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Deserts and Life

Deserts and Life is a six-part documentary series narrated by Mark Strong, exploring the world's most famous deserts; some of the Earth's most haunting and misunderstood landscapes. Deserts are the most haunting of all the Earth's landscapes. Sometimes we think of them as vast empty spaces that dwarf and test our human spirit, but that view couldn't be farther from the truth. In reality, deserts are full of colour and contrast - there are mountains and lagoons among the dunes and plains, and they often teem with life and are rich in resources. Their peoples have remarkable qualities of ingenuity and endurance, wisdom and humour; their festivals and gatherings full of colour and energy. This series looks at how these desert realities are at odds with our perceptions, and takes a closer look at the disparate life that exists in the emptiness.

Episode 1 - Thar Desert
The Thar-or Great Indian-Desert is the most densely populated desert in the world and has been inhabited for thousands of years.

Episode 2 - Atacama Desert
The Atacama Desert is a plateau in South America, covering a 1,000-kilometre (600 mi) strip of land on the Pacific coast, west of the Andes mountains. It is the driest hot desert in the world.

Episode 3 - Australian Outback
Vast swathes of Australia hold sandy deserts, where aboriginal people have found ways to survive.

Episode 4 - Gobi Desert
The Gobi Desert is the largest desert region located in Asia, spanning the north / north-western part of China and the south of Mongolia.

Episode 5 - Judean Desert
The Judean Desert is bordered by the Mountains of Judea to the west and by the Dead Sea to the East. It is considered a relatively small desert, spanning only 1,500 square kilometers.

Episode 6 - Namib Desert
The Namib Desert is often referred to as the world's oldest desert and has been in existence for some 43 million years, remaining unchanged in its present form for the last 2 million years.


Related Links
Human Planet - Deserts: Life in the Furnace
This episode discovers how the eternal quest for water brings huge challenges - and ingenious solutions - in the driest places on Earth. It includes Tubu women crossing the Sahara with a camel caravan in Niger, and underground aqueducts in Algeria.
The Living Planet - The Baking Deserts
This episode explores the world of deserts. It begins in the largest, the Sahara, where the highest land temperatures have been recorded.
Planet Earth - Deserts
This episode explores the deserts such as Mongolia's Gobi Desert, Africa's Sahara and the Atacama in Chile, and looks at those animals who have adapted to the harsh environment.