BBC wildlife documentaries are always spectacular, groundbreaking, and very special. With an extensive list of films going back decades narrated by the one and only David Attenborough and covering every corner of the globe, as well as many other nature documentaries, BBC wildlife shows never disappoint.
Tiny Giants 3D
Using the absolute best 3D technology available, as you would expect from the BBC, Tiny Giants 3D takes you down into the world’s little (and very cute) creatures.
As we live our lives almost completely unaware of the battles and challenges the world’s smallest animals face every minute of their life, there’s a lot going on. From mini wars, to romance, to behaviours that are as mysterious as they are amazing.
Unlike some of the older and legendary BBC titles like Life in the Undergrowth, which was focused almost solely on insects, Tiny Giants also includes small animals such as chipmunks.
In fact, you’ll quickly become immersed in the story of one particular chipmunk as he battles the weather and the dangers of everyday life on the path to adulthood. You can see a snippet of this in the preview clip below:
Tiny Giants is set almost like a children’s movie – but the difference is that it’s all facts and no fiction. Sure, there are stories created about individual animals to give viewers an emotional connection as is so often the case in most docos these days, rather than being simply a scientific account. One of the great benefits of this approach is the way it appeals to children.
Most young children probably wouldn’t get through some of the more scientifically focused documentaries, while Tiny Giants is something that they can become fully immersed in; while learning at the same time.
The BBC never does anything that isn’t original or groundbreaking, and Tiny Giants 3D is no exception. Stunning visuals really steal the show and bring the small stars of the show to life, showing them in ways that we’ve really never seen them before because a lot of these animals are simply overlooked when it comes to nature films, in favour of the more iconic species.
At a running time of about 50 minutes, Tiny Giants is easy to get through in one sitting and will certanly keep younger viewers glued to the screen from beginning to end!
Bears: Spy in the Woods
Part of the popular and highly originally BBC “Spy in the…” series, Spy in the Woods is not just about one type of bear but several species, including the American Brown Bear, Polar Bear, and even the Giant Panda.
Like the other films in the Spy series, Spy in the Woods makes use of clever custom made camouflaged cameras that have each been developed to be used around each type of bear – without them knowing.
See the bears like never before, up close and personal in ways that no human cameraman could ever safely undertake.
All the bears are magnificant to watch in this documentary, but it’s the rarely filmed Giant Panda who really is the star of Bears: Spy in the Woods.
Currently this film is only available as a collection with the other Spy In The.. films starring elephants and lions which are just as fascinating to watch.
This is a really unique concept by the BBC which has brought about a lot of copycats in later years. None quite match the quality of these films though and Bear: Spy In The Woods is a doco that you’ll want to watch more than once.
Living with Monkeys: Tales From The Treetops
Join a passionate primatologist, a cameraman and a writer from their exotic treehouse in the middle of the jungle in Gabon as they spend their days looking for the not so famous monkey, the Red-capped Mangabey.
The trio a whole six weeks living in the treehouse and having to deal with the challenges that living in the dense forest brings, not the least of which are the large mammals below including forest elephants and buffalo.
This is more than a documentary; it’s a true adventure and really immerses you from beginning to end of the two hour feature.
Banded Brothers – The Mongoose Mob (2010)
This BBC series aired on television in 2010 and follows a similar style to the highly popular and excellent Meerkat Manor series.
Only this time the stars of the show are Banded Mongooses (or is that Mongeese?) and it is filmed in conjunction with the good work of the Banded Mongoose Research Project.
Banded Brothers is narrated by Dexter Fletcher and consisted of just four episodes within the one series.
A BBC Earth documentary that focuses on the wildlife of Britain.
A location that is not often the subject of full length wildife films, the diversity on show in this film is stunning and quite extraordinary, and may come as a surprise to those who don’t think of Britain as being particularly interesting when it comes to wildlife.
Filmed over a period of an entire year to showcase just how the landscapes change throughout the four seasons, Wild Kingdom offers never before seen insights into British wildlife and the habitats they live in.
One Life by the BBC, narrated by Daniel Craig, features the uniqueness and premier quality you expect from the BBC Earth Films team.
A particular drawcard to this documentary is the number of “filming firsts” that are highlighted on this DVD which has been made to appeal to children (adults will love it too!).
Those who are BBC documentary buffs will quickly notice that the scenes have been taken and compiled from various other BBC films over the years – but these carefully chosen highlights provide an exceptional compilation for those who just want their wildlife fix.
The BBC Natural World Collection
You may have heard of the series Natural World. It is one of the longest-running nature documentary series ever. It was at one stage called The World About Us. In 2008 the 25th anniversary of Natural World was celebrated (although the series existed under the name ‘The World About Us’ for about 15 before this) and during this time, over 400 episodes were screened.
The series was ground breaking in several ways, not least because of the fact that Attenborough encouraged a 50 minute running time per film, rather than the then 30 minute norm. This gave the filmmakers more room to provide in depth coverage of the subject matter.
Natural World is still going strong today in it’s unchanged format. 17 episodes are filmed every year. This includes episodes filmed by the BBC natural history unit, as well as some excellent films from independent production companies and wildlife filmmakers.
The concept of the series The World About Us was the brain child of Sir David Attenborough, all the way back in 1967. With his passion and commitment to wildlife and nature filming, it is little wonder that the series has been the recipient of multiple awards and worldwide recognition.
The BBC Natural World DVD Collection consists of 6 spectacular new episodes. They are:
- On the Trail of Tarka (2006)
- The Bear Man of Kamchatka (2006)
- Invasion of the Crocodiles (2007)
- Eye for an Elephant (2006)
- Buddha, Bees & the Giant Hornet Queen (2007)
- Wye – Voices from the Valley (2007)
Eye For an Elephant
Amazing footage and insights into one of the world’s most intelligent creatures – elephants.
Wye – The Voices From The Valley
Filmed in the Welsh Valley, this program focuses on both the animals and people of the region.
Invasion of the Crocodiles
See ancient crocodiles face to face in this excellent film.
Bees & the Giant Hornet Queen
Possibly the only documentary ever made about the Japanese Giant Hornet. In this episode you follow a year of the the life of this amazing insect and how a Buddhist bee keeper interacts with it. You’ll never look at bees the same after seeing this.
Buddha, Bees and the Giant Hornet Queen recently won an award at a major film festival, as did many other Natural World films.
On the Trail of Tarka
Get a rare insight into Britain’s otters.
The Bear Man of Kamchatka
This is all about one man who devoted his life to Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula grizzly bears. Charlie Russell starts a project helping orphaned bear cubs, in preparation for returning them to the wild.
The only complaint you’ll have about this set is that you’ll be left wanting more.
Inside Life is a refreshingly different sort of BBC film – it showcases 10 lucky kids who get to experience what it was like to get the footage from the landmark Life series.
The CBBC Channel aired this series as a compliment to Life the children went behind the scenes with the production team of Life to see how it all happened.
Some of the adventures that the kids get to go on include seeing tigers in India, dolphins, bears, sea birds and the now famous waterfall-climbing fish. What an experience!
Nature’s Most Amazing Events
This series is originally known as Nature’s Great Events as created by the BBC. It documents and showcases 6 of the natural world’s most stunning and spectacular events:
Kalahari Flood – The Great Flood
African wildlife at its best. Based on the annual flooding of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, you see how this land transforms almost overnight from dry semi-desert into thriving wetland, and how the lions, elephants and other residents have adapted to surviving in this unique and special environment.
Surviving The Serengeti – The Great Migration
What is a series like this without featuring the wondrous Serengeti in Tanzania? Althout without a doubt one of the most filmed places on Earth, this episode manages to create a unique perspective as it focuses on the rivalries between predators, and what happens when the rains finally come.
Arctic Summer – The Great Melt
Focusing on the annual thaw of the sea ice in summer in the Arctic. Consquently, there is an influx of millions of animals into one area including wolves, seals, snow geese, foxes, caribou, polar bears, spectacular beluga sequences and some of the best footage of elusive and not often filmed narwhals you will ever see.
Grizzly Wilderness – The Great Salmon Run
Filmed in British Columbia, Canada, this episode features some fascinating footage of not only grizzly bears, but the less-often filmed forest wolf. Riveting viewing.
Watch a clip from this episode:
Army of Predators – The Great Tide
Filmed on South Africa’s east coast, the billions of sardines that gather here to gorge on plankton provide one of the most amazing marine events on Earth. Predators are drawn to the huge number of sardines: several types of sharks, common dolphins in large pods (great footage of their feeding frenzy), Bryde’s whale, Cape gannets, African penguins and bottlenose dolphins.
Watch a scene from The Great Tide episode:
Pacific Feast – The Great Feast
A full feature on the Pacific Northwest of the USA from seals, orca and sea otthers to hering and humpback whales all based around the summer plankton bloom that occurs there. One of the most fascinating parts is the “bait ball” where “diving birds round the fish up into a bait ball and then a humpback whale roars in to scoop up the entire ball of herring in one huge mouthful.”. Watch a clip here:
Yellowstone: Battle For Life
Enjoy spectacular cinematopography in this definitive documentary on Yellowstone. A location which has been extensively filmed over the decades, it can be easy to overlook a new documentary focusing on Yellowstone, however this one does stand out and not least because it is by the BBC.
You just know it’s going to be top quality and contain unique footage and different views that you’ve never seen before. Because that’s what the BBC does so well!
Discover the adaption techniques of the animals and plants of Yellowstone, and learn how the animals cope with each changing season.
This DVD is well worth adding to your collection, regardless of how many other Yellowstone documentaries you may already own!
Running Time: 86 minutes
Available on Blu-ray and DVD at Amazon
Season one is also available on Amazon Video.