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Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of Soil

Duration: 1 hour

First broadcast: on BBC FourLatest broadcast: on BBC Four HD

For billions of years our planet was devoid of life, but something transformed it into a vibrant, living planet. That something was soil.

It's a much-misunderstood substance, often dismissed as 'dirt', something to be avoided. Yet the crops we eat, the animals we rely on, the very oxygen we breathe, all depend on the existence of the plant life that bursts from the soil every year.

In this film, gardening expert Chris Beardshaw explores where soil comes from, what it's made of and what makes it so essential to life. Using specialist microphotography, he reveals it as we've never seen it before - an intricate microscopic landscape, teeming with strange and wonderful life forms.

It's a world where the chaos of life meets the permanence of rock, the two interacting with each other to make a living system of staggering complexity that sustains all life on Earth.

Chris explores how man is challenging this most precious resource on our planet and how new science is seeking to preserve it. Show less

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