Between the 1920s and the 1960s the world's great powers sent vast military-style expeditions to conquer the peaks of the Himalayas, with Everest at their head. This was a great game played - camera in hand - by Imperial Britain, Nazi Germany and superpower America. As a result, Himalayan mountaineering's most iconic, epic and tragic moments didn't just go down in history, but were caught on film - from the deaths of Mallory and Irvine on Everest in 1924, to Everest's final conquest in 1953 by Hillary and Tensing. Using footage never before seen on British television, this is the story how of how film-makers turned the great peaks into great propaganda.
In Bhutan, Palin finds himself back in the land of yaks for a last look at the high Himalaya. Trekking to Chomolhari base camp he meets a nomad with a penchant for yak songs before heading down to Paro to witness the Buddhist festival or Tsechu. In a bar in Thimphu, he discusses reincarnation and the pursuit of happiness with Benji and Khendum, two of the king's cousins, and en route to Bangladesh is taken by Benji to see the rare black-neck cranes.
On his journey south through Bangladesh, Michael visits the ship-breaking beaches of Chittagong and grid-locked Dhaka. He meets a man who made a fortune in Birmingham in the poultry business, and a woman who lends money only to women. On a 1920s paddle steamer he is serenaded with the words of Bengal's Shakespeare, and he completes his epic Himalayan journey aboard a fishing boat that carries him out into the Bay of Bengal and a westering sun.
Finnish thriller series. Seppo travels to Greece, where Risto questions Niina about how well she knows Leo. In Finnish with English subtitles.
Olivia is frantic with worry when neither Anna nor Tytti return home from Sonia's party. In Greece, Kalle sneaks out of the hotel room to go climbing with Leo.
Neil Oliver heads out from the Scandinavian homelands to Russia, Turkey and Ireland to trace the beginnings of a vast trading empire that handled Chinese silks as adeptly as Pictish slaves. Neil discovers a world of 'starry-eyed maidens' and Buddhist statues that are a world away from our British experience of axe-wielding warriors, although it turns out that there were quite a few of those as well.
Nicky Campbell presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 20 September 1990 and featuring The Farm, The Charlatans and Snap!
Anthea Turner presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 27 September 1990 and featuring The Wedding Present, Maria McKee and Bass-O-Matic.
Compilation celebrating some guitar band performances at the BBC that feature some of the best female musicians in rock. Beginning with the oft-forgotten American group Fanny performing You're the One, it's a journey along rock's spectrum from the 1970s to now.
The selection includes the powerful vocals of Elkie Brooks on Vinegar Joe's Proud to Be a Honky Woman, the mesmerising poetry of Patti Smith's Horses and the upbeat energy of The Go-Go's on We Got the Beat.
Mighty basslines come courtesy of Tina Weymouth on Psycho Killer and Kim Gordon on Sugar Kane, whilst we trace the line of indie rock from the Au Pairs through Lush, Elastica and Garbage to current band Savages.
SUNDAY 07 MARCH 2021
SUN 19:00 The Many Faces of... (b018nvwc)
Les Dawson was one of Britain's all time great comedy talents, best known as a comedian but also a talented musician, writer and actor. This programme traces his career, with familiar favourite TV clips and some rare gems from the archives. Together with interviews from friends, relatives and colleagues, the programme unpicks the secrets of his enduring legacy nearly 20 years after his untimely death.
After 'discovery' on the Opportunity Knocks talent show in the 60s, he quickly became a regular face on TV, hosting comedy-led variety shows like Sez Les and The Les Dawson Show. His trademarks were short, pithy jokes, usually targeting his wife or mother in law, long verbose monologues and, perhaps most famously, piano recitals that went hilariously off key.
His reputation attracted guest appearances from some unexpected fans like John Cleese and Shirley Bassey, and he created an overweight dance troupe, The Roly Polys.
The programme shows how his career unfolded and illustrates the different facets of his comedy genius. John Cleese remembers their unlikely friendship, modern comedy stars Robert Webb and Russell Kane talk about his inspiration and Dawson's widow Tracy recalls their marriage and his joy at being a father late in life.
SUN 20:00 Dan Snow on Lloyd George: My Great-Great-Grandfather (b084l1s9)
At the end of the First World War, Britain's prime minister David Lloyd George was a national hero, hailed as 'the man who won the war'. A hundred years after he became PM, Lloyd George's great-great-grandson Dan Snow explores his famous forebear's life and asks why he's not better remembered, why he's not as famous a wartime leader as his friend and protege Winston Churchill. It's a tale of sex and scandal, success and failure, with Dan discovering some home truths from his family's history.
Dan's journey starts in north Wales in the village of Llanystumdwy, where Lloyd George was raised by his uncle after his father's death. It's an area Dan knows well from childhood holidays visiting his grandmother. He climbs Moel y Gest, a rocky outcrop overlooking the sea, a view virtually unchanged since Lloyd George's day. Taking the Ffestiniog railway up into the mountains Dan travels in Lloyd George's own railway carriage, reputedly a place when he would enjoy some private time with his secretary.
Like Lloyd George, Dan journeys from Wales to Parliament, filming in the House of Commons where his ancestor made such an impact. Initially Lloyd George was a radical Liberal, causing outrage by opposing the Boer War in 1899, but ten years later he was chancellor of the exchequer, introducing some of the most important legislation of the early 20th century. His budget of 1909 brought in national insurance and old age pensions and, as his biographer Roy Hattersley tells Dan, laid the foundations of the welfare state.
When Britain went to war in August 1914, Lloyd George was a pivotal member of the cabinet. Historian Margaret Macmillan, an expert on the First World War and another descendant of Lloyd George, points out that if he'd come out against the war the Liberal government would have fallen. Once war was declared Lloyd George was important in recruiting the new citizen's army, making speeches across the country. But in private he was making sure his sons didn't volunteer straightaway, another example of Lloyd George's double dealing.
Lloyd George's private life is as famous as his politics. Before the war he had a string of affairs, but by 1914 he was involved with his secretary Frances Stevenson. Half his age, she was a pioneering female civil servant and a constant companion during the First World War. Meeting her biographer John Campbell, Dan discovers some shocking secrets about their relationship during the war years.
Lloyd George's most significant work in the early years of the war was in munitions production. Britain, like all the other warring countries, was running out of shells. He revolutionised the war economy, creating a huge workforce, including many women, to produce the vast numbers of guns and ammunition needed to wage total war. Dan visits an engineering works in north Wales which in 1917 was turned over to armaments production.
But Lloyd George's dynamism wasn't reflected in the rest of the government, especially the prime minister Herbert Asquith. At the end of 1916 after the failure of the Somme, matters came to a head and Asquith was forced to resign to be replaced by Lloyd George. He was the first man from such humble origins to become prime minister.
In spring 1918, the Germans broke through and almost reached Paris, but the Allies fought back. This is when Lloyd George's war machine came into the effect - the huge amount of munitions he helped create, along with the newly arrived American troops, forced the German army into retreat, finally signing the Armistice on 11 November 1918.
In 1918, Lloyd George was wildly popular and re-elected by a landslide, but his postwar career was less successful. Dan visits the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles where Lloyd George signed the famous treaty, but many think that this fuelled German resentment and led to the Second World War 20 years later. At home, the 'land fit for heroes' which Lloyd George had promised didn't materialise and there was a postwar slump. When it was revealed that he'd sold honours to fund his Liberal Party his days were numbered, and he was finally ousted by his Conservative coalition partners in 1922.
Until his death in 1945 Lloyd George was a figure in the wilderness, never returned to power and further damaging his reputation with an ill-advised visit to Hitler in 1936. He was, as Dan concludes, a flawed hero, but one from whom he's proud to be descended.
SUN 21:00 A History of Ancient Britain (b01971gm)
Orkney's Stone Age Temple
Neil Oliver investigates the discovery of a 5,000-year-old temple in Orkney. Built 500 years before Stonehenge, the temple has triggered new thoughts about the beliefs of Neolithic people, turning the map of ancient Britain upside down.
The vast site lies undisturbed until now, set within one of the most important ancient landscapes in the world. There have been some incredible finds, including the first ever discovery of Neolithic painted wall decorations, and even the pigments and paint pots used by Stone Age artists.
Special effects have been used to bring this archaeological evidence to life, creating a 3D model of the entire temple, allowing Neil to walk inside in a bid to understand just how it might have been used.
SUN 22:00 The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil (m000t12g)
Jang, a non-conformist and cocky cop, realises there is a serial killer at large, randomly selecting his victims in the city. When one of those victims is Jung, a noted crime boss who manages to escape with his life, an unlikely coalition is formed to bring the perpetrator to justice, by fair means or foul.
In Korean with English subtitles.
SUN 23:45 The Genius of Marie Curie - The Woman Who Lit up the World (b01s954d)
Over 80 years after her death, Marie Curie remains by far the best-known female scientist. In her lifetime, she became that rare thing - a celebrity scientist, attracting the attention of the news cameras and tabloid gossip. They were fascinated because she was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize and is still the only person to have won two Nobels in two different sciences. But while the bare bones of her scientific life, the obstacles she had to overcome, the years of painstaking research and the penalty she ultimately paid for her discovery of radium have become one of the iconic stories of scientific heroism, there is another side to Marie Curie - her human story.
This multi-layered film reveals the real Marie Curie, an extraordinary woman who fell in love three times, had to survive the pain of loss, and the public humiliation of a doomed love affair. It is a riveting portrait of a tenacious mother and scientist, who opened the door on a whole new realm of physics, which she discovered and named - radioactivity.
SUN 00:45 Black Nurses: The Women Who Saved the NHS (b083dgtb)
Documentary which tells the story of the thousands of Caribbean and African women who answered the call 70 years ago to come to the UK to save the then ailing health service. It's a tale of a struggle to overcome racism, their fight for career progression and their battle for national recognition.
SUN 01:45 The Many Faces of... (b018nvwc)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
SUN 02:45 Dan Snow on Lloyd George: My Great-Great-Grandfather (b084l1s9)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
MONDAY 08 MARCH 2021
MON 19:00 Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone (b00792rn)
Riches beneath the Earth
Series examining the many sides of Fred Dibnah - engineer, steeplejack, artist, craftsman, steam enthusiast and inventor - and celebrating his contribution to our knowledge and appreciation of Britain's architectural, industrial and engineering heritage. Fred's fascination with mining led him not just to dig his own coal mine in his back garden but was also used to make viewers aware of the skills of miners and engineers, and the dangers and hardships faced by miners throughout history.
MON 19:30 The Joy of Painting (m000kqsn)
A cabin finds a peaceful resting place in a warm setting of lush, lakeside greenery in this wonderful oval-shaped painting by Bob Ross.
MON 20:00 Fake or Fortune? (b094d3h1)
The team embark on a long-distance investigation to Australia as they try to prove that an online purchase from an English auction site is a lost work by Tom Roberts, considered one of Australia's greatest artists.
When Australian couple Joe and Rosanna Natoli came across a painting bearing the signature Tom Roberts on the website of an English auction site, they couldn't quite believe it. Roberts is considered one of Australia's most important artists - a pioneer of Australian Impressionism whose works hangs in major galleries. Even minor pictures sell for hundreds of thousands of pounds and the painting, a dramatic image of an anguished artist titled Rejected, had all the hallmarks of a lost early work. After a fierce bidding war, Joe bought the painting, shipped it back to Brisbane and presented it to a leading expert on the artist's work - only to be told that it was not genuine.
This was just the beginning of Joe and Rosanna's troubles. Three years after they bought the painting, Joe's business went bankrupt and the family lost their home. Joe still firmly believes that his original hunch was right, and he has asked Fake or Fortune for help. As an early work by Tom Roberts, the picture could be worth over £200,000. If the team can prove that Joe was right all along, it might give the family a chance to secure a home of their own.
The team believes some of the answers to the mystery lie in Tom Roberts's time in England, where he trained at the Royal Academy in the 1880s. The quest for further proof takes them to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, where they encounter several alarming fakes. Can the team find enough evidence to earn the painting a second hearing?
MON 21:00 The Story of Welsh Art (p097c1qm)
Scrambling up the side of one of Wales's highest and most rugged mountains, Huw Stephens retraces the steps of Richard Wilson, an 18th-century artist who changed the course of art history. Bringing harmony and beauty to a terrain previously dismissed as 'God’s rubbish tip', he transformed the way Wales was seen by the world. As Huw discovers, he was not the last to do so – JMW Turner first visited Wales aged 17 and would return many times, painting untamed landscapes filled with romance and emotion.
As the 19th century progressed, a very different Wales became the focus of art. In Merthyr Tydfil, once the iron capital of the world, Huw discovers the work of Penry Williams, a local artist who was commissioned to paint the vast Cyfarthfa Ironworks in all their cathedral-like grandeur and glory. As art and industry collided, the people who did the back-breaking work were depicted for the first time.
MON 22:00 Women in Film: BBC Introducing Arts (m000t0xs)
Cultural historian Janina Ramirez presents a collection of intriguing and exciting short films by emerging women directors and artists. Each film gives a female perspective on modern-day topics from body image and new love to grief and belonging. Expect honest and refreshing storytelling that will make you laugh, make you cry and make you think.
MON 23:00 Life Cinematic (m000st4p)
British Ghanaian director Amma Asante talks to Edith Bowman about the films that have helped shape her life and career. Her selection ranges from epic classics like Goodfellas and The Color Purple to intimate, emotional greats like Damage and Hidden.
Amma also discusses her international breakthrough film Belle and the process she adopts when choosing and making the film projects she is renowned for.
MON 00:00 Arena (m000775t)
Cindy Sherman #untitled
Cindy Sherman is one of the world’s leading contemporary artists. She is also notoriously elusive. So, it is a coup for Arena to get this in-depth and revealing audio interview with her. An exuberant weave of art and archive gives us a rare insight into one of the most influential artists alive today.
MON 01:00 The Joy of Painting (m000kqsn)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
MON 01:30 Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone (b00792rn)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
MON 02:00 Fake or Fortune? (b094d3h1)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
MON 03:00 The Story of Welsh Art (p097c1qm)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
TUESDAY 09 MARCH 2021
TUE 19:00 Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone (b00792vh)
Changing the Landscape
As Fred was growing up in Bolton, his house was surrounded by canals, railway lines, bridges and tunnels and he was always fascinated by the skills of the men who built them. The passion and enthusiasm he showed for great engineering projects throughout the ages, has helped to appreciate more fully the way in which so much of our landscape has been influenced by human activity.
TUE 19:30 The Joy of Painting (m000kqsv)
A path in the wilderness leads to the side of a still lake in a setting that American painter Bob Ross accents with an abundance of trees.
TUE 20:00 Yes, Minister (b00783yw)
The Economy Drive
Sitcom about a British government minister and the advisers who surround him. Jim Hacker wants to implement some cost-cutting initiatives - but Sir Humphrey does not approve.
TUE 20:30 The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (p00x9qth)
While Elizabeth is away, Reggie asks Joan, his secretary, to come over for a business meeting but he actually intends to start an affair with her. A stream of visitors causes his plan to go awry.
TUE 21:00 Horizon (b09574pc)
Mars - A Traveller's Guide
The dream of sending humans to Mars is closer than ever before. In fact, many scientists think that the first person to set foot on the Red Planet is alive today. But where should the first explorers visit when they get there? Horizon has gathered the world's leading experts on Mars and asked them where they would go if they got the chance - and what would they need to survive?
Using incredible real images and data, Horizon brings these Martian landmarks to life - from vast plains to towering volcanoes, from deep valleys to hidden underground caverns. This film also shows where to land, where to live and even where to hunt for traces of extraterrestrial life.
This is the ultimate traveller's guide to Mars.
TUE 22:00 Horizon (b01llnb2)
Mission to Mars
Horizon goes behind the scenes at Nasa as they count down to the landing of a 2.5 billion-dollar rover on the surface of Mars. The nuclear-powered vehicle, the size of a car, will be winched down onto the surface of the red planet from a rocket-powered crane. That's if things go according to plan; Mars has become known as the Bermuda Triangle of space because so many missions there have ended in failure. The Curiosity mission is the most audacious, and expensive, attempt to answer the question of whether there is life on Mars.
TUE 23:00 Britain and the Sea (b03m3x1j)
Pleasure and Escape
Having examined the sea as a source of exploration, defence and trade, David Dimbleby explores how it emerged as a source of pleasure, Punch and Judy and sand sculpture.
Starting at Gorleston-on-Sea, David explores the creation of a seaside holiday culture that remains uniquely British to this day.
Sailing down the Suffolk and Essex coasts and into the Thames, David also shows how the sea became an irresistible subject for our most celebrated artists and architects, before finally docking in the very heart of British maritime power - Greenwich.
TUE 00:00 Man in Room 301 (p094c2bc)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Saturday
TUE 00:50 Man in Room 301 (p094c2bw)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:50 on Saturday
TUE 01:40 The Joy of Painting (m000kqsv)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
TUE 02:05 Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone (b00792vh)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
TUE 02:35 Horizon (b09574pc)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
WEDNESDAY 10 MARCH 2021
WED 19:00 Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone (b00792y7)
Great British Builders
Fred, who served his apprenticeship as a joiner, shows a great appreciation for the skills of the men who built Britain's great castles, palaces and country houses, and offers real insights into the building techniques of the past. In this episode, we see Fred giving a number of demonstrations, including the hilarious falling down arch.
WED 19:30 The Joy of Painting (m000kxm1)
American painter Bob Ross’s exciting use of blue, yellow and orange hues bring a vibrant touch to a dream cabin in a woodside setting beside a clear blue lake.
WED 20:00 Armada: 12 Days to Save England (b05xj5t4)
The Battle for England
In the second part of a major three-part drama-documentary series, Anita Dobson stars as Elizabeth I, and Dan Snow takes to the sea to tell the story of how England came within a whisker of disaster in summer 1588. Using newly discovered documents, Dan relives the fierce battles at sea and we go behind the scenes in the royal court of Elizabeth as the Spanish fleet prepares for full-on invasion.
WED 21:00 Elizabeth R (p036g8c5)
Elizabeth finds her position increasingly threatened by Mary, Queen of Scots and her loyal supporters. Will Elizabeth have to execute Mary in order to remain queen?
WED 22:30 Elizabeth I's Secret Agents (b09c6q44)
In this episode, we find England alone - a Protestant nation in a largely Catholic Europe. Then, 12 years into Elizabeth's reign, the pope declares her a heretic, which in the hearts of England's Catholics gives them permission to kill her. Queen Elizabeth looks to her spymaster William Cecil to stop the Catholic assassins getting through. Cecil establishes a huge espionage network - England's first secret service. His spies break Catholic conspiracies at home and abroad.
Cecil's network is put on high alert by intelligence from a source in Catholic Europe. As a result he catches a courier carrying coded letters that lead Cecil to unravel a plot to assassinate Elizabeth and install her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots on the English throne. Now Cecil will not rest until Mary, the figurehead for every Catholic threat and repository of Catholic hopes, is eliminated. In order to protect a queen, Cecil must kill one.
Cecil now creates an elaborate Elizabethan sting. He incubates a Catholic plot to assassinate the queen and lures Mary into it. But will Mary fall for the bait and seal her fate. Mary does walk right into Cecil's trap, but even then the spymaster's aim is thwarted by a queen who refuses to execute her own cousin. Cecil knows Mary must die if Elizabeth is to live, but now that means he must defy his own queen and risk the end of his career - and perhaps his life.
WED 23:30 The Story of Welsh Art (p097c1qm)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Monday
WED 00:30 Women in Film: BBC Introducing Arts (m000t0xs)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Monday
WED 01:30 The Joy of Painting (m000kxm1)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
WED 02:00 Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone (b00792y7)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
WED 02:30 Armada: 12 Days to Save England (b05xj5t4)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
THURSDAY 11 MARCH 2021
THU 19:00 Coast (b01838w1)
Series 5 Reversions
Harlech to Criccieth
The imposing castle at Harlech is one of the best preserved in Britain, but Mark Horton discovers how it would have looked radically different and even more terrifying when it was built to subdue the Welsh in the 13th century.
Across the bay, Neil Oliver is at the Welsh's rival castle at Criccieth.
THU 19:10 Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone (b007931m)
Masters of Their Trade
Series which looks at the many sides of Fred Dibnah - engineer, steeplejack, artist, craftsman, steam enthusiast and inventor - and celebrates his contribution to our knowledge of Britain's architectural, industrial and engineering heritage. This edition focuses on his appreciation for the skills of craftsmen and women of the past.
THU 19:40 The Joy of Painting (m000kxkx)
Bubbling Mountain Brook
A playful brook becomes the perfect complement for a range of rugged mountains in another magical Bob Ross setting on canvas.
THU 20:10 All Creatures Great and Small (p031d2n5)
Nothing like Experience
James makes a date with Helen, without Tristan's help. The practice loses a customer, with Tristan's help. Siegfried stops smoking, which doesn't help anyone.
THU 21:00 Screen One (p032kj1k)
A portrayal of the last years in the life of the comedian Tony Hancock. His refusal to accept the limitations of his own genius destroys his two marriages and, eventually, himself.
THU 22:55 Mark Lawson Talks To... (b009hp1c)
Galton and Simpson
Galton and Simpson talk about their famous creations Hancock's Half Hour and Steptoe and Son, how they met each other in hospital, and why they stopped working together.
THU 23:55 Around the World in 80 Treasures (b0078vxj)
India to Sri Lanka
Documentary series in which Dan Cruickshank travels the world in search of man's greatest creations. In Calcutta, he tangles with a ten-armed naked goddess and is moved to passion in the Cave of Heavenly Maidens. Dan's on a journey of personal enlightenment and finds the key to the cosmos in the city of Jaipur, worships at the Temple of the Tooth, is blessed by an elephant and ends up in the world's greatest shrine to love, the Taj Mahal.
THU 00:55 The Joy of Painting (m000kxkx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:40 today
THU 01:25 Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone (b007931m)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:10 today
THU 01:55 Horizon (b01llnb2)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Tuesday
THU 02:55 A History of Ancient Britain (b01971gm)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Sunday
FRIDAY 12 MARCH 2021
FRI 19:00 Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone (b009nhfq)
LIST OF THIS WEEK'S PROGRAMMES
A Good Day's Work
Documentary series about the Bolton steeplejack Fred Dibnah and his love for Britain's industrial heritage. In this last programme in the series, Fred pays tribute to the hard-grafting workers without whom nothing would have been possible. To illustrate his point, Fred visits Warwick Castle, Workington Steel Works, Kilhope Lead Mining Museum, Ely Cathedral and Culzean Castle.
FRI 19:30 Sounds of the Sixties (b0074qcm)
Hip to the Trip
Ten-part series featuring rock, pop and R&B performances from the BBC archives.
This edition features psychedelia and counter-culture, with performances by The Who, Pink Floyd, Joe Cocker and the Greaseband, The Nice and The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
FRI 20:00 Top of the Pops (m000t132)
Simon Mayo presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 4 October 1990 and featuring Pet Shop Boys, Maria McKee and Technotronic.
FRI 20:30 Top of the Pops (m000t134)
Bruno Brookes presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 11 October 1990 and featuring The Chimes, The Sisters of Mercy and Neneh Cherry.
FRI 21:00 Meat Loaf: In and out of Hell (b04xdrrb)
Since the release of the Bat Out of Hell album, Meat Loaf has possessed the kind of international status that few artists obtain. His larger-than-life persona and performances are fuelled by a passion for theatre and storytelling. This candid profile reveals the man and his music through his own testimony and from the accounts of those closest to him.
Meat Loaf's life story is one of epic proportions - he survived a childhood of domestic violence only to face years of record company rejection before eventually finding global fame. Along the way he experienced bankruptcy, health scares, bust-ups and one of the greatest comebacks of all time. All this and more is explored in the film, which features behind-the-scenes footage of his Las Vegas residency, plus plans for a new album featuring songs by Jim Steinman.
The film also revisits the Dallas of Meat Loaf's early years and includes insights from his high school friends, who reveal how Meat really got his famous moniker.
After his mother died, Meat Loaf fled Texas for the bright lights of LA. He sang in itinerant rock bands, but no-one would give him a recording contract. By 1969 he was broke and disillusioned. His break would take the form of a musical. He was offered a part in Hair, having been invited to audition whilst working as a parking attendant outside the theatre. Shortly afterwards he met Jim Steinman and the road to success really began. Yet the Hair gig was the beginning of an enduring love affair with theatre that is reflected in his singing persona today.
His first album, the now legendary Bat Out of Hell, was initially rejected by scores of record companies, yet went on to spend a staggering 485 weeks in the UK charts. The whole album is a masterwork of storytelling that Meat Loaf and Steinman worked on for four years and then battled to get heard. Meat Loaf and those who worked on the album - from Todd Rundgren to Ellen Foley - reflect on the songs, and celebrate the alchemy that resulted in such a blistering back catalogue.
When Bat Out Of Hell II was finally released 15 years after the first album, it defied industry expectations, with I'd Do Anything for Love reaching number one in 28 countries. It is considered one of the greatest comebacks in music history. More albums and hits were to follow across the '90s and '00s, alongside a varied and successful acting career. Mark Kermode examines some of the roles Meat Loaf made his own, in films as diverse as The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Fight Club.
Having traversed the peaks and troughs of a career spanning the best part of 50 years, this consummate performer finally reveals what spurs him on, in this, the inside story of a bat out of hell who continues to blaze a trail into the hearts and minds of millions.
FRI 22:00 Eric Burdon: Rock ‘n’ Roll – Animal (m000frfc)
Born in 1941, Eric Burdon was – along with his band The Animals – one of the most important standard bearers of the British Invasion of America, right after The Beatles and ahead of The Rolling Stones, The Who and The Kinks. Their 1964 interpretation of House of the Rising Sun was a global hit and inspired Bob Dylan (who recorded an acoustic version on his first album) to go electric and hit the stage from then on backed by a rock band.
Eric Burdon is a street kid from Newcastle upon Tyne. He burnt the midnight oil in the nightclubs on the docks. Had music not intervened, he might well have slipped into a career as a petty criminal, the kind of English gangster so aptly parodied by Guy Ritchie in films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. But Burdon’s voice was his ticket to escape that bleak industrial destiny, and his We Gotta Get out of This Place went on to inspire Springsteen’s Born to Run.
Burdon was always an incurable hothead, prone to rages and no stranger to breaking contracts, a situation that would make him a lifelong underdog and impede his path to world stardom. By the end of the 70s he was so broke that he was living in a car on Sunset Strip.
Burdon regularly changed both his band and musical style. Alongside his passion for original American blues, he got together in the late 60s with black LA band War – itself a political statement in the Black Panther era – and, inspired by Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, expanded his musical spectrum with jazz and funk. Burdon was involved in discovering Jimi Hendrix in Greenwich Village and they remained friends right up to the literal end (the pair spent the night before Jimi’s death together).
Eric Burdon’s creative output has made an important and profoundly authentic contribution to popular culture. Together with Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones, he counts as one of that legendary generation’s last men standing. This film will convey the zeitgeist of the 60s and 70s, while revealing Eric Burdon’s personal vision and moving us all with his retrospective ruminations on triumph and failure.
FRI 23:00 Robert Plant: By Myself (b00vy78w)
Documentary in which Robert Plant discusses his musical journey from Stourbridge, the British blues boom, superstardom with Led Zeppelin in the 70s to 2010's Band of Joy album. He also looks at his work with the Honeydrippers and North African musicians, his reunion with Jimmy Page and his pairing with Alison Krauss.
FRI 00:00 Southern Rock at the BBC (b01f1bwb)
Classic clips - from the Old Grey Whistle Test, In Concert and even Wogan - of Southern rock boogie in excelsis from the bands who poured out of the Deep South in the 70s. Includes performances from The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Delaney & Bonnie with Eric Clapton, Dickey Betts from The Allman Brothers Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, Black Oak Arkansas, The Charlie Daniels Band, Gregg Allman with then-wife Cher, Edgar Winter and, of course, Lynyrd Skynyrd.
FRI 01:00 Meat Loaf: In and out of Hell (b04xdrrb)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
FRI 02:00 Eric Burdon: Rock ‘n’ Roll – Animal (m000frfc)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today
FRI 03:00 Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone (b009nhfq)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
(Note: the times link back to the details; the pids link to the BBC page, including iPlayer)
A History of Ancient Britain 21:00 SUN (b01971gm)
A History of Ancient Britain 02:55 THU (b01971gm)
All Creatures Great and Small 20:10 THU (p031d2n5)
Arena 00:00 MON (m000775t)
Armada: 12 Days to Save England 20:00 WED (b05xj5t4)
Armada: 12 Days to Save England 02:30 WED (b05xj5t4)
Around the World in 80 Treasures 23:55 THU (b0078vxj)
Black Nurses: The Women Who Saved the NHS 00:45 SUN (b083dgtb)
Britain and the Sea 23:00 TUE (b03m3x1j)
Coast 19:00 THU (b01838w1)
Dan Snow on Lloyd George: My Great-Great-Grandfather 20:00 SUN (b084l1s9)
Dan Snow on Lloyd George: My Great-Great-Grandfather 02:45 SUN (b084l1s9)
Elizabeth I's Secret Agents 22:30 WED (b09c6q44)
Elizabeth R 21:00 WED (p036g8c5)
Eric Burdon: Rock ‘n’ Roll – Animal 22:00 FRI (m000frfc)
Eric Burdon: Rock ‘n’ Roll – Animal 02:00 FRI (m000frfc)
Fake or Fortune? 20:00 MON (b094d3h1)
Fake or Fortune? 02:00 MON (b094d3h1)
Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone 19:00 MON (b00792rn)
Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone 01:30 MON (b00792rn)
Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone 19:00 TUE (b00792vh)
Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone 02:05 TUE (b00792vh)
Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone 19:00 WED (b00792y7)
Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone 02:00 WED (b00792y7)
Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone 19:10 THU (b007931m)
Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone 01:25 THU (b007931m)
Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone 19:00 FRI (b009nhfq)
Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone 03:00 FRI (b009nhfq)
Girls in Bands at the BBC 00:40 SAT (b06mxpjc)
Himalaya with Michael Palin 20:00 SAT (b0074qsf)
Himalaya with Michael Palin 01:40 SAT (b0074qsf)
Horizon 21:00 TUE (b09574pc)
Horizon 22:00 TUE (b01llnb2)
Horizon 02:35 TUE (b09574pc)
Horizon 01:55 THU (b01llnb2)
Life Cinematic 23:00 MON (m000st4p)
Man in Room 301 21:00 SAT (p094c2bc)
Man in Room 301 21:50 SAT (p094c2bw)
Man in Room 301 00:00 TUE (p094c2bc)
Man in Room 301 00:50 TUE (p094c2bw)
Mark Lawson Talks To... 22:55 THU (b009hp1c)
Meat Loaf: In and out of Hell 21:00 FRI (b04xdrrb)
Meat Loaf: In and out of Hell 01:00 FRI (b04xdrrb)
Robert Plant: By Myself 23:00 FRI (b00vy78w)
Screen One 21:00 THU (p032kj1k)
Sounds of the Sixties 19:30 FRI (b0074qcm)
Southern Rock at the BBC 00:00 FRI (b01f1bwb)
The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin 20:30 TUE (p00x9qth)
The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil 22:00 SUN (m000t12g)
The Genius of Marie Curie - The Woman Who Lit up the World 23:45 SUN (b01s954d)
The Joy of Painting 19:30 MON (m000kqsn)
The Joy of Painting 01:00 MON (m000kqsn)
The Joy of Painting 19:30 TUE (m000kqsv)
The Joy of Painting 01:40 TUE (m000kqsv)
The Joy of Painting 19:30 WED (m000kxm1)
The Joy of Painting 01:30 WED (m000kxm1)
The Joy of Painting 19:40 THU (m000kxkx)
The Joy of Painting 00:55 THU (m000kxkx)
The Many Faces of... 19:00 SUN (b018nvwc)
The Many Faces of... 01:45 SUN (b018nvwc)
The Story of Welsh Art 21:00 MON (p097c1qm)
The Story of Welsh Art 03:00 MON (p097c1qm)
The Story of Welsh Art 23:30 WED (p097c1qm)
Timeshift 19:00 SAT (b04z23k9)
Timeshift 02:40 SAT (b04z23k9)
Top of the Pops 23:40 SAT (m000st47)
Top of the Pops 00:10 SAT (m000st49)
Top of the Pops 20:00 FRI (m000t132)
Top of the Pops 20:30 FRI (m000t134)
Vikings 22:40 SAT (b01mxt26)
Women in Film: BBC Introducing Arts 22:00 MON (m000t0xs)
Women in Film: BBC Introducing Arts 00:30 WED (m000t0xs)
Yes, Minister 20:00 TUE (b00783yw)