The WORST Episodes of BBC Documentaries
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: Aug 10, 2019
Documentaries produced by or for the BBC.
#1 - Life Begins Now
Season 2015 - Episode 179
Documentary about the last few weeks of term at Derwen College in Shropshire for six students with learning difficulties, as they prepare to graduate and enter the real world.
#2 - The Paper Thistle: 200 Years of The Scotsman
Season 2017 - Episode 12
For two centuries The Scotsman newspaper has been at the heart of the nation, uncovering corruption, skewering politicians, celebrating the arts and prepared to robustly defend its trenchant views, even at the point of a pistol. The programme tells the fascinating story of one of Britain's most famous newspapers and how over two centuries it has both reflected and shaped the nation.
#3 - China's Terracotta Army
Season 2007 - Episode 33
Dan Snow follows the making of the British Museum's biggest exhibition in a generation and tells the story of its subject, the First Emperor of China. Qin Shihuangdi is one of the most important but least well-known men in history. He founded the world's oldest political entity and created the spectacular Terracotta Army to guard his vast tomb. With exclusive access to the BM team for over a year, Dan follows the curator Jane Portal, and the design team, as they create a blockbuster exhibition in the historic Round Reading Room and he travels to China to see the original Great Wall, the sacred mountain Tai Shan, and the great necropolis at Xian with its thousands of warriors.
#4 - Is Britain Racist?
Season 2015 - Episode 229
Racism has never been more socially unacceptable in Britain - three quarters of Britons claim they have no racial prejudice whatsoever. Journalist Mona Chalabi investigates whether these statistics provide an accurate picture. To find out what is happening on Britain's streets, three reporters are sent undercover to test the public's prejudice. The results are surprising. The programme looks into people's unconscious behaviour, discovering what British people really think about their neighbours of different races and religions. And Mona puts her own beliefs under the microscope, discovering some uncomfortable truths. Finally, she asks a hugely significant question - can people be trained to lose their prejudice?
#5 - Annie Mac: Who Killed The Night?
Season 2017 - Episode 13
Almost half of the UK’s nightclubs have closed down over the past decade. In this film, broadcaster and international DJ Annie Mac investigates who is killing our nightlife. Is it property developers, the police or local councils who are contributing to the decline? Or is it just the fact young people are changing the way they go about partying, with the advent of all-day parties, illegal raves and the internet?
#6 - Xtreme Teen Drivers
Season 2007 - Episode 48
With cameras in the car of a boy racer, the programme sets him the ultimate challenge - can he change from reckless speed freak into a model motorist before he kills himself?
#7 - Rhod Gilbert vs Kilimanjaro
Season 2014 - Episode 270
Rhod Gilbert faces the toughest challenge of his life when he attempts to climb Kilimanjaro. Together with celebrities, comedians and fundraisers, Rhod sets out into some of the worst weather conditions experienced on the infamous African mountain. Rhod attempts to overcome a chronic lack of fitness to complete the challenge, while shooting his own film of this extraordinary adventure.
#8 - Muslim Beauty Pageant and Me
Season 2015 - Episode 80
Dina Torkia has a huge following for her vlog about Muslim fashion and now she is heading to Indonesia for the finals of an international Muslim beauty pageant, World Muslimah. But Dina soon discovers it isn't just a pageant - it's a two-week boot camp where contestants have to prove their credentials as a good Muslim role model. It's a testing and often hilarious journey which pushes Dina to the limit.
#9 - Britain's Biggest Sexists?
Season 2015 - Episode 254
From bankers to football managers, from toymakers to uni lads, accusations of sexism in British life come thick and fast. Now, using comedy clips, viral videos and stunts on the street, journalist Leah Green takes us on a tour of some of the most notorious examples. To judge the winner, she has recruited a panel of comedians who will choose their favourite, the ultimate winner of the title Britain's Biggest Sexist.
#10 - The Big Crash Diet Experiment
Season 2018 - Episode 113
Crash diets have long had a bad reputation, but some experts say it's time to think again about the black sheep of the dieting world. Dr Javid Abdelmoneim teams up with some of Britain's top scientists in a bold new experiment that puts the latest research on crash dieting to the test. Four obese volunteers with serious weight-related health issues, including type 2 diabetes, go on an extreme weight-loss programme and give up real food, surviving on a very low calorie soups-and-shakes diet. Will they lose weight in the long run and turn around their health problems? If it works, this radical approach to weight loss could help millions, save the NHS billions of pounds and revolutionise the way we diet.
#11 - Addicted to Boob Jobs
Season 2008 - Episode 10
Fashion journalist Louise Roe goes on a journey to discover why women have boob jobs not just once but, in some cases, again and again. She meets four women in their twenties who have gone under the knife to get the perfect pair of boobs.
#12 - Page Three Teens
Season 2008 - Episode 11
Documentary following Chelsea White, a teenager considering a career as a Page 3 girl. She began modelling when she was six but at 17 is too old to be a teenage model and too small for the catwalk. Inspired by Kelly Brook and Jordan believing topless modelling is a fast route to fame and fortune, but it is illegal to do a glamour shoot until the age of 18. For the two months leading up her birthday Chelsea goes on a journey to learn what the glamour industry is really like, seeking advice from agents, photographers and the current queen of glamour, Keeley Hazell, on whether or not she should bare all.
#13 - Nixon in the Den
Season 2010 - Episode 34
David Reynolds takes a fresh look at the controversial career and embattled presidency of Richard Nixon. Reynolds sees Nixon as a successful international statesman, but that the methods that won him this acclaim also doomed his presidency in the Watergate scandal. Using memos, audio and home movie footage, the film throws new light on Nixon's secrecy, deception and mistrust of aides, as he ran his presidency largely from his 'den' - a hideaway office across the road from the White House.
#14 - India's Hospital Train
Season 2009 - Episode 65
The story of a special train, the Lifeline Express. It is known as the Magic Train. With two state-of-the-art operating theatres, recovery rooms, offices and accommodation, each project requires a team of volunteer doctors, surgeons and nurses to give their services for free. For four weeks, cameras follow the Mandsor project as operations are carried out on poor rural people while the train is standing in a station in the middle of India.
#15 - Amish: A Secret Life
Season 2012 - Episode 158
An intimate portrait of Amish family life and faith - this film opens up a world usually kept private. Miriam and David are Old Order Amish and photography is not permitted under the strict rules of the Amish church. So when they agree to open their home and their lives to the cameras, they embark on a journey which is not without risk. As the film unfolds, we learn exactly what is at stake for this family - and why they wanted to share their lives and risk all.
#16 - Churchill: The Nation's Farewell
Season 2015 - Episode 18
On the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill's death, Jeremy Paxman tells the story of the send-off which Britain gave to the man who led the country to victory in the Second World War. More than a million people came to line the streets of London on the freezing day in late January to pay their respects as his coffin was taken from the lying-in-state at Westminster to St Paul's Cathedral. Millions more watched the state funeral on television. Churchill was the only commoner in the twentieth century to receive the honour of such a magnificent ceremony. In the programme, Jeremy explores whether Churchill's immense legacy still has relevance today and meets a wide range of people who were involved in the events of that day, from soldiers who bore the coffin, to members of Churchill's close family. He hears from Boris Johnson, author of a new book on Churchill, and from a London docker who remembers that some of the dock workers had misgivings about saluting the passing coffin with their cranes as it passed down the Thames on a launch after the ceremony at St Paul's - one of the most memorable moments of that extraordinary day. The funeral ended at the village churchyard of Bladon where Churchill was laid to rest alongside his father, Randolph. At the close of the film, Jeremy reflects that no statesman has come close to rivalling Winston Churchill in the half a century since our nation mourned his passing.
#17 - Professor Green: Suicide and Me
Season 2015 - Episode 246
Rapper Professor Green takes an intensely personal journey to uncover the truth behind the suicide of his father - and why suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.
#18 - The Passengers That Took on the Train Line
Season 2017 - Episode 149
In 2016, with the contract for Southeastern trains due to expire in six months, a group of dissatisfied but determined passengers come together to try to take a railway franchise into their own hands. Jacques Peretti follows the group as they set about executing their revolutionary plan. Is their dream far-fetched, or will the Department for Transport, looking for fresh ideas, see this new passenger-run company as a viable option for the franchise?
#19 - The Teens Taking On Deliveroo
Season 2017 - Episode 269
As Britain's gig economy continues to grow and employ more young people, two teenagers decide to challenge the practices of one of the biggest takeaway delivery companies in the sector
#20 - The Brexit Storm: Laura Kuenssberg's Inside Story
Season 2019 - Episode 54
Over nine tumultuous months, BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg takes us inside the most extraordinary political story of our time – Brexit.
#21 - Grace Jones - Bloodlight and Bami
Season 2019 - Episode 125
Documentary film-maker Sophie Fiennes follows the star Grace Jones behind the scenes - in the recording studio, backstage and at home with her extended family in Jamaica - and intersperses this candid, revealing footage with live performances by Jones. Still an iconic, uncompromising performer, Jones uses all her legendary stagecraft to perform classic hits like Pull Up to the Bumper and Slave to the Rhythm, alongside newer material like Williams Blood. Alongside the intimate scenes of Jones backstage and discussing her past with her family, the film gives a real sense of what made her the artist and performer she is.
#22 - Moscow 1980: The Cold War Olympics
Season 2013 - Episode 166
Back in 1980, a teenage Steve Cram was part of a team of British athletes who defied their government to go behind the iron curtain and compete in the Olympic Games. Steve Cram returns to the Russian capital to relive the story of the most controversial Olympics of modern times. An Olympics boycotted by the United States because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and blighted by allegations of cheating and state sponsored doping. But these were also the games of Daley Thompson, Duncan Goodhew, Alan Wells and the incredible rivalry between Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett. It's a fascinating story in which we hear how the games that threatened the very existence of the Olympic movement actually changed it for the better and, decades later, provided an unexpected bonus for the whole of British sport.
#23 - The Pharaoh Who Conquered the Sea
Season 2010 - Episode 2
Over three thousand years ago, legend has it that Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt's first female pharaoh, sent a fleet of ships to the wonderful, distant land of Punt. A bas-relief in the temple where she is entombed in Luxor shows them bringing back extraordinary treasures. But did this expedition really happen? And if it did, where exactly is the land of Punt? Drawing upon recent finds, the archaeologist Cheryl Ward sets out to recreate the voyage, in a full-size replica of one of these ancient ships, sailing it in the wake of Hatshepsut's fleet, in search of the mythical land of Punt. A human adventure as well as a scientific challenge, the expedition proves that, contrary to popular belief, the ancient Egyptians had the necessary tools, science and techniques to sail the seas.
#24 - The Making of King Arthur
Season 2010 - Episode 67
Poet Simon Armitage traces the evolution of the Arthurian legend through the literature of the medieval age and reveals that King Arthur is not the great national hero he is usually considered to be. He's a fickle and transitory character who was appropriated the the Normans to justify their conquest, he was cuckolded when French writers began adapting the story and it took Thomas Malory's masterpiece of English literature, Le Mort d'Arthur, to restore dignity and reclaim him as the national hero we know today.
#25 - Television Comes to London
Season 1936 - Episode 1
Television Comes To London was first shown on the opening night of the BBC Television Service. Shot by Bill Barbrook, the film shows the activity behind the scenes in the year running up to the launch of the service. It was edited down to 15 minutes, set to an excerpt from Dvorak's New World Symphony, and transmitted through a telecine machine.