We Pick the Best Of The Best From BBC’s Favorite Nature Documentaries

For a lot of us, the holiday season means two things: disagreeable weather and hibernation.

You might even be snowed in and craving nature as badly as I am — and in that case, I’ve got you covered.

The BBC has compiled its favorite-ever nature documentaries to stream. And from its lengthy list, I have selected the very best blue-planet-centric movie morsels.

You’ll need Netflix or another similar streaming service to access some; but for all fastidious (read: cheap) nature lovers out there, my list contains free YouTube nuggets, too. And if you’re in the UK, you can stream some series and episodes with the BBC iPlayer.

Here’s the dish.

The Mating Game

2021, available on BBC iPlayer or Amazon Prime Video


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Here in the coldest months, why not heat things up a little?

The Mating Game explores the natural world of that perennially captivating mystery: how to attract a partner. Episodes cover the “spectacular mating rituals” of freshwater crocodiles, the brightly colored pageantry of chameleons, and the tactics humpback whales use to find a partner at all in the vastness of the ocean.

Sir David Attenborough and other familiar faces from natural history documentaries appear.

Tiny World

2020, available on Apple TV+

world's tiniest animals

Photo: Brian Gratwicke via Flickr


Apple TV created Tiny World for anyone who’s a macro-videography aficionado, nerd, or even fiend. Over the course of almost a decade, the show’s production team captured footage of more than 200 of earth’s tiniest creatures.

You’ll encounter strange and diminutive species like the Cuban bee hummingbird — the world’s smallest bird — and the dwarf mongoose — Africa’s smallest carnivore.

Prehistoric Road Trip

2020, available on YouTube


Find all episodes of this natural history deep dive on WTTW.com. in it, host Emily Graslie tours North America’s fossil mother lode — the northern great plains.

Watch and learn as Graslie digs up everything from dinosaurs to prehistoric bacteria.

Deep Ocean: Giants of the Antarctic Deep

2020, available on hdclump.com via Daily Motion

octopus starfish

Photo: Screenshot


I’m not sure I’ve ever directly fantasized about living in Great Britain, but man, I’m doing it now — and hunting down a VPN.

The Antarctic Ocean averages 4,000-5,000m deep. Find out what lurks below.

JANE by Brett Morgen

2017, available on Disney+

Jane goodall

Photo: Michael Neugebauer, Creative Commons


Jane Goodall is an international hero, and hands-down belongs to a holy triumvirate of wildlife conservationists along with Sir David Attenborough and Steve Irwin.

Learn her story — from her childhood in posh Hampstead, London, to the cutting edge of natural science in the world of Tanzanian chimpanzees.

Chris Packham’s Animal Einsteins

2021, available on BBC iPlayer or Amazon Prime Video


If you’re a nature lover, you’re very likely also aware of animal intelligence. Learn how the world’s most well-known and least understood geniuses — Corvids and chimps, for instance — function.

Diving with Dolphins

2020, available on Disney+

diving with dolphins

Photo: Dolphin Academy via Wiki Commons


Speaking of sharp-witted species, get a close look at dolphins here. The behind-the-scenes documentary focuses on how the filmmakers shot footage of the intelligent cetaceans that swim notoriously fast and often prove hard to track.

You’ll also find an ancillary examination of fishing, ocean pollution, and reef conservation.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson takes any writing assignments he can talk his way into while intermittently traveling the American West and Mexico in search of margaritas — er, adventure. He parlayed a decade of roving trade work into a life of fair-weather rock climbing and truck dwelling before (to his parents’ evident relief) finding a way to put his BA in English to use. Sam loves animals, sleeping outdoors, campfire refreshments and a good story.