Iolo Williams explores the magic of the Brecon Beacons over the seasons in this stunning new series. He braves a blizzard on the high peaks, yet the lowlands can still be sunny. On the snowy slopes, foxes look for food, while a great grey shrike, a ruthless hunter from Scandinavia, looks for animals to eat. Cormorants congregate to fish on reservoirs, some birds are already breeding on the River Usk and red deer hide away in secluded gullies in one of the wildest locations in the Beacons. It's a magnificent diverse landscape with huge caves, stunning waterfalls, ancient woodland and canals.
In the first episode of Dig WW2, historian Dan Snow investigates the history of the Second World War in Northern Ireland, participating in archaeological digs and dives of military sites across the country. He discovers the gripping story of the Northern Irish pilot who became the most successful U-boat hunter of all time.
He also dives to the wreck of the famed U-155 and reveals the essential role that Belfast's Harland and Wolff had in developing the famous Churchill Tank, fundamental to the march of the North Irish Horse to capture Rome. Meanwhile, in Donegal, a major excavation reveals the 70-year-old Spitfire flown by US pilot Bud Wolfe, who was forced to bail out just minutes after leaving RAF Eglington, now City of Derry Airport.
Janina Ramirez travels to Mexico, where, just before the outbreak of WWII, American husband-and-wife explorer team Matthew and Marion Stirling were lured into the jungle by the legend of a colossal stone head. They found the head – and a lot more than they bargained for – because it turned out to be the first clue in a trail that led to the discovery of a lost civilisation, now known as the Olmecs.
As Janina follows their footsteps through the jungle, she discovers that the go-getting Stirlings embodied the adventurous determination of pre-war archaeological explorers. Breaking new ground, the Stirlings realised that it was the Olmecs – not the much-later Mayans or the Aztecs – who built the very first pyramids, palaces and planned cities for which Central America is now so famous.
Janina’s journey takes her to some of the most stunning ancient sites in Mexico, as she pieces together the evidence that led the Stirlings to the controversial conclusion that the Olmecs flourished there 3,500 thousand years ago, the same period as ancient Egypt. It is extraordinary to think, before their finds, that we not only had no idea the Olmecs even existed, but no idea any civilisation this ancient existed in Central America. The Stirlings’ work was so important that, very unusually, their expeditions and excavations continued during the war, shot in glorious technicolor by National Geographic. This fantastic archive features throughout the film, intercut with Janina’s modern journey.
Neil Oliver heads out from the Scandinavian homelands to Russia, Turkey and Ireland to trace the beginnings of a vast trading empire that handled Chinese silks as adeptly as Pictish slaves. Neil discovers a world of 'starry-eyed maidens' and Buddhist statues that are a world away from our British experience of axe-wielding warriors, although it turns out that there were quite a few of those as well.
Series in which archaeologist Julian Richards returns to some of his most important digs to discover how science, conservation and new finds have changed our understanding of entire eras of ancient history.
Julian goes back to the excavation of two burials from Roman Britain - a wealthy man from Roman Winchester and a lavishly appointed grave of a woman from the heart of London that holds a special and unexpected secret only recently unlocked.
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.
Thomas Shelby's war with the Lee family of gypsies escalates and Campbell puts further pressure on him to deliver the stolen guns. Meanwhile, Thomas's brother John plans to marry a former prostitute, but Thomas suspects that she's still on the game.
Thomas Shelby has to deal with an IRA chief who has come to Small Heath to avenge his cousin's death. Meanwhile, Campbell gets closer to the stolen guns, and Grace has to decide whether her loyalties lie with him or with Thomas.
As Thomas Shelby prepares to oust Billy Kimber, hidden secrets are revealed and the family have to face up to the problems that have divided them. Meanwhile, Campbell, obsessed with taking down the Peaky Blinders, unleashes one last plan to destroy them.
THURSDAY 19 SEPTEMBER 2019
THU 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (m0008kb1)
The latest news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.
THU 19:30 Top of the Pops (m0008kb3)
Peter Powell and Simon Mayo present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 9 June 1988 and featuring the Timelords, Five Star, Voice of the Beehive, Mica Paris, Fields of the Nephilim, Sabrina, James Brown, Maxi Priest, Morrissey, Wet Wet Wet and Erasure.
THU 20:00 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 21:00 Mercury Prize (m0008kb5)
Hyundai Mercury Prize 2019 Live: Album of the Year
Lauren Laverne presents live coverage of this year’s prestigious album of the year prize from the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, London.
As ever, 2019’s shortlist reflects the current eclectic music scene in the UK. The show recognises all of the shortlisted albums through special performances, culminating in the live announcement of this year’s winner.
Performing on the night will be the likes of Oxford rockers Foals, Northampton rapper Slowthai, London singer-songwriter NAO, post-punk Dublin quartet Fontaines D.C., Welsh musician and producer Cate Le Bon and London’s own chart star rapper Dave.
The 12 shortlisted albums are:
Hunter by Anna Calvi
Schlagenheim by Black Midi
Reward by Cate Le Bon
Psychodrama by Dave
Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1 by Foals
Dogrel by Fontaines D.C.
Joy as an Act of Resistance by Idles
Nothing Great about Britain by Slowthai
Grey Area by Little Simz
Saturn by Nao
Driftglass by SEED Ensemble
A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships by The 1975
THU 22:20 Horizon (b05527mp)
Secrets of the Solar System
New planets are now being discovered outside our solar system on a regular basis, and these strange new worlds are forcing scientists to rewrite the history of our own solar system. Far from a simple story of stable orbits, the creation of our solar system is a tale of hellfire, chaos and planetary pinball.
It's a miracle our Earth is here at all.
THU 23:20 Land of the Lost Wolves (b01fnfrc)
At a time when wildlife is disappearing across the planet, one animal is making a comeback - the wolf.
Wolves were wiped out across much of America, with more than a million wolves estimated to have been shot, poisoned or trapped when European settlers arrived.
This enthralling series documents the return of one very special wolf pack to the snowy peaks of Washington's Cascade Mountains - the first to return to the American Northwest in 70 years.
THU 00:20 Top of the Pops (m0008kb3)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
THU 00:50 Folk America at the Barbican (m00092hb)
A special Greenwich Village Revisited concert with Billy Bragg.
THU 01:00 Peaky Blinders (b04kklnm)
As the 1920s begin to roar, business is booming for the Peaky Blinders gang. Tommy Shelby starts to expand his legal and illegal operations, with an eye on the racetracks of the south. Meanwhile, an enemy from Tommy's past returns to Birmingham.
THU 02:00 Peaky Blinders (b04l8zyp)
Tommy offers to help Polly by searching for her children, who long ago were taken from her. In London, Tommy risks his life by meeting enigmatic leader Alfie Solomons. Meanwhile Arthur continues to feel the devastating effects of the Great War.
THU 03:00 Peaky Blinders (b04lssgp)
Tommy hatches a plan to take control of the southern racecourses. He also meets the aristocratic May Carleton and sees an opportunity to move up in the world. Meanwhile both Major Campbell and London gangster Darby Sabini plan Tommy's downfall.
FRIDAY 20 SEPTEMBER 2019
FRI 19:00 World News Today (m0008k8l)
The latest news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.
FRI 19:30 Top of the Pops (m0008k8n)
Gary Davies and Mike Read present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 16 June 1988 and featuring Sabrina, Erasure, the Sisters of Mercy, the Fat Boys and Chubby Checker, Eurythmics, a-ha, Sade, Matt Bianco, Bros, the Timelords and the Pasadenas.
FRI 20:00 Fleetwood Mac: A Musical History (m0001kz2)
Fellow musicians, journalists and fans celebrate Fleetwood Mac with a selection of their best-loved songs.
Fleetwood Mac are the great survivors of British and American rock music. For more than fifty years they’ve overcome break-ups and breakdowns to become one of the most successful bands of all time. They have sold over 100 million records worldwide, with their 1977 smash Rumours accounting for nearly half of those sales.
They have endured, like all great bands, because of the complimentary talents of its members. From Peter Green to Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham, it has contained some extraordinary songwriters. With brilliant musicians on all instruments, the band has been able to turn the songs into commercial gold. Above all the tough determination of the two men who gave the band their name has seen Fleetwood Mac through thick and thin.
Fleetwood fan Edith Bowman provides a narrative overview alongside other celebrity fans, who all pay tribute to the band in this hit-filled hour. Contributors include KT Tunstall, Travis’s frontman Fran Healy, Toyah Willcox, Sian Pattenden and Emma Dabiri.
FRI 21:00 Fleetwood Mac's Songbird - Christine McVie (m0008k8q)
Christine McVie is undoubtedly the longest-serving female band member of any of the enduring rock ‘n’ roll acts that emerged from the 1960s. While she has never fronted Fleetwood Mac, preferring to align herself with ‘the boys’ in the rhythm section whom she first joined 50 years ago, Christine is their most successful singer-songwriter. Her hits include ‘Over My Head’, ‘Don’t Stop’ and ‘Everywhere’.
After massive global success in both the late 1970s and mid-1980s, Christine left the band in the late 1990s, quitting California and living in semi-retirement in Kent, only to rejoin the band in 2013. In this 90-minute film, this most English of singers finally gets to take centre-stage and tell both her story and the saga of Fleetwood Mac from her point of view.
FRI 22:30 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.
FRI 23:30 Totally British: 70s Rock 'n' Roll (b01r7hk5)
A romp through the BBC archive library from 1975 to 1979 has unearthed some seldom-seen performances of the rarely explored genre of pub rock and other late 70s rock 'n' roll gems from classic music programmes like the Old Grey Whistle Test and Top of the Pops. Before the DIY culture of punk took hold there was a whole breed of real musicians who honed their craft in the backrooms of pubs. And towards the end of the 70s men's hair was starting to get shorter too.
This compilation has uncovered rarely seen footage from the likes of Canvey Island's Dr Feelgood, original pub rockers Ducks DeLuxe, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Elvis Costello, Meal Ticket, Steve Gibbons Band, Dave Edmunds and chum Nick Lowe, a pre-Mike & the Mechanics' Paul Carrack in his first band Ace, a post-Faces Ronnie Lane, The Motors, the first TV performance from Dire Straits, Graham Parker and the Rumour and many more.
FRI 00:30 Top of the Pops (m0008k8n)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
FRI 01:00 Peaky Blinders (b04mlypg)
Tommy finds out exactly what mission Major Campbell is forcing him to undertake. Arthur spearheads a ferocious takeover of London's Eden Club. Meanwhile, Polly's son Michael is welcomed into the business and quickly experiences the dark side of the Peaky Blinders.
FRI 02:00 Peaky Blinders (b04n6zyy)
Tommy is caught by surprise when his powerbase in London is obliterated. As Tommy struggles to save his family and regain the upper hand, May expresses her feelings for him, and he is paid a visit by an old friend.
FRI 03:00 Peaky Blinders (b04nyw0f)
As derby day arrives, Tommy is faced with impossible decisions as he plans to strike back at his enemies and take the family business to another level. Meanwhile, Major Campbell has one final card to play - one that he is certain will bring about Tommy's demise.