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

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Unofficial Weekly Listings for BBC 4 — supported by


SAT 19:00 Unnatural Histories (b011wzrc)

As the world's first national park, Yellowstone has long served as a model for the protection of wilderness around the world. For Americans it has become a source of great national pride, not least because it encapsulates all our popular notions of what a wilderness should be - vast, uninhabited, with spectacular scenery and teeming with wildlife. But Yellowstone has not always been so. At the time of its creation in 1872, it was renowned only for its extraordinary geysers, and far from being an uninhabited wilderness it was home to several American Indian tribes.

This film reveals how a remote Indian homeland became the world's first great wilderness. It was the ambitions of railroad barons, not conservationists, that paved the way for a brand new vision of the wild, a vision that took native peoples out of the picture. Iconic landscape paintings show how European Romanticism crossed the Atlantic and recast the American wilderness, not as a satanic place to be tamed and cultivated, but as a place to experience the raw power of God in nature. Forged in Yellowstone, this potent new version of wilderness as untouched and deserving of protection has since been exported to all corners of the globe.

SAT 20:00 Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds: A Tale of Three Cities (b04gbdww)
New York 1951

Dr James Fox tells the story of New York in 1951, where the world we know today was born. This was the year when Jackson Pollock brought a new dynamism to American painting, when the dazzling jazz style known as bebop hit its stride and when Jack Kerouac defined the Beat Generation with his book On the Road. It was where a young Marlon Brando took cinema by storm, a dapper Brit named David Ogilvy reinvented advertising and modern television arrived with the triumphant debut of a show called I Love Lucy.

SAT 21:00 Spiral (b0524jss)
Series 5

Episode 9

Gilou is taken into custody, as his team looks on in dismay. Herville clashes with his superiors. The identity of Lucie Jaulin's biological father is finally established. Egged on by Edelman, Jos├ęphine defends Tarek Ziani and engages in a power struggle with Roban. The police go ahead with their plan to catch Zacharie Gabbai, but the operation is a risky one - especially now that Gilou is out of action.

In French with English subtitles.

SAT 21:55 Spiral (b0524jsy)
Series 5

Episode 10

The investigation picks up when police find a fingerprint amongst Gabbai's belongings which links to the crime scene of the double murder. But who does the print belong to? Gilou is charged with conspiracy and, in an effort to get him off the hook, Laure goes out of her way to request help from the most unlikely of quarters. Nothing short of a bold move is required. Roban is determined to bring down Tarek Ziani and makes a deal with Ziani's lawyer Jos├ęphine.

In French with English subtitles.

SAT 22:50 Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe (b0520y52)
Series 3

Episode 2

Charlie counts down to the 2015 general election as excitement builds on the news channels and arguments rage over televised debates. He also takes a look at Channel 5 reality TV show 10,000 BC, uncovers the sinister side of talking doll My Friend Cayla and campaigns on behalf of soon-to-be-evicted diplodocus Dippy.

There is also an examination of the mysteries of Broadchurch series two, Jake Yapp distils The One Show down to 84 seconds, 'Russell Brand' reveals the truth behind advertising and Philomena Cunk ponders philosophy.

SAT 23:20 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.

SAT 00:20 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.

SAT 01:20 Top of the Pops (b051h2xy)
Mike Read presents chart hits of the week, with performances by Buggles, the Nolans, Barbara Dickson, Matchbox, the Regents, the Pretenders, the Specials, Sheila B Devotion and the Boomtown Rats, and a dance sequence by Legs & Co.

SAT 02:00 Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds: A Tale of Three Cities (b04gbdww)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

SAT 03:00 Sounds of the 70s 2 (b01j8h0b)
Rock - The Boys Are Back in Town

Sounds of the 70s 2 series continues, and this programme features the boys with their guitars turned all the way up to eleven! It is time to don your double denim, let your hair down and headbang your way through half an hour of rock anthems including performances from Alice Cooper, The Faces, Nazareth, Bad Company, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake and Black Sabbath.


SUN 19:00 The Great War (b0074p2d)
We Await the Heavenly Manna

The war continued into 1915, and the French and British struggled to keep up with the demand for shells and artillery. The Germans had no shortages. The most modern industrial system in Europe had smoothly switched over to war production. It went so far as to introduce the use of gas, made swiftly by the German chemical factories, at the Second Battle of Ypres. The Allies needed to get up to speed; democracy and laissez-faire industry were plainly not enough.

SUN 19:40 Wild (b00793km)
2006-07 Shorts

Ravens Return

The true nature of the much-maligned raven is almost as remarkable as the story of its recent recovery. These surprisingly intelligent birds mate for life, so their choice of partner is all the more important. In a unique forest on the edge of the stunning west coast of Anglesey in north Wales, the ravens gather each year to play the dating game. Newborough forest is home to one of the biggest raven roosts in Europe. Built to stabilise huge shifting sand dunes, this man-made habitat has proved a hit with the ravens. Onshore breezes rise up over the dunes, providing the perfect conditions for aerial acrobatics. The young ravens soon show that there is a fun side to their character as well.

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

The Sheep Beside the Sea

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

SUN 20:00 Mark Lawson Talks To... (b05270hx)
Celia Imrie

From Calendar Girls to Cranford, Celia Imrie has been a familiar face on both TV and film for more than four decades. Ahead of her latest cinema release The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and the publication of her first novel Not Quite Nice, the actress talks to Mark Lawson about her life and career.

SUN 21:00 Horizon (b00jgtl2)

Why Can't We Predict Earthquakes?

Last century, earthquakes killed over one million, and it is predicted that this century might see ten times as many deaths. Yet when an earthquake strikes, it always takes people by surprise.

So why hasn't science worked out how to predict when and where the next big quake is going to happen? This is the story of the men and women who chase earthquakes and try to understand this mysterious force of nature.

Journeying to China's Sichuan Province, which still lies devastated by the earthquake that struck in May 2008, as well as the notorious San Andreas fault in California, Horizon asks why science has so far fallen short of answering this fundamental question.

SUN 22:00 The Sky at Night (b052hpyd)
What Have UFOs Done for Us?

From unexplained flashes in the night sky to flying saucers, this episode delves into the mysterious world of UFOs. How our drive to explain these bizarre phenomena, and desire to discover little green men, has in fact transformed our understanding of the universe.

SUN 22:30 Kings of 70s Romance (b007cjtw)
While teenage girls in the 1970s were screaming for Donny Osmond and David Cassidy, the more mature woman had fantasy figures of her own setting her heart a-flutter. Kings of 70s Romance tells the story of these - some might say unlikely - pin-ups. Whether it was Gilbert O'Sullivan or Barry White, Leo Sayer or David Soul - or for those with more exotic tastes, Demis Roussos - these were men whose lyrics conjured up images of candle-lit dinners, red roses, and cosy nights in with the man of your dreams. For millions of female fans their romantic music was the perfect soundtrack for dreams of escape from the day-to-day drudgery of life in 70s Britain. As well as our main contributors we feature comments form Gloria Hunniford and Martha Kearney.

SUN 23:30 Genesis: Together and Apart (b04l3phb)
A feature-length documentary about one of the most successful British bands in rock music, reuniting Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett to tell their story. The film recounts their extraordinary musical story, exploring the songwriting and the emotional highs and lows. It features previously unseen archive material and rare footage from across their entire career.

SUN 01:00 Genesis: Three Sides Live (b051wmh7)
Genesis filmed in November 1981 on the Abacab tour in North America, originally released on VHS to coincide with the live album of the same name. It has only ever been released on DVD in the limited edition box set The Movie Box 1981-2007. Originally filmed in 16mm, the footage has now been fully restored and is being reissued as a standalone DVD and Blu-ray for the first time.

The show focuses on tracks from the Duke and Abacab albums, and the tracks are intercut with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the band members. As ever with Genesis, the show is visually stunning and it captures the band in their transition from their progressive days in the 70s through to the hugely successful pop/rock act they became from the mid-80s onwards.

SUN 02:25 TOTP2 (b04lclfn)

Top of the Pops 2 dips into the archives to explore both classic collective hits and smash solo singles spanning 20 early years of Genesis history. From the art-rock Gabriel era of flamboyant theatrics and quirky costumes to their eighties evolution into pop superstars, Genesis are both influential experimentalists and a chart-smashing behemoth.

With solo numbers from Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins and Mike + The Mechanics, this is an eclectic two-sided playlist featuring everything from I Can't Dance to I Know What I Like, No Self Control to In the Air Tonight, and Many Too Many to The Living Years. So Turn It On Again and tune in, from prog to pop, Genesis to Revelation, the hits are here on TOTP2.

SUN 03:10 The Sky at Night (b052hpyd)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]


MON 19:00 World News Today (b05241fj)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

MON 19:30 Great Continental Railway Journeys (b01rbrw9)
Series 1 - Reversions

Hungary to Austria: Part 1

Michael Portillo continues his railway adventure which takes him across the heart of Europe. Steered by his 1913 railway guide, Michael journeys through a prosperous prewar Europe of emperors, kings, pomp and elegance.

On this leg Michael explores the once-great empire of Austria-Hungary, domain of the famous Habsburg monarchs. Starting in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, he travels via Bratislava in Slovakia to the beautiful and elegant city of Vienna, where he immerses himself in prewar decadence.

MON 20:00 The Last Journey of the Magna Carta King (b052hrdd)
Ben Robinson retraces the dramatic last days of King John, England's most disastrous monarch, and uncovers the legend of his lost treasure.

John is famous for accepting Magna Carta, which inspired our modern democracy. But ten days him from ruler of an empire to sudden death and left the kingdom in ruins.

Ben follows in the footsteps of the king's epic last journey, from the treacherous marshes of East Anglia, through Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, to his final resting place in Worcester. He is joined by medieval historian professor Stephen Church.

Together they examine the truth behind the legend that has lived on for 800 years. Did the crown jewels really end up in the mud of the Wash? Was the king poisoned? Does he deserve his reputation as our most disastrous monarch?

Thanks to unique documents, we can tell this epic tale in the king's own words. Not only can we get into the mind of the Magna Carta king, we can reveal in fantastic detail how and where he travelled.

Ben reveals what happened when treasure seekers attempted to find the king's lost jewels with the help of a diviner. And using the latest technology reveals how we can actually see back in time to reveal the landscape as it would have looked when King John made his last journey 800 years ago.

MON 21:00 Asylum (b0528n1j)
Strange Bedfellows

After a year in the El Rican embassy under the threat of extradition to America, Dan is bored, depressed and has little hope of getting out - his only chance is to push his case in an interview with the Guardian. The embassy staff are struggling to attract people to the annual embassy ball, as Dan is old news and nobody wants to come. Rafael decides to offer sanctuary to another international fugitive, a childlike, internet pirate called Ludo Backslash.

MON 21:30 Bob Servant (b04tmjcd)
Series 2

The Van

It's a new start for Bob and Frank, selling giant 'Meat Attack' burgers to the Broughty Ferry public. Things are going well until a woman and a council inspector get between them. Frank's head is turned and Bob's business plans are in disarray. Will their friendship last the day?

MON 22:00 Storyville (b052790w)
Mugabe and the Democrats

Political documentary thriller set in Zimbabwe, following two political enemies forced on a joint mission.

Two top politicians, MP Paul Mangwana and MP Douglas Mwonzora, from the governing party and the opposition respectively, have been appointed to lead Zimbabwe through the process of writing a new constitution. It is the ultimate test that will either take the country a decisive step closer to democracy and away from President Robert Mugabe's dictatorship, or towards renewed repression.

The film follows the two adversaries as they undertake their gargantuan task, travelling together throughout the country to ask Zimbabweans about their opinions on matters including the judicial system and the president's authority. Overcoming their initial suspicion, a kind of understanding grows between the two men, as they endure intrigue during the negotiations that follow. In a country impeded by economic sanctions from the international community and hyperinflation, failure is not an option.

MON 23:30 The Strange Case of the Law (b01kbfd8)
The Pursuit of Liberty

Many of the rights and freedoms we take for granted today were forged during the turbulent 17th and 18th centuries, when courageous men used the law to challenge tyranny and the abuse of power.

Harry Potter relives the struggles and achievements of these extraordinary figures. They include the barrister who risked assassination and eternal damnation to put the king of England on trial for his crimes against the people; the civil rights activist who was banished to Oliver Cromwell's equivalent of Guantanamo Bay; and the pillar of the establishment whose radical judgement rocked the slave trade, triggering its ultimate abolition.

MON 00:30 Wonders of the Solar System (b00rf172)
Original Series

Empire of the Sun

Professor Brian Cox visits some of the most stunning locations on earth to describe how the laws of nature have carved natural wonders across the solar system.

In this first episode Brian explores the powerhouse of them all, the sun. In India he witnesses a total solar eclipse - when the link to the light and heat that sustains us is cut off for a few precious minutes.

But heat and light are not the only power of the sun over the solar system. In Norway, Brian watches the battle between the sun's wind and earth, as the night sky glows with the northern lights.

Beyond earth, the solar wind continues, creating dazzling aurora on other planets. Brian makes contact with Voyager, a probe that has been travelling since its launch 30 years ago. Now 14 billion kilometres away, Voyager has just detected the solar wind is beginning to peter out. But even here we haven't reached the end of the sun's rule.

Brian explains how its greatest power, gravity, reaches out for hundreds of billions of kilometres, where the lightest gravitational touch encircles our solar system in a mysterious cloud of comets.

MON 01:30 Horizon (b01llnb2)

Mission to Mars

Horizon goes behind the scenes at Nasa as they count down to the landing of a 2.5 billion-dollar rover on the surface of Mars. The nuclear-powered vehicle, the size of a car, will be winched down onto the surface of the red planet from a rocket-powered crane. That's if things go according to plan; Mars has become known as the Bermuda Triangle of space because so many missions there have ended in failure. The Curiosity mission is the most audacious, and expensive, attempt to answer the question of whether there is life on Mars.

MON 02:30 Asylum (b0528n1j)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]

MON 03:00 Bob Servant (b04tmjcd)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:30 today]

MON 03:30 Great Continental Railway Journeys (b01rbrw9)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]


TUE 19:00 World News Today (b05241fp)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

TUE 19:30 Great Continental Railway Journeys (b01rbrzy)
Series 1 - Reversions

Hungary to Austria: Part 2

Steered by his 1913 railway guide, on the second part of this journey Michael Portillo continues to explore the once-great empire of Austria-Hungary, domain of the famous Habsburg monarchs.

Leaving Hungary behind, Michael begins this leg in the elegant city of Vienna and continues his journey to Salzburg, before heading to the magnificent scenery of the Salzkammergut region. Here he visits the emperor's Austrian summer house at Bad Ischl, where in 1914 European history changed course forever.

TUE 20:00 Digging for Britain (b052775b)
Series 3


Professor Alice Roberts and archaeologist Matt Williams present 2014's most outstanding archaeology.

In the summer, archaeologists have been unearthing our history in hundreds of digs across Britain. They have gone to extraordinary lengths to uncover long lost treasures - retelling our story in a way only archaeology can.

With unique access to some of the country's best digs, our teams have been self-shooting their excavations to make sure the audience is there for every moment of discovery.

In this episode, we're in the west of Britain, and the archaeologists join us back in the Dorset Country Museum to look at the new finds and what they mean. Sites include:

Barrowclump: This Bronze Age burial site also holds dozens of Anglo-Saxon warrior graves. The archaeologists here are former British soldiers.

Durotrigues Big Dig: A glimpse into the twilight world after the Roman army left around 410AD.

Winchester: One of the UK's earliest hospitals, revealing insights into the lives and deaths of lepers.

Bronze Age Bling: Metal detectors unearth a Bronze Age hoard, revealing the secrets of childhood thousands of years ago.

Ipplepen: A huge Roman settlement in an area the Romans were not thought to have conquered.

TUE 21:00 A Timewatch Guide (b052775d)
Series 1


Using the BBC film archives, historian Vanessa Collinridge explores how our view of Cleopatra has changed and evolved over the years - from Roman propaganda, through Shakespeare's role in casting her as a doomed romantic heroine, to her portrayal in the golden age of Hollywood.

Along the way Vanessa investigates Cleopatra's relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony, her role as a politician, whether she should be seen as a murderer, and her tragic end. Drawing on the views of academic experts, BBC documentaries and drama, Vanessa charts how, throughout history, Cleopatra's image has been subject to myth, cliche and propaganda.

TUE 22:00 Smiley's People (b007l43k)
Episode 6

Seminal 1980s spy drama series. The final confrontation between Smiley and Karla takes place. But in this game there are no victors, only losers.

TUE 23:00 Storyville (b05273fj)
Bulldozers, Paving Stones and Power: The Chinese Mayor

Documentary which looks into how power works in the Chinese Communist Party, focused through the mission of one local mayor.

Mayor Geng Yanbo is determined to transform the coal-mining centre of Datong, in China's Shanxi province, into a tourism haven showcasing clean energy. In order to achieve that, however, he has to relocate 500,000 residences to make way for the restoration of the ancient city. Geng Yanbo is one of the 'officials with personality' ('gexing guan yuan') to have emerged on China's political stage in recent years. In order to revitalise the city, he must first destroy.

With remarkable access, the film follows him out and about, ordering in person the demolition of vast swathes of flats and facing the wrath of disgruntled residents. But beyond the battles on the street, the mayor faces more assaults from within the Communist party itself.

TUE 00:25 Wonders of the Solar System (b00rkksg)
Original Series

Order Out of Chaos

Professor Brian Cox visits some of the most stunning locations on earth to describe how the laws of nature have carved natural wonders across the solar system.

Brian reveals how beauty and order in earth's cosmic backyard was formed from nothing more than a chaotic cloud of gas. Chasing tornados in Oklahoma, he explains how the same physics that creates these spinning storms shaped the young solar system. Out of this celestial maelstrom emerged the jewel in the crown, Brian's second wonder - the magnificent rings of Saturn.

On an ice-choked lagoon in Iceland, he sees the nearest thing on earth to Saturn's rings. Using the latest scientific imagery and breathtaking graphics, he explains how the intricate patterns round Saturn are shaped by the cluster of more than 60 moons surrounding the planet.

One of those moons makes a spectacular contribution to the rings and is the third wonder of the solar system. Brian describes the astonishing discovery of giant fountains of ice erupting from the surface of Enceladus, which soar thousands of kilometres into space.

TUE 01:25 Great Continental Railway Journeys (b01rbrzy)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

TUE 01:55 Digging for Britain (b052775b)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

TUE 02:55 A Timewatch Guide (b052775d)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


WED 19:00 World News Today (b05241fv)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

WED 19:30 Great Continental Railway Journeys (b01rhvj9)
Series 1 - Reversions

Switzerland: Part 1

Michael Portillo continues his railway adventure which takes him across the heart of Europe. Following in the footsteps of early 20th-century travellers, on this journey Michael uses his 1913 railway guide to explore Switzerland, whose remarkable railways helped make it a favourite with Edwardian tourists. He begins in the truly international city of Basel and travels east to visit industrial Zurich.

WED 20:00 Cleopatra: Portrait of a Killer (b00jhv9g)
Cleopatra - the most famous woman in history. We know her as a great queen, a beautiful lover and a political schemer. For 2,000 years almost all evidence of her has disappeared - until now.

In one of the world's most exciting finds, archaeologists believe they have discovered the skeleton of her sister, murdered by Cleopatra and Mark Antony.

From Egypt to Turkey, Neil Oliver investigates the story of a ruthless queen who would kill her own siblings for power. This is the portrait of a killer.

WED 21:00 Space Shuttle: The Final Mission (b012x69w)
In the last month of the space shuttle programme, Kevin Fong is granted extraordinary access to the astronauts and ground crew as they prepare for their final mission. He is in mission control as the astronauts go through their final launch simulation, and he flies with the last shuttle commander as he undertakes his last practice landing flight. Kevin also gains privileged access to the shuttle itself, visiting the launchpad in the company of the astronaut who will guide the final flight from mission control.

Kevin's journey takes him to the heart of Nasa when, after 30 years of shuttle missions, they finally draw the curtain. As well as meeting the final astronauts, Kevin follows the specialist teams of men and women whose job it is to make sure the shuttle and its crew are as safe as they can possibly be.

After experiencing the launch and being in mission control during the final mission, Kevin will be there on the tarmac at the Kennedy Space Centre when Atlantis returns from space for the last time, marking the end of an era in manned space flight.

WED 22:00 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?

WED 23:00 Wonders of the Solar System (b00rmpqh)
Original Series

The Thin Blue Line

Professor Brian Cox reveals how something as flimsy as an envelope of gas - an atmosphere - can create some of the most wondrous sights in the solar system. He takes a ride in an English Electric Lightning and flies 18 km up to the top of earth's atmosphere, where he sees the darkness of space above and the thin blue line of our atmosphere below. In the Namib desert in south-west Africa, he tells the story of Mercury. This tiny planet was stripped naked of its early atmosphere and is fully exposed to the ferocity of space.

Against the stunning backdrop of the glaciers of Alaska, Brian reveals his fourth wonder: Saturn's moon Titan, shrouded by a murky, thick atmosphere. He reveals that below the clouds lies a magical world. Titan is the only place beyond earth where we've found liquid pooling on the surface in vast lakes, as big as the Caspian Sea, but the lakes of Titan are filled with a mysterious liquid, and are quite unlike anything on earth.

WED 00:00 The Fantastical World of Hormones with Professor John Wass (b03wctdg)
Hormones shape each and every one of us, affecting almost every aspect of our lives - our height, our weight, our appetites, how we grow and reproduce, and even how we behave and feel.

This documentary tells the wonderful and often weird story of how hormones were discovered.

Presenter John Wass, one the country's leading experts on hormones, relates some amazing stories - how as recently as the 19th century boys were castrated to keep their pure soprano voice, how juices were extracted from testicles in the hope they would rejuvenate old men and how true medical heroes like Frederick Banting discovered a way to make insulin, thus saving the lives of countless diabetes sufferers.

And hormones remain at the cutting edge of medicine as we try and deal with modern scourges like obesity.

WED 01:00 Asylum (b0528n1j)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Monday]

WED 01:30 Bob Servant (b04tmjcd)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:30 on Monday]

WED 01:55 The Last Journey of the Magna Carta King (b052hrdd)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 on Monday]

WED 02:55 Space Shuttle: The Final Mission (b012x69w)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


THU 19:00 World News Today (b05241g0)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

THU 19:30 Top of the Pops (b05279pn)
David 'Kid' Jensen presents chart hits of the week, with performances from the Revillos, Kenny Rogers, Azymuth, John Foxx, Madness, Rupert Holmes, the Ramones, Jon & Vangelis, Billy Ocean and the Specials, and a dance sequence by Legs & Co.

THU 20:00 Horizon (b00vv0w8)

Asteroids - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Famed for their ability to inflict Armageddon from outer space, asteroids are now revealing the secrets of how they are responsible for both life and death on our planet.

Armed with an array of powerful telescopes, scientists are finding up to 3,000 new asteroids every night. And some are heading our way.

But astronomers have discovered that it's not the giant rocks that are the greatest danger - it's the small asteroids that pose a more immediate threat to Earth.

Researchers have explained the photon propulsion that send these rocks across space, and have discovered that some asteroids are carrying a mysterious cargo of frost and ice across the solar system that could have helped start life on Earth.

THU 21:00 Shakespeare's Mother: The Secret Life of a Tudor Woman (b05279pq)
Michael Wood tells the extraordinary story of an ordinary woman in a time of revolution. Born during the reign of Henry VIII, Mary Arden is the daughter of a Warwickshire farmer, but she marries into a new life in the rising Tudor middle class in Stratford-upon-Avon. There she has eight children, three of whom die young. Her husband becomes mayor, but is bankrupted by his shady business dealings. Faced with financial ruin, religious persecution and power politics, the family is the glue that keeps them together until they are rescued by Mary's successful eldest son - William Shakespeare!

THU 22:00 A Timewatch Guide (b052775d)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Tuesday]

THU 23:00 Digging for Britain (b052775b)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 on Tuesday]

THU 00:00 Wonders of the Solar System (b00rtg5k)
Original Series

Dead or Alive

Professor Brian Cox visits some of the most stunning locations on Earth to describe how the laws of nature have carved natural wonders across the solar system.

The worlds that surround our planet are all made of rock, but there the similarity ends. Some have a beating geological heart, others are frozen in time. Brian travels to the tallest mountain on Earth, the volcano Mauna Kea on Hawaii, to show how something as basic as a planet's size can make the difference between life and death. Even on the summit of this volcano, Brian would stand in the shade of the tallest mountain in the solar system, an extinct volcano on Mars called Olympus Mons, which rises up 27 km.

Yet the fifth wonder in the series isn't on a planet at all. It's on a tiny moon of Jupiter. The discoveries made on Io have been astonishing. This fragment of rock should be cold and dead, yet, with the volcanic landscape of eastern Ethiopia as a backdrop, Brian reveals why Io is home to extraordinary lakes of lava and giant volcanic plumes that erupt 500 km into the sky.

THU 01:00 Top of the Pops (b05279pn)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

THU 01:40 Horizon (b00vv0w8)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

THU 02:40 Shakespeare's Mother: The Secret Life of a Tudor Woman (b05279pq)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


FRI 19:00 World News Today (b05241g5)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

FRI 19:30 Secret Knowledge (b05270hv)
In Search of Rory McEwen

Jools Holland tells the remarkable story of Rory McEwen - folk singer, blues guitarist, early TV presenter and artist. Rory was Jools's father-in-law, but the two men never met. He died in 1982, aged 50. Born into an aristocratic family in Scotland, Rory became a musician, touring the USA in the 1950s. He had a groundbreaking music show, Hullabaloo, and his Chelsea home was a hub of 1960s London music. Rory abandoned music and TV to focus on botanical art and his paintings are finally being recognised as masterpieces. With contributions from an eclectic cast including Van Morrison, David Dimbleby and Jonathan Miller.

FRI 20:00 Symphony (b01778mc)
New Nations and New Worlds

Simon Russell Beale continues his history of the symphony by taking a musical journey through the rise of nationalism in Europe into the New World. He discovers how nationalist voices such as Tchaikovsky, Dvorak and Sibelius brought the symphony to wider audiences and visits Dvorak's summer house as he left it at his death in 1904, a remarkable insight into the personal life of the great composer.

Simon follows the development of the symphony outside Europe and explores how growing urbanisation led to the construction and growing popularity of some of the world's greatest concert halls, visiting the Musikverein in Vienna, the Philharmonic Hall in St Petersburg and Carnegie Hall in New York.

The symphonies are played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Mark Elder.

FRI 21:00 Neil Sedaka: King of Song (b03v2yxt)
Neil Sedaka is one of the most successful American singer-songwriters of the last century. A classically trained musician, he won a scholarship to the Juilliard School at the age of nine and four years later he embarked on a writing career that would see him create some of the most perfect pop songs of all time. Throughout his career he wrote, recorded and sang a number of instantly recognisable and memorable tunes, as well as delivering a string of hits as a songwriter for other artists.

This documentary portrait film tells the story of Neil Sedaka's life and career, in which he had two distinct periods of success. Between 1958 and 1963 he sold over 25 million records, but then his career nose-dived after the Beatles and the British Invasion hit the USA. Leaving his homeland, he found success in the UK in the early 1970s and relaunched his career before returning to the US and achieving new stardom with songs like Solitaire and Laughter in the Rain.

Neil gives great insight into how he created catchy classics like Calendar Girl, (Is This the Way to) Amarillo, Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen and Stupid Cupid, amongst many others.

FRI 22:00 Neil Sedaka Says: All You Need Is the Music (b00pwstt)
During a career which was originally designed to make him a classical pianist, the musical achievements and statistics of singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka have made him a compelling figure in contemporary music, with 600 songs written and 20 million records sold. The hits from his early rock 'n' roll days to his later, more lyrical age are all included in this special one-man show from the 1980s.

FRI 22:45 You've Got a Friend: The Carole King Story (b0461chb)
Documentary telling, in her own words, the story of Carole King's upbringing in Brooklyn and the subsequent success that she had as half of husband-and-wife songwriting team Goffin and King for Aldon Music on Broadway.

It was during this era in the early 1960s that they created a string of pop hits such as Take Good Care of My Baby for Bobby Vee, The Locomotion for Little Eva and Will You Love Me Tomorrow for the Shirelles, which became the first number one hit by a black American girl group. They also wrote the era-defining Up on the Roof for the Drifters and the magnificent Natural Woman for Aretha Franklin.

By 1970 Carole was divorced from songwriting partner Gerry Goffin and had moved to Los Angeles. It was here that she created her classic solo album Tapestry, packed with delightful tunes but also, for the first time, her own lyrics, very much sung from the heart. The album included It's Too Late, I Feel the Earth Move and You've Got a Friend and held the record for the most weeks at number one by a solo female artist for nearly 20 years. It became a trusted part of everyone's record collection and has sold over 25 million copies to date.

The film features some wonderful unseen material and home movies, and narrates her life as an acclaimed singer-songwriter. To date, more than 400 of her compositions have been recorded by over 1,000 artists, resulting in 100 hit singles.

More recently, in 2013, Carole was the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Gershwin Prize for Popular Song by the Library of Congress for her songwriting, whilst in 2014 Broadway production Beautiful, which tells her life story during the Goffin and King era, has received rave reviews.

Nowadays Carole King would see herself as an environmental activist as much as a songwriter, and she is to be found constantly lobbying congress in defence of the wildlife and ecosystems of her beloved Idaho.

FRI 23:45 Secret Knowledge (b05270hv)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

FRI 00:15 Singer-Songwriters at the BBC (b015f5c8)
Series 2

Episode 1

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.

Don McLean performs his huge hit American Pie from 1972 and Tim Buckley provides some sublime sounds with a rendition of his song Happy Time. Also making an appearance is the long-lamented John Martyn, folk queen Sandy Denny and, in a duet with Joe Egan as Stealers Wheel, the late Gerry Rafferty. Stealers Wheel chum and one-time collaborator Rab Noakes also makes a contribution to this compilation.

Leonard Cohen and Julie Felix present a unique collaboration and performance of Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye, and there's an unforgettable performance of Case of You by Joni Mitchell. No celebration of this genre would be complete without contributions from songwriting heavyweights such as Elton John, Paul Simon, Loudon Wainwright III and Yusuf Islam aka Cat Stevens.

FRI 01:15 Neil Sedaka: King of Song (b03v2yxt)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]

FRI 02:15 Neil Sedaka Says: All You Need Is the Music (b00pwstt)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]

FRI 03:00 You've Got a Friend: The Carole King Story (b0461chb)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:45 today]

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

A Timewatch Guide 21:00 TUE (b052775d)

A Timewatch Guide 02:55 TUE (b052775d)

A Timewatch Guide 22:00 THU (b052775d)

Asylum 21:00 MON (b0528n1j)

Asylum 02:30 MON (b0528n1j)

Asylum 01:00 WED (b0528n1j)

Bob Servant 21:30 MON (b04tmjcd)

Bob Servant 03:00 MON (b04tmjcd)

Bob Servant 01:30 WED (b04tmjcd)

Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds: A Tale of Three Cities 20:00 SAT (b04gbdww)

Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds: A Tale of Three Cities 02:00 SAT (b04gbdww)

Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe 22:50 SAT (b0520y52)

Cleopatra: Portrait of a Killer 20:00 WED (b00jhv9g)

Digging for Britain 20:00 TUE (b052775b)

Digging for Britain 01:55 TUE (b052775b)

Digging for Britain 23:00 THU (b052775b)

Genesis: Three Sides Live 01:00 SUN (b051wmh7)

Genesis: Together and Apart 23:30 SUN (b04l3phb)

Great Continental Railway Journeys 19:30 MON (b01rbrw9)

Great Continental Railway Journeys 03:30 MON (b01rbrw9)

Great Continental Railway Journeys 19:30 TUE (b01rbrzy)

Great Continental Railway Journeys 01:25 TUE (b01rbrzy)

Great Continental Railway Journeys 19:30 WED (b01rhvj9)

Horizon 21:00 SUN (b00jgtl2)

Horizon 01:30 MON (b01llnb2)

Horizon 20:00 THU (b00vv0w8)

Horizon 01:40 THU (b00vv0w8)

Kings of 70s Romance 22:30 SUN (b007cjtw)

Mark Lawson Talks To... 20:00 SUN (b05270hx)

Neil Sedaka Says: All You Need Is the Music 22:00 FRI (b00pwstt)

Neil Sedaka Says: All You Need Is the Music 02:15 FRI (b00pwstt)

Neil Sedaka: King of Song 21:00 FRI (b03v2yxt)

Neil Sedaka: King of Song 01:15 FRI (b03v2yxt)

Queen - Days of Our Lives 23:20 SAT (b011pwd9)

Queen - Days of Our Lives 00:20 SAT (b011r4gs)

Secret Knowledge 19:30 FRI (b05270hv)

Secret Knowledge 23:45 FRI (b05270hv)

Shakespeare's Mother: The Secret Life of a Tudor Woman 21:00 THU (b05279pq)

Shakespeare's Mother: The Secret Life of a Tudor Woman 02:40 THU (b05279pq)

Singer-Songwriters at the BBC 00:15 FRI (b015f5c8)

Smiley's People 22:00 TUE (b007l43k)

Sounds of the 70s 2 03:00 SAT (b01j8h0b)

Space Shuttle: The Final Mission 21:00 WED (b012x69w)

Space Shuttle: The Final Mission 02:55 WED (b012x69w)

Spiral 21:00 SAT (b0524jss)

Spiral 21:55 SAT (b0524jsy)

Storyville 22:00 MON (b052790w)

Storyville 23:00 TUE (b05273fj)

Symphony 20:00 FRI (b01778mc)

TOTP2 02:25 SUN (b04lclfn)

The Fantastical World of Hormones with Professor John Wass 00:00 WED (b03wctdg)

The Great War 19:00 SUN (b0074p2d)

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

The Last Journey of the Magna Carta King 20:00 MON (b052hrdd)

The Last Journey of the Magna Carta King 01:55 WED (b052hrdd)

The Sky at Night 22:00 SUN (b052hpyd)

The Sky at Night 03:10 SUN (b052hpyd)

The Strange Case of the Law 23:30 MON (b01kbfd8)

Top of the Pops 01:20 SAT (b051h2xy)

Top of the Pops 19:30 THU (b05279pn)

Top of the Pops 01:00 THU (b05279pn)

Unnatural Histories 19:00 SAT (b011wzrc)

Wild 19:40 SUN (b00793km)

Wild 19:50 SUN (b00793nq)

Wonders of the Solar System 00:30 MON (b00rf172)

Wonders of the Solar System 00:25 TUE (b00rkksg)

Wonders of the Solar System 23:00 WED (b00rmpqh)

Wonders of the Solar System 00:00 THU (b00rtg5k)

World News Today 19:00 MON (b05241fj)

World News Today 19:00 TUE (b05241fp)

World News Today 19:00 WED (b05241fv)

World News Today 19:00 THU (b05241g0)

World News Today 19:00 FRI (b05241g5)

You've Got a Friend: The Carole King Story 22:45 FRI (b0461chb)

You've Got a Friend: The Carole King Story 03:00 FRI (b0461chb)