Radio-Lists Home Now on BBC 4

RADIO-LISTS: BBC FOUR
Unofficial Weekly Listings for BBC 4 — supported by bbc.co.uk/programmes/



SATURDAY 13 DECEMBER 2014

SAT 19:00 Ice Age Giants (p018ccn2)
Last of the Giants

Professor Alice Roberts journeys 40,000 years back in time on the trail of the great beasts of the ice age. This was the last time that giants like mammoths, woolly rhinos and sabre-toothed cats ruled our planet. Drawing on the latest scientific detective work and a dash of graphic wizardry, Alice brings the ice age giants back to life.

Astonishingly, even after thousands of years of ice crushing the northern hemisphere and temperatures of 20 degrees lower than those of today, many of the great giants of the ice age still walked the earth. It was only when the world had warmed up again that mammoths, woolly rhinos, sabre-toothed cats, giant ground sloths and glyptodonts finally became extinct. Alice sets off on her last voyage back to the ice age to discover why.

She learns the moving story of a mother mastodon, an extinct relative of the elephant. From her tusks, scientists can tell how many calves she had and whether they reached adulthood. This evidence, together with harrowing injuries on other skeletons, tells a perplexing story of a species on the edge of extinction - mastodons were turning on mastodons. By looking at the behaviour of elephants today, scientists have come up with a surprising theory as to why this happened.

The woolly rhino tells another story. Believe it or not, the one thing it couldn't stand was snow - which stopped it from getting enough grass. During the ice age in Europe and Siberia, snow was thin on the ground as so much water was locked up in the ice sheets. But when the ice ended, the snows increased, rhinos found themselves stuck and their little legs were unable to get them out of trouble.


SAT 20:00 Sex and Sensibility: The Allure of Art Nouveau (b01fd4z2)
Vienna

In a story that combines scandal and revolution, cultural correspondent Stephen Smith explores how Vienna's artists rebelled against the establishment in the late 19th century and brought their own highly sexed version of art nouveau to the banks of the Danube.

Looking at the eye-watering work of Gustav Klimt, Smith discovers that Viennese 'Jugenstil' was more than just a decorative delight but saw artists struggle to bring social meaning to the new style. Revealing the design genius of Josef Hoffman, the graphic work of Koloman Moser and the emergence of the enfant terrible Egon Schiele, Smith unpacks the stories behind a style that burned brightly but briefly at the fin de siecle.


SAT 21:00 Inspector Montalbano (b01n5w9b)
The Wings of the Sphynx

The naked body of a young woman is discovered on a beach near Vigata. The girl was shot in the face, her identity is unknown and the only clue police have to go on is a butterfly tattoo on her shoulder. Montalbano sets to work trying to establish the girl's identity and investigates possible links between the murder victim and a local charity with connections to the church. Meanwhile, his relationship with Livia continues to suffer as a result of his poor work/life balance.

In Italian with English subtitles.


SAT 22:50 The Richest Songs in the World (b01pjrt5)
Mark Radcliffe presents a countdown of the ten songs which have earned the most money of all time - ten classic songs each with an extraordinary story behind them. Radcliffe lifts the lid on how music royalties work and reveals the biggest winners and losers in the history of popular music.


SAT 00:20 Sounds of the Sixties (b0074q9l)
Original Series

The First Steps

The rock and pop series kicks off with the very birth of the decade, when pop was consigned to Crackerjack and rebellious singers still wore cardigans. But then Beatlemania came along.

Features the fabulous Freddie and the Dreamers on Blue Peter and Pinky & Perky doing the Twist.


SAT 00:50 Sounds of the Sixties (b0074qcm)
Original Series

Hip to the Trip

Ten-part series featuring rock, pop and R&B performances from the BBC archives.

This edition features psychedelia and counter-culture, with performances by The Who, Pink Floyd, Joe Cocker and the Greaseband, The Nice and The Jimi Hendrix Experience.


SAT 01:20 Top of the Pops (b04v33x9)
Mike Read presents another edition of the weekly pop chart including performances from Fiddler's Dram, Paul McCartney, the Tourists, Abba, the Beat, the Pretenders and Pink Floyd, and dance sequences by Legs & Co.


SAT 01:55 Ice Age Giants (p018ccn2)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]


SAT 02:55 Sex and Sensibility: The Allure of Art Nouveau (b01fd4z2)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]



SUNDAY 14 DECEMBER 2014

SUN 19:00 The Fairytale Castles of King Ludwig II with Dan Cruickshank (b036f9vc)
Ludwig II of Bavaria, more commonly known by his nicknames the Swan King or the Dream King, is a legendary figure - the handsome boy-king, loved by his people, betrayed by his cabinet and found dead in tragic and mysterious circumstances. He spent his life in pursuit of the ideal of beauty, an ideal that found expression in three of the most extraordinary, ornate architectural schemes imaginable - the castle of Neuschwanstein and the palaces of Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee. Today, these three buildings are among Germany's biggest tourist attractions.

In this documentary, Dan Cruickshank explores the rich aesthetic of Ludwig II - from the mock-medievalism of Neuschwanstein, the iconic fairytale castle that became the inspiration for the one in Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty, to the rich Baroque splendour of Herrenchiemsee, Ludwig's answer to Versailles. Dan argues that Ludwig's castles are more than flamboyant kitsch and are, in fact, the key to unravelling the eternal enigma of Ludwig II.


SUN 20:00 Rome: A History of the Eternal City (b01pdt0s)
The Rebirth of God's City

Simon Sebag Montefiore charts Rome's rise from the abandonment and neglect of the 14th century into the everlasting seat of the papacy recognised today. His story takes us through the debauchery and decadence of the Renaissance, the horrors of the Sack of Rome and the Catholic Reformation, through to the arrival of fascism and the creation of the Vatican State. By taking us inside Rome's most sensational palaces and churches and telling the stories behind some of the world's most beloved art, Sebag Montefiore's final instalment is a visual feast.


SUN 21:00 Pompeii: The Mystery of the People Frozen in Time (b01rn6c2)
The city of Pompeii uniquely captures the public's imagination - in AD79 a legendary volcanic disaster left its citizens preserved in ashes to this very day. Yet no-one has been able to unravel the full story that is at the heart of our fascination - how did those bodies become frozen in time?

For the first time, the BBC has been granted unique access to these strange, ghost-like body casts that populate the ruins and, using the latest forensic technology, the chance to peer beneath the surface of the plaster in order to rebuild the faces of two of the people who were killed in this terrible tragedy.

Margaret Mountford turns detective to tell a new story at the heart of one of history's most iconic moments, as she looks at the unique set of circumstances that led to the remarkable preservation of the people of Pompeii. By applying modern-day forensic analysis to this age-old mystery, Margaret dispels the myths surrounding the events in AD79. She also explores the lives of the individuals who once lived in this vibrant and enigmatic city and recreates the last moments of the people caught up in this tragedy.


SUN 22:00 The Sky at Night (b04vkfvp)
The Pillars of Creation

Perhaps no object in the night sky conjures up a greater sense of awe and wonder than a nebula. These vast clouds of dust and gases are stupendously beautiful, but they aren't just pretty objects. Nebulae play a key role in the birth and death of stars, and therefore in our own origins. And driving their creation is a kind of chemistry that the textbooks say shouldn't be happening.


SUN 22:30 Queen - Days of Our Lives (b011pwd9)
Episode 1

In 1971, four university students got together to form a band. Since then, that certain band called Queen has released 26 albums and sold over 300 million records worldwide. The popularity of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon is stronger than ever. Their story is a remarkable one, a narrative that covers early struggles, huge obstacles, success, arguments, breakups, triumph, tragedy and an enduring legacy - all against a backdrop of brilliant music and stunning live performances from every corner of the globe.

In this film, for the first time, it is the band that tells their story. Guiding us through an extensive archive full of hitherto unseen footage, the documentary reveals how four strong-minded individuals, all capable of writing massive hit songs, worked together so successfully for four decades. Queen never did anything by halves - meaning their highs were massive, but their lows catastrophic. It is a compelling story told with intelligence, wit, plenty of humour and painful honesty.


SUN 23:30 Queen - Days of Our Lives (b011r4gs)
Episode 2

The story of British rock band Queen, formed in 1971. The second half of this documentary sees Queen at the peak of their powers. With the ultimate showman in Freddie Mercury and a string of rock anthems to their name, Queen smashed attendance records with a series of stadium shows across South America.

But the band quickly learned that if reaching the top is tough, staying there is the biggest challenge of all. With a loss of focus in the studio, the decline in popularity in North America, increasing internal tension and a desire to pursue solo projects, it seemed as if the band had had its day. Then came the performance from Mercury at Live Aid and their record breaking Magic tour in 1986. Queen were back amongst the very best. They were rejuvenated and once again had the world at their feet, but then tragedy struck and threatened to tear the band apart.

Featuring musical performances, previously unseen and rare footage, and intimate interviews.


SUN 00:30 Great American Rock Anthems: Turn it up to 11 (b03n2w37)
It's the sound of the heartland, of the midwest and the industrial cities, born in the early 70s by kids who had grown up in the 60s and were now ready to make their own noise, to come of age in the bars, arenas and stadiums of the US of A. Out of blues and prog and glam and early metal, a distinct American rock hybrid started to emerge across the country courtesy of Alice Cooper, Grand Funk Railroad et al, and at its very heart is The Great American Rock Anthem.

At the dawn of the 70s American rock stopped looking for a revolution and started looking for a good time; enter the classic American rock anthem - big drums, a soaring guitar, a huge chorus and screaming solos. This film celebrates the evolution of the American rock anthem during its glory years between 1970 and 1990 as it became a staple of the emerging stadium rock and AOR radio and then MTV.

From School's Out and Don't Fear the Reaper to Livin' on a Prayer and Smells Like Teen Spirit, these are the songs that were the soundtrack to teenage lives in the US and around the world, anthems that had people singing out loud with arms and lighters aloft.

Huey Morgan narrates the story of some of the greatest American rock anthems and tracks the emergence of this distinct American rock of the 70s and 80s. Anthems explored include School's Out, We're an American Band, Don't Fear the Reaper, Paradise by the Dashboard Light, I Love Rock 'n' Roll, Eye of the Tiger, I Want to Know What Love Is, Livin' on a Prayer and Smells Like Teen Spirit.

Contributors include: Alice Cooper, Dave Grohl, Butch Vig, Meat Loaf, Todd Rundgren, Richie Sambora, Blue Oyster Cult, Survivor, Toto and Foreigner.


SUN 01:30 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.


SUN 02:00 Natural World (b00xxf9f)
2010-2011

Miracle in the Marshes of Iraq

It's the largest and most ambitious habitat recreation project ever known - to bring back to life one of the world's greatest marshlands. And it's happening in Iraq.

Considered to be the original Garden of Eden, the marshes were once Iraq's wildlife jewel, where man and nature thrived for 5,000 years. But in the 1990s, Saddam Hussein drained these gigantic wetlands and turned them into a desert, destroying a home to thousands of people and millions of birds.

Donning his body armour, film-maker David Johnson travels to the Mesopotamian marshes to follow the work of Azzam Alwash, the visionary Iraqi engineer at the centre of this extraordinary scheme to reflood hundreds of miles of desert and bring back life to the sands. This is a view of Iraq the world never sees, a world of huge reed beds and vast flocks of birds that fill the sky.


SUN 03:00 The Fairytale Castles of King Ludwig II with Dan Cruickshank (b036f9vc)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]



MONDAY 15 DECEMBER 2014

MON 19:00 World News Today (b04v6cfl)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.


MON 19:30 Great British Railway Journeys (b00yd1x4)
Series 2

Oban to Corrour

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 he journeys up the west coast of Scotland from Ayr to Skye.

Michael discovers how trains spread the word about Oban whisky, hears about the heroic struggle to build a railway across the desolate Rannoch Moor and visits Corrour, one of the favourite shooting estates of the Victorian political elite.


MON 20:00 High Flyers: How Britain Took to the Air (b00nnlz3)
Documentary which tells the story of the golden age of British aviation and of how the original 'jet set' shaped air travel for generations to come. In Britain in the 1920s and '30s a revolution took place that would change forever our perspective on the world. While the country was in the grip of recession, dashing pilots and daring socialites took to the air, pushed back boundaries and forged new links across the globe. The era of commercial air travel was born.


MON 21:00 Timeshift (p0287mq6)
Series 14

Bullseyes and Beer: When Darts Hit Britain

Timeshift tells the story of how a traditional working-class pub game became a national obsession during the 1970s and 80s, and looks at the key role television played in elevating its larger-than-life players into household names.

Siobhan Finneran narrates a documentary which charts the game's surprising history, its cross-class and cross-gender appeal, and the star players that, for two decades, transformed a pub pastime into a sporting spectacle like no other.

Featuring legendary names such as Alan Evans and Jocky Wilson and including contributions from Eric Bristow, Bobby George, John Lowe and Phil Taylor.


MON 22:00 Arrows (b04v6f99)
In 1979 filmmaker John Samson went on the road with a 22-year-old Eric Bristow, one of the rising stars of British darts. This film from the archives depicts Bristow between major competitions as he travels around the pubs and working men's clubs of Britain, challenging the local heroes and playing exhibition matches. Bristow takes on all-comers and breezily faces down a belligerent local radio host.


MON 22:35 Alex Higgins: The People's Champion (b00tmzfb)
One man transfixed television viewers during snooker's golden age - Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins. This poignant documentary charts the remarkable rise and fall of the snooker genius, from his early days growing up in Belfast to his climb to the top of the sport as two-time world champion.

Higgins was pure showbiz, a mercurial talent at the table who played the game like nobody had done before. Boxing had Muhammad Ali, football was blessed by George Best - snooker had Alex Higgins. Yet like Best, Higgins's brilliance was flawed by his demons. We chart the depressing lows - the alcohol abuse, threatening to have fellow Ulsterman Dennis Taylor shot, headbutting a senior member of snooker's hierarchy and falling out of a top floor window and living to tell the tale after a row with his then-girlfriend.

The Higgins story is completed with the final chapter of his life spent battling throat cancer; desperate hours spent in pubs and working men's clubs trying to rekindle his halcyon days; finally unable to eat properly because he'd lost his teeth and in the end, ultimately found dead alone in sheltered accommodation.

At times uplifting, but at other moments very sad - this is a rollercoaster journey charting the life of snooker's 'rock and roll star'.

Contributors include Jimmy White, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Dennis Taylor, Barry Hearn, Steve Davis, Ray Reardon and members of the Higgins family.


MON 23:35 Castles: Britain's Fortified History (b04tt2f9)
Kingdom of Conquest

Sam Willis tells the story of the English ruler who left the most indelible mark on the castle - the great Plantagenet king, Edward I, who turned it into an instrument of colonisation. Edward spent vast sums to subdue Wales with a ring of iron comprised of some of the most fearsome fortresses ever built. Castles like Caernarfon and Beaumaris were used to impose England's will on the Welsh. But when Edward turned his attention to Scotland, laying siege to castles with great catapults, things didn't go so well for him.


MON 00:35 Quadrophenia: Can You See the Real Me? (b01k83bl)
In his home studio and revisiting old haunts in Shepherd's Bush and Battersea, Pete Townshend opens his heart and his personal archive to revisit 'the last great album the Who ever made', one that took the Who full circle back to their earliest days via the adventures of a pill-popping mod on an epic journey of self-discovery.

But in 1973 Quadrophenia was an album that almost never was. Beset by money problems, a studio in construction, heroin-taking managers, a lunatic drummer and a culture of heavy drinking, Townshend took on an album that nearly broke him and one that within a year the band had turned their back on and would ignore for nearly three decades.

With unseen archive and in-depth interviews from Townshend, Roger Daltrey, Keith Moon, John Entwistle and those in the studio and behind the lens who made the album and 30 page photo booklet.

Contributors include Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, Ethan Russell, Ron Nevison, Richard Barnes, Irish Jack Lyons, Bill Curbishley, John Woolf, Howie Edelson, Mark Kermode and Georgiana Steele Waller.


MON 01:45 Puppy Love (b04tt2fc)
Episode 5

Nana V has arranged some potholing work for her long-lost brother Fatdraic. Having not seen his family for years, he arrives at her yard with a present in tow for Eron - a tiny pony, but he fails to realise Eron's now far too grown-up for such a gift.

With husband Ravi away and their marriage under strain, Naomi finds herself unexpectedly drawn to Fatdraic with embarrassing consequences. Eron and Jasmine are due to visit Eron's mum in prison, with Jasmine keen to impress her prospective new mother-in-law. But when they try to smuggle in some homemade cakes, Fatdraic reveals that he has laced them with drugs, and both Naomi and Nana V are forced to make a quick decision to get them all out of trouble.


MON 02:15 Timeshift (p0287mq6)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


MON 03:15 Arrows (b04v6f99)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]



TUESDAY 16 DECEMBER 2014

TUE 19:00 World News Today (b04v6cfr)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.


TUE 19:30 Great British Railway Journeys (b00yd2q7)
Series 2

Roybridge to Glenfinnan

Michael Portillo takes to the tracks with a copy of George Bradshaw's Victorian Railway Guidebook. He travels the length and breadth of the country to see how the railways changed the people of Britain, and what remains of Bradshaw's experiences today, as he journeys up the west coast of Scotland from Ayr to Skye.

Michael investigates one of the great geological mysteries of the 19th century - the parallel roads of Glenroy. Plus, he finds out how the Victorians put a weather observatory on the top of Ben Nevis and takes a steam train across one of the most spectacular viaducts in Britain at Glenfinnan.


TUE 20:00 Cosmonauts: How Russia Won the Space Race (b04lcxms)
When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon in 1969, America went down in popular history as the winner of the space race. However, the real pioneers of space exploration were the Soviet cosmonauts.

This remarkable feature-length documentary combines rare and unseen archive footage with interviews with the surviving cosmonauts to tell the fascinating and at times terrifying story of how the Russians led us into the space age. A particular highlight is Alexei Leonov, the man who performed the first spacewalk, explaining how he found himself trapped outside his spacecraft 500 miles above the Earth. Scary stuff.


TUE 21:00 The Secrets of Quantum Physics (b04v85cj)
Let There Be Life

Physicist Jim Al-Khalili routinely deals with the strangest subject in all of science - quantum physics, the astonishing and perplexing theory of sub-atomic particles. But now he's turning his attention to the world of nature. Can quantum mechanics explain the greatest mysteries in biology?

His first encounter is with the robin. This familiar little bird turns out to navigate using one of the most bizarre effects in physics - quantum entanglement, a process which seems to defy common sense. Even Albert Einstein himself could not believe it.

Jim finds that even the most personal of human experiences - our sense of smell - is touched by ethereal quantum vibrations. According to the latest experiments, it seems that our quantum noses are listening to smells. Jim then discovers that the most famous law of quantum physics - the uncertainty principle - is obeyed by plants and trees as they capture sunlight during the vital process of photosynthesis.

Finally, Jim asks if quantum physics might play a role in evolution. Could the strange laws of the sub-atomic world, which allow objects to tunnel through impassable barriers in defiance of common sense, effect the mechanism by which living species evolve?


TUE 22:00 Horizon (b01r6dys)
2012-2013

The Truth About Meteors: A Horizon Special

On a bright, cold morning on 15 February 2013, a meteorite ripped across the skies above the Ural mountains in Russia, disintegrating into three pieces and exploding with the force of 20 Hiroshimas. It was a stark reminder that the Earth's journey through space is fraught with danger. A day later, another much larger 143,000-tonne asteroid passed within just 17,000 miles of the Earth.

Presented by Professor Iain Stewart, this film explores what meteorites and asteroids are, where they come from, the danger they pose and the role they have played in Earth's history.


TUE 23:00 Timeshift (b01p96ly)
Series 12

When Wrestling was Golden: Grapples, Grunts and Grannies

Timeshift turns back the clock to a time when villains wore silver capes, grannies swooned at the sight of bulky men in latex and the most masculine man in the country was called Shirley. In its heyday, British professional wrestling attracted huge TV audiences and made household names of generations of wrestlers from Mick McManus and Jackie 'Mr TV' Pallo to Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy. With contributions from inside the world of wrestling and surprising fans such as artist Peter Blake, this is an affectionate and lively portrait of a lost era of simpler pleasures, both in and out of the ring.


TUE 00:00 Sounds of the Eighties (b0074sjk)
Episode 2

Serious and sincere they may have been, never cracking a smile where a tortured, artistic look would do, but this tranche of 80s pop stars know how to make that look work - Eurythmics, Spandau Ballet, Phil Collins, Fine Young Cannibals, Tears for Fears, Suzanne Vega and Simply Red.


TUE 00:25 Spike Milligan: Love, Light and Peace (b04tt1yj)
A very personal portrait of the truly unique comedy genius of Spike Milligan, as told in his own words and featuring exclusive home movie footage. With contributions from those who worked with him, lived with him and were inspired by him.


TUE 01:55 Spike Milligan: Assorted Q (b04v644f)
Episode 1

A compilation of sketches from Spike Milligan's pioneering sketch shows - surreal, influential, controversial and sublime.


TUE 02:25 Spike Milligan: Assorted Q (b04tt1yl)
Episode 2

A further selection of sketches from the legendary Spike Milligan's irreverent sketch shows. Alternative comedy before alternative comedy.


TUE 02:55 The Secrets of Quantum Physics (b04v85cj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]



WEDNESDAY 17 DECEMBER 2014

WED 19:00 World News Today (b04v6cfz)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.


WED 19:30 Great British Railway Journeys (b00yd34b)
Series 2

Lochailort to Skye

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 the people of Britain and what remains of Bradshaw's experiences today.

As he journeys up the west coast of Scotland from Ayr to Skye, Michael discovers how the railways helped train the first generation of commandos at Lochailort in World War II, finds out why langoustines have replaced herrings as the top catch in the fishing port of Mallaig and sails across the sea to Skye to explore the history of the highland crofters.


WED 20:00 Christmas with Val Doonican (b04vkb37)
From 1986, Val Doonican performs with seasonal music and guest appearances from newsreader Jan Leeming, virtuoso percussionist Evelyn Glennie, snooker star Dennis Taylor and the Arts Educational School Choir.


WED 20:50 Top of the Pops (b01ppl1x)
A Christmas Cracker

A selection of hit Christmas songs from yesteryear.


WED 21:00 The Fight for Saturday Night (b04v85k6)
Michael Grade tells a tale of television skullduggery and dirty dealings in the battle to win the Saturday night ratings crown.


WED 22:30 Parkinson: The Interviews (b01f7x12)
Series 1

Tommy Cooper and Frankie Howerd

Michael Parkinson introduces a recut of two interviews he did with Frankie Howerd during the Parkinson show series and a Christmas interview with Tommy Cooper.

Frankie Howerd wanted everything scripted, resulting in an unprompted and unrehearsed interview, whilst Tommy Cooper managed to run rings around a delighted Parkinson. Includes clips from Up Pompeii, The Main Attraction and The Bob Monkhouse Show.


WED 23:10 Top of the Pops (b00zwrn5)
1964 to 1975 - Big Hits

1964 saw the birth of a very British institution. Spanning over four decades, Top of the Pops has produced many classic moments in pop culture.

Digging deep within the darkest depths of the BBC's archive, this compilation offers some memorable performances from 1964 through to 1975 from the likes of The Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, Status Quo, Procol Harum, Stevie Wonder, Queen and The Kinks, and opens the vintage vaults to rare performances from Stealers Wheel, Julie Driscoll, Peter Sarstedt and The Seekers.

So sit back and witness once again where music met television.


WED 00:40 Christmas with Val Doonican (b04vkb37)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


WED 01:25 Sex and Sensibility: The Allure of Art Nouveau (b01fd4z2)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 on Saturday]


WED 02:25 The Fight for Saturday Night (b04v85k6)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]



THURSDAY 18 DECEMBER 2014

THU 19:00 World News Today (b04v6cg9)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.


THU 19:30 The Sky at Night (b04vkfvp)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Sunday]


THU 20:00 Orbit: Earth's Extraordinary Journey (b01dq1h0)
Episode 3

Right now you're hurtling around the sun at 64,000 miles an hour (100,000 km an hour). In the next year you'll travel 584 million miles, to end up back where you started.

Presenters Kate Humble and Dr Helen Czerski follow the Earth's voyage around the sun for one complete orbit, to witness the astonishing consequences this journey has for us all.

In this final episode we complete our journey, travelling back from the March equinox to the end of June. Kate Humble is in the Arctic at a place where spring arrives with a bang, whilst Helen Czerski chases a tornado to show how the earth's angle of tilt creates the most extreme weather on the planet.


THU 21:00 Castles: Britain's Fortified History (b04v85sy)
Defence of the Realm

Sam Willis explores how, by the Wars of the Roses, castles were under attack from a new threat - the cannon - but survived into the Tudor era only to find their whole purpose challenged. What had once been strategic seats of power now had to keep up with the fickle fashions of the court and become palaces to impress monarchs such as Elizabeth I.

Just as castles seemed to have lost their defensive function, the English Civil War erupted. The legacy of that tumultuous period resulted in castles no longer being associated with protection. Rather, their ruins took on a unique appeal, embodying a nostalgia for an age of chivalry that became a powerful part of the national psyche.


THU 22:00 Puppy Love (b04v85t0)
Episode 6

With her marriage on the rocks, having had to pack up her home to cope with subsidence and dealing with difficult Polish builders demanding money, Naomi isn't having an easy time of it, and things are made even worse when her labrador retriever Charlie goes missing.

Nana V is visited by fire safety officer Damon Peachey, with whom she shares an online past, and both Tony and herself find themselves intrigued by the idea of a fire starting in the caravan, and the subsequent insurance claim. But it comes as a shock to them when Nana V's family and No Name's new pups are put into danger when a microwave unwittingly explodes.

Desperate for help in finding her dog, Naomi enlists the canine expertise of Nana V to help her track Charlie down, and the two women form an unexpected bond, growing closer in adversity.


THU 22:30 Timeshift (p0287mq6)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Monday]


THU 23:30 The Secrets of Quantum Physics (b04v85cj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Tuesday]


THU 00:30 Cosmonauts: How Russia Won the Space Race (b04lcxms)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 on Tuesday]


THU 01:30 Sounds of the Eighties (b0074sk2)
Episode 3

Musical memories from the BBC archives. This edition concentrates on the soul and funk artists who found success in the British charts of the 1980s, with performances from Kool and the Gang, The Pointer Sisters, Grace Jones, Cameo, Bobby Womack, Sade, Alexander O'Neal and Whitney Houston.


THU 02:00 The Sky at Night (b04vkfvp)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Sunday]


THU 02:30 Puppy Love (b04v85t0)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]


THU 03:00 Castles: Britain's Fortified History (b04v85sy)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]



FRIDAY 19 DECEMBER 2014

FRI 19:00 World News Today (b04v6cgg)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.


FRI 19:30 Diamonds are Forever: The Don Black Songbook (b03mppht)
Don Black, the lyricist behind a huge collection of popular hit songs including Diamonds are Forever, Born Free, Ben and Love Changes Everything, shares some fascinating insights into his life's work with Michael Grade, in between live performances of his songs by Brian May, Eliza Doolittle, Frances Ruffelle, Gary Wilmot, Gregory Porter, Katie Melua, Kerry Ellis, Laura Wright, Marc Almond, Maria Friedman, Marti Webb, Michael Ball, Only Men Aloud and Richard Stilgoe. Recorded at the Royal Festival Hall in London.


FRI 21:00 The Joy of the Bee Gees (b04v8677)
Guilty pleasure or genius, misfits or mavericks, noble or naff - how do we really feel about the Bee Gees? Are the brothers Gibb a cacophony of falsettos or songwriting maestros, the soundtrack to every office party or masters of melancholy and existential rage? Are they comedy or Tragedy? How deep is our love and how deep are the Bee Gees?

With a back catalogue that includes hits like How Do You Mend a Broken Heart, Massachusetts, Islands in the Stream, Stayin' Alive, Chain Reaction, How Deep Is Your Love, Gotta Get a Message to You, Words, To Love Somebody and Night Fever, the Bee Gees are second only to the Beatles in the 20th-century songwriting pantheon, but while their pop success spans several decades, there are different Bee Gees in different eras. Is there a central glue that unites the brothers and their music and, if so, what is it?

The Joy of the Bee Gees features a rare interview with the last remaining Bee Gee brother, Barry Gibb, many of those musicians and industry figures who have worked with them closely over the years, and a surprising cast of Bee Gees aficionados including John Lydon, Ana Matronic, Guy Chambers, Mykaell Riley and Alexis Petridis, who together share their stories and their insights into the band whose music and image moved us in the 60s and defined pop culture in the mid-to-late 1970s.

The film explores how the band were iconoclasts and outsiders, brothers in the family business, who worked best when together but who grew up and played out their fraternal struggles in public. The brothers went from child stars on the Australian variety circuit to competitors with the Beatles in the UK charts in the late 60s, scoring number one hits while still only teenagers.

In the mid-70s, the former 'beat group' reimagined themselves as a close-knit soul boy trio. The Saturday Night Fever album shot them to global superstardom and every radio station played a song written, produced or sung by the Bee Gees. The saturation of their music and their iconic 'medallion man' image would ultimately elbow them out of fashion, even make them figures of fun...

But you can't keep a good band down and in the 80s they became writing guns-for-hire to stars such as Kenny & Dolly, Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross. 1987 saw the band come back yet again and hit the top of the charts. The deaths of Maurice and then Robin brought the Bee Gees' reign to an end, but Barry and their music live on.

Let's enjoy finding out why and how: welcome to The Joy of the Bee Gees.


FRI 22:00 The Bee Gees at the BBC... and Beyond (b04v8679)
Classic Bee Gees studio performances from the BBC and beyond including all the big hits, rare 60s performances from European TV, including a stunning I Started a Joke, a rarely seen Top of the Pops performance of World, the big hits of the 70s and some late performances from the 90s, with the brothers Gibb in perfect harmony.


FRI 23:00 Queens of Disco (b0074thh)
Graham Norton profiles the leading ladies of the disco era, including Gloria Gaynor, Donna Summer, Grace Jones, Chaka Khan, Madonna and 'honorary disco queen' Sylvester. Includes contributions from the queens themselves, plus Antonio 'Huggy Bear' Fargas, choreographer Arlene Phillips, songwriters Ashford and Simpson, disco artists Verdine White from Earth, Wind and Fire, Bonnie Pointer of The Pointer Sisters and Nile Rodgers of Chic.


FRI 00:00 Disco at the BBC (b01cqt74)
A foot-stomping return to the BBC vaults of Top of the Pops, The Old Grey Whistle Test and Later with Jools as the programme spins itself to a time when disco ruled the floor, the airwaves and our minds. The visual floorfillers include classics from luminaries such as Chic, Labelle and Rose Royce to glitter ball surprises by The Village People.


FRI 01:00 The Joy of the Bee Gees (b04v8677)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


FRI 02:00 The Bee Gees at the BBC... and Beyond (b04v8679)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]


FRI 03:00 The Joy of Disco (b01cqt72)
Documentary about how a much-derided music actually changed the world. Between 1969 and 1979 disco soundtracked gay liberation, foregrounded female desire in the age of feminism and led to the birth of modern club culture as we know it today, before taking the world by storm. With contributions from Nile Rodgers, Robin Gibb, Kathy Sledge and Ian Schrager.




LIST OF THIS WEEK'S PROGRAMMES
(Note: the times link back to the details; the pids link to the BBC page, including iPlayer)

Alex Higgins: The People's Champion 22:35 MON (b00tmzfb)

Arrows 22:00 MON (b04v6f99)

Arrows 03:15 MON (b04v6f99)

Castles: Britain's Fortified History 23:35 MON (b04tt2f9)

Castles: Britain's Fortified History 21:00 THU (b04v85sy)

Castles: Britain's Fortified History 03:00 THU (b04v85sy)

Christmas with Val Doonican 20:00 WED (b04vkb37)

Christmas with Val Doonican 00:40 WED (b04vkb37)

Cosmonauts: How Russia Won the Space Race 20:00 TUE (b04lcxms)

Cosmonauts: How Russia Won the Space Race 00:30 THU (b04lcxms)

Diamonds are Forever: The Don Black Songbook 19:30 FRI (b03mppht)

Disco at the BBC 00:00 FRI (b01cqt74)

Great American Rock Anthems: Turn it up to 11 00:30 SUN (b03n2w37)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:30 MON (b00yd1x4)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:30 TUE (b00yd2q7)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:30 WED (b00yd34b)

High Flyers: How Britain Took to the Air 20:00 MON (b00nnlz3)

Horizon 22:00 TUE (b01r6dys)

Ice Age Giants 19:00 SAT (p018ccn2)

Ice Age Giants 01:55 SAT (p018ccn2)

Inspector Montalbano 21:00 SAT (b01n5w9b)

Natural World 02:00 SUN (b00xxf9f)

Orbit: Earth's Extraordinary Journey 20:00 THU (b01dq1h0)

Parkinson: The Interviews 22:30 WED (b01f7x12)

Pompeii: The Mystery of the People Frozen in Time 21:00 SUN (b01rn6c2)

Puppy Love 01:45 MON (b04tt2fc)

Puppy Love 22:00 THU (b04v85t0)

Puppy Love 02:30 THU (b04v85t0)

Quadrophenia: Can You See the Real Me? 00:35 MON (b01k83bl)

Queen - Days of Our Lives 22:30 SUN (b011pwd9)

Queen - Days of Our Lives 23:30 SUN (b011r4gs)

Queens of Disco 23:00 FRI (b0074thh)

Rome: A History of the Eternal City 20:00 SUN (b01pdt0s)

Sex and Sensibility: The Allure of Art Nouveau 20:00 SAT (b01fd4z2)

Sex and Sensibility: The Allure of Art Nouveau 02:55 SAT (b01fd4z2)

Sex and Sensibility: The Allure of Art Nouveau 01:25 WED (b01fd4z2)

Sounds of the Eighties 01:30 SUN (b0074shx)

Sounds of the Eighties 00:00 TUE (b0074sjk)

Sounds of the Eighties 01:30 THU (b0074sk2)

Sounds of the Sixties 00:20 SAT (b0074q9l)

Sounds of the Sixties 00:50 SAT (b0074qcm)

Spike Milligan: Assorted Q 01:55 TUE (b04v644f)

Spike Milligan: Assorted Q 02:25 TUE (b04tt1yl)

Spike Milligan: Love, Light and Peace 00:25 TUE (b04tt1yj)

The Bee Gees at the BBC... and Beyond 22:00 FRI (b04v8679)

The Bee Gees at the BBC... and Beyond 02:00 FRI (b04v8679)

The Fairytale Castles of King Ludwig II with Dan Cruickshank 19:00 SUN (b036f9vc)

The Fairytale Castles of King Ludwig II with Dan Cruickshank 03:00 SUN (b036f9vc)

The Fight for Saturday Night 21:00 WED (b04v85k6)

The Fight for Saturday Night 02:25 WED (b04v85k6)

The Joy of Disco 03:00 FRI (b01cqt72)

The Joy of the Bee Gees 21:00 FRI (b04v8677)

The Joy of the Bee Gees 01:00 FRI (b04v8677)

The Richest Songs in the World 22:50 SAT (b01pjrt5)

The Secrets of Quantum Physics 21:00 TUE (b04v85cj)

The Secrets of Quantum Physics 02:55 TUE (b04v85cj)

The Secrets of Quantum Physics 23:30 THU (b04v85cj)

The Sky at Night 22:00 SUN (b04vkfvp)

The Sky at Night 19:30 THU (b04vkfvp)

The Sky at Night 02:00 THU (b04vkfvp)

Timeshift 21:00 MON (p0287mq6)

Timeshift 02:15 MON (p0287mq6)

Timeshift 23:00 TUE (b01p96ly)

Timeshift 22:30 THU (p0287mq6)

Top of the Pops 01:20 SAT (b04v33x9)

Top of the Pops 20:50 WED (b01ppl1x)

Top of the Pops 23:10 WED (b00zwrn5)

World News Today 19:00 MON (b04v6cfl)

World News Today 19:00 TUE (b04v6cfr)

World News Today 19:00 WED (b04v6cfz)

World News Today 19:00 THU (b04v6cg9)

World News Today 19:00 FRI (b04v6cgg)