The Furnace team has wide experience in factual television production across a range of genres, and has created and successfully managed numerous ambitious international co-productions.
Winner 2016 Royal Television Society award for best Science and Natural History programme.
In an extra-ordinary TV experiment, Dr George McGavin tells the story of an oak tree over a whole year in its life. He shows it to be one of the great warriors of the British countryside as it fights countless adversaries from tiny insects to mighty storms to survive. Using innovative filming techniques, George reveals the oak’s fascinating and complex biology. He also delves into the past show how the oak is woven into our history and culture. This film is a celebration of Britain’s most iconic tree. Shown first on BBC 4 in autumn 2015. “This was 90 minutes of television at its best, entertaining and educational.” Daily Mail
Everybody’s heard of quantum physics but few understand it or appreciate its amazing consequences. In this two-part series, Professor Jim Al-Khalili demystifies the science. In the first film, Jim shows how the crazy rules of quantum physics underpin much of what we observe in the universe around us. In the second, he investigates its crucial role in the living, biological world. The programmes were first shown on BBC 4 in Autumn 2014 and had some of the best ratings for a factual programme for the channel that year. “This was television… leaving viewers with a head full of wonder and a need to know more.” The Guardian
Dr John Wass, one Britain’s leading endocrinologists, tells the fascinating story of hormones – well-known but little-understood chemicals that govern our bodies and shape who we are. Along the way John uncovers some amazing stories – how as recently as the 19th century, boys were castrated to keep their pure soprano voice, how juices were extracted from testicles in the hope they would rejuvenate old men and how true medical heroes like Frederick Banting discovered a way to make insulin, thus saving the lives of countless diabetes sufferers. And hormones remain at the cutting edge of medicine as we try and deal with modern scourges like obesity.
In a BBC 4 film, physicist Dr Helen Czerski takes us on an amazing journey into the science of bubbles.
The soap bubble with its delicate, fragile skin tells us about how nature works on scales as large as solar system and as small as a single wavelength of light. Then there are underwater bubbles, which matter because they are part of the how the planet works. Out at sea, breaking waves generate huge plumes of bubbles which help the oceans breathe.
From the way animals behave to the way drinks taste, Dr Czerski shows how bubbles affect our world in all sorts of unexpected ways. Whether it’s the future of ship design or innovative new forms of medical treatment, bubbles play a vital role.
Cambridge Professor Simon Schaffer brings to life the untold story of the first robots – called androids or automata – extraordinary clockwork machines designed hundreds of years ago to mimic and recreate life.
The film, made for BBC 4, brings the past to life in vivid detail as we see how and why these masterpieces were built. Travelling around Europe, Simon uncovers the history of these machines and shows us some of the most spectacular examples, from an entire working automaton city to a small boy who can be programmed to write and even a device that can play chess. All the machines Simon visits show a level of technical sophistication and ambition that still amazes today.
Presented by Professor Jim Al-Khalili, this two part series aired on BBC 4 in autumn 2012. It tells the story of how humanity mastered the two most important concepts of the modern age – energy and information.
Furnace has teamed up with Story Center Productions to make a new film for Channel 4 about the life and legacy of mathematical genius and code-breaker Alan Turing. Turing laid the foundations of the computer age and cracked the Enigma code at Bletchley Park during the Second World War. This drama-documentary stars Ed Stoppard as Alan Turing and Henry Goodman as his psychiatrist, Dr Franz Greenbaum.
Prepare yourselves for a helter-skelter ride through some of the most exhilarating scientific and philosophical ideas the human race has ever encountered. We will discover what happened before the Big Bang, peer into the impossible centre of a Black Hole, find out how big the universe really is, that some infinities are bigger than others and reveal the seething intensity of activity that takes place in the sheer nothingness. And we shall also find out why the Vacuum Cleaner is the most significant discovery in the history of the human race.
2 x 60 minutes for BBC4
Chaos theory conjures up images of unpredictable weather, economic crashes and science gone wrong. But there is a fascinating and hidden side to chaos, one that scientists are only now beginning to understand.
Winner Best Film: International Science Film Festival 2010
1 x 60 minutes for BBC4
Are we defined by our genes? Or can we transcend them? Is our fate determined by the particular variant of the DNA molecule we inherit or can we break free of genetic code? Is there such a thing as ‘genetic determinism’ or are we in control of our lives?
This two part series will seek answers to all these questions and more on both a personal and public level.
2 x 60 minutes for BBC4 and the Open University
A ground-breaking and controversial film that sheds light on one of the darkest chapters of the Second World War, through the testimony of some of the men who fought in the little known battles that took place between the French and British navies.
1 x 60 minutes for Channel 4, Thirteen and WNET.org, ABC, ZDF, National Geographic UK
A passionate team of experts are struggling to realize a dream, a dream of bringing dead land to life and creating a ’sea-city’ in the middle of the desert.
2 x 60 minutes for Discovery Channel UK and worldwide distribution
Told almost entirely from the perspective of the survivors of the Mumbai terrorist attack, this is the revealing story of the emotions we experience, the decisions we make and the desperate actions we take when death is staring us in the face.
Nomination: Best Historical Documentary, News & Documentary Emmy Awards 2010
Certificate of Merit for Documentary: 2010 Hugo Television Awards
1 x 60 minutes for More4, History UK, ABC, Thirteen and WNET/PBS, Discovery Asia. A Furnace co-production with Electric Pictures. The UK title is ‘Terror Attack: Mumbai’
In the 21st Century, as soon as an unlucky swimmer or surfer encounters a shark, his own story is a hit on the web, multiplying interest exponentially. This is the story of one shocking month of 2008, when Southern California and Mexico played host to three attacks and an unending trail of close shaves.
1 x 60 minutes for Discovery USA Shark Week 2010
In the 2009 Royal Institution Lectures, Professor Sue Hartley of Sussex University shows you plants as you’ve never seen them before.
5 x 60 minutes for More4, Channel 4 and the Royal Institution