If you feel like you’ve packed your brain in blankets for a long winter nap, it’s time to flip open the covers. Curiosity Stream (DStv 185) has some great documentaries that promise to intrigue, excite and fill you with wonder. You could uncover a new passion, or just sneak some facts up your sleeve to trounce the opposition on trivia night.

The spark of curiosity

The Story Of Electricity is one of our favourite doccies this week. Presenter Jim Al-Khalili has a gift for explaining things clearly and illustrating what he’s saying in a fun, practical way. “With all good science communication, it is all about the language that is used. What is also important is the acknowledgement that the wider public is not ‘less intelligent’ than me, nor that I need to ‘dumb down’, but simply to use the appropriate images and words that can be understood without the benefit of years of study of the specialist jargon,” says Jim. “If I discover something new about the universe, then why would I want to keep it to myself? I want to share with the whole world my love and fascination with the laws of nature.”

Jim drives home those words with arresting visual images and demonstrations – looking like a superhero as he plays with lightning while wearing a wire mesh Faraday suit, or showing how flakes of gold leaf fly up toward his fingers. And with access to the Royal Society’s museum, he’ll show us objects like the world’s earliest electric motor.

In this series, he explains how life creates and uses electricity. He’ll also talk about the excitement in the scientific community as the link between electricity and magnetism emerged, and electricity itself was first investigated during the early 1800s. And finally, he’ll talk about the different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum beyond what we can see and feel.

Did you know? You can light a glass of alcohol on fire with a static spark from the tip of your finger if you’re carrying enough charge (from touching an electrostatic generator).

Watch The Story Of Electricity S1 from Monday, 6 July on Curiosity Stream (DStv 185) at 21:00 


And don’t miss…

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Alaska Extreme

This doccie series takes an in-depth look at one of Earth’s last wild frontiers. Aside from tackling the adventure tourism pleasures that it offers off the grid, the show goes into how to survive in the wilderness, and it explores the edible plants and animals in the region, along with its wildlife and human inhabitants. One of the highlights of the series is its focus on flight and small planes in a state that has 6 times more pilots than the rest of the United States, and 16 times more planes.

Did you know? Alaska is a surfing hotspot, with some surfers riding the waves created by calving glaciers.

Watch S1 from Saturday, 4 July on Curiosity Stream (DStv 185) at 19:00


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Dragons & Damsels

Sir David Attenborough narrates this award-winning documentary on the lives and incredible flying skills of dragonflies and damselflies. He visits scientists and engineers who’re studying these insects and using them as inspiration to build flying robots. And skills aside, the pond life of these creatures is also a rich soap opera filled with predatory behaviour, betrayals, powerful females, strange alliances and courtship. It’s all captured in incredible detail via macro photography – including an underwater scene of one dragonfly nymph preying on another.

Did you know? Dragonfly fossils show creatures that look just like today’s dragonflies, but with a wingspan of up to 60cm.

Watch this documentary special on Sunday, 5 July on Curiosity Stream (DStv 185) at 19:00


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Whale Wisdom

Marine biologist and filmmaker Rick Rosenthal gets up close to whales using drones, boats and even swimming with the giants. In this documentary, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, he’s paying special attention to their intelligence, showing one humpback whale who’s a supreme puzzle solver – as long as there’s fish involved. And in Norway, Rick uncovers humpbacks’ abilities to “speak a foreign language” as they interpret killer whale calls to swoop in and steal the fish that the orca have just herded. It’s not all about fish in a humpback’s life, though, and Rick will show how a catchy tune spreads from whale to whale and pod to pod until everyone is singing along.

Did you know? Only male humpbacks sing.

Watch this documentary special on Sunday, 5 July on Curiosity Stream (DStv 185) at 20:00


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