The Erne is slowly falling under its winter spell. Early morning mists and vast tranquil silences are punctuated by the faint calls of birds migrating from colder climates to spend their winters on the Erne. The whopper swan's honking call is a magnet for nature writer Dara McNulty, and down at Portora lock gates, commercial fishermen Eugene Brazil and Roy Shaw are cleaning and checking their nets for European silver eels.
At Enniskillen castle, painter Lorna Smyth is putting the finishing touches to her exhibition of Erne landscapes. She has been painting all year across the seasons and now her work is ready to show the public.
Winter is a busy time on the Lough for RSPBNI, there are regular surveys to be done of the influx of migratory birds and habitats to be managed for breeding waders like curlews ahead of next year's breeding season.
Winter is also wildfowling season on the lough. Wildfowlers hunt the wild duck, a practice that has been carried out on the lough for centuries. The wildfowlers talk about their sport and how they feel that it is not in contradiction with their love of nature.
French chef Pascal Brissaud is also out on the water enjoying a crisp still winter's day and Row the Erne are busy stealing winter days before their traditional handbuilt Irish currach, Is taken out of the water until spring. They also take out local school children and celebrate the winter solstice with a dawn row and Christmas lunch on the boat.
Bob Ross creates a beautiful summer getaway with rugged brown peaks, clear blue waters and a cosy little cabin.
American painter Bob Ross offers soothing words of encouragement to viewers and painting hobbyists in an enormously popular series that has captivated audiences worldwide since 1982. Ross is a cult figure, with nearly two million Facebook followers and 3,000 instructors globally. His soothing, nurturing personality is therapy for the weary, and his respect for nature and wildlife helps heighten environmental awareness.
Across the series, Ross demonstrates his unique painting technique, which eliminates the need for each layer of paint to dry. In real time, he creates tranquil scenes taken from nature, including his trademark ‘happy’ clouds, cascading waterfalls, snow-covered forests, serene lakes and distant mountain summits.
Many of Bob’s faithful viewers are not painters at all. They are relaxing and unwinding with Bob’s gentle manner and encouraging words, captivated by the magic taking place on the canvas.
Former mountaineer Joe Simpson travels to Inywa in Myanmar to retrace the WWII journey of his father, Ian, who served with the Chindits, the special forces who fought a harsh guerilla campaign behind Japanese lines in 1944.
Using his father's maps and secret diary, and guided by explorer Ed Stafford, the first man to walk the length of the Amazon, Joe sets out to find the jungle airstrip where 20,000 Chindits were dropped in the biggest air operation before D-Day. Joe experiences some of the jungle conditions that made this one of the toughest campaigns of the second World War - crossing a river with a homemade bamboo raft, getting lost in the jungle (even with GPS) - but then finds that events in modern-day Myanmar threaten to derail his plans. The first free elections since 1990 trigger renewed hostilities in Kachin province - usually off-limits to tourists - and Joe has to put his 30-year-old dream on hold.
For 30 years, former mountaineer Joe Simpson has dreamed of re-tracing the World War II footsteps of his father, who served in the Chindit special forces in Burma behind Japanese lines in 1944.
Halfway through the jungle trek, the first free elections since 1990 trigger unrest and force Joe to divert to Bhamo, a small town in the north east of what is now called Myanmar. Joe can see the hills and ridges where his father trekked, but is not allowed to go there. Three days later, Joe and Ed Stafford, his jungle guide, are allowed to restart their journey, walking up a river crossed by the Chindits and travelling to villages and battlefields where the Allied special forces engaged the Japanese in fierce fighting. He meets villagers who still remember the Chindits, sees the spot where his father's commanding officer was beheaded in a battle and emerges with a deeper respect for what Lt Ian Simpson experienced.
It is one of the greatest and bloodiest mysteries in art: what happened on the December night in 1888 when Vincent van Gogh took a blade to his own ear?
Jeremy Paxman joins art sleuth Bernadette Murphy on her amazing quest to discover the truth - what exactly did the artist do, why did he do it and who was the unknown girl he is said to have handed his severed ear to, her real identity kept secret by her family for over a century? It is an event that defines van Gogh, who created his greatest masterpieces including the Sunflowers at the same moment as suffering mental torture, but what are the real facts?
This revealing detective story travels from Vincent's home in the south of France to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and uncovers key evidence hidden in a Californian library that has created an art-world sensation, as we finally solve the mystery of Van Gogh's ear.
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.
Dr Adam Rutherford investigates the story of the Hunter brothers, the celebrated anatomists who controversially transformed both medicine and art in 18th-century Britain.
Their belief that their students could only learn anatomy by carrying out dissections created an unprecedented demand for dead bodies and a market for the growing trade of body snatching from graveyards.
THURSDAY 13 AUGUST 2020
THU 19:00 Cricket: Today at the Test (m000lppq)
England v Pakistan 2020
Second Test: Day One Highlights
Highlights from the second Test between England and Pakistan.
THU 20:00 Snooker: World Championship (m000lppv)
Day 14: Semi-Finals Evening Session, Part 2
Live action from the final session of the first semi-final, where the winner will be guaranteed a minimum prize of £200,000.
THU 21:00 The Damned United (b00t61gx)
The story of Brian Clough's 44-day stint as manager of Leeds United FC in 1974. When Don Revie quit Leeds to become the England boss, the outspoken Clough took charge. Determined to impose his own style upon Revie's tough-tackling team, Clough soon alienated his players and the board.
Based on the book by David Peace.
THU 22:30 Storyville (b00lpk70)
The Trials of Oppenheimer
J Robert Oppenheimer was one of the most celebrated scientists of his generation. Shy, arrogant and brilliant, he is best known as the man that led the Manhattan Project to spectacular success.
As the years progressed he also grew into a scientific statesman, leading a government agency, the Atomic Energy Commission, which was trying to develop ways to avoid a nuclear arms race. His attempts at politics, though, were a lot less successful than his scientific endeavours. As he grew more powerful, he started to make serious enemies amongst the establishment, particularly a friend of President Truman's - Lewis Strauss.
This film tells the extraordinary story of the rise and fall of Robert Oppenheimer. David Straithairn, whose previous recreation of this era in Good Night and Good Luck was Oscar-nominated, plays Oppenheimer trying to defend himself as he was effectively put on trial for being a communist. Re-creation is mixed with expert testimony from a definitive range of commentators, ranging from Oppenheimer's Manhattan Project colleagues to academics like Martin Sherwin and Priscilla MacMillan.
Narrated by Zoe Wanamaker, whose own father experienced the virulent anti-communism of McCarthyism first-hand, it weaves Oppenheimer's biography with the dramatic events of his trial and its tragic aftermath. Emotional and compelling, it is a film that, in a time when non-proliferation is firmly back on the agenda, tells us a lot about the perils of mixing science and government.
THU 00:00 Einstein's Quantum Riddle (m000db95)
Einstein’s Quantum Riddle tells the remarkable story of perhaps the strangest phenomenon in science – quantum entanglement. It’s a story of mind-bending concepts and brilliant experiments, which lead us to a profound new understanding of reality.
At the start of the 20th century Albert Einstein helped usher in quantum mechanics - a revolutionary description of the behaviour of tiny particles. But he soon became uncomfortable with the counterintuitive ideas at the heart of the theory. He hunted for flaws in the equations and eventually discovered that they predicted a seemingly impossible situation.
Quantum theory suggested you could have two particles, which had interacted in the past, and even if you separated them by millions of miles they would somehow act in unison. If you measured one, forcing it to take on one of many properties, the other would instantly take on a corresponding property. Like rolling two dice, millions of miles apart, and as you look at one to see what number it landed on, the other instantly shows the same number. This bizarre prediction of magically connected particles became known as quantum entanglement. Einstein felt it couldn’t possibly be real – it seemed to break the rules of space and time. In 1935, with two of his colleagues, he published a paper that argued that this bizarre phenomenon implied the equations of quantum theory must be incomplete.
No-one could think of a way to test whether Einstein was right, until in 1964, John Bell, a physicist form Northern Ireland, published an astonishing paper. He’d found a key difference between Einstein’s ideas and those of quantum theory. It all boiled down to entanglement. As Professor David Kaiser puts it: ‘We now know this was one of the most significant articles in the history of physics. Not just the history of 20th-century physics; in the history of the field as a whole.’ In 1972 John Clauser and Stuart Freedman built an experiment based on John Bell’s work and found the first experimental evidence to suggest that quantum entanglement really is a part of the natural world.
Today, a technological revolution is under way, with labs around the world harnessing entanglement to create powerful new technologies such as quantum computers. At Google’s quantum computing lab in Santa Barbara, researcher Marissa Giustina describes their latest quantum-processing chip. And in Shanghai, at the University of Science and Technology, Professor Jian-Wei Pan explains that his team is working to send entangled particles from a satellite to a ground station to create totally secure communication links – a major step towards the creation of an unhackable ‘quantum internet’ of the future based on quantum entanglement.
Yet despite this progress, questions still remain about our experimental proof of entanglement. There are possible loopholes that could mean that entanglement may be an illusion and that Einstein was right all along. At the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in the Canary Islands, Professor Anton Zeilinger’s team is attempting a remarkable experiment to rule out the most challenging loophole. Their experiment uses two of Europe’s largest telescopes to collect light from two quasars, billions of light years away, to control intricate measurements of tiny quantum particles and put quantum entanglement to the ultimate test.
THU 01:00 Rich Hall's Working for the American Dream (b0b8rc45)
Award-winning comedian Rich Hall explores the American dream and the dictum that came over with the very first pilgrims who set foot on Plymouth Rock - work hard and you will succeed.
With his sharp wit and acerbic insight, Rich looks at how Americans strive to achieve this dream and how it's been explored and perpetuated by politicians, industrialists, artists, writers and film-makers.
Rich also looks at the dark heart of the American dream and considers what happens when the dream turns into a nightmare, including the Great Depression of the 1930s, the boom and bust of Detroit and the modern demise of America's shrinking middle class. The land of opportunity has attracted all comers to live the American dream, and Rich Hall explains if it actually exists or if it's just a myth that's become unobtainable for Americans.
THU 02:30 Museums in Quarantine (m000hqml)
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Alastair Sooke gains privileged access to the Tate Modern for a last look at the Warhol exhibition. Sooke argues that Warhol might just be the most significant artist of the second half of the 20th century. Warhol not only predicted, but in many ways helped to create, the world we live in - one obsessed with hyper-consumption, mass media and celebrity.
Covering works from across Warhol’s career, Sooke explores Warhol’s long-running commitment to experimental film and TV, as well as his fascination with advertising, pop music and commerce. And he delves into the man behind the carefully curated eccentricity, examining the expressions of Warhol’s queer identity in his later works and how his background as the son of eastern European immigrants influenced his art.
In conversation with Gregor Muir, one of the exhibition’s curators, Sooke discovers that one of his aims with the show was to strip away some of the myths about Warhol’s work and broaden the focus away from Warhol’s pop art studies of the 1960s. Finally, he muses on the particularly Warholian irony that this blockbuster show was closed, due to the coronavirus lockdown, almost as soon as it had opened.
THU 03:00 Museums in Quarantine (m000hqpj)
Historian Simon Schama takes us on a very personal virtual tour of the Young Rembrandt exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, currently in lockdown. The exhibition charts the first ten years of the Dutch master’s career, when the miller’s son from Leiden became the superstar of 17th-century Amsterdam and was on course to become one of the greatest artists of all time.
For Schama, who was able to see the exhibition before it closed, the coronavirus crisis has given Rembrandt’s work even more impact and resonance. As he says, ‘No artist I think better understood the fragile nature of human happiness; the shocking suddenness with which we can go from riches to rags, wellbeing to sickness, contentment to grief.’
Schama tells the story of the artist’s rise to fame and riches, celebrating the audacity and astonishing technical mastery of many of the works on show. But he also shows us a deeply wise and philosophical artist, who was always aware of the fickleness of fortune, and who was as interested – if not more - in portraying beggars as he was prosperous burghers and kings.
FRIDAY 14 AUGUST 2020
FRI 19:00 Cricket: Today at the Test (m000lpp6)
England v Pakistan 2020
Second Test: Day Two Highlights
Further coverage of the second Test.
FRI 20:00 TOTP2 (b01lwbt0)
TOTP2 once more delves into the archives to brighten up your day with summer sizzlers from John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, the Undertones, Shaggy, Bananarama, Bobby Goldsboro, Bay City Rollers, Fun Boy Three, the Style Council and Don Henley.
Other scorchers include Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, the Sundays, Sabrina, Chris Rea, the Barracudas, Zoe, Martha and the Muffins, Bryan Adams, Girls Aloud and ELO.
FRI 21:00 Snooker: World Championship (m000lpp8)
Day 15: Semi-Finals Evening Session, Part 2
Live action from the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield as the second semi-final reaches its climax. A place in the final, and at least £200,000 in prize money, is the reward for the winner.
FRI 22:00 Joan Armatrading: Me Myself I (m0008rm4)
Joan Armatrading is one the most influential singer-songwriters in Britain. A national icon, she is known for her singular vision, both as a writer and as a performer. She has performed around the world to sell-out stadiums, releasing records and touring almost constantly from the early 70s to the present day.
In this documentary Joan talks about her self-belief and her unique ability to craft songs that have spoken to millions. Known for her reclusiveness, Joan has, for the first time, granted access to her life and music. Joan tells her story from Caribbean émigré to becoming one of the most revered songwriters of our generation.
The film covers Joan’s childhood growing up in Birmingham, and how she began writing songs from a young age. Joan met some of the key people in her life when she joined the rock musical Hair in 1968. She left home to go on tour and forged a musical partnership with songwriter Pam Nestor. Their collaboration led to a major record deal and an opportunity to work with Elton John’s producer, Gus Dudgeon. Her album, Whatever’s for Us, received rave reviews and chimed with the burgeoning songwriting movement on the west coast of America. The album signalled a new energy and freedom taking shape in the 70s in Britain among the black population. Joan was propelled into the musical stratosphere, signing with major American label A&M for over ten years. She created her own genre of songwriting, defying stereotypes and breaking barriers, becoming one of the first black singer-songwriters in Britain.
Joan went on to forge an unbeatable dynamic with rock producer Glyn Johns, who had produced seminal albums with the Rolling Stones, the Eagles and the Who. She created one of the most-loved and iconic songs of the 70s when she wrote Love and Affection in 1976. She was 26 years old. It was a song that took simple emotional fragility and made it somehow both sensuous and raunchy.
Joan made three more hit albums in three years with Glyn and her music would become anthemic to the feminist movement gathering pace since the early 70s. Despite her gold records, international status and touring worldwide, Joan had to overcome misogyny in the music studio and fight racism in the music business.
In 1978, Bob Dylan asked her to play at his festival BlackBushe. Joan, the only woman on the bill, played alongside rock gods such as Eric Clapton. Ask her how she felt, being up there, and you will hear Joan’s fearlessness - ‘The Rock Gods don’t scare me!’ - showing the determination and strength that contributed to her success.
By the 80s, Joan refused to be pigeonholed into a 70s guitar sound and she would diversify her style, experimenting with synths and finding a new direction to create music without a producer. Joan was also one of the first black British musicians to appear on MTV, creating innovative music videos and capturing the imagination of younger artists in the States who had never seen a British black woman play and sing like her before.
Joan was nominated for a Grammy three times, one of which was for the song How Cruel, a song that articulated the racism that many black British people encountered in the UK at the time. Notably, it highlighted to African-Americans that the same problems with race were happening on both sides of the Atlantic.
Songs like Me Myself I and Drop the Pilot became overnight hits in the 80s, testimony to Joan’s consummate songwriting ability. By the late 80s, Joan was one of the first women to write, arrange and produce all her albums, building a music studio at her home and working with the likes of Elton John, Pino Palladino and Mark Knopfler.
As well as unprecedented access to Joan, watching her play a sold-out tour, the film features exclusive, previously unseen archive and interviews with key collaborators from music producers Glyn Johns and Steve Lillywhite to musician Pino Palladino. The film also features interviews and cover versions of Joan’s songs, from Martha Wainwright singing Me Myself I and Meshell Negeocello covering How Cruel to Shingai Shoniwa from the Noisettes performing Love and Affection.
FRI 23:00 Queens of Soul (b05nhjsx)
The sisters are truly doing it for themselves in this celebration of the legendary female singers whose raw emotional vocal styles touched the hearts of followers worldwide. Featuring the effortless sounds of Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, Gladys Knight, Randy Crawford, Angie Stone, Mary J Blige and Beyonce, to name a few.
The Queens of Soul presents the critically acclaimed and influential female singers who, decade by decade, changed the world one note at a time.
FRI 01:00 The Defiant Ones (m0002pf8)
Dr Dre talks about his time with Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur. All of them became embroiled in a violent feud with their East Coast rap rivals, notably Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs and his company, Bad Boy Records. This drove Dre to seek out another new beginning and establish a subsidiary of Interscope called Aftermath Entertainment.
Dre discusses enduring a string of disappointing solo releases, but Jimmy Iovine stood by him as others argued he should be dropped. Dre’s fortunes turned when Jimmy turned him on to the music of unknown white rapper Eminem. Dre talks about producing The Slim Shady LP, which took the rap music world by storm.
Series directed by Allen Hughes.
FRI 01:40 Joan Armatrading: Me Myself I (m0008rm4)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today
FRI 02:45 Queens of Soul (b05nhjsx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 23:00 today