The BBC has announced that it has a sustainable plan for the future of the BBC Singers, in association with The VOCES8 Foundation.
The threat to reduce the staff of the three English orchestras by 20% has not been lifted, but it is being reconsidered.
See the BBC press release here.

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Unofficial Weekly Listings for BBC 4 — supported by


SAT 19:00 Africa (b01qb062)

Southern Africa is a riot of life and colour because of two great ocean currents that sweep around the continent's Cape. To the east, the warm Agulhas current, generating clouds that roll inland to the wettest place in southern Africa. To the west is the cold Benguela current, home to more great white sharks than anywhere else. Moisture-laden fog rolls inland, supporting wonderful desert garden. And where the two currents meet, the clash of warm and cold water creates one of the world's most fabulous natural spectacles: South Africa's sardine run. This is the greatest gathering of predators on the planet, including Africa's largest, the brydes whale.

SAT 20:00 Lost Kingdoms of Africa (b01c2wns)
Series 2

The Berber Kingdom of Morocco

We know less about Africa's distant past than almost anywhere else on Earth. But the scarcity of written records doesn't mean Africa lacks history. It is found instead in the culture, artefacts, and traditions of the people. Art historian Dr Gus Casely-Hayford explores some of the richest and most vibrant histories in the world, revealing fascinating stories of complex and sophisticated civilisations: The Kingdom of Asante; The Zulu Kingdom; The Berber Kingdom of Morocco; The Kingdoms of Bunyoro & Buganda.

It's easy to think of Islamic North Africa as Arab, rather than African. But the land that is now Morocco once lay at the centre of a vast African Kingdom that stretched from northern Spain to the heart of West Africa. It was created by African Berbers, and ruled for centuries by two dynasties that created tremendous wealth, commissioned fabulous architecture, and promoted sophisticated ideas. But art historian Dr. Gus Casely-Hayford reveals how the very forces that forged the kingdom ultimately helped to destroy its indigenous African identity.

SAT 21:00 The Young Montalbano (b03dtq1g)
Series 1

Seven Mondays

As Livia and Salvo prepare to go on their first holiday together, Vigata is shaken by the murder of a rich old man. Meanwhile, a series of strange occurrences takes place involving the shooting of a number of animals at the hands of an elusive gunman. With little evidence to go on, Montalbano and his team struggle to understand the logic behind the animal killings and fear that the worst may be yet to come.

In Italian with English subtitles.

SAT 22:55 Wellington Bomber (b00tr2p5)
One autumn weekend, early in WWII at an aircraft factory at Broughton in North Wales, a group of British workers, men and women, set out to smash a world record for building a bomber from scratch. They managed to build a Wellington Bomber in 23 hours and 50 minutes. They worked so quickly that the test pilot had to be turfed out of bed to take it into the air, 24 hours and 48 minutes after the first part of the airframe had been laid.

So who were the men and women who made this record-breaking Wellington? Britain's propaganda machine made a 12-minute film about the attempt and Peter Williams Television has traced six of them, one of whom, Bill Anderson, was only 14 years old. Their story of the excitement of the attempt is the heart of this documentary.

The Wellington was a special aircraft, as historian Sir Max Hastings says. It was held in great affection by those who flew it, mostly because its geodetic construction enabled it to survive enormous damage, as Flt Lt 'Tiny' Cooling remembers. He flew 67 missions in Wellingtons.

More Wellingtons were built during WWII than any other British aircraft, except the Spitfire and the Hurricane, the stars of the Battle of Britain. And, unwittingly, the Wellington, Britain's main strike bomber, played an important role in the Battle of Britain, as this documentary reveals.

SAT 23:55 Otis Redding: Soul Ambassador (b020tphg)
Documentary about the legendary soul singer Otis Redding, following him from childhood and marriage to the Memphis studios and segregated southern clubs where he honed his unique stage act and voice. Through unseen home movies, the film reveals how Otis's 1967 tour of Britain dramatically changed his life and music. After bringing soul to Europe, he returned to conquer America, first with the 'love crowd' at the Monterey Festival and then with Dock of the Bay, which topped the charts only after his death at just 26.

Includes rare and unseen performances, intimate interviews with Otis's wife and daughter and with original band members Steve Cropper and Booker T Jones. Also featured are British fans whose lives were changed by seeing him, among them Rod Stewart, Tom Jones and Bryan Ferry.

SAT 00:55 The Sky at Night (b08kbj5d)
Space Surgery Special

The team go camping at the Brecon Beacons star party and answer problems and queries about what to see in the night sky and how to use a telescope. Viewers have been sending in astronomy questions in the hundreds since the Space Surgery was launched six months ago.

SAT 01:25 Africa (b01qb062)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

SAT 02:25 Lost Kingdoms of Africa (b01c2wns)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


SUN 19:00 Miss Marple (b03cch46)
The Body in the Library

Part Three

Miss Marple is convinced that the death of the schoolgirl Pamela Reeve holds the key to the mystery of the double murder. There are a number of suspects, but the police finally arrest Basil Blake. Miss Marple, however, draws an entirely different conclusion. After a train journey to London, she comes back with evidence that allows the police to stage a trap for the real killer.

SUN 19:50 Wild (b00793nq)
2006-07 Shorts

The Sheep Beside the Sea

Documentary telling the unlikely story of a banished flock of stoic sheep. Two hundred years ago they were turned out of their meadows on North Ronaldsay, the most northerly of the Orkney Islands. They were forced to eke out a living on the island's rocky windswept beach, a home they still share today with seals and seabirds. But, deprived of grass, how on earth have they managed to survive?

SUN 20:00 The Review Show (b03d67jw)
Man Booker Special

Kirsty Wark is joined by a literary panel of Paul Morley, Professor Sarah Churchwell and Professor John Mullan to tackle the six nominated books on this year's Man Booker shortlist. Plus, music from Steve Mason.

SUN 21:00 Frost on Interviews (b01dc5ft)
Television interviews seem to have been around forever - but that's not the case. They evolved in confidence and diversity as television gradually came of age. So how did it all begin? With the help of some of its greatest exponents, Sir David Frost looks back over nearly 60 years of the television interview.

He looks at political interviews, from the earliest examples in the postwar period to the forensic questioning that we now take for granted, and celebrity interviews, from the birth of the chat show in the United States with Jack Paar and Johnny Carson to the emergence of our own peak-time British performers like Sir Michael Parkinson and Sir David himself.

Melvyn Bragg, Joan Bakewell, Tony Benn, Clive Anderson, Ruby Wax, Andrew Neil, Stephen Fry, AA Gill, Alastair Campbell and Michael Parkinson all help trace the development of the television interview. What is its enduring appeal and where does the balance of power actually lie - with the interviewer or the interviewee?

SUN 22:00 Comedy Connections (b007cg9n)
Series 4

That Was The Week That Was

In creating That Was The Week That Was, Ned Sherrin changed not just comedy, but television. Suddenly the BBC was being actively disrespectful towards politicians, royalty and religion, all previously seen as untouchable.

And to break society's taboos the programme had to find a way around the BBC's own rules. TW3's mix of current affairs and entertainment couldn't have come out of the comedy department of the early 60s because it was labouring under draconian taste and decency guidelines laid down in 1948. So when the BBC's director general Hugh Carleton Greene wanted a programme to "prick the pomposity of public figures" the job was handed to Sherrin, who was a current affairs producer.

But it was very nearly That Wasn't The Week That Was, and Sherrin wouldn't have become the founding father of modern TV satire. His first pilot didn't appeal to BBC middle management. But a section of that programme in which Bernard Levin discussed politics with a group of Tory women drew complaints from Conservative Party central office. Senior BBC management were forced to watch the programme in order to deal with the complaint and they liked what they saw. A second pilot was commissioned.

When the show finally hit the air in late 1962 it was an immediate hit. Levin's artful rudeness in his discussion section remained from the first pilot, as did young satirist David Frost in the host's role. Around them Sherrin placed Willie Rushton, Kenneth Cope, Timothy Birdsall, Roy Kinnear, Lance Percival and singers Millicent Martin and David Kernan. TV was never quite the same again. And Ned Sherrin became able to claim personal responsibility for Mary Whitehouse's public profile.

Narrated by Doon Mackichan, interviewees include producer Ned Sherrin, Sir David Frost, Millicent Martin, Kenneth Cope, Lance Percival and writer Denis Norden.

SUN 22:40 Medieval Lives: Birth, Marriage, Death (b03cv0lm)
A Good Birth

For a medieval woman approaching the moment of labour and birth, there were no antiseptics to ward off infection or anaesthetics to deal with pain. Historian Helen Castor reveals how this was one of the most dangerous moments a medieval woman would ever encounter, with some aristocratic and royal women giving birth as young as 13. Birth took place in an all-female environment and the male world of medicine was little help to a woman in confinement. It was believed that the pains of labour were the penalty for the original sin of humankind - so, to get through them, a pregnant woman needed the help of the saints and the blessing of God himself.

SUN 23:40 La Vie en Rose (b00pq8c6)
Award-winning biopic of French chanteuse and diva Edith Piaf, whose tumultuous life started in abject poverty on the streets of Paris and ended amongst the trials and tragedy of stardom.

In French with English subtitles.

SUN 01:55 Tubular Bells: The Mike Oldfield Story (b03cw8g0)
In 1973, an album was released that against all odds and expectations went to the top of the UK charts. The fact the album launched a record label that became one of the most recognisable brand names in the world (Virgin), formed the soundtrack to one of the biggest movies of the decade (The Exorcist), became the biggest selling instrumental album of all time, would eventually go on to sell over 16 million copies and was performed almost single-handedly by a 19-year-old makes the story all the more incredible. That album was Tubular Bells, and the young and painfully shy musician was Mike Oldfield.

This documentary features contributions from Sir Richard Branson, Danny Boyle, Mike's family and the original engineers of the Tubular Bells album among others. The spine of the film is an extended interview with Mike himself, where he takes us through the events that led to him writing Tubular Bells - growing up with a mother with severe mental health problems; the refuge he sought in music as a child, with talent that led to him playing in folk clubs aged 12 and signing with his sister's folk group at only 15; his frightening experience of taking LSD at 16; and finally arriving at the Manor Recording Studios as a young session musician where he gave a demo tape to a recording engineer who passed it along to young entrepreneur Richard Branson.

After the album's huge success, Mike retreated to a Hereford hilltop, shunned public life and became a recluse until he took part in a controversial therapy which changed his life.

In 2012 Mike captured the public's imagination once again when he was asked to perform at the London Olympic Opening Ceremony, where Tubular Bells was the soundtrack to 20 minutes of the one-hour ceremony.

Filmed on location at his home recording studio in Nassau, Mike also plays the multiple instruments of Tubular Bells and shows how the groundbreaking piece of music was put together.

SUN 02:55 Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells (b00g8h9q)
A live studio performance from 1974 of Mike Oldfield's composition Tubular Bells, which had been acclaimed in the press as a unique achievement in popular music.


MON 19:00 World News Today (b03d5cpv)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

MON 19:30 Timothy Spall: All at Sea (b01cqptf)
Stags by the Sea

Timothy Spall and his wife Shane are back on board their beloved barge the Princess Matilda as they conclude their trip around the British coast.

The Spalls visit Northumberland, Newcastle and Hartlepool. Starting in Amble and the neighbouring town of Warkworth, Tim and Shane are in awe of this historic part of England as they visit the beautiful Church of St Lawrence and Warkworth Castle. In Amble, Tim meets a young sailor circumnavigating Britain in the opposite direction who, like Tim, was inspired to take to the sea after surviving leukaemia.

Next stop is Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a place he is truly fond of as he has been welcomed there ever since he played Barry in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. Along the way he meets actress Melanie Hill, who played Barry's first wife Hazel. Tim says that most of Britain saw Barry as a 'bit of a radish, a prannet', but that the Geordies thought of him as a 'sensitive character' and have always made him welcome. He takes us on a tour of his favourite places in the city.

After Newcastle it's on to Hartlepool, which Tim discovers translates to 'Stags by the Sea'. They soon find themselves trapped there after dramatically aborting a journey to Whitby whilst at sea. The North Sea once again reminds us that it's not to be messed with.

MON 20:00 Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? (b0077l12)
Series 2

Heart to Heart

Classic sitcom. Bob comes back from his honeymoon to find that Terry is off his beer and is going out with Thelma's sister Susan. Is Terry in love?

MON 20:30 Only Connect (b03d690l)
Series 8

Press Gang v Bakers

The press gang take on a team of bakers, competing to draw together the connections between things which, at first glance, seem utterly random. So join Victoria Coren Mitchell if you want to know what connects a pure tone, biorhythms, simple harmonic motion and alternating current.

MON 21:00 Impact! A Horizon Guide to Plane Crashes (b03d690n)
It's a macabre paradox, but almost every advance in aviation safety has been driven by a crash. After every crash, investigators determine its cause and scientists make every effort to ensure the same mistakes never happen again. Dallas Campbell delves into the Horizon archives to chart the deadly disasters that have helped make air travel today the safest it has ever been.

MON 22:00 Horizon: 40 Years on the Moon (b00llgs8)
Professor Brian Cox takes a look through nearly 50 years of BBC archive at the story of man's relationship with the moon.

From the BBC's space fanatic James Burke testing out the latest Nasa equipment to 1960s interviews about the bacon-flavoured crystals that astronauts can survive on in space, to the iconic images of man's first steps on the moon and the dramatic story of Apollo 13, Horizon and the BBC have covered it all.

But since President Kennedy's goal of landing a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s was reached, no-one has succeeded in reigniting the public's enthusiasm for space travel and lunar voyages. Why?

On his journey through the ages, Professor Cox explores the role that international competition played in getting man to the moon and asks if, with America no longer the world's only superpower, we are at the dawn of a bright new space age.

MON 23:00 Africa (b01qb062)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 on Saturday]

MON 00:00 Lost Kingdoms of Africa (b01c2wns)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 on Saturday]

MON 01:00 Only Connect (b03d690l)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 today]

MON 01:30 Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? (b0077l12)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

MON 02:00 Timothy Spall: All at Sea (b01cqptf)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

MON 02:30 Impact! A Horizon Guide to Plane Crashes (b03d690n)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


TUE 19:00 World News Today (b03d5cq8)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

TUE 19:30 Timothy Spall: All at Sea (b01d24tt)
God's Own Coast

The Spalls are now in Yorkshire, and had been proudly steaming towards their final destination of London. But on the sea while travelling to Whitby, Tim is deeply troubled by strange engine noises. A failed engine at sea is incredibly dangerous so an engineer is called to Whitby to assess the problem. Tim is keen to see the town as this is where Bram Stoker based the opening of his novel, Dracula. Armed with his treasured antique walking cane, once owned by Stoker, Tim finds the hotel where Stoker stayed and looks for the part of the coastline featured in the novel.

Next is Scarborough, where Tim filmed The Damned United. It's high summer and Britain's first seaside resort is crammed with holidaymakers. Arriving at Spurn Head they are now completely alone - there's no harbour or marina here, no town or access to land. They are moored to a single buoy owned by the local lifeboat crew and are waiting patiently for the perfect sea conditions to take them out of the north of England and into the south. It's a big journey - as well as the North Sea they have to watch out for heavy sea traffic, the turbulence of the Wash and dangerous sandbanks.

In the dark of night arriving at the north Norfolk coast, a pilot boat guides them into the port of Wells-next-the-Sea. They soon discover it's a trip worth making as they explore this stunning coastline.

TUE 20:00 Britain on Film (b01qnnqp)
Series 1

Country Living

The series looking at the culture, economics and society of 1960s Britain turns its attention to one of our great national treasures - the countryside. Drawing on the archive of high-quality colour films produced by the country's biggest cinema company, the Rank Organisation, this film shows how new technologies and production methods were changing the face of agriculture and records how country life was adapting to the new economic and moral realities of a fast-changing nation.

TUE 20:30 Secret Knowledge (b03d6b1j)
The Hidden Jewels of the Cheapside Hoard

In 1912, workmen demolishing a building in London's Cheapside district made an extraordinary discovery - a dazzling hoard of nearly 500 Elizabethan and Jacobean jewels. For the first time since its discovery, all the pieces from this priceless treasure trove were on display at the Museum of London in an exhibition in October 2013.

With exclusive close-up access to the fabulous collection, award-winning jewellery designer Shaun Leane goes behind the scenes during the run-up to the exhibition to uncover some of the secrets of the hoard. Who did the jewels belong to? Why were they buried? And why were they never retrieved?

As Shaun uncovers a world of astonishing skill and glittering beauty, he also reveals a darker story of forgery, intrigue and even murder.

TUE 21:00 The Art of Australia (b03d6b1l)
Coming of Age

Edmund Capon explores how Australian art evolved in the first half of the 20th century against the backdrop of two world wars. As modern artists expressed both the dreams and demons of this new nation, they met with decades of disapproval from the old guard, until they finally revolutionised Australian art and heralded its arrival on the world stage.

TUE 22:00 The Review Show (b03d6b1n)
Kirsty Wark Meets Donna Tartt: A Review Show Special

Presenter Kirsty Wark travels to New York for an exclusive interview with the acclaimed writer Donna Tartt ahead of the publication of her long-awaited third novel, The Goldfinch. Tartt is famously private and this is her first television interview in 11 years.

TUE 22:30 Pain, Pus and Poison: The Search for Modern Medicines (b03ccs7k)

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 23:30 Destination Titan (b0109ccd)
It's a voyage of exploration like no other - to Titan, Saturn's largest moon and thought to resemble our own early Earth. For a small team of British scientists this would be the culmination of a lifetime's endeavour - the flight alone, some two billion miles, would take a full seven years.

This is the story of the space probe they built, the sacrifices they made and their hopes for the landing. Would their ambitions survive the descent into the unknown on Titan's surface?

TUE 00:30 The Joy of Stats (b00wgq0l)
Documentary which takes viewers on a rollercoaster ride through the wonderful world of statistics to explore the remarkable power they have to change our understanding of the world, presented by superstar boffin Professor Hans Rosling, whose eye-opening, mind-expanding and funny online lectures have made him an international internet legend.

Rosling is a man who revels in the glorious nerdiness of statistics, and here he entertainingly explores their history, how they work mathematically and how they can be used in today's computer age to see the world as it really is, not just as we imagine it to be.

Rosling's lectures use huge quantities of public data to reveal the story of the world's past, present and future development. Now he tells the story of the world in 200 countries over 200 years using 120,000 numbers - in just four minutes.

The film also explores cutting-edge examples of statistics in action today. In San Francisco, a new app mashes up police department data with the city's street map to show what crime is being reported street by street, house by house, in near real-time. Every citizen can use it and the hidden patterns of their city are starkly revealed. Meanwhile, at Google HQ the machine translation project tries to translate between 57 languages, using lots of statistics and no linguists.

Despite its light and witty touch, the film nonetheless has a serious message - without statistics we are cast adrift on an ocean of confusion, but armed with stats we can take control of our lives, hold our rulers to account and see the world as it really is. What's more, Hans concludes, we can now collect and analyse such huge quantities of data and at such speeds that scientific method itself seems to be changing.

TUE 01:30 Britain on Film (b01qnnqp)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

TUE 02:00 Timothy Spall: All at Sea (b01d24tt)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

TUE 02:30 Secret Knowledge (b03d6b1j)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 today]

TUE 03:00 The Art of Australia (b03d6b1l)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


WED 19:00 World News Today (b03d5cr2)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

WED 19:30 Timothy Spall: All at Sea (b01dc59m)
The Last Splash

Six years ago, Timothy Spall and his wife Shane left London to tour Britain's coast. This final episode of their journey sees them complete their circumnavigation, but not before a dramatic and frightening twist.

They arrive in Suffolk where they moor in Shotley marina, the site of the former naval training camp HMS Ganges. From here they venture into the serene Walton backwaters and then out into the North Sea for a trip to Brightlingsea, Essex. Essex to Kent should have been fairly trouble-free. Tim filled his boat with friends, including actress Frances Barber, before setting off on this celebratory leg.

Chatham is the port were the Spalls spent months learning the art of navigation before venturing out into the sea for the first time all those years ago. They know the area well, but Tim hadn't realised how much the waters of the Medway would change in the blackness of night. After hours at sea they are close to land, but soon become lost. The lights from all the factories and power plants on land add confusion and low tide increases the risk of running aground. After hours of fretting, Tim reluctantly calls the coastguard. The lifeboat crew take them to the nearest port, Queenborough in Sheppey.

The next day they safely make it to Chatham, where both Tim and Shane are emotionally drained and relieved. The final journey up the Thames into London is where he eventually realises why he did this adventure in the first place - 'It's been a celebration of life and a spit in the eye of the audacity of fate trying to kill me, so we went out and tried to kill ourselves.'.

WED 20:00 Heritage! The Battle for Britain's Past (b01r7h3t)
The Men from the Ministry

The second episode reveals the unsung heroes of the heritage movement, the clever civil servants who saved the great ruins of Britain. It explores the determination of Charles Reed Peers from the Office of Works, who seized the chance in the interwar years to make history a popular cause, and looks at how the increasingly mobile British public began to embrace the idea of a day out at an historic site. As the country houses faced a crisis with owners demolishing or abandoning their homes, who would come to the rescue - the Ministry of Works or the National Trust?

WED 21:00 Medieval Lives: Birth, Marriage, Death (b03d6c64)
A Good Marriage

Unlike birth and death, which are inescapable facts of life, marriage is rite of passage made by choice and in the Middle Ages it wasn't just a choice made by bride and groom - they were often the last pieces in a puzzle, put together by their parents, with help from their family and friends, according to rules laid down by the church.

Helen Castor reveals how in the Middle Ages marriage was actually much easier to get into than today - you could get married in a pub or even a hedgerow simply by exchanging words of consent - but from the 12th century onwards the Catholic church tried to control this conjugal free-for-all. For the church, marriage was a way to contain the troubling issue of sex, but, as the film reveals, it was not easy to impose rules on the most unpredictable human emotions of love and lust.

WED 22:00 The First Master Chef: Michel Roux on Escoffier (p00ypy02)
Michel Roux Jr explores the life and influence of his great culinary hero, Georges Auguste Escoffier - the man who turned eating into dining. The first great restaurant chef, Escoffier established restaurants in grand hotels all over the world and in these centres of luxury and decadence the world's most glamorous figures of the day would mix - actresses and princes, duchesses and opera singers. Catering to this international jet set, Escoffier produced fabulous dishes that combined luxury and theatricality, elevating restaurant food to an art form.

Escoffier was born the humble son of a Provencal blacksmith, but at 13 began working in a restaurant kitchen. In the 19th century they were infernal, coal-fired, unventilated places and chefs had a shorter life expectancy than even coal miners. As Escoffier worked his way up the career ladder, he dedicated himself to improving the lot of his staff - from banning alcohol and swearing in his kitchens to buying smart clothes for young chefs who couldn't afford them. He always told his staff to 'dress like you are somebody, his great-grandson Michel Escoffier tells Roux as they have lunch in an original 19th century Parisian dining room.

Escoffier really made his name when he and partner Cesar Ritz came to London to run the brand new Savoy Hotel at the request of Richard D'Oyly Carte. In a time of untold luxury and decadence, when money and pleasure combined like never before, he cooked and named dishes for all of London's society - from Queen Victoria and Bertie, the fun-loving Prince of Wales, to the most glamorous entertainers of the day such as Oscar Wilde, actress Sarah Bernhardt and opera singer Nellie Melba. 125 years later, Michel joins historian Kate Williams to enjoy a delicious peach melba in the Savoy and discover how the Victorian British were convinced that eating out was the thing to do - until Escoffier and Ritz, 'nice' women would never have been seen eating in public.

But there's a dark secret, one that Michel has heard of but never wanted to believe - that after eight years Escoffier was fired from the Savoy for being on the fiddle. Food journalist Paul Levy, who first published the accusations, tells all.

As well as delving into the history of his hero, Michel also explores the palpable influence that Escoffier has on all our lives today. Whenever we step into a restaurant and order a meal it's his traditions, systems and skills at work - the a la carte menu, the prix fixe, the organisation of the kitchen and the way a dining room is decorated - and it's for that reason that Michel, one of this country's most celebrated and favourite chefs, says that he owes his whole career to Escoffier.

Along the way we witness some of his most delicious dishes and we see the evolution of one of Michel's own creations, as he explores one of Escoffier's most basic recipes and turns it into a Michelin-starred 21st-century dish.

WED 23:00 Balmoral (b00mqg2c)
Documentary telling the story of Balmoral, the royal family's most private residence. For over 150 years this Scottish castle has been home to royal traditions of picnics, stag hunting and kilts. From prime ministers to Princess Diana, life at this tartan-bound holiday home has not appealed to everyone.

But there is another story of Balmoral, of how the royal family has played a role in shaping modern Scotland and how Scotland has shaped the royal family. Queen Victoria's adoption of Highland symbols, from tartan to bagpipes, helped create a new image for Scotland. Her values, too, helped strengthen the union between Scotland and England. Ever since, Balmoral has been a place that reflects the very essence of the royal family.

WED 00:00 Too Much, Too Young: Children of the Middle Ages (b013rknh)
Medievalist Dr Stephen Baxter takes a fresh look at the Middle Ages through the eyes of children. At a time when half the population was under eighteen he argues that, although they had to grow up quickly and take on adult responsibility early, the experience of childhood could also be richly rewarding. Focusing on the three pillars of medieval society - religion, war and work - Baxter reveals how children played a vital role in creating the medieval world.

WED 01:00 Heritage! The Battle for Britain's Past (b01r7h3t)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

WED 02:00 Timothy Spall: All at Sea (b01dc59m)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

WED 02:30 Medieval Lives: Birth, Marriage, Death (b03d6c64)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


THU 19:00 World News Today (b03d5cr9)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

THU 19:30 Top of the Pops (b03d6dyq)
Mike Read introduces the weekly pop chart show featuring Dandy, Patrick Juvet, the Boomtown Rats, Darts, the Cars, Liquid Gold, Chas & Dave, X-Ray Spex and Legs & Co dance sequences.

THU 20:00 The Horizon Guide to Mars (b00p1crx)
The intriguing possibility of life on Mars has fuelled man's quest to visit the Red Planet. Drawing on 45 years of Horizon archive, space expert Dr Kevin Fong presents a documentary on Earth's near neighbour.

Man's extraordinary attempts to reach Mars have pushed technological boundaries past their limit and raised the tantalising prospect of establishing human colonies beyond our own planet.

While the moon lies 240,000 miles away, Mars is at a distance of 50 million miles. Reaching the moon takes three days, but to land on Mars would take nearly eight months, and only two thirds of the missions to Mars have made it. The BBC has been analysing the highs and lows throughout - including the ill-fated British attempt, the Beagle.

Horizon has explored how scientists believe the only way to truly understand Mars is to send people there. If and when we do, it will be the most challenging trip humanity has ever undertaken.

THU 21:00 Pain, Pus and Poison: The Search for Modern Medicines (p01f53b9)

Dr Michael Mosley ends the series with a look at poisons, exploring the turning points when scientists went from finding antidotes to poisons to applying poisons as cures, and celebrating the eccentrics and mavericks whose breakthroughs were to pave the way for some of the most striking treatments of modern medicine. Of the medicines explored in this series, those that are derived from poisons are perhaps the most extraordinary. The story of turning poisons into medicines encompasses the planet's most deadly substances, in which we turned killers into cures.

THU 22:00 Impact! A Horizon Guide to Plane Crashes (b03d690n)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Monday]

THU 23:00 The Art of Australia (b03d6b1l)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Tuesday]

THU 00:00 Beautiful Thing: A Passion for Porcelain (p0192fqp)
Documentary in which Ros Savill, former director and curator at the Wallace Collection, tells the story of some incredible and misunderstood objects - the opulent, intricate, gold-crested and often much-maligned Sevres porcelain of the 18th century.

Ros brings us up close to a personal choice of Sevres masterpieces in the Wallace Collection, viewing them in intricate and intimate detail. She engages us with the beauty and brilliance in the designs, revelling in what is now often viewed as unfashionably pretty or ostentatious. These objects represent the unbelievable skills of 18th-century France, as well as the desires and demands of an autocratic regime that was heading for revolution.

As valuable now as they were when first produced, Sevres' intricacies and opulence speak of wealth, sophistication and prestige and have always been sought after by collectors eager to associate themselves with Sevres' power. Often the whims and capricious demands of monumentally rich patrons were the catalysts for these beautiful and incredible artistic innovations.

The film explores the stories of some of history's most outrageous patrons - Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV, Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, as well as their foreign counterparts like Catherine the Great, who willingly copied the French court's capricious ways. Ros tells how the French Revolutionaries actually preserved and adapted the Sevres tradition to their new order, and how the English aristocracy collected these huge dinner services out of nostalgia for the ancient regime. In fact, they are still used by the British royal family today.

Like the iPads of their day, these objects, ostentatious to modernist eyes, were the product of art and science coming together and creating something beautiful yet functional. Ros reconnects us with the fascinating lives and stories of the artists, artisans, painters and sculptors whose ingenuity, innovation and creativity went into making some of the most incredible and incredibly expensive ice cream coolers, vases and teapots of their day. We also see inside the factory, still open today, and witness the alchemic creation process for ourselves.

Taking us behind the museum glass and into some incredible private collections, the film reveals stories that are as louche, extravagant and over the top as some of the objects themselves. They might be unfashionable or even unpalatable to minimalist modernist tastes right now, but in this documentary we are taken back to a time when these objects were universally loved and adored, when they were the newest and most incredible things that had ever been created.

THU 01:00 Top of the Pops (b03d6dyq)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

THU 01:40 The Horizon Guide to Mars (b00p1crx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

THU 02:40 Pain, Pus and Poison: The Search for Modern Medicines (p01f53b9)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


FRI 19:00 World News Today (b03d5crh)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

FRI 19:30 Symphony (b016pwgy)
Genesis and Genius

Simon Russell Beale presents a radical reappraisal of the place of the symphony in the modern world and explores the surprising way in which it has shaped our history and identity.

The first episode begins amidst the turmoil of the French Revolution with the arrival in England of Joseph Haydn, dubbed the 'Father of the Symphony'. It continues with Mozart, the genius who wrote his first symphony at the age of eight, and Beethoven, the revolutionary who created the idea of the artist as hero and whose Eroica Symphony changed music for ever.

The music is performed by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, conducted by Sir Mark Elder.

FRI 20:30 Transatlantic Sessions (b03cvpmx)
Series 6

Episode 4

Music co-directors, Shetland fiddle virtuoso Aly Bain, dobro ace Jerry Douglas and their all-star house-band, host a gathering of the cream of Nashville, Irish and Scottish talent in a spectacular location overlooking the banks of Loch Lomond. Phil Cunningham joins the fun, and Jerry Douglas and Aly Bain are also to the fore, along with Mike McGoldrick on pipes and whistles.

FRI 21:00 How the Brits Rocked America: Go West (b01b4x9g)
How the West Was Won

In the 1960s, arriving British groups were astounded by pizza, skyscrapers and real cowboys while America fell in love with a curious blend of swinging London and ye olde England.

FRI 22:00 How the Brits Rocked America: Go West (b01bgqlc)
Stairway to Heaven

The second part of a series celebrating the success of British rock in America looks at how Led Zeppelin spearheaded a British stadium rock assault on the States in the 70s. The Beatles gave the world a glimpse of the future of rock at Shea Stadium in 1965, but it would be Page, Plant and co who would take it to the bank.

With contributions from Paul McCartney and Jimmy Page.

FRI 23:00 How the Brits Rocked America: Go West (b01bsc3y)
We're the Kids in America

The Sex Pistols' American tour of 1978 might not have been a commercial success but it would set the tone and attitude for a new wave of British rock in the USA, while Duran Duran would lead a new pop invasion in the 80s.

With contributions from John Lydon and Robert Smith.

FRI 00:00 Big in America: British Hits in the USA (b01bywsr)
Compilation of British rock 'n' roll acts in performance with tracks that crossed over to the US charts. From The Dave Clark Five to Coldplay, the Brits have rocked America and sometimes even done better across the pond than here - take a bow A Flock of Seagulls, Supertramp and Bush - who are also included here alongside darker British global exports like Black Sabbath and The Cure.

FRI 01:00 Electric Proms (b00850nd)

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney performs a selection of old Beatles hits plus newer solo songs at the Roundhouse in London.

FRI 02:00 Mark Knopfler: A Life in Songs (b00xz0zx)
Mark Knopfler is one of the most successful musicians in the world. During the past 30 years he has written and recorded over 300 songs including some of the most famous in popular music.

In this in-depth documentary he talks about how these songs have defined him and how they have been influenced by his own life and roots. It features previously unseen photographs from his personal collection and comprehensive footage spanning his career from a struggling musician playing in pubs in Leeds in the 1970s, to the record-breaking success with Dire Straits and his world tour as a solo artist.

Looking back over the 25 years since he wrote the iconic Brothers In Arms album, the film takes an affectionate look at how this formidable, creative man has operated as a musician for three decades and how he continues to do so as a solo artist who is as much in demand as ever.

FRI 03:00 Big in America: British Hits in the USA (b01bywsr)
[Repeat of broadcast at 00:00 today]

(Note: the times link back to the details; the pids link to the BBC page, including iPlayer)

Africa 19:00 SAT (b01qb062)

Africa 01:25 SAT (b01qb062)

Africa 23:00 MON (b01qb062)

Balmoral 23:00 WED (b00mqg2c)

Beautiful Thing: A Passion for Porcelain 00:00 THU (p0192fqp)

Big in America: British Hits in the USA 00:00 FRI (b01bywsr)

Big in America: British Hits in the USA 03:00 FRI (b01bywsr)

Britain on Film 20:00 TUE (b01qnnqp)

Britain on Film 01:30 TUE (b01qnnqp)

Comedy Connections 22:00 SUN (b007cg9n)

Destination Titan 23:30 TUE (b0109ccd)

Electric Proms 01:00 FRI (b00850nd)

Frost on Interviews 21:00 SUN (b01dc5ft)

Heritage! The Battle for Britain's Past 20:00 WED (b01r7h3t)

Heritage! The Battle for Britain's Past 01:00 WED (b01r7h3t)

Horizon: 40 Years on the Moon 22:00 MON (b00llgs8)

How the Brits Rocked America: Go West 21:00 FRI (b01b4x9g)

How the Brits Rocked America: Go West 22:00 FRI (b01bgqlc)

How the Brits Rocked America: Go West 23:00 FRI (b01bsc3y)

Impact! A Horizon Guide to Plane Crashes 21:00 MON (b03d690n)

Impact! A Horizon Guide to Plane Crashes 02:30 MON (b03d690n)

Impact! A Horizon Guide to Plane Crashes 22:00 THU (b03d690n)

La Vie en Rose 23:40 SUN (b00pq8c6)

Lost Kingdoms of Africa 20:00 SAT (b01c2wns)

Lost Kingdoms of Africa 02:25 SAT (b01c2wns)

Lost Kingdoms of Africa 00:00 MON (b01c2wns)

Mark Knopfler: A Life in Songs 02:00 FRI (b00xz0zx)

Medieval Lives: Birth, Marriage, Death 22:40 SUN (b03cv0lm)

Medieval Lives: Birth, Marriage, Death 21:00 WED (b03d6c64)

Medieval Lives: Birth, Marriage, Death 02:30 WED (b03d6c64)

Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells 02:55 SUN (b00g8h9q)

Miss Marple 19:00 SUN (b03cch46)

Only Connect 20:30 MON (b03d690l)

Only Connect 01:00 MON (b03d690l)

Otis Redding: Soul Ambassador 23:55 SAT (b020tphg)

Pain, Pus and Poison: The Search for Modern Medicines 22:30 TUE (b03ccs7k)

Pain, Pus and Poison: The Search for Modern Medicines 21:00 THU (p01f53b9)

Pain, Pus and Poison: The Search for Modern Medicines 02:40 THU (p01f53b9)

Secret Knowledge 20:30 TUE (b03d6b1j)

Secret Knowledge 02:30 TUE (b03d6b1j)

Symphony 19:30 FRI (b016pwgy)

The Art of Australia 21:00 TUE (b03d6b1l)

The Art of Australia 03:00 TUE (b03d6b1l)

The Art of Australia 23:00 THU (b03d6b1l)

The First Master Chef: Michel Roux on Escoffier 22:00 WED (p00ypy02)

The Horizon Guide to Mars 20:00 THU (b00p1crx)

The Horizon Guide to Mars 01:40 THU (b00p1crx)

The Joy of Stats 00:30 TUE (b00wgq0l)

The Review Show 20:00 SUN (b03d67jw)

The Review Show 22:00 TUE (b03d6b1n)

The Sky at Night 00:55 SAT (b08kbj5d)

The Young Montalbano 21:00 SAT (b03dtq1g)

Timothy Spall: All at Sea 19:30 MON (b01cqptf)

Timothy Spall: All at Sea 02:00 MON (b01cqptf)

Timothy Spall: All at Sea 19:30 TUE (b01d24tt)

Timothy Spall: All at Sea 02:00 TUE (b01d24tt)

Timothy Spall: All at Sea 19:30 WED (b01dc59m)

Timothy Spall: All at Sea 02:00 WED (b01dc59m)

Too Much, Too Young: Children of the Middle Ages 00:00 WED (b013rknh)

Top of the Pops 19:30 THU (b03d6dyq)

Top of the Pops 01:00 THU (b03d6dyq)

Transatlantic Sessions 20:30 FRI (b03cvpmx)

Tubular Bells: The Mike Oldfield Story 01:55 SUN (b03cw8g0)

Wellington Bomber 22:55 SAT (b00tr2p5)

Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? 20:00 MON (b0077l12)

Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? 01:30 MON (b0077l12)

Wild 19:50 SUN (b00793nq)

World News Today 19:00 MON (b03d5cpv)

World News Today 19:00 TUE (b03d5cq8)

World News Today 19:00 WED (b03d5cr2)

World News Today 19:00 THU (b03d5cr9)

World News Today 19:00 FRI (b03d5crh)