Welcome to the Penguin Post Office, a little bit of Britain in the heart of Antarctica. Inside, the post office has everything you'd expect, a postbox, stamps, postcards and some dedicated staff. Outside, things are a little bit different. Neighbouring the post office are 3,000 gentoo penguins. They are there to raise a family but their lives are far from picture postcard as adultery and robbery are rife. The post office and its penguins attract thousands of visitors. While they come and go, the penguins must keep up with daily chores to ensure their chicks make it to sea before the Antarctic winter starts to bite.
Documentary which follows presenters Dick Strawbridge and Alice Roberts as they explore the spectacular British landscapes that inspired children's author Arthur Ransome to write his series Swallows and Amazons.
The landscapes he depicted are based on three iconic British waterlands. The beauty and drama of the Lake District shaped by ancient glaciers and rich in wildlife and natural resources, the shallow man-made waterways of the Norfolk broads so crucial to farming and reed production, and the coastal estuaries and deep-water harbours of the Suffolk coastline shaped by ferocious tides and crucial to trade.
Engineer and keen sailor Dick uses vintage boats to explore the landscapes and meet people whose lives are shaped by the water, while wildlife enthusiast Alice explores the rich shorelines, interrogating the underlying geography and meeting the wildlife. Together they evoke the nostalgia of Ransome's writing and a bygone era of childhood freedom and adventure, but they also explore the economic significance of these special locations and the ways in which water was harnessed to change the course of British history.
Having made their way through Alaskan coastal mountains, Dan and his team now attempt to cross waterways featuring unpredictable weather and turbulent rapids. The journey is made even more treacherous by the fact they will be using a basic wooden boat, built according to original designs from the time of the gold rush.
They must then paddle hundreds of miles along the mighty Yukon River to reach Dawson City, gateway to the Klondike.
Biographical drama following the life of biologist and adventurer Jacques Cousteau and his sometimes stormy relationship with his son Philippe, who followed in his father's footsteps as an explorer and conservationist.
Francis Bacon was the loudest, rudest, drunkest, most sought-after British artist of the 20th century. Twenty-five years after his death, his canvases regularly exceed £40 million at auction. Bacon's appeal is rooted in his notoriety - a candid image he presented of himself as Roaring Boy, Lord of Misrule and Conveyor of Artistic Violence. This was true enough, but only part of the truth. He carefully cultivated the facade, protecting the complex and haunted man behind the myth. In this unique, compelling film, those who knew him speak freely, some for the first time, to reveal the many mysteries of Francis Bacon.
Shaun Greenhalgh was once a prolific forger. Based in a garden shed in his parents' house in Bolton, he fooled the experts for three decades with an impressive array of fakes. Obsessed with the techniques of the past, Shaun could make anything - from medieval church carvings to Islamic drinking vessels. But a spell in prison convinced him to cross back over to the right side of the law and he has now teamed up with Oxford historian Dr Janina Ramirez. Together, they are trying to keep alive the secrets of the ancients.
In the first episode, Janina sets Shaun the challenge of making a jewelled eagle brooch of the kind worn by Visigoth chieftains in the Dark Ages. Inspired by a live eagle he befriends in an animal sanctuary in Lancashire, Shaun is confident he can do it. But sourcing the materials proves tricky, and making the brooch is more difficult than he expected. Can he finish in time?
Sir Malcolm Arnold was a prolific composer of music in many genres. Over five decades his output included concertos, ballet music, dance suites, overtures and nine symphonies. He was also at home composing for the film studio, his sweeping score for David Lean’s 1957 feature film, The Bridge on the River Kwai, being perhaps his best known film soundtrack. It won him an Oscar.
Here Katie Derham presents the BBC Concert Orchestra performing The Bridge on the River Kwai in full from the Watford Colosseum with conductor Christopher Seaman. Before the performance, Katie speaks to Christopher and to several members of the orchestra to learn more about the composer and the symphonic qualities he brought to the score. Understanding the instruments of the orchestra as well as Arnold did makes his music extremely satisfying to play.
Katie discovers how Arnold managed to create such an iconic soundtrack in only ten days, and composer Debbie Wiseman, who herself composes prolifically for cinema, uses scenes from The Bridge on the River Kwai to demonstrate how the music is interwoven with the rest of the film’s soundtrack. We see how Arnold’s understanding of the orchestra allowed him to use the right instruments in the right registers to complement to action on screen.
Katie also learns the fascinating story of Arnold’s own life - a pacifist who shot himself in the foot to get medically discharged during World War II, and a diagnosed schizophrenic who suffered with mental illness and alcoholism throughout his life. We see how he nonetheless remained an outgoing, engaging and well-loved figure, before hearing his Bridge on the River Kwai suite performed in full.
MONDAY 30 MARCH 2020
MON 19:00 BBC News (m000h828)
The latest international news from the BBC.
MON 19:30 Francesco's Mediterranean Voyage (b00d06bk)
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.
MON 20:00 Dynasties (p06mvrr0)
This episode features a painted wolf named Tait, matriarch of one of the last great families of this endangered animal. She has ruled her dynasty for many years on the banks of Zambezi river in Zimbabwe, keeping the peace within her sprawling family. But tensions are rising as Tait is growing old and her power is waning.
One of her daughters, Blacktip, lives close by. Her own pack is growing fast and they are running out of space. She urgently needs to get more territory so that her pack can catch enough food. But she has a problem, she is hemmed in on one side by human lands and there is only one way she can go to get what she needs - her own mother's lands.
Painted wolves thrive through cooperation. It is what had made this dynasty so strong for so long. A family feud could bring it to its knees.
MON 21:00 Scandal & Beauty: Mark Gatiss on Aubrey Beardsley (m000gx0d)
Mark Gatiss explores the life and career of Aubrey Beardsley, an artist who wielded outrage as adroitly as his pen. A lifelong fan, Mark shows how Beardsley was more than just a genius of self-promotion who scandalised the art world of the 1890s. He was also a technological innovator, whose uncompromising attitude still feels remarkably modern.
The programme follows Beardsley’s fevered footsteps from his childhood in Brighton, via notoriety among the decadents of London’s fin de siècle, to his early death in France in 1898 at the age of just 25. Mark argues that the key to understanding this elusive artist is his childhood diagnosis of tuberculosis. The knowledge that he was likely to die young created a prodigious work ethic. Throughout his astonishing but brief artistic career, Beardsley constantly adopted new styles - sometimes reinventing himself every few months.
Contributors to the programme include Stephen Fry, who discusses Beardsley’s illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s banned play Salome, and the illustrator Chris Riddell, who explains the influence of Japanese woodblock prints on Beardsley’s work. Leading scholar and programme consultant Stephen Calloway explains how the new technology of zinc line blocks allowed the artist to use mass reproduction as a tool for publicising his own – increasingly infamous - brand.
Caught up in the fallout of the Wilde scandal, and in failing health, Beardsley’s career took a downturn. But adversity only made him more uncompromising. This was when he created his most unforgettable - and sexually charged – images for a privately published edition of Aristophanes’s Lysistrata, as well as a remarkable depiction of himself as an androgynous dandy. Is it possible that his limited life expectancy freed Beardsley from the conventional late Victorian expectations of masculinity?
MON 22:00 England's Forgotten Queen: The Life and Death of Lady Jane Grey (b09m5rpg)
Jane has been installed in the Tower of London by a powerful cabal of men in the royal court. They want to keep the Catholic Mary Tudor from power. Meanwhile, Mary has assembled an army and is ready to fight back.
Led by the manipulative Duke of Northumberland, Jane's forces have assembled close to Mary's castle at Framlingham. Poised on the brink of battle, the two sides are evenly matched and the outcome hangs by a thread. When a key supporter of Jane's defects to Mary's side, taking with him thousands of followers, the balance tips. The Duke of Northumberland is thrown into confusion and the country holds its breath to see what will happen next.
On the final day of Jane's nine-day reign, the men who placed her on the throne abandon her and switch sides to join Mary. Their ringleader is Jane's own uncle, the Earl of Arundel.
Jane and her father, the Duke of Suffolk, are prisoners in the Tower as Mary enters London in triumph.
Jane is put on trial, but at first her life is spared. It is only when Jane's father joins a second rebellion that Mary takes action. She decrees that Jane, her husband and her father should be executed.
Helen Castor discovers that despite her reign lasting only nine days, Jane did leave a legacy - when Elizabeth I finally inherits the throne the lessons she learned from observing Jane's struggles help her to rule for 44 years. And, crucially, that Jane opened the door for a woman to rule England in her own right.
MON 23:00 Sex and Sensibility: The Allure of Art Nouveau (b01fd4z2)
In a story that combines scandal and revolution, cultural correspondent Stephen Smith explores how Vienna's artists rebelled against the establishment in the late 19th century and brought their own highly sexed version of art nouveau to the banks of the Danube.
Looking at the eye-watering work of Gustav Klimt, Smith discovers that Viennese 'Jugenstil' was more than just a decorative delight but saw artists struggle to bring social meaning to the new style. Revealing the design genius of Josef Hoffman, the graphic work of Koloman Moser and the emergence of the enfant terrible Egon Schiele, Smith unpacks the stories behind a style that burned brightly but briefly at the fin de siecle.
MON 00:00 Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Monumental Art (b0bjj23v)
In the summer of 2018, on the Serpentine in London's Hyde Park, world-renowned artist Christo created his first public work of art in the UK. Inspired by ancient Mesopotamian tombs, the Mastaba is constructed from 7,506 painted oil barrels and weighs six hundred tonnes. It is the latest work in a career spanning half a century and stretching across the world. His work to date have included surrounding 11 islands off the Florida coast with pink polypropylene and wrapping Berlin's Reichstag and the Pont Neuf in Paris.
This programme charts the creation of the Mastaba - from the first barrels being put on the water to its final unveiling - and paints a portrait of Christo as he looks back on a life spent making provocative works of art with his wife and partner Jeanne-Claude.
Christo reveals how he funds his projects with a unique business model, and how the long, tortuous and often combative process of gaining permissions and winning people over is part of his artistic
endeavour. He also talks about his escape from the communist east and his early work in 1960s Paris.
A cast of friends, fellow artists, collectors and critics lend their voices to the documentary, including performance artist Marina Abramovic, New Yorker journalist and architectural critic Paul Goldberger, former New York major Michael Bloomberg, writer and art critic Marina Vaizey and architect Sir Norman Foster.
MON 01:00 The Secret Life of Books (b06kxw9l)
The Mill on the Floss
Multi-award-winning actor and director Fiona Shaw explores the genesis of her all-time favourite book, The Mill on the Floss, and discovers how the scandal that caused George Eliot (born Mary Ann Evans) to take a male pen name was also played out in the plot of her classic novel about a woman's thwarted intellectual ambitions and conflicting sexual desires.
MON 01:30 Ben Building: Mussolini, Monuments and Modernism (b07d7nj9)
Having previously investigated the architecture of Hitler and Stalin's regimes, Jonathan Meades turns his attention to another notorious 20th-century European dictator, Mussolini.
His travels take him to Rome, Milan, Genoa, the new town of Sabaudia and the vast military memorials of Redipuglia and Monte Grappa.
When it comes to the buildings of the fascist era, Meades discovers a dictator who couldn't dictate, with Mussolini caught between the contending forces of modernism and a revivalism that harked back to ancient Rome. The result was a variety of styles that still influence architecture today.
Along the way, Meades ponders on the nature of fascism, the influence of the Futurists, and Mussolini's love of a fancy uniform.
MON 03:00 Scandal & Beauty: Mark Gatiss on Aubrey Beardsley (m000gx0d)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
TUESDAY 31 MARCH 2020
TUE 19:00 Railways: The Making of a Nation (b07x4f7s)
The New Commuters
Historian Liz McIvor explores how Britain's expanding rail network was the spark to a social revolution, starting in the 1800s and continuing through to modern times. A fast system of transportation shaped so many areas of our industrial nation - from what we eat to where we live, work and play. The railways generated economic activity but they also changed the nature of business itself. They even changed attitudes to time and how we set our clocks! Our railways may have reflected deep class divisions, but they also brought people together as never before, and helped forge a new sense of national identity.
This episode looks at the railways enabled us to live further and further from the places where we worked. Before the age of steam you would need a horse to travel long distances on land. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries our railways encouraged the development of suburbia inhabited by a new type of resident and worker - the commuter. In some cases, new places emerged on the map simply because of the railways - places like Surbiton. Liz visits London and the south east of England, our nation's largest commuter zone. The Victorian rail network was never part of a single grand plan, but emerged and evolved, line by line, over decades. For today's commuters, work is still going on to create a system that serves their needs!
TUE 19:30 Gareth Edwards’ Great Welsh Adventure (m000b4kx)
Rugby legend Gareth Edwards and his wife, and childhood sweetheart, Maureen reach the final leg of their round-Wales adventure by canal. And the conclusion of their beautiful but bumpy journey through the most spectacular scenery Wales has to offer has a personal connection for them both. This pair of narrowboat novices grew up at opposite ends of the same street in the village of Gwaun-cae-Gurwen, a few miles from Neath. As children, they would play in the areas by the derelict canals but knew very little of them and their history. Today, though the canals are virtually impassable, they have been cleaned up. Gareth and Maureen discover no fewer than three canals on their doorstep: the Swansea Canal and the Neath and Tennant Canals. The canals reveal a story of industry that once dominated the area, canals being constructed to get coal and iron to the docks. But now there is a plan afoot to give them a new lease of life. Teams of dedicated volunteers are working on the old canals, hoping to restore and reopen them. Gareth and Maureen can’t help but be impressed when they take to the water by motorboat and even canoe to get a sense of what the canals will be like when they reopen.
TUE 20:00 Digging for Britain (m000gx1f)
The Greatest Discoveries
Professor Alice Roberts re-examines the key archaeological sites of Roman Britain, from the foundation of Londinium in the south to fierce siege battles in the north.
TUE 20:30 The Art Mysteries with Waldemar Januszczak (m000gx1h)
Gauguin's Vision After the Sermon
The Vision After the Sermon is a painting full of symbolism and mystery. But what does Gauguin’s famous work have to do with a 17-year-old girl called Madeleine, with Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, and with sumo wrestlers?
Waldemar Januszczak reveals all as he investigates Gauguin’s epic religious painting about good and evil, temptation and desire.
TUE 21:00 Britain Beneath Your Feet (b0619k6l)
This series is a unique view of Britain - from below. In this first of two programmes, Dallas Campbell reveals why we can only understand the familiar world around us by discovering the hidden wonders beneath our feet. Breathtaking computer graphics strip away the earth to lay bare this secret world that's rarely explored.
Dallas finds out how the Shard of London - the tallest skyscraper in Western Europe - stays standing on soft clay. He canoes along a secret river under the city of Bristol and discovers why Edinburgh was sited on an ancient volcano. Exploring the natural world, he abseils down an underground waterfall higher than Niagara. And beneath one of the nation's oldest oak trees, he discovers a vast root system that's wider and more intricate than its branches.
TUE 22:00 Britain's Ancient Capital: Secrets of Orkney (b087vh70)
Orkney - seven miles off the coast of Scotland and cut off by the tumultuous Pentland Firth, the fastest flowing tidal race in Europe, is often viewed as being remote. But recent discoveries there are turning the stone age map of Britain upside down. Rather than an outpost at the edge of the world, recent finds suggest an extraordinary theory - that Orkney was the cultural capital of our ancient world and the origin of the stone circle cult which culminated in Stonehenge.
In this three-part series, Neil Oliver, Chris Packham, Andy Torbet and Dr Shini Somara join hundreds of archaeologists from around the world who have gathered there to investigate at one of Europe's biggest digs.
Chris Packham uncovers the secrets revealed by the DNA of Orkney's unique vole, Neil Oliver explores Orkney's tombs and monuments, Dr Shini Somara experiments to discover how the Orcadians could have moved giant blocks of stone over rough ground and archaeological adventurer Andy Torbet climbs Orkney's most challenging sea-stack to unlock the story of Orkney's unusual geology.
TUE 23:00 Soup Cans & Superstars: How Pop Art Changed the World (b067ftp7)
Alastair Sooke champions pop art as one of the most important art forms of the 20th century, peeling back pop's frothy, ironic surface to reveal an art style full of subversive wit and radical ideas.
In charting its story, Alastair brings a fresh eye to the work of pop art superstars Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein and tracks down pop's pioneers, from American artists like James Rosenquist, Claes Oldenburg and Ed Ruscha to British godfathers Peter Blake and Allen Jones.
Alastair also explores how pop's fascination with celebrity, advertising and the mass media was part of a global art movement, and he travels to China to discover how a new generation of artists are reinventing pop art's satirical, political edge for the 21st century.
TUE 00:30 A Day in the Life of Andy Warhol (b067fw3w)
Andy Warhol created some of the most instantly recognisable art of the 20th century. But perhaps his greatest work of art was himself - the cool, enigmatic pop art superstar.
In this film, Stephen Smith sets out to discover the real Andy Warhol - in the hour-by-hour detail of his daily life.
Taking a playful approach, mixing archive and entertaining encounters with Warhol's closest friends and confidantes, Stephen pieces together a typical day in the mid 1960s.
By 1964, Warhol had established himself as a famous pop artist and his creative ambitions were exploding in new directions in a creative frenzy of art, films - and even music.
From an early-hours chat with John Giorno, Warhol's lover and star of his notorious film Sleep, to recreating Warhol's intimate telephone conversations with Factory superstar Brigid Berlin, Stephen immerses himself in the round-the-clock whirl of Warhol's daily life.
Visiting the church where Warhol worshipped with his mother, discussing the day-to-day running of the Factory with Warhol's assistant Gerard Malanga, talking to Bibbe Hansen and Jane Holzer, stars of his famous Screen Tests, the film offers a fresh and illuminating new portrait of Warhol.
And from the obsessive desire to document his everyday life to the endless fascination with fame and his own celebrity image, a day with Andy Warhol appears surprisingly familiar to 21st century eyes.
"In his lifetime", concludes Stephen, "some people thought Warhol came from another planet. But in fact he hailed from somewhere equally exotic - the future.".
TUE 01:30 The Art Mysteries with Waldemar Januszczak (m000gx1h)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 today
TUE 02:00 Digging for Britain (m000gx1f)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
TUE 02:30 Britain Beneath Your Feet (b0619k6l)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
WEDNESDAY 01 APRIL 2020
WED 19:00 BBC News (m000h9j7)
The latest international news from the BBC.
WED 19:30 Handmade in Japan (b08v8gxl)
On the island of Kyushu in Japan, one of the country's last remaining families of Samurai sword makers are continuing a tradition their ancestors began 230 years ago. Working with his brother and son, Shiro Kunimitsu is dedicated to perfecting the art of producing swords of exceptional sharpness and durability. This film follows Shiro and his family as they lovingly craft a sword - a process that takes many months. We discover the importance of the sword in the ancient Samurai code, its enduring spiritual and symbolic power, and the challenges facing the dwindling numbers of sword makers in Japan today.
WED 20:00 Six Wives with Lucy Worsley (b0853mvq)
Documentary series featuring dramatic reconstruction in which Lucy Worsley revisits key events in the lives of Henry VIII's six wives, revealing how each attempted to exert influence on the king and the Tudor court. Lucy delves into records of private moments and personal feelings in the women's lives that ended up shaping the course of history.
This episode follows the emotional and physical struggles of Catherine of Aragon as she strove to give Henry the male heir he so desired. As Henry's eye wandered over the women at court, Anne Boleyn, not wishing to be cast aside as her sister Mary had been, repeatedly rejected the king's advances and insisted on marriage.
Henry set about trying to arrange an annulment, but Catherine was defiant and passionately defended her position.
WED 21:00 George Best: All by Himself (b08s3wxj)
The story of the reserved young prodigy from Northern Ireland who became a global superstar.
This is the feature-length documentary exploring the remarkable life of the footballer George Best.
WED 22:30 Van Meegeren: The Forger Who Fooled the Nazis (m00095j6)
Andrew Graham-Dixon investigates the story of the 20th century’s greatest art forger, Dutch artist Han van Meegeren, who made millions during World War II selling fake Vermeers in Nazi-occupied Holland.
Following a trail of evidence across Europe, Graham-Dixon pieces together how van Meegeren fooled the art establishment - and even swindled Hermann Göring, selling him what was then one of the most expensive paintings in the world.
Looking at this tale of intrigue and double-dealing against the backdrop of Europe’s darkest hour, Graham-Dixon tries to uncover the motives of the master forger. Was he a Dutch folk hero, outwitting the Nazi occupiers? A cynical opportunist? Or even ruthless collaborator?
As Andrew Graham-Dixon discovers, this is a tale about much more than simply art forgery: a twisted, timely morality tale about the blurred lines between truth and fiction that poses uncomfortable questions about deception - and collusion. About what happens when we want to believe something a little too much, even when the evidence of fakery is before our eyes.
WED 00:00 Sword, Musket & Machine Gun: Britain's Armed History (b088sznj)
In the concluding episode, Dr Sam Willis charts the evolution of weaponry in Britain from 1800 to the First World War, looking at the drive to develop ever more precise weapons, from artillery shells to rifles to the Maxim machine gun.
The pace of technological change in the 19th century was phenomenal. Sam test-fires a 'Brown Bess' musket, the infantry weapon of choice at Waterloo in 1815 and discovers that a well-trained soldier could fire up to three shots a minute. He also looks at efforts to make artillery more effective on the battlefield with the invention of spherical case shot, a new type of shell that was named after its inventor - Henry Shrapnel.
Sam finds out how accessible firearms were to the public in the early 19th century and tells the little-known story of Spencer Percival, the only British prime minister ever to be assassinated, shot at point blank range in the lobby of the House of Commons in 1812.
By the turn of the 20th century, several inventors believed that they could banish war if they invented the ultimate weapon, an instrument so horrific that no-one would dare use it. In the 1880s, Hiram Maxim, an American inventor, devised the first 'Maxim' machine guns in his workshop in Hatton Garden, London. The first rapid-fire weapon to harness the energy of its own recoil, the Maxim gun, and its successor the Vickers machine gun, could fire 600 rounds a minute and were used to devastating effect on the battlefields of the First World War.
Automatic weapons were also sought by criminal gangs, as Sam discovers when he looks back at one of the most infamous sieges of the 20th century - the Siege of Sidney Street in 1911.
The series culminates in a remarkable experiment to find out whether a bulletproof vest made of silk might have stopped a bullet fired at Archduke Franz Ferdinand. With the aid of the Royal Armouries, Sam conducts a unique experiment with assistant firearms curator Lisa Traynor to prove that a bulletproof vest owned by the archduke would have stopped a bullet fired by his assassin, Gavrilo Princip. The killing of the archduke on June 28 1914 set in motion a chain of events that led to the outbreak of the First World War.
World War I was the deadliest war of its age, with the most technologically advanced firearms and weapons of almost medieval brutality used to wage a devastating conflict. When the firing finally stopped on November 11, 1918, an estimated 17 million people had died and 20 million had been wounded. In the aftermath of World War I, we now put increasing faith in treaties, international conventions and diplomacy. Surely we could never allow such carnage to happen again?
WED 01:00 Arena (m00084zh)
Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama’s work pushed boundaries that often alienated her from her peers and those in power in the art world. Kusama was an underdog with everything stacked against her: the trauma of growing up in Japan during World War II, life in a dysfunctional family that discouraged her creative ambitions, sexism and racism in the art establishment, and mental illness.
Kusama overcame countless odds to bring her radical vision to the world stage and created a legacy of artwork that spans the disciplines of painting, sculpture, performance art, film and literature. Born in 1929, Kusama still creates new work every day. Her Infinity Mirror Room installations, the first of which was created in 1965, continue to attract visitors in record numbers.
WED 02:10 George Best: All by Himself (b08s3wxj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
THURSDAY 02 APRIL 2020
THU 19:00 BBC News (m000h9h1)
Twenty four hours a day - the latest national and international stories as they break.
THU 19:30 The Wonder of Animals (b04gbdwr)
The 100 trillion ants in the world weigh as much as all the people on earth and have colonised the planet like no other animal.
Chris Packham explores the ingenious ways in which ants have collaborated to achieve their global success - natural air-conditioning systems keep ants cool in their nests, shelters made from their own bodies protect nomadic ants from the elements and a sense of smell five times more powerful than other insects allows them to overpower animals hundreds of times larger than themselves.
Remarkably, new research reveals how ant colonies are capable of immunising themselves against diseases.
THU 20:00 How to Make (m000gwzd)
Zoe Laughlin, designer, maker and materials engineer, is fascinated by the science and technology hidden within the everyday objects we take for granted. In this series, she dismantles and dissects three classic items to understand the wonders of form, function and material that go into making them, before building her own truly bespoke versions, step by step.
In this episode, Zoe takes on the trainer - a much-loved modern classic that's a marvel of engineering and design. Setting out in search of inspiration, she meets some of the UK's leading trainer designers and manufacturers, as well as the young inventors working on mind-blowing sustainable creations such as material made by bacteria and self-deodorising fabrics.
Zoe also goes behind the scenes at Britain's largest footwear factory, where high-speed injection-moulding processes turn out a shoe every nine seconds. And she meets one of the country's pre-eminent trainer historians, Thomas Turner, to find out how our favourite everyday footwear would be nothing without car tyres. All before building her own bespoke trainers. In Zoe's own words, ‘they are mad, but they're mine - and that makes them special!’
THU 21:00 Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema (m000gwzj)
Mark Kermode explores one of the most distinctive and popular genres of all. The spy movie plays on our paranoia and feeds our fears as well as fulfilling our fantasies of secret missions and special skills. It has also given us perhaps the most famous hero in all of cinema – James Bond.
Spy movies capture a world not of black and white but shades of grey. But if the morality is often ambiguous, the genre is full of tried and tested conventions. Mark opens up the cinematic agent’s essential toolkit, from the spy boss to the mysterious McGuffin, surveillance techniques to a striking set of opening titles, and he traces the development of the genre from its earliest days.
Whether you’re a blockbuster superspy or a compromised cold warrior, Mark reveals all you need to survive in the murky yet thrilling world of big screen espionage.
THU 22:00 Pinewood: 80 Years of Movie Magic (b05ys7zz)
Jonathan Ross gains unprecedented access to Britain's famous film studio to reveal the magic behind some of the greatest movies ever made. He encounters legendary stars including Dame Joan Collins and Barbara Windsor, casts the spotlight upon the award-winning teams behind iconic heroes such as Superman and James Bond, and even risks life and limb attempting some daring and dangerous stunts of his own!
THU 23:00 Score: Cinema's Greatest Soundtracks (m0002pf6)
What makes a film score unforgettable? Featuring Hans Zimmer, James Cameron, Danny Elfman, John Williams, Quincy Jones and Trent Reznor, amongst many others, Score: Cinema’s Greatest Soundtracks brings Hollywood's elite composers together for a privileged look inside the challenges and creative secrecy of the world's most international music genre, the film score.
THU 00:35 Our Classical Century (m0005wrw)
1980s to the present
Music broadcaster Suzy Klein and West-End star Alexandra Burke chart how, in the 80s and 90s, a new generation of young musicians – from Simon Rattle and Nigel Kennedy to Vanessa-Mae - defied tradition and burst out of the accepted confines of the classical genre. We look at Torvill and Dean’s triumph at the Winter Olympics, the Three Tenors at Italia 90, Tavener’s haunting anthem accompanying the funeral of Princess Diana and the successful launch of Classic FM.
Alexandra meets Torvill and Dean to explore how Maurice Ravel’s Bolero burst into the pop charts in 1984. The skaters reveal why it was chosen and why it worked so well. Composer Richard Hartley explains to Suzy how he had to re-orchestrate Ravel’s composition on the synclavier to get it to the right length for the Olympic performance.
In 1989 Nigel Kennedy burst onto the scene with his punk loom and ferocious playing. A protege of Yehudi Menuhin, he tore up the conventions of the classical concert hall. Producer Barry McCann reveals how they marketed Kennedy and his chart-topping version of Vivaldi’s Summer and we see Kennedy in action today performing Jimmy Hendrix.
Sir Simon Rattle reveals how classical music transformed the reputation and fortunes of a city – Birmingham. The Midlands was the birthplace of Heavy Metal, music forged in the din of its industrial heritage. But the car industry had collapsed and in 1980 the arrival of Rattle, a charismatic young conductor with a passion for Mahler, proved the unlikely catalyst for Birmingham’s transformation. Suzy goes behind the scenes at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, one of the world’s finest concert halls while Sir Simon reveals why The Queen stayed away from the opening ceremony
In 1990 Puccini’s Nessun Dorma brought opera to a whole new audience of football supporters when the BBC used Pavarotti’s 1972 recording as their title music. When Pavarotti, Carreras and Domingo performed together for the first time on the eve of the final, The Three Tenors became icons of popular culture. At Arsenal FC’s Emirates stadium, Alexandra meets football fans inspired by Nessun Dorma to create the FA Fans Choir.
Until 1993 the options to hear classical music were through records, concert hall or Radio Three. Broadcaster Petroc Trelawny tells the inside story of the early days of the country’s first commercial classical radio station, Classic FM. Its recipe of popular music for a broad audience was an immediate hit, but Trelawny reveals that ‘the critics were quite sniffy.’ He also tells how founder Michael Bukht would reprimand him on air if the talking got in the way of the music.
During a rare interview with Vanessa-Mae, we see her barnstorming arrival on the music scene. Mae made her debut with the London Philharmonia aged 10 and at 13 set a world record as the youngest soloist to record both the Tchaikovsky and Beethoven violin concertos. A child of the 80s, a fan of Michael Jackson and Prince, Mae wanted to experiment, which she did with an album heavily influenced by pop and rock. To accompany it, she was filmed in pop videos shot cavorting in hot pants in Ibiza and playing the violin in the sea. It shocked the classical world, but gained Mae instant popularity and recognition with the young.
But as classical music was flirting with the pop world, it retained its power to unite the nation in exceptional times. The funeral of Princess Diana was a moment of national mourning, with John Tavener’s piece Song for Athene at the heart of the service. Martin Neary, who conducted the choir, explains why he chose the piece. Suzy explores why it so aptly captured the sense of ancient ritual and tradition, modernity and spirituality for the congregation and the millions watching the event on television. World-class cellist, Stephen Isserlis, performs excerpts from Tavener’s The Protecting Veil, a piece composed for him, and discusses the spiritual quality of the music.
In 2007, an ensemble of 12- to 26-year-olds from Venezuela’s most troubled neighbourhoods rocked the Royal Albert Hall with the Telegraph asking, ‘Was this the greatest Prom of all time?’ The Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra was the product of a government-sponsored initiative known as El Sistema. Our presenters explore this remarkable illustration of how the idea of who can play classical music was transformed.
Crashing through the sound barrier the programme finally looks at the work of one of the UK’s most exciting young composers, Anna Meredith, who combines classical, electronic, pop, vocal and visual styles in her work.
Our Classical Century climaxes with a look to the future in which barriers between musical genres and performance styles are breaking down. Sir Simon Rattle explains: ‘Music’s like the virus you don’t get rid thankfully of because it’s incurable! We just try and spread it to as many people as we can and it should be in everybody’s life in some way or other. Music’s like weeds, it’s amazing where it grows.’
THU 01:35 Cinema Through the Eye of Magnum Photos (b095vnk0)
From the day it was created in 1947, Magnum Photos has represented some of the most famous names in photography whose pictures have come to define their times. But Magnum's work also includes more surprising images - pictures of cinema. This film recounts this remarkable collaboration - from Robert Capa's photographs of Ingrid Bergman and Eve Arnold's intimate relationship with Marilyn Monroe through to Paolo Pellegrin's portraits of Kate Winslet, providing an essential history of both cinema and photography.
THU 02:30 The Wonder of Animals (b04gbdwr)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
THU 03:00 How to Make (m000gwzd)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
FRIDAY 03 APRIL 2020
FRI 19:00 BBC News (m000h9h3)
The latest international news from the BBC.
FRI 19:30 Top of the Pops (m000gx1r)
Mark Goodier and Simon Parkin present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 15 June 1989 and featuring Fuzzbox, Sinitta and Donna Allen.
FRI 20:00 ABBA at the BBC (b03lyzpr)
If you fancy an hour's worth of irresistible guilty pleasures from Anni-Frid, Benny, Bjorn and Agnetha, this is the programme for you. ABBA stormed the 1974 Eurovision song contest with their winning entry Waterloo, and this programme charts the meteoric rise of the band with some of their greatest performances at the BBC.
It begins in 1974 with their first Top of the Pops appearance, and we even get to see the band entertaining holidaymakers in Torbay in a 1975 Seaside Special. There are many classic ABBA tunes from the 1979 BBC special ABBA in Switzerland, plus their final BBC appearance on the Late Late Breakfast show in 1982.
This compilation is a must for all fans and includes great archive interviews, promos and performances of some of ABBA's classics including Waterloo, Dancing Queen, Does Your Mother Know, Thank You for the Music, SOS, Fernando, Chiquitita and many more.
FRI 21:00 Top of the Pops (m000gx1t)
Simon Mayo and Gary Davies present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 22 June 1989 and featuring Living in a Box, The Beautiful South and Bangles.
FRI 21:30 Rich Hall's Countrier Than You (b08j8lqb)
Award-winning comedian Rich Hall takes a country music journey from Tennessee to Texas to look at the movements and artists that don't get as much notoriety but have helped shape the genre over the years.
With the help of prominent performers and producers including Michael Martin Murphey, Robbie Fulks and Ray Benson, Rich explores the early origins of country music in Nashville and Austin. He visits the rustic studios where this much-loved sound was born and discovers how the genre has reinvented itself with influences from bluegrass, western swing and Americana.
Rich also explores how the music industries differ between these two cities and how they each generated their own distinct twist on the genre, from cosmic country and redneck country to the outlaw artists of the 1970s. Through Working Dog, a three-minute self-penned soap opera about a collie dog, Rich illustrates how different styles can change.
As he unearths the roots and inner workings of country music, Rich finds it's more than just music - it's a lifestyle.
FRI 23:00 ... Sings the Great American Songbook (b00rs3w4)
Presenting the best and most eclectic performances on the BBC from the world's best-known artists performing their interpretations of classic tracks from The Great American Songbook.
In chronological order, this programme takes us through a myriad of BBC studio performances, from Dame Shirley Bassey in 1966 performing The Lady is A Tramp, to Bryan Ferry in 1974 on Twiggy's BBC primetime show performing Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, to Captain Sensible on Top of the Pops in 1982 with his number one hit version of Happy Talk, through to Kirsty MacColl singing Miss Otis Regrets in 1994 to Jamie Cullum with his version of I Get a Kick Out Of You on Parkinson in 2004 and bang up to date with Brit winner Florence from Florence and the Machine performing My Baby Just Cares for Me with Jools Holland on his Annual Hootenanny at the end of 2009.
The Great American Songbook can best be described as the music and popular songs of the famous and prolific American composers of the 1920s and onwards. Composers such as Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Hoagy Carmichael to name but a few... songwriters who wrote the tunes of Broadway theatre and Hollywood musicals that earned enduring popularity before the dawning of rock 'n' roll.
These famous songwriters have penned songs which have entered the general consciousness and which are now best described as standards - tunes which every musician and singer aspires to include in their repertoire.
FRI 00:00 Sinatra: All or Nothing at All (b065h3vy)
An up-close and personal examination of the life, music and career of the legendary entertainer. In 1971, Frank Sinatra sang his legendary 'retirement concert' in Los Angeles, featuring music which was said to reflect his own life. Told in his own words from hours of archived interviews, along with commentary from those closest to him, this definitive four-part series weaves the legendary songs he chose with comments from friends and family, as well as never-before-seen footage from home movies and concert performances.
An unprecedented tribute to the beloved showman, with the full participation of the Frank Sinatra Estate, the second episode follows Sinatra's growing political profile, his relationship with Ava Gardner and the split from Nancy, his first wife.
FRI 01:00 Music Moguls: Masters of Pop (p039w64c)
Three-part series revealing the secret history of pop and rock from the men and women who pull the strings behind the scenes.
Programme one tells the story of the maverick managers who controlled the careers of megastar artists, from Colonel Parker (Elvis) right the way up to Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber). Along the way are rollicking tales of industry legends like Led Zeppelin's Peter Grant, and Don Arden, who managed The Small Faces, Black Sabbath and ELO.
Narrated by Simon Napier-Bell, it also features contributions from Andrew Loog Oldham (The Rolling Stones), Jon Landau (Bruce Springsteen), Bill Curbishley (The Who), Paul McGuinness (U2) and Jonathan Dickins (Adele).
FRI 02:00 Rich Hall's Countrier Than You (b08j8lqb)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:30 today