First to Last

Image for First to LastNot currently available on BBC iPlayer

Episode 2 of 4

Duration: 1 hour

In this episode, Michael Mosley shows how existence is a struggle and how, minute by minute, from your first breath to your last, your body performs countless small miracles to keep you alive.

It starts with a dramatic water birth, shot in slow motion, before a stunning graphics sequence takes us on a breathtaking journey into the heart. We see how that first, crucial breath leads to a dramatic re-plumbing of your entire circulatory system.

Michael meets remarkable people who demonstrate how well the human body adapts to extreme environments: Herbert, a world-champion free-diver, who can hold his breath in the depths of the ocean for up to nine minutes; Wim, the Ice Man, who can swim in glacial lakes so cold they would kill a normal person; and Debbie, who has lived for 10 years on a diet of crisps.

And finally we see what happens when your body finally fails; we share the last moments of Gerald, an 84-year-old, as he passes away at home with his family gathered around him.

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  • Michael Mosley on Inside The Human Body

    Michael Mosley on Inside The Human Body

    "It's a series I greatly enjoyed making, partly because of the people in it like Gerald, partly because I learnt so much about the workings of my own body."

    Read and comment on Michael's post on the BBC TV blog
  • Press Red to learn about the making of the series

    Press Red to learn about the making of the series

    Produced as an accompaniment to the linear "Inside the Human Body" programme, this is the fascinating story of how the production team behind the 4-part series brought together the latest scientific research and the most innovative computer technology to create never-before-seen worlds for this BBC One landmark series.

    The second episode 'First to Last', shows how the team set about illustrating the magic moment when your heart first began to beat, just 3 weeks after conception, and how they had to apply some artistic licence so they could take the viewer on a journey inside the miniature world of your blood vessels.

    Press Red after each programme
    Thu 12th May

    Watch the red button footage about the making of episode two
  • Web Exclusive - An incredible CGI journey through the digestive system

    Web Exclusive - An incredible CGI journey through the digestive system

    Most of us eat several times a day, but how does our digestive system actually extract energy and nutrients from this food?

    Watch this exclusive clip
  • Water Birth

    Water Birth

    The beautiful Water Birth showing April giving birth to baby Tyrese was filmed at Lewisham Birth Centre, Lewisham High St, London.

  • Free Diver - Herbert Nitsch

    Free Diver - Herbert Nitsch

    Free Diver Herbert Nitsch can hold his breath underwater for a whopping nine minutes. He was filmed at an annual free diving competition at Dean’s Blue Hole, Clarence Town, Long Island, Bahamas.

    Dean's blue hole - Bahamas
  • Surgery to Remove dead pacemaker cells

    Surgery to Remove dead pacemaker cells

    Katlyn Hagan's heart surgery to remove her dead pacemaker cells took place at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 34th Street, Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104-4399.

  • Only crisps for 10 years

    Only crisps for 10 years

    Debbie Taylor has eaten barely anything other than beef flavoured crisps for more than ten years no matter what the occasion.

    Watch the video clip: Crisps for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • fire-fighter training

    fire-fighter training

    The stunning slow-motion fire-fighter training sequence was filmed at The Refinery Terminal Fire Company in Corpus Christi, Texas, 78469

    Elite firefighters’ secret to survival
  • Reptile at Bristol Zoo

    Reptile at Bristol Zoo

    Michael Mosley PTC holding a reptile at Bristol Zoo Gardens, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 3HA.

    Bristol Zoo
  • Wim Hof the Iceman

    Wim Hof the Iceman

    Wim Hof the Iceman can comfortably survive the coldest of temperatures. He was filmed swimming in ice cold waters at Glacier Lagoon, Skaftafell, Iceland

    Video Clip: The Ice Man takes a cold dip


Michael Mosley
Michael Mosley
Annabel Gillings
Annabel Gillings
Executive Producer
Andrew Cohen
Executive Producer
Andrew Cohen
Annabel Gillings
Annabel Gillings


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