Wednesday 24 Sep 2014
Humans are the only animals that have managed to adapt to life in every habitat on Earth. From oceans to jungles, the poles to the deserts, Human Planet explores man's incredible ability to survive in the most extreme environments.
Three years in the making, the series travels to the far-flung corners of the globe – the team visited more than 70 filming locations – to bring the most diverse, original and, in some cases, never-before-seen stories of human endeavour to BBC One.
The series is narrated by John Hurt and features original music by world-renowned composer Nitin Sawhney.
Oceans: Into The Blue explores the extraordinary adaptability and ingenuity that enables humans to survive in the marine environment, combined with the profound effect living by the sea has had on our cultures.
In Northern Spain fishermen risk life and limb collecting highly valued goose barnacles – pounded by the Atlantic waves, they abseil down cliffs to reach their prize, which will fetch more than €200 a kilo at market. In Indonesia subsistence whalers from the village of Lamalera are also after a marine bounty – a huge sperm whale. Using bamboo harpoons, in their wooden boats, the men take on the whale in an almighty battle of wits and skill. If they succeed, their village will have food for months.
The fishermen of Laguna in Brazil have learned to harness the ocean's natural resources. Working in skilful harmony with dolphins, many of which they know by name, they are able to increase their seasonal harvest of mullet. In the distant islands off Papua New Guinea, "shark-caller" Blais – one of the last of his kind – also works with nature to use his ancient spiritual skills to hunt sharks.
In the coral seas surrounding the Philippines a crew of Paaling fishermen take their lives in their hands in a highly dangerous mass fishing technique. In this overfished area, diving to depths of over 40m is the only way to catch enough fish for the village. A generator, with its intricate web of hose pipes, provides the only air supply for the young divers below, who risk the all-too-lethal effects of the bends.
Few people in the world have such an intimate relationship with the sea as the elusive Bajau Laut sea gypsies who spend most of their lives afloat. Rarely visiting the mainland, the Bajau Laut live in stilt huts over the coral reefs and on houseboats; some of them still have an incredible ability to hunt underwater holding their breath. Human Planet follows one Bajau spear fisherman, called Sulbin, as he defies the usual laws of nature with an incredible underwater hunt, 20m down, lasting two-and-a-half minutes.
The Behind The Lens segment features the compelling stories of the Paaling fishermen.
Dale Templar, series producer for Human Planet says: "Filming in HD is an incredible challenge for documentary programme-makers. Human Planet was particularly difficult because our team had to operate the sensitive HD cameras in some of the most challenging and remote locations on the planet.
"The superb picture quality of HD demands means that finding perfect focus is critical to the camera operators.
"Unlike the controlled conditions of television drama productions, we are filming real people doing real things. This is extremely demanding on the crews. Our cameramen were often working on the end of a camera lens, in far from perfect light conditions, using a black and white view finder, which makes focusing a nightmare. Often there is no room for error, no option of a 'Take 2!'
"We don't get to see the footage in full HD quality until late on in the post-production process. We have to go through every shot with a fine-tooth comb. What we end up producing for the BBC HD channel is truly magnificent. Human Planet is filmed in the most stunning locations on Earth with the most amazing people and animals. The pictures jump off the screen, almost like 3D, transporting the audience to these extraordinary places."
On BBC Radio 3, Music Planet, a companion series featuring some of the music from Human Planet's locations, is presented by Andy Kershaw and Lucy Duran.
Human Planet is simulcast on BBC One HD on Freesat channel 108, Freeview channel 50, Sky channel 143 and Virgin Media channel 108.
BBC One's popular winter-warmer Lark Rise To Candleford returns for a fourth series, teeming with its usual wit, intrigue and romance. Its vividly drawn, much-loved characters continue to delight and entertain.
The series opens with the arrival of Gabriel Cochrane, played by Richard Harrington, and sees the return of Dawn French's character, Caroline Arless, later in the run.
Gabriel is the handsome and once-wealthy owner of a large iron foundry. But after the bankruptcy of his business and the death of his new wife, Gabriel finds himself both penniless and homeless. Moved by his plight, Dorcas offers him a job as a blacksmith, and a room above the forge. But both she and Gabriel know that the solution is only temporary. Gabriel is determined to regain his wealth and position and bring down the banker, Steerforth, who he believes acted illegally and unethically in repossessing his home and business.
Over in Lark Rise, Emma is thrilled to receive a postal order from Robert, who is away working in Oxford. The hard-earned money will settle her many unpaid bills. She sends Edmund to Candleford to cash the postal order, and although it is a breach of procedure, Dorcas agrees to allow him to collect the money in place of Emma. That night, on his way home to Lark Rise, Edmund is robbed and arrives home to deliver the devastating news that all the money is gone. How will Emma manage with five mouths to feed and no money coming in? And when she discovers the truth behind the robbery, she is faced with an agonising dilemma.
Pearl Pratt, meanwhile, is delighted to have her beloved sister Ruby back home. Her romance with the Pontefract undertaker is apparently over – Ruby dissolves into tears at the mere mention of his name, but will not say what has happened. While Ruby has been away, Daniel has settled in nicely at the Pratts, and Pearl is spoiling him rotten with steam puddings and starched collars. Ruby resents being usurped by Daniel, but Pearl is oblivious and lavishes all her attention on him.
Dorcas feels utterly responsible for the robbery, and resolves never to meddle again – something which Minnie points out will be very hard for her. So when she hears from Steerforth that Gabriel's business and home are up for auction and that Gabriel's story of the bank's wrongdoing is not as simple as it appears, she has to fight the urge to get involved. But when an intervention with Ruby helps her friend come to terms with her doomed love affair, Dorcas finds that her involvement is more appreciated than she thought.
When Gabriel announces his plans to disrupt the auction of his foundry by publicly denouncing Steerforth, risking the ruin of his own reputation and future, she decides to try to help Gabriel face his demons and accept his own part in his downfall.
Gabriel, though, seems deaf to her pleas for sanity, so when the day of the auction arrives and Gabriel is nowhere to be found, Dorcas fears the worst and races to try to stop him carrying out his disastrous plan. But will she succeed, and will Gabriel embrace a new life in Candleford?
Richard Harrington plays Gabriel Cochrane, Julia Sawalha plays Dorcas Lane, Paul Ritter plays Mr Steerforth, Claudie Blakley plays Emma Timmins, Thomas Rhys Jones plays Edmund Timmins, Matilda Ziegler plays Pearl Pratt, Victoria Hamilton plays Ruby Pratt and Ben Aldridge plays Daniel Parish. The cast also includes Olivia Hallinan as Laura Timmins.
Lark Rise To Candleford is simulcast on BBC One HD on Freesat channel 108, Freeview channel 50, Sky channel 143 and Virgin Media channel 108.
For Michel Roux great service matters as much as great food. He believes waiters and sommeliers are the unsung stars of the restaurant world and their brilliance transforms an ordinary meal into an unforgettable experience.
In this new series, Michel is on a personal mission to train eight young people, none of whom have previously considered this as a career, to become front-of-house superstars. But this isn't just about transforming these young people into great waiters; good service requires manners, discipline and self-confidence.
In episode one, viewers meet the eight young trainees who are set to learn the skills needed to run service in some of Europe's best restaurants. Ranging from an ex-school dinner lady to a history graduate and a young mum, they are all eager to improve their prospects and try something new. The two successful trainees will land a six-month scholarship with two of London's top hotels – so there is everything to play for.
But the road to success is not easy and the discipline starts when Michel introduces his right-hand man and leading restaurant manager, Fred Sireix. Fred teaches the trainees about Michelin-star dining, explaining how service should be run: waiters are like ghosts – neither seen nor heard. However, the luxurious treatment does not last long as the trainees soon find themselves taking full control of service in a high-street restaurant.
From learning the very basics, from carrying plates to greeting customers, the trainees get their first taste of service and the demands that come with that. As they serve more than 100 customers on Saturday night, Michel gets to see just what his new recruits are made of.
Michel Roux continues his mission to take eight young people who have never considered a career in restaurants and put them front of house, and prove to them that it is an industry that can change their lives.
In just two months he wants to take his trainees from the high street to the high end – learning skills that will enable them to take over service at his own two Michelin-starred restaurant. Ultimately, Michel will choose then best two trainees and award them life-changing scholarships, launching their careers in the business.
Michel wants his trainees to learn an essential quality for any top maitre D; how to keep customers returning again and again. It's not just Michelin-starred restaurants that rely on repeat customers. Knowing that regulars are the life-blood of their business, the best family-run cafes provide friendly, attentive service. So Michel takes his trainees to run the busy breakfast service at one of London's oldest greasy spoon cafes. The pace might be frenetic but the regular customers keep returning because the service is so friendly and efficient. Then it's off to Birmingham, to an award-winning curry house, where owner Raj Rana follows the old Indian mantra that the "guest is god". Serving more than 60 of the restaurants regulars, can Michel's trainees provide the standard of service they have come to expect?
"We are not just sending out cold food, we are sending out the wrong food, and I am seriously worried," says a stressed Raj. But with Michel's help, can the trainees come together and win Raj's regulars over?
Working in the thick of the service industry shows the trainees the amount of hard work and long hours required. Michel expects maximum dedication from his trainees and, in this episode, viewers see some of them struggling to fully commit themselves.
Michel Roux's Service is simulcast on the award-winning BBC HD channel – the BBC's High Definition channel, available through Freesat channel 109, Freeview channel 54, Sky channel 169 and Virgin Media channel 187.
Lorraine Pascale, who quit the catwalk to become a top chef, baker and patissier, makes her TV debut in Baking Made Easy. Sharing her kitchen secrets, professional know-how and sheer passion for food, Lorraine believes: "Baking is about keeping it simple."
After quitting modelling, Lorraine trained as a chef and has worked in some of the best restaurants in London. She's also a mother, a food writer and a businesswoman. Her series focuses on modern baking and the recipes cover anything cooked in the oven – both sweet and savoury.
She kicks off with one of the simplest and fastest things you can bake – parmesan and poppy seed lollipops; they're canapés to die for and a feat of baking engineering. Next there's soda bread; no kneading, no rising, no effort – fresh bread doesn't get easier than this.
Lorraine conjures up a classic French patisserie – blueberry and lemon millefeuille – with a mixture of insider savvy and great shortcuts. "You're going to make a lot of friends with this dessert," says Lorraine.
She shares her basic recipe for shortcrust pastry. It's buttery, crumbly, and fantastic as a pastry case for an impressive fig, cream cheese and mint tart, which goes down a storm as the centre piece at a lunch for friends.
And finally Lorraine does some online shopping to bake a show-stopper cake for a friend's party; it's chocolatey, stunning to look at, delicious to eat and, what's more, easy to make. Lorraine comments: "When you see a cake like this in the shops or magazines you never think you'll be able to make a cake like it – but now you can."
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