Katty Kay in Washington and Christian Fraser in London report on the events that are shaping the world.
Francesco da Mosto reaches the outer limits of the old Venetian empire on his voyage from Venice to Istanbul. Now he enters Turkish waters, the Strait of the Dardanelles, gateway to the east.
First stop are the haunting beaches of Gallipoli - scene of one of the worst massacres of the First World War. It was here that the Anzac forces of New Zealand and Australia were decimated as, alongside British troops, they tried to retake the Dardanelles.
After the bumpiest of bus rides inland, Francesco arrives at the city of Edirne, which boasts Turkey's finest - and biggest - mosque. The incredible acoustics of the giant dome are demonstrated by a local imam with the biggest pair of lungs in town.
In Edirne the most popular sport is wrestling. Naked, except for skin-tight leather trousers and covered in olive oil, the local wrestlers are giants of men. The sport is a severe trial of strength and the rules uncertain - it's even acceptable to put your hands down your opponent's trousers. Francesco is forced to give it a try.
The White Swan embarks on its final lap to Istanbul. But one detour is irresistible - to Bursa, birthplace of the doner kebab.
In the final episode of this landmark series charting the history of human civilisation, Andrew Marr brings the story right up to date with the twentieth century.
Marr suggests that humanity found itself propelled forward by our technological brilliance but limited by the consequences of our political idiocy. Democracy confronted communism and fascism, and two world wars would underscore our political failures more than ever before.
But our achievements were also astonishing, especially in the fields of science and technology. We invented machines of awesome speed and power, and reached beyond the limits of our planet. Now, more of us live longer, healthier and wealthier lives than our ancestors could ever have imagined.
But Marr argues that with seven billion of us on the planet, and rising fast, either we manage the earth's natural resources better or we risk global catastrophe. The decisions we make in the next 50 years, he argues, may well decide our fate. For Marr, the most interesting part of human history lies just ahead.
In the late 18th century, Captain James Cook led three great voyages of discovery which pushed the borders of the British Empire to the ends of the earth. In just over a decade, his ability as a navigator and chartmaker would add one-third to the map of the known world. For many he was the greatest explorer in history, but for others he was a ruthless conqueror.
While the exploits of Captain Cook are well documented, much less is known about James Cook the man. Presenter Vanessa Collingridge sets out on her own voyage of discovery - travelling in his footsteps to uncover the forces that drove him to success, and ultimately to his own death.
A remarkable travel guide compiled from first-hand records of Tudor seafarers in the 16th century.
Professor Nandini Das explores Hakluyt's Principal Navigations, which records accounts of ventures in search of lucrative spices and dyes. It is a prototype for today's travel guides with advice, warnings, descriptions of remarkable people and a list of vocabulary to converse with foreigners. It became a book that all English seafarers kept on board ship. But the descriptions of encounters with foreigners also lay the foundations for later colonialism and conquest.
It's spring and the nesting season is in full swing. While hundreds of dotterel are taking a rest on the Black Mountains during their journey from Africa to their breeding sites in Scotland, peregrines are already nesting in an old quarry in the central Beacons. Next to the largest natural lake in south Wales, water voles are managing their ditches. Iolo Williams explores the most crooked church in Britain and an old gunpowder works and finds that a 300-year-old stone wall reveals the history of this magnificent landscape.
The first of three documentaries following the bosses of some Britain's oldest family businesses as they go on a journey into their remarkable pasts.
Richard Balson's family have been butchers for almost 500 years, since Henry VIII was on the throne. He goes back through centuries of butchery to the origin of the British high street. Along the way he discovers how the Balsons have stayed in the butchery business despite scandal and tragedy.
The National Parks are Britain's most treasured landscapes, but they are increasingly becoming battlefields. They were designated 60 years ago as places for everyone, but is that still the case? In this series the award-winning film-maker Richard Macer spent a year amid conflicts in three different parks, on a journey to discover who they are really for.
In each park the stories are very different, but there is something that unites them all - fiercely divided communities who are prepared to fight in order to preserve their right to enjoy the countryside. In each film, Macer has secured access to the National Park Authority - an organisation which looks after the landscapes and decides upon planning matters. In all of these stories the Park Authorities have a key role to play in trying to find amicable solutions to the problems which confront them.
In the Lake District, entrepreneur Mark Weir wants to build a giant zip-wire ride from the top of a beautiful, remote mountain. But does it have any chance of getting permission when there are over 400 objectors to it? Unfortunately a tragic accident during filming means that Mark will never see if his zip-wire becomes a reality.
CS Lewis's biographer AN Wilson goes in search of the man behind Narnia - best-selling children's author and famous Christian writer, but an under-appreciated Oxford academic and an aspiring poet who never achieved the same success in writing verse as he did prose.
Although his public life was spent in the all-male world of Oxford colleges, his private life was marked by secrecy and even his best friend JRR Tolkien didn't know of his marriage to an American divorcee late in life. Lewis died on the same day as the assassination of John F Kennedy and few were at his burial - his alcoholic brother was too drunk to tell people the time of the funeral. Fifty years on, his life as a writer is now being remembered alongside other national literary heroes in Westminster Abbey's Poets' Corner.
In this personal and insightful film, Wilson paints a psychological portrait of a man who experienced fame in the public arena, but whose personal life was marked by the loss of the three women he most loved.
Milton is often considered too difficult and obscure for today's reader, but to Armando Iannucci Paradise Lost is a thrilling work of creative genius that we ignore at our peril.
In this film, Iannucci journeys through Milton's life and his great poem, taking in everything from Satan and the start of spin to farting angels and the questioning of God's existence, offering his own passionate and illuminating response to Paradise Lost.
Along the way, he talks to schoolchildren, politicians and former prisoners to build up a picture of what Milton was like, and why his art may have turned out the way it did.
WEDNESDAY 12 SEPTEMBER 2018
WED 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (b0bk8tvf)
Katty Kay in Washington and Christian Fraser in London report on the events that are shaping the world.
WED 19:30 Francesco's Mediterranean Voyage (b00d06g4)
Franceso da Mosto reaches Istanbul, the final stop of his marathon voyage from Venice following the trading routes of the Venetian empire.
Istanbul straddles the Bosphorus as well as two continents. It has been home of both Christian and Islamic civilisations, and Francesco is eager to explore this great city.
First stop is the Palace of Topkapi - centre of power for the Ottoman empire. Most haunting of all is the palace harem, a prison to the sultan's many concubines. Beneath the city is a vast network of underground tunnels dating back more than a thousand years.
Donning hard hat and waders, Francesco enters one of the huge underground cisterns - looking more like a Roman emperor's palace than a water tank. Two giant heads of Medusa lie abandoned in the water.
Istanbul's Grand Bazaar is one of the world's biggest undercover markets and Francesco has a mission in mind. He is going to learn how to sell a Turkish carpet. As he learns the secrets of the trade, he is shown one of the most expensive and beautiful carpets in the city.
A visit to Istanbul would not be complete without the experience of a Turkish bath, however, so Francesco offers himself up for a vigorous soap and scrub. But soon it is time to say goodbye. A final celebration aboard the Black Swan with its long-suffering crew brings Francesco's journey to an end.
WED 20:00 How the Wild West Was Won with Ray Mears (b044jl70)
Ray Mears looks at how the landscapes of America's three great mountain ranges - the Appalachians, the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada - challenged the westward push of the early pioneers.
As Ray travels through each landscape he discovers how their awe-inspiring geography, extreme weather, wild animals and ecology presented both great opportunities and great challenges for the native Indians, mountain men, fur traders, wagon trains and gold miners of the Wild West.
Ray begins his westward journey in the Appalachians where he explores how their timbered slopes fuelled the lumber industry and provided the fuel and building material for the emerging nation. Native Appalachian Barbara Woodall and lumberjack Joe Currie share their family history with him, and he gets to grips with the rare 'hellbender' salamander.
Further west, in the high jagged peaks of the Rocky Mountains, Ray goes mule trekking with modern-day mountain man Stu Sorenson and he has close encounters with beaver, elk and black bear.
Finally, in the desert mountains of the Sierra Nevada, he explores the tragic story of the Donner Party wagon train whose members allegedly turned to cannibalism to survive. His journey ends as he pans for gold with modern day gold prospector John Gurney, and explores the boom and bust story of ghost town, Bodie.
WED 21:00 Ian Hislop's Olden Days (b040rqjm)
Heroes for All Times
Ian Hislop explores perhaps the most distinctive, peculiar and deep-seated trait of the British, our obsession with the past. Over three films he reveals how and why, throughout our history, we have continually plundered 'the olden days' to make sense of and shape the present.
This opening episode reveals how, ever since 1066, we have harked back to the Dark Ages. In particular, Ian turns his gaze on two of our most inspiring kings - King Arthur and King Alfred - one quite possibly entirely fictional, the other entirely historical, and yet each the stuff of legend.
On the trail of legendary King Arthur, Ian visits Tintagel Castle, the fantastic Round Table at Winchester and even the sacred 'burial place' of Arthur and Guinevere at Glastonbury Abbey. He finds out how this storybook king has changed, from wild Celtic warlord to chivalric hero; from piously questing king to national totem of Victorian Wales. Ian also discovers why the king of Camelot inspired Henry VIII as much as today's New Age druids.
King Alfred repelled the Vikings, reorganised the army and was an educational pioneer... not, Ian notes wryly, as exciting as pulling a sword from a stone, but rather more useful. And yet, peeling away the evidence, there is more fiction involved in this 'historic' king than meets the eye - manipulated to suit the diverse purposes of tricksy mediaeval lawyers, a Tudor archbishop for whom we have the cake-burning story to thank, and even a Georgian prince of Wales, he gradually becomes blessed with almost every virtue. By Victorian times, Alfred the Great, has evolved into 'the most perfect man in history', one-man embodiment of everything that is great about Great Britain.
Winston Churchill summoned up the spirit of Alfred to inspire the nation in the dark days of 1940. Meanwhile Arthur reigns supreme today in movies, TV series and even online gaming. Ian even gets to meet Arthur Uther Pendragon, self-declared reincarnation of King Arthur himself, to find out what is on Arthur's mind in the 21st century.
The multiple historical makeovers of these Dark Age kings provide a fascinating insight into the evolution of our sense of national identity. Thoroughly forensic, always curious and witty, this is an exploration of high and low culture over 1,000 years. As ever with Ian Hislop's cultural histories, it focuses on the 'story' bit of history and holds up a most revealing mirror to ourselves.
WED 22:00 Strangeways: Britain's Toughest Prison Riot (b05px4sk)
Nearly 30 years after the biggest riot in British penal history, this film brings together the ringleaders of the trouble with the prison guards they battled with over three weeks of anarchy that brought Strangeways to its knees.
The events are told through unparalleled access to the people at the heart of the riot, including the governor Brendan O'Friel, who was faced with the task of trying to regain control of his prison.
Former prisoners describe the explosion of violence that erupted on 1 April 1990, when 1,600 angry inmates escaped from their cells and ran amok through the prison. Many were seeking revenge and reform for what they saw as years of suffering under an archaic and sometimes brutal regime in the overcrowded Victorian prison.
In the bloody mayhem that followed, prison officers describe fearing for their lives as they were driven out of the building, leaving prisoners to settle scores and hunt down sex offenders, showing no mercy whilst the prison burned around them.
Candid testimony from ex-inmates, prison officers and the governor himself creates a compelling story of the struggle for power between the authorities and the hardcore prisoners who ultimately took their protest onto the prison roof. The stand-off that followed is documented until the final moments, when the siege was ended in a dramatic takedown in front of rolling news cameras.
WED 23:00 Queen Victoria's Letters: A Monarch Unveiled (b04p1vx1)
Examining the first half of Queen Victoria's life, biographer AN Wilson goes in search of a monarch too often misunderstood as the solid black-clad matron and reveals a woman who was passionately romantic and who spent her years as a child and young queen fighting the control of domineering men.
Queen Victoria was one of the 19th century's most prolific diarists, sometimes writing up to 2,500 words a day. From state affairs to family gossip, she poured out her emotions onto paper. Those close to her were afraid her more alarming opinions might escape in written form, causing havoc. In fact much of her writing was destroyed after her death and her personal journals edited by her daughter. But what survives frequently reveals a woman quite different to the one we think we know. AN Wilson reads her personal journals and unpublished letters and discovers the factors that shaped the queen's personality. From the tortured relationship with her mother, to the dominant men she clung to in search of a father figure and the powerful struggle that made her marriage to Prince Albert a battleground, Queen Victoria was always a woman in search of intimate relationships. As a daughter, a wife, a mother and the queen of a growing empire, as friends and family came and went, her pen remained her constant companion and friend.
Queen Victoria's journals and letters are read by Anna Chancellor throughout.
WED 00:00 Britain's Deadliest Rail Disaster: Quintinshill (b05vqx7v)
On 22 May 1915, a collision at the Quintinshill signal box, near Gretna, became Britain's deadliest ever rail crash. Involving a military train filled with troops - most of whom were from Leith - heading for Gallipoli and two passenger trains, the crash claimed an estimated 226 lives and left hundreds more injured.
The duty signalmen, George Meakin and James Tinsley, were found responsible for the disaster and were both jailed on the charges of culpable homicide.
Neil Oliver explores the series of mistakes that may have caused the collision, the part played by the train companies and the government, and determines whether the investigation would have come to the same conclusions if it were carried out today. Dramatised reconstructions add to this compelling account of a tragedy which had a profound effect on several communities in Scotland, and remains the deadliest in the annals of Britain's railways.
Britain's Deadliest Rail Disaster: Quintinshill is a Finestripe Productions programme for BBC Scotland.
WED 01:00 Akala's Odyssey (b09sc141)
Writer and hip-hop artist Akala voyages across the Mediterranean and beyond to solve some of the mysteries behind Homer's monumental poem, the Odyssey. Travelling between spectacular ruins, such as the sacred shrine of Delphi or the Greek colonies on Sicily, Akala's journey culminates on the small island of Ithaca, where he ponders the theory that this is the destination which Homer had in mind as he composed the epic.
Along the way, he finds out what Homer's works may have sounded like to their first audiences, discovers how the rhythm of those ancient words connect to the beats of modern hip-hop and comes face to face with the characters from the masterpiece. He also investigates how this epic poem became the cornerstone of Western literature and how his own experiences as an artist have been impacted by a 3,000-year-old classic. Akala has undertaken this quest as part of his mission to compose his own response to the Odyssey - a new hip hop track called Blind Bard's Vision, which turns the tale on its head all over again. This is Akala's Odyssey.
WED 02:00 Handmade in the Pacific (b0bjj2r8)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Monday
WED 02:30 Tales of Tudor Travel: The Explorer's Handbook (b0bk2k1x)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Tuesday
WED 03:00 How the Wild West Was Won with Ray Mears (b044jl70)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
THURSDAY 13 SEPTEMBER 2018
THU 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (b0bk8vv8)
Katty Kay in Washington and Christian Fraser in London report on the events that are shaping the world.
THU 19:30 The Sky at Night (b0bk51hk)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Sunday
THU 20:00 The Marvellous World of Roald Dahl (b07m8n2q)
Fighter pilot, inventor, spy - the life of Roald Dahl is often stranger than fiction. From crashing his plane over Africa to hobnobbing in Hollywood, and his remarkable encounters with everyone from Walt Disney to President Roosevelt - this is the story of his greatest adventures, and how his real-life escapades find expression in his most famous books, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Matilda.
Through a vast collection of his letters, writings and archive, the story is told largely in his own words, with contributions from his last wife Liccy, daughter Lucy and biographer Donald Sturrock. Long-term collaborator and illustrator Quentin Blake also creates exclusive new drawings for the film which are specially animated to bring Dahl's marvellous world to life.
THU 21:00 The Day the Dinosaurs Died (b08r3xhf)
The Day the Dinosaurs Died investigates the greatest vanishing act in the history of our planet - the sudden disappearance of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.
Experts suspect that the dinosaurs were wiped out after a city-sized asteroid smashed into the Gulf of Mexico causing a huge crater. But until now, they haven't had any proof. In a world first, evolutionary biologist Ben Garrod joins a multimillion-pound drilling expedition into the exact spot the asteroid hit to get hard evidence of the link. The team overcomes huge obstacles as it attempts to drill 1,500 metres beneath sea level to pull up rock from the Chicxulub crater.
Meanwhile, paleopathologist Professor Alice Roberts travels the globe meeting top scientists and gaining exclusive access to a mass fossil graveyard in New Jersey - believed to date from the same time the asteroid hit. Alice also treks by horseback across the remote plains of Patagonia, to see if the effects of the asteroid impact could have wiped out dinosaurs across the world - almost immediately.
Alice and Ben's investigations reveal startling new evidence of a link between the asteroid and the death of the dinosaurs, presenting a vivid picture of the most dramatic 24 hours in our planet's history. They illustrate what happened in the seconds and hours after the impact, revealing that had the huge asteroid struck the Earth a moment earlier, or later, the destruction might not have been total for the dinosaurs. And if they still roamed the world, we humans may never have come to rule the planet.
THU 22:00 Timewatch (b008pyps)
In Search of the Wreckers
History Series. In January, the MSC Napoli ran aground, spilling its cargo on Branscombe beach in Devon. The public were delighted, but the authorities were determined to police opportunists. Looters of the Napoli were reviving a centuries' old tradition: 'wrecking'. Author Bella Bathurst discovers the social history of a national crime.
THU 22:50 Arena (b00dqv1z)
Philip Hoare's Guide to Whales
Acclaimed author and whale-watcher Philip Hoare takes us into the world of Arctic whales. From the whaling port of Whitby, we follow the historical trail of the whale hunters to the frozen seas of the North Pole and the worlds strangest whales - the bowhead, nearly hunted to extinction and now known to be the longest-lived mammal; the white beluga whale, so-called canary of the sea; and the tusked narwhal, whose existence gave rise to the legend of the unicorn.
THU 23:00 Horizon (b04b763n)
What's Wrong with Our Weather?
Over the last few years, our weather in Britain has become more extreme.
The winter of 2013/14 was the wettest ever recorded, as deadly storms battered the country for weeks on end. But previous winters have seen bitter lows of -22, as Britain was plunged into a deep freeze.
Everyone wants to know why our weather is getting more extreme, whether we can expect to see more of it in the future, and if it has got anything to do with climate change.
Physicist Dr Helen Czerski and meteorologist John Hammond make sense of Britain's recent extreme weather and discover that there is one thing that connects all our recent extreme winters - the jet stream, an invisible river of air that powers along 10km above us. What's worrying is that recently it has been behaving rather strangely.
Scientists are now trying to understand what is behind these changes in the jet stream. Helen and John find out if extreme winters are something we may all have to get used to in the future.
THU 00:00 Maps: Power, Plunder and Possession (b00s96gn)
Mapping the World
In the last of a three-part series about the extraordinary stories behind maps, Professor Jerry Brotton uncovers how maps are snapshots of a moment in history and offer visions of distant lands, tempting explorers to plunder and conquer.
However, adventurers first had to tackle the great challenge of mapping the globe onto a flat surface. There is no perfect solution, but the father of geography, Claudius Ptolemy, had some clever ideas.
Explorers like Christopher Columbus sailed into the unknown in search of riches and discovered a whole new continent that would become the most powerful on earth, while Amerigo Vespucci gave it his name.
Sir Walter Raleigh's treasure map of El Dorado in South America ultimately lost him his head. But the myth of El Dorado lived on, sending hundreds of men to their death in fruitless attempts to find the golden city.
As navigation became easier, maps enabled nations and enterprises like the Dutch East India Company to plunder far-off territories for spices, natural resources and gold. Even today, a project to map the North Pole is the flashpoint for the so-called 'Cold Rush' - the dash to exploit oil, gas and mineral reserves as the Arctic ice melts.
THU 01:00 Arena (b08t9yvk)
The machine that introduced the sounds of America to its people has been lovingly reassembled and, in the heart of Hollywood, in a perfect recreation of the atmosphere and conditions of America's first-ever recording studios, today's music superstars roll the epic on.
Elton John, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Alabama Shakes, Jack White, Nas, Ana Gabriel, Beck, Los Lobos and Steve Martin are among the artists who test their skills against the demands of the recording machine that literally made American music. There are no edits, no overdubs and no retakes, and the disc only allows for three minutes of recording time.
Despite these limitations, today's recordings for American Epic have one advantage - the freshly recorded sound is crystal clear and of an astonishing depth, transporting us vividly into the past - and the future.
THU 03:00 The Marvellous World of Roald Dahl (b07m8n2q)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
FRIDAY 14 SEPTEMBER 2018
FRI 19:00 World News Today (b0bjj620)
The latest news from around the world.
FRI 19:30 Top of the Pops (b0bk8y65)
Gary Davies presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 17 April 1986. Featuring Big Country, Falco, A-ha, Janet Jackson, It's Immaterial, George Michael and Whitney Houston.
FRI 20:00 Queens of Soul (b05nhjsx)
The sisters are truly doing it for themselves in this celebration of the legendary female singers whose raw emotional vocal styles touched the hearts of followers worldwide. Featuring the effortless sounds of Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, Gladys Knight, Randy Crawford, Angie Stone, Mary J Blige and Beyonce, to name a few.
The Queens of Soul presents the critically acclaimed and influential female singers who, decade by decade, changed the world one note at a time.
FRI 21:00 Classic Albums (b0bjj623)
Amy Winehouse: Back to Black
Series looking at the creation of some classic rock albums looks at Amy Winehouse's second album, 2006’s Back to Black, and how it transformed the beehived girl from north London into a global star, with hits like Rehab, the title track and Love Is a Losing Game. Back To Black helped launch a wave of soul-influenced British chanteuses including Adele and Duffy and has since sold over 20 million copies.
This film reveals Amy Winehouse the artist, focusing firmly on her lyrics, influences and vocal talents. Using unseen footage from the Miami and New York sessions and rarely seen archive of Amy in interview and performance, producers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi and their respective musicians shine a light on the making of Back To Black and offer their first-hand accounts of Amy's genius and her emotional turmoil.
Featuring producers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi, the Dap-Kings band, Amy's colleagues and friends, Island president and A&R director Darcus Beese and Ronnie Spector.
FRI 22:00 BBC One Sessions (b007cl28)
Another chance to see a 23-year-old Amy Winehouse at Porchester Hall where, hot from her triumph at the 2007 Brits, she gave a special one-off concert. Crowned 2007's Best British Female, Amy performed songs from her Back to Black album and her 2003 Mercury Music Prize nominated album, Frank.
FRI 22:50 Arena (b01l4929)
Amy Winehouse - The Day She Came to Dingle
Back in 2006 on a stormy December night, Amy Winehouse flew to the remote, south western corner of Ireland to perform for Other Voices, an acclaimed Irish TV music series filmed in Dingle every winter. Amy took to the stage of Saint James's church, capacity 85, and wowed the small, packed crowd with a searing, acoustic set of songs from Back to Black.
After leaving the stage, a relaxed and happy Amy spoke about her music and influences - Mahalia Jackson, Sarah Vaughan, Ray Charles and the Shangri-Las to name a few. Arena joined forces with Other Voices and went to Dingle to catch up with some of the people that Amy met on that day, including taxi driver Paddy Kennedy, her bass player Dale Davis and Rev Mairt Hanley of the Other Voices church.
This film showcases not only Amy herself, but the musical geniuses that inspired her to forge her own jazz pop style.
FRI 23:55 Top of the Pops (b0bk8y65)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
FRI 00:25 Music Moguls: Masters of Pop (p039x53y)
Part two of this enlightening series exploring the music business from behind the scenes looks at the music producers. These are the men and women who have created the signature sounds that have defined key periods in rock and pop history. Highlights include Trevor Horn on inventing the 'Sound of the Eighties', Lamont Dozier on Motown, and a TV first with legendary producer Tony Visconti taking us through David Bowie's seminal song Heroes.
Narrated by master producer Nile Rodgers.
FRI 01:25 Queens of Soul (b05nhjsx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
FRI 02:25 Classic Albums (b0bjj623)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today