- The Nile (TV series)
show_name = The Nile
starring = nowrap begin
Catherine Schell·wrap Kenneth Haigh·wrap Michael Goughnowrap end
country = UK
language = English
num_episodes = 3
producer = nowrap beginGavin Maxwell·wrap
Tim Scoones·wrap Martha Holmesnowrap end
editor = nowrap begin
Martin Elsbury·wrap Jo Payne·wrap Nigel Bucknowrap end
runtime = 60 minutes
last_aired = nowrap begin
March 12, 2004nowrap end
website = http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/programmes/tv/nile/
imdb_id = 0418959
The series was produced by the
BBC Natural History Unitin co-production with the Discovery Channel.
Episode three includes footage from the 1971 BBC Television mini-series "
The Search for the Nile".
The Times" calls it an, "enlightening BBC series,"cite web | url=http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/tv_and_radio/article453798.ece | title=Television: Monday, July 12| accessdate=2008-07-21| author= | last= | first= | authorlink= | coauthors= | date=2004-07-10 | year= | month= | format= | work= | publisher=The Times | pages= | language=English | doi= | archiveurl= | archivedate= | quote= ] that, "uses stunning photography and restrained dramatisations to pay homage to the longest river on Earth."
The reviewer concludes, "never mind the cardboard dramatisations — this is an heroic story."cite web | url=http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/tv_and_radio/article1034233.ece | title=Television: Friday, March 12 | accessdate=2008-07-21| author= | last= | first= | authorlink= | coauthors= | date=2004-03-06 | year= | month= | format= | work= | publisher=The Times | pages= | language=English | doi= | archiveurl= | archivedate= | quote= ]
*Episode two (2004-03-07): 3.4 million viewers (15% audience share).cite web | url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2004/mar/08/overnights | title=Friday fight bursts soap bubble | accessdate=2008-07-21| author= | last=Barrett | first=Patrick | authorlink= | coauthors= | date=2004-03-08 | year= | month= | format= | work= | publisher=The Guardian | pages= | language=English | doi= | archiveurl= | archivedate= | quote= ]
*Shanghai International TV Festival 2005
**Won: Magnolia Award for Best Photography in a Nature Documentary: Richard Kirby
Episode one: "Crocodiles and Kings"
Since the dawn of history the miraculous annual floodwaters have risen to transform the desert into a fertile paradise where the great civilisation of
Ancient Egyptgrew, but there existence was on a knife-edge held hostage by the river and the Pharaohmaintained the balance by appeasing the gods to ensure the gifts of the river.
New Kingdomof Ramesesand Tutankhamunbegan 3,500 years ago with the province of Thebesat its heart, and farmers, fishermen and temple builders thrive with the blessings of the rivers. At dawn Hamadryas Baboonclimb to the top of the temples to great the sun god Rawho rides across the sky in his chariot, a sharp-eyed Peregrine Falconbursts from the sun as a manifestation of the all-seeing Horus, and a feared Cobrahunts in the fields it’s poisonous venom manifesting the suns burning rays. The Scarab beetleembodies the sun’s daily journey, born from the ground it sculpts a sphere of dung to feed its young which emerge again in perfect continuity, while a Nile catfishfeeling it’s way with long whiskers guides the sun back to the east for it’s rebirth.
Old Kingdomof the Pyramidshad been destroyed by a 20-year drought that starved much of the population; now as the waters dry up the people turn for protection to the Pharaoh who is the son of Osiris. Osiris taught the people cultivation but was murdered by his brother Sethand scattered across the land only to re-emerge as a symbol of fertility while Seth was banished to the desert from where he threatens to return with famine and death. Female Hippos, fighting to defend their young, are worshipped as Tort; Crocodiles, welcoming the heat that maintains their body temperature, are worshipped as Sobek; and flocks of sacred Ibis, signalling the arrival of the flood, are worshipped as Thoth. The land is transformed into a flooded plain while the Pharaoh oversees the construction of dams and channels to tame the floods.
The receding waters leave behind thick fertile silt from which frogs and toads are born as symbols of the land’s resurrection. The farmers sow their seeds as memorial to Osiris who in reborn again in the harvest crops only to be devoured by a swarm of locusts that poison whatever is left with their droppings.
Wild dogsand jackals, scavenging the overflowing cemeteries, are worshipped as Anubis. The pharaoh death leaves the country in chaos as the body is mummified with a scarab amulet placed on the heart. As the drought approaches, with no Pharaoh to intercede with the gods, Egyptian Vultures flock over the river as a symbol of death. The Pharaoh, buried with precious provisions for his final journey, enters the "Hall of Judgment" where his heart is weighed against a feather by the gods.
The Pharaoh is found worthy earning his place among the gods and the Nile rises again to revitalise the valley and sustain a civilisation that would inspire all those that followed.
Episode two: "The Great Flood"
The annual flooding of the Nile brought the water and fertile volcanic soil that made the Ancient Egyptian civilisation possible but impassable rapids made it impossible for them to discover the source of this bounty they attributed to the gods. The river stretches into
Sudanthrough a forbidding dessert known as the "Belly of Stones" that was home to the "Black Pharaohs" of the Nubian kingdom of Kushwho once ruled over their Egyptian neighbours. The Blue and White Niles merge in the "Longest Kiss in History" at the crossroad city of Khartoum.
The White Nile flows through the impenetrable swamps of the
Sudwhere shifting islands of papyrus buoyed by air-sacks in the steams long prevented further exploration. White-Eared Kobform one of Earth’s greatest concentrations of large animals as they graze the neighbouring grasslands during the dry season. The native Dinkacowherds rely on their cattle for a diet of milk and blood supplemented only by fish when possible. The Dinka and Cob are forced on the move as rains swell the swamp bursting its banks and doubling its size. A Lungfishemerges from its cocoon of mud and mucus and uses its primitive lungs to breath air while it reaches for the nearest pool only to be caught in the oversized beak of the giant Shoebillstalk, while family groups of Speckle-throated otterand the powerful Nile monitoralso hunt the waters. The Dinka and Cob return and a stranded catfishcrawls to safety as the waters evaporate in the sun but this is not the source of the Great Flood.
The Blue Nile flows through dry savannah from a deep barren gorge on the fringe of the
Ethiopian highlandswhere the Lammergeiervulture seeks out those who succumb to the drought. A volcanic plug that rose up 30 million years ago has left the region with Africa’s highest mountains. Where the Hippos of Lake Tanalive in the continents highest body of water. The dry highland dome above is home to Earth’s highest density of rodents and the Egyptian Wolfwhich digs them up. The indigenous Geladababoons feeds exclusively on grass using their massive teeth only for the intimidation of rivals. Moisture laden clouds from the Congo basinbring annual rains to "Africa’s Water Tower" that transforms the rodent’s world with lush vegetation for food and cover from predators like the Auger Buzzard. Night time freezing breaks up the topsoil of one of the oldest areas of cultivated land in Africa and it is washed downstream to the lake where Pelicans gather to feed and Weaver birds build a papyrus nests. The Christian highland farmers beg the pagan river spirit Guionfor mercy at times of great flood.
Ancient Egyptians had heard rumours of Lake Tana but had no idea how important the Blue Nile that flows over the "Smoking Fire Falls" with its fertile volcanic soil was to their civilisation.
Episode three: "The Search for the Source"
From the heart of Africa to the
Mediterranean Searuns the world’s longest river. Since the Egyptians first settled along its banks men have dreamt of discovering where the Nile was born, but for centuries the river kept its secrets close. The obsession grew and by the mid-19th century some were prepared to risk their lives to be the first to discover the source of the Nile.
Nomads first settled along the banks of the Nile around 5000 BC and replenished by annual floodwaters grew into the Ancient Egyptian civilisation but the source of the miraculous waters remained a mystery to them.
Royal Geographic Societydispatched Richard Burton and John Speketo Lake Tanganyikato find the source in 1857but unable to complete their mission Speke separated from the main party and discovered Lake Victoria. The vast lake retains water like a vast reservoir with evaporations drained back by surrounding mountains. Speke returned with James Grant a year later and discovered the outlet at Ripon Falls. The new moon rains trigger the emergence of vast breeding swarms of flies that plagued the expedition. Speke and Grant headed downstream from the outlet but were forced to take refuge at Gondokoro. Here they met with Samuel Bakerand his wife who had travelled up stream in search of the source and discovered Lake Albertin 1864.
The newspaper reporter H.M. Stanley was sent to Africa in
1871to find Dr. Livingstonewho had vanished five years earlier exploring Lake Tanganyika. Together they searched unsuccessfully for the outflow till the time came for Stanley to return home. Following Livinstone’s death Stanley returned in 1874to map all three lakes but was prevented from completing his work by warring tribes. He returned in 1881and discovered Lake Edwardthat he concluded creates a vast reservoir system with the other lakes that feeds the Nile. The Mountains of the Moon between the humid forest of the Congo basinand the monsoon lands of East Africa attract rains which, regulated by the forests of mosses, liverworts, ferns and lichens, trickle down into Lakes Albert, Edward and George to feed the Nile.
Tectonic movements created a vast plateau in East Africa 10-15 million years ago and the Mountains of the Moon 12 million years ago. The African
Rift Valleyfractured into the along the flank of the plateau collecting water into Lakes Albert, Edward and George 8 million years ago and the plateau depressed filling into Lake Victoria less than 1 million years ago. Lake Victoria, swelled by the wet climate phase at the end of the last ice age, broke its banks 12,500 years ago and flowed into Lake Albert creating a new river that cut north into the flatlands of Sudan where it joined by the sediment filled Blue Nile before following into the Egyptian dessert where it gave birth to a civilisation 7,000 years later.
* cite book
Feb 19, 2004
title = Nile
last = Holmes
first = Martha; Gavin Maxwell & Tim Scoones
id = ISBN 978-0563487135
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