The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.
In 1959 Britain's biggest cinema company, the Rank Organisation, decided to replace its newsreels with a series of short, quirky, topical documentaries that examined all aspects of life in Britain. For the next ten years, Look at Life chronicled - on high-grade 35mm colour film - the changing face of British society, industry and culture.
Britain on Film draws upon the 500 films in this unique archive to offer illuminating and often surprising insights into what became a pivotal decade in modern British history. The opening episode reveals how Look at Life reflected the radical shifts in the position of women in British society, and shows how the country adapted to the new demands and expectations of women at home and in the workplace and at play.
The heroic tales of World War II are legendary, but Operation Crossbow is a little-known story that deserves to join the hall of fame: how the Allies used 3D photos to thwart the Nazis' weapons of mass destruction before they could obliterate Britain.
This film brings together the heroic Spitfire pilots who took the photographs and the brilliant minds of RAF Medmenham that made sense of the jigsaw of clues hidden in the photos. Hitler was pumping a fortune into his new-fangled V weapons in the hope they could win him the war. But Medmenham had a secret weapon of its own, a simple stereoscope which brought to life every contour of the enemy landscape in perfect 3D.
The devil was truly in the detail. Together with extraordinary personal testimonies, the film uses modern computer graphics on the original wartime photographs to show just how the photo interpreters were able to uncover Hitler's nastiest secrets.
True story of young English war widow Violette Szabo, who became a secret agent in occupied France during the Second World War. Exposed to the brutality of the Gestapo and the degradation of the concentration camps, she found herself facing a continual struggle for survival. But through sheer courage and grim determination, she eventually became the first woman to be awarded the George Cross.
For the first time, the true story of the mastermind behind World War II's Great Escape is told by his niece, Lindy Wilson. Squadron Leader Roger Bushell was a young London barrister, an auxiliary pilot and a champion skier when he was shot down and captured early in the war. He escaped three times and, in spite of the Gestapo's threat to shoot him if he ever escaped again, Bushell accepted the role of 'Big X' on his return to the top-security PoW camp, Stalag Luft 111.
After 18 months of preparation, one of the greatest escapes of the war took place. Their aim to distract the enemy succeeded, as it was estimated that five million Germans were deployed to recapture the 76 escapees. However, Hitler's rage was uncontainable and he personally ordered a terrible reckoning.
Alastair Sooke follows in the footsteps of Rome's mad, bad and dangerous emperors in the second part of his celebration of Roman art. He dons a wetsuit to explore the underwater remains of the Emperor Claudius's pleasure palace and ventures into the cave where Tiberius held wild parties. He finds their taste in art chimes perfectly with their obsession with sex and violence.
The other side of the coin was the bombastic art the Romans are best remembered for - monumental arches and columns that boast about their conquests. Trajan's Column in Rome reads like the storyboard of a modern-day propaganda film.
Sooke concludes with the remarkable legacy of the Emperor Hadrian. He gave the world the magnificent Pantheon in Rome - the eternal image of his lover Antinous, the most beautiful boy in the history of art - and a villa in Tivoli where he created one of the most ambitious art collections ever created.
Britain's art nouveau heritage is excavated as cultural correspondent Stephen Smith unearths the bright, controversial but brief career of Aubrey Beardsley.
On a mission to uncover lesser-known stars of Britain's version of this continental fin-de-siecle style, he explores the stunning work of Mary Watts and the massive influence of department store entrepreneur Arthur Liberty.
In Scotland, he celebrates the innovative art nouveau of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, but looks harder at the extraordinary and influential work of Mackintosh's wife, Margaret MacDonald.
The composer Frederick Delius is often pictured as the blind, paralysed and caustic old man he eventually became, but in his youth he was tall, handsome, charming and energetic - not Frederick at all for most of his life, but Fritz. He was a contemporary of Elgar and Mahler, yet forged his own musical language, with which he always tried to capture the pleasure of the moment.
Using evidence from his friend, the Australian composer Percy Grainger, who reported that Delius 'practised immorality with puritanical stubbornness', this film by John Bridcut explores the multiple contradictions of his colourful life. Delius has long been renowned for his depiction of the natural environment, with pieces such as On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, yet his music is usually steeped in the sensuality and eroticism that he himself experienced.
The documentary features specially-filmed performances by the widely-acclaimed Danish interpreters of Delius, the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Bo Holten, as well as the chamber choir, Schola Cantorum of Oxford.
THURSDAY 03 JANUARY 2013
THU 19:00 BBC World News (b01pjs4c)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.
THU 19:30 Britain on Film (b01nvwqm)
Brits at Play
In 1959 Britain's biggest cinema company, the Rank Organisation, decided to replace its newsreels with a series of short, quirky, topical documentaries that examined all aspects of life in Britain. For the next ten years, Look at Life chronicled the changing face of British society, industry and culture, all on high-grade 35mm colour film. Britain on Film draws upon the 500 films in this unique archive to offer illuminating and often surprising insights into what became a pivotal decade in modern British history.
This episode looks at the films that recorded one of the great boom industries of the 1960s, the leisure industry. Having left behind the austerity of the immediate post-war period, Britain's increasingly affluent population took full advantage of the new leisure opportunities that made affordable newly-emerging recreational activities at home - as well as exciting holiday adventures abroad.
THU 20:00 Operation Mincemeat (b00wllmb)
For more than 60 years, the real story behind Operation Mincemeat has been shrouded in secrecy. Now, Ben Macintyre reveals the extraordinary truth in a documentary based on his best-selling book.
In 1943, British intelligence hatched a daring plan. As the Allies prepared to invade Sicily, their purpose was to convince the Germans that Greece was the real target. The plot to fool the Fuhrer was the brainchild of Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond.
British agents procured the body of a tramp and reinvented his entire identity. He was given a new name, an officer rank and a briefcase containing plans for a fake invasion of Greece. The body was floated off the Spanish coast where Nazi spies would find it.
The deception was an astonishing success. Hitler fell for it totally, ordering his armies to Greece to await an invasion that never happened. Meanwhile, the Allies landed in Sicily with minimal resistance. The island fell in a month. The war turned in the Allies' favour.
Together with original witnesses, Macintyre recreates the remarkable story of how one brilliant team, and one dead tramp, pulled off a deception which changed the course of history.
THU 21:00 Defiance (b013j3cr)
Thriller based on a true story. In 1940s Eastern Europe, four Jewish brothers flee to the forest to escape persecution and death at the hands of Nazi forces after their parents are murdered. Once there, they find more refugees are using the forest as a hideout, so they band together to share resources and attempt to outwit the German forces, who are always on their tail.
THU 23:05 Death Camp Treblinka: Survivor Stories (b01m1l9w)
The dark heart of the Nazi holocaust, Treblinka was an extermination camp where over 800,000 Polish Jews perished from 1942. Only two men can bear final witness to its terrible crimes. Samuel Willenberg and Kalman Taigman were slave labourers who escaped in a dramatic revolt in August 1943. One would seek vengeance in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, while the other would appear in the sensational trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961. This film documents their amazing survivor stories and the tragic fate of their families, and offers new insights into a forgotten death camp.
THU 00:05 Treasures of Ancient Rome (b01msf6r)
The Empire Strikes Back
In the third and final part of the series, Alastair Sooke charts the decline and fall of the Roman Empire through some of its hidden and most magical artistic treasures. He travels to Leptis Magna in Libya shortly after the overthrow of Gaddafi and finds one of the best preserved Roman cities in the world and the cradle of later Roman art. Sooke discovers glorious mosaics which have never been filmed before, but also finds evidence of shocking neglect of Libya's Roman heritage by the Gaddafi regime.
His artistic tour takes him to Egypt and the northern frontiers of the empire where he encounters stunning mummy paintings and exquisite silver and glassware. As Rome careered from one crisis to another, official art became more hard boiled and militaristic and an obscure cult called Christianity rose up to seize the mantle of Western art for centuries to come.
THU 01:05 Sex and Sensibility: The Allure of Art Nouveau (b01fd4z2)
In a story that combines scandal and revolution, cultural correspondent Stephen Smith explores how Vienna's artists rebelled against the establishment in the late 19th century and brought their own highly sexed version of art nouveau to the banks of the Danube.
Looking at the eye-watering work of Gustav Klimt, Smith discovers that Viennese 'Jugenstil' was more than just a decorative delight but saw artists struggle to bring social meaning to the new style. Revealing the design genius of Josef Hoffman, the graphic work of Koloman Moser and the emergence of the enfant terrible Egon Schiele, Smith unpacks the stories behind a style that burned brightly but briefly at the fin de siecle.
THU 02:00 Arena (b01c30jy)
Sonny Rollins: Beyond the Notes
2011 was the 82nd year in the extraordinary life of arguably the greatest saxophone player in the world, Sonny Rollins. Four decades ago, as a young filmmaker and aspiring musician, Dick Fontaine followed Rollins up onto the Williamsburg Bridge in Manhattan during one of his legendary escapes from the perils of 'the jazz life'. Today, still resisting stereotype and compromise, and revered by a new generation of young musicians, Rollins continues his single-minded search for meaning in his music and his life. Dick Fontaine's film is built around the explosive energy of Sonny's 80th Birthday Concert, where legendary figures Roy Haynes, Jim Hall and Ornette Coleman join him to celebrate his journey so far, his music and its future for a new generation.
THU 03:00 Arena (b01c30k0)
Sonny Rollins '74: Rescued!
Featuring a specially-shot introduction with Jamie Cullum, Arena presents a lost treasure - Sonny Rollins performing at Ronnie Scott's in 1974. After nearly 40 years unseen, this unique film shows a spellbinding performance from arguably the greatest saxophone player in the world. Having played alongside Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk, Rollins is one of the few surviving jazz greats. This gig captures him after his 1972 comeback when his bands started to sound funkier and to use electric guitar and bass. The band for this 1974 set features Japanese guitarist Yoshiaki Masuo and soprano saxophone player Rufus Harley, who doubles on the bagpipes.
FRIDAY 04 JANUARY 2013
FRI 19:00 BBC World News (b01pjs4l)
LIST OF THIS WEEK'S PROGRAMMES
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.
FRI 19:30 Robin Gibb's Titanic Requiem (b01pjrt3)
The world premiere of the late Robin Gibb's final work, Titanic Requiem, was recorded in April this year at a special concert at Westminster Central Hall, marking the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic. This critically-acclaimed performance by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the RSVP Voices is now broadcast for the first time.
The former Bee Gee wrote the piece over the last two years of his life with his son Robin-John and based it around the Latin mass for the dead. This is interwoven with additional movements and songs tracing the doomed ship's maiden voyage, which is evoked visually by an extraordinary series of specially created holograms.
Guest vocalists are Aled Jones and Isabel Suckling. Gibb's deteriorating health prevented him from being present at the premiere as planned, but he is represented holographically for his affecting song Don't Cry Alone.
FRI 20:45 Sounds of the Seventies (b00c1cx3)
Vintage rock, pop and soul performances from the BBC archives. The Faces perform Stay with Me in 1972.
FRI 20:50 Sounds of the Seventies (b01pcwhp)
Roxy Music, Queen and Elton John
Glamour with a seventies subversive quality in this selection from the BBC's back pages. Roxy Music operate their Ladytron, Queen are Killer and Elton John is back.
FRI 21:00 Top of the Pops (b01pkjy6)
The Story of 1978
In 1978, Top of the Pops began to turn the credibility corner. As the only major pop show on television, Top of the Pops had enjoyed a unique position in the nation's hearts since the 1960s - the nation's teenagers who were now fed up with the show's predominantly light entertainment blend still tuned in every week in the hope of seeing one of the new young outfits thrown up by punk, new wave and disco. In 1978 it seemed the kids' time had come again for the first time since glam rock. Yet the biggest-selling singles of 1978 were by the likes of Boney M, John Travolta & Olivia Newton John, Rod Stewart, The Bee Gees and Abba.
Punk never quite fitted in with the mainstream - it had been treated with disdain by Top of the Pops and largely ignored by the show. Britain's teenagers had to endure the all-round family entertainment on offer when all they wanted was teenage kicks. Along came a generation of young post-punk and new wave bands armed with guitar and bass, ready to storm the Top of the Pops stage - from The Undertones, The Buzzcocks, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Skids and Ian Dury and the Blockheads to The Boomtown Rats, Elvis Costello, The Jam and Squeeze - some weeks teenagers would get to see one of their bands, very rarely they got two, but there they were on primetime TV.
With contributions from The Boomtown Rats, Squeeze, Boney M, Sham 69, Brian & Michael, The Barron Knights, Mike Read, Kid Jensen, Kathryn Flett, Richard Jobson, Ian Gittins and Legs & Co.
FRI 21:50 Top of the Pops (b01pmbdy)
1978 - Big Hits
A pick 'n' mix of Top of the Pops classics from 1978, when in-yer-face punk and new wave rebellion co-existed with MOR suburban pop, disco fever, soul balladry, reggae and prog rock, and when two mega-successful movie soundtracks in the shape of Grease and Saturday Night Fever squared up on the dancefloor. Featuring shouty Sham 69, the cool rebellion of Ian Dury, Elvis Costello and Blondie, the media-savvy clowning of The Boomtown Rats, Kate Bush's debut with Wuthering Heights, alongside Brotherhood of Man's perky Figaro, Dan Hill's sentimental Sometimes When We Touch and the high camp of Boney M's Rasputin. Bob Marley shares chart space with 10cc's Dreadlock Holiday, and ELO and Manfred Mann's Earth Band keep on rockin'.
FRI 22:50 Queen Live In Budapest: Hungarian Rhapsody (b01pp0zp)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:30 on Saturday
FRI 00:20 Top of the Pops (b01pkjy6)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
FRI 01:10 Top of the Pops (b01pmbdy)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:50 today
FRI 02:10 Robin Gibb's Titanic Requiem (b01pjrt3)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
FRI 03:25 Robin Gibb: Me and My Songs, a Tribute (b01js1ct)
The late Robin Gibb reflects on his songs and the extraordinary career of the Bee Gees in of the last filmed interviews he gave to the BBC, from January 2011. Featuring archive footage of classic hits from both solo performances and those with his brothers.
(Note: the times link back to the details; the pids link to the BBC page, including iPlayer)
... Sings Disney Songs 20:00 MON (b018jpk4)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland 19:00 SAT (b010t9hx)
Arena 00:50 SAT (b01l4929)
Arena 02:00 THU (b01c30jy)
Arena 03:00 THU (b01c30k0)
BBC Proms 19:00 SUN (b014hsbn)
BBC Proms 01:00 SUN (b014hsbn)
BBC World News 19:00 WED (b01pjs46)
BBC World News 19:00 THU (b01pjs4c)
BBC World News 19:00 FRI (b01pjs4l)
Britain on Film 19:30 WED (b01nrmwp)
Britain on Film 19:30 THU (b01nvwqm)
Carve Her Name with Pride 21:00 WED (b0077l96)
Clara Bow: Hollywood's Lost Screen Goddess 21:00 SUN (b01pjn8h)
Concerto at the BBC Proms 03:00 SUN (b01l2t55)
Concerto at the BBC Proms 03:30 SUN (b01k83bg)
Death Camp Treblinka: Survivor Stories 23:05 THU (b01m1l9w)
Defiance 21:00 THU (b013j3cr)
Delius: Composer, Lover, Enigma 02:20 WED (b01j0yys)
Fifties British War Films: Days of Glory 21:00 TUE (b01pkj2m)
Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender - Director's Cut 21:00 SAT (b01pkbc7)
Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender - Director's Cut 01:50 SAT (b01pkbc7)
How the Brits Rocked America: Go West 00:30 MON (b01b4x9g)
How the Brits Rocked America: Go West 01:30 MON (b01bgqlc)
How the Brits Rocked America: Go West 02:30 MON (b01bsc3y)
Julie Andrews Hour with Sammy Davis Jr 22:00 SUN (b01pjnyb)
More Old Jews Telling Jokes 23:00 MON (b01p2pm8)
More Old Jews Telling Jokes 23:30 MON (b01p65lb)
New Year's Day Concert 19:00 TUE (b01pkhl9)
New Year's Day Concert 01:40 TUE (b01pkhl9)
Numb: Simon Amstell Live at the BBC 21:30 MON (b01pkh7r)
Operation Crossbow 20:00 WED (b011cr8f)
Operation Mincemeat 20:00 THU (b00wllmb)
Queen Live In Budapest: Hungarian Rhapsody 22:30 SAT (b01pp0zp)
Queen Live In Budapest: Hungarian Rhapsody 22:50 FRI (b01pp0zp)
Queen: The Legendary 1975 Concert 00:00 SAT (b00p4hgm)
Robin Gibb's Titanic Requiem 19:30 FRI (b01pjrt3)
Robin Gibb's Titanic Requiem 02:10 FRI (b01pjrt3)
Robin Gibb: Me and My Songs, a Tribute 03:25 FRI (b01js1ct)
Sacred Music at Christmas 03:15 SAT (b00x21sc)
Sex and Sensibility: The Allure of Art Nouveau 00:40 TUE (b01dprb6)
Sex and Sensibility: The Allure of Art Nouveau 01:20 WED (b01f1959)
Sex and Sensibility: The Allure of Art Nouveau 01:05 THU (b01fd4z2)
Sounds of the 70s 2 03:30 MON (b01jzy37)
Sounds of the Seventies 20:45 FRI (b00c1cx3)
Sounds of the Seventies 20:50 FRI (b01pcwhp)
Storyville 22:55 WED (b01ghtll)
The Art of Tommy Cooper 00:00 MON (b007hzl2)
The Best of Kenny Everett's Television Shows 21:00 MON (b01n7m2m)
The Best of Kenny Everett's Television Shows 22:30 MON (b01n7mdr)
The Bridges That Built London with Dan Cruickshank 19:00 MON (b01jv5nr)
The Wooden Horse 22:00 TUE (b0078n5m)
Top of the Pops 21:00 FRI (b01pkjy6)
Top of the Pops 21:50 FRI (b01pmbdy)
Top of the Pops 00:20 FRI (b01pkjy6)
Top of the Pops 01:10 FRI (b01pmbdy)
Treasures of Ancient Rome 23:40 TUE (p00wpvpr)
Treasures of Ancient Rome 00:20 WED (b01mmrn5)
Treasures of Ancient Rome 00:05 THU (b01msf6r)
Victor Victoria 22:55 SUN (b0169l15)