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

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SAT 19:00 Saints and Sinners: Britain's Millennium of Monasteries (b054fmzl)
Episode 3

In the final episode of the series, Dr Janina Ramirez discovers how the immensely rich and powerful monasteries that had dominated British society for 1,000 were annihilated in less than five years.

In the 15th century, 800 monasteries in England owned one-third of the nation's land. Many monks were living in palatial monasteries and were patrons of the finest art and architecture. Janina examines monastery kitchen records and the bones of a medieval monk to discover the truth behind accusations of monastic gluttony and vice. She also explores how the arrival of the printing press put paid to the monasteries' monopoly of publishing and education.

Janina then traces the story of the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. She explores whether the dissolution was the violent action of a greedy and overbearing monarch or if it was the inevitable 'end of days' for a rotten and outmoded institution.

She uncovers stories of shocking corruption alongside examples of extraordinary pious sacrifice. Although not a single monastery survived the systematic liquidation, Janina shows the lasting impact Britain's millennium of monasteries had on our society and culture.

SAT 20:00 The Search for Alfred the Great (b03sbp73)
Neil Oliver is given exclusive access to a team of historians and scientists investigating the final resting place of Alfred the Great. Alfred's bones have been moved so many times over the centuries that many people concluded that they were lost forever. Following a trail that goes back over 1,000 years, the team wants to unravel the mystery of Alfred's remains. Travelling from Winchester to Rome, Neil also tells the extraordinary story of Alfred's life - in the 9th century, he became one of England's most important kings by fighting off the Vikings, uniting the Anglo-Saxon people and launching a cultural renaissance. This was the man who forged a united language and identity, and laid the foundations of the English nation.

The film investigates the equally extraordinary story of what happened to Alfred's remains after his death in 899. They have been exhumed and reburied on a number of occasions since his original brief burial in the Anglo-Saxon Old Minster in Winchester. The Saxons, the Normans, Henry VIII's religious reformers, 18th-century convicts, Victorian romantics and 20th-century archaeologists have all played a part in the story of Alfred's grave.

Neil joins the team as they exhume the contents of an unmarked grave, piece the bones together and have them dated. With the discovery of some unexpected new evidence, the film reveals the extraordinary outcome of an important investigation.

SAT 21:00 Cardinal (b08bphs2)
Series 1


Demoted for a hunch about a case that he wouldn't let go, Cardinal is brought back to the homicide unit when the body of missing 13-year-old Katie Pine is discovered, proving his instincts correct. Back on the case, his search for her murderer soon becomes an all-consuming race to stay ahead of a serial killer.

SAT 21:40 Cardinal (b08cfgps)
Series 1


The Algonquin Bay Police Department attempts to make amends with the community for the botched investigation into Katie Pine's disappearance. Detective Lise Delorme risks exposure of her investigation in an attempt to catch Detective John Cardinal in the act of a crime. Meanwhile, the killer zeroes in on his next victim.

SAT 22:25 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.

SAT 22:50 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.

SAT 23:20 New Power Generation: Black Music Legends of the 1980s (b017sw79)
Lionel Richie: Dancing on the Ceiling

Documentary showing how Lionel Richie achieved his dream of becoming 'as big as The Beatles' and how much of what he learnt from his years with The Commodores prepared him for that success. After 15 years of soaring success with the band, Lionel left the group to go solo in what many considered to be a risky move. His first solo album, Lionel Richie, grabbed the world's attention, whilst the follow-up, Can't Slow Down, turned him into a global superstar. But could he maintain sustained popularity without the group he'd known as brothers behind him?

Contributors include: Billboard Magazine editor Adam White, Motown songwriter and producer Gloria Jones, Kenny Rogers, video director Bob Giraldi, songwriter and producer David Foster, general manager at Motown in 1978 Keith Harris, UK soul singer Lemar and Pearly Gates of The Flirtations.

SAT 00:20 Lionel Richie at the BBC (b017sw7c)
A selection of Lionel Richie's greatest moments from the BBC archives, from his first Top of the Pops appearance with The Commodores in 1979 to highlights from his 2009 concert at the BBC's Maida Vale studios.

SAT 01:20 Top of the Pops (b08skpz5)
The Story of 1984

1984 sees Top of the Pops at the height of its 80s pomp - the year of big hair and big tunes. A BBC ban on Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Relax in January leads to an embarrassing Frankie-shaped hole on the show when it reaches No 1. One of the sounds of 1984 is Hi-NRG, that goes overground from the gay club scene into the mainstream charts. And 1984 is perhaps the gayest year in pop, with a trail blazed by Bronski Beat, who are out and proud and on Top of the Pops.

1984 sees the rise of the one-man acts such as Nik Kershaw and Howard Jones. And jazz pop's soaraway star is Sade, who brings a stripped-back soulful vibe to Top of the Pops. Yet 1984 isn't all about smooth sounds. German singer Nena hits the top spot with 99 Red Balloons - shocking Brits with her hairy armpits. And The Special AKA's Free Nelson Mandela combines a political message with an irresistible tune.

And the year ends on a landmark moment when many of the stars of the chart-topping Band Aid single appear in the studio as the climax to the Christmas show. It's a moment that reaffirms Top of the Pops's place at the heart of British pop culture.

Featuring original interviews with Trevor Horn, members of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Hazell Dean, Howard Jones, Nik Kershaw, Paul Young, Nigel Planer, Nena, Jerry Dammers and Midge Ure.

SAT 02:20 Top of the Pops (b08skpzg)
1984 - Big Hits

Celebrating the big hits from a big year in British pop. The big hitters in this compilation are performed by the likes of The Smiths, Duran Duran, Sade, The Weather Girls, Wham! and Bronski Beat, to name a few.

Further stellar appearances come from the TOTP debuts of iconic Americans Madonna, Miami Sound Machine and Cyndi Lauper, who runs riot in the studio.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood celebrate their 1984 chart dominance with one of their celebrated renditions of Two Tribes, while we couldn't let you forget a little ditty from Black Lace - you'll be singing this for days... you have been warned!

SAT 03:20 Sounds of the Seventies (b08skpz3)

The Temptations, Michael Jackson and The Real Thing

A soulful soupcon of seventies songs. The Temptations with Can't Get Next to You, The Real Thing perform Can You Feel the Force? and a young Michael Jackson gives an energetic performance of Rockin' Robin with his brothers.


SUN 19:00 Egypt's Lost Queens (b04gnhv5)
Professor Joann Fletcher explores what it was like to be a woman of power in ancient Egypt. Through a wealth of spectacular buildings, personal artefacts and amazing tombs, Joann brings to life four of ancient Egypt's most powerful female rulers and discovers the remarkable influence wielded by women, whose power and freedom was unique in the ancient world.

Throughout Egypt's history, women held the title of pharaoh no fewer than 15 times, and many other women played key roles in running the state and shaping every aspect of life. Joann Fletcher puts these influential women back at the heart of our understanding, revealing the other half of ancient Egypt.

SUN 20:00 Egypt's Lost Cities (b011pwms)
It is possible that only one per cent of the wonders of ancient Egypt have been discovered, but now, thanks to a pioneering approach to archaeology, that is about to change.

Dr Sarah Parcak uses satellites to probe beneath the sands, where she has found cities, temples and pyramids. Now, with Dallas Campbell and Liz Bonnin, she heads to Egypt to discover if these magnificent buildings are really there.

SUN 21:30 Egyptian Journeys with Dan Cruickshank (b0078z27)
The Rebel Pharaoh

Dan Cruickshank travels the Nile, from magnificent Karnak to the desolate ruins of El Amarna, in search of the truth about Akhenaten, the most radical and mysterious pharaoh ever to rule Egypt, and his beautiful wife Nefertiti.

They were a golden couple, rich and all-powerful, but when Akhenaten had a personal religious conversion, it changed everything. Akhenaten decided to overturn the entire religious belief system of ancient Egypt and convert the whole nation to his own new religion. He swept aside centuries of worship of many gods and declared that there was only one god, the Sun - the 'Aten'. To the ancient Egyptians this was heresy, but as he was the pharaoh, no-one could stop him. He then built a vast new sacred city in the desert, far away from the ancient capital of Thebes, a city dedicated to the Aten, in which he and Nefertiti lived in splendour.

But, as Dan discovers, the royal couple's dreams would soon come to a tragic end. From the grand temples at Karnak, Dan traces the route of the heretic king and queen along the Nile to the site of their splendid new city at El Amarna, in Middle Egypt - now just a poignant, desolate ruin where Akhenaten and Nefertiti lived out their glorious but doomed lives.

SUN 22:00 Arena (b08t14wf)
American Epic

Out of the Many, the One

A look at the influence of Hawaiian music and more specifically, the steel guitar, which became a central sound to a range of musical styles. When Joseph Kekuku picked up a metal bolt as he wandered down a train track, the bolt hit the strings of his guitar and the sound was born. He perfected his slide to create a new instrument that would travel the world.

The programme continues with an exploration of Cajun music, the blended music of Louisiana that reflects the winding landscape of the bayous. This appealed to the record companies as something set apart from the established genres of country, jazz and blues. Central to the scene were the Breaux family, who talk about continuing their musical heritage today.

Finally we hear the story of Mississippi John Hurt - discovered in the 1920s but soon forgotten, he represents the odyssey of American Epic in microcosm. After travelling to Memphis where his music was recorded, he returned home to Avalon, a tiny spot on the map of Mississippi. With the Depression, recording in the south came virtually to a halt and Hurt simply went back to sharecropping, his music forgotten by all but a few dedicated collectors. 35 years after those first recordings, folklorist Dick Spottswood tracked down Hurt in 1963, sparking a revival of his music. He starred at the Newport Folk Festival and became celebrated all over the world.

SUN 23:00 Southern Rock at the BBC (b01f1bwb)
Classic clips - from the Old Grey Whistle Test, In Concert and even Wogan - of Southern rock boogie in excelsis from the bands who poured out of the Deep South in the 70s. Includes performances from The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Delaney & Bonnie with Eric Clapton, Dickey Betts from The Allman Brothers Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, Black Oak Arkansas, The Charlie Daniels Band, Gregg Allman with then-wife Cher, Edgar Winter and, of course, Lynyrd Skynyrd.

SUN 00:00 Later... Folk America (b00h6xmd)
Compilation of performances by artists from the American folk, blues, bluegrass and country scenes that revisits the spirit of the 1920s and beyond with a distinctly Southern flavour.

Including Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Blind Boys of Alabama, Norah Jones, Odetta, Old Crow Medicine Show, Chatham County Line, Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris and Buddy Guy and many more.

SUN 01:00 Natural World (b03799xd)

The Mating Game

David Attenborough narrates the charming and fascinating story of some real-life animal romantics. There are show-offs and singers, dancers and fighters, stories of undercover affairs and heart-warming devotion. A male polar bear plays hard to get, a lemur's odour bags him a mate, and a lizard proves tender and faithful to the very end. It reveals that animals can be loving, complex, funny and inventive - it's all part of the Mating Game.

SUN 02:00 Engineering Giants (b01l9m3h)
Gas Rig Strip-Down

Engineer turned comedian Tom Wrigglesworth and Rob Bell, rising star of mechanical engineering, tell the story as an entire North Sea Gas installation, the Lima Platform, is pulled from the sea by floating cranes, brought back to Newcastle, and then torn into tiny pieces for recycling.

But the platform is not just thousands of tons of steel. It was once home to the men and women called the North Sea Tigers. They pioneered gas and oil exploration in the UK and now some of them are ending their careers as part of the decommissioning process. As the gas platform is stripped down, these engineers reveal the secrets of this vital part of our energy supplies, but they also reveal the emotional bonds to the engineering marvel that formed such an important part of their lives.

SUN 03:00 Natural World (b01nhwyz)

Queen of Tigers

The story of Machli, the most famous tiger in the world. She is a legendary fighter and a wise mother of nine cubs who has founded a vast dynasty of tigers.

She is now in the last season of her life and wildlife cameraman Colin Stafford-Johnson returns to find his old friend one last time. This film shows the extraordinary milestones in Machli's life, all set in the most stunning Indian scenery.


MON 19:00 100 Days+ (b08t0nyj)
Series 1


Katty Kay in Washington and Christian Fraser in London report on the events that are shaping our world.

MON 19:30 Great British Railway Journeys (b04ynp6g)
Series 6

Deptford to West Silvertown

Michael Portillo is invited aboard the construction locomotive for Crossrail to travel under the Thames and to meet Mary, on whom the project depends.

He travels on the capital's first railway and admires the remarkable brick viaduct on which it was built. He takes a tour underneath its arches with a Victorian map showing the poverty of those who once lived there. The Docklands Light Railway takes him to Greenwich, home to Britain's most famous tea clipper. And in Woolwich, he discovers the firepower of the British Empire before coming to a sticky end at West Silvertown.

MON 20:00 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.

MON 21:00 The Medici: Makers of Modern Art (b00fztl9)
Documentary in which Andrew Graham-Dixon reveals how the Medici family transformed Florence through sculpture, painting and architecture, and created a world where masterpieces fetch millions today.

Without the money and patronage of the Medici we might never have heard of artists such as Donatello, Michelangelo or Botticelli. Graham-Dixon examines how a family of shadowy, corrupt businessmen, driven by greed and ambition, became the financial engine behind the Italian Renaissance.

MON 22:00 Francesco's Italy: Top to Toe (b007920b)
The Heart of Italy

Francesco da Mosto discovers why Rome is the Eternal City and goes head to head with Mussolini. Travelling via the fantastic water gardens of Villa d'Este and the royal seat of the Bourbon dynasty, he arrives in Naples. After an encounter with Italy's most astonishing sculpture - Sanmartino's Veiled Christ - and a lesson in Neapolitan pizza making, Francesco descends deep into the caverns of underground Naples and discovers an eerie cult of the dead.

MON 23:00 Mothers, Murderers and Mistresses: Empresses of Ancient Rome (b02w63n7)
Episode 3

Professor Catharine Edwards follows the stories of four very different women across centuries which saw the Roman Empire utterly transformed. Among them are the slave turned imperial consort Caenis, the empress Julia Domna - a Syrian who was commemorated in fascinating ways as far away as York - and Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine and a force in converting the empire to Christianity.

MON 00:00 Egypt's Lost Cities (b011pwms)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 on Sunday]

MON 01:30 The Fairytale Castles of King Ludwig II with Dan Cruickshank (b036f9vc)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

MON 02:30 The Medici: Makers of Modern Art (b00fztl9)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


TUE 19:00 100 Days+ (b08t0nyp)
Series 1


Katty Kay in Washington and Christian Fraser in London report on the events that are shaping our world.

TUE 19:30 Great British Railway Journeys (b04ynsfk)
Series 6

Stratford to London Victoria

Guided by his Bradshaw's, Michael Portillo takes the high-speed line to Stratford to explore the legacy of the Olympic Park. He hears how an Indian lawyer, who learnt his trade in Victorian London, went on to change the world and explores an area of the city which has been home to wave upon wave of immigrants, Spitalfields. He ends this journey at Victoria Underground Station, where he finds out about the massive makeover currently under way.

TUE 20:00 The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain (p01xtmv7)
Episode 3

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

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

TUE 21:00 Timeshift (b053pzmd)
Series 14

Spicing Up Britain: How Eating Out Went Exotic

Timeshift looks at how postwar Britain went from a place where eating out was more of a chore than a pleasure to a nation of food adventurers, now spending up to a third of our food budget on restaurant meals. It's the story of the British palate being slowly introduced to a range of what would then have been 'exotic' cuisines by successive generations of migrants opening eateries - first Italians, then Chinese and Indians. By encouraging us to try something new - be it spaghetti, stir fry or samosa - they spiced up not just our food but our high streets and our lives.

TUE 22:00 The Secret History of My Family (b074cf2v)
The Manleys and the Hunts

The true story of two Victorian mothers, Lavinia and Florence, from opposite ends of the social scale - brought together by domestic violence.

One was desperate to feed her six children in 1880s London, the other came from a lavish country home and ventured into the slums to try to help a fellow mother. It's the saga of a woman from the Victorian workhouse whose descendant ends up at Eton, and of a family from the landed gentry who have thrown off the burden of their past.

TUE 23:00 Storm Troupers: The Fight to Forecast the Weather (b07f27j1)
Episode 3

The final episode tells the story of how meteorology became one of the most important scientific endeavours of the modern age.

Alok Jha charts the progress of computer-based forecasting - the bedrock for how we do things today - through the characters who pioneered it. There's the American mathematician Jule Charney, who found a way to simplify weather for the early computers of the 1940s by listening to Beethoven, and the ambitious technocrat John Mason, who gambled the future of the Met Office on unproven technology in the early 1960s.

Alok relives the moments that shook faith in forecasting to its core. He investigates the discovery of chaos theory, which threatened to undo all confidence in 20th-century science, and discovers the scientific consequences of that most infamous of all television forecasts - Michael Fish's missed hurricane, the Great Storm of 1987.

Alok uses stunning science demonstrations to investigate the chaotic, unpredictable nature of weather. He meets present-day giants of meteorology like Tim Palmer and Julia Slingo, and observes one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world in action. Based in the Met Office HQ in Exeter, it's capable of simulating our entire planet's climate. It's a vital asset - one of the key tools that will help humanity face the vagaries of our weather and climate for generations to come.

TUE 00:00 Inside Einstein's Mind: The Enigma of Space and Time (b06s75vs)
The story of the most elegant and powerful theory in science - Albert Einstein's general relativity.

When Einstein presented his formidable theory in November 1915, it turned our understanding of gravity, space and time completely on its head. Over the last 100 years, general relativity has enabled us to trace the origins of the universe to the Big Bang and to appreciate the enormous power of black holes.

To mark the 100th anniversary of general relativity, this film takes us inside the head of Einstein to witness how his idea evolved, giving new insights into the birth of a masterpiece that has become a cornerstone of modern science. This is not as daunting as it sounds - because Einstein liked to think in pictures. The film is a magical visual journey that begins in Einstein's young mind, follows the thought experiments that gave him stunning insights about the physical world, and ultimately reaches the extremes of modern physics.

TUE 01:00 Natural World (b00np2gk)

Bearwalker of the Northwoods

In the forests of northern Minnesota, biologist Lynn Rogers uses food to gain the trust of wild black bears, a controversial technique developed over his own 40-year journey from fear to fascination.

Following the fortunes of mother bear June and her three cubs over a year, the film reveals an intimate portrait of the lives of black bears.

TUE 02:00 The Secret History of My Family (b074cf2v)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]

TUE 03:00 Storm Troupers: The Fight to Forecast the Weather (b07f27j1)
[Repeat of broadcast at 23:00 today]


WED 19:00 100 Days+ (b08t0nyv)
Series 1


Katty Kay in Washington and Christian Fraser in London report on the events that are shaping our world.

WED 19:30 Great British Railway Journeys (b04ynyyh)
Series 6

London's West End

Guided by his Victorian Bradshaw's Guide, Michael Portillo explores London's theatreland and discovers how 19th-century engineering made for spectacular theatricals. At Charing Cross, Michael learns about the ambitious building programme which saw Trafalgar Square replace streets of slums and comes face to face with George Bradshaw.

At one of the busiest stops on the tube, Piccadilly Circus, Michael indulges in some retail therapy at a perfumery patronised by kings, queens and prime ministers. The Bakerloo to Oxford Circus line brings Michael to Soho and a grimmer side of Victorian London, where disease was rife.

WED 20:00 Timeshift (b00nnm7k)
Series 9

The Men Who Built the Liners

Many of the most famous passenger liners in history were built in the British Isles, several in the shipyards along the banks of the Clyde. Timeshift combines personal accounts and archive footage to evoke a vivid picture of the unique culture that grew up in the Clyde shipyards. Despite some of the harshest working conditions in industrial history and dire industrial relations, it was here that the Queen Mary, the Queen Elizabeth and the QE2 were built. Such was the Clyde shipbuilders' pride in their work, and the strength of public support, that in 1971 they were able to defy a government attempt to close them down and win the right to carry on shipbuilding.

WED 21:00 Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa! (b0074s9v)
Witty drama adapted from Kenneth Williams's own words in his diaries. It's a spectacular journey inside the mind of one of British radio, TV and film's most popular, peculiar and comic performers. And one of its most tragic, too.

Spanning his entire life, this is the story of Williams's career and private life, a behind-the-scenes look at Williams, not only recreating some of his greatest performances, but also giving a candid and poignant insight into his professional hopes, personal upsets and sexual frustrations of a man who was uncomfortable in his own skin.

The screenplay is rude, arch, uncompromising and hilarious. Michael Sheen delivers a tour-de-force performance as ‘the man of a thousand voices’.

WED 22:20 Parkinson: The Interviews (b007448x)
Series 1

Kenneth Williams

In this compilation of clips from five of his eight appearances on Parkinson, Kenneth Williams gives vent to his dislike of theatre critics as well as Michael Parkinson, and gives his rendition of My Crepes Suzette.

Contributors: John Betjeman, Patrick Campbell, Tom Lehrer, Annie Lewis, Tony Moss, Frank Muir, Robin Ray and Maggie Smith.

WED 23:00 Locomotion: Dan Snow's History of Railways (b01pz9m7)
Episode 1

From their beginnings as a primitive system of track-ways for coal carts in the early 18th century, railways quickly developed into the driving force behind the industrial revolution and the pivotal technology for modern Britain, and a connected world.

Rapid industrial growth during the early 19th century, coupled with the prospect of vast profits, drove inventors and entrepreneurs to develop steam locomotives, metal tracks and an array of daring tunnels, cuttings and bridges that created a nationwide system of railways in just 30 years.

George Stephenson's Liverpool and Manchester Railway became the model for future inter-city travel for the next century and his fast, reliable locomotive, the Rocket, began a quest for speed that has defined our modern world.

WED 00:00 Soup Cans & Superstars: How Pop Art Changed the World (b067ftp7)
Alastair Sooke champions pop art as one of the most important art forms of the 20th century, peeling back pop's frothy, ironic surface to reveal an art style full of subversive wit and radical ideas.

In charting its story, Alastair brings a fresh eye to the work of pop art superstars Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein and tracks down pop's pioneers, from American artists like James Rosenquist, Claes Oldenburg and Ed Ruscha to British godfathers Peter Blake and Allen Jones.

Alastair also explores how pop's fascination with celebrity, advertising and the mass media was part of a global art movement, and he travels to China to discover how a new generation of artists are reinventing pop art's satirical, political edge for the 21st century.

WED 01:30 Storyville (b07176xr)
Decadence and Downfall: The Shah of Iran's Ultimate Party

In 1971, the Shah of Iran, the self-proclaimed 'king of kings', celebrated 2,500 years of the Persian monarchy by throwing the greatest party in history. Money was no object - a lavish tent city, using 37km of silk, was erected in a specially created oasis. The world's top restaurant at the time, Maxim's, closed its doors for two weeks to cater the event, a five-course banquet served to over sixty of the world's kings, queens and presidents, and washed down with some of the rarest wines known to man.

Over a decadent five-day period, guests were treated to a pageant of thousands of soldiers dressed in ancient Persian costume, a 'son et lumiere' at the foot of Darius the Great's temple, and the opening of the Azadi Tower in Tehran, designed to honour the Shah himself.

Every party leaves a few hangovers. This one left a country reeling, never to recover. It crystallised the opposition, led by the Ayatollah Khomeini. More than any other event, this party marked the break between the king of kings and the people of Iran he reigned over.

WED 02:45 Timeshift (b00nnm7k)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


THU 19:00 100 Days+ (b08t0nz0)
Series 1


Katty Kay in Washington and Christian Fraser in London report on the events that are shaping our world.

THU 19:30 Top of the Pops (b08t164k)
Special 20th anniversary edition of the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 5 January 1984. Presented by John Peel and David Jensen, with guest appearance by Alan Freeman. Includes appearances from Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Rod Stewart, Status Quo, Frank Kelly, Slade and The Flying Pickets, along with archive compilation sequences of artists appearing on the programme over the years.

THU 20:00 The Wonderful World of Blood - with Michael Mosley (b05nyyhf)
Of all the wonders of the human body, there's one more mysterious than any other. Blood: five precious litres that keep us alive. Yet how much do we really know about this sticky red substance and its mysterious, life-giving force?

Michael Mosley gives up a fifth of his own blood to perform six bold experiments. From starving it of oxygen to injecting it with snake venom, Michael reveals the extraordinary abilities of blood to adapt and keep us alive. Using specialist photography, the programme reveals the beauty in a single drop. Michael even discovers how it tastes when, in a television first, he prepares a black pudding with his own blood.

Down the ages, our understanding of blood has been as much myth as science, but Michael reveals there might be truth in the old vampire legends, as he meets one of the scientists behind the latest research that shows young blood might be able to reverse the ageing process - the holy grail of modern medicine.

THU 21:00 Horizon (b0747199)

The Immortalist

The gripping story of how one Russian internet millionaire is turning to cutting-edge science to try to unlock the secret of living forever.

Dmitry Itskov recently brought together some of the world's leading neuroscientists, robot builders and consciousness researchers to try to devise a system that would allow him to escape his biological destiny. Entering Dmitry's seemingly sci-fi world, Horizon investigates the real science inspiring his bold plan to upload the human mind to a computer.

There are doubters - like the major neuroscientist who tells us 'it's too stupid, it simply cannot be done'. But as we also meet the Japanese maker of Erica, one of the world's most human-like robots, who tells us the destiny of humans is to become robots to overcome the constraints of time, see how a quadriplegic Californian man is already controlling a robot arm with his thoughts, and explore the groundbreaking work of the scientist behind the world's largest neuroscience project - the $6 billion US Brain Initiative - who tells us the effort to map all the activity of the brain could be a crucial step towards mind uploading, Horizon asks if it's really so crazy to think Dmitry Itskov could succeed in his goal of bringing about immortality for all of us within 30 years.

THU 22:00 Engineering Giants (b01llr67)
Ferry Strip-Down

Engineer turned comedian Tom Wrigglesworth and rising star of mechanical engineering Rob Bell climb on board the Pride of Bruges, a massive 25,000-tonne North Sea ferry as it is brought into dry dock in Newcastle.

It has been ploughing the route from Hull to Zeebrugge for over a quarter of a century and is now in need of the biggest overhaul of its life in an attempt to prolong its seaworthiness for another decade. Tom and Rob also travel to Europe's largest ship-breaking yard in Belgium, to discover what happens to ships at the end of their lives. As they watch massive hulls being torn apart, they gain more insights into how a ship works and how their massive carcasses are recycled.

THU 23:00 Planet Oil: The Treasure That Conquered the World (p02gzf9k)
Episode 1

From the moment we first drilled for oil, we opened a Pandora's box that changed the world forever. It transformed the way we lived our lives, spawned foreign wars and turned a simple natural resource into the most powerful political weapon the world has ever known. But when exactly did geology turn into such a high-stakes game?

In this series, Professor Iain Stewart visits the places that gave birth to the earth's oil riches, discovers the people who fought over its control and supply, and explores how our insatiable thirst for oil is changing the very planet on which we depend.

It's a journey that will help us answer a fundamental question - how did we become so addicted to oil in little more than one human lifetime?

THU 00:00 Top of the Pops (b08t164k)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

THU 00:40 Arena (b08t14wf)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Sunday]

THU 01:40 Southern Rock at the BBC (b01f1bwb)
[Repeat of broadcast at 23:00 on Sunday]

THU 02:40 Horizon (b0747199)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


FRI 19:00 World News Today (b08t0nz5)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

FRI 19:30 Top of the Pops (b08t16dm)
Mike Read and Steve Wright present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 12 January 1984. Featuring The Icicle Works, Howard Jones, Shakin' Stevens & Bonnie Tyler, Roland Rat, Lionel Richie, Joe Fagin and Paul McCartney.

FRI 20:00 The Good Old Days (b08t16dp)
Leonard Sachs chairs the old-time music hall programme, first broadcast on 22 February 1979. With Bernard Cribbins, Barry Cryer, Robert Tear, Benjamin Luxon, Penny Lane, Larry Parker, Teddy Peiro and Patricio.

FRI 20:50 Sounds of the Seventies (b0074rk7)

The Who and The Rolling Stones

Two giants of rock go head to head in this short slice of seventies sounds. The Who say they 'Won't Get Fooled Again' and The Rolling Stones get a taste for 'Brown Sugar'.

FRI 21:00 The Summer of Love: How Hippies Changed the World (b08tb97c)
Series 1

Episode 1

The first episode looks at how ideas, music and lifestyles from Asia, Europe and the American left became entwined in California. It traces the roots of the hippies back to a 19th-century German sect of wandering naturalists called Lebensreform, who brought their freethinking ideas about nature to California after the Second World War. There, they merged with a growing interest in eastern mystical concepts of human nature imported to America by maverick British thinkers like Aleister Crowley and Aldous Huxley. Add to this mix a wonder drug called LSD, first developed by the CIA, and a wave of student activists and anti-war protesters agitating for revolution, and you have the astonishing story of how these forces came together to give birth to the Summer of Love in San Francisco, 1967.

FRI 22:00 Sgt Pepper's Musical Revolution with Howard Goodall (b08tb97f)
50 years ago this week, on 1 June, 1967, an album was released that changed music history - The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. In this film, composer Howard Goodall explores just why this album is still seen as so innovative, so revolutionary and so influential. With the help of outtakes and studio conversations between the band, never heard before outside of Abbey Road, Howard gets under the bonnet of Sgt Pepper. He takes the music apart and reassembles it, to show us how it works - and makes surprising connections with the music of the last 1,000 years to do so.

Sgt Pepper came about as a result of a watershed in The Beatles' career. In August 1966, sick of the screaming mayhem of live shows, they'd taken what was then seen as the career-ending decision to stop touring altogether. Instead, beginning that December, they immersed themselves in Abbey Road with their creative partner, producer George Martin, for an unprecedented five months. What they produced didn't need to be recreated live on stage. The Beatles took full advantage of this freedom, turning the studio from a place where a band went to capture its live sound, as quickly as possible, into an audio laboratory, a creative launch pad. As Howard shows, they and George Martin and his team constructed the album sound by sound, layer by layer - a formula that became the norm for just about every rock act who followed.

In June 1967, after what amounted to a press blackout about what they'd been up to, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released. It was a sensation, immediately becoming the soundtrack to the Summer of Love - and one of the best-selling, most critically lauded albums of all time. It confirmed that a 'pop music' album could be an art form, not just a collection of three-minute singles. It's regularly been voted one of the most important and influential records ever released.

In this film, Howard Goodall shows that it is the sheer ambition of Sgt Pepper - in its conception, composition, arrangements and innovative recording techniques - that sets it apart.

Made with unprecedented access to The Beatles' pictorial archive, this is an in-depth exploration, in sound and vision, of one of the most important and far-reaching moments in recent music history.

FRI 23:00 Arena (b08t9yvk)
American Epic

The Sessions

The machine that introduced the sounds of America to its people has been lovingly reassembled and, in the heart of Hollywood, in a perfect recreation of the atmosphere and conditions of America's first-ever recording studios, today's music superstars roll the epic on.

Elton John, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Alabama Shakes, Jack White, Nas, Ana Gabriel, Beck, Los Lobos and Steve Martin are among the artists who test their skills against the demands of the recording machine that literally made American music. There are no edits, no overdubs and no retakes, and the disc only allows for three minutes of recording time.

Despite these limitations, today's recordings for American Epic have one advantage - the freshly recorded sound is crystal clear and of an astonishing depth, transporting us vividly into the past - and the future.

FRI 01:00 Top of the Pops (b08t16dm)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

FRI 01:35 The Summer of Love: How Hippies Changed the World (b08tb97c)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]

FRI 02:35 Sgt Pepper's Musical Revolution with Howard Goodall (b08tb97f)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]

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

100 Days+ 19:00 MON (b08t0nyj)

100 Days+ 19:00 TUE (b08t0nyp)

100 Days+ 19:00 WED (b08t0nyv)

100 Days+ 19:00 THU (b08t0nz0)

Arena 22:00 SUN (b08t14wf)

Arena 00:40 THU (b08t14wf)

Arena 23:00 FRI (b08t9yvk)

Cardinal 21:00 SAT (b08bphs2)

Cardinal 21:40 SAT (b08cfgps)

Egypt's Lost Cities 20:00 SUN (b011pwms)

Egypt's Lost Cities 00:00 MON (b011pwms)

Egypt's Lost Queens 19:00 SUN (b04gnhv5)

Egyptian Journeys with Dan Cruickshank 21:30 SUN (b0078z27)

Engineering Giants 02:00 SUN (b01l9m3h)

Engineering Giants 22:00 THU (b01llr67)

Francesco's Italy: Top to Toe 22:00 MON (b007920b)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:30 MON (b04ynp6g)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:30 TUE (b04ynsfk)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:30 WED (b04ynyyh)

Horizon 21:00 THU (b0747199)

Horizon 02:40 THU (b0747199)

Inside Einstein's Mind: The Enigma of Space and Time 00:00 TUE (b06s75vs)

Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa! 21:00 WED (b0074s9v)

Later... Folk America 00:00 SUN (b00h6xmd)

Lionel Richie at the BBC 00:20 SAT (b017sw7c)

Locomotion: Dan Snow's History of Railways 23:00 WED (b01pz9m7)

Mothers, Murderers and Mistresses: Empresses of Ancient Rome 23:00 MON (b02w63n7)

Natural World 01:00 SUN (b03799xd)

Natural World 03:00 SUN (b01nhwyz)

Natural World 01:00 TUE (b00np2gk)

New Power Generation: Black Music Legends of the 1980s 23:20 SAT (b017sw79)

Parkinson: The Interviews 22:20 WED (b007448x)

Planet Oil: The Treasure That Conquered the World 23:00 THU (p02gzf9k)

Saints and Sinners: Britain's Millennium of Monasteries 19:00 SAT (b054fmzl)

Sgt Pepper's Musical Revolution with Howard Goodall 22:00 FRI (b08tb97f)

Sgt Pepper's Musical Revolution with Howard Goodall 02:35 FRI (b08tb97f)

Sounds of the Eighties 22:25 SAT (b0074sjk)

Sounds of the Eighties 22:50 SAT (b0074sk2)

Sounds of the Seventies 03:20 SAT (b08skpz3)

Sounds of the Seventies 20:50 FRI (b0074rk7)

Soup Cans & Superstars: How Pop Art Changed the World 00:00 WED (b067ftp7)

Southern Rock at the BBC 23:00 SUN (b01f1bwb)

Southern Rock at the BBC 01:40 THU (b01f1bwb)

Storm Troupers: The Fight to Forecast the Weather 23:00 TUE (b07f27j1)

Storm Troupers: The Fight to Forecast the Weather 03:00 TUE (b07f27j1)

Storyville 01:30 WED (b07176xr)

The Fairytale Castles of King Ludwig II with Dan Cruickshank 20:00 MON (b036f9vc)

The Fairytale Castles of King Ludwig II with Dan Cruickshank 01:30 MON (b036f9vc)

The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain 20:00 TUE (p01xtmv7)

The Good Old Days 20:00 FRI (b08t16dp)

The Medici: Makers of Modern Art 21:00 MON (b00fztl9)

The Medici: Makers of Modern Art 02:30 MON (b00fztl9)

The Search for Alfred the Great 20:00 SAT (b03sbp73)

The Secret History of My Family 22:00 TUE (b074cf2v)

The Secret History of My Family 02:00 TUE (b074cf2v)

The Summer of Love: How Hippies Changed the World 21:00 FRI (b08tb97c)

The Summer of Love: How Hippies Changed the World 01:35 FRI (b08tb97c)

The Wonderful World of Blood - with Michael Mosley 20:00 THU (b05nyyhf)

Timeshift 21:00 TUE (b053pzmd)

Timeshift 20:00 WED (b00nnm7k)

Timeshift 02:45 WED (b00nnm7k)

Top of the Pops 01:20 SAT (b08skpz5)

Top of the Pops 02:20 SAT (b08skpzg)

Top of the Pops 19:30 THU (b08t164k)

Top of the Pops 00:00 THU (b08t164k)

Top of the Pops 19:30 FRI (b08t16dm)

Top of the Pops 01:00 FRI (b08t16dm)

World News Today 19:00 FRI (b08t0nz5)