Radio-Lists Home Now on BBC 4

RADIO-LISTS: BBC FOUR
Unofficial Weekly Listings for BBC 4 — supported by bbc.co.uk/programmes/



SATURDAY 12 DECEMBER 2020

SAT 19:00 All Aboard! The Great Reindeer Migration (m0001rz0)
A BBC Four Slow Christmas treat follows Norway’s Sami reindeer herds as they migrate across the mountainous region of Finnmark, far north of the Arctic Circle. The journey, a little over 160 miles, takes the herd a week, travelling north from the inland winter feeding grounds to their coastal summer pastures. The film travels with the Sara family and their herd around the clock as they cross the Arctic wilderness to reach the coastal island of Kvaloya Fala in time for the calves to be born. It is a journey fraught with hazardous weather conditions.


SAT 21:00 The Valhalla Murders (m000qcxw)
Series 1

Episode 7

Kata and Hakon continue their investigation in Borgarnes, where the chief of police at the time of Tomas’s disappearance admits mistakes were made. Back in Reykjavik, Arnar discovers he has missed two telephone calls from Fannar Thorsson.

In Icelandic with English subtitles.


SAT 21:45 The Valhalla Murders (m000qcy0)
Series 1

Episode 8

Hakon calls from Borgarnes, furious that Kata did not tell him that she had escalated the referral about the Valhalla investigation. Unperturbed, Kata is determined to find justice for the victims.

In Icelandic with English subtitles.


SAT 22:30 The Shadows at Sixty (m000hqn0)
A look back at the incredible success of The Shadows as they celebrate their sixtieth anniversary. Starting from where they began as The Drifters to then becoming the backing band for Cliff Richard and enjoying huge success in their own right, the programme celebrates The Shadows’ achievements across a time of constant change within the social, cultural and musical landscape.

The Shadows were at the forefront of the UK beat boom generation and the first backing group to emerge as big stars in their own right. Using unseen archive, personal testimony and interviews with the band, along with those they influenced, including Brian May, David Gilmour, Pete Townshend, The Shadows at Sixty is not just a trip down memory lane, but an in-depth, often emotional story of a group’s journey through six decades.


SAT 23:30 Sir Cliff Richard at the BBC (m000ng7h)
As the Peter Pan of Pop reaches the milestone of his 80th birthday, the BBC celebrates with a look back through its archives at some of his most memorable performances and biggest hits.

Starting with the release of Sir Cliff’s first single Move It in 1958, we follow his incredible career through his appearances on a variety of BBC music programmes and television specials. The programme takes in his early, much-loved songs of the 1960s, the comeback and credibility of his work in the 1970s, the successes he enjoyed throughout the 80s and 90s, as he consolidated his reputation as a pop superstar, right up until the controversy and vindication that came with his Millennium Prayer.

Amongst the classic songs featured are The Young Ones, Living Doll, Bachelor Boy, the Eurovision Song Contest contenders Congratulations and Power To All Our Friends, Devil Woman, Miss You Nights, Wired for Sound and Cliff’s much-praised 80s duet with Van Morrison, Wherever God Shines His Light.


SAT 00:35 Top of the Pops (m000q5l5)
Gary Davies presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 10 May 1990 and featuring Kylie Minogue, Adamski and Beats International.


SAT 01:05 Top of the Pops (m000q5l9)
Nicky Campbell presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 18 May 1990 and featuring Hothouse Flowers, The Pasadenas and Paul Young.


SAT 01:35 All Aboard! The Great Reindeer Migration (m0001rz0)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]



SUNDAY 13 DECEMBER 2020

SUN 19:00 Nature's Weirdest Events (b05rjvfn)
Series 2: Cutdowns

Episode 3

Chris Packham examines the world's weirdest natural events. Using incredible eyewitness footage, first hand accounts and scientific explanations.


SUN 19:10 Natural World (b05sz8q8)
2015-2016

Iceland: Land of Ice and Fire

In what turns out to be an explosive year, witness Iceland through the eyes of the animals and people that have made this wild island home.

An arctic fox family must eke out a cliff-top living, an eider farmer has his hands full playing duck dad to hundreds of new arrivals and Viking horsemen prepare to saddle up for the autumn round-up. But nature's clock is ticking, and the constant volcanic threat eventually boils over with one of Iceland's biggest eruptions in more than 200 years. This land of ice and fire will not be tamed.


SUN 20:10 Billy Connolly: A Scot in the Arctic (p032kjf7)
'The Big Yin' embarks on a big adventure, as comedian Billy Connolly ventures from stage to ice - a frozen Arctic Ocean inhabited by ten-foot polar bears. The Scots mirth-maker is armed only with a small flimsy tent, a video camera and a BBC film crew. Not an ideal way to spend a week.


SUN 21:00 The Last Igloo (m000cr9s)
Documentary that follows a lone Inuit as he hunts, fishes and constructs an igloo. It tells the story of skills that are disappearing and of how climate change is affecting the lives of Greenland's indigenous people.

With its focus on the ingenious craft of igloo building before it becomes too late to record it, this is a meditative and poetic sensory immersion in a landscape of ice and snow, an elegy to a world that is melting away.


SUN 22:30 The Sky at Night (m000qcwm)
The State of Astronomy

The Sky at Night looks back at the last ten years of astronomy and ponders the most significant milestones and revelations. With the help of six distinguished astronomers, Chris and Maggie consider the state of astronomy in 2020 and wonder what new, exciting discoveries await us across the rest of the decade, as a host of new ground and space telescopes come online.

Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees is among the guests to walk along the Astronomical Wall of Discovery in this one-hour special.


SUN 23:30 Horizon (b0bfdjgp)
2018

Jupiter Revealed

'To send a spacecraft there is a little bit insane,' says Scott Bolton when talking about Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system. But that is exactly what he has done, because Scott is head of Juno, the Nasa mission designed to peer through Jupiter's clouds and reveal the wonders within.

Professor Kaitlin Kratter shows us how extreme Jupiter is. She has come to a quarry to measure out each planet's mass with rocks, starting with the smallest. Mercury is a single kilogram, and the Earth is 17. Jupiter is seven tonnes - that is two and a half times the mass of all the other planets combined. With extreme size comes extreme radiation. Juno is in the most extreme environment Nasa has visited. By projecting a 70-foot-wide, life-size Juno on a Houston rooftop, Scott shows us how its fragile electronics are encased in 200kg of titanium.

Professor Andrew Ingersoll, Juno's space weatherman, reveals they have seen lightning inside Jupiter, perhaps a thousand times more powerful than Earth's lightning. This might be evidence for huge quantities of water inside Jupiter. He also tells us that the Great Red Spot, a vast hurricane-like storm that could swallow the Earth whole, goes down as far as they can see.

At the National Ignition facility in northern California, Dr Marius Millot is using lasers normally used for nuclear fusion for an experiment. He uses '500 times the power that is used for the entire United States at a given moment' to crush hydrogen to the pressures inside Jupiter. Under these extreme conditions, hydrogen becomes a liquid metal. Juno is finding out how much liquid metallic hydrogen is inside Jupiter, and scientists hope to better understand how this flowing metal produces the most powerful aurora in the Solar System.

But what is at Jupiter's heart? In Nice, Professor Tristan Guillot explains how Juno uses gravity to map the planet's centre. This can take scientists back to the earliest days of the solar system, because Jupiter is the oldest planet and it should contain clues to its own creation. Tristan reveals there is a huge rocky core - perhaps ten times the mass of Earth. It is now thought Jupiter started as a small rocky world. But there is a surprise, because Juno's findings suggest this core might be 'fuzzy'. Tristan thinks the planet was bombarded with something akin to shooting stars.


SUN 00:30 Holst: The Planets with Professor Brian Cox (m0005prm)
The BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ben Gernon, performs Gustav Holst’s masterpiece, The Planets, at the Barbican, 100 years after its composition. Professor Brian Cox introduces each movement against a backdrop of the very latest in planetary imagery.


SUN 02:00 My Week with Marilyn (b01nx8kb)
It is 1956 and The Prince and the Showgirl is being made at Pinewood Studios in London, directed by and starring Laurence Olivier, who has recruited one of the biggest Hollywood stars of all time, Marilyn Monroe, to co-star with him.

Colin Clark, a junior assistant on the production, is assigned the job of looking after Marilyn and keeps a journal about the week he spent with her. It proves to be a turbulent experience as Marilyn is going through marital problems with her husband and uses Colin as a much-needed sounding board for all her pent-up neurosis.



MONDAY 14 DECEMBER 2020

MON 19:00 Villages by the Sea (m000c799)
Clovelly

Archaeologist Ben Robinson reveals the story of this Devon coastal gem’s transformation from fishing village to romantic Victorian seaside resort.

Our coastal villages are often seen as remote places for retreat and relaxation. However, they have often been on the front line of history - from the arrival of Christianity to battles with neighbours and nature, from slave trading to the birth of modern tourism.

Thanks to a powerful and pioneering woman, Clovelly found itself at the forefront of the Victorian seaside holiday revolution. Even today cars are banned and the village is privately owned, helping to preserve it as a reminder of a bygone age.


MON 19:30 The Joy of Painting (m000qcwy)
Winter Specials

Pastel Winter

Soft colours flow from the magnificent brushes of Bob Ross in this lovely, warm winter painting. Don’t miss seeing this pretty scene unfold.

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.

In 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.


MON 20:00 University Challenge (m000crz4)
Christmas 2019

Trinity Hall, Cambridge v St Peter's College, Oxford

It is the penultimate first-round match in the Christmas quiz for grown-ups and two teams are doing battle for a place in the semis. They are Trinity Hall, Cambridge, with Peep Show actor Sophie Winkleman and Guardian TV reviewer Lucy Mangan, and St Peter's College, Oxford, with BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera and journalist and broadcaster Afua Hirsch.

Jeremy Paxman asks the questions.


MON 20:30 The Art Mysteries with Waldemar Januszczak (m000gp0h)
Series 1

Seurat's Les Poseuses

Hanging in the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, Seurat’s Les Poseuses is probably his least-known painting. It is also a picture brimming with codes and hidden meanings. It shows three nudes in the artist’s studio, but included in the background is Seurat’s famous masterpiece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

Why is it there? What is it trying to say? Why two pictures at once? Waldemar Januszczak investigates.


MON 21:00 The Lady in the Van (b06wcqyr)
1970s Camden Town. Writer Alan Bennett's neighbours include the outspoken and unconventional Miss Shepherd, proudly residing in a van parked on the street. Offering space on his front drive for her vehicle begins a bizarre arrangement that he feels guilty about later exploiting in print. Acclaimed comedy drama from BBC Films based on actual events.


MON 22:40 Alan Bennett's Diaries (b086kc2c)
Inspired by his acerbic and often hilarious diaries, this documentary shows Alan Bennett as he has never been seen before. The film follows Bennett to New York, the scene of his early triumph in Beyond the Fringe, to his community library in Primrose Hill which, he despairs, some would rather see turned into a pizza restaurant, to the East Coast railway line, which he would like to see renationalised, and to the village in Yorkshire he calls home.

Intimate encounters, filmed over a year, reveal a writer who is bemused by his own popularity and is still as angry and irreverent in his 80s as he was in his 20s. Leafing through private photographs, Bennett reflects on his modest beginnings and his enduring gratitude to a welfare state that paid for his education and looked after his parents in their old age. With a satirical force that has never left him, he also attacks the politics of today.


MON 23:40 Civilisations on Your Doorstep (b0b1v41g)
From Roman marbles and Egyptian mummies to Renaissance masterpieces and African sculptures, in this special accompanying programme to Civilisations, Mary Beard goes in search of extraordinary works of art from all over the world that can be seen here in Britain.

Investigating the stories behind them - how they were brought here, why and by whom - Mary also asks some deeper questions about what they say about our relationship to the outside world. Starting with the last surviving cabinet of curiosities from the 17th century, Mary then tells the story of how our national collections came together - from their aristocratic beginnings and their subsequent democratisation to a more public 20th-century debate about what these collections represented and who they were for.

Along the way, Mary tackles some of the debates and controversies embedded in the very idea of what 'civilisation' is and asks some fundamental questions - how were our national collections built up? Through purchase or plunder? By collecting the art of the world, were we taking civilisation to others or civilising ourselves? And, most importantly of all, what do our collections tell us about who we are?


MON 00:40 Storyville (b0b9zrhb)
John Curry: The Ice King

One of the greatest ice skaters of all time, John Curry transformed a dated sport into an art form and made history by becoming the first openly gay Olympian in a time when homosexuality was not fully legal.

Directed by James Erskine, this is a searing documentary about a lost cultural icon - a story of art, sport, sexuality and rebellion. Featuring incredible unseen footage of some of Curry's most remarkable performances and with access to his letters, archive interviews, and interviews with his family, friends and collaborators, this is a portrait of the man who turned ice skating from a dated sport into an exalted art form.


MON 02:05 The Joy of Painting (m000qcwy)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]


MON 02:35 The 80s with Dominic Sandbrook (b07pr1b5)
World in Motion

The third and final programme charts the final years of the decade, looking at a society transformed by an accelerated change. Dominic argues that this change brought opportunities and anxieties that we continue to wrestle with to this day, from significant technological advances and the privatisation of national companies, to the deregulation of the stock market and the growing polarisation of rich and poor.

The late 80s saw Britain transformed beyond measure, from the economic 'Big Bang' in the City of London and the rise of the yuppie to more tangible, everyday signs of household change, such as the impact of Europe on British shopping habits - from German cars to French wine, Italian fashion and Scandinavian interior design. But alongside this transformation was a growing disconnection from the political elite, signified by the rise of rave culture and the poll tax riots. Margaret Thatcher - widely seen as the architect of so much of this change - would ultimately become its biggest victim.



TUESDAY 15 DECEMBER 2020

TUE 19:00 University Challenge (m000cs12)
Christmas 2019

Warwick v Imperial

It is the last first-round match in the Christmas series for university alumni. The Warwick team includes actor Tom Goodman-Hill and presenter of Radio 4’s The World Tonight Ritula Shah. Playing them is the Imperial team, with thrills engineer Brendan Walker and writer and broadcaster Kenan Malik.

Jeremy Paxman asks the questions.


TUE 19:30 The Joy of Painting (m000qcxv)
Winter Specials

Blue Winter

Travel with Bob Ross to the middle of winter, where shades of indigo create the stark reality of the season. You’d better bundle up for this one!


TUE 20:00 Yes, Prime Minister (b0074qvc)
Series 1

The Smoke Screen

The health minister wants to abolish smoking using prohibitive taxation, losing the Treasury £4bn revenue. Jim sees how he can use this to stop Treasury opposition to his plans for tax cuts.


TUE 20:30 Yes, Prime Minister (b0074rsm)
Series 1

The Key

Sir Humphrey has skilfully moved Dorothy Wainwright, the PM's political advisor, out of her office. She insists on moving back and tells Jim that he is letting Humphrey become too dominant.


TUE 21:00 Thatcher: A Very British Revolution (m00062r1)
Series 1

Downfall

In episode five of the series covers the period after the 1987 election when Mrs Thatcher secured a third term as prime minister.

She sets out to play a full part in international affairs, partnering with American Presidents Reagan and Bush to engage with the Soviet Union and play a pivotal role in the journey to the end of the Cold War.

Her international prominence augments her dominant role in British politics where her long period in office of nearly a decade is unprecedented in the 20th century. Within Downing Street, she has a loyal coterie of advisors who project her influence and protect her position but some feel she has become over dependent on loyalists and detached from opinion with the country and the party.

She continues to push hard for the introduction of a radical reform of local government finance, the community charge. The policy is known as the poll tax and is widely disliked. Despite warnings that the tax will negatively affect her constituency in the country, Mrs Thatcher refuses to compromise. Protests against the tax explode in violence in central London but more damagingly, there is widespread disenchantment in Tory strongholds across the country.

Fractures emerge with senior cabinet colleagues over European policy that will jeopardise her authority. Her preference for the counsel of a part time advisor over the views of her chancellor on how to position sterling against other European currencies leads to Nigel Lawson's resignation.

Her prototypical scepticism about Brussels' ambitions for the EU lead to a growing tension with long-term ally Geoffrey Howe. A bravado performance in the House of Commons where she denounces the EU tips Howe into resignation.

Howe’s departure provokes a leadership challenge from Michael Heseltine who had left the cabinet some years before in protest at Mrs Thatcher's leadership style. Mrs Thatcher is plunged into a leadership contest. In contrast to the contest that propelled her to the party leadership in the 70s, her campaign is poorly organised and she has been weakened by the resignation of senior colleagues and the reverberations of the poll tax.

To her shock she does not defeat Mr Heseltine in the first ballot and is forced into a second ballot. Over a dramatic few days, she consults senior colleagues about whether she can depend on their support in a second ballot. Cabinet members tell her they believe she could lose and that she has lost control of the political momentum. Faced with this, she decides to resign.

In a highly-dramatic cabinet meeting, she offers a tearful resignation and prepares to leave Downing Street. In the country, emotions run high as supporters lament and opponents celebrate her departure.

The episode features interviews with Charles Powell, senior advisor, Bernard Ingham, press secretary, Caroline Slocock, private secretary, senior political figures Michael Heseltine, Nigel Lawson, Norman Tebbit, Ken Clarke, Ken Baker, Chris Patten, Peter Lilley and Malcolm Rifkind, and journalist Simon Jenkins.


TUE 22:00 Great Speeches: Geoffrey Howe (m000qcxz)
The day the loyal servant bit back. Sir Geoffrey Howe savaged Margaret Thatcher's leadership and her policies in his resignation speech to the Commons on 13 November 1990. The impact was sensational and immediate. Nine days later, Mrs Thatcher was forced to resign. Sir Geoffrey revisits his words and the emotions they engendered.


TUE 22:15 Diary Days (m000qcy2)
22 November 1990 - Thatcher Resigns

22 November 1990 - the day Margaret Thatcher resigned as prime minister - as seen through the eyes of different diarists.


TUE 22:20 Favourite Things (m000qcy4)
Margaret Thatcher

During her time at Number 10, Margaret Thatcher welcomed Russell Harty into her home where she read him her favourite poem and showed him things she held particularly dear. She also disclosed her favourite recipes and explained why she strode on while strong men keeled over all around her.


TUE 22:50 Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema (m0001ky5)
Mark Kermode's Christmas Cinema Secrets

In a special seasonal edition of his acclaimed series, film critic Mark Kermode celebrates one of the most perennial of all genres: the Christmas movie. Mark unwraps a glittering selection of Christmas cinematic treats, from much-loved classics to hidden gems, Hollywood blockbusters to international films, and reveals the film-making techniques and storytelling secrets that make them so successful.

Mark demonstrates how, as with all great genres, a key to the success of the Christmas movie lies in its adaptability. Christmas cinema embraces a remarkable range of styles and themes, from fairy tale fantasy to high-octane action, family drama to horror. But a great Christmas movie does more than simply set its story in the festive season. It captures something magical – the Christmas spirit – and in this programme, Mark shows you how.


TUE 23:50 Timeshift (b008l3cn)
Series 7

Stuffed: The Great British Christmas Dinner

It's the season of peace and goodwill to all, when we think of those less fortunate than ourselves. It's also the time of year when we stuff our faces and gorge and drink ourselves silly. Christmas dinner is served. Being the last great feast in the British culinary tradition, what role does it play today?

With contributions from actor Simon Callow, cultural critic Jonathan Meades, food writers Paul Levy, Prue Leith and Diana Henry, and historians Kate Colquhoun and Kathryn Hughes, this fun documentary asks why the British remain so wedded to this meal? What does it say about us as a nation? Can it survive in a rapidly changing and culturally diverse Britain of different faiths, food fads and health concerns?

For many, Christmas dinner means the anxiety and pressure to get it right, the endless advice from every celebrity chef reinventing the wheel and the bizarre traditions that must be maintained at all costs. For others it's a time to savour good food, dine with family and friends and connect with ancient customs and rituals. Either way, we end up completely stuffed.


TUE 00:50 The Valhalla Murders (m000qcxw)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Saturday]


TUE 01:35 The Valhalla Murders (m000qcy0)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:45 on Saturday]


TUE 02:20 The Joy of Painting (m000qcxv)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]


TUE 02:50 Thatcher: A Very British Revolution (m00062r1)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]



WEDNESDAY 16 DECEMBER 2020

WED 19:00 University Challenge (m000cs00)
Christmas 2019

Semi-Final 1

Jeremy Paxman asks the questions in the first of the semi-finals in the Christmas quiz for grown-ups.


WED 19:30 The Joy of Painting (m000qcwp)
Winter Specials

Russet Winter

The first snowfall after autumn signals the true beginning of winter. Join Bob Ross as he discovers just such a glorious moment.


WED 20:00 Wartime Farm (b01pgr4b)
Christmas Special

Following the huge success of the Wartime Farm series - watched by over three million viewers a week during its eight week run - historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologist Peter Ginn are returning to Manor Farm in Hampshire to recreate the conditions of Christmas 1944.

1944 saw the sixth Christmas at war, and shortages were biting deeper than ever. Added to this, Britain's cities were in the grip of the worst German attacks since the Blitz of 1940. Unmanned flying bombs - the dreaded V1 'Doodlebugs' and V2 rockets - rained down, stretching morale and services to breaking point.

Having been set the target of doubling home-grown food production by the government, Britain's farmers had already ploughed up six and a half million additional acres in the drive for additional crops (an area equivalent in size to the whole of Wales). Now, in addition to maintaining food production, it fell to Britain's farmers to come to the aid of the nation's urban dispossessed in their hour of need. Many rural women joined the one million-strong Women's Voluntary Service to provide food, drink and gifts to lift the spirits - especially at Christmas. Ruth finds out how the WVS operated the government's National Pie Scheme.

Beer was seen as so essential to the nation's morale that it was never rationed - but a vital ingredient, barley, was in short supply, so substitutes were needed. Peter calls upon rural crafts expert, Colin Richards, to brew some improvised potato beer for Christmas. Meanwhile, Ruth comes up with innovative presents for children, and ingenious festive decorations made from scraps.

A Christmas church service is enjoyed by the community at Manor Farm, including German prisoners-of-war who, along with Italian POWs, accounted for one in five of the farming labour force in Britain by Christmas 1944, and had become surprisingly well-integrated into some rural communities. Following in the footsteps of many wartime rural farmers, Peter and Ruth transport their gifts, food and beer on a vintage wartime steam train to Chislehurst Caves - 10 miles outside London - where they discover what Christmas was like for some of the 15,000 people who sheltered in the caves.

Following recipes and guidelines issued by the government and the WVS, Ruth cooks an improvised Christmas meal, relying chiefly on rabbit and a glut of carrots from the farm. And the Salvation Army bring musical cheer to the occasion as the team reflect on the impact of what was to be the last Christmas of the Second World War.

Wartime Farm was produced in partnership with The Open University.


WED 21:00 Lucy Worsley's Christmas Carol Odyssey (m000c5y4)
In this festive treat featuring the Kingdom Choir and Hampton Court Choir, Lucy Worsley reveals that there’s much more to our best-loved carols than meets the eye. She reveals how their stories add up to a special kind of history of Christmas itself. In the ancient past, the wassail, a pagan fertility ritual, gave us door-to-door carol singing. Wassailing was also an integral part of an older midwinter festival that was adopted by Christianity when it came to Britain, and was rebranded as ‘Christmas’.

Religion, however, soon turned its back on carols. They were far too frivolous for the Puritans, who wanted to ban Christmas altogether. French Catholics on the other hand didn’t mind fun and frolics, and Lucy crosses the channel to learn a French renaissance jig, written by a dancing priest in the 16th century. The tune she dances to went on to become the carol Ding Dong Merrily on High in the 19th century.

In strict Protestant Britain, the carol survived outside the Church and new ones turned up in some surprising places. Lucy visits the British Library, where she discovers an 18th-century children’s book that contains a little memory game called The Twelve Days of Christmas. Christmas carols could also be politically dangerous and subversive. British Catholics were oppressed for generations after the Reformation, but one Catholic scribe, John Francis Wade, hid a coded message of support for a Jacobite rebellion in the carol O Come All Ye Faithful.

Eventually, the Church of England couldn’t resist the power of the carol, and finally opened its doors to all of them, thanks to a chance pairing of words and music in Hark the Herald Angels Sing, performed in the programme by the renowned gospel ensemble, The Kingdom Choir. In the 20th century, Ralph Vaughan Williams’s passion for English folk music took him to the villages of Surrey. Here, Lucy meets a folk singer who tells the tale of an elderly farm labourer, Henry Garman, who sang a tune for Vaughan Williams, which became O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Finally, in the snowy Austrian Alps, Lucy discovers the simple story of a young parish priest with a poem in search of a tune. When he found one, the result was Silent Night. During the First World War, this simple carol would become a hymn for peace during the famous Christmas truce of 1914. Silent Night also reminds us that carols are, and have always been, ‘popular music’, music for the people, fulfilling an enduring need to celebrate and sing together at Christmas.


WED 22:00 Top of the Pops (b086trr9)
Christmas Hits

The Top of the Pops Christmas Hits compilation is made up of hits down the years, mostly performed on those classic episodes of Christmas Top of the Pops in a seasonal studio. We include songs that reached the charts in December, from Ian Dury & the Blockheads to Madness, East 17 and Coldplay.

There are hits that made the enviable Christmas Number 1 spot from the likes of The Human League & Pet Shop Boys, songs that were pipped to the post and perennial Christmas classics from Slade, Mud and Frankie Goes to Hollywood to name but three. We also have a special rediscovered rare performance opening the programme from the psychedelic era Rolling Stones from 1967 and not broadcast for over 40 years. Christmas Top of the Pops adorns the studio in tinsel to give a perfect playlist for any festive party.


WED 23:30 The Sound of TV with Neil Brand (m000q5lf)
Series 1

Episode 2

Neil Brand looks at the impact of television music, this time not what was composed for the programmes themselves, but the music that surrounds them – jingles, idents and advertising, all of which play a huge part in our television memories.

Neil revisits the earliest days of BBC television, when the first-ever musical ident for Auntie was created in the 1950s, and when the spaces between programmes were filled with musical interludes such as the infamous potter’s wheel and, of course, the test card. Bob Stanley of cult band Saint Etienne explains the significance of this music to generations, surprisingly showing how long-forgotten test card tunes are sampled in huge-selling American hip-hop records.

With the advent of commercial television in the UK, ITV rivalled the BBC for airtime and lured viewers in with the new language of advertisements. But these had not yet reached the impact they had seen in the USA, the home of the TV jingle, where a 30-second tune could make or break a brand, as seen in the competing fortunes of Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Flying west to Las Vegas, Neil meets the most successful jingle singer of all time, Linda November, the unseen voice behind thousands of TV spots and countless hours of high-rating television. He sees how short musical phrases known as stings evolved to brand an increasing range of TV channels in the more competitive world of multi-platform television. And finally, Neil hits the studio with maverick brand composers Jingle Punks to record a jingle that sums up the very heart of the series - Neil Brand himself.


WED 00:30 MAKE! Craft Britain (b09xzsmc)
Series 1

Episode 3

Two new sets of students are introduced to the art of mosaic making and perennial favourite, knitting. Meanwhile, origami artist Sam Tsang is on hand to teach how to make a family of paper penguins.

To inspire our budding mosaic makers, their workshop takes place in a very special village hall in Ford Village, Northumberland. Lady Waterford Hall was once the village school and is decorated with exquisite biblical murals painted by Lady Louisa herself over 21 years after the death of her husband in 1860. She is now regarded as one of the most gifted painters of the pre-Raphaelite era.

Picking up Lady Waterford's mantle is Tamara Froud, renowned mosaicist whose works can be seen in public spaces all over the country, and she welcomes eight students to the beautiful space for her two-day workshop.

The students are here to make plaques for the outside walls of their homes. First, they have to master the tools of the trade, and protective glasses are in order as tiles fly and crockery shatters. But soon a more peaceful air descends as Alison recreates the horns of her new prize ram in terracotta tiles, Paul rebuilds Hadrian's Wall against the backdrop of the Northumbrian flag and Cheryl pays homage to a Lowry painting which features the front steps of her new home.

In London, an altogether different workshop is taking place as six students are charged with knitting their very own bobble hat in a single day. Three are complete novices, while three have some experience of knitting but have been put off along the way. Teachers Jen and Jenny are on hand to make it all look simple.

First to finish is Kirsty with her magnificent stripy pom-pom hat, but Luke the undertaker struggles and mid-afternoon his hat goes into 'special measures'. This makes his pride on finishing all the more heartfelt, along with the two other men in the group, neither of whom had ever picked up a pair of knitting needles in their lives.


WED 01:30 The Joy of Painting (m000qcwp)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]


WED 02:00 The Art Mysteries with Waldemar Januszczak (m000gp0h)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 on Monday]


WED 02:30 Wartime Farm (b01pgr4b)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]



THURSDAY 17 DECEMBER 2020

THU 19:00 University Challenge (m000cs0m)
Christmas 2019

Semi-Final 2

It is the second of the semi-finals in the University Challenge Christmas quiz for grown-ups.

Jeremy Paxman asks the questions.


THU 19:30 The Joy of Painting (m000qcyt)
Winter Specials

Hidden Winter Moon Oval

The effective use of striking blue tones allows Bob Ross to produce a winter night scene, complete with sweet cabin, inside an oval!


THU 20:00 Far from the Madding Crowd (b06pptv8)
Beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene catches the eye of local farmer Gabriel Oak when she arrives to live with her aunt in the Dorset village of Norcombe. She declines his offer of marriage, but their lives continue to intertwine as fate brings contrasting fortunes to both of them.

Adapted by David Nicholls from the novel by Thomas Hardy.


THU 22:00 Dusty Springfield at the BBC (b01qyvw7)
A selection of Dusty Springfield's performances at the BBC from 1961 to 1995. Dusty was one of Britain's great pop divas, guaranteed to give us a big melody in songs soaring with drama and yearning.

The clips show Dusty's versatility as an artist and performer and include songs from her folk beginnings with The Springfields; the melodrama of You Don't Have to Say You Love Me; Dusty's homage to Motown with Heatwave and Nowhere to Run; the Jacques Brel song If You Go Away; the Bacharach and David tune The Look of Love; and Dusty's collaboration with Pet Shop Boys in the late 1980s.

There are also some great duets from Dusty's career with Tom Jones and Mel Torme.


THU 23:00 Dusty (b01r1zmr)
Vintage episode of Dusty Springfield's 1960s TV series, featuring special guest Scott Walker. Among the highlights, Dusty sings You Don't Have to Say You Love Me.


THU 23:25 Tamara Drewe (b01399lz)
Tamara Drewe returns to the sleepy Dorset village where she grew up to sell her mother's house. Once the big-nosed girl next door, she has had a nose job and is a successful journalist in London. Her old flame Andy is still working for philandering novelist Nicholas Hardiment and his long-suffering wife and, when Tamara begins a relationship with rock drummer Ben Sergeant, there begins a three-way contest for her affections, made more complicated by the dreams of 15-year-old Jody, who wants to grow up and get away from the village just like Tamara.


THU 01:10 The Joy of Painting (m000qcyt)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]


THU 01:40 The Last Igloo (m000cr9s)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Sunday]



FRIDAY 18 DECEMBER 2020

FRI 19:00 University Challenge (m000cs1m)
Christmas 2019

Final

It is the grand final of this seasonal competition for alumni from some of the UK's top universities - which university will be Christmas University Challenge champions?

Jeremy Paxman asks the questions.


FRI 19:30 Cigar Box Blues - The Makers of a Revolution (m000c7pf)
We meet the passionate makers and players of cigar box guitars. Many of these craftsmen and musicians are from post-industrial British towns, and have created a self-identity through making these unique three-stringed guitars. Born from the blues, their simple, low-cost, ‘no-rules’ approach means anyone can try their hand.

These are the fervent advocates of the ‘cigar box guitar revolution’ who express their love of designing and constructing hand-made instruments, recycled from almost anything. The democratic, pro-recycling, local-production ethos of the movement inspires new recruits, while the emotional connection they feel for their instruments creates a unique and evocative sound that totally transports musicians and audiences alike.

Although the cigar box guitar has a long history in the USA, where it formed part of the culture of traditional blues music, it has only recently become popular with musicians in the UK. This film reveals how just three chords, played on their unique, DIY instruments, handmade from recycled materials, connect them to their truth.


FRI 20:00 Top of the Pops (m000qcx2)
Anthea Turner presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 24 May 1990 and featuring Beats International, En Vogue and The B-52s.


FRI 20:30 Top of the Pops (m000qcx4)
Simon Mayo presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 31 May 1990 and featuring Black Box, Sam Brown and Adamski.


FRI 21:00 The Sound of TV with Neil Brand (m000qcx6)
Series 1

Episode 3

In television’s early years, specially composed music, otherwise known as the score, which had driven big-budget movies for decades, rarely featured. In this final episode of the series, we see how the importance of a TV score grew, from its origins in the 1960s and 1970s, to reach a peak in the big-budget world of Netflix and HBO.

Neil Brand reveals that his first exposure to the impact of a score on television was in the documentaries of Jacques Cousteau, bringing adventure and drama to the natural world. He demonstrates how music has driven the success of BBC natural history programmes, talking with George Fenton, the film composer behind such landmarks as Blue Planet. Fenton was also pivotal in the development of music in TV drama, with his score for Jewel in the Crown. We learn how these breakthrough drama series competed with cinema in their scale and ambition.

We also meet some maverick creators of the TV score, including Roxy Music’s Andy MacKay, who wrote the songs that powered radical 70s drama Rock Follies, and David Chase, music buff and creator of The Sopranos. Neil gets to write his own score with Signature Tracks - the team behind some of the biggest successes of US reality TV such as Real Housewives and the Kardashian series.

Finally, we see how the television score has now been forced to compete with the movies in huge blockbuster series such as Stranger Things and Game of Thrones.


FRI 22:00 The Story of Fairytale of New York (b0074f8x)
For the first time in 18 years, all eight members of The Pogues return to the studio where their biggest hit - and the nation's favourite Christmas song - was recorded. The song's producer Steve Lillywhite strips Fairytale down to the basics, and director Peter Dougherty reveals the tricks behind the making of the video - including how a cameo from Hollywood star Matt Dillon stopped The Pogues from almost being arrested. With contributions from Matt Dillon, Nick Cave, Jools Holland and of course Shane MacGowan and The Pogues, it lifts the lid on this seminal track and reveals the secrets behind its making.


FRI 23:00 Country Christmas (m000qcx8)
2020

American country musician Thomas Rhett and his wife Lauren Akins present CMA Country Christmas 2020.

Packed full of performances from some of the biggest names in country music, expect festive classics and country favourites from Dan + Shay, Darius Rucker and Lindsey Stirling, Florida Georgia Line, Gabby Barrett, Kelsea Ballerini, Lady A, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw and host Thomas Rhett.


FRI 23:40 Carole King and Friends at Christmas (b018p1hq)
Recapture the mellow vibe of your favourite easy listening shows from the 60s and 70s with this festive feast of classics old and new. All-time great Carole King plays songs from her recent seasonal album, including Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and Sheffield crooner Richard Hawley mixes self-penned songs with his own take on Silent Night.

An imaginative bill is completed by the perky vocal harmonies of the Puppini Sisters doing Let It Snow, the dreamy widescreen sound of Brighton outfit the Mummers performing White Christmas and the velvet tones of latter day Nat King Cole, Brooklyn-based jazz vocalist Gregory Porter, crooning the Christmas Song.

Choose between your best cardigan or Rat Pack tuxedo, pour yourself an eggnog, get the chestnuts roasting, put your feet up and join the party!


FRI 00:40 Top of the Pops (m000cf28)
1988 Christmas Special

Gary Davies, Bruno Brookes and Anthea Turner present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 25 December 1988 and featuring Pet Shop Boys, Cliff Richard and Enya.


FRI 01:40 The Story of Fairytale of New York (b0074f8x)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]


FRI 02:40 Cigar Box Blues - The Makers of a Revolution (m000c7pf)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]




LIST OF THIS WEEK'S PROGRAMMES
(Note: the times link back to the details; the pids link to the BBC page, including iPlayer)

Alan Bennett's Diaries 22:40 MON (b086kc2c)

All Aboard! The Great Reindeer Migration 19:00 SAT (m0001rz0)

All Aboard! The Great Reindeer Migration 01:35 SAT (m0001rz0)

Billy Connolly: A Scot in the Arctic 20:10 SUN (p032kjf7)

Carole King and Friends at Christmas 23:40 FRI (b018p1hq)

Cigar Box Blues - The Makers of a Revolution 19:30 FRI (m000c7pf)

Cigar Box Blues - The Makers of a Revolution 02:40 FRI (m000c7pf)

Civilisations on Your Doorstep 23:40 MON (b0b1v41g)

Country Christmas 23:00 FRI (m000qcx8)

Diary Days 22:15 TUE (m000qcy2)

Dusty Springfield at the BBC 22:00 THU (b01qyvw7)

Dusty 23:00 THU (b01r1zmr)

Far from the Madding Crowd 20:00 THU (b06pptv8)

Favourite Things 22:20 TUE (m000qcy4)

Great Speeches: Geoffrey Howe 22:00 TUE (m000qcxz)

Holst: The Planets with Professor Brian Cox 00:30 SUN (m0005prm)

Horizon 23:30 SUN (b0bfdjgp)

Lucy Worsley's Christmas Carol Odyssey 21:00 WED (m000c5y4)

MAKE! Craft Britain 00:30 WED (b09xzsmc)

Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema 22:50 TUE (m0001ky5)

My Week with Marilyn 02:00 SUN (b01nx8kb)

Natural World 19:10 SUN (b05sz8q8)

Nature's Weirdest Events 19:00 SUN (b05rjvfn)

Sir Cliff Richard at the BBC 23:30 SAT (m000ng7h)

Storyville 00:40 MON (b0b9zrhb)

Tamara Drewe 23:25 THU (b01399lz)

Thatcher: A Very British Revolution 21:00 TUE (m00062r1)

Thatcher: A Very British Revolution 02:50 TUE (m00062r1)

The 80s with Dominic Sandbrook 02:35 MON (b07pr1b5)

The Art Mysteries with Waldemar Januszczak 20:30 MON (m000gp0h)

The Art Mysteries with Waldemar Januszczak 02:00 WED (m000gp0h)

The Joy of Painting 19:30 MON (m000qcwy)

The Joy of Painting 02:05 MON (m000qcwy)

The Joy of Painting 19:30 TUE (m000qcxv)

The Joy of Painting 02:20 TUE (m000qcxv)

The Joy of Painting 19:30 WED (m000qcwp)

The Joy of Painting 01:30 WED (m000qcwp)

The Joy of Painting 19:30 THU (m000qcyt)

The Joy of Painting 01:10 THU (m000qcyt)

The Lady in the Van 21:00 MON (b06wcqyr)

The Last Igloo 21:00 SUN (m000cr9s)

The Last Igloo 01:40 THU (m000cr9s)

The Shadows at Sixty 22:30 SAT (m000hqn0)

The Sky at Night 22:30 SUN (m000qcwm)

The Sound of TV with Neil Brand 23:30 WED (m000q5lf)

The Sound of TV with Neil Brand 21:00 FRI (m000qcx6)

The Story of Fairytale of New York 22:00 FRI (b0074f8x)

The Story of Fairytale of New York 01:40 FRI (b0074f8x)

The Valhalla Murders 21:00 SAT (m000qcxw)

The Valhalla Murders 21:45 SAT (m000qcy0)

The Valhalla Murders 00:50 TUE (m000qcxw)

The Valhalla Murders 01:35 TUE (m000qcy0)

Timeshift 23:50 TUE (b008l3cn)

Top of the Pops 00:35 SAT (m000q5l5)

Top of the Pops 01:05 SAT (m000q5l9)

Top of the Pops 22:00 WED (b086trr9)

Top of the Pops 20:00 FRI (m000qcx2)

Top of the Pops 20:30 FRI (m000qcx4)

Top of the Pops 00:40 FRI (m000cf28)

University Challenge 20:00 MON (m000crz4)

University Challenge 19:00 TUE (m000cs12)

University Challenge 19:00 WED (m000cs00)

University Challenge 19:00 THU (m000cs0m)

University Challenge 19:00 FRI (m000cs1m)

Villages by the Sea 19:00 MON (m000c799)

Wartime Farm 20:00 WED (b01pgr4b)

Wartime Farm 02:30 WED (b01pgr4b)

Yes, Prime Minister 20:00 TUE (b0074qvc)

Yes, Prime Minister 20:30 TUE (b0074rsm)