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David Attenborough looks at the extraordinary ends to which animals and plants go in order to survive. Featuring epic spectacles, amazing TV firsts and examples of new wildlife behaviour.

Genres: Family | Educational
Station: BBC One (UK)
Rating: 7/10 from 2 users
Status: Ended
Start: 2009-10-12

Life (UK) Air Dates


S01E07 - Hunters and Hunted Air Date: 23 November 2009 21:00 -

Mammals' ability to learn new tricks is the key to survival in the knife-edge world of hunters and hunted. In a TV first, a killer whale off the Falklands does something unique: it sneaks into a pool where elephant seal pups learn to swim and snatches them, saving itself the trouble of hunting in the open sea.

Slow-motion cameras reveal the star-nosed mole's newly-discovered technique for smelling prey underwater: it exhales then inhales a bubble of air ten times per second. Young ibex soon learn the only way to escape a fox - run up an almost vertical cliff face - and young stoats fight mock battles, learning the skills that make them one of the world's most efficient predators.


S01E08 - Creatures of the Deep Air Date: 30 November 2009 21:00 -

Marine invertebrates are some of the most bizarre and beautiful animals on the planet, and thrive in the toughest parts of the oceans.

Divers swim into a shoal of predatory Humboldt squid as they emerge from the ocean depths to hunt in packs. When cuttlefish gather to mate, their bodies flash in stroboscopic colours. Time-lapse photography reveals thousands of starfish gathering under the Arctic ice to devour a seal carcass.

A giant octopus commits suicide for her young. A camera follows her into a cave which she walls up, then she protects her eggs until she starves.

The greatest living structures on earth, coral reefs, are created by tiny animals in some of the world's most inhospitable waters.


S01E09 - Plants Air Date: 07 December 2009 21:00 -

Plants' solutions to life's challenges are as ingenious and manipulative as any animal's.

Innovative time-lapse photography opens up a parallel world where plants act like fly-paper, or spring-loaded traps, to catch insects. Vines develop suckers and claws to haul themselves into the rainforest canopy. Every peculiar shape proves to have a clever purpose. The dragon's blood tree is like an upturned umbrella to capture mist and shade its roots. The seed of a Bornean tree has wings so aerodynamic they inspired the design of early gliders. The barrel-shaped desert rose is full of water. The heliconia plant even enslaves a humming bird and turns it into an addict for its nectar.


S01E10 - Primates Air Date: 14 December 2009 21:00 -

Primates are just like humans - intelligent, quarrelsome, family-centred.

Huge armies of Hamadryas baboons, 400 strong, battle on the plains of Ethiopia to steal females and settle old scores. Japanese macaquesin Japan beat the cold by lounging in thermal springs, but only if they come from the right family. An orangutan baby fails in its struggle to make an umbrella out of leaves to keep off the rain. Young capuchins cannot quite get the hang of smashing nuts with a large rock, a technique their parents have perfected. Chimpanzees, humans' closest relatives, have created an entire tool kit to get their food.

Life (UK) Actors

David Attenborough(Narrator)

Oprah Winfrey(Narrator)



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