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The Virus Drop was live between Thursday 11th March – Wednesday 17th March, check out Select More each week to be the first to explore the latest Drop.

Each week BBC Select brings you The Drop – a curated, themed collection of documentaries and the ideas of global experts and enlightened thinkers. Each Drop provokes fresh perspectives on the topics that matter in life, from love and war, parenthood and consumerism, to revolution and race.

This week’s Drop is going viral: Author Lionel Shriver discusses how events like a global pandemic could impact our future freedoms; we look at what lessons can be learned from the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak in The Flu That Killed 50 Million; what effect anti-vaxxers are having on global health in Vaccine Wars; and what viral meme culture can tell us about society in How To Go Viral.

Start your free trial of BBC Select on the Apple TV app and Amazon Prime Video Channels and watch The Virus Drop, plus hundreds of hours of critically-acclaimed titles across culture, politics and ideas. Free trial restrictions apply*.

Featured in The Virus Drop on BBC Select:


The Drop on BBC Select brings you the thoughts of writers, filmmakers and more. This week, we need to talk about coronavirus. Author Lionel Shriver considers our response to the pandemic as a threat to liberal democracy. We all yearn to be free of the virus – but what kind of world will we be left with?, she asks. Watch Lionel Shriver in Takes, filmed exclusively for BBC Select.

How To Go Viral

Man drawing moustache on Mona Lisa

Remember when a viral hit was a good thing? In How To Go Viral, digital culture expert and art historian Richard Clay studies a highly infectious strain of modern communication – the meme. Why do we love them? How can we make them? Are they simply the meaningless detritus of our throwaway modern culture? Or part of a deceptively complex messaging system of symbols that dates back to the Christian cross via the V-sign? Modern meme designers, Tumblr’s meme librarian and a liberal troll all have something to say about how

Watch How To Go Viral and start your free 7-day trial on the Apple TV app or Amazon Prime Video Channels. Restrictions apply*.

The Flu That Killed 50 Million

People describe these as unprecedented times – but how unprecedented are they really? The Flu That Killed 50 Million takes us back in time to a world that seems… strangely recognizable. The world in the grip of a terrifying pandemic. Scientists battling to contain it. Exhausted healthcare professionals, masks, isolation… Not 2021, but 1918, when the Spanish Flu infected a third of the world’s population, killing 50 million – three times more than the Great War that preceded it. There’s something achingly relatable about the first-hand accounts that bring this nightmare to life – when a beleaguered world staggered off one battlefield to find itself face to face with an even deadlier enemy. A century later, our story’s end is unknown. What lesson does this message from the past teach us? And could the spread of coronavirus have been avoided if we had heeded it?

Watch The Flu That Killed 50 Million and start your free 7-day trial on the Apple TV app or Amazon Prime Video Channels. Restrictions apply*.


anti-vaxx protesters holding up signs

They believe they’re speaking truth to power – ordinary folks facing down a global medical conspiracy. The World Health Organization considers them a Top 10 threat to global health. What’s powering the Anti-Vax movement? Who’s feeding their mistrust? And for what gain? Vaccine Wars reveals the origins of vaccine skepticism – from a whooping cough scare in the 1970s to a British doctor’s enduring but debunked link between the MMR vaccine and autism. With the rise of social media, the anti-vax message is spreading too quickly to quarantine. And for the first time in decades, diseases we thought we’d eradicated are on the rise. In the face of proven evidence, how do anti-vaxxers maintain their immunity to scientific fact? And with signs that Russian bots are disseminating this same misinformation on social media, should big tech be doing more to stop the spread?

Watch Conspiracy Files: Vaccine Wars and start your free 7-day trial on the Apple TV app or Amazon Prime Video Channels. Restrictions apply*.

Each week, we will be exploring new topics and issues with thought-provoking takes from global thinkers. Be sure to stay up to date with the latest Takes and Drops on Select More.

Filter by Takes
15th April 2021

FASCISM featuring Elif Shafak

Is fascism simply evil? Writer Elif Shafak isn’t so sure. We learn of Hitler’s ascent to power in Rise of the Nazi’s, the modern far right in Germany’s New Nazis and investigate North Korea’s regime in North Korea: Voices from the State.

Read more about FASCISM featuring Elif Shafak
Filter by Takes
8th April 2021

SELFIES featuring Ai Weiwei

The Drop: 1 unique take, 3 documentaries. This week: The Selfie featuring Ai Weiwei. Where does self expression meet self-obsession?

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Filter by Articles
1st April 2021

RITUALS featuring Padma Lakshmi

This week’s Drop examines rituals and the part they play in modern life with an exclusive take from author and activist Padma Lakshmi.

Read more about RITUALS featuring Padma Lakshmi

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