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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SAT 19:00 Swarm: Nature's Incredible Invasions (b00gkrm2)
When Worlds Collide

This two-part documentary reveals the awe-inspiring world of animal swarms, discovering what happens when superswarms invade people's lives and, using the latest camera techniques, going to the heart of the swarm to reveal how the creatures therein view our world.

Real-life footage from camcorders and mobile phones captures the amazing impact they can have. Killer bees mount an attack on an international football match in Costa Rica. In the US, the Illinois River boils with leaping silver carp, an alien species that has hijacked the river, smashing into boats and injuring people.

In South Australia, a sea of mice raids farms, consuming and destroying in their millions on a scale that defies belief. The largest swarm on Earth erupts from Lake Victoria - trillions of flies blanket villages, but the locals have learnt to turn the swarm into a highly nutritious fly burger. In Rome, cameras fly alongside ten million starlings, the largest swarm in Europe. Their mesmeric waves stop many residents in their tracks, but as they roost they smother the city in tons of excrement.

One man has learnt to control the ultimate swarm. He has become their 'queen bee' with startling results, learning to control what most people fear and to understand one of the most incredible forces of nature.

SAT 20:00 The Story of Science: Power, Proof and Passion (b00sfbdx)
How Did We Get Here?

Michael Mosley takes an informative and ambitious journey exploring how the evolution of scientific understanding is intimately interwoven with society's historical path.

The question of our human origins is one of the most controversial science has wrestled with. This is the story of how scientists came to explain the beauty and diversity of life on earth, and reveal how its evolution is connected to the long and violent history of our planet. Featuring ocean adventurers, eccentric French aristocrats, mountain climbers, a secret Victorian publisher with 12 fingers, a ridiculed German meteorologist, and only a brief hint of Charles Darwin.

SAT 21:00 Wallander (b03npb2b)
Series 3

The Arsonist

Young offender Tommy is released from detention having served five years for aggravated arson in the village of Linby. His sister has persuaded her unwilling husband to allow him to stay on their farm until he can get settled elsewhere, but no sooner has he arrived than there is an arson attack on the farm. Kurt and the Ystad police have to unravel the mystery with the whole village seemingly complicit in their desire for revenge.

In Swedish with English subtitles.

SAT 22:30 Natural World (b00vv0nm)

The Dolphins of Shark Bay

A dolphin is about to be born in the treacherous waters of Shark Bay in Western Australia. Puck, the wise mother, must use all her skills to keep her newborn safe from the sharks that sweep into the bay every year. With the help of her close-knit family of females, she must teach the vulnerable baby dolphin the secrets of survival. From whistling to her unborn calf to the first few hours of baby Samu's life and the struggles her eldest son faces leaving home, this film provides a rare insight into the lives of bottlenose dolphins.

SAT 23:30 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 00:30 The Sky at Night (b046rn8m)

From asteroids crashing into the surface of the moon to galaxies colliding with each other, cosmic impacts have shaped the universe around us. Materials scientist Mark Miodownik investigates the astonishing physics of the moment when a meteorite hits a planet like our own. And the team is asking for viewers' help to spot asteroids that could be on a collision course with Earth.

Maggie Aderin-Pocock discovers how evidence suggests the moon was formed from the biggest impact in Earth's history, an impact so powerful the whole surface of the Earth melted. Chris Lintott explores the creative power of impacts on the biggest scales, when whole galaxies collide. Pete Lawrence takes us on a tour of the moon, revealing the beautiful range of impact craters available for us all to see almost every night.

SAT 01:00 Tails You Win: The Science of Chance (p00yh2rc)
Smart and witty, jam-packed with augmented-reality graphics and fascinating history, this film, presented by professor David Spiegelhalter, tries to pin down what chance is and how it works in the real world. For once this really is 'risky' television.

The film follows in the footsteps of The Joy of Stats, which won the prestigious Grierson Award for Best Science/Natural History programme of 2011. Now the same blend of wit and wisdom, animation, graphics and gleeful nerdery is applied to the joys of chance and the mysteries of probability, the vital branch of mathematics that gives us a handle on what might happen in the future. Professor Spiegelhalter is ideally suited to that task, being Winton professor for the public understanding of risk at Cambridge University, as well as being a recent Winter Wipeout contestant on BBC TV.

How can you maximise your chances of living till you're 100? Why do many of us experience so many spooky coincidences? Should I take an umbrella? These are just some of the everyday questions the film tackles as it moves between Cambridge, Las Vegas, San Francisco and... Reading.

Yet the film isn't shy of some rather loftier questions. After all, our lives are pulled about and pushed around by the mysterious workings of chance, fate, luck, call it what you will. But what actually is chance? Is it something fundamental to the fabric of the universe? Or rather, as the French 18th century scientist Pierre Laplace put it, 'merely a measure of our ignorance'.

Along the way Spiegelhalter is thrilled to discover One Million Random Digits, probably the most boring book in the world, but one full of hidden patterns and shapes. He introduces us to the cheery little unit called the micromort (a one-in-a-million chance of dying), taking the rational decision to go sky-diving because doing so only increases his risk of dying this year from 7000 to 7007 micromorts. And in one sequence he uses the latest infographics to demonstrate how life expectancy has increased in his lifetime and how it is affected by our lifestyle choices - drinking, obesity, smoking and exercise.

Did you know that by running regularly for half an hour a day you can expect to extend your life by half an hour a day? So all very well... if you like running.

Ultimately, Tails You Win: The Science of Chance tells the story of how we discovered how chance works, and even to work out the odds for the future; how we tried - but so often failed - to conquer it; and how we may finally be learning to love it, increasingly setting uncertainty itself to work to help crack some of science's more intractable problems.

Other contributors include former England cricketer Ed Smith, whose career was cut down in its prime through a freak, unlucky accident; Las Vegas gambling legend Mike Shackleford, the self-styled 'Wizard of Odds'; and chief economist of the Bank of England, Spencer Dale.

SAT 02:00 Swarm: Nature's Incredible Invasions (b00gkrm2)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

SAT 03:00 The Story of Science: Power, Proof and Passion (b00sfbdx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


SUN 19:00 Timewatch (b00jcgpm)

Captain Cook: The Man Behind the Legend

In the late 18th century, Captain James Cook led three great voyages of discovery which pushed the borders of the British Empire to the ends of the earth. In just over a decade, his ability as a navigator and chartmaker would add one-third to the map of the known world. For many he was the greatest explorer in history, but for others he was a ruthless conqueror.

While the exploits of Captain Cook are well documented, much less is known about James Cook the man. Presenter Vanessa Collingridge sets out on her own voyage of discovery - travelling in his footsteps to uncover the forces that drove him to success, and ultimately to his own death.

SUN 20:00 Scott of the Antarctic (b06jf91c)
A documentary-style dramatic depiction of the ill-fated 1911 expedition to the South Pole. Determined to lead the first expedition to reach the South Pole, naval officer Scott assembles a team to try to beat a Norwegian attempt. However, the conditions the men face in the Antarctic prove draining and disastrous.

SUN 21:45 Icebound: The Greatest Dog Story Ever Told (b03pzv9m)
Documentary about an adventure that has become known as the greatest dog story ever told and captured the imagination of children and adults throughout the world for almost a century.

On January 28 1925, newspapers and radio stations broke a terrifying story - diphtheria had broken out in Nome, Alaska, a city separated from the rest of the world for seven months by a frozen ocean. With aviation still in its infancy and amidst one of the harshest winters on record, there was only one way to reach the town - dogsled. In minus 60 degrees, over 20 men and at least 150 dogs, among them the famous Balto, set out to relay the antitoxin across 674 miles of Alaskan wilderness to save the town.

SUN 22:45 Timeshift (b016pwgw)
Series 11

Of Ice and Men

Timeshift reveals the history of the frozen continent, finding out why the most inhospitable place on the planet has exerted such a powerful hold on the imagination of explorers, scientists, writers and photographers.

Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest place on the globe. Only a handful of people have experienced its desolate beauty, with the first explorers setting foot here barely a hundred years ago.

From the logbooks of Captain Cook to the diaries of Scott and Shackleton, from the Rime of the Ancient Mariner to HP Lovecraft, it is a film about real and imaginary tales of adventure, romance and tragedy that have played out against a stark white backdrop.

We relive the race to the Pole and the 'Heroic Age' of Antarctic exploration, and find out what it takes to survive the cold and the perils of 'polar madness'. We see how Herbert Ponting's photographs of the Scott expedition helped define our image of the continent and find out why the continent witnessed a remarkable thaw in Russian and American relations at the height of the Cold War.

We also look at the intriguing story of who actually owns Antarctica and how science is helping us reimagine a frozen wasteland as something far more precious.

Interviewees include Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Francis Spufford, Huw Lewis-Jones, Sara Wheeler, Henry Worsley, Prof David Walton and Martin Hartley.

SUN 23:45 Killing Me Softly: The Roberta Flack Story (b046psxl)
Roberta Flack's Grammy award-winning song The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face was America's biggest selling single of 1972. The following year her gentle, pure voice charmed middle America once again when Killing Me Softly with His Song reached the top of the charts and ran off with another Grammy for single of the year. In the early 70s Roberta Flack was one of the most successful pop stars in the world.

But Flack was no overnight sensation. She didn't have a hit single till she was 35 years of age. Nor was her success a traditional African-American rags-to-riches story. She came from the black middle class that had been born out of the self-contained hub of segregated America. She studied classical music at Howard University, America's top black university, and probably would have pursued a classical career had that door been open to her in 50s America. Instead, she taught music in Washington's public school system for 10 years while she struggled for her break.

In the race conscious times, she also had her detractors. While she was singing duets of black consciousness with soul singer Donnie Hathaway, she was married to her white bass player. Also, they said she sounded too white; the gospel-infused voices of Aretha Franklin and James Brown, which came out of the dominant Baptist church, were what real soul singers sounded like. What those critics didn't understand was that there are many musical traditions within black America and Roberta Flack came from the more restrained Methodist one where they sang hymns rather than gospel.

This is the story of the emergence of different kind of soul singer set against the turbulent backdrop of America's Civil Rights movement. Contributors include: Roberta Flack; Dionne Warwick; Johnny Mathis; Cissy Houston; Imani Perry - Princeton University, professor of African American Studies; Greg Tate - musician and critic; Fredera Hadley - musicologist; and John Akomfrah - filmmaker and critic.

SUN 00:45 Singer-Songwriters at the BBC (b015j8g7)
Series 2

Episode 2

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

Tom Paxton starts proceedings with a rare black and white performance of his classic song The Last Thing on My Mind filmed in 1964. Also making an appearance is the 'fifth Beatle', Harry Nilsson, with a performance from his BBC concert in 1972. Other gems from this year include Canadian Gordon Lightfoot, songwriting duo Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan as Stealers Wheel and the most popular acoustic act of the 1970s, the gentle, bespectacled John Denver.

From the Basil Brush Show in 1973, Ronnie Lane and Slim Chance make a surprise appearance. Californian Beach Boy Bruce Johnston offers a sublime version of Disney Girls, and Joan Armatrading injects a bit of brio on the Old Grey Whistle Test. Rounding it all off is six-time Grammy winner Billy Joel.

SUN 01:45 Timewatch (b00jcgpm)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

SUN 02:45 Icebound: The Greatest Dog Story Ever Told (b03pzv9m)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:45 today]


MON 19:00 World News Today (b046vk9w)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

MON 19:30 Great British Railway Journeys (b00y47bj)
Series 2

London Bridge to Chatham

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 of Bradshaw's Britain remains, as his journey goes through Kent, from London Bridge around the scenic south coast to Hastings.

Michael visits the Royal Observatory at Greenwich to see how the railways standardised time, takes a walk through the world's first underwater tunnel at Rotherhithe and explores the historic dockyards at Chatham.

MON 20:00 Jigs and Wigs: The Extreme World of Irish Dancing (b03yfc4j)
Series 1

Episode 2

Cathy Desmond is 50 and hopes to qualify for the 2014 World Irish Dance Championships. And she is not alone - adult dancers take to the stage in Munich to prove that it's never too late to put on your dancing shoes.

MON 20:30 Only Connect (b046w23j)
Series 9

Relatives v Record Collectors

A family team and a trio of record collectors return for a last chance to make it to the semi-finals, 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: CBS, AT&T, KFC and BP.

MON 21:00 Britain's Whale Hunters: The Untold Story (b046w23l)
The Fall

Writer Adam Nicolson continues to explore the forgotten role that British whalers played in Antarctic whaling as late as the 1960s. Granted rare access to the ruins of the whaling stations on the island of South Georgia, he charts the boom and bust of this once multimillion-pound industry. He hears first-hand about the battle between science, politics and profit that brought whales to the brink of extermination just 50 years ago and reveals the astounding role that Britain played in the international whaling industry.

A few hundred years ago, the oceans were home to millions of whales, but then we found that they were incredibly useful: by the 1920s they were even forming an essential part of Britain's fat supply to make soap and margarine. On the remote British Antarctic island of South Georgia, the centre of the industry in the 1920s, Adam explores the incredible ruins of the world's largest whaling station. Abandoned in the 1960s, Leith Harbour is a complete, but now deserted, whaling town. To fully understand how whale populations were so drastically reduced, Adam puts our modern environmental guilt to one side and, with the help of the last of the British whalers and dramatic archive film, sees the industry through the eyes of its own time.

In the mid-1920s, up to 8,000 whales a year were being processed on South Georgia to satisfy Europe's demand for fat. The whalers describe the dangers of using industrial machinery to process whales and Adam explores the hospital that treated the unlucky ones, still stocked with 1950s medicine. Meanwhile, some scientists in Britain were aware of the threat of the industry to whale populations, and a hugely ambitious piece of marine biology - the 'Discovery Investigations' - were launched. Adam visits a legacy of this program, the new ship Discovery, and learns how the original attempted to build an argument for sustainable whaling.

The industry soon found a way to become yet more effective at hunting and processing whales through a revolutionary piece of ship design, which also allowed them to dodge British attempts at regulation. Adam explores the incredible scale of the oil being sent home: by 1933, 37 per cent of the fat in British margarine was from whales. As World War Two approached, Germany and Japan joined the industry, and catches reached a staggering 46,000 whales caught in the Antarctic in one year.

While exploring an abandoned whale-catching ship and taking a peek behind the scenes at the Natural History Museum, Adam examines the tussle between the industry and science. War-ravaged Europe was desperate for fats, and new attempts to regulate the industry proved completely inadequate to protect whale populations. It wasn't until population dynamics experts were included in the 1960s that the industry began to take action to seriously reduce catches. And by then, whale stocks were in a disastrous state, with some species near extinction.

Having discovered so much about the forgotten story of British whaling, Adam attempts to find a balanced view of the industry as a whole - one that killed over 1.6 million whales in the Antarctic. He feels a deep admiration for the great skill and courage of the whalers, but, at the same time, concludes that he hates the whaling itself.

MON 22:00 The Deadliest Crash: the Le Mans 1955 Disaster (b00sfptx)
At 6.26 pm, June 11th 1955, the world of playboy racers and their exotic cars exploded in a devastating fireball. On the home straight early in the Le Mans 24-Hour race, future British world champion Mike Hawthorn made a rash mistake. Pierre Levegh's Mercedes 300 SLR smashed into the crowd, killing 83 people and injuring 120 more. It remains the worst disaster in motor racing history.

The story was quickly engulfed by conspiracy theory, blame and scandal. Was the mysterious explosion caused by Mercedes gambling all on untried technologies? Did they compound it by using a lethal fuel additive? Have the French authorities been covering up the truth ever since? Or was the winner, the doomed British star Mike Hawthorn, guilty of reckless driving and did his desire to win at all costs start the terrible chain of events?

MON 23:00 A History of Art in Three Colours (b01l4fyl)

For the very first civilisations, the yellow lustre of gold is the most alluring and intoxicating colour of all. From the midst of prehistory to a bunker deep beneath the Bank of England, Fox reveals how golden treasures made across the ages reflect everything that has been held as sacred.

MON 00:00 The Story of Science: Power, Proof and Passion (b00sfbdx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 on Saturday]

MON 01:00 Only Connect (b046w23j)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 today]

MON 01:30 Jigs and Wigs: The Extreme World of Irish Dancing (b03yfc4j)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

MON 02:00 The Deadliest Crash: the Le Mans 1955 Disaster (b00sfptx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]

MON 03:00 Britain's Whale Hunters: The Untold Story (b046w23l)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


TUE 19:00 World News Today (b046vkb1)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

TUE 19:30 Great British Railway Journeys (b00y47fb)
Series 2

Aylesford to Tunbridge Wells

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 his journey goes through Kent, from London Bridge around the scenic south coast to Hastings.

Michael explores the life of Victorian hop pickers, finds out about Maidstone's revolutionary paper industry and discovers how the railways turned cricket into a national sport.

TUE 20:00 Hidcote: A Garden for All Seasons (b011s3pw)
Documentary telling the story of Hidcote - the most influential English garden of the 20th century - and Lawrence Johnston, the enigmatic genius behind it. Hidcote was the first garden ever taken on by the National Trust, who spent 3.5 million pounds in a major programme of restoration. This included researching Johnston's original vision, which in turn uncovered the compelling story of how Johnston created such an iconic garden.

Until recently, little was known about the secretive and self-taught Johnston. He kept few, if any, records on Hidcote's construction, but current head gardener Glyn Jones made it a personal mission to discover as much about the man as possible to reveal how, in the early 20th century, Johnston set about creating a garden that has inspired designers all over the world.

TUE 21:00 The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins (b046w2n8)
Documentary telling the story of the most extraordinary experiment in the history of animal science. In the 1960s, a powerful and charismatic scientist flooded a house. He then invited a young woman to live there full-time with a dolphin. Their intention was the ultimate in animal research - they wanted to teach the dolphin to speak English. What happened next would change all their lives. For the first time those involved in the experiment reveal the secrets of the Dolphin House.

TUE 22:00 Amber (b03skm4p)
Episode 3

In an episode viewed through the eyes of DI Dunlop and Sgt Karen Mulcahy, increasingly it appears that Amber's missing mobile phone may provide a definitive answer to the mystery and that a man called Charlie may have that answer.

TUE 22:50 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 23:50 A History of Britain by Simon Schama (b0074kwx)
Series 1


Simon Schama begins his history of Britain with a visit to the miraculously preserved Stone Age cottages of Skara Brae in Orkney and then moves all the way to the world of Anglo-Saxon England, newly converted to Christinanity, and plagued by Vikings. He describes how a nation was conceived by war, trade, migrations of peoples, religion, and an infatuation with Rome.

TUE 00:50 Hidcote: A Garden for All Seasons (b011s3pw)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

TUE 01:50 The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins (b046w2n8)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]

TUE 02:50 Amber (b03skm4p)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]


WED 19:00 World News Today (b046vkb6)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

WED 19:30 Great British Railway Journeys (b00y47jt)
Series 2

Canterbury to Margate

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 his journey goes through Kent, from London Bridge around the scenic south coast to Hastings.

Michael finds out how Canterbury Cathedral was saved during the Baedeker raids of World War II, goes whelk fishing in Whitstable and explores the origins of a seaside swim in Margate.

WED 20:00 She-Wolves: England's Early Queens (b01bgpm7)
Matilda and Eleanor

In the medieval and Tudor world there was no question in people's minds about the order of God's creation - men ruled and women didn't. A king was a warrior who literally fought to win power then battled to keep it. Yet despite everything that stood in their way, a handful of extraordinary women did attempt to rule medieval and Tudor England. In this series, historian Dr Helen Castor explores seven queens who challenged male power, the fierce reactions they provoked and whether the term 'she wolves' was deserved.

Eight hundred years ago, Matilda came within a hair's breadth of being the first woman to be crowned queen of England in her own right. Castor explores how Matilda reached this point and why her bid for the throne ultimately failed. Her daughter-in-law Eleanor of Aquitaine was an equally formidable woman. Despite being remembered as the queen of courtly love, in reality during her long life she divorced one king and married another, only to lead a rebellion against him. She only finally achieved the power she craved in her seventies.

WED 21:00 Majesty and Mortar: Britain's Great Palaces (b046w5c1)
Towards an Architecture of Majesty

Royal palaces are the most magnificent buildings in our history. Often built to extraordinary levels of luxury and excess, they express the personalities of our kings and queens since 1066.

From the Tower of London to Hampton Court Palace, Dan Cruickshank reveals an extraordinary story of buildings, often fortified, that cemented the monarch's claim to the throne. Palaces reveal our monarchs like no other buildings - their taste for luxury, their fear of the mob, even their relationship with God. Palaces have been caught up in some of the most dramatic events in history - some survive in all their magnificence like Hampton Court while others have vanished from the surface of the earth as completely as if they'd never existed.

WED 22:00 4,000-Year-Old Cold Case: The Body in the Bog (b03js0gf)
A 4,000-year-old body is found preserved in an Irish peat bog, in Cashel, in Ireland's midlands. To scientists and historians, it could offer brand new clues to solve an ancient mystery - the hundreds of bodies found mummified in the boglands of northern Europe.

An international team of experts assemble to investigate this new find, led by Ned Kelly of the National Museum of Ireland. Ned is a veteran archaeologist, and has previously investigated some of Ireland's most famous bog bodies.

Will 'Cashel Man' help prove his theory these Irish victims were ancient kings? And what clues can the bog bodies of Europe offer to explain our ancestors' most macabre tradition, ritual murder?

Meanwhile, that question could be answered by the bog itself. New science has found clues to suggest these deaths may be explained by prehistoric climate change.

WED 23:00 Swarm: Nature's Incredible Invasions (b00gkrm2)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 on Saturday]

WED 00:00 Everyday Eden: A Potted History of the Suburban Garden (p01t8n4q)
Because it's not grand, the story of the suburban garden has barely been told - and yet eight out of ten people in England live in the suburbs. In this documentary, writer and historian Michael Collins delivers a riposte to the urban intelligentsia which has spent a century sneering at the suburbs. His south London pilgrimage takes him to Bexley and Bromley, Surbiton and the new promised land of Bluewater in Kent to explore what the suburban garden has meant to the UK and to celebrate what one contributor calls 'their little piece of heaven'.

George Orwell famously laid out the icons of English culture as 'solid breakfasts and gloomy Sundays, smoky towns and... red pillarboxes' and Collins shows that the suburban garden very much deserves a place in that canon. South Londoner Collins previously charted the history of the white working class in his controversial book The Likes of Us and explored the rise and fall of the council house in BBC Four's The Great Estate. He tends to admire what critics of suburbia have loathed - its lack of history, the mock and ersatz style of its homes and gardens, and the suggestion that it is a 'nowhere place', neither town nor country but stranded in between.

Collins's journey starts a century ago in Hampstead Garden Suburb, a planned utopia that transformed the lives of its residents fleeing urban squalor, but one that came with off-putting regulations - maximum hedge size, a designated wash-day, and no pub. Suburban sprawl between the wars, when three million new homes were built, couldn't have been more different. 'You could', recalls one contributor from Welling, 'buy a house for 12/6 down and pay 7/6 a week on the mortgage, and suddenly you had a two-up/two-down, front garden/back garden. Those were the days!'

In the 1930s, Wills cashed in on the suburban gardening craze with 50 cigarette cards offering handy tips. But this was also the era that identified a new condition - suburban neurosis. When war broke out, Rita Withers's dad, a veteran of the Somme, was so traumatised he dug a trench right across their lawn, thinking it the only way to protect his family. Wartime 'Dig for Victory', launched by the BBC's first horticultural expert, Mr Middleton, saw flowers sacrificed for vegetables and the war effort.

The Peace Rose ushered in the post-war garden, and contributors fondly remember the ubiquitous swing of the 1950s and 60s, the equally ubiquitous tortoise and the shock of the new as suburbia's new mecca, the garden centre, transformed the 70s garden. This was the era of The Good Life, but a Surbiton couple, the Howes, whose immaculate garden would have impressed Margot and Jerry, are keen to point out the series was actually shot in north London 'because Surbiton was not sufficiently like Surbiton to be worth filming... a kind of oblique compliment.'

Collins's suburban odyssey ends in the spanking new 21st-century purpose-built suburb of Ingress Park in Kent, a dormitory for Europe's biggest mall, Bluewater. Karen Roberts may have bought her astroturf lawn for £700 on the internet, but the appeal of the suburban garden is timeless. 'Ingress Park is dope', she explains. 'I live the dream. I haven't got a lot of money to spend, but I can go snip, snip, I'm doing my garden, I love it.'.

WED 01:00 She-Wolves: England's Early Queens (b01bgpm7)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

WED 02:00 Parks and Recreation (b01sbvzw)
Series 2

The Set Up

Ann sets Leslie up on a blind date with one of her co-workers. However, the date does not go as Leslie had hoped. Meanwhile, Mark begins to feel insecure when he meets one of Ann's old friends.

WED 02:20 Parks and Recreation (b01sbvzy)
Series 2


The parks department forms a partnership with a local company to sell energy bars at the parks in Pawnee, but Leslie tries to stop the deal when she discovers how unhealthy the snacks are. Mark reluctantly agrees to help Tom move out of his house.

WED 02:45 Majesty and Mortar: Britain's Great Palaces (b046w5c1)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


THU 19:00 World News Today (b046vkbc)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

THU 19:30 Top of the Pops (b046w5p4)
Peter Powell presents another edition of the weekly pop chart show including performances from Thom Pace, Janet Kay, Thin Lizzy, Squeeze, Tubeway Army, Quantum Jump, UK Subs, Lene Lovich and Gerry Rafferty, and a dance sequence from Legs & Co.

THU 20:00 Clydebuilt: The Ships that Made the Commonwealth (p01n8dv0)
HMS Hood

In this episode, David Hayman meets some of the men who sailed on HMS Hood. He travels to Scapa Flow to experience what life was like for the hundreds of people working to protect the vital North Atlantic convoys.

In Australia, he uncovers the legacy of her flag-waving visits and he tries his hand at riveting to understand what it took to make this battlecruiser strong and watertight. David also investigates why this 'mighty' ship was flawed from the very day she was launched.

THU 21:00 A History of Britain by Simon Schama (b0074ky2)
Series 1


In nine short hours, William the Conqueror triumphed at the Battle of Hastings - and England was changed forever. Simon Schama recounts the saga of blood, betrayal and ambition that led up to this pivotal battle and describes the profound consequences that followed.

THU 22:00 Britain's Whale Hunters: The Untold Story (b046w23l)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Monday]

THU 23:00 The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins (b046w2n8)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Tuesday]

THU 00:00 Battlefield Britain (b0078rrn)
The Battle for Wales

Peter and Dan Snow tell the story of when the Welsh - led by rebel leader Owain Glyndwr - last invaded England. The Battle of Shrewsbury was the scene of the biggest archery-centred conflict on British soil, and the final showdown came outside Worcester. On the way, father and son try out the weapon of mass destruction of the day, the longbow, and experience how Owain Glyndwr used the rough terrain of the Welsh borders to outwit his enemies.

THU 01:00 Top of the Pops (b046w5p4)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

THU 01:35 Amber (b03skm4p)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Tuesday]

THU 02:25 A History of Britain by Simon Schama (b0074ky2)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


FRI 19:00 World News Today (b046vkbj)
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 Sounds of the Eighties (b0074shx)
Episode 1

The 80s saw many great contributions to the fields of art and culture. Not the least of these was floppy hair. Floppy hair dominates this episode of pop morsels from the BBC archive, featuring Adam and the Ants, Duran Duran, Culture Club, ABC, Wham!, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Bananarama and Kylie Minogue.

FRI 21:00 Billy Joel: The Bridge to Russia (b043njlg)
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Billy Joel was building a catalogue of timeless songs while enjoying a string of consecutive hit albums and singles. Though selling out concerts around the world, Billy and his music were, like much of western pop culture and rock 'n' roll itself, unheard behind the Iron Curtain, except for black market bootlegs and faint shortwave radio.

By the late 80s, the Cold War between the USSR and the West had begun to thaw in the light of Russian head-of-state Mikhail Gorbachev's policies of Glasnost and Perestroika, designed to bring openness and transparency to the Soviet Union while promoting political reform and cross-cultural exchanges. When the Kremlin invited Billy Joel to perform in the Soviet Union, he jumped at the chance to realise a long-time dream of performing for the Russian people. As America's pop rock musical ambassador, Billy Joel brought the Soviets their first fully-staged high-energy rock show. The tour began with a small acoustic concert in Tbilisi, followed by three electrifying stadium shows in Moscow and three shows in Leningrad.

Joel's historic visit to Russia became a worldwide news event, with journalists and writers covering the tour, its progress and the effect Billy, his band and his family were having on the Russian people. The entire tour was professionally filmed and the concerts were simulcast on radio worldwide. During their stay, Billy and his family, along with musicians, staff, and a huge press entourage spent their days interacting with the Russian people, forging true bonds of friendship wherever they went. The tour has been seen as a major cultural turning point in the course of US and Soviet relations.

Seen and heard now, more than 25 years later, Joel's Russian concert tour performances stand out among the most electrifying and moving of his career and this film bears witness to the timeless revolutionary power of rock 'n' roll.

FRI 22:15 Billy Joel Live in Leningrad (b043njlj)
In August 1987, Billy Joel took his worldwide Bridge tour on an unprecedented leg through the Soviet Union, the first fully-staged rock concert to visit the country. This programme features highlights from his concert at the Lenin Sports and Concert Complex in Leningrad (now St Petersburg). Songs include: Angry Young Man, Goodnight Saigon, An Innocent Man, The Longest Time, A Matter of Trust, Only the Good Die Young, It's Still Rock 'n' Roll to Me, Uptown Girl and Back in the USSR.

FRI 23:35 Barry Manilow at the BBC (b01hrb2y)
A mixture of songs, interviews and rarely seen documentary footage offers a glimpse as to how American crooner Barry Manilow's career has evolved on screen for more than forty years. Classics such as Mandy, Copacabana and Could It Be Magic were played to millions of viewers first time around and are revisited in clips from Top of the Pops, Parkinson and various filmed shows including his pivotal open-air concert at Blenheim Palace in 1983 - it's a miracle!

FRI 00:35 Billy Joel: The Bridge to Russia (b043njlg)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]

FRI 01:50 Billy Joel Live in Leningrad (b043njlj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:15 today]

FRI 03:10 Sounds of the Eighties (b0074shx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 today]

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

4,000-Year-Old Cold Case: The Body in the Bog 22:00 WED (b03js0gf)

A History of Art in Three Colours 23:00 MON (b01l4fyl)

A History of Britain by Simon Schama 23:50 TUE (b0074kwx)

A History of Britain by Simon Schama 21:00 THU (b0074ky2)

A History of Britain by Simon Schama 02:25 THU (b0074ky2)

Amber 22:00 TUE (b03skm4p)

Amber 02:50 TUE (b03skm4p)

Amber 01:35 THU (b03skm4p)

Barry Manilow at the BBC 23:35 FRI (b01hrb2y)

Battlefield Britain 00:00 THU (b0078rrn)

Billy Joel Live in Leningrad 22:15 FRI (b043njlj)

Billy Joel Live in Leningrad 01:50 FRI (b043njlj)

Billy Joel: The Bridge to Russia 21:00 FRI (b043njlg)

Billy Joel: The Bridge to Russia 00:35 FRI (b043njlg)

Britain's Whale Hunters: The Untold Story 21:00 MON (b046w23l)

Britain's Whale Hunters: The Untold Story 03:00 MON (b046w23l)

Britain's Whale Hunters: The Untold Story 22:00 THU (b046w23l)

Clydebuilt: The Ships that Made the Commonwealth 20:00 THU (p01n8dv0)

Everyday Eden: A Potted History of the Suburban Garden 00:00 WED (p01t8n4q)

Fossil Wonderlands: Nature's Hidden Treasures 22:50 TUE (b03yfqj8)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:30 MON (b00y47bj)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:30 TUE (b00y47fb)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:30 WED (b00y47jt)

Hidcote: A Garden for All Seasons 20:00 TUE (b011s3pw)

Hidcote: A Garden for All Seasons 00:50 TUE (b011s3pw)

Icebound: The Greatest Dog Story Ever Told 21:45 SUN (b03pzv9m)

Icebound: The Greatest Dog Story Ever Told 02:45 SUN (b03pzv9m)

Jigs and Wigs: The Extreme World of Irish Dancing 20:00 MON (b03yfc4j)

Jigs and Wigs: The Extreme World of Irish Dancing 01:30 MON (b03yfc4j)

Killing Me Softly: The Roberta Flack Story 23:45 SUN (b046psxl)

Majesty and Mortar: Britain's Great Palaces 21:00 WED (b046w5c1)

Majesty and Mortar: Britain's Great Palaces 02:45 WED (b046w5c1)

Natural World 22:30 SAT (b00vv0nm)

Only Connect 20:30 MON (b046w23j)

Only Connect 01:00 MON (b046w23j)

Parks and Recreation 02:00 WED (b01sbvzw)

Parks and Recreation 02:20 WED (b01sbvzy)

Scott of the Antarctic 20:00 SUN (b06jf91c)

She-Wolves: England's Early Queens 20:00 WED (b01bgpm7)

She-Wolves: England's Early Queens 01:00 WED (b01bgpm7)

Singer-Songwriters at the BBC 00:45 SUN (b015j8g7)

Sounds of the Eighties 20:30 FRI (b0074shx)

Sounds of the Eighties 03:10 FRI (b0074shx)

Swarm: Nature's Incredible Invasions 19:00 SAT (b00gkrm2)

Swarm: Nature's Incredible Invasions 02:00 SAT (b00gkrm2)

Swarm: Nature's Incredible Invasions 23:00 WED (b00gkrm2)

Symphony 19:30 FRI (b016pwgy)

Tails You Win: The Science of Chance 01:00 SAT (p00yh2rc)

The Comet's Tale 23:30 SAT (b008d2x7)

The Deadliest Crash: the Le Mans 1955 Disaster 22:00 MON (b00sfptx)

The Deadliest Crash: the Le Mans 1955 Disaster 02:00 MON (b00sfptx)

The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins 21:00 TUE (b046w2n8)

The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins 01:50 TUE (b046w2n8)

The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins 23:00 THU (b046w2n8)

The Sky at Night 00:30 SAT (b046rn8m)

The Story of Science: Power, Proof and Passion 20:00 SAT (b00sfbdx)

The Story of Science: Power, Proof and Passion 03:00 SAT (b00sfbdx)

The Story of Science: Power, Proof and Passion 00:00 MON (b00sfbdx)

Timeshift 22:45 SUN (b016pwgw)

Timewatch 19:00 SUN (b00jcgpm)

Timewatch 01:45 SUN (b00jcgpm)

Top of the Pops 19:30 THU (b046w5p4)

Top of the Pops 01:00 THU (b046w5p4)

Wallander 21:00 SAT (b03npb2b)

World News Today 19:00 MON (b046vk9w)

World News Today 19:00 TUE (b046vkb1)

World News Today 19:00 WED (b046vkb6)

World News Today 19:00 THU (b046vkbc)

World News Today 19:00 FRI (b046vkbj)