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Episode 4 of 10

Nature documentary looking at the fish that dominate the planet's waters through their variety of shapes and behaviours, some like creatures from a fairytale.

Fish dominate the planet's waters through their astonishing variety of shape and behaviour.

The beautiful weedy sea dragon looks like a creature from a fairy tale, and the male protects their eggs by carrying them on his tail for months. The sarcastic fringehead, meanwhile, appears to turn its head inside out when it fights.

Slow-motion cameras show the flying fish gliding through the air like a flock of birds and capture the world's fastest swimmer, the sailfish, plucking sardines from a shoal at 70 mph. And the tiny Hawaiian goby undertakes one of nature's most daunting journeys, climbing a massive waterfall to find safe pools for breeding.

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58 minutes

Audio described

Last on

Thu 4 Feb 2021 15:45

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Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • Fish

    Opening Titles

    Duration: 00:18

  • Speed

    Speed and precision are key skills the sailfish must use if it's to catch its prey.

    Duration: 03:29

  • Creating Life

    Flying fish not only have to protect themselves, but also thousands of their eggs. Also, the male weedy sea dragon must take the female's eggs to look after.

    Duration: 09:11

  • Home

    The young convict fish seem to help their parents feed in exchange for a place to stay, and the sarcastic fringehead must fight off trespassers on his patch.

    Duration: 06:23

  • Leaving the Ocean

    Certain fish can actually leave the water; these include the mudskipper, which can breathe oxygen, and the goby, which tries to suck its way up a waterfall so it can lay eggs.

    Duration: 09:04

  • The Odd Couples

    Some fish form a bond with the unlikeliest creature and the Jack fish bothers the shark in order to get clean. Also, male clown fish must be wary of the female as well as predators.

    Duration: 10:42

  • Working as a Team

    A shoal of anchovies come together as one to outwit a sea lion and snappers try to spawn in mass numbers.

    Duration: 08:31

  • Life on Location - Fish Out of Water

    A closer look at the making of Life, including how the cameramen filmed under water with a limited amount of air whilst trying to avoid getting caught up in the action.

    Duration: 10:43


Role Contributor
Narrator David Attenborough
Producer Adam Chapman
Executive Producer Michael Gunton


  • Mon 2 Nov 2009 21:00
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  • Sun 25 Sep 2011 03:10
  • Mon 15 Jul 2019 20:00
  • Thu 4 Feb 2021 15:45

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