20 Oct 2014

Sir David Attenborough takes us on the greatest of all adventures – the journey through life in new ground-breaking OU/BBC series ‘Life Story’

Life Story on the BBC

Life Story on the BBC

This month, lovers of natural history will be taken on the greatest of all adventures – the journey through life, in a new BBC series produced in partnership with The Open University.

Presented by Sir David Attenborough, Life Story is a series of six programmes charting animals’ journeys from birth to maturity. Each episode follows that journey through one of life’s six crucial stages: surviving infancy, growing up, finding a home, gaining power, winning a mate and succeeding as a parent. The story of their journey is about hope, facing danger, actions of breath-taking boldness, extraordinary behaviours and, ultimately, success against the odds.

Life Story is the first BBC landmark series to be shot in ultra-hi-definition (4K), delivering the highest quality images ever seen in a wildlife documentary. The series also brings a new level of story-telling to the genre, creating an experience that is both intimate and intense. Viewers will follow the struggles and triumphs of individual animals, drawing them into their worlds to sense the danger, the challenges and the decisions they must face.

To accompany the series the OU has produced a free and interactive augmented reality Life Story wall poster in which a number of animals will ‘come to life’ on your phone or tablet. The poster can be ordered through the OU’s free learning website OpenLearn via OpenLearn also has extensive information about animal life and the natural world to explore.

The OU academics behind the series are Dr David Robinson who is an honorary associate and National Teaching Fellow in the University’s Department of Environment, Earth and Ecosystems and Dr Vicky Taylor who is a lecturer in biology.

Dr Robinson said: “In this series, the journey through life and the challenges at each stage are revealed by the individual life stories featured. The photography is stunning and the life stories are told through wildlife images that take quality in wildlife documentaries to a new peak.

“This programme will be compulsive viewing for lovers of natural history and will encourage you to delve deeper. Life Story also has a lot to offer those new to the subject as the stunning images and gripping stories will show why we have such a fascination for the natural world and the trials of life.”

Dr Vicky Taylor added “From an animal’s first steps, right through to parenthood, this series will parallel the story of all of our lives through breath-taking footage of pivotal life events and never seen before encounters within the natural world. We are confident this epic series will inspire viewers to appreciate and learn more about the incredible natural world we live in”

Viewers who are inspired by the series can take their interest to the next level via the OU’s new course – The Biology of survival (S295). This innovative online module covers the biology and diversity of whole organisms (from ants to elephants) from an evolutionary perspective. To find out more, please visit:

Life Story begins on BBC1 on Thursday 23 October at 21:00. For further information please visit:

An OU/BBC co-production produced by: Rupert Barrington
Broadcast Commissioner for the Open University: Caroline Ogilvie
BBC Executive Producer: Mike Gunton


Notes to editors
The OU has a 41 year partnership with the BBC and has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to co-producing prime-time series such as Frozen Plant, Bang Goes the Theory, Britain’s Great War, I Bought a Rainforest and Business Boomers. Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which received 5.2million unique visitors in 2012/13, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded more than 60 million downloads.

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