BBC Showcase – program highlights

As day one of the 2011 BBC Syndication Showcase in New Orleans has come and gone, I can honestly say to everyone that, as viewers of your local PBS station, you are in for a treat given what we saw today. This is the third annual showcase whereby BBC Worldwide Americas gathers PBS station programmers from around the country to watch program clips of all genres for possible acquisition and broadcast beginning in 2012. A few highlights from today…

Himalaya with Michael Palin

Michael Palin of Monty Python fame (unfortunately, he will always be introduced that way) takes viewers on a 2000+ mile journey through Afghanistan, across India to the base of Mount Everest on his way to the Bay of Bengal where the rivers of the Himalayas meet. Along the way, Palin, in his usual hands-on presenter way, encounters a visit to a street dentist in Peshwar, visits his Holiness, the Dalai Lama, and travels through a habitat of red pandas.

Life of Mammals with David Attenborough

At 85 years of age, David Attenborough is still the best there is. Called ‘one of the best natural history series ever made for television‘ by The Observer, David Attenborough’s Life of Mammals is was television was created for. In this series, Attenborough introduces viewers to the most diverse group of animals ever to live on the planet. It’s the story of the mammal and includes the over 4000 species including the smallest – the pygmy shrew, the largest – the blue whale, the slowest – the sloth, the swiftest – the cheetah, the least attractive – the naked mole rat and the most irresistible – the human baby.

Queen’s Palaces

Fiona Bruce hosts this 3-part showcase of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, all part of British royal history for hundreds of years. Bruce leads viewers through an in-depth examination of the art, architecture and treasures stored inside these buildings and the stories behind them.

History of Science

We were joined by series presenter, Michael Mosley (Blood and Guts: A History of Surgery) today to discuss his two new series, A History of Science and Pleasure and Pain. In the tradition of the great James Burke science, Connections, Mosley’s A History of Science, tells the story of how we not only live in a world created by science, but how science has found out what we are made of, where we came from and what exists beyond Earth.

Pleasure and Pain

Mosley then introduced his Pleasure and Pain special that unravels the biological, sensory and evolutionary mysteries of pleasure and pain. Mosley’s premise is that one person’s pleasure is another person’s pain and that both are integral to human survival. He concludes that pleasure is the driving force behind healthy behaviors and humans have a high tolerance for extreme pain.

Country House Revealed

Historian Dan Cruickshank delves into the secrets of six of Britain’s greatest private country houses be they Tudor, Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian. Besides digging deep into houses never before open to public view, Cruickshank also examines the lives of the families who lived there. As only Cruickshank can say, no hat box or trunk is left unturned.

More highlights over the next several days, but combine these with some great things coming your way on PBS such as Downton Abbey 2 (January 8), Sherlock 2 (May), new seasons of MI5 (April), Doc Martin and New Tricks, the coming year is going to a great one on KERA and PBS.

In: Odds & Sods

  • These all sound great! I loved the past specials about the Queen and the running of the royal household, so I think I’m looking forward to the “Queen’s Palaces” one most of all.