The BEST Episodes of The Planets

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Jun 3, 2020

Network: BBC Two

The incredible story of the discovery and exploration of our solar system, revealing the deepest secrets of our neighbours in space.From the first faltering attempts to magnify the sky with crude telescopic lenses to the sophisticated probes revealing even the most distant planets today, this amazing footage relive the gripping stories of adventure and discovery.


#1 - Star

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired May 27, 1999

To primitive peoples, the Sun was synonymous with God - the ultimate source of life-giving warmth and light. Now, step aboard with the Skylab space station to probe the turbulent heart of our local power source. Plunge into the centre of the Sun to witness the reactions driving its primordial atomic pulse. And observe the spectacle of massive solar flares capable of engulfing entire planets - including our own.

star 8.16
188 votes

#2 - Atmosphere

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Jun 3, 1999

Atmospheres make weather. This can result in alien weather reports that seem as if they're right our of a science program: torrential sulphuric rain and metallic snow on Venus, global dust storms raging across Mars and centuries-long, Earth-sized cyclones circling Jupiter. It's an eye-opening exploration of other worldly weather that reveals the surprising variety and force of atmospheric activity throughout the solar system.

star 8.06
101 votes

#3 - Life

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Jun 10, 1999

From the startling Copernican revelation that the Earth was not the centre of the Universe, humanity has wondered if life is unique to our world. But how likely is it that the Earth is the only reservoir of life in the vastness of space? Come along for the ride as early planetary researches learn that conditions on our neighbouring planets may be too hostile to support life and discover how recent findings hint there may be alien life "hiding out" in places we've overlooked.

star 8.02
183 votes

#4 - Giants

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired May 13, 1999

They are the heavyweights of the planetary line up. There are unimaginable vast orbs of seething gas and brilliant could bands that contain virtually no landscapes. Now, take a closer look at these planetary behemoths.

star 7.79
199 votes

#5 - Destiny

Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired Jun 17, 1999

What is the long-term fate of the planets in our solar system? Voyage to a future billions of years in the distance. Explore the Sun's expansion as it engulfs its planetary progeny in the final, fiery act of its billion-year long dilemma.

star 7.71
182 votes

#6 - Moon

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired May 20, 1999

While a number of planets are accompanied by moons of all sizes and compositions, only the Earth boasts such a comparatively huge "companion world." What forces could have resulted in this planetary odd couple? Join the search for the answer to one of the solar system's most baffling mysteries, from Cold Warrior scientists racing to be first on the moon, to current theories and remarkable computer-generated visions of the moon's explosive creation.

star 7.70
159 votes
Terra Firma

#7 - Terra Firma

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired May 6, 1999

Relive the thrill of first glimpses of otherworldly terrain as you join the early quest to discover the true nature of our planetary neighbours. Pierce the toxic clouds of Venus to map ancient lava flows the size of continents. Visit a Martian volcano taller than Mount Everest and head even further out into the planetary system in search of clues to the "living" geological forces at work in the most unlikely cosmic corners.

star 7.68
169 votes
Different Worlds

#8 - Different Worlds

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Apr 29, 1999

Travel back in time and space to witness the awesome forces that gave birth to the Sun and the far-flung family of planets that orbit it. From the rocky, superheated surface of Mercury, to the storm-wracked atmosphere of gigantic Jupiter and the distant mysteries of Pluto, this is a richly detailed introduction to the creation, composition and alien landscapes of The Planets.

star 7.63
266 votes