Amazon With Bruce Parry

Sundays from March 13th, 8.30pm 

Join Bruce Parry on a breathtaking journey from the Amazon’s source deep in the Peruvian Andes to its vast mouth on Brazil’s Atlantic coast. 

A contemporary portrait of the Amazon Rainforest, river, its landscape and its people and with spectacular visuals and the highest production values, Amazon captures the living reality, the contradictions and ambiguities of this globally important region. 

FRIDAY 3rd July 7:30PM

Documentary Series

Bruce Parry reaches the end of his Amazon adventure in Brazil’s Para state where huge areas of forest are being cut down for cattle farming. Here the battle for the Amazon is at its most fierce and Bruce sees both sides living with the cowboys and the Kayapo indians.

FRIDAY 26th June 7:30PM

Documentary Series

Bruce Parry continues his epic journey along the Amazon by discovering what life is like at a gold mine. Despite the mine’s illegal status, an entire town, Grota Rica (rich grotto), has grown up around it as people try to strike it lucky. Even though the town’s multi-tasking landlady – a woman who is also a prospector, a mechanic and owner of the town’s water works – is finding it tough to pay the bills, hope springs eternal that some day a big nugget will be found, finally giving a lucky miner the means to make a better life.

FRIDAY 19th June 7:30PM

Documentary Series

Bruce takes to public transport for the first time in his journey along the Amazon – and it’s an adventure in itself. Slinging his hammock on deck, Bruce and the rest of the travellers are woken by a cocaine raid, and watch a hapless smuggler being dragged off to face at least five years in jail.

The tempo of the journey slows as Bruce joins Tapioca, a legend who claims to be able to ‘hear’ fish, as they go into the flooded forests of the Mamiraua reserve to try to find the pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish in the world. Overfishing was a huge problem until the creation of the reserve. Now the people are learning how to live a sustainable way of life which could be a model for other areas. Bruce joins another scouting trip when he meets scientists searching for the caiman, a crocodile-like creature which is critically endangered. Though the scientists are hoping to increase numbers, just further down the river, fishermen are illegally catching caiman, not to eat, but to use as bait for other fish – just another of the many contradictions Bruce is discovering on his epic journey.

FRIDAY 12th June 7.30pm

Documentary Series

Bruce enters the Vale Do Javari reservation for indigenous people in Western Amazonas, where he is reunited with his old friends the Matis tribe, who welcomed him into their homes two years ago when he was filming his TV series Tribe. Their greeting is lukewarm this time round. Bruce discovers that white man’s diseases, brought in by outsiders such as loggers, have decimated their population. With just 262 people left in the whole tribe, it is possible the Matis may not exist as a people for much longer.

In complete contrast, further along the river, Bruce joins the Marubo tribe and finds a lively life of dancing and rituals which go on late into the night. A mixture of peoples from several tribes who banded together after the rubber boom of the late 19th century destroyed their lands, the Marubo now intensively cultivate their culture, keeping their ceremonies alive.

Bruce then meets the loggers, who are blamed for cutting down huge swathes of the forest and bringing disease. Over a steaming pot of woolly monkey stew, he finds that, far from being the bad guys of the story, their homely camp rings with laughter – they are just trying to make a living, like everybody else.

FRIDAY 5th June

Documentary Series

Bruce is in the Peruvian jungle, staying with the Achuar people, who have only had contact with the outside world for 40 years. He learns a new way of fishing and tries the hallucinogen ayahuasaca, one of the ritual drugs used by the community. The flipside of living in one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth is all around – a land full of riches being routinely exploited.

Despite Bruce’s best efforts, the Achuar remain deeply suspicious of his motives. He learns that their hostility is all thanks to the oil companies which have encroached on their territory, contaminating their land and scaring away the wildlife on which they rely. Heading off downriver, Bruce discovers evidence of polluted rivers and mass devastation caused by the oil companies. It may have brought electricity and a few dollars into the native communities, but at what price?

In the old colonial town of Iquitos, Bruce undergoes a profound shamanic ritual in an effort to find his vision, and then crosses the border into Brazil, arriving in Benjamin Constant at carnival time. Bruce takes part in one of the wildest football matches ever staged and his strip is a little black dress!

FRIDAY 29th May

Documentary Series

Join intrepid explorer Bruce Parry in this BAFTA winning (Best Factual Series) documentary series as he goes on a breathtaking journey from the Amazon’s source deep in the Peruvian Andes to its vast mouth on Brazil’s Atlantic coast.  This first leg of Bruce’s epic journey takes him to the High Andes and through Peru’s dangerous cocaine-producing valleys, in the first episode of this new series. High up on the 18,000-ft Peruvian mountain, Nevado Mismi, he begins in typical style, spending some time living with a family of alpaca farmers, helping them herd their llamas, fish for trout and gather firewood.

But he’s soon on the trail of something more sinister as he follows the river down through the deadly Apurimac Valley, a lawless zone where life is cheap and hard-up locals work for a pittance producing 100 tons of cocaine a year. Bruce explores the origins of the cocaine trade, as he speaks to farmers from Peru’s Ashaninka tribe. “I can see why the people I’ve met choose to grow coca,” he admits. “There seems to be nothing else for them. But for the Ashaninka people it’s a deadly harvest, their forests are being burned and their rivers polluted.” He discovers that the local tribes are caught in the crossfire between soldiers, cocaine farmers and loggers, and meets other key players in the cocaine trade and the narcotics police determined to stamp them out.