Radio-Lists Home Now on BBC 4 Contact

Unofficial Weekly Listings for BBC 4 — supported by


SAT 19:00 BBC Young Musician (b0446h13)


BBC Young Musician 2014 reaches its penultimate stage, the semi-final. Over the past weeks there have been some outstanding performance from 25 talented and dedicated young musicians. Now the winners of the strings, percussion, woodwind, keyboard and brass category finals compete against each other for three places in the final at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh.

Making the all-important decisions are Jessica Cottis, assistant conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra; Michael Garvey, director of the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales; composer Dobrinka Tabakova; and Meurig Bowen, director of the Cheltenham Music Festival. Classical guitarist Milos and trumpet player Alison Balsom (herself a BBC Young Musician Finalist in 1998) take us behind the scenes of the competition at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, presenting extensive highlights from the semi-finalists' recital performances.

SAT 20:30 Sounds of the 70s 2 (b01jzy37)
Rock 'n' Roll Revisited - Get It On

A love of 50s rock 'n' roll runs through the pop of the 70s like a stripe through a stick of rock. This episode celebrates the rock 'n' roll revivalism and 50s retro leanings that characterise the decade from glam to AOR and all points in between. Revisiting the theatrical performances and fashions you'd be talking about in the playground the next day, from the likes of E.L.O, T-Rex, 10cc, Alvin Stardust, Mott the Hoople and Meatloaf's epic 1978 performance of Paradise by the Dashboard Light.

SAT 21:00 Wallander (b03jnm98)
Series 3

The Troubled Man

Attending a family meal at the home of his daughter Linda, Kurt Wallander is intrigued when Hakan von Enke, his son-in-law's father and a retired naval commander, is called away by an urgent phone call. It soon becomes clear that the call is related to the recovery of a body from the waters of the Stockholm archipelago - the same waters where, at the height of the Cold War, depth charges were exploded in an attempt to raise a submarine which had strayed into Swedish territorial waters. When Hakan goes missing, Wallander's investigations uncover a complicated international espionage.

In Swedish with English subtitles.

SAT 22:40 The Old Grey Whistle Test (b014vzy3)
70s Gold

The Old Grey Whistle Test was launched on 21 September 1971 from a tiny studio tucked behind a lift shaft on the fourth floor of BBC Television Centre. From humble beginnings, it has gone on to provide some of the best and most treasured music archive that the BBC has to offer.

This programme takes us on a journey and celebrates the musically mixed-up decade that was the 1970s, and which is reflected in the OGWT archive. There are classic performances from the glam era by Elton John and David Bowie, an early UK TV appearance from Curtis Mayfield, the beginnings of heavy metal with Steppenwolf's iconic Born to Be Wild anthem and the early punk machinations of the 'mock rock' New York Dolls. Archive from the pinnacle year, 1973, features Roxy Music, The Wailers and Vinegar Joe. The programme's finale celebrates the advent of punk and new wave with unforgettable performances from Patti Smith, Blondie, Iggy Pop and The Jam.

Artists featured are Elton John, Lindisfarne, David Bowie, Curtis Mayfield, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Steppenwolf, Vinegar Joe, Brinsley Schwarz, New York Dolls, Argent, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Captain Beefheart, Johnny Winter, Dr Feelgood, Gil Scott Heron, Patti Smith, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Cher & Gregg Allman, Talking Heads, The Jam, Blondie, Iggy Pop and The Specials.

SAT 00:10 The Comet's Tale (b008d2x7)
Ancient civilisations thought comets were gods. They believed them to be bringers of life or harbingers of doom - strange, magical, mysterious things that moved through the sky, fiery streaks of light that tore across the heavens.

Isaac Newton was the first to make sense of comets and to him they were the key to unlocking the secrets of gravity - nothing to do with an apple. Hundreds of years later, a new breed of space missions are visiting comets, travelling millions of miles to touch down on these tiny balls of rock flying through space at 20,000 mph. The spectacular images we now have are showing us what comets are really made of, where they come from, and their often surprising influence on events on Earth.

What they reveal is that our ancestors may have been right all along and that comets and meteors really are like gods, or at least they can exert tremendous influence over our world. They have brought terrible destruction to the Earth and may one day do so again. But they also may have brought life itself to the planet.

SAT 01:10 The Sky at Night (b043wcjp)
How Gravity Shapes the Universe

The universe is filled with spectacular objects, from gloriously-coloured nebulae to the swirling motion of a billion stars formed into a single galaxy. One force has created it all - gravity. The Sky at Night team steps away from the bright lights and travels to the Brecon Beacons AstroCamp to see how gravity shapes the universe, in all its spectacular glory.

Maggie Aderin-Pocock asks why so much of the night sky is filled with spheres and why not all these spheres are what they seem. Chris Lintott finds out about the newest moon in the solar system that has just formed in Saturn's rings, and how it could shed light on how the planets formed billions of years ago.

Plus, how to get great images of the night sky without using a telescope and what the shape of a galaxy tells you about its past.

SAT 01:40 The Horizon Guide to Space Shuttles (b0109cc7)
In 2011, after more than 30 years of service, America's space shuttle took to the skies for the last time. Its story has been characterised by incredible triumphs, but blighted by devastating tragedies - and the BBC and Horizon have chronicled every step of its career. This unique and poignant Horizon Guide brings together coverage from three decades of programmes to present a biography of the shuttle and to ask what its legacy will be. Will it be remembered as an impressive chapter in human space exploration, or as a fatally flawed white elephant?

SAT 02:40 The Search for Life: The Drake Equation (b00wltbk)
For many years our place in the universe was the subject of theologians and philosophers, not scientists, but in 1960 one man changed all that.

Dr Frank Drake was one of the leading lights in the new science of radio astronomy when he did something that was not only revolutionary, but could have cost him his career. Working at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Greenback in Virginia, he pointed one of their new 25-metre radio telescopes at a star called Tau Ceti twelve light years from earth, hoping for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.

Although project Ozma resulted in silence, it did result in one of the most seminal equations in the history of science - the Drake Equation - which examined seven key elements necessary for extraterrestrial intelligence to exist, from the formation of stars to the likely length a given intelligent civilisation may survive. When Frank and his colleagues entered the figures, the equation suggested there were a staggering 50,000 civilisations capable of communicating across the galaxy.

However, in the 50 years of listening that has followed, not one single bleep has been heard from extraterrestrials. So were Drake and his followers wrong and is there no life form out there capable of communicating? Drake's own calculations suggest that we would have to scan the entire radio spectrum of ten million stars to be sure of contact.

The answers to those questions suggest that, far from being a one-off, life may not only be common in the universe but once started will lead inevitably towards intelligent life.

To find out about the equation's influence, Dallas Campbell goes on a worldwide journey to meet the scientists who have dedicated their lives to focusing on its different aspects.

SUNDAY 18 MAY 2014

SUN 19:00 BBC Young Musician (b0446j5w)

The Final

Over 450 entered and now only three remain as BBC Young Musician 2014 reaches its thrilling conclusion. The final returns to the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, where the three finalists perform a concerto of their choice with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under award-winning conductor Kirill Karabits.

When the final was last held at Usher Hall back in 2004 the title went to violinist Nicola Benedetti and she returns in an ambassadorial role. Nicola joins Clemency Burton-Hill, trumpet player Alison Balsom (herself a BBC Young Musician finalist in 1998) and classical guitarist Milos for coverage of the final. As well as the complete concerto performances from the three finalists and behind-the-scenes insights, the final also welcomes back BBC Young Musician 2012, Laura van der Heijden to perform Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations.

SUN 21:30 A Writer's Journey from There to Here (b044ltqz)
Peter Bowker writes some of Britain's most compelling television dramas, winning BAFTAs for the likes of Occupation, about the Iraq war, and Eric and Ernie, about the early career of Morecambe and Wise. He has also written other award-winning dramas such as Flesh and Blood, Blackpool, Desperate Romantics and the medical series Monroe.

Bowker's latest three-part series, From There to Here, which airs in May on BBC1, is a bold, sweeping saga about two Manchester families and how their lives are changed following the IRA bombing of Manchester in 1996 and the events of the next four years leading up to the Millenium. It covers Euro '96, Labour's election victory, Manchester 's rave music scene and the banking collapse.

This film offers an exclusive insight into the life of Peter Bowker, who explains how he writes and where the inspiration for his writing comes from, and how after 23 years of writing for television he still feels insecure. 'I always feel my next commission could be my last...'

He reveals his first foray into writing was as a punk trying to sell his poetry at Stockport market, and how the Manchester punk music scene helped his early development as a writer.

Bowker, who is from Stockport, now lives in Richmond and does most of his writing using pen and ink. 'It's the way I was brought up I suppose. I just can't put it all down on a computer.' In the film, he gives a masterclass on how he creates scenes and how he writes.

Relationships and family are key to his writing. 'Every family has its secrets, its myths. We look at every other family and think they're not like us, but scratch the surface and every family has its stories to tell, its secrets to keep.'

'Part of the intention I wrote From There to Here was as a love letter to Manchester. And when I was thinking what that meant, I think it had to include the good and the bad... that's the nature of love really, and I think I owe Manchester. It's where I grew up, it's where the rhythm of my writing comes from, it's where even to this day I feel where I belong... it's just about trying to capture the spirit of the place really...'.

SUN 22:00 Eric and Ernie (b00wy7ck)
Single drama telling the story of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise's formative years, from child stars to national treasures.

'Big head, short legs' is Eric Bartholomew's first impression of Ernie Wiseman, but their friendship endures and, encouraged by his well-meaning but determined mother Sadie, Eric became the funny man to Ernie's 'feed'.

After a successful stint in children's variety, they work their way up the ladder of live performance, but after a disastrous television debut in the series Running Wild, Morecambe and Wise learn to trust their own instincts and just make people laugh.

SUN 23:30 Kings of Rock and Roll (b007c95q)
A journey back to the 1950s for a look at the wildest pop music of all time in a film that tells the stories of Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Buddy Holly, giants from an era when pop music really was mad, bad and dangerous to know.

The programme features the artists themselves, alongside people like Bill Haley's original Comets, The Crickets, Buddy Holly's widow Maria Elena, Jerry Lee Lewis's former wife Myra Gail and his sister, Chuck Berry's son and many more, including June Juanico, Elvis's first serious girlfriend.

Other contributors include Tom Jones, Jamie Callum, Paul McCartney, Cliff Richard, Joe Brown, Marty Wilde, Green Day, Minnie Driver, Jack White of The White Stripes, The Mavericks, Jools Holland, Hank Marvin, Fontella Bass, John Waters and more.

Elvis's pelvis was just the start. Who had to change the lyrics to their biggest hit because the originals were too obscene? Who married their 13-year-old cousin? Who used lard to get their hair just right? And what happened on the day the music died?

SUN 00:30 50s Britannia (b01sgbw2)
Rock 'n' Roll Britannia

Long before the Beatles there was British rock 'n' roll. Between 1956 and 1960 British youth created a unique copy of a distant and scarce American original whilst most parents, professional jazz men and even the BBC did their level best to snuff it out.

From its first faltering steps as a facsimile of Bill Haley's swing style to the sophistication of self-penned landmarks such as Shakin' All Over and The Sound of Fury, this is the story of how the likes of Lord Rockingham's XI, Vince Taylor and Cliff Richard and The Shadows laid the foundations for an enduring 50-year culture of rock 'n' roll.

Now well into their seventies, the flame still burns strong in the hearts of the original young ones. Featuring Sir Cliff Richard, Marty Wilde, Joe Brown, Bruce Welch, Cherry Wainer and The Quarrymen.

SUN 01:30 The Doors - The Story of LA Woman (b01f7y7c)
By 1969, the Doors had found themselves at the forefront of a movement that consisted of a generation of discontents. Operating against a backdrop of the Vietnam War and of social unrest and change in the USA, the Doors were hip, they were dangerous, they were anti-establishment, anti-war and they were hated by middle-America.

Featuring exclusive interviews with surviving band members Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Robby Kreiger and their closest colleagues and collaborators, along with exclusive performances, archive footage and examination of the original multi-track recording tapes with producer Bruce Botnick, this film tells the amazing story of landmark album LA Woman by one of the most influential bands on the planet.

SUN 02:30 The Final Frontier? A Horizon Guide to the Universe (p00yjn1x)
Dallas Campbell looks back through almost 50 years of the Horizon archives to chart the scientific breakthroughs that have transformed our understanding of the universe. From Einstein's concept of spacetime to alien planets and extra dimensions, science has revealed a cosmos that is more bizarre and more spectacular than could have ever been imagined. But with every breakthrough, even more intriguing mysteries that lie beyond are found. This great journey of discovery is only just beginning.

MONDAY 19 MAY 2014

MON 19:00 World News Today (b0446gxl)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

MON 19:30 Great British Railway Journeys (b00xblnw)
Series 2

Ely to King's Lynn

Michael Portillo takes to the tracks with a copy of George Bradshaw's Victorian Railway Guidebook. In a series of five epic journeys, Portillo travels the length and breadth of the country to see how the railways changed us and what remains of Bradshaw's Britain.

On a journey taking him coast to coast from Brighton to Cromer, Michael goes fishing with the last eel trapper on the Fens at Ely and visits one of the great triumphs of 19th-century engineering, the Denver Sluice. He ends his journey in King's Lynn, where he uncovers an ambitious plan to reclaim the Wash in Bradshaw's day.

MON 20:00 What Do Artists Do All Day? (b0446kkl)
Michael Craig-Martin

Leading contemporary artist Michael Craig-Martin has an ambition to paint all mass-produced, everyday objects in the world. This film gives a rare insight into the artist at work in his London studio and his preparations for a major sculpture exhibition at Chatsworth House.

In the 1980s Craig-Martin was was an influential tutor at Goldsmiths College, which became synonymous with a new generation of talent known as the YBAs (Young British Artists), including Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas and Gary Hume.

In the grounds at Chatsworth, Craig-Martin supervises the installation of twelve heavy, steel 'line drawing' sculptures including vibrant umbrellas, huge garden implements and a giant pink shoe. Additionally, he has been invited to make a selection of historic portrait drawings from the Devonshire Collection and has made an intriguing, colourful 'intervention' to the marble sculptures throughout the house.

Michael Craig-Martin at Chatsworth House : Exhibition continues until June 29th 2014.

MON 20:30 Only Connect (b0446kkn)
Series 9

Software Engineers v Erstwhile Athletes

Two teams who lost their first round return for another chance to make it to the semi-finals. Three former athletes take on a trio of computer experts, 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: Elvis, Valyria, Lapin and Klingo.

MON 21:00 Hinterland (b040k9lh)
Series 1 (full length)

Episode 4

Detective drama series set in rural Wales. The body of a young woman is found abandoned but carefully placed in the marshes. The case pushes DCI Mathias to the edge, both personally and professionally.

MON 22:35 The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain (p01xtmv7)
Episode 3

Dr Lucy Worsley's story of the first Georgian kings reaches the final years of George II's reign. With extensive access to artworks in the Royal Collection, she shows how Britain's new ruling family fought the French, the Jacobites and each other, all at the same time. But while George very publicly bickered with his troublesome son Frederick, Prince of Wales, he also led from the front on the battlefield - the last British king to do so - and helped turn his adopted nation into a global superpower.

What would have seemed an unlikely outcome when the Georges first arrived from Hanover was achieved on the back of a strong navy, a dubious slave trade and a powerful new entrepreneurial spirit that owed much to the influence of the Scottish Enlightenment.

MON 23:35 Ford's Dagenham Dream (b00j0gnm)
Documentary which tells the story of a dream of happy families on wheels that the Ford Motor Company brought from Detroit to Dagenham, then sold to Britain.

From the 1950s onwards Ford revolutionised the cars we drove, producing dream cars for the average British family. In the 60s and 70s Ford sold dreams to boy racers too, but it came at a price. The mass production of motor cars required an army of assembly line workers who did jobs that were infamous for their soul-destroying monotony.

At its peak Dagenham was producing more than 3,000 cars every day and its most popular dream car, the Cortina, sold around five million in Britain alone. But the assembly line workers had a love-hate relationship with the cars they made and for some the dream became a nightmare.

Illustrated with powerful first person testimony and rare archive, this is the story of the rise and fall of Ford's Dagenham dream.

MON 00:35 Only Connect (b0446kkn)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 today]

MON 01:05 What Do Artists Do All Day? (b0446kkl)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

MON 01:35 Stanley Spencer: The Colours of the Clyde (b03yggd0)
Stanley Spencer's Shipbuilding on the Clyde is one of the most astonishing - and least likely - achievements in British art. These colossal portraits of shipyard life were created by a painter best known for his intense, spiritual visions of the English countryside.

World War II uprooted Spencer and sent him to Scotland. But the harsh industrial landscape of Port Glasgow inspired an astonishing vision - and revived Spencer's creative passion. Artist Lachlan Goudie - who himself has been painting in the last of the Clyde shipyards - goes in search of his hero, tracking down the original designs for Spencer's ambitious scheme, meeting the shipyard foreman who helped the eccentric Englishman with his work, and revealing how one of the 20th century's greatest artworks began as a doodle on a roll of cheap toilet paper.

MON 02:05 Hinterland (b040k9lh)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


TUE 19:00 World News Today (b0446gxt)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

TUE 19:30 Great British Railway Journeys (b00xbmlv)
Series 2

Dereham to Cromer

Michael Portillo takes to the tracks with a copy of George Bradshaw's Victorian Railway Guidebook. In a series of five epic journeys, Portillo travels the length and breadth of the country to see how the railways changed us and what of Bradshaw's Britain remains.

On a journey taking him coast to coast from Brighton to Cromer, Michael gets the rare chance to drive a heritage diesel train, finds out why Norfolk black turkeys appeared on the Christmas menu in Bradshaw's day and samples some classic Cromer crab.

TUE 20:00 Ocean Giants (b013q50m)
Giant Lives

This episode explores the intimate details of the largest animals that have ever lived on our planet - the great whales. From the balmy waters of the Indian Ocean to the freezing seas of the Arctic, two daring underwater cameramen - Doug Allan, Planet Earth's polar specialist, and Didier Noirot, Cousteau's front-line cameraman - come face to face with fighting humpback whales and 200-ton feeding blue whales.

Teaming up with top whale scientists, Giant Lives discovers why southern right whales possess a pair of one-ton testicles, why the arctic bowhead can live to over 200 years old and why size truly matters in the world of whales.

TUE 21:00 The Crusades (b01b3ftw)
Holy War

Dr Thomas Asbridge presents a revelatory account of the Crusades, the 200-year war between Christians and Muslims for control of the Holy Land.

The story of the Crusades is remembered as a tale of religious fanaticism and unspeakable violence, but now fresh research, eyewitness testimony and contemporary evidence from both the Christian and Islamic worlds shed new light on how these two great religions waged war in the name of God.

Episode one traces the epic journey of the first crusaders as they marched 3,000 miles from Europe to recapture the city of Jerusalem from Islam, enduring starvation, disease and bloodthirsty battle to reach their sacred goal, and then unleashed an appalling tide of barbaric violence upon their Muslim enemies. Yet far from being the invincible holy warriors of legend, Dr Asbridge reveals that these crusaders actually considered surrender in the midst of their titanic expedition.

TUE 22:00 The Horizon Guide to Space Shuttles (b0109cc7)
[Repeat of broadcast at 01:40 on Saturday]

TUE 23:00 Hidden Histories: Britain's Oldest Family Businesses (b03q0177)
Balson the Butcher

The first of three documentaries following the bosses of some Britain's oldest family businesses as they go on a journey into their remarkable pasts.

Richard Balson's family have been butchers for almost 500 years, since Henry VIII was on the throne. He goes back through centuries of butchery to the origin of the British high street. Along the way he discovers how the Balsons have stayed in the butchery business despite scandal and tragedy.

TUE 00:00 The Viking Sagas (b0110gnv)
Hundreds of years ago in faraway Iceland the Vikings began to write down dozens of stories called sagas - sweeping narratives based on real people and real events. But as Oxford University's Janina Ramirez discovers, these sagas are not just great works of art, they are also priceless historical documents which bring to life the Viking world. Dr Ramirez travels across glaciers and through the lava fields of Iceland to the far north west of the country to find out about one of the most compelling of these stories - the Laxdaela Saga.

TUE 01:00 Ocean Giants (b013q50m)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

TUE 02:00 The Horizon Guide to Space Shuttles (b0109cc7)
[Repeat of broadcast at 01:40 on Saturday]

TUE 03:00 The Crusades (b01b3ftw)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


WED 19:00 World News Today (b0446gxz)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

WED 19:30 Great British Railway Journeys (b00xhxrv)
Series 2

Ledbury to Shrewsbury

Michael Portillo takes to the tracks with a copy of George Bradshaw's Victorian Railway Guidebook. Portillo travels the length and breadth of the country to see how the railways changed us and what remains of Bradshaw's Britain, as he follows the route of the Irish mail from Ledbury to Holyhead.

Michael tastes the Victorian drink perry, a kind of pear cider, gets up close and personal with a pedigree Hereford bull and visits the grandfather of all skyscrapers, the world's first iron-framed building in Shrewsbury.

WED 20:00 Lost Cities of the Ancients (b00792vj)
The Dark Lords of Hattusha

It was one of the greatest vanishing acts in history. More than 3,000 years ago a mysterious and ruthless civilisation rose from nothing, created a brutal and unstoppable army and built an empire that rivalled Egypt and Babylon. Yet, just as it was at the height of its powers, the great empire suddenly vanished from history.

This is the story of the formidable Hittites, a civilisation bent on world domination. Their long-lost capital, Hattusha, which disappeared thousands of years ago, was recently rediscovered, and archaeologists have unearthed one of the most astonishing and ingenious cities of the ancient world, featuring rings of impenetrable walls, secret tunnels, temples, palaces and a vast pyramid-like structure facing Egypt.

Buried in this lost city is one of the greatest libraries of the ancient world. All the secrets of the mysterious Hittite empire were written in two codes - one a unique form of hieroglyphs. Using these deciphered texts, the film recreates the ancient world of the Hittites, telling the story of what happened to them, and what caused an empire built to last forever to vanish so completely from history.

WED 21:00 American Beauty (b00dh7dc)
Drama examining the American nuclear family. Lester and his overambitious wife Carolyn find themselves in a loveless marriage which they endure for the sake of daughter Jane. A compounding disappointment is that computer journalist Lester despises his employers, so when oddball neighbour Ricky re-introduces him to marijuana and teenage temptress Angela catches his eye, Burnham decides it's time for a change - with drastic consequences.

WED 22:55 The Search for Life: The Drake Equation (b00wltbk)
[Repeat of broadcast at 02:40 on Saturday]

WED 23:55 Parks and Recreation (b01rx3lk)
Series 2

Sister City

Leslie gets to play host to Pawnee's sister city, the Parks and Recreation Department of Boraqua, Venezuela. Tom is made a errand boy and April is playing hard to get.

WED 00:15 Parks and Recreation (b01rx3lm)
Series 2


Leslie and her crew continue to help organise the new playground. Leslie receives advice from Mark.

WED 00:35 Frost on Satire (b00srhgn)
Sir David Frost presents an investigation into the power of political satire with the help of some of the funniest TV moments of the last 50 years.

Beginning with the 1960s and That Was the Week That Was, he charts the development of television satire in Britain and the United States and is joined by the leading satirists from both sides of the Atlantic. From the UK, Rory Bremner, Ian Hislop and John Lloyd discuss their individual contributions, while from the US, Jon Stewart analyses the appeal of The Daily Show, Tina Fey and Will Ferrell talk about their respective portrayals of Sarah Palin and George W Bush, and Chevy Chase remembers how Saturday Night Live turned them into huge stars.

All of them tackle the key question of whether satire really can alter the course of political events.

WED 01:35 Lost Cities of the Ancients (b00792vj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

WED 02:35 The Search for Life: The Drake Equation (b00wltbk)
[Repeat of broadcast at 02:40 on Saturday]


THU 19:00 World News Today (b0446gy7)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

THU 19:30 Top of the Pops (b0446m6t)
David 'Kid' Jensen presents another edition of the weekly pop chart show, including performances from the Skids, Roxy Music, ELO, Tubeway Army, Liner, David Bowie, Blondie and Elvis Costello and the Attractions. With dance sequences by Legs & Co.

THU 20:00 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.

THU 21:00 How the Wild West Was Won with Ray Mears (b044jl70)

Ray Mears looks at how the landscapes of America's three great mountain ranges - the Appalachians, the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada - challenged the westward push of the early pioneers.

As Ray travels through each landscape he discovers how their awe-inspiring geography, extreme weather, wild animals and ecology presented both great opportunities and great challenges for the native Indians, mountain men, fur traders, wagon trains and gold miners of the Wild West.

Ray begins his westward journey in the Appalachians where he explores how their timbered slopes fuelled the lumber industry and provided the fuel and building material for the emerging nation. Native Appalachian Barbara Woodall and lumberjack Joe Currie share their family history with him, and he gets to grips with the rare 'hellbender' salamander.

Further west, in the high jagged peaks of the Rocky Mountains, Ray goes mule trekking with modern-day mountain man Stu Sorenson and he has close encounters with beaver, elk and black bear.

Finally, in the desert mountains of the Sierra Nevada, he explores the tragic story of the Donner Party wagon train whose members allegedly turned to cannibalism to survive. His journey ends as he pans for gold with modern day gold prospector John Gurney, and explores the boom and bust story of ghost town, Bodie.

THU 22:00 Ripping Yarns (b0074s9h)
Series 2

Golden Gordon

A torrid tale of football fanaticism in the 1930s. Super-fan Gordon Ottershaw supports Barnstoneworth United, a team that hasn't won a match for six years. But worse is to come and Gordon and his bicycle clips are re-united in a last desperate bid for glory and Bovril.

THU 22:35 Some People with Jokes (b0381cf1)
Series 1

Some Scousers with Jokes Part 2

More Liverpudlians, more jokes. There must be something in the Mersey...

THU 23:05 The Crusades (b01b3ftw)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Tuesday]

THU 00:05 Hinterland (b040k9lh)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Monday]

THU 01:40 Top of the Pops (b0446m6t)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

THU 02:20 Sounds of the 70s 2 (b01k68gc)
Punk - Anarchy on the BBC

The late 70s had parents from all over the UK fearing one particular four letter word... punk. With anarchy spreading across the nation, the BBC managed to capture and sometimes contain some of the chaotic energy of these iconic moments in its studios. This episode provides another chance to jump up and down on the couch and pogo to performances from the Stranglers, the Damned, the Sex Pistols, the Jam, Undertones, the Rezillos, Buzzcocks, the Clash, X-Ray Spex and Joy Division.

THU 02:50 How the Wild West Was Won with Ray Mears (b044jl70)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]

FRIDAY 23 MAY 2014

FRI 19:00 World News Today (b0446gyd)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

FRI 19:30 BBC Young Musician (b0446mwx)

Jazz Award

For 36 years BBC Young Musician has been showcasing the UK's brightest young classical musicians, helping to launch the careers of some of todays biggest names. This year it turns the spotlight on the world of jazz as five outstanding young players compete in the first ever BBC Young Musician Jazz Final.

With an 'access all areas' backstage pass, Josie D'Arby and award-winning saxophonist and hip hop star Soweto Kinch present extensive highlights of the final. On stage, sax players Sean Payne, Alexander Bone and Tom Smith, bassist Freddie Jensen and trumpet player Jake Labazzi join one of the country's finest jazz bands, the Gwilym Simcock Trio. The result is some remarkable performances which make one forget that all the competitors are between 13 and 18 years of age. At the end of the programme one of them will walk away as the winner of the first ever BBC Young Musician Jazz Award.

Making that difficult decision are a panel of judges with all the right credentials - pianist and broadcaster Julian Joseph; saxophonist and producer Jason Yarde; composer and saxophonist Trish Clowes; and Loose Tubes founder, composer and pianist Django Bates.

FRI 21:00 Nat King Cole: Afraid of the Dark (b0446mwz)
Nat King Cole was the only black television star in Hollywood at a time when America groaned under the weight of racial segregation and prejudice. Yet he possessed a natural talent so great that these issues were seemingly swept to one side to allow him to become one of the greatest jazz icons of all time. However, behind closed doors those around him were trying to think of a way to package him as something he was not: bi-white.

This candid account of what really happened in and around his 'fairytale' life is taken from his private journals, interviews with his widow Maria and contributions from other family members, Tony Bennett, Buddy Greco, Harry Belafonte, Nancy Wilson, Sir Bruce Forsyth, George Benson, Aaron Neville, Johnny Mathis and many more.

Featuring archive never seen before, it reveals Nat King Cole's feelings behind his ultimate calling as a 'beacon of hope' to the legions of the oppressed.

FRI 22:30 Jazz Divas Gold (b01sbxqy)
BBC Four explores the archives for the sultry sounds and looks of 'Jazz Divas Gold'! Featured Jazz legends include Ella Fitzgerald, Marion Montgomery, Cleo Laine, Blossom Dearie, Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone, Peggy Lee, Betty Carter, Amy Winehouse, Eartha Kitt and many more who can be seen from 1965 to 2008 on BBC treasures such as Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life, Show of the Week, Not Only...But Also, Birdland, Parkinson, Later..with Jools Holland, Morecambe and Wise and let's hear it for the ladies!

FRI 23:30 Queens of Jazz: The Joy and Pain of the Jazz Divas (b01sbxqw)
A celebration of some of the greatest female jazz singers of the 20th century. It takes an unflinching and revealing look at what it actually took to be a jazz diva during a turbulent time in America's social history - a time when battle lines were being constantly drawn around issues of race, gender and popular culture.

The documentary tracks the diva's difficult progress as she emerges from the tough, testosterone-fuelled world of the big bands of the 30s and 40s, to fill nightclubs and saloons across the US in the 50s and early 60s as a force in her own right. Looking at the lives and careers of six individual singers (Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone and Annie Ross), the film not only talks to those who knew and worked with these queens of jazz, but also to contemporary singers who sit on the shoulders of these trailblazing talents without having to endure the pain and hardship it took for them to make their highly individual voices heard above the prejudice of mid-century America.

This is a documentary about how these women triumphed - always at some personal cost - to become some of the greatest artists of the 20th century, women who chose singing above life itself because singing was their life.

FRI 00:30 Jazz Horns Gold (b01sg8fl)
Jazz Horns Gold blows its own trumpet (and saxophone and nose flute) with a cool array of BBC archive from the jazz vaults.
Legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins, Stan Getz and Rahsaan Roland Kirk play boldly alongside new stars who emerged in the 80s like Wynton Marsalis and the young jazz disciples of the 21st century such as Joshua Redman and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Not forgetting the Brits including Acker Bilk, John Dankworth, Courtney Pine and John Surman and the late, lamented Andy Hamilton. Archive sources include Jazz 625, the Late Show, Later with Jools Holland and Crackerjack.
Blow man blow!

FRI 01:30 Nat King Cole: Afraid of the Dark (b0446mwz)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]

FRI 03:00 Queens of Jazz: The Joy and Pain of the Jazz Divas (b01sbxqw)
[Repeat of broadcast at 23:30 today]

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

50s Britannia 00:30 SUN (b01sgbw2)

A Writer's Journey from There to Here 21:30 SUN (b044ltqz)

American Beauty 21:00 WED (b00dh7dc)

BBC Young Musician 19:00 SAT (b0446h13)

BBC Young Musician 19:00 SUN (b0446j5w)

BBC Young Musician 19:30 FRI (b0446mwx)

Eric and Ernie 22:00 SUN (b00wy7ck)

Ford's Dagenham Dream 23:35 MON (b00j0gnm)

Frost on Satire 00:35 WED (b00srhgn)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:30 MON (b00xblnw)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:30 TUE (b00xbmlv)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:30 WED (b00xhxrv)

Hidden Histories: Britain's Oldest Family Businesses 23:00 TUE (b03q0177)

Hinterland 21:00 MON (b040k9lh)

Hinterland 02:05 MON (b040k9lh)

Hinterland 00:05 THU (b040k9lh)

Horizon: 40 Years on the Moon 20:00 THU (b00llgs8)

How the Wild West Was Won with Ray Mears 21:00 THU (b044jl70)

How the Wild West Was Won with Ray Mears 02:50 THU (b044jl70)

Jazz Divas Gold 22:30 FRI (b01sbxqy)

Jazz Horns Gold 00:30 FRI (b01sg8fl)

Kings of Rock and Roll 23:30 SUN (b007c95q)

Lost Cities of the Ancients 20:00 WED (b00792vj)

Lost Cities of the Ancients 01:35 WED (b00792vj)

Nat King Cole: Afraid of the Dark 21:00 FRI (b0446mwz)

Nat King Cole: Afraid of the Dark 01:30 FRI (b0446mwz)

Ocean Giants 20:00 TUE (b013q50m)

Ocean Giants 01:00 TUE (b013q50m)

Only Connect 20:30 MON (b0446kkn)

Only Connect 00:35 MON (b0446kkn)

Parks and Recreation 23:55 WED (b01rx3lk)

Parks and Recreation 00:15 WED (b01rx3lm)

Queens of Jazz: The Joy and Pain of the Jazz Divas 23:30 FRI (b01sbxqw)

Queens of Jazz: The Joy and Pain of the Jazz Divas 03:00 FRI (b01sbxqw)

Ripping Yarns 22:00 THU (b0074s9h)

Some People with Jokes 22:35 THU (b0381cf1)

Sounds of the 70s 2 20:30 SAT (b01jzy37)

Sounds of the 70s 2 02:20 THU (b01k68gc)

Stanley Spencer: The Colours of the Clyde 01:35 MON (b03yggd0)

The Comet's Tale 00:10 SAT (b008d2x7)

The Crusades 21:00 TUE (b01b3ftw)

The Crusades 03:00 TUE (b01b3ftw)

The Crusades 23:05 THU (b01b3ftw)

The Doors - The Story of LA Woman 01:30 SUN (b01f7y7c)

The Final Frontier? A Horizon Guide to the Universe 02:30 SUN (p00yjn1x)

The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain 22:35 MON (p01xtmv7)

The Horizon Guide to Space Shuttles 01:40 SAT (b0109cc7)

The Horizon Guide to Space Shuttles 22:00 TUE (b0109cc7)

The Horizon Guide to Space Shuttles 02:00 TUE (b0109cc7)

The Old Grey Whistle Test 22:40 SAT (b014vzy3)

The Search for Life: The Drake Equation 02:40 SAT (b00wltbk)

The Search for Life: The Drake Equation 22:55 WED (b00wltbk)

The Search for Life: The Drake Equation 02:35 WED (b00wltbk)

The Sky at Night 01:10 SAT (b043wcjp)

The Viking Sagas 00:00 TUE (b0110gnv)

Top of the Pops 19:30 THU (b0446m6t)

Top of the Pops 01:40 THU (b0446m6t)

Wallander 21:00 SAT (b03jnm98)

What Do Artists Do All Day? 20:00 MON (b0446kkl)

What Do Artists Do All Day? 01:05 MON (b0446kkl)

World News Today 19:00 MON (b0446gxl)

World News Today 19:00 TUE (b0446gxt)

World News Today 19:00 WED (b0446gxz)

World News Today 19:00 THU (b0446gy7)

World News Today 19:00 FRI (b0446gyd)