The BEST episodes of Natural World

Every episode of Natural World ever, ranked from best to worst by thousands of votes from fans of the show. The best episodes of Natural World!

Expeditions that take the viewer far away from the urban jungle to present the life of animals that live in the real jungle.

Last Updated: 12/17/2023Network: BBC TwoStatus: Ended
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Victoria Falls - The Smoke that Thunders
star
10.00
28 votes

#1 - Victoria Falls - The Smoke that Thunders

Season 28 - Episode 2 - Aired 11/4/2009

Wildlife documentary. A tale of life on the Zambezi River, set against the epic backdrop of Victoria Falls. The story is told from the point of view of a local fisherman, Mr White, who has fished these waters for 69 years, and whose riverside companions are elephants, baboons, hippos and kingfishers. Follow the fortunes of these animals through his eyes, and learn how their lives are ruled by the moods of the river and the rains.

Directors: Jamie McPherson
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Birds of Paradox
star
10.00
1 votes

#2 - Birds of Paradox

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired 12/4/1983

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Miracle in the Marshes of Iraq
star
10.00
2 votes

#3 - Miracle in the Marshes of Iraq

Season 29 - Episode 9 - Aired 1/18/2011

It's the largest and most ambitious habitat recreation project ever known: to bring back to life one of the world's greatest marshlands. And it's happening in Iraq. Considered to be the original Garden of Eden, the marshes were once Iraq's wildlife jewel, where man and nature thrived for 5,000 years. But in the 1990s, Saddam Hussein drained these gigantic wetlands and turned them into a desert, destroying a home to thousands of people and millions of birds. Donning his body armour, filmmaker David Johnson travels to the Mesopotamian Marshes to follow the work of Azzam Alwash, the visionary Iraqi engineer at the centre of this extraordinary scheme to re-flood hundreds of miles of desert and bring back life to the sands. This is a view of Iraq the world never sees, a world of huge reed beds and vast flocks of birds that fill the sky. But nothing ever quite goes to plan in Iraq.

Directors: David Johnson
Sea Otters - a Million Dollar Baby
star
10.00
2 votes

#4 - Sea Otters - a Million Dollar Baby

Season 29 - Episode 3 - Aired 8/12/2010

The trials and tribulations of a sea otter pup growing up on the coast of California. The Californian Sea Otter is one of the rarest, and cutest, animals in the world. So when a sea otter mum decides to have her pup amongst the yachts of a millionaires' marina it is a unique event. The mum must teach her baby how to dodge the boats and find the food in this busy harbour. However the arrival of a tough male sea otter signals disaster for the family. When mum is attacked, the poor pup is left on her own and must fight for survival.

Directors: Emma Napper
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Hokkaido: Garden of the Gods
star
10.00
1 votes

#5 - Hokkaido: Garden of the Gods

Season 18 - Episode 2 - Aired 10/10/1999

A look at the unique wildlife of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, and the island's few remaining members of the ancient Ainu race, who see all animals as sacred. Swept by winds from the high Arctic, Hokkaido is an island of towering volcanos and fairytale forests, where cranes perform dances in the snow, brown bears plunge for salmon in rivers and eagles plunder the spoils from winter fishing fleets. The unique wildlife of Hokkaido has long been worshipped by an ancient race of hunter-gatherers, called Ainu, a few of whom still survive among modern Japanese. Even today, they honour the natural world around them through ritualised dance and prayer.

Directors: Patrick Morris
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Sperm Whales: Back From the Abyss
star
10.00
28 votes

#6 - Sperm Whales: Back From the Abyss

Season 15 - Episode 1 - Aired 10/6/1996

Wildlife film about sperm whales, revealing the secret lives led by these often misunderstood ocean giants. Scientists all over the world are now learning about the secret lives of sperm whales, the world's largest hunters that spawned the legendy of Moby Dick. Although Mellville painted them as fearsome beasts of the sea, they are actually shy creatures, and cameraman Rick Rosenthal needed patience and persistence to film them at close quarters. They turn out to be efficient hunters with a close family network involving sophisticated and vocal social lives.

Directors: Rick Rosenthal
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Cassowaries
star
10.00
1 votes

#7 - Cassowaries

Season 27 - Episode 13 - Aired 2/19/2009

This film follows the dramatic attempts to save these endangered giant birds, and reveals their fascinating natural history for the first time. Narrated by David Attenborough.

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The Bear Man of Kamchatka
star
10.00
1 votes

#8 - The Bear Man of Kamchatka

Season 25 - Episode 4 - Aired 11/8/2006

The incredible story of Charlie Russell - the man who has devoted his life to the grizzly bears of the Kamchatka Peninsula. The Russian mafia killed Charlie's beloved bears but now he's back with four new cubs and he's trying to prove that Russia can live with its grizzlies. This film follows Charlie as he restarts the project, spending nine months living with the orphaned cubs as they become increasingly independent and make the crucial transition to the wild. But will he be able to keep them safe from other grizzlies and the ever-present threat of poachers?

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Lobo: The Wolf that Changed America
star
10.00
28 votes

#9 - Lobo: The Wolf that Changed America

Season 26 - Episode 10 - Aired 4/2/2008

Ernest Thompson Seton rode into the wilds of New Mexico just before the turn of the century to kill a wolf named Lobo. The book he wrote inspired many generations of naturalists.

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A Killer Whale Called Luna
star
10.00
28 votes

#10 - A Killer Whale Called Luna

Season 28 - Episode 13 - Aired 2/24/2010

This is the emotional story of one young killer whale's quest for companionship after he was separated from his family. Luna was just two years old when, alone and confused, he found himself on the rugged, wild coast of Vancouver Island. Following his tumultuous life, the film records the human friendships he developed and the trouble this led him into. From death threats, to numerous capture attempts by the government, the film-makers watched as people tried to determine his fate. Luna shows us how quickly our lives can once again cross with the natural world.

Directors: Suzanne Chisholm
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The Year Of The Rat
star
10.00
1 votes

#11 - The Year Of The Rat

Season 3 - Episode 13 - Aired 2/3/1985

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Among The Wild Chimpanzees
star
10.00
1 votes

#12 - Among The Wild Chimpanzees

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired 11/4/1984

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Komodo - Secrets of the Dragon
star
9.97
30 votes

#13 - Komodo - Secrets of the Dragon

Season 30 - Episode 4 - Aired 8/24/2011

The Komodo dragon was discovered one hundred years ago, yet the true nature of the biggest lizard in the world is only just being uncovered. Using hi-tech tools to take a fresh look at this prehistoric beast, Dr Bryan Fry discovers there is a lot more to the dragon than meets the eye - from hidden venom glands to its secret origins.

Directors: Stephen Dunleavy
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Titus: The Gorilla King
star
9.90
30 votes

#14 - Titus: The Gorilla King

Season 27 - Episode 1 - Aired 11/11/2008

Abandoned as a baby, removed from normal gorilla family life as a youngster - so profound were the misfortunes that Titus suffered in his early years that no gorilla scientist could have predicted his eventual rise to power. His moving life story is pieced together here for the first time, based on archive film and the memories of field workers who have studied the mountain gorillas since Dian Fossey's pioneering work more than 40 years ago. At 33 years of age, Titus is not just one of the most powerful Silverbacks in Rwanda's Virunga Mountains, he is possibly the most remarkable gorilla ever known. His life story is as full of drama, intrigue and tragedy as any human soap opera. Against a stunning backdrop of misty volcanic peaks cloaked in bamboo and giant lobelia, Titus has successfully steered his family group through thick and thin. Now he is under pressure again. With his ally-turned-rival, Kuryama, jockeying for position, is the final chapter in Titus's extraordinary reign about to occur?

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Elsa: The Lioness that Changed the World
star
9.90
30 votes

#15 - Elsa: The Lioness that Changed the World

Season 29 - Episode 10 - Aired 2/1/2011

In the 1960s, 'Born Free' captured the world's imagination with the story of Elsa, an orphaned lioness who was taken in by George and Joy Adamson and returned to a life in the wild. The book and film sparked a new love of nature that has blossomed ever since, but the true story of what happened afterwards was far more tragic as both George and Joy were murdered. Fifty years on, this emotional and revealing drama documentary re-lives those events - with intimate contributions from Virginia McKenna and David Attenborough.

Great White Shark: A Living Legend
star
9.87
30 votes

#16 - Great White Shark: A Living Legend

Season 27 - Episode 6 - Aired 1/2/2009

Wildlife film. South African naturalist Mike Rutzen is crazy about great white sharks. He never saw Jaws, so he doesn't share the terror that makes these sharks the world's most feared predator.

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Nature's Misfits
star
9.87
30 votes

#17 - Nature's Misfits

Season 33 - Episode 4 - Aired 5/2/2014

Bill Bailey introduces a delightfully eccentric cast of creatures that have chosen to do things differently. Odd, unconventional and unusual - these are animals that don't normally grab the limelight. From the parrot that has forgotten how to fly, to the bear that has turned vegetarian, a chameleon that is barely bigger than an ant, and a penguin that lives in a forest. Nature's Misfits reveals the extraordinary and rarely seen lives of these evolutionary oddballs, their strange habitats, unusual forms, and the incredible hurdles they overcome.

Directors: Gavin Boyland
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Honey Badgers: Masters of Mayhem
star
9.86
35 votes

#18 - Honey Badgers: Masters of Mayhem

Season 33 - Episode 2 - Aired 4/18/2014

Record books describe the honey badger as the most fearless animal on the planet; although barely a foot tall, they have a reputation for attacking just about anything - from venomous snakes to full-grown lions. In South Africa, an eager scientist, a tenacious beekeeper and a patient conservationist all have a soft spot for these so called 'bad boys' of the animal kingdom, and each of them wants to discover if the honey badger's bite really is as big as its hype.

Directors: Steve Gooder
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A Wolf Called Storm
star
9.85
34 votes

#19 - A Wolf Called Storm

Season 31 - Episode 4 - Aired 10/26/2012

Storm is an extraordinary wolf - the head of a pack in Canada's frozen north that hunts the giant buffalo herds. This pack came to fame in Frozen Planet and now cameraman Jeff Turner spends a year with Storm and his wolf family, learning how they survive in this harsh wilderness and whether Storm can pass his hunting skills on to the new generation of wolf cubs.

Directors: Jeff Turner
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Heligan: Secrets of the Lost Garden
star
9.83
30 votes

#20 - Heligan: Secrets of the Lost Garden

Season 30 - Episode 3 - Aired 8/17/2011

Looking at the secret lives of the wildlife in one of Britain's favourite gardens. Shot by Charlie Hamilton-James, this film follows various animals, from the family of foxes that play after hours in the pleasure gardens, to the toads in the Italian garden and the badgers that clear up the tea rooms at night. Set against the background of the gardening year, these stories reveal life behind the scenes at Heligan.

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Giant Otters of the Amazon
star
9.81
32 votes

#21 - Giant Otters of the Amazon

Season 31 - Episode 9 - Aired 2/9/2013

Diablo the giant otter lives in a lake in the jungles of Peru, with his unruly family of six cubs. Even at the tender age of six months, they need to learn how to survive in this dangerous paradise. Their dad teaches them to swim and eventually to catch piranha for themselves, but they must also learn to stay away from the neighbours from hell - the giant caiman. These large members of the crocodile family are a real threat to the giant otter family and Diablo must go to extraordinary lengths to try to protect his cubs. Renowned cameraman and otter specialist Charlie Hamilton-James returns to the place he first filmed Diablo thirteen years ago. Following the family over several months, sometimes in very difficult conditions, he discovers how perilous a home this is for the cubs and watches them develop under the careful guidance of their father. He also films remarkable scenes of the giant otters fighting the caiman.

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Jaguars - Born Free
star
9.76
33 votes

#22 - Jaguars - Born Free

Season 31 - Episode 6 - Aired 1/21/2013

In this Natural World special, three tiny orphaned jaguar cubs are discovered in a Brazilian forest. A family decide to take the place of their mother and train them to become wild again. Over two years they must learn to climb trees, swim, and hunt for their dinner. If they can be successfully released, it will give new hope to these rare animals. Narrated by Zoe Wanamaker.

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Attenborough's Ark
star
9.68
34 votes

#23 - Attenborough's Ark

Season 31 - Episode 5 - Aired 11/9/2012

David Attenborough chooses the animals that he would most like to save from extinction. He shows why they are so important and shares the ingenious work of biologists across the world who are helping to keep them alive.

Directors: Sally Thomson
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Meet The Monkeys
star
9.62
37 votes

#24 - Meet The Monkeys

Season 32 - Episode 5 - Aired 9/6/2013

Peanut, Hero and Tarzan are three cheeky monkeys. They live on the paradise Indonesian island of Sulawesi with the rest of their gang of crested black macaques. These very special primates are found nowhere else in the world. Twenty-five years ago, wildlife cameraman Colin Stafford-Johnson visited Sulawesi for the first time and now he's returned. Fascinated by the monkeys, Colin hopes to reveal their sometimes violent, often playful and, just like our own, highly political world. What he discovers leads him on a much bigger journey than he was ever expecting.

Directors: Rob Sullivan
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Giant Squid: Filming the Impossible
star
9.57
35 votes

#25 - Giant Squid: Filming the Impossible

Season 32 - Episode 2 - Aired 7/13/2013

The giant squid, a creature of legend and myth which even in the 21st century, has never been seen alive. But now, an international team of scientists think they have finally found their lair, one thousand metres down, off the coast of Japan. This is the culmination of decades of research. The team deploys underwater robots and state of the art submersible vessels for a world first - to find and film the impossible.