Katty Kay in Washington and Christian Fraser in London report on the events that are shaping the world.
In 1537, the 23-year-old Andreas Vesalius became the most famous anatomist in Europe. He went on to produce the first complete account of the human body and how to dissect it, his drawings setting the gold standard for anatomical art for centuries to come and earning him the title of 'the founder of modern anatomy'. Adam Rutherford tells his story.
Dan Cruickshank follows in the footsteps of John Stow and John Strype, two of London's greatest chroniclers, to explore one of the most dramatic centuries in the history of London.
The 17th century saw London plunged into a series of devastating disasters. The Civil War, a murderous plague and the destruction that was the great fire should have seen the small medieval city all but destroyed. Yet somehow, London not only survived but emerged as one of the wealthiest and most influential cities in Europe.
Using two remarkable surveys written at either end of this momentous century, Dan discovers how a unique combination of innovation, ambition and sheer spirit of enterprise saw Londoners thrive. His journey reveals the twists and turns of a century that laid the foundations of one of the most important cities on the planet.
From the depths of the greatest tomb on earth comes an epic new story that could rewrite history, revealing for the first time the true origin of one of the world's most powerful nations: China.
In this landmark film, historian Dan Snow, physical anthropologist Professor Alice Roberts and scientist and explorer Dr Albert Lin investigate a series of earth-shattering discoveries at the mighty tomb guarded by the Terracotta Warriors, a site two hundred times bigger than Egypt's Valley of the Kings and the final resting place of China's first emperor.
Mobilising the latest technology, delving into some of the oldest texts, enlisting world experts and employing forensic science, together the three reveal an explosive secret from the foundations of the Chinese empire.
The government rates the global outbreak of a deadly flu virus as a major threat to the UK. It could happen at any time. To predict the impact of the next pandemic more accurately than ever before, new data is needed - and lots of it. Dr Hannah Fry is on the case.
She sets out to recruit the nation to download the BBC Pandemic app in a ground-breaking experiment to help plan for when the next deadly virus comes to the UK. How quickly will it spread? How many could it kill? What can we do about it? The BBC Four Pandemic experiment will find out.
Hannah masterminds the experiment and adopts the role of Patient Zero by walking the streets of Haslemere in Surrey to launch the outbreak. Meanwhile, emergency physician Dr Javid Abdelmoneim finds out why flu is still such a danger to society a century after Spanish flu killed up to 100 million people worldwide. He meets researchers trying to discover what makes some people more contagious than others and visits a factory that will produce vaccine when the next pandemic flu virus emerges.
Armed with the information he gathers and the results of the BBC Four Pandemic experiment, Hannah and Javid make a shocking revelation.
On the 25th anniversary of Mandela's election, BBC Correspondent Fergal Keane goes back to examine his reports, and considers why history did not turn out the way he expected.
At the heart of the film is an interview in which Fergal explores his decades of reporting in South Africa, from the fear being caught up in violent protests to the joy of reporting for BBC Newsbeat as Mandela was sworn in. He also meets historians and other experts as he considers how Mandela’s legacy has played out.
The programme goes behind the scenes in London, Dubai, New York and Hong Kong, as staff, experts, advisers and buyers set art trends, prices and records.
However, in 2016, the auction house's 250th anniversary year, there are fears that a downturn in the global economy could have a negative impact on the multibillion-pound industry.
Big Fat Gypsy Wedding dressmaker Thelma Madine takes on the world of the feis with a unique range of Irish dance dresses.
After stepping out in style on Britain's Got Talent in 2014, the Innova dance troupe are brought down to earth, and back to the beautiful coastline beaches of Portstewart.
WEDNESDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2020
WED 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (m000f8xf)
Katty Kay in Washington and Christian Fraser in London report on the events that are shaping the world.
WED 19:30 The Beauty of Anatomy (b04fmg8g)
Rembrandt and Ruysch
In the 17th century in Holland, anatomy became the cutting edge of medical science, inspiring the great artists of the age like Rembrandt to produce the most beautiful anatomical paintings yet created.
Adam Rutherford travels to the Hague and Amsterdam to find out what it was that drew Rembrandt to anatomy and why dissecting bodies was thought a suitable subject for high art.
WED 20:00 World's Busiest Railway 2015 (b0684sgm)
Dan Snow, Anita Rani, Robert Llewellyn and John Sergeant go behind the scenes to reveal the hidden areas of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station unseen by commuters.
Robert visits a city-sized repair facility where, every 18 months, train carriages are given their version of an MOT. He tries his hand at repairing seats and discovers that carriages are still painted by hand.
Our cameras are on board with one of the train drivers - known as motormen - and are given privileged access to the lounge where they gather before going on duty.
Anita heads onto the roads of Mumbai to see if commuting by road is any easier than by rail. But with an average speed of just 9 kmph, she discovers that progress is slow and hazardous by car.
We're in the station control room when a train with a suspected fire on board threatens to bring evening rush hour to a halt, and we reveal the secret station workers who only come out at night.
John Sergeant visits two rural stations that still operate historical systems for train control and discovers how a silver ball can keep passengers safe.
WED 21:00 A Very British History (m000f3xf)
Birmingham Irish I Am
Musician Angela Moran, whose grandparents were amongst thousands of Irish to move to Britain’s second city in the 1950s, tells the story of the Birmingham Irish through the memories of local people and rare archive footage.
She hears about life during the 50s and 60s, and also looks at the impact the 1974 terrorist pub bombings had on the city – an act of unimaginable horror in which 21 people were killed and 220 injured. There were consequences for the local Irish community too. The annual St Patrick’s Day Parade was cancelled and people hid their identity.
Angela also shares her own experiences of growing up in the 90s when being Irish was fashionable and something to be celebrated.
WED 22:00 Ireland's Treasures Uncovered (b070w5kh)
The story of the iconic Irish artefacts that have helped to shape and create modern Ireland, both north and south.
The programme reveals the surprising tales behind treasures such as the Tara Brooch, the Broighter Hoard, the Waterford Charter Roll and others, revealing new stories behind the artefacts that we thought we knew. It also reveals the most recent astounding finds that are adding to the list of Ireland's Treasures.
Using key access to Ireland's two largest museums, in Belfast and Dublin, the programme brings together archaeologists and curators who have spent their lives working to understand the true context for these emblematic treasures.
WED 23:00 Art, Passion & Power: The Story of the Royal Collection (b09q02kn)
Palaces and Pleasuredomes
Andrew Graham-Dixon continues his exploration of the Royal Collection, the vast collection of art and decorative objects owned by the Queen. In the third episode he has reached the age of the Romantics - the flamboyant George IV who created so much of the visual look of the modern monarchy, and Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, for whom collecting was an integral part of their happy marriage.
As Prince of Wales, George was a famously loose cannon - a spendaholic prince whose debts ballooned in tandem with the royal waistline. But as a collector, Andrew argues, George was one of the great artistic figures of the Romantic age. His tastes were very much formed by the fallout from the French Revolution; as the great French aristocratic collections were broken up, an exodus of great art flooded into London's auction rooms - and George was there to buy them. He assembled a world-class collection of Dutch and Flemish masters, including key works by Rembrandt, Cuyp and de Hooch, as well as some of the greatest examples of French furniture ever produced, which Andrew sees in the state rooms of Buckingham Palace.
George IV was a natural showman and Andrew argues that his visit to Edinburgh in 1822 helped pioneer the modern monarchy's use of spectacle. But, like Henry VIII and Charles before him, George had the sense to partner up with an artist of genius - Sir Thomas Lawrence. The result of their collaboration is seen in a series of stirring battlefield portraits that line Windsor Castle's Waterloo Chamber.
Queen Victoria is often depicted as the uptight opposite of her louche uncle, but Andrew argues that, for her, art was just as important. This was a passion that she could share with her beloved husband, Prince Albert, who believed that learning how to make art was the best way to understand it.
Andrew visits Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, still filled with their art possessions, including marble facsimiles of the arms and legs of her infant children, commissioned by Victoria herself.
Andrew argues that Albert was a natural curator; he instilled a love for collecting in his children and compiled an early 'database' of the complete works of Raphael which he kept in his new 'print room' in Windsor Castle as a tool for art historians. But it is on the streets of South Kensington ('Albertopolis') that Andrew discovers Albert's real legacy - the museums and educational institutions here are a testimony to his vision for the area, purchased with the help of profits from the Great Exhibition.
WED 00:00 Sold! Inside the World's Biggest Auction House (b084kqsg)
In part two of the series following a year in the life of the world's largest auction house Christie's, global president Jussi Pilkannien and his team chart the highs and lows of auctions in London, Hong Kong and Shanghai. It is a story full of drama as we find out if Brexit spooked the art market and if Christie's' big push into Asia is paying off.
With rare access to some of the richest collectors in the world, we find out how and why they buy at Christie's and where they put some of the world's most expensive artworks. We meet the auction experts who find treasure in unexpected places - an umbrella stand that turns out to be worth millions and an exceptional Rubens which has not been seen in public for 150 years. But in a year of turmoil, will such works sell well? What are Christie's doing to make sure the 250th anniversary sale, on which they have staked their reputation, is a success? And what is happening in China that makes Jussi so convinced that it is the future?
WED 01:00 Victorian Sensations (m00059cx)
Victorian Sensations transports us to the last years of Queen Victoria’s reign to explore a moment of thrilling discovery and change that continues to resonate today.
In the first of three films focusing on the technology, art and culture of the 1890s, mathematician Dr Hannah Fry explores how the latest innovations, including x-rays, safety bicycles and proto-aeroplanes, transformed society and promised a cleaner, brighter and more egalitarian future.
Whereas Victorian progress in the 19th century had been powered by steam and gas, the end of the 1800s marked the beginning of a new 'Electric Age'. Hannah discovers how electrical energy dominated the zeitgeist, with medical quacks marketing battery-powered miracle cures, and America’s new electric chair inspiring stage magicians to electrify their illusions. The future had arrived, courtesy of underground trains and trams (as well as electric cars), and in the 1890s the first houses built specifically with electricity in mind were constructed.
Like our own time, there was concern about where this technology would lead and who was in control. HG Wells warned of bio-terrorism, while the skies were increasingly seen as a future battleground, fuelling the race to develop powered flight.
Hannah outlines the excitement around the coming Electric Age. Electricity was a signifier of modernity, and Hannah discovers how electric light not only redefined the way we saw ourselves but changed what we expected from our homes. The new enthusiasm for all things electric was also something exploited by canny entrepreneurs. In the 1890s, many believed that electricity was life itself and that nervous energy could be recharged like a battery.
In 1896, out of nowhere, the x-ray arrived in Britain. Hannah delves into the story of what Victorians considered to be a superhuman power. This cutting-edge technology was a smash hit with the public, who found the ghoulish ability to peer under flesh endlessly entertaining. In the medical profession, x-rays caused a revolution and, as well as changing our views of our bodies, the x-ray revealed new fears in society about personal privacy and control over technology - concerns that sound very familiar today.
Electricity ruled the imagination, but it was a simple mechanical device that brought the greatest challenge to the social order: the safety bicycle. It offered freedom on a scale unimagined before and, for women of the time in particular, a new independence, changes to their clothes to make cycling easier and the opportunity for a chance encounter with a member of the opposite sex. But there was also a darker side, with fears of how technology might be turned against us becoming a constant element in contemporary 1890s fiction.
One technological landmark that the Victorians knew was coming, and that they (rightly) anticipated would one day unleash fire and bombs on British cities, was the flying machine. A thing of fantasy yet also, due to the ingenuity of the age’s engineers, something that might become a reality at any moment. Leading the way for British hopes of achieving powered flight was Percy Pilcher. Hannah looks at how, after several successful flights, Pilcher designed a triplane with an engine he intended to fly, when disaster struck.
WED 02:00 Pedalling Dreams: The Raleigh Story (b08j8mvl)
For the last 150 years, Britain has been a nation of bike lovers. And for much of that time, one make has been associated with quality, innovation and Britishness - Raleigh bikes.
Born in the back streets of Nottingham in 1888, Raleigh grew to become the biggest bicycle manufacturer in the world. For over a century, the company was known for its simple and practical bikes, built to last a lifetime. For generations, its designs were thought second to none, enjoyed by adults and children alike.
Now, with wonderful personal testimony and rare and previously unseen archive film, this documentary tells the extraordinary tale of the ups and downs of Raleigh bikes - a beautifully illustrated story full of remarkable characters, epic adventures and memorable bikes.
Meet the people who rode and raced them, the workers who built them and the dealers who sold them. Find out how cycling saved the life of Raleigh's founder, discover the technological advances behind the company's success and join Raleigh bike riders who recall epic adventures far and wide.
Along the way, the programme takes viewers on a journey back to cycling's golden age - rediscover the thrill of learning to ride your first bike and find out what went on inside the Raleigh factory, where the company's craftsmen produced some of Britain's most iconic bikes.
Finally, the documentary reveals what went wrong at Raleigh - the battles it had with its rivals, the controversy behind the design of the Chopper and the effect the closure of its factories had on its loyal workers. This is the extraordinary untold story of the rise and fall of Raleigh bikes.
WED 03:00 World's Busiest Railway 2015 (b0684sgm)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
THURSDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2020
THU 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (m000f8xh)
Katty Kay in Washington and Christian Fraser in London report on the events that are shaping the world.
THU 19:30 The Pennine Way (b05rcysn)
Explorer Paul Rose heads for the North Pennines in the latest stage of his journey along the Pennine Way. He goes white-water rafting down the River Tees and takes in one of Britain's best views at High Cup Nick. Paul also hears about a weather phenomenon unique to the Pennine Way and spends a night at a remote mountain refuge close to the highest point of the Pennine Way.
THU 20:00 Walt Disney (b08605f7)
Documentary about the life and legacy of Walt Disney, featuring archival footage only recently released from the Disney vaults, alongside scenes from some of his greatest films and the sketches from which they were created.
Those who helped turn his dreams into reality - his friends, family, animators and designers - reveal the real man behind the legend. They disclose the previously unknown processes, single-mindedness and sometimes sheer unpleasantness and discrimination that lay behind his seemingly effortless masterpieces.
Through bankruptcy, strikes, great risk and more, Disney's refusal to accept failure and his determined pursuit of his creative vision produced cartoons and movies that would define an entire industry. Both an inspiring story and a cautionary tale about the price of ambition, this film offers an unprecedented look at the man who created a world and built an empire.
Part one explores Disney's early days, when he created Mickey Mouse, through to the triumph of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length animated film.
THU 21:00 Life Cinematic (m000f8xk)
British director Sam Taylor-Johnson reveals the films that have influenced her life and career. Her choices range from classics such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest to modern blockbusters, including The Talented Mr Ripley, Brokeback Mountain and Claire Denis’s French masterpiece, Beau Travail.
Sam also offers insights into the making of her most recent movie, A Million Little Pieces, and reflects on her early introduction to cinema, as well as her experience of moving to Hollywood to live and work.
THU 22:00 Inside Cinema (m000f8xm)
Meet the Family
Meet the Family, voiced by Kathy Burke (Nil by Mouth, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), puts cinematic families on the analyst's couch for a deep dive into what makes some of the most dysfunctional dynasties in cinema tick.
How do film-makers go about dramatising the one thing we all have in life - family? Maybe it's about drawing directly from your own life, like Christina Crawford's account of being raised by a nightmare mother, A-list star Joan Crawford, in the infamous Hollywood scandal magnet, Mommie Dearest. Or maybe dramatising the furthest extremes that families will go to needs to involve fantasy, as in magical Oscar-winning fairy tale, Pan's Labyrinth, where a little girl escapes from her wicked stepfather into a dreamlike but dangerous underworld.
Even when film-makers have their familial inspiration sorted out, families on the big screen still pose unique challenges, even to the greatest directors in cinema. How can you possibly make every single family member in a massive cinematic ensemble like Gosford Park memorable, when even people in real life have trouble remembering who their second cousins are? How do you know where to start and finish your story about a family, when every family stretches back through infinite generations? Perhaps, like Lars von Trier, you could start with the end of the world. And what about empathy? How do we know who to root for in a film like American Beauty, which only gives us one side of the story?
Through the lens of films as varied as 8 Mile, Do the Right Thing, Tokyo Story, Aliens, Bicycle Thieves, The Hangover III, Dead Ringers, Home Alone, Ratcatcher, Back to the Future and many more, we zoom in on families in film, discovering how film-makers have imagined them on the big screen - and what that tells us about our place in our own families.
THU 23:00 Wonders of the Universe (b0101h6w)
In the last episode of Professor Brian Cox's epic journey across the universe, he travels from the fossils of the Burgess Shale to the sands of the oldest desert in the world to show how light holds the key to our understanding of the whole universe, including our own deepest origins.
To understand how light holds the key to the story of the universe, you first have to understand its peculiar properties. Brian considers how the properties of light that lend colour to desert sands and the spectrum of a rainbow can lead to profound insights into the history and evolution of our universe.
Finally, with some of the world's most fascinating fossils in hand Brian considers how, but for an apparently obscure moment in the early evolutionary history of life, all the secrets of light may have remained hidden. Because although the universe is bathed in light that carries extraordinary amounts of information about where we come from, it would have remained invisible without a crucial evolutionary development that allowed us to see. Only because of that development can we now observe, capture and contemplate the incredible wonders of the universe that we inhabit.
THU 00:00 How We Built Britain (b007qmpw)
Scotland: Towering Ambitions
David Dimbleby travels Britain and through 1,000 years of history to discover the buildings that have made us who we are. In Scotland he visits Stirling Castle, dramatic symbol of the birth of a new country, and the fairytale tower house of Craigevar. He travels to the crofts of the Outer Hebrides, to the castle that inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula, to the sparkling granite city of Aberdeen and to the tenements of Glasgow - home of Scotland's greatest architect, Charles Rennie Macintosh.
THU 01:00 The Silk Road (p03qb1gq)
In the first episode of his series tracing the story of the most famous trade route in history, Dr Sam Willis starts in Venice and explores how its Renaissance architecture and art has been shaped by the east and by thousands of exchanges along the Silk Road.
From Venice Sam travels to China's ancient capital, Xian. Here, Sam's story takes him back in time to reveal the tale of an emperor who was so desperate for horses to help protect his borders that he struck one of the most significant trade deals in human history - he wanted war horses, he gave the most precious material in the world, silk. From this single deal, a network of trading paths were carved out across thousands of miles by merchants, traders, envoys, pilgrims and travellers. It is known to us today as the Silk Road.
THU 02:00 Life Cinematic (m000f8xk)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
THU 03:00 Inside Cinema (m000f8xm)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today
FRIDAY 14 FEBRUARY 2020
FRI 19:00 World News Today (m000f8x0)
The news programme for audiences who want more depth to their daily coverage. With a focus on Europe, Middle East and Africa.
FRI 19:30 Top of the Pops (m000f8x5)
Simon Mayo, Sybil Ruscoe and Rod McKenzie present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 16 March 1989 and featuring New Order, Gloria Estefan, Chanelle, Fuzzbox, Madonna, Soul II Soul ft Caron Wheeler, Jason Donovan and Guns N' Roses.
FRI 20:00 Love Songs at the BBC: A Valentine's Day Special (b00ymh70)
It's a time for guilty pleasures, for courtship, for declarations of love, for looking someone in the eye and whispering sweet nothings, accompanied by a compilation of some of the greatest and squishiest love songs from the likes of Celine Dion, Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, Jason and Kylie, 10cc and Lionel Richie, all from the Top of the Pops era. If Hot Chocolate and Chaka Khan don't get the temperatures rising, then nothing will.
FRI 21:00 Top of the Pops (m000f8x9)
Mark Goodier and Andy Crane present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 23 March 1989 and featuring The Reynolds Girls, Alyson Williams, Donna Summer, Coldcut ft Lisa Stansfield, Pat and Mick, Roachford, The Bangles, Kym Mazelle, Kim Wilde, Paula Abdul, Madonna and Bobby Brown.
FRI 21:30 Classic Albums (m000f8xc)
Tears for Fears: Songs from the Big Chair
Documentary that explores the creation of the second album by Tears for Fears. Songs from the Big Chair took the gothic synth-pop foundations of the band and combined them with arena-ready anthems, leading to critical acclaim and three international hit singles, Mothers Talk, Shout and Everybody Wants to Rule the World.
This documentary, made with the full cooperation of the band, explores how the album was recorded and how the band left their indelible imprint on new wave music.
FRI 22:30 Roy Orbison: Love Hurts (b09j0r8s)
Roy Orbison died 29 years ago but he's hardly forgotten. As one of rock 'n' roll's pioneers he achieved superstar status in the 60s, writing and releasing a series of smash singles such as Oh, Pretty Woman, Only the Lonely, In Dreams and Crying. But while his professional life was full of triumph, Roy suffered terrible misfortune in his personal life, losing his wife and two of his children in successive tragedies, rebuilding his life by relying on his music to distract him from desolation.
Roy's legacy as a beloved rock legend and a devoted father is revealed through intimate interviews with Roy's three surviving sons, featuring previously unseen home videos as Alex, Roy Jnr and Wesley Orbison discuss the immense talent and fierce determination that provided the driving force behind their father's incredible success and the dedication to Roy's family that helped create a strong spiritual base to escape the pressures of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle.
This is the personal story of the relationship between three children and their father; a father who died when they were young, and who they have reconnected with and come to understand through embracing his life's work. It is not often that one gets to understand the person who is the music phenomenon, but in this film about relationships, family, love, loss and affirmation, we get to see the man behind the ever-present dark sunglasses and brooding loner persona, witnessing his struggle with personal demons, and ultimately redemption and acknowledgement from his peers.
FRI 23:30 Sounds of the 70s 2 (b01hz75h)
Guilty Pleasures - Love Will Keep Us Together
An unashamed celebration of the instantly recognisable classics from the decade of love. A half hour of 'Our Tune' anthems and the soundtrack to many a love affair and wedding party, including performances from The Carpenters, Bread, Charles Aznavour, John Denver, 10cc, Bellamy Brothers, Exile, Captain and Tennille, and Dr Hook.
FRI 00:00 Radio 2 In Concert (b09kt4rp)
Tears for Fears
This show sees Tears for Fears take to the stage for another incredibly special and unique Radio 2 In Concert. After forming as synth pop duo in the early 80s, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith achieved huge success on both sides of the Atlantic and as a result of such a huge fanbase, over 30,000 people applied to be part of the audience for this intimate gig. However, only a few hundred were lucky enough to witness the boys from Bath perform their classic hits which included Mad World, Shout, Everybody Wants to Rule the World and Sowing the Seeds of Love at the BBC's iconic Radio Theatre in the heart of London.
FRI 01:00 ... Sings Bacharach and David! (b01gxl5w)
The BBC have raided their remarkable archive once more to reveal evocative performances from Burt Bacharach and Hal David's astonishing songbook. Love songs from the famous songwriting duo were a familiar feature of 60s and 70s BBC entertainment programmes such as Dusty, Cilla and The Cliff Richard Show, but there are some surprises unearthed here too.
Highlights include Sandie Shaw singing Always Something There to Remind Me, Aretha Franklin performing I Say a Little Prayer, Dusty Springfield's Wishin' and Hopin', The Stranglers' rendition of Walk on By on Top of the Pops, The Carpenters in concert performing (They Long to Be) Close to You and Burt Bacharach revisiting his classic Kentucky Bluebird with Rufus Wainwright on Later...with Jools Holland.
FRI 02:00 Classic Albums (m000f8xc)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:30 today
FRI 03:00 Love Songs at the BBC: A Valentine's Day Special (b00ymh70)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today