October 26, 2021

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

A thoroughly entertaining DVD box set that looks back over 125 years of National Geographic ...


If you are looking for a variety pack of documentary delight, then look no further than the National Geographic 125 Years DVD. It will keep you thoroughly entertained for 5 hours, and give you a sense of achievement upon completion.

The first of the eight documentaries in the set is ‘Machu Picchu Decoded’. This documentary is framed from the viewpoint of the archaeologists and scientists investigating the ancient hill-top city, and is as much about their methods and experiences, as it is about the history of Machu Picchu itself.

Three wildlife documentaries are included as part of the compilation. Instead of short snippets of perfectly crafted footage of a variety of exciting animals doing exciting things, the documentaries focus on the scientific endeavour of the people who study animals in the wild.

A strong human-interest angle is core to the other episodes as well. ‘Secrets of the Titanic’, although a little dated, accompanies the investigators on their voyage to first discover the ship’s wreck. And ‘Inside the Vatican’ meets the many people who keep the world’s smallest country ticking over.

One thing to bear in mind before you set out to buy the DVD is that it won’t be much good on mute. Some documentaries provide swathes of impressive footage that can be appreciated independently from the narration. But in this DVD set, the documentaries rely heavily on strong spoken narrative. This is absolutely fine if you intend to sit down and give the DVD a thorough watch. But if you’re looking for background viewing, you should probably stick to an Attenborough classic.

National Geographic 125 Years DVD, National Geographic (2013)

IMAGE: National Geographic