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The Voyage of Charles Darwin

YEAR: 1978 | LENGTH: 7 parts (55 minutes each)  |  SOURCE: BBC


The Voyage of Charles Darwin was a 1978 BBC television serial depicting the life of Charles Darwin, focusing largely on his voyage on HMS Beagle. The series encompasses his university days to the 1859 publication of his book On the Origin of Species and his death and is loosely based on Darwin’s own letters, diaries, and journals, especially The Voyage of the Beagle and The Autobiography of Charles Darwin.


 Darwin is uncertain of his career. While at college, he becomes increasingly interested in the natural world. Under the influence of Professor Henslow, he signs on to a 3-year expedition aboard the Beagle.

 After taking part in an initiation rite on his first crossing of the Equator, Darwin reaches South America. There he finds the wonders of the Brazilian rainforest. During a stay in Rio de Janeiro he is confronted by the horrors of slavery.

 The Beagle lands on Tierra del Fuego the southernmost tip of South America. The attempt to place a missionary among the indigenous people there fails.

 With the length of the expedition increased, Darwin makes an excursion across Patagonia to Buenos Aires. Later, arriving in Valparaíso, he travels across the Andes.

 After finding fossilized sea shells high in the Andes, Darwin returns to the Beagle to find FitzRoy suffering from depression. While in Valparaíso, Darwin experiences earthquakes and their devastating effects. After FitzRoy's recovery, the Beagle travels to the Galápagos Islands where Darwin finds startling revelations.

Darwin studies the finches in the Galápagos that would influence his theories for years to come. The Beagle returns to England after five years at sea. He begins to develop his thoughts based on his discoveries during his travels.

 Darwin becomes worried about loss of reputation and public censure of his ideas and delays publishing his work.


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