Radio-Lists Home Now on BBC 4

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



SATURDAY 22 MAY 2021

SAT 19:00 Francesco's Venice (b0078sx5)
Death

Final episode of a documentary series telling the story of Venice, presented by Francesco da Mosto.

Venice may be sinking, it may even be in peril, but da Mosto is in no mood to throw in the towel. The fate of Venice still hangs in the balance, and he puts at least some of the blame at the door of the British. From the moment that Byron put Venice on the tourist map, the city has been caught up in a trail of events that has made life harder and harder for the Venetians.

But this episode is also Francesco's personal story, and he has pledged his belief in the future of Venice by continuing to live and bring up his children there, even though his life has been affected by the dangers the city faces. In the great flood of 1966 that threatened to wash the city away, he was a terrified child of five who watched the waters invade his home and wondered if life could ever continue. Francesco's father, Count da Mosto, reminisces about the 1966 floods with chilling immediacy, and Francesco swims the Grand Canal.

It has not just been the tourists or the rising waters of the lagoon that have threatened the city. Outrageous ideas to bring the city into the modern age have included bridges linking the city with mainland Italy, flattening old churches and even converting the Grand Canal into an eight-lane motorway.


SAT 20:00 Michael Palin's New Europe (b0080sp3)
Wild East

From the tiny, breakaway state of Transdniester to the rolling hills of sunny Moldova, across the Carpathians mountains of Northern Romania and through Transylvania to the Danube, this is a journey into some of the poorest and most beautiful parts of south-eastern Europe.

Moved by Tatiana's theatre group, who warn teenagers of the dangers of people trafficking, to lunch with Olga and her mum in the sunny south of Moldova, Michael then passes the Byzantine painted churches of Bucovina, eats pork fat and brandy with lumberjacks in the forests of Maramures, and delights in the Merry Cemetery of Sapanta where the painted tombs are witty celebrations of life.

In Saxon Sighisoara and the imposing Bran Castle, made famous by Bram Stoker's Dracula, the truth behind the Transylvanian hero is unravelled.

In Bucharest he sees for himself Ceausescu's legacy in the People's Palace, but discovers a people who have survived the communist rule and are embracing the freedoms within a united Europe.

Tennis ace Ilie Nastase gives him a very personal view of that period, before National Theatre actor Dan Badarau takes him up the Danube through the famous Iron Gates towards the very heart of Europe.


SAT 21:00 Blinded: Those Who Kill (p099cq8s)
Series 1

Episode 5

Seven weeks after Alice's death, Louise is in mourning and wants to go home as Karina issues her with an ultimatum regarding the case. Alice's death raises a new suspicion which takes the investigation in a new direction. Peter Vinge focuses on his work at a local sawmill, where he receives an unexpected offer from Leif. At the same time, Peter is in conflict with Johannes, who remains in a stage of teenage revolt against his father.


SAT 21:45 Blinded: Those Who Kill (p099cqkw)
Series 1

Episode 6

Louise Bergstein continues to assist the investigation to find the serial killer, who now has six brutal murders to his name. With Karina Hørup, Louise returns to the first victims in an attempt to find out where they may have met their killer. Peter notices that the police are closer to him than ever before, and at the same time happens to meet Louise again.


SAT 22:30 Catching History's Criminals: The Forensics Story (p02l4px7)
Traces of Guilt

There will always be those who think they can commit the perfect murder. In reality it's virtually impossible to leave no evidence at the scene of a crime. Fingerprints, hair, fibres and blood can all lead to the killer. In this second episode, surgeon Gabriel Weston explores the cases that were solved by examining the smallest traces of forensic evidence, from the first murder case solved in the UK based on fingerprint evidence to the patterns of blood in a bedroom which helped overturn an infamous murder conviction.

As well as looking to the past, Gabriel investigates the cutting-edge techniques that are proving vital in catching the killers of today. Amazingly, forensic science can now detect with pinpoint accuracy where someone has walked across an area the size of Scotland, based on nothing more than the soil stuck to the sole of a suspect's shoe.


SAT 23:30 The Killing (b00z1yqx)
Series 1

Episode 11

Having located a likely crime scene, Sarah and Jan know who they are looking for, but as the investigation leads again in the direction of Troels Hartmann's Liberal Party, the reactions of their superior officers are puzzling. Troels comes under great pressure both in his private and public life. Pernille becomes estranged from Charlotte and Theis.


SAT 00:30 The Killing (b00z1yqz)
Series 1

Episode 12

Sarah and Jan interrogate mayoral candidate Troels Hartmann. With the weight of the incriminating evidence pointing unequivocally to him, Troels has no choice but to divulge private information to the police and a whole new can of worms is opened as a result. Theis becomes desperate to hold on to wife Pernille, who is drifting further and further away emotionally.


SAT 01:30 The Killing (b00z8v1b)
Series 1

Episode 13

The police and media have their spotlight trained on Troels, who might still be holding something back. Meanwhile, there are strange goings-on at the Town Hall. Things come to a head between Pernille and Theis, while Sarah receives some troubling news.


SAT 02:25 Michael Palin's New Europe (b0080sp3)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]



SUNDAY 23 MAY 2021

SUN 19:00 John Williams at the BBC (b073mrky)
Fifty years of spellbinding performances from one of the guitar's greatest players, John Williams. Gold from the BBC's archive that takes in classical masterworks, the prog rock of Sky and comedy with Eric Sykes, as well as duets with fellow guitar maestro Julian Bream.


SUN 20:00 Sound Waves: The Symphony of Physics (b08h9ctd)
Series 1

Using Sound

Dr Helen Czerski examines the extraordinary messages sound waves carry and how they help us understand the world around us.

Visiting a hidden location buried beneath the hills of Scotland, Helen experiences some of the most extreme acoustics in the world. Here she learns just how much information can be carried by sound. She discovers how sound has driven the evolution of truly incredible biological systems and complex relationships between creatures that exploit sound for hunting - and escaping from predators. Helen demonstrates how sound waves diffract (bend around objects) and in doing so help us sense danger and locate it.

Through the story of a cochlea implant patient Helen explores the complicated way our ears can translate sound waves - a physical vibration in the air - into an electrical signal our brain can understand.

Helen explains how we are not limited to passively detecting sound waves, we can also use them to actively probe the world. From detecting submarines to uncovering the secrets of our planet, sound waves are instrumental in revealing things hidden from the world of light. On the cold North Sea, Helen investigates how marine archaeologists are using sound waves to uncover the remarkable human stories buried beneath the sea. Yet we are not limited to using sound waves here on Earth, as Helen explains how sound has been used to better understand distant, alien worlds in the outer solar system.


SUN 21:00 Dark Matter: A History of the Afrofuture (m000wfcj)
The arc of black history shares an uncanny resemblance to the plot points of classic sci-fi including ‘alien’ abduction, enslavement and rebellion. It’s this unlikely relationship that provides the inspiration for Afrofuturism, the broad cultural trend that encompasses works by Jean-Michel Basquiat to Grace Jones, Solange Knowles and Sun Ra. In this film, we meet, see and hear from artists across three continents who each, in their own way, explore the Afrofuture to look at the horrors of the black past and imagine alternative futures.

The mysterious yet influential Detroit techno duo, Drexciya, take the Atlantic Ocean, a site of death and destruction during the African slave trade and reclaim it as a place of creation and beauty. Through a series of releases from the late 1990s through the early 2000s, they envisage the unborn children of enslaved pregnant women, thrown overboard during the Middle Passage to the Americas, adapting to breathe under water and thrive in a Black Atlantis. The mythos is vividly brought to life by the Drexciyan collaborator and graphic artist Abdul Qadim Haqq as a thriving, technological undersea world.

Visual artist Ellen Gallagher similarly transforms the violence of the ocean into rebirth and renewal. Her film Osedax, made with Edgar Cleijne, is an imaginative retelling of how the skeletal remains of dead whales sustain new life in the curious form of the bone-devouring worm of the title. Whereas for artist Hew Locke, as well as the ocean itself, it’s the Atlantic’s coastal fringes that inspire his world of bricolage phantoms, plucked from the ghost stories of a Guyanese childhood.

The Afrofuture is perhaps most commonly imagined through the rubric of outer space, thanks in no small part to avant-garde jazz musician and poet Sun Ra. Born in the southern US in the early 20th century, Ra underwent an interplanetary conversion, claiming to have been teleported to Saturn. As with funk pioneer, George Clinton, who describes a similar close encounter with extraterrestrials, Ra’s identification with an alien presence can be read as more than simple escapism. It’s also a biting satire on the alienating experience of being black in America. For Ra, space is also an alternate destiny for black people, as the title of his 1973 Afrofuturist feature film Space is the Place insists.

Reaching beyond these fictional ‘Afronauts’ is the conceptual artist Tavares Strachan. His performance piece, Star City, Training in Six Parts, sees Strachan visit the famous Russian space centre to undergo the same rigorous – and often tortuous – training of the Cosmonauts. Strachan likens one of the exercises, which measures our capacity to withstand disorientation and gravitational stress, to his impoverished upbringing in The Bahamas.

The film concludes with an exploration of the idea of double consciousness. Coined in the early 20th century by WEB Du Bois, the influential African American sociologist, double-consciousness describes how black people in western societies see themselves twice over. Through their lived experience but also how they’re perceived within a dominant white culture.

Curator and writer Ekow Eshun traces uses of the idea through Ralph Ellison’s lauded mid-20th-century novel Invisible Man, and painter Kerry James Marshall’s image of the same title, right up to the Black Lives Matter movement. Predicated upon recordings of anti-black violence often captured through digital tech, Eshun argues these ‘expose’ a double consciousness at work, the world as experienced and seen through black eyes, laid bare for all to witness.

Other artists and commentators featured in the programme include Nuotama Frances Bodomo, Aria Dean, Ayesha Hameed, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Shabaka Hutchings, Elvira Dyangani Ose, Cauleen Smith and Greg Tate.


SUN 22:00 African Renaissance: When Art Meets Power (m000lwf2)
Series 1

Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, Afua Hirsch traces a proud 3,000-year history as significant as any civilisation in the west. A beacon for the black diaspora, Ethiopia’s story is one of defiant independence, of kings and communists, of a country that has survived catastrophe but bounced back, underpinned by a culture inspired by an ancient faith and devotion.

At the heart of recent Ethiopian history is the complex reign of Emperor Haile Selassie. One of the most influential world figures of the 20th century, he was the midwife to African liberation and the generator of a global culture in Rastafarianism. Yet ultimately, Haile Selassie was a tragic figure.

With renowned artist Eshetu Tiruneh, Afua explores the impact of the 1974 famine that led to the emperor’s downfall, and she talks to photographer Aida Muluneh about her return from exile to the dynamic new Ethiopia of the 21st century responding to the dark days of the past.


SUN 23:00 The Great Butterfly Adventure: Africa to Britain with the Painted Lady (b07yqfkq)
The migration of the painted lady has long fascinated scientists, artists and nature lovers alike. The longest butterfly migration on earth, it sees millions of these delicate creatures travel from the desert fringes of north Africa, across thousands of miles of land and sea, before settling in the UK. However, the migration has never truly been understood, the mysteries of the painted lady never unravelled - until now. This documentary reveals the secrets of this extraordinary phenomenon. Observed, investigated and analysed by presenter Martha Kearney and entomologist Dr James Logan, it employs groundbreaking techniques to unlock the secrets of the painted ladies.

At a time when more than a third of Britain's butterfly species are classed as under threat of extinction or have already vanished, it documents the largest butterfly migration into the UK. Over the course of the butterflies' five-month quest from the Atlas Mountains to Great Britain, Martha and her companion - leading butterfly expert Constanti Stefanescu - follow them along the route, observing and investigating this breathtaking natural phenomenon.

Meanwhile, back at the cutting-edge Rothamsted Research Centre in Harpenden, Dr Logan complements their adventures on the road, conducting experiments into butterfly biology and behaviour and, from our communications centre, he is able to follow the butterflies as they make their way from Morocco to Britain.

This is a visceral journey with real jeopardy, a real-life detective story. We break away from the central narrative to unravel the mysteries of the painted lady via experiments, including how they navigate and move between different altitudes, and we examine their flight patterns. As well as experiments there are also standalone packages on a variety of subjects, including the decline of the British butterfly and how some species are fighting back with the help of conservation groups. Butterfly Conversation's legions of butterfly spotters track the migration and those pioneers who make the journey from Morocco in a single flight.

By the end of the programme we discover how this tiny creature weighing less than a single gram is capable of completing an epic 4,500 mile journey from Africa to Great Britain. And even more remarkably, the offspring of these multi-generational butterflies that help to complete the journey their parents started. Could it be that despite having no life experience or learned knowledge of the migration they are innately drawn to the species' route?

An unforgettable adventure, and a groundbreaking project.


SUN 00:30 Sound Waves: The Symphony of Physics (b08h9ctd)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


SUN 01:30 Dark Matter: A History of the Afrofuture (m000wfcj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


SUN 02:30 John Williams at the BBC (b073mrky)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]



MONDAY 24 MAY 2021

MON 19:00 Canal Boat Diaries (m000bpkr)
Series 1

Barton Swing Aqueduct to Liverpool Docks

Life on board a narrowboat with Robbie Cumming. There are engine issues and a leaky boat to fix before Robbie reaches Liverpool Docks.


MON 19:30 The Joy of Painting (m000wfcr)
Series 4

Hidden Winter Moon Oval

Bob Ross uses striking blue tones to amazing effect in this painting of a winter's night, complete with a sweet cabin, and all inside an oval!


MON 20:00 Fake or Fortune? (m0007fkr)
Series 8

De Chirico

In this episode, Fiona and Philip investigate what could be one of the best bargains ever seen on Fake or Fortune? Could a junk shop find, bought for £1 almost 30 years ago, turn out to be by one of the masters of modern European art, Giorgio de Chirico? If it’s genuine, this £1 painting could be worth up to £50,000. Not a bad return!

The painting is an unusual still life depicting fruit in a windblown landscape. It belongs to Bob Kay, who bought it from a Hampshire bric-a-brac shop called Aladdin’s Cave in the early nineties. At the time he was working as a porter at a local auction house and had an eye for art. On the advice of Christie’s, he submitted the picture in 1995 to the de Chirico Foundation in Rome. After two years, the result came back negative – while most of the committee thought it could be a de Chirico, one person said it was not. If the team is going to overturn this decision, they’ll need to find convincing new evidence.

Their journey starts in Rome where de Chirico lived for much of his life. Born in Greece, he was a revolutionary 20th-century artist whose work would inspire Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte and Max Ernst, earning him the title The Father of Surrealism. Unfortunately, with great success comes a problem – de Chirico is massively faked. In fact, he is thought to be the second most forged Italian artist of all time. Among the forgers were surrealist followers who delighted in playing games with the art world, but also professional fakers looking to make a quick buck, and even de Chirico himself. He would backdate paintings completed later in life to pretend they were painted in his youth, allowing him to sell them for much more.

Tracing the provenance is a challenge: Fiona has to explain how this painting started life in a Roman studio but ended up in a Hampshire junkshop. In an unassuming south London flat, she tracks down letters written by de Chirico himself to a friend in Britain. These describe paintings sent to the UK as gifts and keepsakes. Could our painting be among them?

Finally, in a Fake or Fortune? first, this £1 picture is taken to a nuclear laboratory in Florence to be put through some cutting-edge tests. A splinter of the wooden picture board is subjected to ‘bomb curve analysis’. This uses the rapid rise in radioactive material found in all living creatures after nuclear bomb testing in the 1950s to pinpoint a date for when the board was made. The test should show whether the picture was painted at the right time to be by de Chirico himself.


MON 21:00 Great British Photography Challenge (m000wfcw)
Series 1

Episode 1

The search is on for an exciting new name in British photography. Six talented amateur photographers have made it through a nationwide call-out to be selected for the opportunity of a lifetime. With top photographer and film-maker Rankin as their guide and mentor, this is a unique masterclass and a chance to show they have what it takes to stand out as a new name in British photography.

Across a month of assignments and feedback, they will tackle 12 very different challenges that showcase and stretch their skill and creativity. Every shot counts as they build up to the final task of creating a brand new portfolio of their work. Who will shine as they compete for the chance to be crowned the winner of the Great British Photography Challenge?

In this first episode of the series, the amateurs meet Rankin for the first time and share their homework assignment with him and the audience. We kick off the challenges faced in this episode in Brighton, with a speed assignment that uses nothing more than a smartphone. How will they fare when limited to the use of basic equipment? Also featured in this episode is a nature assignment with Chris Packham, who tasks the photographers with finding and presenting him with a stand-out image from his own backyard in the New Forest. And we see the contestants thrown in at the deep end with a brief to capture a celebrity portrait, tasked with taking a magazine cover photo of renowned actor and Rankin’s good friend Anna Friel.

Across the series, we’ll see the six photographers spending several weeks on the road, tackling various assignments around the country. All of them go through the entire experience and the series delivers multiple perspectives on each task. Guest experts are on hand to offer coaching in the field, and the first challenge featured in each episode always sees the photographers put on the spot to take a picture that will impress Rankin in just one hour, using only their smartphone cameras. Returning to the classroom from their travels, there’s group feedback on their shots, and the pressure is on to select and edit, from among the hundreds of images they’ve taken, a final portfolio that they believe shows their individual flair and way of seeing the world around them.

At the end of the series, it’s time to plan and mount the exhibitions of their final portfolios. Who will show Rankin and fellow judges from the art and fashion world they have what it takes to take home the title of winner of the Great British Photography Challenge?


MON 22:00 Mark Lawson Talks To... (b03xsfrs)
David Bailey

In a career spanning more than five decades, photographer David Bailey has captured many of the 20th century's most iconic faces. With his first major solo exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery currently on show, he talks frankly to Mark Lawson about his life, loves and illustrious career. First shown in 2014.


MON 23:00 Britain in Focus: A Photographic History (b08h95jk)
Series 1

Episode 1

Series in which Eamonn McCabe celebrates Britain's greatest photographers, sees how science allowed their art to develop, and explores how they have captured our changing lives and country.

In the first of three programmes, Eamonn goes back to the 19th century to trace the astonishingly rapid rise of the photograph in British life. Eamonn explores the science behind early photography, and shows how innovative photographic techniques made possible the careers of pioneers like Roger Fenton and Julia Margaret Cameron. He sees how great figures of the age such as Queen Victoria and Isambard Kingdom Brunel were captured on camera, and revisits the Victorians' sense of wonder about the 'natural magic' of photography and the role it played in their lives.


MON 00:00 What Do Artists Do All Day? (b073mny3)
Dennis Morris

Dennis Morris is one of Britain's most successful photographers, whose images of Bob Marley and the Sex Pistols helped define the art of rock photography. He started out taking pictures on the streets of Hackney and his early photography offers a striking documentary portrait of London's black community in the 1960s and 70s.

In the year punk turns 40, and with an exhibition of his work with Public Image Limited opening at the ICA, this film follows Dennis at work, photographing an up-and-coming new punk band. We also follow Dennis back to the places that inspired his early work, and he recounts life on the road with Bob Marley and the Sex Pistols.


MON 00:30 The Joy of Painting (m000wfcr)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]


MON 01:00 Canal Boat Diaries (m000bpkr)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]


MON 01:30 Fake or Fortune? (m0007fkr)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


MON 02:30 Great British Photography Challenge (m000wfcw)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]



TUESDAY 25 MAY 2021

TUE 19:00 Canals: The Making of a Nation (b06829t1)
The Boat People

Presenter Liz McIvor tells the story of the people who operated the canal boats, carrying fuel and goods around the country. Conditions were tough, days were long. Victorian society began to grow suspicious of these 'outsiders' and they gained reputations for criminality, violence and drinking. But was this reputation really deserved? Liz discovers grisly canal crimes, investigates health and welfare onboard working boats, and looks at why canal children were last on the list to be offered safeguards and formal education. The Victorians eventually championed the needs of children who were forced to labour in factories and mines, but the boat children were often ignored. Liz discovers the campaigners who set out to tackle this injustice, including George Smith of Coalville, Leicestershire, and Sister Mary Ward of Stoke Bruerne.


TUE 19:30 The Joy of Painting (m000wfdc)
Series 4

Quiet Cove

Bob Ross paints an elegant mountain lake, silent and still, reflecting the natural beauty of leafy trees and grasses all around it.


TUE 20:00 Yes, Minister (b0074qg2)
Series 2

The Death List

Political sitcom. The minister is shocked to discover that his department is responsible for supplying all of the government's electronic surveillance equipment.


TUE 20:30 To the Manor Born (b00785zt)
Series 1

Going to Church

Class-based sitcom. Audrey takes DeVere to task for failing to turn up in church on Sunday, but then fails to practise what she preaches.


TUE 21:00 Ian Hislop's Olden Days (b040rqjm)
Heroes for All Times

Ian Hislop explores perhaps the most distinctive, peculiar and deep-seated trait of the British, our obsession with the past. Over three films he reveals how and why, throughout our history, we have continually plundered 'the olden days' to make sense of and shape the present.

This opening episode reveals how, ever since 1066, we have harked back to the Dark Ages. In particular, Ian turns his gaze on two of our most inspiring kings - King Arthur and King Alfred - one quite possibly entirely fictional, the other entirely historical, and yet each the stuff of legend.

On the trail of legendary King Arthur, Ian visits Tintagel Castle, the fantastic Round Table at Winchester and even the sacred 'burial place' of Arthur and Guinevere at Glastonbury Abbey. He finds out how this storybook king has changed, from wild Celtic warlord to chivalric hero; from piously questing king to national totem of Victorian Wales. Ian also discovers why the king of Camelot inspired Henry VIII as much as today's New Age druids.

King Alfred repelled the Vikings, reorganised the army and was an educational pioneer... not, Ian notes wryly, as exciting as pulling a sword from a stone, but rather more useful. And yet, peeling away the evidence, there is more fiction involved in this 'historic' king than meets the eye - manipulated to suit the diverse purposes of tricksy mediaeval lawyers, a Tudor archbishop for whom we have the cake-burning story to thank, and even a Georgian prince of Wales, he gradually becomes blessed with almost every virtue. By Victorian times, Alfred the Great, has evolved into 'the most perfect man in history', one-man embodiment of everything that is great about Great Britain.

Winston Churchill summoned up the spirit of Alfred to inspire the nation in the dark days of 1940. Meanwhile Arthur reigns supreme today in movies, TV series and even online gaming. Ian even gets to meet Arthur Uther Pendragon, self-declared reincarnation of King Arthur himself, to find out what is on Arthur's mind in the 21st century.

The multiple historical makeovers of these Dark Age kings provide a fascinating insight into the evolution of our sense of national identity. Thoroughly forensic, always curious and witty, this is an exploration of high and low culture over 1,000 years. As ever with Ian Hislop's cultural histories, it focuses on the 'story' bit of history and holds up a most revealing mirror to ourselves.


TUE 22:00 Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer (m000wfbw)
Series 1

Medical Drugs

Inventions that combat illness directly are relatively recent breakthroughs in humanity’s fight against life-shortening disease. In this episode, Steven Johnson and David Olusoga explore the remarkable and often unsung work that has led to major medical advances.

Alexander Fleming's famous discovery of antibiotics was followed – in the midst of World War II – by the rollout of the manufacture of penicillin at scale, so that lives might be saved at a global level. Pioneering rational drug design in the 1980s led to the development of antiviral drugs for HIV and other previously untreatable diseases.

This knowledge – how to produce safe, effective drugs – now underpins efforts to find treatments for new diseases, such as Covid-19, today.


TUE 22:55 Horizon (b03wcchn)
2013-2014

The Power of the Placebo

They are the miracle pills that shouldn't really work at all. Placebos come in all shapes and sizes, but they contain no active ingredient. Now they are being shown to help treat pain, depression and even alleviate some of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Horizon explores why they work, and how we could all benefit from the hidden power of the placebo.


TUE 23:55 Pain, Pus and Poison: The Search for Modern Medicines (b03ccs7k)
Pus

Infection can take over the entire human body, and if our immune systems aren't strong enough we will die - in fact, infectious disease has regularly wiped out millions of people across the planet. Dr Michael Mosley explores our earliest attempts to tackle infection and reveals the moment we began to harness the power of microbes to fight back. This is the story of how scientists, chemists and doctors helped us win the battle, from Louis Pasteur to Howard Florey, and how a small team of dedicated men and women wiped out one of mankind's deadliest diseases - smallpox.


TUE 00:55 The Beauty of Anatomy (b04dzrtr)
Andreas Vesalius

In 1537, the 23-year-old Andreas Vesalius became the most famous anatomist in Europe. He went on to produce the first complete account of the human body and how to dissect it, his drawings setting the gold standard for anatomical art for centuries to come and earning him the title of 'the founder of modern anatomy'. Adam Rutherford tells his story.


TUE 01:25 The Joy of Painting (m000wfdc)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]


TUE 01:55 Canals: The Making of a Nation (b06829t1)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]


TUE 02:25 Ian Hislop's Olden Days (b040rqjm)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]



WEDNESDAY 26 MAY 2021

WED 19:00 Canals: The Making of a Nation (b0685bp2)
The Workers

This is the story of the men who built our canals - the navigators or 'navvies'. They represented an 'army' of hard physical men who were capable of enduring tough labour for long hours. Many roved the countryside looking for work and a better deal. They gained a reputation as troublesome outsiders, fond of drinking and living a life of ungodly debauchery. But who were they? Unreliable heathens and outcasts, or unsung heroes who used might and muscle to build canals and railways? We focus on the Manchester Ship Canal - the swansong for the navvies and hailed as the greatest engineering feat of the Victorian Age. The navvies worked at a time of rising trade unionism. But could they organise and campaign for a better deal?


WED 19:30 The Joy of Painting (m000wfdj)
Series 4

River’s Peace

Autumn may be on the threshold of winter, but in this Bob Ross painting the trees, as they loom over the buttery ground, are still full of warmth and glorious colour.


WED 20:00 Skies Above Britain (b07tj8vp)
Beneath the Clouds

For thousands of recreational pilots, uncontrolled airspace - the skies beyond commercial routes - are a place of freedom and adventure and for many, flying in them can become an obsession.

Al Coutts and Willie Cruikshank are the Wildcats, two former RAF pilots who perform aerobatic stunts at air displays across the UK. With several recent tragedies at air shows, Al and Willy must finish their display season safely.

Julia Foxwell is a champion skydiver who relinquished her crown after having her first child. Now she is juggling motherhood with an intense training schedule as she attempts to win again at the National Skydiving Championships.

Pete Dolby has been flying balloons for over a quarter of a century - now he is attempting to fly Britain's first solar balloon, powered using just the sun's energy. The experimental balloon will be launched at Europe's biggest ballooning event - the Bristol Balloon Fiesta.

Elsewhere, Ady Dolan, NATS air traffic controller at Heathrow, works the most congested and highly regulated patch of sky in the UK - the congested skies above the capital.


WED 21:00 Blitz: The Bombs That Changed Britain (b09hzrvg)
Series 1

Episode 3

During the blitz, over 450,000 bombs were dropped on Britain and every bomb has its own story. This series examines the specific effect of four bombs, from their initial impact on individual lives, right through to their wider consequences for the Second World War, and all the way to the present day. Across the series incredible personal testimony, gut-wrenching memoirs and the meticulous records kept at the time provide a visceral and terrifying account of the Blitz that directly connects with the human experience of the bombs. As survivors and relatives attest, these bombs touched the lives of everyone and created a legacy we all still live with today.

Episode three follows a bomb that fell on Jellicoe Street in the Scottish town of Clydebank. It was a tightly knit community of shipbuilders and factory workers who worked hard in difficult conditions. For the children though, life in the tenements was like being part of one big family, as Patrick Docherty and Jack Tasker remember.

But on 13 March 1941 that would change forever. When the bomb fell on Jellicoe Street, it destroyed number 78, killing 15 members of the Rocks family. Marion McDermid's grandmother was a Rocks - she survived and left a harrowing account of how her family had been wiped out by this one bomb. Amongst them was 13-year-old Tommy Rocks, Brendan Kelly's best friend. Over 70 years later Brendan is still deeply affected by the events of that night.

As the community reeled from the chaos, confusion and grief wrought by the bombs, there was another war being waged in Clydebank. Young shipyard worker John Moore was battling to secure better pay and working conditions for his fellow apprentices. Linden Moore, his daughter, describes her father's communist politics, and his role in negotiating better terms for striking apprentices on the same day the Jellicoe Street bomb fell.

Rosabel Richards's father William Roberts was also a Clydebank man. On the night of 13 March he was an ARP warden, but Rosabel wants to know what he did during the blitz that would ultimately lead him to a place at Oxford University. She meets her cousin in Clydebank, who suggests her dad had connections to Westminster. This leads Rosabel to official records that show William Roberts was working for the government to actively counteract the influence of communists in Clydebank.

On 14 March the bombers returned and the town's housing was largely destroyed. There was a mass exodus with families like Brendan's ending up in a small village 60 miles away from their home. But the shipyard and the factories were largely operational and all the men, including Moore's apprentices, made epic journeys to return to work despite the fact they lost homes, friends and family members.

It is that sense of loss that has endured across the generations and still resonates with 85-year-old Brendan Kelly, who will never forget the impact of that one bomb.


WED 22:00 Cold War, Hot Jets (b03j5cf8)
Episode 2

As an 'Iron Curtain' fell across Europe, the jet bomber came to define how the Cold War was fought. Able to fly faster, higher and further than ever before, and armed with a devastating new weapon, Britain's V Force became the platform for delivering nuclear Armageddon.


WED 23:00 Great British Photography Challenge (m000wfcw)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Monday]


WED 00:00 Blinded: Those Who Kill (p099cq8s)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Saturday]


WED 00:45 Blinded: Those Who Kill (p099cqkw)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:45 on Saturday]


WED 01:30 The Joy of Painting (m000wfdj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]


WED 02:00 Canals: The Making of a Nation (b0685bp2)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]


WED 02:30 Blitz: The Bombs That Changed Britain (b09hzrvg)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]



THURSDAY 27 MAY 2021

THU 19:00 Wild (b0090cjt)
2007-08 Shorts

The Great British Parakeet Invasion

Wildlife documentary. There are estimated to be 30,000 wild parakeets in Britain. Why are they thriving?


THU 19:10 Yorkshire Wolds Way (b08bbmyb)
Episode 2

Adventurer Paul Rose continues his exploration of the Yorkshire Wolds Way, arguably Britain's least well-known national walking trail. The 79-mile trail starts at the Humber Estuary and ends at the Yorkshire seaside resort of Filey. In this episode, Paul takes to the skies to get a unique view of this stretch of chalk downland and gets a special invitation to a military base that's been keeping the country safe since the start of the Second World War.


THU 19:40 The Joy of Painting (m000wfbr)
Series 4

Wintertime Discovery

Imagine stumbling upon this surprising little cabin and shed, nestled in the snowdrifts! Bob Ross shows you how easy it is to paint it.


THU 20:10 All Creatures Great and Small (p031d2qd)
Series 1

Breath of Life

Siegfried discovers that a gift given in good faith can deal out death. James discovers that dealing out death can accidentally be the gift to life.


THU 21:00 Masked and Anonymous (b00dvqpy)
Written by and starring Bob Dylan and set in the near-future in a fictional America. Against the backdrop of a nation on the brink of revolution, a singer, whose career has gone on a downward spiral, is forced to make a comeback to the performance stage for a benefit concert.


THU 22:40 Tangled Up with Dylan: The Ballad of AJ Weberman (b01174k6)
Documentary chronicling the life, times and crimes of notorious Bob Dylan obsessive and garbology inventor AJ Weberman. It's an irreverent and witty exploration into one man's obsessions, a bohemian life lived on the New York fringes and a uniquely twisted take on the American dream.

Bob Dylan once said 'I don't think I'm gonna be really understood until maybe 100 years from now'. Author of the Dylan To English Dictionary, a Dylanologist and originator of garbology (the practice of rooting through rubbish in order to gain insight into prominent people's lives), Weberman has made it his life's work to understand Dylan.

At times both hilarious and disturbing, the film is not only a great companion piece to Scorsese's No Direction Home but an interesting observation on our unbalanced desires to know more about celebrities and how far we are willing to go to get that information or even become a part of their lives.

Weberman does not see himself as a stalker and insists that Dylan should be grateful that he is around: 'how was I to know I would have been to Dylan what Verlaine was to Rimbaud'. It's hard to see this as a tale of poet and critic, but rather a look at the bizarre relationship between the obsessed and the object of his obsession and how it can completely take over a man's life.

Beginning in the 1960s when Dylan was at the height of his early fame and regarded as something close to a prophet or a seer by the American counter-culture, Weberman has sought to try and climb inside Dylan's head by going through his rubbish. Back then he pursued his obsession relentlessly.

An amusing telephone conversation between Weberman and Dylan, recorded in the 1970s, punctuates the film in the form of animations, creating connections between Weberman's past and present.

The film also features an unforgettable cast of supporting characters close to Weberman, including New York street singer David Peel, former child dancer Jay Byrd and Aaron Kay aka 'The Pieman', and enjoys a vivid Americana soundtrack performed by cast members, adding an extra veneer of strangeness to Weberman and his universe.


THU 00:00 Me, My Selfie and I with Ryan Gander (m0003g0r)
Celebrated conceptual artist Ryan Gander investigates the selfie – the icon of a new kind of self-regard that hardly existed just ten years ago. He discovers the roots of the selfie go back hundreds of years before smartphones. In the age of social media, when we are told to be our best selves and live our best lives, he investigates what that really means and what technology is doing to our sense of self.


THU 01:00 The Beauty of Anatomy (b04fmg8g)
Rembrandt and Ruysch

In the 17th century in Holland, anatomy became the cutting edge of medical science, inspiring the great artists of the age like Rembrandt to produce the most beautiful anatomical paintings yet created.

Adam Rutherford travels to the Hague and Amsterdam to find out what it was that drew Rembrandt to anatomy and why dissecting bodies was thought a suitable subject for high art.


THU 01:30 The Joy of Painting (m000wfbr)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:40 today]


THU 02:00 Yorkshire Wolds Way (b08bbmyb)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:10 today]


THU 02:30 Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer (m000wfbw)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Tuesday]



FRIDAY 28 MAY 2021

FRI 19:00 Pop Go the Sixties (b0088nyx)
Series 1

The Kinks

Another mind-bendingly colourful nugget of pop mined from the BBC's archive.


FRI 19:05 ... Sings Dylan II (b06nszhz)
A feast of cover versions of Bob Dylan songs from the BBC archives, with classic tracks old and new and some surprises from the 1960s to the present.

From the essential folk queen Joan Baez to punk princess Siouxsie and the Banshees, from The Hollies to Adele, taking in the likes of Julie Felix, Richie Havens, Bryan Ferry and KT Tunstall along the way, the programme reflects Dylan's long career of writing extraordinary songs and the fascination of other artists with them.

Peter, Paul and Mary's sublime The Times They Are A-Changin' rubs shoulders with the close harmony of Cliff Richard and The Nolan Sisters' smooth interpretation of the protest classic Blowin' in the Wind. The Blues Band's energetic 1980s updating of Maggie's Farm contrasts with Tom Jones's powerful rootsy What Good Am I?

A treat for the Dylan fan and the Dylan novice alike.


FRI 20:05 Top of the Pops (m000wfdn)
Nicky Campbell presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 19 January 1991 and featuring Soho, The KLF and Seal.


FRI 20:35 Top of the Pops (m000wfdq)
Simon Mayo presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 24 January 1991 and featuring Tongue 'n' Cheek, Robert Palmer and Rick Astley.


FRI 21:00 Don't Look Back (m0007tvf)
DA Pennebaker’s classic film about Bob Dylan's 1965 tour of Britain is an intimate portrait of the artist as a quite young and formidably intelligent man. Dylan chats with British impresarios and singers, but he proves adept at retaining his privacy. His music, which seemed enigmatic at the time, particularly to the British press, has the attraction of the greatest popular culture of our time.


FRI 22:30 Omnibus (m000wfds)
Getting to Dylan

In 1987, Christopher Sykes interviewed Bob Dylan while the musician was filming Hearts of Fire. Their meeting revealed a side of Dylan that is rarely seen - direct, playful and fully engaged in the conversation.


FRI 23:00 Arena (b09x60g3)
Bob Dylan – Trouble No More

In 1979, Bob Dylan released Slow Train Coming, an album of strictly devotional songs. He declared he had found God in Christianity. For the following two years, accompanied by the finest musicians and gospel singers, he toured with a repertoire solely of songs expressing his new-found faith.

A film was made of one of those performances, but it was never released. After 37 years, it is broadcast for the first time - but with a twist. The performance is enhanced by a series of sermons between the songs, all specially written for the film and preached by Oscar-nominated actor Michael Shannon.

The result is Bob Dylan's gospel service combining the then of the gig with the now of the message of The Preacher.


FRI 00:00 Singer-Songwriters at the BBC (b016300t)
Series 2

Episode 4

The celebration of the singing songwriting troubadours of the 1960s and 70s concludes with a further trawl through the BBC archives for timeless and classic performances.

Starting things off, a 23-year-old Bob Dylan performing on the BBC's Tonight programme in 1964. On It's Lulu from 1971, 'Bisto Kid' lookalike singer-songwriter Gilbert O'Sullivan, while from a concert in 1970 buddies Graham Nash and David Crosby perform Nash's Marrakesh Express. Londoner Labi Siffre makes an appearance from the archives, as does fellow English songwriter Michael Chapman.

From the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1976, Gil Scott-Heron performs alongside his band and life-long collaborator Brian Jackson, and the musician's musician Roy Harper performs One of Those Days in England with a full band on The Old Grey Whistle Test. Grammy award winner Janis Ian performs Tea and Sympathy and, to round things off, a rare sighting of Kate Bush performing on The Leo Sayer Show in 1978.


FRI 01:00 ... Sings Dylan II (b06nszhz)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:05 today]


FRI 02:00 Don't Look Back (m0007tvf)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]




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

... Sings Dylan II 19:05 FRI (b06nszhz)

... Sings Dylan II 01:00 FRI (b06nszhz)

African Renaissance: When Art Meets Power 22:00 SUN (m000lwf2)

All Creatures Great and Small 20:10 THU (p031d2qd)

Arena 23:00 FRI (b09x60g3)

Blinded: Those Who Kill 21:00 SAT (p099cq8s)

Blinded: Those Who Kill 21:45 SAT (p099cqkw)

Blinded: Those Who Kill 00:00 WED (p099cq8s)

Blinded: Those Who Kill 00:45 WED (p099cqkw)

Blitz: The Bombs That Changed Britain 21:00 WED (b09hzrvg)

Blitz: The Bombs That Changed Britain 02:30 WED (b09hzrvg)

Britain in Focus: A Photographic History 23:00 MON (b08h95jk)

Canal Boat Diaries 19:00 MON (m000bpkr)

Canal Boat Diaries 01:00 MON (m000bpkr)

Canals: The Making of a Nation 19:00 TUE (b06829t1)

Canals: The Making of a Nation 01:55 TUE (b06829t1)

Canals: The Making of a Nation 19:00 WED (b0685bp2)

Canals: The Making of a Nation 02:00 WED (b0685bp2)

Catching History's Criminals: The Forensics Story 22:30 SAT (p02l4px7)

Cold War, Hot Jets 22:00 WED (b03j5cf8)

Dark Matter: A History of the Afrofuture 21:00 SUN (m000wfcj)

Dark Matter: A History of the Afrofuture 01:30 SUN (m000wfcj)

Don't Look Back 21:00 FRI (m0007tvf)

Don't Look Back 02:00 FRI (m0007tvf)

Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer 22:00 TUE (m000wfbw)

Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer 02:30 THU (m000wfbw)

Fake or Fortune? 20:00 MON (m0007fkr)

Fake or Fortune? 01:30 MON (m0007fkr)

Francesco's Venice 19:00 SAT (b0078sx5)

Great British Photography Challenge 21:00 MON (m000wfcw)

Great British Photography Challenge 02:30 MON (m000wfcw)

Great British Photography Challenge 23:00 WED (m000wfcw)

Horizon 22:55 TUE (b03wcchn)

Ian Hislop's Olden Days 21:00 TUE (b040rqjm)

Ian Hislop's Olden Days 02:25 TUE (b040rqjm)

John Williams at the BBC 19:00 SUN (b073mrky)

John Williams at the BBC 02:30 SUN (b073mrky)

Mark Lawson Talks To... 22:00 MON (b03xsfrs)

Masked and Anonymous 21:00 THU (b00dvqpy)

Me, My Selfie and I with Ryan Gander 00:00 THU (m0003g0r)

Michael Palin's New Europe 20:00 SAT (b0080sp3)

Michael Palin's New Europe 02:25 SAT (b0080sp3)

Omnibus 22:30 FRI (m000wfds)

Pain, Pus and Poison: The Search for Modern Medicines 23:55 TUE (b03ccs7k)

Pop Go the Sixties 19:00 FRI (b0088nyx)

Singer-Songwriters at the BBC 00:00 FRI (b016300t)

Skies Above Britain 20:00 WED (b07tj8vp)

Sound Waves: The Symphony of Physics 20:00 SUN (b08h9ctd)

Sound Waves: The Symphony of Physics 00:30 SUN (b08h9ctd)

Tangled Up with Dylan: The Ballad of AJ Weberman 22:40 THU (b01174k6)

The Beauty of Anatomy 00:55 TUE (b04dzrtr)

The Beauty of Anatomy 01:00 THU (b04fmg8g)

The Great Butterfly Adventure: Africa to Britain with the Painted Lady 23:00 SUN (b07yqfkq)

The Joy of Painting 19:30 MON (m000wfcr)

The Joy of Painting 00:30 MON (m000wfcr)

The Joy of Painting 19:30 TUE (m000wfdc)

The Joy of Painting 01:25 TUE (m000wfdc)

The Joy of Painting 19:30 WED (m000wfdj)

The Joy of Painting 01:30 WED (m000wfdj)

The Joy of Painting 19:40 THU (m000wfbr)

The Joy of Painting 01:30 THU (m000wfbr)

The Killing 23:30 SAT (b00z1yqx)

The Killing 00:30 SAT (b00z1yqz)

The Killing 01:30 SAT (b00z8v1b)

To the Manor Born 20:30 TUE (b00785zt)

Top of the Pops 20:05 FRI (m000wfdn)

Top of the Pops 20:35 FRI (m000wfdq)

What Do Artists Do All Day? 00:00 MON (b073mny3)

Wild 19:00 THU (b0090cjt)

Yes, Minister 20:00 TUE (b0074qg2)

Yorkshire Wolds Way 19:10 THU (b08bbmyb)

Yorkshire Wolds Way 02:00 THU (b08bbmyb)