The Trials of Life

The Trials of Life

In the natural world, life is one long struggle, a challenge for even the fittest animal. Leaving parents, searching for food, building a home, finding a mate; each day brings a new test. In this classic BBC natural history documentary series, Sir David Attenborough investigates the many amazing ways in which creatures from all parts of the globe face up to and resolve The Trials of Life.

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The Trials of Life on BBC Select

Ep 1: Arriving
In the natural world, birth is the first dangerous step into a hazardous existence.

Birth is the first dangerous step into a hazardous world. From egg-laying to live-bearing, animals employ an extraordinary variety of techniques to disperse their offspring. In this iconic natural history documentary, David Attenborough looks at the variety of birth in the natural world. The diverse strategies have a simple aim. To launch their young with a good chance of survival.

Ep 2: Growing Up
From creches of bats to elephant babysitters, a look at how animals bring up their young.

Any parent knows about the problems of bringing up a child, and for animals it is no different. How do you protect your infant from daily hazards and help it survive its vulnerable years? In this groundbreaking wildlife documentary, David Attenborough discovers how an infant, from creches of bats to elephant babysitters, learns the skills it will need for life.

Ep 3: Finding Food
David Attenborough looks at the ingenious ways animals solve the problem of finding food.

The vital quest for food opens up an intriguing world of ploy and counter-ploy, exploitation and theft. In this classic wildlife documentary, David Attenborough looks at the many ways animals overcome the problem of finding sustenance. While plants try to defend themselves from unwelcome visitors, animals have devised numerous ways to break down their defenses.

Ep 4: Hunting and Escaping
David Attenborough looks at the life-and-death duels which are fought daily in the wild.

Kill or die. Flee or perish. Such life and death duels are fought daily in the wild. In this legendary wildlife documentary, David Attenborough looks at the tricks used by hunter and hunted: traps and lures, warnings and deception, ambush and camouflage. These desperate battles between assassins and their victims have sharpened the skills of both in the art of pursuit and evasion.

Ep 5: Finding the Way
Animals possess some amazing navigation skills to help them find their way in the world.

Animals navigate with an accuracy that we humans have only recently achieved. In this seminal wildlife documentary, David Attenborough explores the variety of ways by which creatures find their way around the planet. A tiny ant makes a marathon journey over the scorching desert, while an albatross flies 800 miles over open ocean before returning with food for its chick.

Ep 6: Homemaking
David Attenborough reveals how animals keep out the elements and unwanted visitors.

The animal building trade has its fair share of master architects and subpar contractors too. In this engaging wildlife documentary, David Attenborough looks at the various strategies used in the construction of a home. Whether it’s building a simple sandy burrow or a massive termite city, the aim of every animal architect is simple: to keep the elements and any unwanted visitors out.

Ep 7: Living Together
For better or worse, many animals, from birds to crabs, form surprising partnerships.

For better or worse, many animals form surprising partnerships. Birds offer a personal cleaning service to rid their clients of itchy hangers-on, while hermit crabs enlist armies of stinging anemones as boxing gloves to repel octopuses. But not all lodgers are so welcome, as David Attenborough discovers in this entertaining wildlife documentary. Many are thieves while some are merciless killers.

Ep 8: Fighting
Aggression is widespread in animals.

And teeth, hooves and horns can cause severe injury. Fight or flee? Resist or surrender? Aggression over food, territory or mates is widespread in animals. But teeth, hooves and horns can cause injury and sometimes death. In this fascinating wildlife documentary, David Attenborough examines the various duels that occur in the animal world. From Zebras in the Serengeti to moose in Alaska, it’s important for animals to choose their battles wisely.

Ep 9: Friends and Rivals
David Attenborough examines how recognizing friends is vital in the animal kingdom.

In the animal kingdom, recognizing friends and respecting the power of rivals is vital. In this intriguing wildlife documentary, David Attenborough examines the importance of these relationships. For baboons, it’s not how big they are, but who they know that counts. Chickens need to know their place in the farmyard pecking-order while vampire bats share their grisly meals of blood.

Ep 10: Talking to Strangers
David Attenborough examines the importance of communication in the animal kingdom.

From the love song of fish which keeps people awake in San Francisco Bay to the world’s loudest birds that scream through the rainforest, animal communication takes on many forms. David Attenborough takes a global look at these various methods in this compelling wildlife documentary. He discovers that not only what they say, but the way they say it, is vital in the natural world.

Ep 11: Courting
As David Attenborough discovers, animals use a vast array of techniques to find a mate.

Animals have developed lots of techniques for impressing potential mates. Singing, offering presents, showing off their strength and beauty are all used. And it is no use being shy if you want to attract the opposite sex. In this revealing wildlife documentary, David Attenborough examines the vast array of techniques animals must use if they are to have a successful courtship and become a parent.

Ep 12: Continuing the Line
A look at the many and varied ways that animals ensure their genes are passed on.

When it comes to sex, there seem to be no fixed rules in the animal world. Creatures will go to any lengths, it seems, to make babies. To continue the line is the final trial, and the ultimate triumph. In this exceptional wildlife documentary, David Attenborough looks at the many and varied ways that animals ensure their genes are passed to the next generation.

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