Thursday 19 Dec 2013
On Thin Ice
Following their epic row across the Atlantic, James Cracknell and Ben Fogle undertake another huge perilous feat of endurance – a race to the South Pole, the first organised race since Scott's and Amundsen's fateful attempt 100 years ago.
The adventurous duo, along with a third team mate, Dr Ed Coats, underwent more than 12 months of specialist training to prepare for one of the most arduous and dangerous competitions in the world.
On 4 January 2009, six international teams crossed the start line with only one mission in mind – to race 470 miles to the geographic South Pole. Ski-pulling 200lb pulks (sleds) across arguably the most hostile environment in the world and facing potentially the strongest winds and the coldest temperatures on the planet was a survival feat in itself.
This is the team's story, following their journey through the highs and lows and the emotional maelstrom they had to conquer daily.
The Price Of Life
On a finite budget, the National Health Service can't afford to offer patients every treatment on the market. In The Price Of Life, BBC Two has secured exclusive access to the process by which the NHS decides which drug treatments it can afford to offer to patients and which fail to meet the complex standards it sets.
So how do doctors choose which patients should be the winners – and which should be the losers?
Award-winning documentary maker Adam Wishart follows the people responsible for making these incredibly difficult decisions, and the people whose lives depend on the outcome. The programme focuses on life-saving cancer drug Revlamid, asking how the treatment will be funded if it is approved for use on the NHS and whether this will involve cuts to other services.
The very human conflicts that arise between the many parties involved open up for debate a bigger moral question – how much is life worth, and how much should society pay?
With an address book full of top scientists, a collection of trusty experiments and her inimitable brand of interrogation, Professor Lesley Regan sets out to reveal the scientific truth behind the marketing gimmicks.
In Professor Regan's Diet Clinic, the weight loss industry comes under scrutiny as she sorts through the fads and fashions of diet pills, food labelling, low fat cuisine and vitamins.
In Professor Regan's Pharmacy, Lesley uses her insider knowledge to discover the best way to stock medicine cabinets.
In Professor Regan's Nursery, Lesley turns her attention to the ultimate sales tool – parental guilt. Pushing aside emotive marketing, she takes a definitive look at whether nursery and children's products meet her stringent standards.
And in the concluding episode of the four-part series, Professor Regan's Health Spa, she gets under the skin of the non-surgical products that promise to keep people young forever, and finds out whether it is time to start ageing gracefully.
From painkillers to cereals, Professor Regan shows how to look beyond the scientific marketing spin.
As house prices continue to fall across the UK, the bubble has burst on the great British assumption that a home is the safest investment.
Kate Silverton, Justin Rowlatt and Andrew Verity present a four-part series looking at how the changing tide of the property market is affecting lives and the nation's obsession with bricks and mortar.
Building on case studies from his series, The Truth About Property, Andrew will be out and about in his camper van, hearing stories from the winners and losers on the housing market rollercoaster.
And from their base in Manchester, Kate and Justin will try to answer the questions that everybody is asking – how much lower can prices go; is it possible to beat the falling market; is the public falling out of love with property ownership; and is boom and bust inevitable?
An embittered one-handed clown; a desperately misguided midwife; a lovestruck telekinetic dwarf; a blind avaricious collector; and a serial-killer-obsessed man-child... five seemingly unconnected characters share one thing in common.
Despite coming from different parts of the country and having different backgrounds and interests, each one has been sent an anonymous, black-edged card bearing the chilling message: "I know what you did..."
Having created the kind of northern town that nightmares are made of, The League Of Gentlemen's Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton return to BBC Two with a spine-tingling, jaw-dropping, thrilling comedy serial. Like the best whodunnits, each episode draws viewers deeper and deeper into the kind of world that only Reece and Steve could dream up.
Joining them in Psychoville is a rich mix of talent, including Dawn French, Eileen Atkins, Nicholas Le Prevost, David Bamber, Janet McTeer, Christopher Biggins, Daisy Haggard, Debbie Chazen, Daniel Kaluuya and Adrian Scarborough.
The world of Psychoville is expanded via an online experience, specially written by the show's creators Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith. Principal characters will be supported by their own websites, exclusive videos and extra comedy, while users get the chance to interact with the mystery blackmailer.
In a series from the Money Programme a remarkable cast of BBC Two's leading presenters explain how and why this recession is fundamentally changing Britain.
The economy is shrinking faster and further than at any time in the last 30 years. Every day brings a roll-call of closures of household names and lost jobs. By this summer, Britain will be a very different place in which to live and work.
In a special five-part series, the Money Programme will tackle different areas of the UK's changing economy – Mary Portas looks at the high street, Newsnight's Paul Mason examines employment, Sir Gerry Robinson tackles manufacturing and the motor industry and Gregg Wallace examines how the recession affects the purchase and consumption of food.
The series will explain the back story of each sector, putting it in a wider context and looking at the future and possible solutions.
One ocean, 20,000 islands, a quarter of the water on Earth, South Pacific is the ultimate portrait of life in the world's largest ocean. Over six episodes, this landmark series explores the isolation of its islands, the extraordinary journeys wildlife and humans have taken to reach these specks of land and what happened to both after their arrival.
The words "South Pacific" conjure up images of blue water, swaying palm trees and idyllic beaches, but that is only part of the story.
Witness the power of undersea volcanoes as they attempt to form new islands; tiger sharks snatching newly fledged albatross chicks; and bizarre human rituals that involve jumping from 20-metre high wooden scaffolds with only forest vines to break their falls.
Living in splendid isolation has created a strange and constantly surprising world inhabited by flesh-eating caterpillars; giant crabs capable of opening coconuts; vampire bugs with antifreeze in their veins; and many other unique animals like kakapos, kagoos and monkey tailed skinks, all found nowhere else on Earth.
BBC Front Desk Publicity
New presenter Chris Packham joins Simon King and Kate Humble as Springwatch returns for another three-week celebration of UK wildlife – live and interactive from across the country.
Kate and Chris will be at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve in Norfolk, watching a host of those famous Springwatch live nest cameras. Simon this time heads for Wales, where he will be hoping to track down such elusive creatures as the polecat and the leatherback turtle, as well as planning to spend a night alone in Snowdonia.
Wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan, meanwhile, goes on the badger trail to Essex, providing a fascinating insight into one of Britain's favourite mammals.
Switching from behind-the-scenes work as a Springwatch producer to a new presenting role, Martin Hughes-Games looks at ways to turn a UK summer holiday into a wildlife holiday.
BBC Two will also broadcast three one-hour themed specials in the week following the live event.
BBC Front Desk Publicity
The Supersizers Eat...
Giles Coren and Sue Perkins return to explore six further eras of gluttony, gastronomy and gorgeous food.
This time they eat their way through typical menus from the Fifties, Marie-Antoinette's Versailles, Medieval England, Eighties London, the Roaring Twenties and the Romans in Rome and Britain.
Once again resplendent in the period costumes of the day – be it shoulder pads, togas, chainmail, wimples or cloche hat and flapper dress – they experience the highs and lows of culinary history and adopt the etiquette, social habits and more of each era in their own highly individual way.
Whether it is nouvelle cuisine or microwave food from the Eighties, or the fantastical medieval creation cockentrice, this is a compelling and comic look at what our ancestors really ate and how they behaved.
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