Comedian and history buff Al Murray is joined by historian Dan Snow, writer Natalie Haynes and broadcaster and film expert Matthew Sweet for a fresh look at a subject very close to his heart - the great British war movie. This roundtable discussion looks at both the films themselves, from A Bridge too Far to Zulu, and uses them as a lens on British history, cultural attitudes and our changing views on conflict over the decades.
With dozens of clips from classic films such as Where Eagles Dare, The Dam Busters, In Which We Serve, Escape to Victory and The Eagle Has Landed, nostalgic memories of Bank Holiday afternoons in front of the telly and lashings of tea, rousing speeches and stiff upper lips, Al and his guests explore why the British are so obsessed with films about war - and what this says about us.
Occupied Norway, 1942. A team of resistance fighters undertake the vital and dangerous mission to destroy the Norsk heavy water plant to prevent the Nazis producing an atomic bomb. Based on a true story.
Controversial, witty, irreverent – Britain’s best-known screenwriter, Andrew Davies, has created some of the most iconic small-screen dramas of the past 50 years.
At the age of 82 he is following his smash hit adaptation of War and Peace with another global epic, Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables.
As he watches the production come to life during 2018, he looks back at the influence of his childhood in Cardiff. And he explores how he boils down and spices up his dramas – transforming our best-loved novels into prime-time television. Contributors include Sarah Waters, Helen Fielding and Dominic West.
Sitcom set during the Great War. The October Revolution in Moscow produces three appalling results: a ceasefire by Russia, an offensive by Germany and a Charlie Chaplin impression by Baldrick.
Edmund, George and Baldrick join the Royal Flying Corps. However, Edmund and Baldrick are shot down soon afterwards and are taken prisoner by the Red Baron. George persuades dashing pilot Lord Flashheart to mount a rescue attempt, but when they hear what the Red Baron has planned for them, Blackadder and Baldrick are in no hurry to be saved.
For many people, musicians and fans alike, Jeff Beck is the greatest ever British guitarist. For more than 50 years he has blazed an uncompromising trail across the musical landscape. Always an innovator, never a follower, Jeff has steadfastly refused to pander to the demands of the record industry. This maverick attitude required some difficult career decisions; he left The Yardbirds at the height of their popularity, deserted his own group days before their billed appearance at Woodstock and often shifted his attention to his other great passion of building hot rods rather than continuing a tour or returning to the studio.
Jeff's adventurous spirit led him to embrace a wide range of musical styles and he is one of a handful of artists who have transcended and redefined the limitations of their instrument, be it the Fender Telecaster, Esquire, Strat or Gibson Les Paul. He pioneered the use of feedback on record and his ability to capture the zeitgeist made The Yardbirds forerunners of psychedelic blues. With The Jeff Beck Group and the album Truth, he nurtured two of rock music's finest performers, Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, and gave birth to a sound that would later mutate into heavy metal.
He turned even the loss of Rod Stewart to his advantage by almost single-handedly inventing the guitar instrumental album with the release of Blow By Blow, which embraced the influences of Jan Hammer and John McLaughlin whilst developing a sound that was uniquely his own. Moving forward Jeff continued to push the envelope, amassing a fantastic body of work spanning many musical genres whilst constantly developing and evolving his inimitable approach and technique.
This film tells Jeff's story from his earliest days growing up in Wallington, Surrey with his homemade guitars, teenage friendship with Jimmy Page and the influences of guitarists such as Les Paul, Cliff Gallup and James Burton. With essential tracks from throughout his career it follows his journey from art school and early bands, through his various groups, musical ventures and passion for hot rods, to the release of his latest album and sell-out show at the Hollywood Bowl. We hear testimony to the genius of Jeff Beck from musicians who have recorded and played alongside him such as Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, Jennifer Batten, Beth Hart, Joe Perry and Slash, who all shine a light on his ever-evolving guitar style and reveal why to this day he remains not only a musical visionary but also the most influential and highly rated guitarist of his generation.
On the edge of the Arctic Circle some of the biggest names in art and architecture - including Zaha Hadid, Anish Kapoor, Yoko Ono, Tatsuo Mihijima and Future Systems - recently gathered to produce an extraordinary collection of artworks made of ice and snow. See ice harvested by chainsaw, flaming vodka coursing through Hadid's ziggurat (and threatening to melt it) and Anish Kapoor get cross as his 'Red Solid' begins to look more like a pink slush puppy. Charlie Luxton investigates.
Winter was not always beautiful. Until Pieter Bruegel painted Hunters in the Snow, the long bitter months had never been transformed into a thing of beauty. This documentary charts how mankind's ever changing struggle with winter has been reflected in western art throughout the ages, resulting in images that are now amongst the greatest paintings of all time. With contributions from Grayson Perry, Will Self, Don McCullin and many others, the film takes an eclectic group of people from all walks of life out into the cold to reflect on the paintings that have come to define the art of snow and ice.
MONDAY 31 DECEMBER 2018
MON 19:00 Timeshift (b068fvln)
The Trains That Time Forgot: Britain's Lost Railway Journeys
Timeshift journeys back to a lost era of rail travel, when trains had names, character and style. Once the pride of the railway companies that ran them, the named train is now largely consigned to railway history.
Writer and presenter Andrew Martin asks why we once named trains and why we don't do so anymore. He embarks on three railway journeys around Britain, following the routes of three of the most famous named trains - the Flying Scotsman, the Cornish Riviera Express and the Brighton Belle. We reflect on travel during the golden age of railways - when the journey itself was as important as reaching your destination - and compare those same journeys with the passenger experience today.
MON 20:00 Frozen Planet (b018v896)
The Epic Journey
This Frozen Planet special brings together the very best highlights of the series, taking viewers on a spectacular journey through the entire polar year - from the depths of winter to the melting world of the polar summer.
In the south, spring starts with the comical stone-stealing adelie penguin males. In summer the females return and the parents struggle to raise their chicks before the big freeze of autumn.
In the north, tiny polar bear cubs begin their lives under the snow, while the male faces the harshest winter on Earth. Will all three cubs survive as the ice melts beneath their feet?
These stories, together with unforgettable moments from Frozen Planet's other characters, play out against breathtaking polar scenery in this one-hour special.
MON 21:00 A Day in the Life of Earth (m0001vjc)
If you think the Earth takes millions of years to change, it’s time to think again! Presented by Hannah Fry, this TV special reveals how much our planet can change in just 24 hours. A new era of science allows us to watch as the Earth moves, breathes, shrinks and grows right under our noses. The story is driven by scientists and explorers, and harnesses cutting-edge data, newly launched satellites and blue chip CGI to show us the true personality of the Earth… more dynamic than it’s ever been seen before. Every minute new land is born, every hour tonnes of rock arrive from space, before you go to sleep a cloud of dust from the Sahara will have fertilised the Amazon, and while all that was happening, the ground under your feet moved half a metre. As Hannah explains, Earth’s daily changes are all linked in surprising ways, and - more importantly – we would not be able to survive on the planet without them.
We start with the inner earth – the invisible but hugely dynamic system beneath our feet which constantly rebuilds the planet’s surface. On the island of Stromboli, we climb a volcano with geologist Professor Chris Jackson to see how much lava a single volcano can produce on a daily basis and how that lava builds new land. Chris also reveals what powers the inner earth – radioactive decay beneath of our feet, where heavy elements are constantly decaying into lighter ones – a process that produces the equivalent energy of 27,000 Hiroshima bombs every day. This energy is a crucial driver to plate tectonics and therefore volcanic activity. And the speed with which volcanic activity makes land is crucial - if it didn’t create land faster than erosion destroys it, we would have no land to live on and the world would be one giant ocean.
The story doesn’t stop with new land being made. It’s also constantly being moved. We reveal how the moon not only causes huge movements of water in the ocean – which we know as the tides - but also creates waves of solid rock on land, known as 'solid earth tides'; a ceaseless shape change which we never notice. When amateur divers Ramon and Veronica Llaneza found red dust in an underwater cave in the Bahamas, little did they know how far it had travelled to get there. Scientist Charlie Bristow has tracked the source of the dust to the Sahara and worked out how huge quantities of solid mud get airborne and carried across the Atlantic – half a million tonnes of it per day! Much of it ends up in the Amazon, where it helps fertilise the rainforest – the lungs of the planet. Meanwhile, in the polar regions, mountains are also being moved – by glaciers, which grind down rock 24-7 and eventually deposit it in the ocean, where it helps trigger another daily change – this time to life.
In the ocean, we follow the daily growth of phytoplankton – microscopic plant life fuelled by the nutrients put into the ocean by erosion. Five billion tonnes of it grow every day and, like all plants, absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. In fact, there is so much phytoplankton in the ocean that they are responsible for every second breath we take. The explosive growth of phytoplankton triggers another global change and the biggest mass movement of animal life known to science – the daily migration of the zooplankton, which rise up from the depths every night to feed on the plants. In Florida, we get underwater with a group of intrepid divers, who plunge into the pitch-black ocean for a chance to see this global phenomenon up close. We also look at how science is now able to track the growth of plants on land using satellites. If you could put all the growth in all the world’s forests into one imaginary tree, you would get a single tree three km tall in just one day. But with all this growth, there is an inevitable flipside - fire. The film goes behind the scenes with the US Forest Service as they tackle the biggest wildfire in California’s history. Every day an area of forest twice the size of the Grand Canyon National Park is burnt down.
Finally, Hannah Fry gets us to look outwards. The Earth is not a bubble – it’s part of a bigger cosmic system that every day messes with the composition of our planet. We lose atmospheric gases like hydrogen and helium at the rate of 1kg per second to space. And once they’re gone, they’re gone. In fact, when you look at the Northern Lights, you’re actually looking at helium being lost. But Earth does get something back from space. We join a group of amateur astronomers to watch the Geminid meteor shower in the deserts of California. This heavenly light display is actually revealing a process that goes on all day, every day. The Earth is constantly picking up space dust – an estimated 60 tonnes of it every 24 hours. But perhaps the biggest change of all is the one that few of us are even aware of. Our whole galaxy is moving through the cosmos at two million km per hour.
It really is a different planet every day. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t be on it!
MON 22:00 TOTP2 (m0001vjf)
New Year Special
Steve Wright creates the perfect new year playlist and celebrates with a plethora of performances from the last four decades. Among the featured artists are The Three Degrees, Elton John, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Europe, Blondie, The Nolans, Lionel Richie, The Bee Gees, Madonna and Kylie Minogue.
MON 23:10 Vic & Bob's Big Night Out (b0btkdx4)
Comedy double-act Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer burst back onto TV screens with a new series of Big Night Out, a hilarious non-stop half-hour of mischief, fun and mayhem.
Kicking-off the first of this four part series, Vic and Bob interrupt a couple's cosy dinner date in the studio with a lively song and dance routine. Vic reveals his hitherto unseen circus skills and impressionist abilities, while Bob makes a very revealing confession to a reverend who might be hiding a secret himself.
MON 23:40 Vic & Bob's Big Night Out (b0btc4b7)
Vic debuts his new act for the Royal Variety Performance much to Bob's amazement and the pair of them embark on a ghost hunting experience in a disused toilet.
Fans will be delighted to see the return of folk singing oddballs Mulligan and O'Hare with the classic ditty My Darling Rose and there is a sketch warning of the dangers of wayward fireballs.
There is also an exclusive preview of a new album from Andrew Neil and Professor Robert Winston, as you've never seen them before.
Will Vic be able to fool Bob into thinking he is really part otter and part human - and in desperate need of a toffee crisp to eat before he slips back to the riverbank?
Ending with their uplifting song You Can Do It, you can certainly expect the unexpected from start to finish with Vic & Bob's unique blend of ingenuity and humour bursting out at the seams.
MON 00:10 Vic & Bob's Big Night Out (m0001jg9)
Legendary comics Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer burst back onto our screens with an original new series of Big Night Out in a non-stop, hilarious half-hour of mischief and mayhem.
There are sketches, songs, eye-popping special effects, ridiculous fights and stunts, all packed into this fast-paced studio show.
This time, Vic & Bob are joined by a very special guest star, the incredible pop singer George Ezra – who proves he is a dab hand with a hammer and nails in Novelty Island before trying to perform his number one hit single Shotgun.
Joining George Ezra in the Novelty Island paddock is the infamous Mr Wobbly Hand and Graham Lister, who shows what can be achieved with a pair of knackers and crackers.
Back at the desk, Bob shows Vic his brand new, on trend wig, which appears to have taken on a life of its own before it reaches a rather soggy end.
They embark on another spooky ghost hunt, this time in the disused dressing rooms of some of the BBC’s biggest television stars. They also return to their urban roots in an energetic Free Runners sketch and introduce us to two new characters who reveal what really goes on behind the scenes on a David Attenborough natural history shoot. According to them anyway.
The show finishes with quite a bang, literally.
MON 00:40 Vic & Bob's Big Night Out (m0001kxk)
In this final episode of the current series, Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer continue to delight us with a non-stop half hour filled with mischief, mayhem and more besides.
Joined by series regular Vaun, they present their unique blend of sketches, songs, eye popping special effects, ridiculous fights and spectacular stunts.
Tonight Bob showcases his incredible new ‘Diversity’ style dance routine which he has heavily invested in and been working very hard on. He eventually forces a reluctant Vic to join in, which naturally has mixed results.
The Man with The Stick makes a long awaited and triumphant return – all the way from the future where he has been living in an apocalyptic land, under a tyrant ruler.
Characters Donald and Davey Stott take to the stage to perform one of their most ambitious magic routines to date, which leaves everybody speechless.
Vic & Bob pull a special wish bone each, which makes their innermost dreams finally come true after all these years of working together. Did they really get what they wanted?
They end the show with their song ‘You Can Do It’ proving that after over 30 years in the business together they really can still do it, with trademark originality and style!
MON 01:10 Bros: After the Screaming Stops (m0001qyv)
A film charting Matt and Luke Goss's reunion 28 years on from when they were one of the biggest bands in the world. The Goss twins have hardly spoken and not played together since their split. With an incredibly fractured relationship and only three weeks to go until sell-out gigs at the O2 London, will they be able to put their history aside and come together as brothers to play the show of their lives?
MON 02:40 Timeshift (b068fvln)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
TUESDAY 01 JANUARY 2019
TUE 19:00 New Year's Day Concert (m0001vzb)
2019 - Highlights
Petroc Trelawny is our host for the traditional start to the year with musical highlights from the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna.
The 2019 concert is led for the first time by German conductor Christian Thielemann, guiding the Vienna Philharmonic in an array of polkas, waltzes and gallops by the Strauss family and their contemporaries. As always the concert will end with the ever-popular By the Beautiful Blue Danube and the foot-stamping Radetzky March.
The concert is transmitted to some 50 million viewers in over 90 countries.
TUE 21:00 Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema (b0bbn5x8)
Five-part documentary series. Film critic Mark Kermode presents a fresh and very personal look at the art of cinema by examining the techniques and conventions behind some classic genres: romcoms, heist movies, coming-of-age stories, science fiction and horror. In each episode, Mark uncovers the ingredients needed to make a great genre film and keep audiences coming back for more. How do you stage, shoot and edit a gripping car chase or orchestrate the shock moment in a horror movie? What is the secret to sizzling on-screen chemistry?
Mark begins with one of the most popular genres of all. They are sometimes sneered at by critics, but from the 1930s to the present day, many of our most beloved movies have been romantic comedies.
From Bringing Up Baby and The Lady Eve by way of Annie Hall, When Harry Met Sally and Pretty Woman to Love, Actually (a particular Kermode favourite) - as well as recent hits such as The Big Sick and La La Land - Mark examines the cinematic tricks and techniques involved in creating a classic romcom.
Mark celebrates old favourites, reveals hidden treasures and springs plenty of surprises. Examining films from Hollywood to Bollywood via other gems of world cinema, he reminds us how, much like love itself, the art of the romantic comedy is international.
TUE 22:00 Oasis: Supersonic (b09ksl9g)
Supersonic, the award-winning feature documentary, tells the phenomenal story of iconic band Oasis - in their own words. Featuring extensive unseen archive, the film charts the meteoric rise of Oasis from the council estates of Manchester to some of the biggest concerts of all time in just three short years. This palpable, raw and moving account shines a light on one of the most genre- and generation-defining British bands that has ever existed, and features footage of new interviews with Noel and Liam Gallagher, their mother and members of the band and road crew.
TUE 23:55 Britpop at the BBC (b0409s91)
In the mid-90s, Britpop stamped its presence onto the British music scene and made boys wearing eyeliner cool again. What better reason to raid the BBC archives for a rich treasure trove of the joy and the time that was Britpop?
Featuring the girls (Elastica, Sleeper) and the boys (Suede, Menswear) and many of the other bright young things that contributed to five years of Cool Britannia, Blur v Oasis and Camden being the centre of the universe. Britpop at the BBC reminds us all why we were all so proud to be British again in the 1990s.
TUE 00:55 Elvis: The Rebirth of the King (b09kkkbx)
The widely accepted Elvis narrative is that the Vegas period was the nadir of his career, but this film argues that Elvis reached his peak both as a singer and performer in the first few years of his Vegas period. He became, in those short years, the greatest performer on earth. The film tracks this five-year renaissance with some of his key musical and artistic collaborators of the period, including the creator of his most memorable jumpsuits, to celebrate the greatest pop reinvention of all time.
TUE 01:55 An Art Lovers' Guide (b09zgt0x)
Janina Ramirez and Alastair Sooke explore Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon. This fascinating crossroads between east and west has a rich history, and a troubled recent past. It's the most diverse city in the Arab world, with 18 recognised religious sects. Its French influence gave it the reputation as the Paris of the east during the mid 20th century. But this diversity turned to division in 1975 when the city became embroiled in a 15-year civil war.
In a place of so many identities and memories, art plays a unique role - as Janina and Alastair discover at the start of their journey, taking a cable car to the mountains that ring the city. Here, a stunning brutalist Christian cathedral of the Maronite Church overlooks the city's suburbs. It's an impressive expression of both the city's unique demographic mix, and of the identity of the Maronite community - one of Beirut's biggest minorities.
On their travels around the city they discover how art - and architecture - is confronting the past but also embracing the future. While Nina discovers how a bullet-ridden house has been transformed into an emotionally powerful war memorial, Alastair meets Bernard Khoury, the Middle East's most controversial architect, whose visionary buildings are designed to improve the social fabric of Beirut.
At the National Museum, they discover an incredible array of Phoenician and Roman artefacts, revealing Beirut's earliest origins. In a basement room full of sarcophagi, Nina discovers the final resting place for several Phoenician nobles, evidence that Beirut has long been an intersection of cultures, combining classical Greek sculptural details with ancient Egyptian designs.
Alastair also encounters a street artist paying tribute to an actress who united the city in times of trouble, and Nina takes tea with an elderly Armenian couple who reflect on the city's immigrant experience. And together, they experience the hedonistic Beirut nightlife that is drawing increasing numbers of visitors from around the world.
At this fascinating crossroads between east and west, Ramirez and Sooke discover a city whose cultural life and riches offer an essential way to understand the city's complex history and identity.
TUE 02:55 A Day in the Life of Earth (m0001vjc)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Monday
WEDNESDAY 02 JANUARY 2019
WED 19:00 The Celts: Blood, Iron and Sacrifice with Alice Roberts and Neil Oliver (b06h3ytf)
Anthropologist Professor Alice Roberts and archaeologist Neil Oliver go in search of the Celts - one of the world's most mysterious ancient people. In Britain and Ireland we are never far from our Celtic past, but in this series Neil and Alice travel much further afield, discovering the origins and beliefs of these Iron Age people in artefacts and human remains right across Europe, from Turkey to Portugal. What emerges is not a wild people on the western fringes of Europe, but a highly sophisticated tribal culture that influenced vast areas of the ancient world - and even Rome.
Rich with vivid drama reconstruction, we recreate this pivotal time and meet some of our most famous ancient leaders - from Queen Boudicca to Julius Caesar - and relive the battles they fought for the heart and soul of Europe. Alice and Neil discover that these key battles between the Celts and the Romans over the best part of 500 years constituted a fight for two very different forms of civilisation - a fight that came to define the world we live in today.
In the first episode, we see the origins of the Celts in the Alps of Central Europe and relive the moment of first contact with the Romans in a pitched battle just north of Rome - a battle that the Celts won and that left the imperial city devastated.
WED 20:00 Sicily: The Wonder of the Mediterranean (b08cwrg9)
Historian Michael Scott begins his journey through Sicily on the slopes of Mount Etna, Europe's largest active volcano. For the ancient Greeks, the island was a land of gods and monsters - a dangerous and unpredictable world. Michael discovers how 3,000 years ago, the Greeks began to settle on Sicily's east coast - planting their olives and vines and building great city-states that soon came to rival even Athens itself.
He learns how great battles were fought between the Greeks and the Carthaginians for control of the island. How the Romans made it their first foreign colony and stripped Sicily of its forests to plant vast fields of grain. When Rome fell, waves of Barbarian invasions followed, before Sicily was conquered by the Byzantines - the eastern Roman Empire. How have those early invaders helped to shape the character of the island we see today? And what lessons have Sicilians learnt from their turbulent past?
WED 21:00 Storyville (m0001v8s)
Waco: Madman or Messiah Part 1
In 1993, Mt. Carmel Ranch outside Waco, Texas, was the site of the deadliest siege in American history. A 51-day standoff with federal agents ended in tragedy, all at the hands of charismatic cult leader David Koresh.
Now, a new group of Branch Davidians is living on the same property under a new leader, Charles Pace. His goal: to repopulate the Branch of Davidian sect before the coming apocalypse.
This two-part feature documentary weaves a current-day narrative with the story of Koresh and his doomed followers. It is now 25 years since the Waco tragedy took place. The programme combines interviews with survivors on location at Mt. Carmel Ranch, some of whom have never spoken publicly before, as well as family, friends and key ATF/FBI officers, along with dramatic reconstructions of past events.
WED 22:30 Murder in Soho: Who Killed Freddie Mills? (b0bcy56k)
Murder in Soho: Who Killed Freddie Mills? is a real-life murder mystery about the life and untimely death of a national boxing hero, who is often described as Britain’s first sporting celebrity.
Set in 1960s Soho, this film delves into the world of UK and US organised crime, with gangland figures such as the Krays, boxing, gambling, police corruption, and a string of brutal unsolved murders that would become synonymous with the name Freddie Mills.
With access to eight hours of previously unseen home movies, this is an intimate portrayal of a man who rose from the humble surroundings of the fairground boxing booth to become light-heavyweight champion of the world, and became a household name appearing in films and co-presenting the BBC music show Six-Five Special. But it all ended on the 25th July 1965, when he was found shot dead in the back seat of his car. 50 years after his death his family still challenge the coroner’s verdict of suicide. They have always maintained he was murdered.
High profile gangsters such as Eddie Richardson give first hand accounts of the criminal underworld that existed at the time, and ultimately a man comes forward who claims to have been involved in the murder of Freddie Mills. It’s a piece of testimony that could finally conclude a 50-year mystery for Freddie’s family; allowing a British boxing great to be remembered for the man he was, and his achievements in life, rather than for the single day of his death
WED 00:00 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
WED 01:00 Synth & Beyond with Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert (b0bnk6vc)
New Order's Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert unpack a playlist of electro, pop and new wave classics spanning four decades. Stephen and Gillian have been married for 24 years and have been in New Order together for even longer, but they still manage to surprise one another with their musical tastes. While Stephen declares Captain Beefheart an early influence, Gillian confesses her teenage love for a disco classic. During an hour of top tunes, Stephen also reveals the moment he was mistaken for Stevie Wonder, and Gillian recalls how her Dad was a fan of punk.
From Kraftwerk to Can, David Bowie to Kate Bush, Magazine to Grace Jones and many more, this stellar playlist by Stephen and Gillian is brimming with iconic performances.
WED 02:00 Sicily: The Wonder of the Mediterranean (b08cwrg9)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
WED 03:00 The Celts: Blood, Iron and Sacrifice with Alice Roberts and Neil Oliver (b06h3ytf)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
THURSDAY 03 JANUARY 2019
THU 19:00 The Celts: Blood, Iron and Sacrifice with Alice Roberts and Neil Oliver (b06jcxg7)
In episode two, we discover the golden age of the La Tene Celtic warrior and reveal how their world extended as far as central Turkey. But by the middle of the first century BC, the Celts were under threat from an expanding Roman Empire, and the Gallic warrior Vercingetorix would challenge Julius Caesar in an epic battle that would shape the future of Europe.
THU 20:00 Sicily: The Wonder of the Mediterranean (b08dzx1h)
Historian Michael Scott continues his journey through Sicily, tracing the island's story through the arrival of the Muslim Arabs and then the Normans - times in which religious and cultural tolerance was the order of the day. Michael explores the dark days of the Spanish Inquisition and then delves into the modern world - the unification with Italy and the rise of the Mafia.
Today, Sicily faces a new challenge. The island is on the frontline of Europe's migrant crisis but the Sicilian response, formed in part by their own turbulent history, may well surprise many northern Europeans.
THU 21:00 Storyville (m0001vzj)
Waco: Madman or Messiah Part 2
This episode begins with the fateful ATF raid. The two-and-a-half-hour gun battle rapidly develops into a stand-off with the FBI, watched by the world’s media. Tanks are sent in and sniper positions set up. Inside, the Branch Davidians, believing that prophecy is being fulfilled, sit tight, while the FBI dismiss Koresh and his followers’ words as just ‘Bible babble’. Finally, Koresh announces he will write his version of the Seven Seals and that they will all come out when it is complete. But it is too late. On April 19, a frustrated FBI starts inserting teargas into the compound with tanks. A fire develops and, fanned by high winds, devours Mount Carmel along with David Koresh and his followers. Now we finally answer the controversy that has been disputed ever since that fateful day - who lit the fire?
THU 22:30 Basquiat - Rage to Riches (b098pd3q)
Nearly 30 years after his death from a drug overdose in 1988, the legendary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat has managed to take the world by storm yet again when one of his Skull paintings from 1982 sold recently at Sotheby's for a recorded breaking sum of over one hundred million dollars. The monetary value and art historical importance of work by this former Downtown NYC street graffiti artist is now considered on a par with such luninaries as Picasso, Pollock, and Francis Bacon.
This film features exclusive interviews with Basquiat's two sisters - Lisane and Jeanine Basquiat - who have never before talked about their brother and his art for a TV documentary. Other contributors include some of the most powerful and legendary art dealers in the world such as Bruno Bischofberger, Larry Gagosian, and Mary Boone. They helped fuel Basquiat as he rocketed to art world fame but whose own careers and fortunes may have benefited just as much and possibly more. With striking candor, Basquiat's art dealers as well as his most intimate friends, lovers, and fellow artists spill the beans on the cash, the drugs, and the pernicious racism which Basquiat encountered and fought against on a daily basis. And the main weapon which Basquiat used to fight this racism was his art.
The beating heart of this documentary is the actual art of Basquiat - and the substantive ways in which it embodied and reflected breakthroughs in music, poetry, and a new type of expressionism in modern art. But the story of his life is the raw material for countless legends!
The film reveals for the first time the truth of what actually happened at a swank NYC Soho restaurant - when Basquiat - still only a teenager - had his first legendary encounter with Andy Warhol while hawking his postcards for one dollar each. The film leaves a trail of surprise, joy, and laughter as Basquiat's sisters talk about the unforgettable night in Brooklyn when their brother brought an eccentric friend home for dinner - the eccentric friend was Andy Warhol.
In a 1983 campaign which long predates Black Lives Matter, Basquiat used his art as part of a protest movement following the beating to death by NYC transit cops of a friend of his - Michael Stewart. It was a protest movement joined by Basquiat's one time girlfriend - Madonna.
In this film, these are only some of the many stories that give shape and insight into a life which was constantly torn between public acclaim and personal pain, the bold confidence of has greatness as an artist and the secret fear he would be regarded a flash in the pan, between a deep desire for fame and money but an even deeper resentment that his work was being transformed into a commodity. Basquiat's relationship with drugs and the role they played in his life, work, stellar rise, and fatal crash - is sensitively and insigtfully explored.
THU 00:00 Arena (b0613d0c)
Nicolas Roeg - It's About Time
The first major profile of the great British film director Nicolas Roeg, examining his very personal vision of cinema as in such films as Don't Look Now, Performance, Walkabout and The Man Who Fell to Earth. Roeg reflects on his career, which began as a leading cinematographer, and on the themes that have obsessed him, such as our perception of time and the difficulty of human relationships. With contributions from key collaborators, including Julie Christie, Jenny Agutter and Theresa Russell, and directors he has inspired such as Danny Boyle, Mike Figgis, Bernard Rose and Ben Wheatley.
THU 01:00 Disco & Beyond with Ana Matronic and Martyn Ware (b0bnb2lz)
Former Scissor Sisters singer Ana Matronic along with Martyn Ware, who was in both The Human League and Heaven 17, reveal a playlist packed with disco classics and more. Each song is hand-picked, and as they watch the performances, they reveal the reasons behind their choices.
Discover why the Scissor Sisters owe a debt to Boney M, and how Martyn Ware helped revive the career of a singing icon. From Donna Summer to the Doctor Who theme tune and The Temptations to Tina Turner, their playlist holds dance-along gems interwoven with candid stories.
THU 02:00 Sicily: The Wonder of the Mediterranean (b08dzx1h)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
THU 03:00 The Celts: Blood, Iron and Sacrifice with Alice Roberts and Neil Oliver (b06jcxg7)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
FRIDAY 04 JANUARY 2019
FRI 19:00 The Celts: Blood, Iron and Sacrifice with Alice Roberts and Neil Oliver (b06kpzcv)
The Roman army turns its attention to an island of rich resources, powerful tribes and druids, and advanced military equipment - Britain. This episode tells the story of the Celts' last stand against the Roman army - a revolt led by another great leader, the warrior queen Boudicca.
FRI 20:00 Only Yesterday: The Carpenters Story (b007cllb)
The Carpenters were one of the biggest selling pop artists of the 1970s, but what seemed on the surface as the perfect, wholesome brother and sister duo hid a destructive complex truth that was unknown to the world.
Featuring behind the scenes footage, interviews with brother Richard, family and friends, this documentary traces the story that ended in tragedy with sister Karen's untimely death aged just 32.
FRI 21:00 Top of the Pops (m0001wds)
The Story of 1987
1987 – a year marked by triumph and disaster. As Mrs Thatcher secured a third term as PM, the Channel Tunnel began construction and Wall Street’s movie representative Gordon Gecko purred ‘Greed is good’ – Britain was battered by the Great Storm, despaired at Black Monday and was horrified by the sinking of The Herald of Free Enterprise and the King’s Cross fire.
And while epic events unfolded in the outside world, the Top of the Pops studio provided a haven for those who wanted to escape. With a new groundbreaking twin show broadcast from the USA, Top of the Pops could sidestep the videos of MTV and bring the very biggest names to UK audiences. In Television Centre, Stock, Aitken and Waterman provided the floor-fillers as hip-hop and rap made their mark on the chart along with home-grown house. From the rock aristocracy to pure pop hits and the irresistible new funk grooves, the youth could pick their own soundtrack and pump up the volume.
Terence Trent D’Arby, Curiosity Killed the Cat, PWL stablemates Rick Astley and Kim Appleby, Andy Bell, Carol Decker and Belinda Carlisle lead us through a smorgasbord year in music.
FRI 22:00 Top of the Pops (m0001wdv)
1987 - Big Hits
As BBC Four's weekly repeats of Top of the Pops reach 1987, we celebrate this high watermark of hits with some classic TOTP performances from this spectacular year. The programme includes studio appearances from Rick Astley with Never Gonna Give You Up to the godfather of punk, Iggy Pop, whose unforgettable appearance on the show is one not to be missed!
The programme also honours Manchester’s finest, New Order, and Scottish soft rockers Wet Wet Wet, along with pop royalty Whitney Houston, Curiosity Killed the Cat, Boy George, The Bee Gees, The Pogues and a rare TOTP sighting of Eric B & Rakim. Pepsi and Shirlie, and many more are also poured into the mix, providing that perfect measure of definitive 80s pop.
FRI 23:00 The Kate Bush Story: Running Up That Hill (b04dzswb)
Documentary exploring Kate Bush's career and music, from January 1978's Wuthering Heights to her 2011 album 50 Words for Snow, through the testimony of some of her key collaborators and those she has inspired.
Contributors include the guitarist who discovered her (Pink Floyd's David Gilmour), the choreographer who taught her to dance (Lindsay Kemp) and the musician who she said 'opened her doors' (Peter Gabriel), as well as her engineer and ex-partner (Del Palmer) and several other collaborators (Elton John, Stephen Fry and Nigel Kennedy).
Also exploring their abiding fascination with Kate are fans (John Lydon, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui) and musicians who have been influenced by her (St Vincent's Annie Clark, Natasha Khan (aka Bat for Lashes), Tori Amos, Outkast's Big Boi, Guy Garvey and Tricky), as well as writers and comedians who admire her (Jo Brand, Steve Coogan and Neil Gaiman).
FRI 00:00 Kate Bush at the BBC (b04f86xk)
Between 1978 and 1994, Kate Bush appeared on a variety of BBC programmes, including Saturday Night at the Mill, Ask Aspel, the Leo Sayer Show, Wogan and Top of the Pops. This compilation showcases her performances of hit songs such as Wuthering Heights, Babooshka, Running up That Hill and Hounds of Love, alongside other intriguing and lesser-known material in the BBC studios.
FRI 01:00 Only Yesterday: The Carpenters Story (b007cllb)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
FRI 02:00 Top of the Pops (m0001wds)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
FRI 03:00 The Celts: Blood, Iron and Sacrifice with Alice Roberts and Neil Oliver (b06kpzcv)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today