Originally broadcast in 1990, Trials of Life is still one of the most comprehensive wildlife documentaries ever made. It examines animal behaviour in all its infinite variety and in doing so we are allowed to witness some of the most enchanting animal personalities, as well as some of the most fearsome. Leaving parents, searching for food, building a home, finding a mate; each day brings a new test, a challenge for even the fittest and best adapted animal. Taking some three and a half years to make, Sir David Attenborough travelled almost a quarter of a million miles to complete this fascinating and insightful documentary.
Part 1: Arriving
An examination of the diverse techniques employed by animals to disperse and protect offspring.
Part 2: Growing Up
For animals, there is no greater challenge than surviving the vulnerable first years of life. This episode demonstrates that nature’s solutions are as varied as those in human society.
Part 3: Finding Food
The search for food in the animal world. With leaves defended by poisons and seeds clad in thorns, animals fight back in very innovative ways.
Part 4: Hunting and Escaping
Life-and-death duels are fought daily in the wild: an orchid turns out to be a predator, killer whales ambush sea lions and chimps pursue colobus monkeys.
Part 5: Finding the Way
How animals ranging from albatrosses to ants can navigate themselves over long distances.
Part 6: Home Making
How all animal architects aim to keep both the elements and intruders at bay through features that include defensive moats.
Part 7: Living Together
Examining some of the weird relationships that develop between species, from birds that relieve clients of hangers-on to hermit crabs that enlist stinging anemones to repel octopuses.
Part 8: Fighting
How many animals – including zebras, moose and stalk-eyes flies – assess their opponents’ fighting prowess before making an attack that risks injury or death.
Part 9: Friends and Rivals
From vampire bats to baboons, Sir David Attenborough investigates the importance of recognising friends and respecting the power of rivals throughout the animal kingdom.
Part 10: Talking to Strangers
From the love songs of fish to the flashes of millions of tiny beetles, Sir David Attenborough examines methods of communication used by animals.
Part 11: Courting
This edition looks at the various methods employed by species to attract a mate, including whales that sing “songs”, hamsters that emit an odour, and manakins that do acrobatic dances.
Part 12: Continuing the Line
A look at the many and varied ways in which animals procreate in order to ensure that their genes are passed on to the next generation.