Deep, Down and Dirty - The Science of Soil

Deep, Down and Dirty - The Science of Soil


If you thought BBC Four's recent series on bones was a bit dry, here's something earthier: a one-off telling the story of the hidden world beneath our feet. The job of sexing up soil falls to gardener Chris Beardshaw, who claims to have a lifelong passion for the stuff. "I'm going to reveal...a substance so remarkable you'll never walk on grass in the same way again," he enthuses. 

He fondles the soil, heats it, weighs and waters it. But it's under the microscope that its real wonder is unveiled: a rich ecosystem stuffed with translucent nematodes and frolicking water bears. It would have been nice to have seen more of it. 


Gardening expert Chris Beardshaw explores where soil comes from, and what it is made of. It is an often misunderstood substance, with people sometimes dismissing it as dirt, so he reveals it as it has never been seen before using specialist microphotography, and highlights what makes it so essential to life. Research shows that humans are pushing this precious resource to its limit, and scientists are battling to find ways of preserving it for the future.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Chris Beardshaw
Executive Producer Jacqueline Smith
Producer Graham Russell