The Best Episodes Directed by Annabel Gillings
#1 - Fukushima: Is Nuclear Power Safe?
Horizon Season 2011 - Episode 14
Six months after the explosions at the Fukushima nuclear plant and the release of radiation there, Professor Jim Al-Khalili sets out to discover whether nuclear power is safe. He begins in Japan, where he meets some of the tens of thousands of people who have been evacuated from the exclusion zone. He travels to an abandoned village just outside the zone to witness a nuclear clean-up operation. Jim draws on the latest scientific findings from Japan and from the previous explosion at Chernobyl to understand how dangerous the release of radiation is likely to be and what that means for our trust in nuclear power.
#2 - First to Last
Inside the Human Body Season 1 - Episode 2
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.
#3 - Australia
Rise of the Continents Season 1 - Episode 2
This episode shows how Australia's journey as a continent has affected everything from Aboriginal history to modern day mining, and also the evolution of Australia's unique wildlife. Iain visits an opal mining town called Coober Pedy to recreate the breakup of Gondwana, and to also show how Australia's formation led to the creation of a vast underground aquifer. The episode also features cliffs of the Australian Bight which are a reminder to the times when Australia was once joined to Antarctica.
#4 - Water
How Earth Made Us Season 1 - Episode 2
Professor Iain Stewart continues his epic exploration of how the planet has shaped human history. Visiting spectacular locations in Iceland, the Middle East and India, Iain shows how control over water has been central to human existence. He takes a precarious flight in a motorised paraglider to experience the cycle of freshwater that we depend on, discovers how villagers in the foothills of the Himalayas have built a living bridge to cope with the monsoon, and visits Egypt to reveal the secret of the pharaohs' success. Throughout history, success has depended on our ability to adapt to and control constantly shifting sources of water.
#5 - Atmosphere
Earth: The Power of the Planet Season 1 - Episode 2
Iain travels into the stratosphere in a Cold War fighter, gets his eyebrows singed in Siberia and discovers why Argentina is one of the stormiest places on Earth. All to show why our atmosphere is unique and utterly crucial for life.
#6 - Why Are We Here?
Human Universe Season 1 - Episode 2
Brian Cox reveals how the wonderful complexity of nature and human life is simply the consequence of chance events constrained by the laws of physics that govern our universe. But this leads him to a deeper question - why does our universe seem to have been set up with just the right rules to create us? In a dizzying conclusion Brian unpicks this question, revealing the very latest understanding of how the universe came to be this way, and in doing so offers a radical new answer to why we are here.