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.

Radio-Lists Home Now on BBC 4 Contact

Unofficial Weekly Listings for BBC 4 — supported by


SAT 19:00 Great Barrier Reef (b019xxhh)
Reef and Beyond

The Great Barrier Reef is vitally linked to the rest of the planet in many ways. Creatures travel for thousands of miles to visit in spectacular numbers, including tiger sharks, great whales, sea birds and the largest green turtle gathering on earth.

Alien creatures that are rarely seen, like nautilus, also rise out of the deep to visit the reef's warm waters. Weather systems travelling from across the Pacific also affect the whole reef, including mighty cyclones that bring destruction and chaos to the coral and the creatures that live on it. And it is weather patterns and climate change on a global scale that are likely to shape the future of the Great Barrier Reef and all its wildlife.

SAT 20:00 Shipwrecks: Britain's Sunken History (b03knrvm)
Home Waters to High Seas

Shipwrecks are the nightmare we have forgotten - the price Britain paid for ruling the waves from an island surrounded by treacherous rocks. The result is a coastline that is home to the world's highest concentration of sunken ships. But shipwrecks also changed the course of British history, helped shape our national character and drove innovations in seafaring technology, as well as gripping our imagination.

In this three-part series, maritime historian Dr Sam Willis looks at how and why the shipwreck came to loom so large. He begins with the embarrassing story of the top-heavy Mary Rose, the freak wrecking of the Spanish Armada and the terrifying real-life disasters at sea that inspired two of the greatest of all castaway tales - Shakespeare's The Tempest and Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.

SAT 21:00 Salamander (b01r11jw)
Series 1

Episode 11

Accepting the dinner invitation at the Wolfs' house, Paul recognises a wartime photograph on display in the living room and realises that he is getting closer to discovering the reason for the break-in at the Jonkhere bank. Gil Wolfs doesn't completely trust his daughter's new boyfriend and asks Klaus to conduct some background checks on 'Paul Vander Velde'.

In Flemish with English subtitles.

SAT 21:40 Salamander (b01r87lf)
Series 1

Episode 12

On learning Gerardi's true identity Wolfs holds him hostage in his mansion, but Klaus, feeling betrayed, takes matters into his own hands in a way that will have catastrophic consequences.

In Flemish with English subtitles.

SAT 22:30 Motown at the BBC (b00hq4qr)
To mark the 50-year anniversary of Motown in 2009, a compilation of some of the iconic record label's greatest names filmed live in the BBC studios. Visitors from Hitsville USA over the years have included Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, The Four Tops and The Jackson 5.

SAT 23:30 Radio 2 Live (b03ycqgg)
Hyde Park Headliners

Smokey Robinson Live in Hyde Park

As part of BBC Radio 2's Festival in a Day in London's Hyde Park, soul and Motown legend Smokey Robinson takes to the stage at the end of a lovely summer's day to close proceedings with a rousing headline set. Along with a little help from the crowd, Smokey and band perform a selection of classics from his impressive repertoire including You've Really Got a Hold on Me, The Tears of a Clown, I Second That Emotion and The Tracks of My Tears.

SAT 00:30 ... Sings The Rolling Stones (b01p1zwv)
Let's spend the night together in a TV tribute to the songwriting skills of pop's original bad boy group -The Rolling Stones.

From the archives of Old Grey Whistle Test, Top of the Pops, Crackerjack and the odd international pop show, come the likes of Gene Pitney, Thelma Houston, Chris Farlowe, Patti Smith, Marianne Faithfull, Devo and Melanie taking on Mick and Keith's songbook.

'Jumpin' Jack Flash', 'Gimme Shelter', 'Ruby Tuesday', 'Wild Horses', 'Stupid Girl', 'Under My Thumb' and 'She's a Rainbow' all get the cover treatment; the surprises lie in who does what and how, all adding to one hour of total satisfaction.

SAT 01:30 The Sky at Night (b03y31f0)
Sounds of the Universe

The Sky at Night team listens to the sounds of the cosmos. Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Chris Lintott explore how sound can reveal extraordinary secrets about the universe - from orchestral tunes rippling on the surface of the sun and the crackle of Jupiter's atmosphere to the sound waves that reveal how the universe was formed. This is astronomy as you've never heard it before.

SAT 02:00 Shipwrecks: Britain's Sunken History (b03knrvm)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

SAT 03:00 Great Barrier Reef (b019xxhh)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]


SUN 19:00 The Golden Age of Steam Railways (b01pdsy6)
Branching Out

For more than 100 years steam trains ran Britain, but when steam started to disappear in the 1950s bands of volunteers got together to save some of the tracks and the steam engines that ran on them. Some of these enthusiasts filmed their exploits and the home movies they shot tell the story of how they did it, and how they helped people to reconnect to a world of steam most thought had been lost forever.

SUN 20:00 Oh Do Shut Up Dear! Mary Beard on the Public Voice of Women (b03ycql8)
Part of the London Review of Books Winter lecture series recorded at the British Museum.

From torn-out tongues to internet trolls, Mary Beard explores how women's voices have been silenced in the public sphere throughout the history of Western culture. Using examples that range from Homer's Odyssey to contemporary politics and from the writings of Henry James to threatening posts on Twitter, Beard argues that public speaking has all too often been regarded as 'men's business' and that commonly held attitudes to the voice of authority need to be readdressed and reappraised. Part of the London Review of Books Winter lecture series recorded at the British Museum.

SUN 21:00 Timewatch (b00j3hz3)

QE2 - The Final Voyage

Timewatch joins the crew and passengers on board Britain's favourite ship as the QE2 leaves Southampton for the last time and glides gracefully into retirement.

The world's longest-serving and best-loved cruise ship has come a long way since her humble beginnings as piles of steel and
timber on the River Clyde. Overcoming technical problems, rogue waves and even bomb threats, she has enjoyed an eventful and colourful career that has won the hearts of millions.

A proud reminder of the dazzling golden era of ocean liners, she is a time capsule offering a tantalising peek into a distant age of discovery and decadence. Built at the end of the swinging sixties, she defied cultural trends and became a reassuring bastion of Britishness and tradition in an ever-changing world.

In this warm, celebratory film, we bid a fond farewell to the QE2 and - with exclusive access to the final voyage - look back over four glittering decades on the high seas.

SUN 22:00 Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (b01n707f)
Period drama about fashion designer Coco Chanel's affair with composer Igor Stavinsky, who escaped Russia after the 1917 revolution.

SUN 23:50 Britain on Film (b01p2pd4)
Series 1

Dedicated Followers of Fashion

Throughout the 1960s, the Rank Organisation produced hundreds of short, quirky documentaries that examined all aspects of life in Britain. Shot on high-quality colour film stock, they were screened in cinemas, but until now very little of the footage has been shown on television. This series draws on this unique archive to offer illuminating and often surprising insights into a pivotal decade in modern British history.

This episode examines the films that recorded developments in one of 1960s Britain's most dynamic, innovative industries - the glamorous and fast-moving world of fashion.

SUN 00:20 The Byrd Who Flew Alone: The Triumphs and Tragedy of Gene Clark (b03tdd6k)
Bob Dylan described Missouri-born country boy Gene Clark as one of the three best songwriters in the world. He was the original frontman for one of the most iconic and influential bands of the 60s. After his abrupt departure from the Byrds at the peak of their popularity, he made records that are still regarded as classics. And he was one of the great pioneers of both folk rock and country rock. Yet, as far as the public is concerned, Clark is largely unknown and his reputation lags far behind that of peers such as Gram Parsons.

Since his death in 1991 at the age of 46, his songs have been covered by artists ranging from Robert Plant to Yo La Tengo and he has been hailed as a key influence by successive generations of musicians such as Tom Petty, Primal Scream and Fleet Foxes, despite some of his albums having been unavailable for long periods, and only now all available again.

This documentary explores the mystery of why this richly talented but deeply enigmatic and often self-destructive man failed to enjoy the success his work deserved. Drawing on interviews with his family, friends and fellow musicians including fellow Byrds David Crosby and Roger McGuinn, a wealth of great music from the four-decade span of his career and previously unseen archive material, it is a story that is both compelling and moving, veering between moments of magic and moments of madness.

The film was made by a father and sons team - Paul, Jack and Dan Kendall - as a labour of love which took them right across America in search of the people and places that were part of Gene Clark's life.

SUN 01:50 The Old Grey Whistle Test (b0074t8q)
California Comes to the Whistle Test

A compilation of BBC performances by artists who lived and worked in California in the 1970s. Featuring Jackson Browne, Little Feat, Ry Cooder, Judee Sill, Bonnie Raitt and a rare duet between James Taylor and Carly Simon.

SUN 02:50 Oh Do Shut Up Dear! Mary Beard on the Public Voice of Women (b03ycql8)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


MON 19:00 World News Today (b03yc25v)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

MON 19:30 Great British Railway Journeys (b01pw9tj)
Series 4

Birmingham to Stafford

Armed with his copy of Bradshaw's Victorian railway guidebook, Michael Portillo continues his series of journeys along the tracks that helped fuel the Industrial Revolution by travelling to the manufacturing centres of the Midlands, before turning west to experience the stunning Severn Valley railway en route to Wales and the Victorian seaside resort of Aberystwyth.

He learns how the railways helped to make Birmingham the pen-making capital of the world, hears the chilling tale of one of 19th-century Britain's most notorious murderers and samples the delicacies concocted in a Victorian kitchen at Shugborough Hall.

MON 20:00 Great British Railway Journeys (b01pwb55)
Series 4

Stoke-on-Trent to Winsford

Michael Portillo explores one of the greatest locomotive factories in railway history, discovers the dark side of the Industrial Revolution and learns how, in Victorian times, the potteries brought their products to the masses.

MON 20:30 Only Connect (b03yfpj9)
Series 8

Sport Relief: Scribblers v Terriers

Victoria Coren Mitchell hosts a very special celebrity edition of the quiz where knowledge will only take you so far, and patience and lateral thinking are also vital.

Two teams of clever celebrities prepare to lose their dignity in honour of Sport Relief as the Scribblers (Alice Arnold, Charlie Brooker and Ed Smith) take on the Terriers (Clare Balding, Val McDermid and Joshua Levine).

So join Victoria if you want to know what connects: Howard's End, Veterans' Day, Caesar's Palace and Every dog has its day.

MON 21:00 TB: Return of the Plague (b03qljf1)
In the southern African nation of Swaziland, around a quarter of all adults are now HIV positive. With so many now living with compromised immune systems, tuberculosis, which had been in decline for decades, has made a dramatic comeback. Now it has a foothold once more, new mutations are evolving fast, meaning the disease threatens the lives of the healthy as well as those with HIV.

There are over eight million new infections every year worldwide, but Swaziland is the epicentre of the disease, with the highest rate of TB infection in the world. With the infection spreading with a cough or sneeze, international travel means these lethal new infections are already starting to appear in Europe - last year alone 3,500 Londoners were diagnosed with the disease.

Multi-BAFTA winning film-maker Jezza Neumann travelled to Swaziland to make this very intimate account of the crippling effects of MDR-TB. We witness victims from two families battle with the disease over the course of a year.

Deep in rural Swaziland near the border of South Africa lives Bheki, a builder who is fanatical about football, who recently learnt that both he and his sister have multi drug resistant TB. As time passes, his sister's condition deteriorates and Bheki starts to become increasingly anxious about his future.

In the capital, Mbabane, lives 12-year-old Nokubegha, a TB orphan, who is cared for by her 17-year-old brother, Melusi. When Nokubegha is diagnosed with the MDR strain of the disease she has to be admitted into the national TB hospital so she can receive her daily pills and injections.

A tragic yet heart-warming story about the value of human life, love and family.

MON 22:30 Fossil Wonderlands: Nature's Hidden Treasures (b03xsfrq)
Weird Wonders

Professor Richard Fortey journeys high in the Rocky Mountains to explore a 520 million-year-old fossilised seabed containing bizarre and experimental life forms that have revolutionised our understanding about the beginnings of complex life. Among the amazing finds he uncovers are marine creatures with five eyes and a proboscis, filter-feeders shaped like tulips, worm-like scavengers covered in spikes but with no identifiable head or anus, and a metre-long predator resembling a giant shrimp.

MON 23:30 Classic Albums (b01rlwpd)
Elvis Presley: Elvis Presley

A look at the creation of Elvis Presley's eponymous debut album, which brought about his meteoric rise to superstardom in 1956. The film is filled with performances from 1955 and 56, interviews with Elvis and rare home movie footage of him at play and work, offering fresh insights into his life and his recordings. Featured songs include Blue Suede Shoes, Shake Rattle and Roll, Tutti Frutti and Elvis's first million-seller, Heartbreak Hotel.

MON 00:20 Only Connect (b03yfpj9)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 today]

MON 00:50 The Walshes (b03xpdwd)
Doctor Burger

After weeks of putting it off, Ciara finally agrees to bring her new boyfriend Graham back to meet her family. All she wants is a quick, in-and-out visit with no fuss and no embarrassment. However, the Walshes don't do 'no fuss'. Graham must navigate a social assault course of misunderstandings, dad jokes and utter humiliation.

Tony has a very important TV show that he just can't miss, and Rory has a big secret that he mustn't reveal.

MON 01:20 Brushing up on... (b03xsrvs)
Series 2

British Beaches

Danny Baker plonks a deckchair on the sandy bit between the land and the sea and mulls over this mysterious, salty, golden or pebbly hinterland.

MON 01:50 More Old Jews Telling Jokes (b01p2pm8)
Episode 1

They're back! More old Jews tell their favourite jokes. Old, new, clean and not so clean, the evergreen pensioners provide the laughs in this fresh batch of funnies.

MON 02:20 TB: Return of the Plague (b03qljf1)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


TUE 19:00 World News Today (b03yc260)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

TUE 19:30 Great British Railway Journeys (b01pwbc7)
Series 4

Dudley to Bridgnorth

Armed with his copy of Bradshaw's Victorian railway guidebook, Michael Portillo continues his series of journeys along the tracks that helped fuel the Industrial Revolution by travelling on the stunning Severn Valley Railway.

He learns how Victorian blacksmithing was not for the faint-hearted, rides one of Britain's most modern trains and traverses the remarkable Victoria Bridge.

TUE 20:00 Weird Nature (b0078hh5)
Fantastic Feeding

Series exploring strange animal behaviour which reveals the many inventive ways animals catch prey. Discover a creature that employs glue-guns as weapons, a fish that slashes with a chainsaw and a spider that lassos its prey with a swinging blob of glue. Meet a fish that targets its prey using its mouth as a water pistol, a shrimp that stuns its prey with sound and a lemur with an ET-like finger that taps for a meal. Plus a frogfish whose mouth moves faster than its prey can see, a snake with a tail that acts as a maggot-like lure and an eagle that has found a novel way to break into prey. There is even a mantis shrimp with a knockout punch that reaches the speed of a racing bullet and a stoat that uses hypnosis.

TUE 20:30 Secrets of Bones (b03yfqj6)
Food for Thought

Ben Garrod uncovers the secrets of how vertebrates capture and devour their food using extreme jaws, bizarre teeth and specialised bony tools. He takes a cherry picker up a sperm whale's jaw and finds out which animal has teeth weighing five kilos each and which uses its skull as a suction pump. Ben gets his own skull scanned and 3D-printed to discover how diet in humans isn't just affecting our waistlines but is also changing the shape of our bones.

TUE 21:00 Fossil Wonderlands: Nature's Hidden Treasures (b03yfqj8)
Feathered Dinosaurs

Professor Richard Fortey travels to north eastern China to see a fossil site known as the 'Dinosaur Pompeii' - a place that has yielded spectacular remains of feathered dinosaurs and rewritten the story of the origins of birds. Among the amazing finds he investigates are the feathered cousin of T-rex, a feathered dinosaur with strong parallels to living pandas, and some of the most remarkable flying animals that have ever lived.

TUE 22:00 The First World War (b01rp9vv)
Shackled to a Corpse

The war on the Eastern Front was racial - Slav verses Teuton. It was highly mobile, fought across brutal terrain from the Urals to the Alps. It initiated many horrors of 20th-century warfare - chemical weapons, mass expulsions of civilians, the persecution of Jews. The Italian front with Austro-Hungary was perhaps the bitterest of all. Soldiers lived and fought for years in the harshest environments, enduring avalanches and frostbite as well as relentless enemy action. Mistrust and contempt increasingly threatened alliances. Germany shored up her ally Austria-Hungary, feeling herself 'shackled to a corpse', while Austria-Hungary saw Germany as her 'secret enemy'.

TUE 22:50 What Do Artists Do All Day? (b03v2vcb)
Frank Quitely

Frank Quitely is the alter ego of Glaswegian comic-book artist Vincent Deighan. As one of a group of British writers and artists who have reinvented the superhero genre, Frank's depictions of iconic characters like Superman, Batman and the X-Men have provided inspiration for some of Hollywood's biggest movie franchises.

In this film, we follow Frank over the course of a day and night as he works on a single page from his latest work, the epic superhero saga Jupiter's Legacy.

TUE 23:20 Hidden Histories: WW1's Forgotten Photographs (b03xsrvv)
Documentary telling the extraordinary untold story of soldiers' photography in the First World War. The British and German soldiers marched off to war with secret 'vest pocket' cameras, determined to record what they thought would be a great adventure, but few were prepared for the horrors they were about to witness and photograph. Their photos - many never seen before in public - provide a deeply moving document of their lives in the trenches and their rapid loss of innocence.

With no soldier photographer alive to tell the tale, we join their close relatives on emotional journeys of discovery as they go in search of the secrets hidden within their ancestors' photographs.

This is the war viewed from a new and surprising perspective - through the eyes of the men who fought in it.

TUE 00:20 The Golden Age of Steam Railways (b01pdsy6)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 on Sunday]

TUE 01:20 Weird Nature (b0078hh5)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

TUE 01:50 Secrets of Bones (b03yfqj6)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 today]

TUE 02:20 What Do Artists Do All Day? (b03v2vcb)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:50 today]

TUE 02:50 Fossil Wonderlands: Nature's Hidden Treasures (b03yfqj8)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


WED 19:00 World News Today (b03yc267)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

WED 19:30 Great British Railway Journeys (b01pwc0k)
Series 4

Welshpool to Aberystwyth

Armed with his copy of Bradshaw's Victorian railway guidebook, Michael Portillo concludes his series of journeys along the tracks that helped fuel the Industrial Revolution by travelling to the Victorian seaside resort of Aberystwyth.

He experiences Victorian entertainment, hears how the railways took Welsh textiles into even the most exclusive households and unleashes the power of a 19th-century engineering triumph.

WED 20:00 Edward VII: Prince of Pleasure (b00rq3y2)
King Edward VII has always been an enigma. Twentieth-century dynasty builder and sex addict, boorish philistine and civilised cosmopolitan - he was all of these. Using extensive new research, this documentary unravels the mystery of a thoroughly modern monarch and shows that his legacy is still relevant today.

WED 21:00 How to Get Ahead (b03yfwk1)
At Renaissance Court

Writer, broadcaster and Newsnight arts correspondent Stephen Smith explores Renaissance Florence under the reign of Grand Duke Cosimo Medici. Cosimo's fledgling court prized the finer things in life and some of the greatest painters, sculptors and craftsmen in world history came to serve the Grand Duke. But successful courtiers had to have brains as well as brawn. The canniest of them looked to theorists like Niccolo Machiavelli for underhand ways to get ahead, whilst enlightened polymaths turned their minds to the heavens, and to ice cream.

WED 22:00 Storyville (b03yfwk3)
Brakeless: Why Trains Crash

Documentary exploring one of Japan's biggest train crashes in modern history, caused when a driver tried to catch up with a delay of just 80 seconds. It's a cautionary tale of what happens when punctuality, protocol and efficiency are taken to the extreme. On Monday April 25th 2005, a West Japan Railway commuter train crashed into an apartment building and killed 107 people. Just what pressures made the driver risk so much for such a minimal delay?

Piecing together personal accounts of those affected by the train crash, with insights from experts and former train drivers, the film poses a question for a society that equates speed with progress. It offers a fascinating insight into the railway's role in Japan's post-war economic boom and the dangers of corner-cutting in the prolonged economic stagnation that followed. Through the lens of this catastrophic train crash, Brakeless considers the ultimate cost efficiency.

WED 23:00 Parks and Recreation (b03yfwk5)
Series 3

Jerry's Painting

Jerry's contribution to Leslie's community art show causes a stir. Ben moves in with April and Andy and attempts to teach them how to be adults. Leslie is frustrated by Chris and his inter-office dating rules.

WED 23:20 Parks and Recreation (b03yfwk7)
Series 3


When the neighbouring city of Eagleton puts up a fence around one of their parks, Leslie must get her former best friend to take it down. Ron tries to stop Leslie from planning a birthday party for him.

WED 23:40 The Walshes (b03xpdwd)
[Repeat of broadcast at 00:50 on Monday]

WED 00:15 Great Barrier Reef (b019xxhh)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 on Saturday]

WED 01:15 Shipwrecks: Britain's Sunken History (b03knrvm)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 on Saturday]

WED 02:15 Great British Railway Journeys (b01pwc0k)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

WED 02:45 How to Get Ahead (b03yfwk1)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


THU 19:00 World News Today (b03yc26d)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

THU 19:30 Top of the Pops (b03ymf5y)
Peter Powell presents another edition of the weekly pop chart show, including performances from the Jam, Lene Lovich, the Cars, Violinski, Herbie Hancock and Black Lace. With dance sequences by Legs & Co.

THU 20:00 Ever Decreasing Circles (b036d6mf)
Series 2


Ann is tired of being a housewife and decides it's time for a change. But will Martin approve of her plans?

THU 20:30 Brushing up on... (b03yg3yl)
Series 2

British Woodlands

Danny Baker throws some archive footage into his knapsack and goes for a ramble through our green realms, encountering an X-rated mushroom along the way.

THU 21:00 Arena (b03yg3yn)
Whatever Happened to Spitting Image?

Reuniting the founding creative team, this documentary tells the vexed and frequently hilarious story of the genesis of the satirical puppet show Spitting Image, with exclusive contributions from caricaturists Peter Fluck and Roger Law and TV producer John Lloyd.

Spanning the early years of Margaret Thatcher's government to the end of John Major's, Spitting Image puppets became almost as famous as the politicians they lampooned. In 2000, the puppets were auctioned off at Sotheby's and in the course of the programme the team sets out to discover where they now reside and who is taking care of them in their old age.

Revealing the extraordinary technical achievement of the series, Arena meets the caricaturists, puppet-mould makers, designers, puppeteers, impressionists, writers and directors who worked tirelessly to ensure the show landed its weekly jibes and punches at the politicians, royals and celebrities of the day.

Tracing its journey to our televisions screens through 12 years of huge audience figures and weekly controversy to its eventual demise, the film asks what Spitting Image got right, where it went wrong and whether its absence since 1996 has left a hole in the schedules that has yet to be filled by modern broadcasting.

THU 22:00 The Walshes (b03ybpdb)
Family Night

When Graham's landlord kicks him out, Ciara suggests that he move in with her, but his sudden insertion into the house upsets a delicate balance. Carmel becomes increasingly uneasy at the thought of the young couple sharing a bed, mere yards away. Tony develops an intellectual inferiority complex towards the book-smart new arrival. Rory finds love at his new job with an older woman. She can teach him a thing or two, but he's a very nervous student.

THU 22:30 Some People with Jokes (b03yfqjb)
Series 2

Some Football Managers with Jokes

Football managers old and new crack their favourite gags, as game gaffers step outside the technical area to raise laughs and cash for Sport Relief. Let's hope it's more than a game of two laughs.

THU 23:00 Timewatch (b00j3hz3)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Sunday]

THU 00:00 Queens of Heartache (b007ch35)
Documentary about a group of female singers whose voices make you weep, who sang songs of heartbreak and betrayal, had lives that seemed to mirror their music and deaths that came too soon and made myths of them all. Yet their voices triumph over tragedy and they became icons of the 20th century.

Edith Piaf, the Urchin Queen, stood small but strong and became the voice of her nation and of everyone who ever made mistakes. Billie Holiday, the Jazz Queen, her voice full of pain and yearning. Judy Garland, Showbiz Queen, raised in the film studio that fed her addiction to pills and to fame. Maria Callas, Drama Queen, whose voice brought out the heartache in opera and whose life echoed the roles she played. And Janis Joplin, Wild Queen, who offered up a 'piece of her heart' and died of drug abuse at just 27.

With contributions from Mickey Rooney, Charles Aznavour, Country Joe McDonald, KT Tunstall, Katie Melua and Corinne Bailey-Rae.

THU 01:00 Top of the Pops (b03ymf5y)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

THU 01:40 Ever Decreasing Circles (b036d6mf)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

THU 02:10 The Walshes (b03ybpdb)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]

THU 02:40 Arena (b03yg3yn)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


FRI 19:00 World News Today (b03yc26n)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

FRI 19:30 Transatlantic Sessions (b03dz8q1)
Series 6

Episode 5

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.

John Doyle leads off this fifth programme of the series with 'Liberty's Sweet Shore', an emigrant song that mirrors his own journey from Ireland to South Carolina. Allan MacDonald closes proceedings with one of his inimitable pipe sets.

FRI 20:00 In Their Own Words: 20th Century Composers (b03yg8tv)
But Is It Music? (1945-1989)

We discover how the crisis of writing music in a post-war world was met in very different ways by the likes of Britten, Bernstein, Cage, Boulez, Stockhausen, Maxwell Davies, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Tavener, Reich, Adams and Glass. Tavener plays badminton whilst drunk, Cage defends his 4'33" of 'silence' and Delia Derbyshire, co-creator of the Doctor Who theme tune, reveals how British techno music has its roots in the bowels of the BBC.

FRI 21:00 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.

FRI 22:00 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.

FRI 22:30 Synth Britannia at the BBC (b00n93c6)
A journey through the BBC's synthpop archives from Roxy Music and Tubeway Army to New Order and Sparks. Turn your Moogs up to 11 as we take a trip back into the 70s and 80s!

FRI 23:30 Brothers in Arms (b007cblj)
They say that blood is thicker than water and this documentary puts that to the test by examining the brothers who have formed and fronted rock bands. From the Everlys to the Gallaghers via the Kinks and Spandau Ballet, it tells the stories of the bands of brothers who went from their bedrooms to become household names - often with a price to pay.

With contributions from Martin Kemp, Matt Goss, Dave Davies, Phil Everly, David Knopfler and the Campbell brothers of UB40.

FRI 00:30 The Kinks at the BBC (b012ht1w)
The story of The Kinks, one of the UK's most important and influential bands, as told from the vaults of the BBC archive.

From their humble beginnings in north London, brothers Ray and Dave Davies, school friend Pete Quaife and local drummer Mick Avory exploded onto the music scene of early 1960s London.

From this series of unique archive performances, we learn that blues was their first love and Dave's signature guitar sound would go on to influence a generation of guitar players. As Ray's uniquely English songwriting style developed, the spectre of Ray and Dave's rocky fraternal relationship continually loomed in the background, through concerts for The Old Grey Whistle Test in the 1970s to appearances on Top of the Pops in the 1980s.

The inevitable band split came in 1996, and the BBC archive continues with Ray's reinvention as a solo artist with performances on the Electric Proms and up to the present day on Later... with Jools Holland. All the while the brothers continue to tease and goad the press - and one another - with talk of a Kinks reunion.

FRI 01:30 Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells (b00g8h9q)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]

FRI 02:00 Brothers in Arms (b007cblj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 23:30 today]

FRI 03:00 The Kinks at the BBC (b012ht1w)
[Repeat of broadcast at 00:30 today]

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

... Sings The Rolling Stones 00:30 SAT (b01p1zwv)

Arena 21:00 THU (b03yg3yn)

Arena 02:40 THU (b03yg3yn)

Britain on Film 23:50 SUN (b01p2pd4)

Brothers in Arms 23:30 FRI (b007cblj)

Brothers in Arms 02:00 FRI (b007cblj)

Brushing up on... 01:20 MON (b03xsrvs)

Brushing up on... 20:30 THU (b03yg3yl)

Classic Albums 23:30 MON (b01rlwpd)

Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky 22:00 SUN (b01n707f)

Edward VII: Prince of Pleasure 20:00 WED (b00rq3y2)

Ever Decreasing Circles 20:00 THU (b036d6mf)

Ever Decreasing Circles 01:40 THU (b036d6mf)

Fossil Wonderlands: Nature's Hidden Treasures 22:30 MON (b03xsfrq)

Fossil Wonderlands: Nature's Hidden Treasures 21:00 TUE (b03yfqj8)

Fossil Wonderlands: Nature's Hidden Treasures 02:50 TUE (b03yfqj8)

Great Barrier Reef 19:00 SAT (b019xxhh)

Great Barrier Reef 03:00 SAT (b019xxhh)

Great Barrier Reef 00:15 WED (b019xxhh)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:30 MON (b01pw9tj)

Great British Railway Journeys 20:00 MON (b01pwb55)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:30 TUE (b01pwbc7)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:30 WED (b01pwc0k)

Great British Railway Journeys 02:15 WED (b01pwc0k)

Hidden Histories: WW1's Forgotten Photographs 23:20 TUE (b03xsrvv)

How to Get Ahead 21:00 WED (b03yfwk1)

How to Get Ahead 02:45 WED (b03yfwk1)

In Their Own Words: 20th Century Composers 20:00 FRI (b03yg8tv)

Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells 22:00 FRI (b00g8h9q)

Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells 01:30 FRI (b00g8h9q)

More Old Jews Telling Jokes 01:50 MON (b01p2pm8)

Motown at the BBC 22:30 SAT (b00hq4qr)

Oh Do Shut Up Dear! Mary Beard on the Public Voice of Women 20:00 SUN (b03ycql8)

Oh Do Shut Up Dear! Mary Beard on the Public Voice of Women 02:50 SUN (b03ycql8)

Only Connect 20:30 MON (b03yfpj9)

Only Connect 00:20 MON (b03yfpj9)

Parks and Recreation 23:00 WED (b03yfwk5)

Parks and Recreation 23:20 WED (b03yfwk7)

Queens of Heartache 00:00 THU (b007ch35)

Radio 2 Live 23:30 SAT (b03ycqgg)

Salamander 21:00 SAT (b01r11jw)

Salamander 21:40 SAT (b01r87lf)

Secrets of Bones 20:30 TUE (b03yfqj6)

Secrets of Bones 01:50 TUE (b03yfqj6)

Shipwrecks: Britain's Sunken History 20:00 SAT (b03knrvm)

Shipwrecks: Britain's Sunken History 02:00 SAT (b03knrvm)

Shipwrecks: Britain's Sunken History 01:15 WED (b03knrvm)

Some People with Jokes 22:30 THU (b03yfqjb)

Storyville 22:00 WED (b03yfwk3)

Synth Britannia at the BBC 22:30 FRI (b00n93c6)

TB: Return of the Plague 21:00 MON (b03qljf1)

TB: Return of the Plague 02:20 MON (b03qljf1)

The Byrd Who Flew Alone: The Triumphs and Tragedy of Gene Clark 00:20 SUN (b03tdd6k)

The First World War 22:00 TUE (b01rp9vv)

The Golden Age of Steam Railways 19:00 SUN (b01pdsy6)

The Golden Age of Steam Railways 00:20 TUE (b01pdsy6)

The Kinks at the BBC 00:30 FRI (b012ht1w)

The Kinks at the BBC 03:00 FRI (b012ht1w)

The Old Grey Whistle Test 01:50 SUN (b0074t8q)

The Sky at Night 01:30 SAT (b03y31f0)

The Walshes 00:50 MON (b03xpdwd)

The Walshes 23:40 WED (b03xpdwd)

The Walshes 22:00 THU (b03ybpdb)

The Walshes 02:10 THU (b03ybpdb)

Timewatch 21:00 SUN (b00j3hz3)

Timewatch 23:00 THU (b00j3hz3)

Top of the Pops 19:30 THU (b03ymf5y)

Top of the Pops 01:00 THU (b03ymf5y)

Transatlantic Sessions 19:30 FRI (b03dz8q1)

Tubular Bells: The Mike Oldfield Story 21:00 FRI (b03cw8g0)

Weird Nature 20:00 TUE (b0078hh5)

Weird Nature 01:20 TUE (b0078hh5)

What Do Artists Do All Day? 22:50 TUE (b03v2vcb)

What Do Artists Do All Day? 02:20 TUE (b03v2vcb)

World News Today 19:00 MON (b03yc25v)

World News Today 19:00 TUE (b03yc260)

World News Today 19:00 WED (b03yc267)

World News Today 19:00 THU (b03yc26d)

World News Today 19:00 FRI (b03yc26n)