Radio-Lists Home Now on BBC 4 Contact

Unofficial Weekly Listings for BBC 4 — supported by


SAT 19:00 The Mystery of Rome's X Tomb (b037vywt)
Historian Dr Michael Scott unlocks the secrets of a mysterious tomb recently discovered in one of Rome's famous catacombs. Found by accident following a roof collapse, the tombs contained over 2,000 skeletons piled on top of each other. This was quite unlike any other underground tomb seen in Rome. They are located in an area of the catacombs marked as 'X' in the Vatican's underground mapping system - hence the name The X Tombs.

Scott joins Profs Dominique Castex and Philippe Blanchard, head of a team of French archaeologists with experience of investigating mass grave sites. Carbon dating the bodies suggest they died from the late 1st century AD to the early 3rd century AD, which would mean these people lived and died during Rome's golden age.

The remains of an early medieval fresco were found on the wall sealing the tomb suggesting this could be the last resting place of a group of unknown Christian martyrs. But the bones don't show the signs of physical trauma you would expect after a violent death.

The bodies were a mixture of men and women, most of them late teenagers and young adults. They were placed in the tombs with great care, packed in head to foot. Further clues suggest they were laid to rest after a series of mass death events. This raises the idea they may have died from disease.

The streets of ancient Rome were like an open sewer and the famous roman baths were also a breeding ground for infection. DNA expert and palaeogeneticist Johannes Krause is called in to try to identify what disease may have killed them.

Meanwhile, the French team uncover further clues to the identity of the people. They find cultural connections with northern Africa. Was this a wealthy immigrant community? Or a select group of ancient Rome's elite?

SAT 20:00 Lost Kingdoms of Central America (b04jvpqj)
Between Oceans and Empires

Dr Jago Cooper explores the rise and fall of the forgotten civilisations of Central America.

His quest takes him from from the crystal blue seas of the Caribbean to the New World's most impressive pyramids, flying over the smoking volcanoes of Costa Rica and travelling deep underground in the caves of central Mexico.

He travels in the footsteps of these peoples to reveal their secrets and unearth the astonishing cultures that flourished amongst some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world.

In this episode, Jago explores the forgotten people of ancient Costa Rica, who built a series of spectacular settlements amongst the rivers and volcanoes of Central America and whose enigmatic legacy - including hundreds of mysterious, giant stone spheres - is only now being unravelled by archaeologists.

SAT 21:00 Arne Dahl (b054z321)
Series 2

Hidden Numbers: Part One

A Swedish biker gang's link to sex trafficking two teen girls to Belgium means A Unit is already on the case when a another young blonde goes missing. Paul Hjelm investigates a claim against a vice squad officer.

In Swedish with English subtitles.

SAT 22:00 Arne Dahl (b055khg1)
Series 2

Hidden Numbers: Part Two

Swedish crime drama. Ida is frustrated at how tantalisingly close the team came to saving the abducted girl.

In Swedish with English subtitles.

SAT 23:00 Timeshift (b06l0v9d)
Series 15

Looking for Mr Bond: 007 at the BBC

After more than 60 years tracking James Bond in print and on screen, the BBC opens up its vaults to reveal the forgotten files on the world's most famous secret agent. Featuring rare and candid interviews with all six actors to play 007, and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, this is James Bond unguarded, unrestricted and unseen.

SAT 00:00 Girl in a Band: Tales from the Rock 'n' Roll Front Line (b06l17fn)
All too often, every great female rock musician has to answer a predictable question - what is it like being a girl in a band?

For many, the sight of a girl shredding a guitar or laying into the drums is still a bit of a novelty. As soon as women started forming their own bands they were given labels - the rock chick, the girl band or one half of the rock 'n' roll couple.

Kate Mossman aims to look beyond the cliches of fallen angels, grunge babes and rock chicks as she gets the untold stories from rock's frontline to discover if it has always been different for the girl in a band.

SAT 01:00 Girls in Bands at the BBC (b06mxpjc)
Compilation celebrating some guitar band performances at the BBC that feature some of the best female musicians in rock. Beginning with the oft-forgotten American group Fanny performing You're the One, it's a journey along rock's spectrum from the 1970s to now.

The selection includes the powerful vocals of Elkie Brooks on Vinegar Joe's Proud to Be a Honky Woman, the mesmerising poetry of Patti Smith's Horses and the upbeat energy of The Go-Go's on We Got the Beat.

Mighty basslines come courtesy of Tina Weymouth on Psycho Killer and Kim Gordon on Sugar Kane, whilst we trace the line of indie rock from the Au Pairs through Lush, Elastica and Garbage to current band Savages.

SAT 02:00 Top of the Pops (b06l51y2)
Peter Powell introduces the pop chart programme, including performances from Adam and the Ants, Odyssey, Bad Manners, Sheena Easton, Showaddywaddy and Barbra Streisand.

SAT 02:35 Lost Kingdoms of Central America (b04jvpqj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


SUN 19:00 London on Film (b01jzq75)
The West End

From bright lights, showbusiness and shops to riots, sleaze and traffic jams, film-makers have long been drawn to London's West End. Using a rich mix of archive material, this film paints a colourful and surprising portrait of the city's beating heart.

SUN 19:30 Secret Knowledge (b06n9k13)
Jacobi on Garrick: Godfather of the British Stage

Derek Jacobi goes in search of David Garrick, 18th-century superstar and the man who reinvented acting for the modern era.

SUN 20:00 In Conversation (b06ns2pd)
The Dresser: Ronald Harwood in Conversation with Richard Eyre

To coincide with Richard Eyre's television version of Ronald Harwood's play The Dresser, the two knights discuss Harwood's long and distinguished career as a writer of plays and screenplays. The conversation covers how Harwood's own experience as dresser to the great Shakespearean actor Sir Donald Wolfit inspired The Dresser, and takes in other highlights of Harwood's theatrical career, including Taking Sides and Collaboration, as well as films such as Quartet, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and The Pianist, for which he won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2003.

SUN 21:00 Knights of Classic Drama at the BBC (b06nsxyn)
In the first of a two-part series, the BBC delves into its archives to discover British acting greats as they take their first tentative steps on the road to success. Long before they were knighted for their services to drama, we see early appearances from Michael Caine in a rare Shakespearean role, Ben Kingsley, Ian McKellen, Derek Jacobi and Michael Gambon.

Featuring unique behind-the-scenes footage alongside a wealth of classic British productions like War and Peace, the Mayor of Casterbridge and the Singing Detective, it reveals many career-defining moments from the first generation of acting talent to fully embrace television drama.

SUN 22:00 Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life (b00hd5mf)
David Attenborough is a passionate Darwinian, and sees evolution as the cornerstone of all the programmes and series he has ever made. Here, he shares his personal view on Darwin's controversial idea. Taking us on a journey through the last 200 years, he tracks the changes in our understanding of the natural world. Ever since Darwin, major scientific discoveries have helped to underpin and strengthen Darwin's revolutionary idea so that today, the pieces of the puzzle fit together so neatly that there can be little doubt that Darwin was right. As David says: 'Now we can trace the ancestry of all animals in the tree of life and demonstrate the truth of Darwin's basic proposition. All life is related.'

David asks three key questions: how and why did Darwin come up with his theory of evolution? Why do we think he was right? And why is it more important now than ever before?

David starts his journey in Darwin's home at Down House in Kent, where Darwin worried and puzzled over the origins of life. He goes back to his roots in Leicestershire, where he hunted for fossils as a child and where another schoolboy unearthed a significant find in the 1950s, and he revisits Cambridge University, where both he and Darwin studied and where many years later the DNA double helix was discovered, providing the foundations for genetics.

At the end of his journey in the Natural History Museum in London, David concludes that Darwin's great insight revolutionised the way in which we see the world. We now understand why there are so many different species, and why they are distributed in the way they are. But above all, Darwin has shown us that we are not set apart from the natural world and do not have dominion over it. We are subject to its laws and processes, as are all other animals on earth to which, indeed, we are related.

SUN 23:00 Arena (b01pjlhv)
Screen Goddesses

Documentary about the early female movie stars: Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe - immortal goddesses made by Hollywood to reign over the silver screen.

With the beginnings of Hollywood, the star system was born with an archetypal bad girl - the vampish Theda Bara - and the good girl - the blazingly sincere Lillian Gish. From the 1920s, vivacious Clara Bow and seductive siren Louise Brooks are most remembered, but none made the impact of Marlene Dietrich, an icon of mystery, or Greta Garbo, with her perfect features and gloomy introspection.

From the power of Joan Crawford and Bette Davis to the seductiveness of Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner, Hollywood studios produced their own brand of beautiful, sassy and confident women. But it wasn't to last. The era drew to a close with the supreme fame of Elizabeth Taylor and the tragic death of Marilyn Monroe.

Narrated by Elizabeth McGovern.

SUN 00:00 Natural World (b01d8nbk)

Grizzlies of Alaska

A mother grizzly bear brings up her two cubs in the wilds of Alaska. She must keep them safe from prowling males, teach them to hunt and prepare them to survive the savage winter. Alaska has the highest density of grizzlies in the world, so fights and face-offs are common. Biologist Chris Morgan spends the summer in this land of bears, often getting far too close for comfort.

SUN 01:00 Timeshift (b0074qt0)
Series 4

British Space Race

The space race might seem a two-horse race between America and the Soviet Union, but for a short time Britain was the unlikely player in the world of rocket research. This is the story of the unsung pioneers of British space exploration - the rocket engineers, the scientists and the dreamers who, despite lack of resources, never gave up on their vision for bringing the future into the present. Featuring the original rocket engineers and Professor Colin Pillinger, lead scientist of Beagle 2.

SUN 01:40 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.

SUN 02:40 In Conversation (b06ns2pd)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


MON 19:00 World News Today (b06n5hfh)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

MON 19:30 An Island Parish (b05qshpy)
Series 9 - Falklands

Tis the Season

It's Christmas on the Falklands - high summer. The islanders are singing carols and preparing their traditional Falklands roast lamb, but there's one important person missing. The Rev Richard and his wife Jen have sailed 800 miles east to celebrate the big day in the furthest corner of his parish, the tiny island of South Georgia. Back in Stanley, the Christmas elves are wrapping presents for Flying Santa to deliver to the children on the most remote farms and settlements, and the owners of the fastest horses on the islands are converging on the racecourse ready for the annual Boxing Day races, where veteran jockey Ron Binnie is making his 50th appearance alongside his grandson Duane.

MON 20:00 The Secret Life of Books (b06n9khy)
Series 2

Confessions of an English Opium Eater

Performance poet John Cooper Clarke explores Thomas de Quincey's autobiographical classic Confessions of an English Opium Eater, and discovers how his fellow Mancunian's addiction memoir avoids the cliches of modern 'misery-lit' in favour of something much more unsentimental and psychologically complex.

MON 20:30 The Quizeum (b06ns2yx)
Series 2

Episode 1

At the Burrell Collection, a unique array of more than 8,000 objects housed in the heart of Pollock Country Park in Glasgow, the experts being put to the test are: historian specialising in European and Chinese ceramics Lars Tharp, historian and broadcaster Kate Williams, medieval art historian Dr Janina Ramirez, and author and journalist Muriel Gray.

MON 21:00 Storyville (b06nxdtr)
Lockerbie: My Brother's Bomber

For some 25 years, Ken Dornstein has been haunted by the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland - a terrorist act that killed 270 people, including his older brother David. Only one person was ever convicted of the plot - who else was involved remains an open case.

In this emotional and suspenseful documentary, Dornstein sets out to find the men responsible for one of the worst attacks on Americans before 9/11. From the ruins and chaos of post-Gaddafi Libya, Dornstein hunts for clues to the identities and whereabouts of the suspects, who he tracks for almost five years across the Middle East and Europe. He encounters new witnesses and unearths fresh evidence that brings him closer to the truth about what really happened.

This is a rare, real-life spy thriller, but also a meditation on loss, love, revenge and the nature of obsession.

MON 22:30 Lost Kingdoms of Central America (b04jvpqj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 on Saturday]

MON 23:30 Horizon (b01cywtq)

The Truth about Exercise

Like many, Michael Mosley wants to get fitter and healthier but can't face hours on the treadmill or trips to the gym. Help may be at hand.

Michael uncovers the surprising new research which suggests many of us could benefit from just three minutes of high intensity exercise a week.

He discovers the hidden power of simple activities like walking and fidgeting, and finds out why some of us don't respond to exercise at all.

Using himself as a guinea pig, Michael uncovers the revealing new research about exercise that has the power to make us all live longer and healthier lives.

MON 00:30 Arena (b01pjlhv)
[Repeat of broadcast at 23:00 on Sunday]

MON 01:30 Clara Bow: Hollywood's Lost Screen Goddess (b01pjn8h)
Documentary about Clara Bow, a cinema sensation who broke box office records and became one of the greatest stars of the silent screen. Amid scandal and ill health, she retired for good at the age of just 28. Once the Queen of Hollywood, now largely forgotten - whatever happened to Clara Bow?

MON 02:30 The Quizeum (b06ns2yx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 today]

MON 03:00 Timeshift (b01nj3xx)
Series 12

The British Army of the Rhine

The affectionate story of British servicemen and their families who had to make Germany a home from home in the decades after the Second World War. For nearly 70 years, generations would grow up on bases with special schools, shops, housing and even their own radio station, as parts of the Rhineland became little bubbles of Britishness.

Featuring a nostalgic soundtrack of German language versions of period pop hits and contributions from military historians such as Max Hastings and former BBC sports commentator Barry Davies - himself a former British Army of the Rhine soldier - as well as those of military wives and children.

Once the front line in the Cold War, the BAOR is now being called home as the Ministry of Defence begins preparations to finally pull British forces out.


TUE 19:00 World News Today (b06n5hfn)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

TUE 19:30 An Island Parish (b05rd726)
Series 9 - Falklands

All Hands to the Pump

The new year gets underway and every corner of the rocky Falklands coastline is bursting with new life as penguins, seals and albatrosses hatch their young. It's also the start of the tourist season and Hattie Kilmartin is working overtime to bake enough homemade cakes and buns to feed all the visitors who've come to catch a glimpse of Albert, Bluff Cove's very own albino penguin.

But in the midst of all the activity, island life goes on as it has for the last 200 years. Governor Nigel Haywood flies to West Falkland to judge the annual Fox Bay ram and fleece show, and fleeces fly as the best shearers on the islands battle it out to win the right to represent their country in the upcoming world sheep shearing championships.

TUE 20:00 At Home with the Georgians (b00wh6lz)
A Man's Place

In this three-part series, historian Amanda Vickery explores how the great British obsession with our homes began 300 years ago. Using the intimate diaries and letters of Georgian men and women, previously lost to history, she explores how the desire for a home revolutionised relationships between men and women.

She uncovers some surprising truths: about the lives of spinsters and bachelors, about how the home became crucial to the success - or otherwise - of a marriage and, perhaps the biggest surprise of all, that setting up home in the 18th century was not driven by women (as you might expect) but by men.

TUE 21:00 The Stuarts in Exile (b06l1vxh)
Episode 2

The Jacobite struggle has often been dismissed as a dynastic spat that culminated in Bonnie Prince Charlie's tragic defeat at Culloden in 1745. But rather than a Scottish story, Dr Clare Jackson reveals the Jacobite campaign took place on a European stage and inspired a nexus of international intrigue and covert plots. In this second episode, Dr Clare Jackson reveals why so many law-abiding Scots and English were prepared to support the catholic Stuarts and how the new protestant Hanoverian regime hung by a thread, as George I and II struggled to impose their authority on frequently hostile and anti-European subjects.

TUE 22:00 Maps: Power, Plunder and Possession (b00s2wvh)
Windows on the World

In a series about the extraordinary stories behind maps, Professor Jerry Brotton uncovers how maps aren't simply about getting from A to B, but are revealing snapshots of defining moments in history and tools of political power and persuasion.

Visiting the world's first known map, etched into the rocks of a remote alpine hillside 3,000 years ago, Brotton explores how each culture develops its own unique, often surprising way of mapping. As Henry VIII's stunning maps of the British coastline from a bird's-eye view show, they were also used to exert control over the world.

During the Enlightenment, the great French Cassini dynasty pioneered the western quest to map the world with greater scientific accuracy, leading also to the British Ordnance Survey. But these new scientific methods were challenged by cultures with alternative ways of mapping, such as in a Polynesian navigator's map which has no use for north, south and east.

As scientifically accurate map-making became a powerful tool of European expansion, the British carved the state of Iraq out of the Middle East. When the British drew up Iraq's boundaries, they had devastating consequences for the nomadic tribes of Mesopotamia.

TUE 23:00 The Epic of Everest (b050r7gx)
A remarkable film record of the legendary Everest expedition of 1924, newly restored by the BFI National Archive.

The third attempt to climb Everest culminated in the deaths of two of the finest climbers of their generation, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, and sparked an ongoing debate over whether or not they did indeed reach the summit.

Filming in brutally harsh conditions, Captain John Noel captured images of breathtaking beauty and considerable historic significance, including the earliest filmed records of life in Tibet. But what resonates so deeply is Noel's ability to frame the vulnerability, isolation and courage of people persevering in one of the world's harshest landscapes.

The restoration by the BFI National Archive has transformed the quality of the surviving elements of the film and reintroduced the original coloured tints and tones. The original silent film is brought to life as never before by a haunting new soundtrack composed by Simon Fisher Turner. Revealed by the restoration, few images in cinema are as epic - or moving - as the final shots of a blood red sunset over the Himalayas.

TUE 00:20 Madness in the Desert: Paris to Dakar (b01r1cnw)
Documentary telling the story of the world's craziest race.

In 1977, French motorcyclist Thierry Sabine was in serious trouble, lost in the Libyan desert and dying from thirst. Whilst most men would weep and think back over their lives, Thierry thought about coming back - to do a rally across the Sahara Desert. The 9,000km Paris-Dakar rally was born.

The rally became a beacon for eccentric adventurers battling the terrain in customised vehicles, seduced by the romance of the desert and the extreme challenge. It soon became a victim of its own rapid success. Caught up in controversy and with over 60 deaths, in 2008 this incredible event was brought to an end in Africa by terrorism.

Featuring winners Cyril Neveu, Hubert Auriol, Jean-Louis Schlesser, Ari Vatanen, Stephane Peterhansel, Martine de Cortanze, former participant Sir Mark Thatcher and many more, this is the story of the biggest motorsport event the world has ever seen and one of the greatest challenges of human endeavour ever conceived, told by those who took part.

How the west took on a landscape of incredible beauty and scale. And lost.

TUE 01:20 India's Hospital Train (b00jf4jq)
The story of a special train, the Lifeline Express. It is known as the Magic Train. With two state-of-the-art operating theatres, recovery rooms, offices and accommodation, each project requires a team of volunteer doctors, surgeons and nurses to give their services for free. For four weeks, cameras follow the Mandsor project as operations are carried out on poor rural people while the train is standing in a station in the middle of India.

Dashrath is going deaf, Bharat can't walk and baby Shiva was born with a cleft lip. They cannot reach a hospital and they can't afford the operations. The operations change the lives of both patients and doctors. With compelling, dynamic and moving stories, the Magic Train opens a gateway to another India, where 21st-century medicine meets village India.

TUE 02:25 Britain on Film (b01qsqcy)
Series 1

End of Empire

This episode focuses on films examining the changing shape of the British Empire. At a time when many of its former colonies were achieving independence, Look at Life sent its film crews as far afield as Aden, Malaysia and Ascension Island to record the efforts made by Britain to manage the transition from imperial rule to the leadership of an emerging Commonwealth.

TUE 02:55 The Stuarts in Exile (b06l1vxh)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


WED 19:00 World News Today (b06n5hft)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

WED 19:30 An Island Parish (b05s7s3k)
Series 9 - Falklands

Past and Present

It's high summer in the Falkland Islands, and the Rev Richard's wife Jen has decided for the first time to enter some of her homemade produce in the annual Stanley horticultural show. Meanwhile, Richard takes over as guest presenter on Falkand Islands radio and almost comes a cropper as he battles the technology gremlins. The islanders welcome some honoured guests, veterans of the 1982 war who have returned to remember their fallen comrades who perished when the Sir Galahad was bombed in Fitzroy harbour.

WED 20:00 Britain's Nuclear Secrets: Inside Sellafield (b065x080)
Lying on the remote north west coast of England is one of the most secret places in the country - Sellafield, the most controversial nuclear facility in Britain. Now, Sellafield are letting nuclear physicist Professor Jim Al-Khalili and the television cameras in to discover the real story. Inside, Jim encounters some of the most dangerous substances on earth, reveals the nature of radiation and even attempts to split the atom. He sees inside a nuclear reactor, glimpses one of the rarest elements in the world - radioactive plutonium - and even subjects living tissue to deadly radiation. Ultimately, the film reveals Britain's attempts - past, present and future - to harness the almost limitless power of the atom.

WED 21:00 Colour: The Spectrum of Science (p02vmx6x)
Colours of Earth

We live in a world ablaze with colour. Rainbows and rainforests, oceans and humanity, Earth is the most colourful place we know of. But the colours we see are far more complex and fascinating than they appear. In this series, Dr Helen Czerski uncovers what colour is, how it works, and how it has written the story of our planet - from the colours that transformed a dull ball of rock into a vivid jewel to the colours that life has used to survive and thrive. But the story doesn't end there - there are also the colours that we can't see, the ones that lie beyond the rainbow. Each one has a fascinating story to tell.

In the first episode, Helen seeks out the colours that turned planet Earth multicoloured. To investigate the essence of sunlight Helen travels to California to visit the largest solar telescope in the world. She discovers how the most vivid blue is formed from sulphur atoms deep within the Earth's crust and why the presence of red ochre is a key sign of life. In gold, she discovers why this most precious of metals shouldn't even exist on the surface of the planet and in white, Helen travels to one of the hottest places on Earth to explore the role salt and water played in shaping planet Earth.

WED 22:00 Wild Weather with Richard Hammond (b04tqghf)
Original Series

Wind: The Invisible Force

Richard Hammond investigates how wind actually starts. He visits one of the windiest places on the planet, walks into the centre of a man-made tornado and creates a 10-metre high whirlwind - made of fire!

Along the way he is part of a world first when he joins up with American meteorologist Reed Timmer and a bizarre vehicle known as the Dominator III. Their aim is to succeed in doing what no one has ever done before, fire a probe into a tornado to measure its speed where it is at its fastest - right next to the ground. As Reed explains, 'near the base of the tornado is one of the biggest mysteries of tornado science and it's also the most important to understand because those are the wind speeds... that cause all the destruction'. To put that right, Reed and his team take The Dominator into the middle of a real live tornado and attempt to fire a probe into the very heart of it.

Richard also visits one of the few places on the planet capable of duplicating a real-life tornado. The Wind Engineering, Energy and Environment Research Institute (or WindEEE for short) in Ontario in Canada hadn't even opened its doors when Richard asked them to take part in an experiment. The $23 million facility is one of the the world's first hexagonal wind tunnels. As Richard says, 'I've got goosebumps. And that's not just because it's cold in here!'

Richard braves the winds and temperatures of -50 degrees Fahrenheit to take a trip outside on top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. On April 12th 1934, that station measured one of the highest wind speeds ever measured on land - 231 mph.

WED 23:00 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.

WED 00:00 Storyville (b054f7qp)
1.7 Billion Dollar Fraud: Full Exposure

In October 2011, Olympus Corporation, a multibillion dollar Japanese optical company, dismissed its president and CEO, British-born Michael Woodford, over cultural differences in management style. Japanese media dutifully reported the dismissal with minimum coverage, another foreign CEO failing to adapt to the Japanese way. But international media reported a brewing scandal where Japanese board members of the company unanimously voted to dismiss Woodford for blowing the whistle on a 1.7 billion dollar fraud that the 93-year-old Japanese company had kept secret for more than two decades.

Film-maker Hyoe Yamamoto unravels the events that led to one of the most mystifying corporate scandals in the world.

WED 01:15 Pugin: God's Own Architect (b01b1z45)
Augustus Northmore Welby Pugin is far from being a household name, yet he designed the iconic clock tower of Big Ben as well as much of the Palace of Westminster. The 19th-century Gothic revival that Pugin inspired, with its medieval influences and soaring church spires, established an image of Britain which still defines the nation. Richard Taylor charts Pugin's extraordinary life story and discovers how his work continues to influence Britain today.

WED 02:15 Britain on Film (b01nz93z)
Series 1

Getting Down to Business

In 1959 Britain's biggest cinema company, the Rank Organisation, decided to replace its newsreels with a series of short, quirky, topical documentaries that examined all aspects of life in Britain. For the next ten years, Look at Life chronicled - on high-grade 35mm colour film - the changing face of British society, industry and culture. Britain on Film draws upon the 500 films in this unique archive to offer illuminating and often surprising insights into what became a pivotal decade in modern British history.

This episode examines Look at Life's surprisingly entertaining films on the British economy, at a time when industry faced ever-increasing competition from abroad.

WED 02:45 Colour: The Spectrum of Science (p02vmx6x)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


THU 19:00 World News Today (b06n5hfz)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

THU 19:30 Top of the Pops (b06n9q3f)
Simon Bates presents the iconic pop show. Includes appearances from Iron Maiden, David Bowie, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Liquid Gold, Spandau Ballet, ABBA and Blondie. Plus a performance from Legs & Co, and special guests Dr Hook and Stu Francis.

THU 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.

THU 21:00 Tutankhamun: The Truth Uncovered (b04n6scp)
What killed King Tutankhamun? Ever since his spectacular tomb was discovered, the boy king has been the most famous pharaoh of all ancient Egypt. But his mysterious death, at just 19 years old, has never been explained.

Dallas Campbell reports on new scientific research being carried out on his fragile remains in an attempt to get to the truth. Using CT scan data, the programme creates the first scientifically accurate image of the king's corpse. DNA analysis uncovers a secret about Tutankhamun's family background, and the genetic trail of clues leads to a new theory to explain his death.

This is an epic detective story that uncovers the extraordinary truth of the boy behind the golden mask.

THU 22:00 Detectorists (b06n9q3h)
Series 2

Episode 2

Andy spots something suspicious and Sophie's cracking on with her new friend at the library. The club is visited by the local mayor on a matter of some delicacy, and some old enemies seem unusually interested in Peter's quest to find his grandfather.

THU 22:30 Brian Pern (b04vss64)
Brian Pern: A Life in Rock

Episode 2

It is the tenth anniversary of the twentieth anniversary of the fifth anniversary of the first anniversary of the non-release of his solo album - Brian Pern's Musical Version of the Day of the Triffids. To celebrate, Brian plans to stage the entire album live from the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro with a host of special guests. As ever, nothing goes according to plan.

THU 23:00 The Many Faces of... (b0129bp9)
Series 1

Michael Caine

Series of screen biographies that chart the careers of Britain's best-loved film and television faces through their most significant roles and sometimes forgotten gems from the archives.

This follows Sir Michael Caine's impressive career, featuring archive clips woven together with interviews from colleagues and critics. It covers his 50-year-long career with classic films like Zulu, The Ipcress File, The Man Who Would Be King and Get Carter, plus the more recent controversial British film, Harry Brown.

THU 00:00 Timeshift (b03gtg7g)
Series 13

When Coal Was King

Timeshift explores the lost world of coal mining and the extraordinarily rich social and cultural lives of those who worked in what was once Britain's most important industry. It's a story told through a largely forgotten film archive that movingly documents the final years of coal's heyday from the 1940s to the 1980s. One priceless piece of footage features a ballet performance by tutu-wearing colliers.

Featuring contributions from those who worked underground, those who lived in the pit villages, those who filmed them at work and at play and those - like Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall - who have been inspired by what made coalfield culture so unique.

Narrated by Christopher Eccleston.

THU 01:00 Top of the Pops (b06n9q3f)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

THU 01:35 Detectorists (b06n9q3h)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]

THU 02:05 Brian Pern (b04vss64)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:30 today]

THU 02:35 The Many Faces of... (b0129bp9)
[Repeat of broadcast at 23:00 today]


FRI 19:00 World News Today (b06n5hg6)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

FRI 19:30 Sounds of the 70s 2 (b01gymg9)
Reggae - Stir it Up

By the start of the 70s, the Windrush generation of immigrants who came to the UK from the Caribbean and West Indies were an established part of the British population and their influence and culture permeated UK society.

This second programme rejoices and revels in the reggae music exported from Jamaica and the home-grown reggae-influenced sounds that sprouted from the cities of England. Reggae's dominance of the UK charts is celebrated with performances from Ken Boothe, Dave and Ansel Collins, Steel Pulse, Althea and Donna, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Janet Kay, Susan Cadogan and The Specials.

FRI 20:00 Pappano's Classical Voices (b06154q3)

Series in which conductor Sir Antonio Pappano explores the great roles and the greatest singers of the last 100 years through the prism of the main classical voice types - soprano, tenor, mezzo-soprano, baritone and bass. Through discussion, demonstrations and workshops, Pappano explores every aspect of the art of great singing.

Behind every great voice is not just a rock-solid technique, but also a unique personality. As well as specially shot interviews and workshops with stars such as Jose Carreras, Anna Netrebko, Jonas Kaufmann, Joyce DiDonato, Bryn Terfel, Juan Diego Florez, Christa Ludwig, Thomas Allen, Felicity Palmer, John Tomlinson and Sarah Connolly, Pappano examines key performances from some of history's great operatic icons - Enrico Caruso, Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland - as well as those of singers from the more recent past, such as Luciano Pavarotti, Jon Vickers, Peter Pears and Janet Baker.

Antonio explores such topics as what is going on in a singer's body to produce a great voice; how one 'projects' a Brünnhilde over large orchestral forces; whether great singers also need to be great actors; what is vibrato, legato, staccato; what are chest and head voices - how do they work and when does one use them? He examines passaggio, colorature and support, and shows why a tenor's high C hits can pin you to the back of your seat.

He begins with the soprano - at the heart of nearly every opera, although she isn't always alive come the final curtain. Tragic heroines, warriors, feisty servants, divas - the soprano sings some of the most fabulous roles in opera. But while the prima donna may suffer on stage, she doesn't suffer fools off it. The great sopranos have always been larger-than-life characters, adored by their public and, in the case of Maria Callas, famous far beyond the opera house, her private life of as much fascination to the press as her singing.

But how does the soprano carry off these vocally and dramatically demanding roles? How does the body work to produce the sound, and what techniques are at play? How do you make yourself heard up in the gods if you're competing with a huge orchestra? What is going on in a soprano's throat, indeed her whole body? How does she sing coloratura? What effect does vibrato have on us, the listeners?

To find out, Pappano looks in detail at performances from some of the legendary sopranos of the modern era - Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland, Birgit Nilsson, Leontyne Price, and Renata Tebaldi. And sharing their secrets are some of the leading sopranos of today - Anna Netrebko, Barbara Hannigan, Carolyn Sampson, Diana Damrau, and Eva-Maria Westbroek.

FRI 21:00 ... Sings Dylan II (b06nszhz)
A feast of cover versions of Bob Dylan songs from the BBC archives, with classic tracks old and new and some surprises from the 1960s to the present.

From the essential folk queen Joan Baez to punk princess Siouxsie and the Banshees, from The Hollies to Adele, taking in the likes of Julie Felix, Richie Havens, Bryan Ferry and KT Tunstall along the way, the programme reflects Dylan's long career of writing extraordinary songs and the fascination of other artists with them.

Peter, Paul and Mary's sublime The Times They Are A-Changin' rubs shoulders with the close harmony of Cliff Richard and The Nolan Sisters' smooth interpretation of the protest classic Blowin' in the Wind. The Blues Band's energetic 1980s updating of Maggie's Farm contrasts with Tom Jones's powerful rootsy What Good Am I?

A treat for the Dylan fan and the Dylan novice alike.

FRI 22:00 Better than the Original: The Joy of the Cover Version (b06n9q8y)
Documentary which celebrates the role of the cover version in the pop canon and investigates what it takes to reinvent someone else's song as a smash.

Through ten carefully chosen cover versions that whisk us from the British Invasion to a noughties X Factor final, this film journeys over five decades to track how artists as varied as The Moody Blues, Soft Cell, Puff Daddy and Alexandra Burke have scored number ones with their retake on someone else's song. Each of the ten classic cover versions has its own particular tale, tied not only into its musical and cultural context but also the personal testimony of the artists, producers and songwriters whose lives were changed in the process.

Narrated by Meera Syal, it explores the stories behind such iconic hits as House of the Rising Sun, Respect, Tainted Love, I'll Be Missing You and Hallelujah, with contributors including John Cale, Gloria Jones, Marc Almond, Rick Rubin, Faith Evans and British singer-songwriter Nerina Pallot.

The cover version has always been a staple of the pop charts. Yet it's often been viewed as the poor relation of writing your own songs. This film challenges and overturns that misconception by celebrating an exciting, underrated musical form that has the power to make or break an artist's career. Whether as tribute, reinterpretation or as an act of subversion, the extraordinary alchemy involved in covering a record can create a new, defining version - in some cases, even more original than the original.

FRI 23:00 Ultimate Cover Versions at the BBC (b06ns4gf)
Smash hits from 60 years of great cover versions in performance from the BBC TV archive. Reinterpretations, tributes and acts of subversion from the British invasion to noughties X Factor finalist Alexandra Burke. Artists as varied as The Moody Blues, Soft Cell, Mariah Carey and UB40 with their 'retake' on someone else's song - ultimate chart hits that are, in some cases, perhaps even better than the original.

Arguably The Beatles, alongside Bob Dylan and The Beach Boys, introduced the notion of 'originality' and self-generating artists writing their songs into the pop lexicon in the 60s. One of the most fascinating consequences of this has been the 'original' cover version, a reinterpretation of someone else's song that has transformed it into pop gold with a shift of rhythm, intent and context. The pop cover has proved a remarkably imaginative and durable form and this compilation tracks this pop alchemy at its finest and most intriguing.

FRI 00:00 ... Sings Bacharach and David! (b01gxl5w)
The BBC have raided their remarkable archive once more to reveal evocative performances from Burt Bacharach and Hal David's astonishing songbook. Love songs from the famous songwriting duo were a familiar feature of 60s and 70s BBC entertainment programmes such as Dusty, Cilla and The Cliff Richard Show, but there are some surprises unearthed here too.

Highlights include Sandie Shaw singing Always Something There to Remind Me, Aretha Franklin performing I Say a Little Prayer, Dusty Springfield's Wishin' and Hopin', The Stranglers' rendition of Walk on By on Top of the Pops, The Carpenters in concert performing (They Long to Be) Close to You and Burt Bacharach revisiting his classic Kentucky Bluebird with Rufus Wainwright on Later...with Jools Holland.

FRI 01:00 ... Sings Dylan II (b06nszhz)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]

FRI 02:00 Better than the Original: The Joy of the Cover Version (b06n9q8y)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]

FRI 03:00 Ultimate Cover Versions at the BBC (b06ns4gf)
[Repeat of broadcast at 23:00 today]

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

... Sings Bacharach and David! 00:00 FRI (b01gxl5w)

... Sings Dylan II 21:00 FRI (b06nszhz)

... Sings Dylan II 01:00 FRI (b06nszhz)

An Island Parish 19:30 MON (b05qshpy)

An Island Parish 19:30 TUE (b05rd726)

An Island Parish 19:30 WED (b05s7s3k)

Arena 23:00 SUN (b01pjlhv)

Arena 00:30 MON (b01pjlhv)

Arne Dahl 21:00 SAT (b054z321)

Arne Dahl 22:00 SAT (b055khg1)

At Home with the Georgians 20:00 TUE (b00wh6lz)

Better than the Original: The Joy of the Cover Version 22:00 FRI (b06n9q8y)

Better than the Original: The Joy of the Cover Version 02:00 FRI (b06n9q8y)

Brian Pern 22:30 THU (b04vss64)

Brian Pern 02:05 THU (b04vss64)

Britain on Film 02:25 TUE (b01qsqcy)

Britain on Film 02:15 WED (b01nz93z)

Britain's Nuclear Secrets: Inside Sellafield 20:00 WED (b065x080)

Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life 22:00 SUN (b00hd5mf)

Clara Bow: Hollywood's Lost Screen Goddess 01:30 MON (b01pjn8h)

Colour: The Spectrum of Science 21:00 WED (p02vmx6x)

Colour: The Spectrum of Science 02:45 WED (p02vmx6x)

Detectorists 22:00 THU (b06n9q3h)

Detectorists 01:35 THU (b06n9q3h)

Digging for Britain 20:00 THU (b052775b)

Girl in a Band: Tales from the Rock 'n' Roll Front Line 00:00 SAT (b06l17fn)

Girls in Bands at the BBC 01:00 SAT (b06mxpjc)

Horizon 23:30 MON (b01cywtq)

In Conversation 20:00 SUN (b06ns2pd)

In Conversation 02:40 SUN (b06ns2pd)

India's Hospital Train 01:20 TUE (b00jf4jq)

Knights of Classic Drama at the BBC 21:00 SUN (b06nsxyn)

London on Film 19:00 SUN (b01jzq75)

Lost Kingdoms of Central America 20:00 SAT (b04jvpqj)

Lost Kingdoms of Central America 02:35 SAT (b04jvpqj)

Lost Kingdoms of Central America 22:30 MON (b04jvpqj)

Madness in the Desert: Paris to Dakar 00:20 TUE (b01r1cnw)

Maps: Power, Plunder and Possession 22:00 TUE (b00s2wvh)

Natural World 00:00 SUN (b01d8nbk)

Pappano's Classical Voices 20:00 FRI (b06154q3)

Pugin: God's Own Architect 01:15 WED (b01b1z45)

Secret Knowledge 19:30 SUN (b06n9k13)

Sounds of the 70s 2 19:30 FRI (b01gymg9)

Storyville 21:00 MON (b06nxdtr)

Storyville 00:00 WED (b054f7qp)

The Epic of Everest 23:00 TUE (b050r7gx)

The Fairytale Castles of King Ludwig II with Dan Cruickshank 23:00 WED (b036f9vc)

The Many Faces of... 23:00 THU (b0129bp9)

The Many Faces of... 02:35 THU (b0129bp9)

The Mystery of Rome's X Tomb 19:00 SAT (b037vywt)

The Quizeum 20:30 MON (b06ns2yx)

The Quizeum 02:30 MON (b06ns2yx)

The Secret Life of Books 20:00 MON (b06n9khy)

The Stuarts in Exile 21:00 TUE (b06l1vxh)

The Stuarts in Exile 02:55 TUE (b06l1vxh)

Timeshift 23:00 SAT (b06l0v9d)

Timeshift 01:00 SUN (b0074qt0)

Timeshift 01:40 SUN (p0287mq6)

Timeshift 03:00 MON (b01nj3xx)

Timeshift 00:00 THU (b03gtg7g)

Top of the Pops 02:00 SAT (b06l51y2)

Top of the Pops 19:30 THU (b06n9q3f)

Top of the Pops 01:00 THU (b06n9q3f)

Tutankhamun: The Truth Uncovered 21:00 THU (b04n6scp)

Ultimate Cover Versions at the BBC 23:00 FRI (b06ns4gf)

Ultimate Cover Versions at the BBC 03:00 FRI (b06ns4gf)

Wild Weather with Richard Hammond 22:00 WED (b04tqghf)

World News Today 19:00 MON (b06n5hfh)

World News Today 19:00 TUE (b06n5hfn)

World News Today 19:00 WED (b06n5hft)

World News Today 19:00 THU (b06n5hfz)

World News Today 19:00 FRI (b06n5hg6)