SAT 19:00 All Aboard! The Sleigh Ride (b06t3psw)
In a Slow TV Christmas special, BBC Four rigs a traditional reindeer sleigh with a fixed camera for a magical journey across the frozen wilderness of the Arctic. Following the path of an ancient postal route, the ride captures the traditional world of the Sami people who are indigenous to northern Scandinavia and for whom reindeer herding remains a way of life.

Filmed in Karasjok, Norway - 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle - this journey takes us through breathtaking scenery not normally glimpsed by anyone other than the Sami. Deliberately unhurried, the rhythmic pace of the reindeer guides us along an epic two-hour trip that takes us over undulating snowy hills, through birch forests, across a frozen lake and past traditional Sami settlements.

Facts about the reindeer, natural history, Sami culture and the Arctic climate are delivered by graphics and archive stills embedded into the passing landscape. With no commentary, music or presenter - just the crunching of snow and the soft tinkle of a reindeer bell - this hypnotic sleigh ride is an enchanting experience to put everyone in the Christmas spirit.

SAT 21:00 Top of the Pops (b086trr9)
Christmas Hits

The Top of the Pops Christmas Hits compilation is made up of hits down the years, mostly performed on those classic episodes of Christmas Top of the Pops in a seasonal studio. We include songs that reached the charts in December, from Ian Dury & the Blockheads to Madness, East 17 and Coldplay.

There are hits that made the enviable Christmas Number 1 spot from the likes of The Human League & Pet Shop Boys, songs that were pipped to the post and perennial Christmas classics from Slade, Mud and Frankie Goes to Hollywood to name but three. We also have a special rediscovered rare performance opening the programme from the psychedelic era Rolling Stones from 1967 and not broadcast for over 40 years. Christmas Top of the Pops adorns the studio in tinsel to give a perfect playlist for any festive party.

SAT 22:30 Roy Orbison: One of the Lonely Ones (b06t3vb9)
Biography of iconic rock balladeer Roy Orbison told through his own voice, casting new light on the triumphs and tragedies that beset his career. Using previously unseen performances, home movies and interviews with many who have never spoken before, the film reveals Orbison's remote Texas childhood, his battles to get his voice heard, and how he created lasting hits like Only the Lonely and Crying.

The film follows Roy's rollercoaster life, often reflected in the dark lyrics of his songs, from success to rejection to rediscovery in the 80s with The Traveling Wilburys supergroup. It uncovers the man behind the shades, including interviews with his sons, many close friends and collaborators like Jeff Lynne, T Bone Burnett, Bobby Goldsboro and Marianne Faithfull.

SAT 23:30 Steptoe and Son (p031d1nn)
A Perfect Christmas

Classic comedy. Albert and Harold plan a Christmas abroad - in their own inimitable style.

SAT 00:15 Top of the Pops (b086824r)
John Peel presents the weekly chart show first broadcast on 18 November 1982. Includes appearances from Modern Romance, Duran Duran, Blancmange, Renee & Renato, Wham, Eddy Grant, Tears for Fears and Hall & Oates.

SAT 00:50 Top of the Pops (b086875q)
Peter Powell presents the weekly chart show, first broadcast on 2 December 1982. Includes appearances from Dexys Midnight Runners, The Human League, Whitesnake, Bucks Fizz, Modern Romance, Duran Duran and The Jam.

SAT 01:25 Shirley Bassey at the BBC (b01psct4)
Forever sequinned, stylish and sassy, Dame Shirley Bassey, one of Britain's all-time great voices, turned 76 in January 2013.

She began her rise to fame as a 16-year-old singer in 1953 and 60 years on she is still going as strong as ever. Join us as we celebrate Dame Shirley's birthday and her remarkable career, taking a trip down memory lane to uncover some of her finest performances from the vaults of the BBC.

From early BBC appearances on Show of the Week, The Shirley Bassey Show, via the Royal Albert Hall, Glastonbury 2007 and right up to her recent jaw dropping show at the Electric Proms. This is a compilation of some of Dame Shirley's classic performances, taking in iconic songs such as The Performance of My Life, Goldfinger, Big Spender and Diamonds Are Forever.

Producer: Sam Bridger

SAT 02:25 Top of the Pops (b086trr9)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


SUN 19:00 King Lear (b086kg3n)
A stage-to-screen film of the epic sell-out production of King Lear starring Don Warrington. This Talawa-Royal Exchange Theatre co-production was filmed in the round in Manchester, in front of an audience. The original theatrical stage production played to sell-out crowds during its run, winning 4- and 5-star reviews across the board and was described by the Guardian as 'as close to definitive as can be'.

King Lear is a brutal portrait of a man unravelling - pitted against his daughters, against nature and against the universe itself. In an ancient Britain bound by loyalty to the clan and the power of the sword, King Lear decides to give up his crown. As he divides the kingdom between his daughters, family ties disintegrate, order disappears and the land slides into chaos.

Award-winning actor Don Warrington has been highly praised for his brutal and powerful portrayal of King Lear, which resonates particularly as the UK's awareness of the impact of dementia on family bonds and decision-making grows.

Meanwhile, the casting of King Lear's family as black reminds us that the presence and influence of black people is potentially undocumented in our ancient history.

The 'in the round' recording commissioned by The Space brings the audience even closer to the family feuds, elemental attacks and epic battles of King Lear, and serves to extend the audience of an already dynamic and widely attended production.

SUN 22:10 The Good Old Days (b086tgyw)
Leonard Sachs presents an edition of the old time music hall programme, first broadcast on 28 December 1976. With Danny La Rue, Duggie Brown, Lyn Kennington, David Ellen and members of the Players' Theatre, London.

SUN 23:00 Top of the Pops (b086trr9)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Saturday]

SUN 00:00 The Old Grey Whistle Test (b014vzy3)
70s Gold

The Old Grey Whistle Test was launched on 21 September 1971 from a tiny studio tucked behind a lift shaft on the fourth floor of BBC Television Centre. From humble beginnings, it has gone on to provide some of the best and most treasured music archive that the BBC has to offer.

This programme takes us on a journey and celebrates the musically mixed-up decade that was the 1970s, and which is reflected in the OGWT archive. There are classic performances from the glam era by Elton John and David Bowie, an early UK TV appearance from Curtis Mayfield, the beginnings of heavy metal with Steppenwolf's iconic Born to Be Wild anthem and the early punk machinations of the 'mock rock' New York Dolls. Archive from the pinnacle year, 1973, features Roxy Music, The Wailers and Vinegar Joe. The programme's finale celebrates the advent of punk and new wave with unforgettable performances from Patti Smith, Blondie, Iggy Pop and The Jam.

Artists featured are Elton John, Lindisfarne, David Bowie, Curtis Mayfield, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Steppenwolf, Vinegar Joe, Brinsley Schwarz, New York Dolls, Argent, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Captain Beefheart, Johnny Winter, Dr Feelgood, Gil Scott Heron, Patti Smith, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Cher & Gregg Allman, Talking Heads, The Jam, Blondie, Iggy Pop and The Specials.

SUN 01:30 All Aboard! The Sleigh Ride (b06t3psw)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 on Saturday]


MON 19:00 Britain's Pompeii: A Village Lost in Time (b07myxws)
Professor Alice Roberts joins the team excavating a 3,000-year-old Bronze Age village in the Cambridgeshire Fens that has been called the British Pompeii.

The village earned its nickname because 3,000 years ago it burned to the ground, and as it burned it fell into the peat, preserving both the houses and their contents. Until its discovery, we had little real idea of what life was like in Bronze Age Britain.

Now we can peek inside our Bronze Age ancestors' homes as archaeologists discover perfectly preserved roundhouses, and the contents inside them - right down to the utensils in their kitchens. These roundhouses were built in a style never seen in the UK before - testimony not only to the villagers' technical skills, but also of their connections to Europe.

The team has made other incredible discoveries on the dig - from Britain's oldest-found wheel, to swords used in battle, and bowls still containing preserved remnants of food. One of the biggest revelations is the discovery of a complete set of the early technology used to produce cloth - a full industrial process we've never seen in Britain before.

This glimpse into domestic life 3,000 years ago is unprecedented, but it also transforms our impressions of Bronze Age Britain - far from being poor and isolated, it seems the villagers were successful large-scale farmers who used their farming surplus to trade with Europe, exchanging their crops for beautiful glass jewellery and multiple metal tools per household.

As part of the dig, the archaeologists also investigate the cause of the fire - was it just a terrible accident, or did the villagers' wealth provoke an attack?

MON 20:00 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures (b086t9rn)
2016: Supercharged - Fuelling the Future

Let There Be Light!

This year marks the 80th anniversary since the BBC first broadcast the Christmas Lectures on TV. To celebrate, chemist Professor Saiful Islam explores a subject that the lectures' founder - Michael Faraday - addressed in the very first Christmas Lectures - energy.

In his first lecture, Saiful investigates how to generate energy without destroying the planet in the process. Saiful begins his lecture by being plunged into darkness. Armed initially with nothing but a single candle, his challenge is to go back to first principles and bring back the power in the energy-hungry lecture theatre. Along the way he explains what energy is, how we can transform it from one form to another, and how we harness it to power the modern world. A fascinating and stimulating celebration of the stuff that quite literally makes the universe tick - the weird and wonderful world of energy.

MON 21:00 Bob Monkhouse: The Last Stand (b086tw3q)
Summer 2003: Bob Monkhouse entertains a room full of comedians with stand-up, chat and a comedy masterclass. The night became the stuff of legend among comedians but was not transmitted until much later.

MON 22:00 The Good Old Days (b086klrg)
A Christmas edition of the old time music hall programme, first broadcast on 26 December 1959. Featuring Morecambe & Wise, Patricia Bredin, Cardew Robinson, Smoothey & Layton, Noberti, Betty Jumel and the Manton Bros.

MON 23:00 Norman Wisdom: His Story (b00vhmqq)
From street urchin to knight of the realm - the story of Norman Wisdom, who used to be one of the biggest film stars in the UK, portraying a man who rarely stepped out of character in public, and whose highly individual comic style hid the private tragedy of his early life.

The actor's life story is told through the people who knew him well - his son and daughter Nick and Jacqui Wisdom, his daughter-in-law Kim, film director Stephen Frears, actors Ricky Tomlinson, Leslie Phillips and Honor Blackman, and singer Dame Vera Lynn.

MON 00:00 Doris Day - Virgin Territory (b0074rwd)
Doris Day has often been dismissed as an actress and overlooked as a singer, despite career highs such as Calamity Jane and Pillow Talk. Covering her early years as a band singer, and her troubled private life, this documentary re-evaluates one of the screen's most enduring legends.

MON 01:00 Darcey Bussell: My Life on the BBC (b086kfk8)
Darcey Bussell, for twenty years Britain's premier dancer with the Royal Ballet, was documented at regular intervals throughout her ballet career by BBC cameras and also appeared on many of the corporation's biggest entertainment shows. Darcey tells her own story through a carefully woven choice of archive from her debut appearance on Blue Peter as a 16-year-old in the early 80s to jiving on Strictly Come Dancing following her retirement from the Royal Ballet in 2007.

Packed with historic archive performances from the stage of the Royal Opera House and beyond, combined with candid documentary interviews from behind the dressing room door filmed at intervals during her stellar career, this is a celebration and a history of the ballet dancer who grew up in public and conquered television on the way.

MON 02:00 Darcey Bussell's Looking for Audrey (b04w7mfk)
Behind Audrey Hepburn's dazzling image, Darcey Bussell unravels an epic tale of betrayal, courage, heartache and broken dreams.

For as long as she can remember, Darcey has been fascinated by Audrey Hepburn - style icon, star of Breakfast at Tiffany's and an Oscar winner at 24. Now, Darcey follows in Audrey's footsteps through Holland, London, Rome, Switzerland and Hollywood to find out more. She discovers that Audrey started out as a dancer, risked her life in the Second World War and, although adored the world over, was always looking for love.

MON 03:00 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures (b086t9rn)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


TUE 19:00 The Ballet Master: Sir Peter Wright at 90 (b086tw3n)
Sir Peter Wright is a living legend, celebrated as the founder of Birmingham Royal Ballet and for his much-loved productions of such classics as The Nutcracker and Giselle. Still at work in his 90th year in Britain and Europe, Wright gives his first major television interview about his life and career, with contributions from Darcey Bussell and other great names of the dance world, as well as rare and extraordinary archive.

TUE 20:00 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures (b086yqp0)
2016: Supercharged - Fuelling the Future

People Power

In his second lecture, chemist Saiful Islam continues his exploration of one of the most important questions facing humankind - how to generate and use energy. He investigates how humans as living pulsing machines actually use energy, asking whether it's possible to 'supercharge' the human body and increase its performance.

Live experiments explore everything from the explosive potential of everyday foods, to what we put into our bodies (and what comes out!), as well as how we measure up to the machines we use every day. Saiful even experiments on himself, showing images captured inside his own stomach.

Every single one of us is an incredibly sophisticated energy conversion machine, finely tuned over millions of years of evolution. So will we ever be able to improve the human body's performance? Can we ever do more with less energy?

TUE 21:00 Time Commanders (b08653wx)
Episode 3

Hosted by Gregg Wallace, a show in which ordinary members of the public go toe to toe with the greatest generals, as they refight some of the most significant battles from history in an innovative mix of genuine history and game show competition.

June of the year 451, and the forces of the crumbling Roman Empire are battling the whirlwind military might of the Huns in a field in France. Can the Barbarian hoard bring the Roman Empire to its knees once and for all, or will the mighty Roman military machine put an end to their invasion?

This time, a team of karate veterans take on the role of defending the Roman Empire against attack by Attila and his Hunnish hordes. Can they stop a team of kickboxers from rewriting history and over running Europe? Will the legendary horsemen of Attila or the Roman military machine emerge victorious?

TUE 22:00 Rome's Invisible City (b05xxl4t)
With the help of a team of experts and the latest in 3D scanning technology, Alexander Armstrong, along with Dr Michael Scott, explores the hidden underground treasures that made Rome the powerhouse of the ancient world. In his favourite city, he uncovers a lost subterranean world that helped build and run the world's first metropolis and its empire.

From the secret underground world of the Colosseum to the aqueducts and sewers that supplied and cleansed it, and from the mysterious cults that sustained it spiritually to the final resting places of Rome's dead, Xander discovers the underground networks that serviced the remarkable world above.

TUE 23:00 Storyville (b075f0n4)
My Nazi Legacy

Three men travel together across Europe. For two of them the journey involves a confrontation with the acts of their fathers, who were both senior Nazi officers. For the third, the eminent human rights lawyer and author Philippe Sands, it means visiting the place where much of his own Jewish family was destroyed by the fathers of the two men he has come to know. An emotional, psychological exploration of three men wrestling with their past, the present of Europe and conflicting versions of the truth.

TUE 00:30 Time Commanders (b08653wx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]

TUE 01:30 Britain's Pompeii: A Village Lost in Time (b07myxws)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 on Monday]

TUE 02:30 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures (b086yqp0)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


WED 19:00 The Mystery of Van Gogh's Ear (b07nswft)
It is one of the greatest and bloodiest mysteries in art: what happened on the December night in 1888 when Vincent van Gogh took a blade to his own ear?

Jeremy Paxman joins art sleuth Bernadette Murphy on her amazing quest to discover the truth - what exactly did the artist do, why did he do it and who was the unknown girl he is said to have handed his severed ear to, her real identity kept secret by her family for over a century? It is an event that defines van Gogh, who created his greatest masterpieces including the Sunflowers at the same moment as suffering mental torture, but what are the real facts?

This revealing detective story travels from Vincent's home in the south of France to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and uncovers key evidence hidden in a Californian library that has created an art-world sensation, as we finally solve the mystery of Van Gogh's ear.

WED 20:00 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures (b086yr10)
2016: Supercharged - Fuelling the Future

Fully Charged

In this year's final Royal Institution Christmas Lecture, chemist Saiful Islam explores one of the most important issues facing the modern world - how to store energy. Over the course of the lecture, he tackles his toughest challenge yet - trying to work out how to store enough energy to power a mobile phone for a whole year and still fit it in his pocket! With the UK generating nearly twenty times as much energy today as it did 80 years ago, finding better ways to store it is vital for all of our futures.

Live experiments include an attempt to break the world record for the most powerful battery made of lemons and a clear-eyed look at the most energy-packed fuel in the world - hydrogen. Along the way Saiful investigates the chemistry of batteries and tells us what the future of energy has in store for us.

WED 21:00 James May: The Reassembler (b086t7c9)
Series 2

James May: The Christmas Reassembler

Much like Santa Claus, James May has spent the year in his workshop getting ready for Christmas, in a festive special in which he reassembles his favourite childhood Christmas present.

But this isn't just any Christmas present, this is the one that changed his life and sent him on to a path of mechanical intrigue and reassembly. This is the Hornby Flying Scotsman with realistic chuffing sounds which James ripped open on Christmas Day 1972.

Laid out in all its 138 tiny component parts, James lovingly reassembles the train as well as his memories of Christmases and toys past. From the exhilarating remagnetising of the motor's magnets to some thrilling wheel-quartering amidst a backdrop of James's continued bafflement of electricity, we watch as James rebuilds the entire train set and hopes at the end his Christmas wish will come true and the train will start up and realistically chuff into the night.

WED 21:30 Pop Quiz: The Comeback (b086tw99)
Episode 1

It was the Saturday night smash hit music quiz show that ran for four years between 1981 and 1984. Over 30 years later it's back, with the original presenter Mike Read hosting the first of two special celebration shows where the biggest pop stars from the 1980s go head to head in a test of their 80s music knowledge. Guests include Toyah Willcox, Tom Bailey (Thompson Twins), Andy McCluskey (OMD), Steve Norman (Spandau Ballet), Mari Wilson and Leee John (Imagination).

WED 22:00 Fleetwood Mac: Don't Stop (b00nq7q9)
Fleetwood Mac are one of the biggest-selling bands of all time and still on the road. Their story, told in their own words, is an epic tale of love and confrontation, of success and loss.

Few bands have undergone such radical musical and personal change. The band evolved from the 60s British blues boom to perfect a US West Coast sound that saw them sell 40 million copies of the album Rumours.

However, behind-the-scenes relationships were turbulent. The band went through multiple line-ups with six different lead guitarists. While working on Rumours, the two couples at the heart of the band separated, yet this heartache inspired the perfect pop record.

WED 23:00 The Everly Brothers: Harmonies from Heaven (b077x1fh)
Documentary which celebrates, over the period covering the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 60s, the phenomenon of The Everly Brothers, arguably the greatest harmony duo the world has witnessed, who directly influenced the greatest and most successful bands of the 60s and 70s - The Beatles, The Stones, The Beach Boys and Simon & Garfunkel to name but a few.

Don and Phil Everly's love of music began as children, encouraged by their father Ike. Little Donnie and Baby Boy Phil sang on Ike's early morning radio shows in Iowa.

After leaving school, the brothers moved to Nashville where, under the wing of Ike Everly's friend, the highly talented musician Chet Atkins, Don and Phil signed with Cadence Records. They exploded onto the music scene in 1957 with Bye Bye Love, written by Boudleaux and Felice Bryant.

After Bye Bye Love came other hits, notably Wake Up Little Susie, followed by the worldwide smash hit All I Have to Do Is Dream and a long string of other great songs which also became hits.

By 1960, however, the brothers were lured away from Cadence to Warner Bros with a $1,000,000 contract. Their biggest hit followed, the self-penned Cathy's Clown, which sold 8 million copies. Remaining at Warner Bros for most of the 60s, they had further success with Walk Right Back, So Sad and the King/Greenfield-penned track Crying in the Rain.

WED 00:00 Norman Wisdom: His Story (b00vhmqq)
[Repeat of broadcast at 23:00 on Monday]

WED 01:00 The Good Old Days (b086klrg)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Monday]

WED 02:00 The Mystery of Van Gogh's Ear (b07nswft)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

WED 03:00 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures (b086yr10)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


THU 19:00 Digging for Britain (b0864zvq)
Series 5


Professor Alice Roberts with the very best in British archaeology 2016 - filmed by the archaeologists themselves, straight from the trenches, so you can see each exciting discovery as it happens. The teams then bring their best finds - from skeletons to treasure - back to the Digging for Britain lab, to examine them with Alice and reveal how they are changing the story of Britain.

This episode looks at the east of Britain.

Finds include: new revelations from 'Britain's Pompeii' - the 3,000-year-old perfectly preserved village in Cambridgeshire - including how our Bronze Age ancestors designed their homes, and their kitchens packed with food and equipment; the theatre where Shakespeare premiered Romeo and Juliet and Henry V, complete with sound effect props and evidence that Shakespeare's original audience was much rowdier than you might expect; evidence that we may have finally found the location of the Battle of Barnet, the famous Wars of the Roses site where Edward IV defeated Warwick the Kingmaker in a bloody battle that would eventually bring the Tudor dynasty to England's throne.

THU 20:00 King George and Queen Mary: The Royals Who Rescued the Monarchy (b0195qtj)
King George V

A two-part portrait of Elizabeth II's grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary, which examines the lasting legacy of the couple who rescued the monarchy from potential disaster, and whose influence persists to this day.

This episode focuses on King George V. George could not have been a more unlikely moderniser. Born and brought up in the Victorian age he was conservative to his fingertips. Yet in the face of unstoppable social change after the First World War he turned out to be a remarkable innovator, creating the House of Windsor, embracing democratic reform, and reinventing many of the royal traditions that we know today. When he celebrated his silver jubilee in 1935 the monarchy was more popular than ever.

But as a parent King George V was far less successful - he bullied his children and alienated his eldest son and heir, Prince Edward. As one courtier remarked at the time, 'the royal family are like ducks, they sit on their children'. By contrast, King George had a loving relationship with his granddaughter and much of Queen Elizabeth's style and commitment to duty can be traced back to this early influence.

THU 21:00 Flying Scotsman: Sounds from the Footplate (b087k5rf)
Another chance to enjoy the view from the driving seat of the world's most famous steam locomotive as Flying Scotsman travels the length of the Severn Valley Railway.

Special 'cab cameras' and microphones capture all the action from the footplate - this time without commentary. Viewers can appreciate the evocative sound of steam transportation as this magnificent engine attracts crowds from far and wide.

Veteran driver Roger Norfolk and fireman Ryan Green guide Scotsman on the leisurely journey through the countryside of the English midlands, from Bridgnorth in Shropshire to Kidderminster in Worcestershire. Hundreds of enthusiasts also watch and wave from platforms, bridges and surrounding fields.

THU 22:00 The Queen Mary: Greatest Ocean Liner (b07d2wy4)
With exclusive access to the magnificent liner and its extensive archive of film and photographs, this documentary explores the action-packed life of the Clyde-built ship - an epic journey through some of the most dynamic periods of the 20th century.

Built with the blood and sweat of the master craftsmen of the Clydebank shipyards, she helped drag a nation from the depths of the great depression and set sail as a symbol of new hope and a better future. Leaving Southampton on 27 May 1936, her maiden voyage to New York set a new benchmark in transatlantic travel. Designed in peacetime to link the old world with the new, she ferried movie stars, politicians and royalty across the Atlantic, luxuriously cocooned in an art-deco floating palace.

Then, in 1939, she was transformed to challenge the fury of the Nazis in the Battle of the Atlantic. With a wartime record to rival that of the highest-ranking general, she carried whole armies through enemy-infested seas. Hitler offered a bonus of $250,000 and the Iron Cross to any U-boat captain who could sink the Queen Mary.

When the war was over, the Queen Mary gave passage to thousands of British war brides and children who planned a new life in the New World. The Queen Mary was a great attraction to the rich and famous celebrities of the 1950s and 60s.

From an exclusive interview with singer Johnny Mathis, we find out what it was like to perform on the rough seas of the Atlantic. The liner continued in service until 1967 and is now a floating luxury hotel and museum docked in a custom-made lagoon in Long Beach, California.

THU 23:00 Billy Fury: The Sound of Fury (b077x1fk)
Documentary which recounts the story of Billy Fury and the birth of British pop music. His first album, The Sound of Fury (released in 1960), has become a landmark record in British rock 'n' roll history.

Born in Liverpool during the Second World War, Ronnie Wycherley became an overnight sensation in 1958 when he was asked to go on stage and sing a couple of his self-penned songs by showbiz impresario Larry Parnes. Ronnie's knees shook with nerves, but over 2,000 screaming girls welcomed the new star of British rock 'n' roll and the headline in the local newspaper the following day was 'Dingle boy with a hot guitar'.

With more Top 40 hits than The Beatles during the 60s, Billy Fury's major hits included Halfway to Paradise, Wondrous Place, Jealousy, Last Night Was Made For Love and many more.

Aged just 42, Billy died of heart failure after a recording session. But his fans have never forgotten him, and every year on the anniversary of his death they gather to pay their tributes at Mill Hill cemetery. Lord Puttnam sums up Fury's contribution to modern music in the programme by saying that, 'without Billy Fury, I honestly don't think The Beatles would have happened'.

THU 00:25 Flying Scotsman: Sounds from the Footplate (b087k5rf)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]

THU 01:25 James May: The Reassembler (b086t7c9)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Wednesday]

THU 02:00 Rome's Invisible City (b05xxl4t)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Tuesday]

THU 03:00 King George and Queen Mary: The Royals Who Rescued the Monarchy (b0195qtj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


FRI 19:00 Top of the Pops (b086xg7z)
Simon Bates presents the weekly chart show, first broadcast on 9 December 1982. Includes appearances from Shalamar, Soft Cell, Shakin' Stevens, Yazoo, Junior, Lionel Richie, The Jam, Renee & Renato, and David Bowie & Bing Crosby.

FRI 19:30 Top of the Pops (b086xg81)
David Jensen presents the weekly chart show, first broadcast on 23 December 1982. Includes appearances from The Maisonettes, David Bowie & Bing Crosby, Incantation, Shakin' Stevens, Imagination, ABBA, Keith Harris & Orville, Renee & Renato and Modern Romance.

FRI 20:00 King George and Queen Mary: The Royals Who Rescued the Monarchy (b01974m3)
Queen Mary

A two-part portrait of Elizabeth II's grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary, which examines the lasting legacy of the couple who rescued the monarchy from potential disaster, and whose influence persists to this day.

Episode two focuses on Queen Mary, who came from a relatively humble royal background, but was picked as a future queen consort by Queen Victoria. At first she was betrothed to Prince Eddy, heir to the throne. But when Eddy died she was unceremoniously passed to his brother George.

Despite the arranged marriage, King George and Queen Mary had a loving relationship. Mary revered the monarchy and obeyed her husband in all things - even the length of her dresses. She always put duty and service first. But when King George died in 1936, this once rigidly formal character emerged as a determined if eccentric royal matriarch with a mind of her own.

When the abdication crisis threatened the future of the House of Windsor, she was the rock to which the nation turned as a symbol of stability and continuity. Queen Mary died in 1953, having lived to see her granddaughter Elizabeth ascend to the throne.

FRI 21:00 George Michael at the Palais Garnier, Paris (b0401m8s)
George Michael introduces his unique live solo performance at the historic Palais Garnier Opera House in Paris, recorded in 2012 for his live album Symphonica. He was the first contemporary artist ever to perform there. The film brings together a compilation of live stage performances interspersed with behind-the-scenes footage and insights featuring George, his orchestra and the legendary producer Phil Ramone, shortly before his death in 2013.

In between performances of his classic songs, George describes the stories behind some of his favourite tracks, and we see black-and-white studio footage of conversations with Ramone, along with rehearsals with the Symphonica orchestra and George's backing singers.

Before the end, George pays a moving tribute to the late Ramone, whom he describes as the most accomplished producer of the 20th century: 'He understood more about music than anyone I had ever met... And it breaks my heart that he's not around to see this album released or to watch this documentary.'

Performed tracks:

My Baby Just Cares for Me
A Different Corner
Cowboys and Angels
John & Elvis Are Dead
You've Changed
Going to Town
Brother Can You Spare a Dime
Let Her Down Easy
You've Been Loved
Wild is the Wind
Praying for Time
Feeling Good.

FRI 22:00 A Year in the Life of a Year (b086twq2)

A comic cultural review of 2016, told through mash-up and manipulated archive footage.

FRI 22:30 TOTP2 (b00sl2g5)
Wham! Special

Mark Radcliffe with some classic Wham! performances on Top of the Pops.

FRI 23:00 Strictly Ballroom (b00749zg)
Offbeat satire in which a young ballroom dancing sensation causes uproar among the traditionalist Australian Dance Federation when he tries out some radical new steps.

His new routine horrifies all but the ugly duckling of his dance class who's just waiting to blossom. When she persuades him to partner her, he discovers a true soulmate who dares to be daring on the dance floor.

FRI 00:35 Bob Monkhouse: The Last Stand (b086tw3q)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Monday]

FRI 01:35 Top of the Pops (b086xg7z)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

FRI 02:10 Top of the Pops (b086xg81)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

FRI 02:40 King George and Queen Mary: The Royals Who Rescued the Monarchy (b01974m3)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]