER, a reflection on the fateful 1966 massacre on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin, airing February 14 and “Newtown” on April 3, which reflects on the Connecticut town’s rebuilding after the 2012 school shooting. On January 10, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE recalls a deadly 1980 nuclear accident on U.S. soil with “Command and Control” (fresh off an acclaimed theatrical run), and on February 7, “Oklahoma City” revisits the 1995 bombing by Timothy McVeigh that killed 168 people in Oklahoma City. The following week, on February 14, “Ruby Ridge” recounts the birth of the militant militia movement.

The countdown to the presidential inauguration begins on January 3 with FRONTLINE “President Trump, a one-hour examination of the key moments that shaped President-elect Donald Trump’s bid for the White House. Interviews with advisors, business associates and biographers reveal how Trump transformed himself from real estate developer to entertainer to president. On January 17-18, FRONTLINE presents “Divided States of America,” a pre-inauguration reflection on the Obama presidency. The two-part series looks at the deep divisions in our country and examines the issues that President-elect Trump will inherit. Following the inauguration, FRONTLINE on January 24 will air “Trump’s Road to the White House,” a one-hour special that will explain how Donald Trump defied expectations to win the presidency by rallying millions of supporters and defeating adversaries.

In April, PBS honors commentator CHARLIE ROSE with a 25 th anniversary special that looks back at the news icon’s two-and-a-half decades on public television – and recounts his most noteworthy segments.

Highlighting Wednesday night’s science and natural history offerings beginning February 1 is SPY IN THE WILD, A NATURE MINISERIES that uses state-of-the-art robot technology to spy on the surprising behavior of animals in the wild. CITY IN THE SKY on February 8 is a three-part, BBC-co-produced series that looks at the people, the infrastructure and the technology that keep aloft the “virtual metropolis” of more than 100,000 commercial and private flights that crisscross the world daily.

AMERICAN MASTERS “James Beard: America’s First Foodie” premieres on May 19, launching several other chef-focused documentaries and specials. Also noteworthy beginning May 2 is THE VICTORIAN SLUM (w.t.), in which several modern-day people move into a re-created Victorian slum in London’s East End to experience life as their ancestors did 150 years ago.  

A chronological listing of winter/spring 2017 PBS programs follows, grouped by month and premiere date:

JANUARY ON PBS:

GREAT PERFORMANCES “From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2017” – GREAT PERFORMANCES continues the cherished tradition of ringing in the new year with the Vienna Philharmonic, under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel and featuring everyone’s favorite Strauss Family waltzes accompanied by the beautiful dancing of the Vienna City Ballet. Stage and screen legend Julie Andrews returns as host. Sunday, January 1, 2:30-4 p.m. and 7:30-9 p.m. ET 

“Sherlock” on MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! – Season 4 of the hit drama begins with the mercurial Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch), back once more on British soil, as Doctor Watson (Martin Freeman) and his wife, Mary (Amanda Abbington) prepare for their biggest challenge yet: becoming parents. Premieres Sunday, January 1, 9-10:30 p.m. ET

INDEPENDENT LENS “Best and Most Beautiful Things” – An unforgettable young woman, legally blind and on the autism spectrum, goes on a journey of self-discovery in this celebration of outcasts everywhere. Monday, January 2, 10-11 p.m. ET

AMERICAN MASTERS “By Sidney Lumet” – Journey through the life’s work of the socially conscious director of Serpico, 12 Angry Men and Network through film clips and a never-before-seen interview. With candor, humor and grace, film legend Sidney Lumet (1924-2011) reveals what matters to him as an artist and as a human being. Tuesday, January 3, 8-10 p.m. ET

FRONTLINE “President Trump” – Examine the key moments that shaped President-elect Donald Trump. Interviews with advisors, business associates and biographers reveal how Trump transformed himself from real estate developer to entertainer to president. Tuesday, January 3, 10-11 p.m. ET

NOVA “Secrets of the Sky Tombs” – The Himalayas were among the last places on Earth that homo sapiens came to inhabit. Now, join an international team of scientists as they climb to the world’s highest tombs to unearth secrets of the people who settled these extreme environments. Wednesday, January 4, 9-10 p.m. ET

INDEPENDENT LENS “Containment” – Explore attempts to plan for a radioactive future and the startling failure to manage waste in the present. Left over from the Cold War are a hundred million gallons of radioactive sludge, covering a vast amount of land. Monday, January 9, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

COMMAND AND CONTROL: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE – Learn the terrifying truth behind one of America’s most dangerous nuclear accidents — the deadly 1980 incident at an Arkansas Titan II missile complex — in this chilling, minute-by-minute account of this long-hidden story. Tuesday, January 10, 9-11 p.m. ET

NATURE “Snowbound: Animals of Winter” – From the shelter of our homes, snow looks magical, but it’s a harsh reality to many animals. Snow means freezing temperatures, which these animals must endure for many months. Wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan meets some of the world’s most iconic snow animals across the globe, from the penguins of Antarctica to the bison of Yellowstone and the Arctic fox. Wednesday, January 11, 8-9 p.m. ET

NOVA “The Nuclear Option” – Five years after the Fukushima disaster, the future of nuclear power is in question. Join engineers as they embark on an unprecedented cleanup and investigate new nuclear technologies that would prevent future meltdowns. Wednesday, January 11, 9-10 p.m. ET

GREAT PERFORMANCES “Bel Canto The Opera” – In December 2015, Lyric Opera of Chicago premiered an opera adaptation of the best-selling book by Ann Patchett. Curated by Lyric’s creative consultant Renée Fleming, Bel Canto tells a gripping contemporary story inspired by the months-long hostage crisis at the Japanese ambassador’s house in Lima, Peru, over the course of 1996-97. Featuring a score by gifted young Peruvian composer Jimmy López, with a libretto by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz. Conducted by Lyric music director Sir Andrew Davis and directed by Kevin Newbury.  Friday, January 13, 9 p.m.-12 a.m. ET

“Victoria” on MASTERPIECE – This drama follows Victoria (Jenna Coleman, “Doctor Who”) from the time she becomes Queen in 1837 at age 18 through her relationship with her first prime minister and intimate friend, Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell), and her courtship with and marriage to Prince Albert (Tom Hughes). Famous for her candor and spirit, she was the first woman who seemed to have it all: a passionate marriage and the job ruling the world’s most important nation. Sundays, January 15, 9-11 p.m. ET, January 22-March 5, 9-10 p.m. ET

INDEPENDENT LENS “What Was Ours” – A young Northern Arapaho journalist and a teenage powwow princess travel with an Eastern Shoshone elder to reclaim their tribe’s lost artifacts. Monday, January 16, 10-11 p.m. ET

FRONTLINE “Divided States of America” – Days before the inauguration of the 45th  American president, FRONTLINE premieres a documentary miniseries that looks back at events during the Obama presidency that revealed deep divisions in our country, and examines the America its new President will inherit. Tuesday-Wednesday, January 17-18, 9-11 p.m.

ALICIA KEYS – LANDMARKS LIVE IN CONCERT: A GREAT PERFORMANCES SPECIAL – The new series premieres with a native New Yorker from Hell’s Kitchen, Grammy Award-winning artist Alicia Keys. Her collaboration with Jay Z, “Empire State of Mind,” automatically became the city’s newest anthem. In this debut LANDMARKS LIVE special, recorded over a one-year period, Keys’ love affair with New York continues as she performs in notable locations all around town, including the city’s famous Circle Line harbor tour, the Unisphere in Queens and Harlem’s Apollo Theater. Friday, January 20, 9-10 p.m.

MERCY STREET – Allegiances blur and loyalties shift as the ongoing war pushes the drama beyond the hospital — following the growing chaos at Alexandria’s Mansion House, the precarious position of the Green family and the changing situation of the burgeoning black population. Starring Josh Radnor, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Gary Cole, Donna Murphy, McKinley Belcher and Patina Miller. Sundays, January 22-March 5, 8-9 p.m. ET rpt. Thursdays, January 26-March 9, 9-10 p.m. ET

SECRETS OF THE SIX WIVES – Historian Lucy Worsley time-travels to the Tudor court to witness some of the most dramatic moments in the lives of Henry VIII’s six spouses. Combining drama and historical sources, with her own commentary, Worsley offers insights into a world run by men, where the king had ultimate power and each queen found unique methods of exerting her influence. Sundays, January 22-February 5, 10-11 p.m. ET

INDEPENDENT LENS “The Witness” – In 1964, Kitty Genovese was repeatedly stabbed on the street in Queens, New York. Soon after, the media asserted that 38 neighbors watched but did nothing to help. This film follows the efforts of Kitty’s brother as he re-examines his sister’s life and death. Monday, January 23, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

RACHEL CARSON: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE – The inspiring story of the scientist whose groundbreaking writings revolutionized our relationship to the natural world. This moving and intimate portrait features Mary-Louise Parker as the voice of Rachel Carson. Tuesday, January 24, 8-10 p.m. ET

FRONTLINE “Trump’s Road to the White House” – Learn how Donald Trump defied expectations to win the presidency. Through interviews with key players, the film shows how Trump rallied millions of supporters and defeated adversaries, and whom he’s taking into the White House with him. Tuesday, January 24, 10-11 p.m. ET

ALZHEIMER’S: EVERY MINUTE COUNTS − Explore an urgent wake-up call about the national threat posed by Alzheimer’s disease. This powerful documentary illuminates the impending social and economic crisis for America unless a cure for Alzheimer’s is found. Wednesday, January 25, 2017, 10-11 p.m. ET

BRAD PAISLEY – LANDMARKS LIVE IN CONCERT: A GREAT PERFORMANCES SPECIAL – Country music superstar Brad Paisley returns to his roots in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains for a special outdoor concert at West Virginia University. As the hit-maker behind 23 number one singles and the winner of just about every country music award imaginable, Paisley brings his unique skills as a singer songwriter, guitarist and entertainer back to his home state as well as to viewers everywhere. Friday, January 27, 9-10 p.m.

POV “Seven Songs for a Long Life” – At Strathcarron, a remarkable Scottish hospice center, patients face pain, uncertainty and the possibility of life’s end with song and humor. Four years in the making, “Seven Songs” includes a hit parade of tunes belted out by patients and caregivers alike between reflections on life, love and mortality. The film illuminates a journey we will all take eventually and shows how the songs we love best can help guide us. Monday, January 30, 10-11 p.m. ET

THE RACE UNDERGROUND: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE – America’s first subway, in Boston, overcame a litany of engineering challenges, the greed-driven interests of businessmen and the great fears of its citizenry to create a rapid transit system soon replicated throughout the country. Tuesday, January 31, 9-10 p.m. ET

FRONTLINE “Iraq After ISIS” – Follow on-the-ground reporting from Iraq to see what’s happening in areas where ISIS has been ejected. Through rare access, investigate the powerful militias and growing sectarianism shaping Iraq. Also, a reporter’s journey into the battle for Mosul. Tuesday, January 31, 10-11 p.m. ET

FEBRUARY ON PBS:

SPY IN THE WILD, A NATURE MINISERIES – In the most innovative series NATURE has ever presented, the five-part SPY IN THE WILD employs more than 30 animatronic “spy cameras” disguised as animals to secretly record behavior in the wild. These “spy cameras” reveal that animals have emotions and behavior similar to humans — specifically, a capacity to love, grieve, deceive, cooperate and invent. Featured spy creatures include spy hippo, spy orangutan, spy bushbaby, spy cobra, spy sloth and many more. The robotic look-alikes will infiltrate the natural world to film surprising behavior including: spy baby crocodile getting a ride inside the mouth of a real crocodile as she gathers her babies up for safety spy squirrel discovering how real squirrels use intellect to overcome nut thieves and much more. Wednesdays, February 1-March 1, 8-9 pm ET

NOVA “Search for the Super Battery” – Join renowned gadget geek and host David Pogue as he sets out on a quest to discover how batteries work and uncover what the future has in store for our gadgets, our lives and even our planet. Wednesday, February 1, 9-10 p.m. ET

AURORA – FIRE IN THE SKY – In Earth’s polar regions, the aurora — a ghostly flicker and colorful glow — often brightens the night sky. Finland’s Saami, Alaska’s Inuit, Canada’s Native Americans and New Zealand’s Maori all have legends about the origins and meaning of the phenomenon. This program links such popular myths to the aurora’s physical effects on the natural world and includes research and recent scientific discoveries.  Wednesday, February 1, 10-11 p.m. ET

LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER “Mostly Mozart Festival” (w.t.) – Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts celebrates the 50th anniversary of its Mostly Mozart Festival, one of the world’s major music festivals and a beloved New York tradition. With its visionary programming, the Mostly Mozart Festival celebrates the genius of Mozart while making it accessible to new and traditional concertgoers. The special will honor the milestone season with highlights from the more than 50 exceptional events, which occurred over five weeks this summer. Friday, February 3, 9-11 p.m. ET

INDEPENDENT LENS “Birth of a Movement” – Learn how D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film The Birth of a Nation unleashed a battle still being waged today over race relations and representation, and the power and influence of Hollywood. Featuring Spike Lee, Reginald Hudlin, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and others. Monday, February 6, 10-11 p.m. ET

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “Oklahoma City” – Chronicles the rise of the extremist militia movement, from Ruby Ridge to Waco, that led to the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in American history — the 1995 bombing by Timothy McVeigh that killed 168 people in Oklahoma City. Tuesday, February 7, 9-11 p.m. ET

NOVA “Ultimate Cruise Ship” – Weighing 54,000 gross tons and stretching over two football fields, the Seven Seas Explorer is no ordinary boat. Join pioneering shipbuilders as they endeavor to build the ultimate cruise ship. Wednesday, February 8, 9-10 p.m. ET

CITY IN THE SKY – A unique metropolis hovers above the earth — an airborne “city” that comprises the more than 100,000 flights that crisscross the world daily. This film explores the hidden army of experts working to keep this city aloft and uncovers the extraordinary engineering and technology that make it tick. Wednesdays, February 8-22, 10-11 p.m. ET

SMOKEY ROBINSON: THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS GERSHWIN PRIZE FOR POPULAR SONG – An all-star tribute to singer/songwriter Smokey Robinson, the 2016 recipient of the coveted Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, hosted by Samuel L. Jackson.  Friday, February 10, 9-10:30 p.m. ET

INDEPENDENT LENS “Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America” – African-American musician Daryl Davis has a peculiar passion — meeting and befriending members of the Ku Klux Klan in an attempt to change their minds and forge racial conciliation, one person at a time. Monday, February 13, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “Ruby Ridge” – The 1992 FBI siege at Ruby Ridge that helped launch the modern militia movement is examined through eyewitness accounts, including Randy Weaver’s daughter and federal agents involved in the deadly confrontation. Tuesday, February 14, 9-10 p.m. ET

INDEPENDENT LENS “TOWER” – In August 1966, a deadly mass shooting at the University of Texas left 16 dead. Combining archival footage with rotoscopic animation, this film reframes the events of that day, when the worst in one man brought out the best in so many others. Tuesday, February 14, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

NOVA “Secrets of Origami” – Origami. The century-old tradition of paper folding is now at the heart of a scientific revolution. Scientists are discovering that folding is a powerful tool to explore the limits of science. Engineers and designers are now adopting origami designs to conquer space or reshape the world around us. From aircraft design to protein folding to micro-robots, join NOVA to discover how the age-old art of origami is transforming our world. Wednesday, February 15, 9-10 p.m. ET

GREAT PERFORMANCES “New York City Ballet in Paris” – New York City Ballet makes a triumphant return to Paris in an all-Balanchine program of dazzling ballet masterpieces. Set to music by Charles Gounod, Walpurgisnacht Ballet embodies a neoclassical choreography, ending with a surging climax that sends its 24 ballerinas soaring across the stage “like dancing out a fever” (The New York Times). The evening culminates with La Valse, with music of Maurice Ravel. In it, a young woman is simultaneously horrified and fascinated by her own vanity and finds herself strangely drawn to a figure of death. Friday, February 17, 9-10 p.m. ET

THE TALK – RACE IN AMERICA – In the wake of recent tragic and fatal events between people of color and law enforcement, a nationwide conversation is taking place between parents of color and their children, especially sons, about how they need to present themselves if they are stopped by the police. This story reflects not only the deeply troubled community relationships at a grass roots level, but the ever-widening gap between majority-minority populations in the United States. THE TALK – RACE IN AMERICA will explore solutions and examine how communities are working together to change the conversation. Monday, February 20, 9-11 p.m. ET

AMERICAN MASTERS “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise” – This is the first documentary feature about the incomparable Dr. Maya Angelou (1928-2014), best known for her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The film weaves her words with rare and intimate archival photographs and videos that paint hidden moments of her exuberant life during some of America’s most defining moments. From her upbringing in the Depression-era South to her work with Malcolm X in Ghana, to her inauguration poem for President Bill Clinton, the film takes an incredible journey through the life of a true American icon. Features a remarkable series of interviews with friends and family, including Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Common, Alfre Woodard, Cicely Tyson, Quincy Jones, Hillary Clinton, John Singleton and Dr. Angelou’s son, Guy Johnson. Tuesday, February 21, 8-10 p.m. ET

NOVA “Killer Trains” – NOVA investigates how trains can be agents of tragic destruction, dissecting the most infamous accidents, unraveling how the laws of physics stack the deck against trains and exploring how creative innovations are bringing about a revival in train tech. Wednesday, February 22, 9-10 p.m. ET

GREAT PERFORMANCES “New York City Ballet Symphony in C” – New York City Ballet makes a triumphant return to Paris with a grand classical showpiece by George Balanchine, Georges Bizet’s Symphony in C, which sparkles with more than 50 dancers covered in Swarovski crystals. Next, the polished simplicity and emotional interplay of the rarely seen Sonatine, to the music of Maurice Ravel, evokes the elegance of the original French NYCB dancers for whom Balanchine originally created the work. Friday, February 24, 9-10 p.m. ET

AFRICA’S GREAT CIVILIZATIONS – Henry Louis Gates, Jr. provides a new look from an African perspective at African history, traversing the dawn of mankind to the dawn of the 20th century. The series is a breathtaking and personal journey through history that includes evidence of the earliest human culture and art, arguably the world’s greatest ever civilizations, and some of the world’s earliest writing. Gates travels throughout the vast continent of Africa to discover the true majesty of its greatest civilizations and kingdoms. Monday-Wednesday, February 27-March 1, 9-11 p.m. ET

MARCH ON PBS:

INDEPENDENT LENS “The Bad Kids” – Life in a remote Mojave Desert high school where extraordinary educators believe empathy and life skills, more than academics, give at-risk students a command of their own futures.  Monday, March 20, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

“To Walk Invisible: The Bronte Sisters” on MASTERPIECE – Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte, all unmarried, faced a bleak future. Unable to rely on their alcoholic brother or near-blind father to provide for them, they worked as governesses to privileged and often unruly children. This is the story of how — against all odds — their genius for writing romantic novels was recognized in a male-dominated, 19th-century world. Sunday, March 26, 9-11 p.m. ET

INDEPENDENT LENS “Ovarian Psycos” – Ride with the East LA bicycle crew Ovarian Psycos and explore the impact of the group’s unique brand of feminism as they confront injustice, racism and violence. Monday, March 27, 10-11 p.m. ET

DEAD RECKONING: WAR, CRIME AND JUSTICE FROM WW2 TO THE WAR ON TERROR  – An unprecedented three-part series examines the evolution of postwar justice in investigating genocide, ethnic cleansing and other atrocities, and in prosecuting the perpetrators. The series looks at how laws and mechanisms for international justice were created in the wake of war crimes committed by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, the obstruction of postwar justice during the Cold War, the rise of sexual violence against civilians and the revitalization of postwar justice over the past two decades in several conflict zones. Tuesday, March 28, 8-11 p.m. ET

NATURE “Yosemite” (w.t.) – Yosemite Valley is a land forged in wildfire and sculpted by water the delicate balance of these two elements is essential to the creatures and trees that call this land home. But with climates changing and temperatures rising, the Sierras are under siege. Water is scarcer and the threat of fire is more common. Scientists, experts and adventurers trudge through mountains of snow, climb trees as tall as buildings and soar high in the air to discern just how these global changes are affecting one of America’s greatest wildernesses. Wednesday, March 29, 8-9 p.m. ET

GREAT PERFORMANCES “Dudamel Conducts Tangos Under the Stars with the LA Phil” – Under the baton of its renowned music and artistic director Gustavo Dudamel, the LA Phil returns to the Hollywood Bowl for an evening of Latin music. The concert repertoire features “Four Dances From Estancia” by Alberto Ginastera, “Tangazo” by Astor Piazzolla and a selection of three tangos by Piazzolla: “La Muerte del Angel,” “Adios Nonino” and “Libertango.” Also featured is the world premiere of Lalo Schifrin’s Concierto de la Amistad.  Friday, March 31, 9-10:30 p.m. ET

APRIL ON PBS:

CALL THE MIDWIFE – It’s now 1962 and times are changing, from the beacon of the contraceptive pill and the shadow of infamous gangsters the Krays to the new welfare policies introduced by the government. Back in Poplar, when the rather austere Sister Ursula is appointed the new head of Nonnatus House, Sister Julienne finds herself demoted and working back alongside the midwives as an ordinary member of staff. She is not the only one to face challenges closer to home. As they strive to help mothers and families cope with the demands of childbearing, disability, disease and social prejudice, our beloved medics must make choices – and fight battles – of their own. Season 6 sees them laugh together, cry together, and pull together, supporting each other as never before. Sundays, April 2-May 21, 8-9 p.m. ET

“Home Fires” on MASTERPIECE – In the series’ final season, Great Britain stands alone against German forces. The Battle of Britain rages in the skies overhead and, with daily air-raids, the threat of invasion and defeat is palpable. For some of Great Paxford’s women, the war throws off peacetime limitations, allowing them to flourish in unexpected ways. As Britain finds itself increasingly beleaguered, the tightknit community will be tested as never before. Sundays, April 2-May 7, 9-10 p.m. ET

INDEPENDENT LENS “Newtown” – Explore the aftermath and resilience of a community devastated by the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, which took the lives of 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut. Monday, April 3, 9-10:30 p.m. ET

JESUS OF ROME (w.t.) – The final week of Jesus’ life — known as Holy Week — stands at the very center of Christianity. But what do we know about what happened in the prevailing months? New evidence, gathered from archaeology, Roman historians, Jewish texts and insights into the Gospels, suggests that Roman politics led to the series of events that resulted in the crucifixion. Based on The Lost Gospel by investigative journalist Simcha Jacobovici and Professor Barrie Wilson, this two-hour drama documentary will present new insights into the iconic Easter events and uncover the Roman power politics that ultimately led to the last days of Jesus. Tuesday, April 4, 8-10 p.m. ET

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “The Great War” – Chronicles how WWI transformed America, through the stories of African-American and Latino soldiers, feminist activists, Native-American “code talkers” and others whose participation in the war to “make the world safe for democracy” has been largely forgotten. Monday-Wednesday, April 10-12, 9-11 p.m. ET

NATURE “Puerto Rico: Isle of Enchantment​” (w.t.) – Puerto Rico is a tropical island infused with unique natural wonders, but the native wildlife is threatened with extinction. Meet a charismatic group of scientists dedicated to saving Puerto Rico’s “enchanting” animals like manatees, parrots, coqui frogs and turtles. Wednesday, April 12, 8-9 p.m. ET

INDEPENDENT LENS “SEED: The Untold Story” – Passionate seed keepers around the world are determined to protect humanity’s 12,000-year-old food legacy. In the last century, 94 percent of seed varieties have disappeared. Monday, April 17, 10-11 p.m. ET

NATURE “H Is For Hawk: The Next Chapter” (w.t.) – Helen MacDonald’s international best-selling book H Is for Hawk told the story of a grieving daughter who found healing in the form of Mabel, a goshawk. The goshawk is one of Mother Nature’s own fighter jets, capable of finding and killing its prey with the speed of a lightning bolt. For the first time after Mabel’s death, MacDonald tries again to train another one of these secretive birds of prey and intimately explore their lives in the wild forests they call home. Wednesday, April 19, 8-9 p.m. ET

NOVA “Holocaust Escape Tunnel" – In the heart of Lithuania, a Holocaust secret lies buried. A team of archaeologists probes the ruins of a Nazi death camp to find the truth behind tales of a tunnel dug by desperate Jewish prisoners and their daring escape. Wednesday, April 19, 9-10 p.m. ET

INDEPENDENT LENS “The Last Laugh” – Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Carl Reiner and other Jewish comics and thinkers discuss the provocative question of whether any topic — including the Holocaust — should be off-limits in comedy. Monday, April 24, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

NATURE “The Making of an Ancient Forest” (w.t.) – Forests are far more complex than previously imagined. This documentary, filmed in 4K, travels deep into the remote forests of the Kalkalpen National Park in Austria — the largest area of wilderness in the Alps. The dramatic cycle of growth and decay in the long-abandoned and unmanaged forest now rules the landscape. What appears at first to be devastation and destruction is in fact part of the fundamental process of the forest’s regeneration and reversion to its natural, primeval state. Wednesday, April 26, 8-9 p.m. ET

NOVA “Death Dive to Saturn” – As the Cassini space probe’s mission nears its end, it will attempt one last daring maneuver — diving between the innermost ring and top of Saturn’s atmosphere. Explore the risks involved in this daring task, and discover the many wonders of Saturn’s system that Cassini has revealed over the years. Wednesday, April 26, 9-10 p.m. ET

NOVA “Chernobyl Entombed” (w.t.) – An international team of engineers races to construct a gargantuan dome to contain the lingering radioactive materials and crumbling remains of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, decades after being the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. Wednesday, April 26, 10-11 p.m. ET

INDEPENDENT LENS “National Bird” – The dramatic journey of three former soldiers turned whistleblowers who are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial current affairs issues of our time: the secret U.S. drone war. Monday, May 1, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

THE VICTORIAN SLUM (w.t.) – As in classic series like COLONIAL HOUSE and FRONTIER HOUSE, a group of modern-day people will move into a re-created Victorian slum in London’s East End to experience life as their ancestors did 150 years ago. As participants work to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table, they will live through five decades of turbulent history and social change. Tuesdays, May 2-30, 8-9 p.m. ET

NATURE “Dolphins: Spy in the Pod” (w.t.) – Dolphins are known to be among the most social animals on the planet, forming tightly knit pods of family units. Through unique footage from 13 ingenious “spy” cameras, including animatronic squid, a robotic turtle and even a dolphin “double agent,” view the complex, unexpected and often humorous two-hour adventure of these iconic sea mammals.  Wednesdays, May 3 &㺊, 8-9 p.m. ET

INDEPENDENT LENS “The Prison in Seven Landscapes” – Explore how America’s prison system, which has the highest incarceration rate in the world, is shaping all facets of life, not only for those in prisons, but for those connected by proximity, money, family and work. Monday, May 8, 10-11 p.m. ET

“King Charles III” on MASTERPIECE – The hit Broadway show King Charles III, starring Tim Pigott-Smith, is adapted for television. A 2016 Tony nominee for Best Play, the drama imagines Prince Charles’ ascension to the throne following Queen Elizabeth’s death. Sunday, May 14, 9-11 p.m.

INDEPENDENT LENS “Forever Pure” – See what happened when two Muslim players joined Israel’s most popular and controversial soccer team. Through the story of one tumultuous season in the life of this famed club, the film offers a dramatic window into modern Israeli society. Monday, May 15, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

NOVA “Secrets of the Shining Knights” (w.t.) – What was it like to be a knight in shining armor and how was that armor manufactured in medieval times? NOVA joins experts and master armorers as they re-engineer Greenwich armor, some of the greatest ever made, and then put it to the test. Wednesday, May 17, 9-10 p.m. ET

AMERICAN MASTERS “James Beard: America’s First Foodie” – Experience a century of food through the life of one man, James Beard (1903-1985). A cookbook author, journalist, television celebrity and teacher, Beard helped to pioneer and expand the food media industry into the billion-dollar business it is today. Written and directed by Elizabeth Federici. Produced by Elizabeth Federici and Kathleen Squires. Friday, May 19, 9-10 p.m. ET

“Dark Angel” on MASTERPIECE – Dispensing death from the spout of a warm teapot, Joanne Froggatt plays the notorious Victorian poisoner Mary Ann Cotton, Britain’s first female serial killer. Sunday, May 21, 9-11 p.m. ET

INDEPENDENT LENS “They Call Us Monsters” – The journey of three young offenders residing in the Compound, a facility that houses Los Angeles’ most violent juvenile offenders. They each face adult sentences for their crimes, sometimes decades if not hundreds of years in prison. Monday, May 22, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

NOVA “Spirit of St. Louis” (w.t.) – Follow an intrepid team of aircraft engineers as they set about constructing a replica of Charles Lindberg’s Spirit of St. Louis … and then endeavor to retrace Lindberg’s historic — but perilous — flight. Wednesday, May 24, 9-10 p.m. ET

AMERICAN MASTERS “Jacques Pépin – The Art of Craft” – The American story of chef Jacques Pépin, a young immigrant with movie-star looks, a charming Gallic accent and a mastery of cooking and teaching so breathtaking he became an early food icon — joining James Beard and Julia Child among the handful of Americans who transformed the way the country views the world of chefs, restaurants and food. Friday, May 26, 9-10 p.m. ET

NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT – Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna host the 28th broadcast of this night of remembrance honoring the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, their families at home and all those who have given their lives for our country. The NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT airs live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol before an audience of hundreds of thousands, millions at home, and to our troops around the world via American Forces Network. Sunday, May 28, 8-9:30 p.m. ET rpt. 10-11:30 p.m. ET 

PBS PREVIEWS: THE VIETNAM WAR – Takes a look at creation of the upcoming epic from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick: THE VIETNAM WAR. Featuring interviews with the filmmakers, behind-the-scenes footage, and exclusive clips from the series, this program will give viewers an advance look at this Fall's most anticipated film. Sunday, May 28, 9:30-10 p.m. ET

INDEPENDENT LENS “Farmer Veteran” – U.S. Army combat veteran Alex Sutton copes with severe PTSD after multiple deployments in Iraq, and hopes that a life of farming will give him purpose and a place to heal. Monday, May 29, 9-10 p.m. ET

POV “Almost Sunrise” – Suicide among veterans has reached epidemic proportions. Often it’s the result of what mental health professionals call “moral injury” — the transgression of deeply held beliefs during wartime. Former soldiers Tom Voss and Anthony Anderson, haunted by their own combat experiences, take a 2,700-mile trek on foot across America, seeking redemption, acceptance and a way to close the moral chasm opened by war. Monday, May 29, 10-11:30 p.m. ET

NOVA “Flint” (w.t.) – Investigate how the water disaster in Flint has brought to light a disturbing truth about the vulnerabilities of water systems across the country. Discover the delicate intricacies of water chemistry, the biology of lead poisoning and the engineering challenge of replacing this ravaged infrastructure. Wednesday, May 31, 9-10 p.m. ET

PBS, with nearly 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 100 million people through television and nearly 33 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs to hear diverse viewpoints and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12 th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

For additional information, photos, interviews and more, contact Goodman Media or PBS:


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Gruffalo Crumble and Other Recipes

Julia Donaldson. Illustrator: Axel Scheffler.

The Gruffalo and Friends Outdoor Activity Book

Julia Donaldson. Illustrator: Axel Scheffler

Gruffalo Spring and Summer Nature Trail

Gruffalo's Child Sound Book

Julia Donaldson Illustrator: Axel Scheffler

Hedgehogs Don't Live in the City!

Hedgehogs, Hares and Other British Beasts

The History of Everything in 32 Pages

Anna Claybourne, Illustrated by Jan Van Der Veken

Lift-the-Flap First Questions and Answers: How Do Animals Talk?

Katie Daynes. Illustrator. Christine Pym

How Do Flowers Grow? (First Lift-the-Flap Questions and Answers)

How to Help a Hedgehog and Protect a Polar Bear

Jess French, illustrated by Angela Keoghan

Alice Roberts. Illustrator: James Weston Lewis

I Used to Be a Fish: The Story of Evolution

David Walliams. Illustrator: Tony Ross

Ice: Chilling Stories from a Disappearing World

Published by Dorling Kindersley

Insects and Minibeasts: A Ladybird Book

Katherine Rundell. Illustrator: Kristjana S Williams.

Little People, BIG DREAMS: Jane Goodall

Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara. Illustrator: Beatrice Cerocchi

Kids Fight Climate Change: Act now to be a #2minutesuperhero

King of the Cloud Forests

LEGO Animal Atlas: with four exclusive animal models

Published by Dorling Kindersley

Let's look for Garden Wildlife

Caz Buckingham & Andrea Pinnington

Let's look for Wild Flowers

Caz Buckingham & Andrea Pinnington

Let's look on the Seashore

Caz Buckingham & Andrea Pinnington

Let's Save Our Planet: Forests

Listen to the Birds From Around the World

Listen to the Countryside

The Little Book of the Dawn Chorus

Caz Buckingham & Andrea Pinnington

Little Children's Nature Activity Book

Look and Say What You See at the Seaside

Look After Your Planet (Charlie and Lola)

Look What I Found at the Seaside

Moira Butterfield & Jesus Verona

Looking After Our Planet (Lift-the-Flap)

Katie Daynes. Illustrator: Illaria Faccioli

Robert Macfarlane & Jackie Morris

Shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize 2018. 128 pages. More details&hellip

Lucy's Magical Winter Stories

Animals Magic Painting Book

Abigail Wheatley Illustrated by Andy Tudor

Dinosaurs Magic Painting Book

Magic Painting Narwhals and Other Sea Creatures

Under the Sea Magic Painting

Mary Anning Little People, BIG DREAMS

Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Match these Bones A Dinosaur Memory Game

Paul Upchurch. Illustrator: James Barker

The Usborne Complete Book of the Microscope

Migration: Incredible Animal Journeys

Out and About Minibeast Explorer

Robyn Swift & Hannah Alice

The Little Book of Minibeast Hotels

Minibeasts with Jess French

Mr Goldfinch gets a shock!

An imaginative and educational story book for children aged 3 - 8 years. This book features Goldfinches and Dunnocks. 25 pages. More details&hellip

Mrs Starling makes a change

A story for children aged 3-8. Another book in the popular My Birds series. This book features Starlings & Long-tailed Tits. 25 pages.

Musa and the Incredibirds Talent Show

Shirley Cherry & Heather Roberts

My First Book of Woodland Animals

The Usborne Nature Activity Book

National Trust: Nature Origami

Nature Trail: A Joyful Rhyming Celebration of the Natural Wonders on our Doorstep

Benjamin Zephaniah. Illustrator: Nila Aye

My First Book About Nature

Nicola Davies & Mark Hearld (Illustrator)

First Sticker Book Nature

The National Martime Museum & Gareth Moore

Neffy and the Feathered Dinosaurs

Out and About Night Explorer

Robyn Swift and Sara Lynn Cramb

A Child's Introduction To The Night Sky: The Story of the Stars, Planets and Constellations and How You Can Find Them in the Sky

Michael Driscoll. Illustrated by Meredith Hamilton.

Night Sounds (Usborne Sound Book)

Sam Taplin. Illustrated by Federica Lossa.

Ned the Nature Nut's Nutty Nature Facts and Jokes

On the Trail of the Whale

Super Search Adventure. Crammed with things to spot and puzzles to solve. 24 pages. More details&hellip

The Otter Who Wanted to Know

Favourite Animal Tales series. 96 pages. More details&hellip

Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark

A Planet Full of Plastic: And How You Can Help

Poo: A Natural History of the Unmentionable

Poo! Is That You? - Lenny the Lemur

Clare Helen & Nicola O'Byrne

Prehistoric Britain (Usborne History of Britain)

Press Out & Colour: Butterflies

Press Out and Decorate Dinosaurs

Illustrated by Kate McLelland

Press Out and Decorate Flamingos, Llamas and Other Cool Things

Press-Out and Colour: Birds

Lift the Flap Questions & Answers about Animals

Lift-the-Flap Questions and Answers About Plastic

Katie Daynes. Illustrator: Marie-Eve Tremblay

Lift-the-Flap Questions and Answers About Our World

See Inside: Recycling and Rubbish

Alex Frith. Illustrator. Peter Allen

Winnie the Pooh: Return to the Hundred Acre Wood

Robins, Wrens and other British Birds (A Nature Sticker Book)

Rock & Fossil Hunter (Dk Eyewitness)

The Essential Guide to Rockpooling

Julie Hatcher & Steve Trewhella

Rocks & Fossils Naturetrail

Clear text, illustrations and photographs explain the occurance of fossils and different types of rocks. Full of activities, fact boxes and experiments to keep children enthused. One of a very popular series of Naturetrail titles. 80 pages.

Rocks and Minerals Sticker Book

Published by Natural History Museum

A Finders' Guide to Rocks, Fossils and Soils

RSPB Children's Guide to Birdwatching

David Chandler & Mike Unwin

Anita Ganeri, David Chandler & Mike Unwin

RSPB First Book of Butterflies and Moths

RSPB First Book of Pond Life

Available from 2 September 2021. 32 pages. More details&hellip

Sea Creatures: A Ladybird Book

Anna Milbourne. Illustrator: Simona Dimitri.

Look Inside Seas and Oceans

Megan Cullis. Illustrator. Bao Luu.

The Living World of Sharks

Sharks Sticker Activity Book : Over 1,000 Stickers!

National Geogrpahic Kids, with Kate Oleslin.

Sharks, Seahorses and other British Sea Creatures (National Trust)

Shortlisted for the Red House Children's Book Award. The story of Callum and Iona and their promise to keep their amazing discovery secret. 229 pages. More details&hellip

Children's book on the Hen Harrier. 36 pages. More details&hellip

Sleep Tight Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Snail and the Whale Seaside Nature Trail

Sue Baker & Richard Hatfield

Somebody Swallowed Stanley

Sarah Roberts. Illustrator: Hannah Peck.

Little People, BIG DREAMS: Stephen Hawking

Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara. Illustrator: Beatrice Cerocchi

Steven Seagull: Action Hero

24 Hours in the Stone Age

The Stone Age: Hunters, Gatherers and Woolly Mammoths

Sunday Funday: A Nature Activity for Every Weekend of the Year

Katherine Halligan and Jesus Verona

Available from 7 October 2021. 112 pages. More details&hellip

Busy Little Bees: Sunflower Shoots and Muddy Boots A Child's Guide to Gardening

Katherine Halligan and Grace Easton

A Surprise for Tiny Mouse

Dinosaur Construction Kit T. rex

Fiona Watt, illustrated by Rachel Wells

Fiona Watt. Illustrated by Rachel Wells

Fiona Watt. Artist: Rachel Wells

The Book of Brilliant Bugs

Jess French. Illustrator: Claire McElfatrick

There are Bugs Everywhere

There's a Rang-Tan in My Bedroom

This Book is Not Rubbish: 50 Ways to Ditch Plastic, Reduce Rubbish and Save the World!

Tickly Minibeast Adventures

The Tiger Who Came to Tea

A story for children aged 3 - 8 years. This story introduces Chaffinches, Blue Tits and the Speckled Wood butterfly. We also meet the two children of the family and catch a glimpse of the family dog, a Dalmation. 24 pages. More details&hellip

Tree: Seasons Come, Seasons Go

Anna Milbourne. Illustrator: Simona Dimitri.

Nick Caruso & Dani Rabaiotti

Nick Caruso & Dani Rabaiotti

Under the Sea Book & Jigsaw

Kirsteen Robson, Illustrated by Gareth Lucas.

Under the Sea Sticker and Colouring Book

National Trust: Up and Down, A Walk in the Countyside

Birds (Usborne Sticker Book)

Butterflies (Usborne Sticker Book)

USSB Dinosaurs Mini Sticker Book

You can learn to tell a Diplodocus from a Diplocaulus with this helpful sticker book. There are over eighty sticker illustrations, and simple descriptions of dinosaurs to spot. 34 pages. More details&hellip

Seashore (Usborne Sticker Book)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Nature Sticker and Colouring Book

Richard Adams. Illustrator. David Parkins

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Let's Discover Woodland Animals

Available from 5 August 2021. 32 pages. More details&hellip

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: My First ABC

based on the book by Michael Rosen

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: My First 123

Based on the book by Michael Rosen

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Let's Discover Seaside Animals

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Let's Discover Changing Seasons

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Let's Discover Baby Animals

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Let's Discover Birds

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Let's Discover Bugs

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: My Adventure Field Guide

Published by Walker Books Ltd

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Let's Discover Flowers and Trees

Published by Walker Books Ltd

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: My Explorer's Journal

Published by Walker Books Ltd

See Inside Weather & Climate

An Usborne flap book. 16 pages. More details&hellip

Clare Helen & Nicola O'Byrne

What A Waste: Rubbish, Recycling, and Protecting our Planet

What is Poo? (Very First Lift-the-Flap Questions and Answers)

Julia Donaldson. Illustrator: Lydia Monks

What the Ladybird Heard Next: Book and CD Pack

Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Lydia Monks

What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday: Book and CD Pack

What Makes it Rain? Lift-the-Flap First Questions and Answers

The What on Earth? Wallbook Timeline of Nature

What to Look For in Autumn (A Ladybird Book)

Elizabeth Jenner & Natasha Durley

What to Look For in Spring (A Ladybird Book)

Elizabeth Jenner & Natasha Durley

What to Look For in Summer (A Ladybird Book)

Elizabeth Jenner & Natasha Durley

What to Look For in Winter (A Ladybird Book)

Elizabeth Jenner & Natasha Durley

Clive Gifford and Kate McLelland

Super Search Adventure. Crammed with things to spot and puzzles to solve. 24 pages. More details&hellip

Where the Wilderness Lives

Where's Attenborough? Search for David Attenborough in the Jungle, Desert, Ocean, and More

Aisling Coughlan & Patrick Boyle. Illustrator: Maxim Usik

Illustrated by Ingela P Arrhenius

Where's our breakfast Mr Blackbird

A story for children aged 3 - 8 years. An imaginatively told story by Hazel Douglas with beautiful illustrations by Richard Johnson featuring Mr and Mrs Sparrow and Mr and Mrs Blackbird. Also features a red admiral butterfly, its caterpillar and chrysalis. 24 pages. More details&hellip


BBC Four HD Tales of Tudor Travel The Explorer's Handbook (2018) - History

Multi-Emmy-winning US drama set in a dystopian society that treats women as property

The Handmaid's Tale

Hollyoaks: the village in Chester where it all happens

Hollyoaks

Reality series following the lives, loves and awks of SW3's bright young things

Made in Chelsea

What do some of Britain's most-loved famous faces think of our biggest and best TV?

Celebrity Gogglebox

Unpredictable crime thriller starring Lesley Sharp, Patrick Gibson and Vincent Regan

Before We Die

Smash-hit adolescent comedy about a bunch of lads behaving sadly.

The Inbetweeners

Ex-Special Forces soldiers put recruits through a recreation of the SAS selection process

SAS: Who Dares Wins

BAFTA-winning comedy game show starring Taskmaster Greg Davies and his sidekick Alex Horne

Taskmaster

Teams of professional pastry chefs do battle in the kitchen

Bake Off: The Professionals

What do Britain's sharpest armchair critics think of our biggest and best TV programmes?

Gogglebox

Love, life, basketball and teen drama in small-town North Carolina

One Tree Hill

Sitcom from Robert Popper about the gloriously idiosyncratic Goodman family

Friday Night Dinner

B&B owners take turns to stay with each other as they compete to be crowned best hosts

Four in a Bed

Aussie singles get hitched to spouses who they see for the first time on their wedding day

Married at First Sight Australia

Emilia Fox and criminologist David Wilson investigate famous unsolved murder cases

In the Footsteps of Killers

Drama series about a new academy school that merges the lives and cultures of a community

Ackley Bridge

Comedy about reluctant child genius Malcolm and his dysfunctional family

Malcolm in the Middle

The daring dating series that starts where some good dates might end - naked

Naked Attraction

Multi-award-winning US drama about the staff in a hectic inner-city emergency room

Golden Globe-winning drama entrenched in the same dark humour as its namesake film


What you need to know

We've made some changes to help keep you safe and as we respond to government guidelines there may be further updates. Here's everything you need to know right now but please check back before you visit.

Advance booking is now essential. We have introduced limits on visitor numbers to help keep everyone safe, and you won&rsquot be able to visit without your booking confirmation. If you&rsquore a Member or Local Residents Pass holder, your ticket will be free, but you still need to book in advance. Make sure you've read our ticketing FAQ before you book.

We&rsquove introduced a 2.6 mile circular route to the stones and back on unmade paths through the surrounding ancient landscape which is owned and cared for by the National Trust. There is also a shuttle bus for those who would like to use it.

Our new audio guide can be downloaded free to your smartphone. Remember to bring your headphones!

We've made a number of changes to help keep you safe. Although things might be a little different when you visit, you&rsquoll still be able to enjoy exploring the places where history really happened. And you&rsquoll still be given a warm and safe welcome by our friendly &ndash if socially distant &ndash staff and volunteers.

You can visit our reopening page for information on general safety measures we've taken to help keep you safe.

Face coverings must be worn in all indoor areas, including the shuttle buses. We won't be able to provide you with a face covering, so please come prepared so you don't miss out.

The answers to all frequently asked questions can be found on our FAQ page.


Watch the video: BBC Four HD In Search of Arcadia 2017 (June 2022).


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