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BBC Four commissions new season on the human body

BBC Four commissions new season on the human body
Pippa Considine
27 November 2013

BBC Four has commissioned a new season of programming about the human body, with shows from BBC Science, the BBC Natural History Unit and Furnace TV.

Cassian Harrison, editor, BBC Four, said: “In this season I want us to lay bare what an eccentric, surprising and bizarre place the human body really is - from the trampolines of fat that are hidden in our every heel, to the microscopic creatures that have evolved to live in bliss in our hair, to the chemical potions that can turn us from lover to murderer in seconds - this is the human body seen as a landscape as diverse and thrilling as that of an entire planet.”

Michael Mosley itches and scratches his way to a greater understanding of our relationship with parasites in Infested, from BBC Science. Found in almost every animal on earth, the connection between animal and host is everywhere in nature. This most complex and intimate of relationships is a delicate balancing act, where the parasite must extract the food they need, but also keep their host alive.

To find out more, Moseley is going to systematically infect himself with some of the most extraordinary, powerful and surprising parasites of them all. From tapeworms to bloodsucking leeches and lice, Moseley’s infestation gives him a whole new insight into the devious methods used by parasites to survive. He discovers that whilst some of them are dangerous to human health, there is growing scientific evidence that some may actually be beneficial.

Infested is executive produced by Jonathan Renouf and the producer is Nathan Williams from BBC Science.

Dr George McGavin explores two of the most amazing body parts in the natural world: human hands and feet. In BBC Science's Dissected: The Incredible Human Hand and Dissected: The Incredible Human Foot, he is joined by leading anatomy experts in a specially created dissection lab. Layer by layer, the team take apart a real human hand and foot, to reveal what makes them unique in the animal kingdom.

In the first episode, they uncover what gives human hands an unrivalled combination of power and precision. George meets people who use their hands in extraordinary ways – from magicians to rock climbers – and discovers what gives them such astonishing abilities.

From a baby’s first steps to a ballerina on pointe, the second programme reveals how the unique natural engineering of the human foot is key to some of our greatest physical achievements.

Dissected is executive produced by Jacqueline Smith and produced by Paul Overton from BBC Science.

In the six-part series Secrets Of Bones from the BBC's Natural History Unit, Ben Garrod, primatologist and master skeleton builder, will share his passion for bones.

There are over 62,000 species of vertebrate of every size and shape, from squirrels to sperm whales and aardvarks to anacondas. They may look very different on the outside, but on the inside they are based on the same skeletal blueprint.

Each skeleton differs in small, but critical ways and, in Garrod's hands, those differences can be decoded to reveal an animal’s complete life story - not only how it moves, where it lives and what it eats, but also its entire evolutionary journey.

Secrets Of Bones is executive produced by Jonny Keeling and the series producer is Aaron Paul from the BBC Natural History Unit.

In Hormones, from Furnace TV, professor John Wass examines the well-known but little-understood chemicals that govern our bodies and shape who we are. From our weight and appetite to how we grow and reproduce, hormones are a crucial part of what makes us human, even affecting how we behave and feel.  

They are also among the body’s most powerful medicines, which Professor Wass uses every day to help people’s lives. And they are crucial to cutting edge research, which is looking to tackle some of the biggest medical challenges facing society today. Wass’s story is the bizarre and intriguing tale of how this level of understanding was achieved.

Marcus Herbert is the BBC commissioning editor for Hormones and Paul Sen is the executive producer for Furnace.

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