Tuesday, 23 February 2010

How Earth Made Us: Human Planet

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Tonight BBC 2, 20:00pm

In this final part of the series, Professor Iain Stewart looks at a new force that is shaping the planet - us. It's easy to think of the human impact on the planet as a negative one, but as Iain discovers, this isn't always the case. It is clear that humans have unprecedented control over many of the planet's geological cycles; the question is, how will the human race use this power?

For further details, please visit the programme link below:

Iain Stewart visits a city devoured by mud

Iain Stewart visits the international seed vault in Svalbard

The Natural World: A Killer Whale called Luna

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24th Feb, BBC 2 - 8PM
This is the emotional story of one young killer whale's quest for companionship after he was separated from his family. Luna was just two years old when, alone and confused he found himself on the rugged, wild coast of Vancouver Island. Following his tumultuous life, the film records the human friendships he developed and the trouble this led him into. From death threats, to numerous capture attempts by the government, the filmmakers watched as people tried to determine his fate. Luna shows us how quickly our lives can once again cross with the natural world.

Series Editor TIM MARTIN

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Banded Brothers - The Mongoose Mob

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BBC2 Sunday 21st Feb 7pm

Wildlife series following the lives of the meerkat's bigger, more streetwise cousin, the banded mongoose.

The 'banded brothers' family of mongooses own the best territory in Uganda's Queen Elizabeth National Park, but other mongoose mobs want a piece of the action. To keep hold of their patch, the bandeds need to be a big, strong group, and a regular supply of new recruits is maintained by the breeding females. A new litter from three of the older females has been born and they make their first foray above ground, but not all is right in the banded mongoose's world.

The oldest female, Diva, is still pregnant. It's an unusual situation, and when Diva's pups are born they will face an uphill struggle to survive. To add to the problems, the new pups need babysitting at the den. Other mongoose mobs such as the banded mongoose's arch enemies the striped mongoose are taking advantage and muscling in on the banded's prize territory.

Watch clips here (UK only): http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00r39pc

Friday, 12 February 2010

CBBC: Natural Born Hunters

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CBBC Monday 15th February, 8am

A fresh look at some of the most supreme predators in the animal kingdom, looking at how some of the most lethal creatures in the wild survive a typical day - relying on their instincts, speed, and tactics is often not enough, and luck can mean the difference between life and death.

A cheetah, a dragonfly and a peregrine falcon go head-to-head in race to eat. The first to get his or her daily intake of food is the winner. The three contenders have one thing in common - when it comes to hunting they all use speed to help catch their prey. The cheetah is the fastest land mammal reaching speeds of 71mph, the dragonfly is the fastest insect with a top speed of 35mph and the peregrine falcon can fly at over 200mph making it the fastest animal on earth ever.

It's action all the way, with a few surprises thrown in for good measure, in a typical hunting day in the lives of these natural born hunters. Steve Backshall and Barney Harwood commentate on the action as it happens.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Talk at University of Bristol BioSoc

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On Thursday 11th February I'll be speaking at the University of Bristol BioSoc

"If you enjoyed Nikki Waldron's talk last month you will love this one! Come and meet Paul Williams on Thursday the 11th of February at 1pm in B75 and discover how life is behind the camera.

Paul, also assistant producer at the BBC Natural History Unit, will be talking about how he and his colleagues use their scientific background to make natural history programs.What are the highs and lows of making landmark series such as "Life" and "How Earth Made Us" (on Tuesdays BBC1)? What are the latest technologies used to make these programs?"

Paul Williams is a renowned speaker who has been invited several times to give talks at the London Natural History Museum. He's also been running workshops for Wildscreen and other festivals.
For more info visit his website: http://www.ironammonite.com

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

'How Earth Made Us' Cool Visual Trick: 'SUPER Aerial Pull out'

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My episode 'Wind' is broadcast tonight. To celebrate I thought I'd share a visual trick that we're all very proud of...

Super Aerial Pull-Out: From presenter to entire continent
7 steps to creating a COOL Visual Trick - as seen in tonights 'How Earth Made Us: WIND'

Step 1. WATCH: How Earth Made Us 'Wind' - BBC 2, 21:00
With spectacular images, surprising stories and a compelling narrative, Professor Iain Stewart tells the epic story of how the planet has shaped human history. In this episode Iain sets sail on one of the fastest racing boats ever built to explore the story of our turbulent relationship with the wind. Travelling to iconic locations including the Sahara desert, the coast of West Africa and the South Pacific, Iain discovers how people have exploited the power of the wind for thousands of years. The wind is a force which at first sight appears chaotic. But the patterns that lie within the atmosphere have shaped the destiny of continents, and lie at the heart of some of the greatest turning points in human history.

Alternatively you can watch this clip from about one minute in...

Once you've recovered from the exhiliration continue with step 2...

2. Fly somewhere really awesome with a Cineflex - a gyro-stabalised camera-mount.

3. Fly upwards as smoothly as possible above your presenter

4. Find a series of free-to-use high resolution sattelite images from Nasa which focus on your location.
You can try The Modis Rapid Response Gallery or Blue Marble you can also try the Earth Science Data Interface

5. Hire a talented graphics company such as Prime Focus to seamlessly mix the Cineflex aerials with the Sattelite images.

6. Add a drum beat to help get the heart pumping and the adrenalin rushing.

7. Take to a party and impress your friends ;-)

I think it really places our presenter in a unique geographical context.

'How Earth Made Us' Most Viewed Science Prog for 4 Years

The first two episodes have been the most watched Science programmes for over four years. An audience of over 3.5 million and AIs of 88.

Watch again on iPlayer

"Stewart has found a way to take the gritty business of rocks, strata and tectonic plates and smelt it into big, enthralling ideas" (Radio Times)

"an all-action narrative" (Sunday Times)

It's enough to make you quake. (Times)

This new addition to the genre may be the best yet (WESTERN MAIL)

The most informative series he has ever made....Travelling to many of the geological wonders of the world. (Times Scotland)

A stunning new series about our planet (Evening herald)