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.

Radio-Lists Home Now on BBC 4 Contact

Unofficial Weekly Listings for BBC 4 — supported by


SAT 19:00 Natural World (b0418x7x)

Honey Badgers: Masters of Mayhem

Record books describe the honey badger as the most fearless animal on the planet. Although barely a foot tall, they have a reputation for attacking just about anything - from venomous snakes to full-grown lions.

In South Africa, an eager scientist, a tenacious beekeeper and a patient conservationist all have a soft spot for these so called 'bad boys' of the animal kingdom, and each of them wants to discover if the honey badger's bite really is as big as its hype.

SAT 20:00 The Mekong River with Sue Perkins (b04plfkb)
Episode 1

The Mekong is Southeast Asia's greatest river, the ‘Mother of Water’ that brings life to millions of people from the paddy fields of Vietnam to the mountains of the Tibetan Plateau. In this series, Sue Perkins goes on an extraordinary journey, spanning nearly 3,000 miles, to explore lives and landscapes on the point of enormous change. Across four episodes, she travels upstream through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and China, towards the Mekong's source high in the Himalayan glacier.

Sue's epic journey begins in Vietnam, on the vast Mekong Delta, where she joins Si Hei, queen of the noodle. Starting at dawn, Si Hei and her eager new apprentice head out to sell noodle soup at the Delta's largest floating market, Cai Rang, a centre of commerce on the river that has endured for centuries. But communist Vietnam has one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia, and change is coming to millions of people who live along the river. Vietnam is the world's second largest exporter of rice, so Sue moves upstream to work with farmers Hung and Tuk in the paddy fields and find out how their lives are changing with the prospect of capitalism.

Travelling up river, Sue crosses into Cambodia and its capital Phnom Penh, which lies at the confluence of the Mekong and the Tonle Sap River. It is a place tainted by the horrific genocide carried out by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. At the S21 detention centre, Sue meets one of only two of its prisoners still alive today, Chum Mey, before visiting the infamous genocide centre, known as the Killing Fields.

To complete this first leg of her journey, Sue immerses herself in the lives of the people of Kuampang Pluk, an extraordinary village of stilted houses on Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Asia.

SAT 21:00 I Know Who You Are (b09ffrlm)
Series 2

Episode 3

Elias and Pol rush to Alicia's bedside at the news she has woken from her coma. Elias tells her that he knows that she had rung Judge Santos to inform on him, but that she can tell him she felt guilty about Charry's death. While Pol is alone with Alicia she tells him that he must get Ana away from his father. Marta Hess gets to work on finding or fabricating evidence against Santi Mur.

In Spanish with English subtitles.

SAT 22:15 I Know Who You Are (b09ffrlp)
Series 2

Episode 4

Pol takes Ana to the hideout that Juan had prepared before his arrest. Alicia, still in her hospital bed, receives a phone call. Julieta has been taken hostage and will be released only when Ana Saura has been found.

In Spanish with English subtitles.

SAT 23:35 The Vietnam War (b096k948)
Series 1

Riding the Tiger (1961-1963)

President Kennedy and his advisers wrestle with how deeply to get involved in South Vietnam. As the increasingly autocratic Diem regime faces a growing communist insurgency and widespread Buddhist protests, a grave political crisis unfolds.

SAT 00:30 Top of the Pops (b09dx3lx)
John Peel and Tommy Vance present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 22 November 1984. Featuring Nick Heyward, The Human League, Billy Ocean, Murray Head, Shakin' Stevens and Chaka Khan.

SAT 01:05 Top of the Pops (b09dx48t)
Peter Powell and Janice Long present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 29 November 1984. Featuring Nik Kershaw, The Eurythmics, Slade, Tina Turner, Kool & The Gang, Madonna, Alvin Stardust and Jim Diamond.

SAT 01:45 Natural World (b0418x7x)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

SAT 02:45 The Mekong River with Sue Perkins (b04plfkb)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


SUN 19:00 Only Connect (b09fb6kf)
Series 13

Meeples v Belgophiles

Victoria Coren Mitchell hosts the series where knowledge will only take you so far.

The Meeples and Belgophiles return for tonight's round-two game. They'll compete to draw together the connections between things which at first glance, seem utterly random. So join Victoria Coren Mitchell if you want to know what connects George Sullivan, Dried Paste, Tumble-Ready and Eve the Ants.

SUN 19:30 University Challenge (b09ffhs3)

Episode 16

It is the last of the two highest-scoring loser matches tonight when two teams get another chance to make it to the second round.

Jeremy Paxman asks the questions.

SUN 20:00 Hedd Wyn: The Lost War Poet (b0916cy4)
The story of Hedd Wyn is one of Wales's enduring tragedies. A young man with little or no education succeeds in winning The Chair, one of the main literary prizes at the National Eisteddfod, but is killed in WWI before he could claim his prize. To mark the centenary of his death, National Poet of Wales Ifor ap Glyn reassesses Wyn's life and work.

His journey takes him from Trawsfynydd, where Hedd wyn was born and raised, to Liverpool, where he was trained to fight, and onwards to France and Belgium, where he was killed in action on 31 July 1917. In 2013, Hedd Wyn's home at Yr Ysgwrn was sold by his nephew Gerald Williams to the Snowdonia National Park Authority. 88-year-old Gerald wanted to preserve Wyn's legacy for future generations.

Ifor visits Hugh Hayley, one of Britain's leading furniture conservators, to gain an insight into the remarkable woodcarvings embedded into the ancient oak of Wyn's Black Chair. In France and Belgium, Ifor retraces the poet's final weeks, days and minutes. His successful poem, aptly titled Yr Arwr (The Hero), was finished and sent from the trenches, and his florid yet absorbing letters from the front seem to paint a picture of a young man who still felt the creative urge, amidst all that went on around him.

Featuring fascinating first-hand accounts, interviews recorded during the 1960s and 1970s with family and friends, and contemporary archive material from WWI, Ifor reassesses the poet's legacy. Why does this story continue to fascinate us so? What would Hedd Wyn have achieved had he lived? Maybe these are questions that can never be fully answered, but one thing is for certain, Hedd Wyn's legacy persists.

SUN 21:00 Shark (p02n7sc6)
Episode 1

A wildlife series on the sharks of the world.

The first programme shows how sharks are the ocean's great predators, living in every ocean and hunting in every way. Blacktip sharks hunt in huge packs and herd fish into baitballs, tasselled wobbegongs are ambush hunters, Greenland sharks live under the arctic ice, and whitetip reef sharks are the masters of hunting at night. The finale shows the great white in its hunt for fur seals off the coast of South Africa.

Followed by a 'Making Of' film.

SUN 22:00 The Sky at Night (b09ffsnd)
In the Blink of an Eye

It used to be thought the universe operates on timescales of millions or even billions of years, where change happens with imperceptible slowness. But now a whole catalogue of events have been discovered that happen over much shorter times - seconds or even milliseconds. And these sudden, transient occurrences are among the most mysterious, powerful and destructive events in the universe. Observing them has raised exciting new questions about the way the universe works.

The Sky at Night explores this world of transient phenomena, hearing more about the explosive event that created the recently-detected gravitational wave, the collision of two neutron stars. Chris Lintott spends 24 hours at the SWIFT space telescope base in Leicester in an attempt to detect a gamma ray burst, the most powerful and extreme short-term event known.

Maggie Aderin-Pocock meets the team searching for the mysterious, barely understood transient phenomena called fast radio bursts. And Lucie Green reveals that some important short-term phenomena can occur much closer to home too.

Astronomy used to be about staring up at the unchanging sky, so this search for transitory objects is truly revolutionary. It's time to enter the spectacular world of astronomy that takes place... in the blink of an eye...

SUN 22:30 Horizon (b08r3xr3)

Strange Signals from Outer Space!

For decades some have suspected that there might be others out there, intelligent beings capable of communicating with us, even visiting our world. It might sound like science fiction, but today scientists from across the globe are scouring the universe for signals from extraterrestrials.

In 2006, husband and wife team Duncan Lorimer and Maura McLaughlin discovered an enigmatic signal from space, known as a fast radio burst. It was a pulse of radiation so bright, it didn't appear to be caused by any known object in the universe. Explanations ranged from colliding neutron stars to communication signals from an alien civilisation far more advanced from our own.

Scientists have been searching the cosmos for strange signals like the Lorimer Burst for more than 50 years. The film ends with scientists' latest search for extraterrestial intelligence. Horizon obtained exclusive access to film researchers at the Green Bank Telescope searching for radio signals from Tabby's Star, a star so mysterious that some scientists believe it might be surrounded by a Dyson Sphere, a vast energy collector built by advanced aliens.

SUN 23:30 I Was There: The Great War Interviews (b03y76xl)
In the early 1960s, the BBC interviewed 280 eyewitnesses of the First World War for the series, The Great War. Using never-before-seen footage from these interviews, this film illuminates the poignant human experience of the war, through the eyes of those who survived it.

SUN 00:30 War of Words: Soldier-Poets of the Somme (b04pw01r)
The 1916 Battle of the Somme remains the most famous battle of World War I, remembered for its bloodshed and its limited territorial gains. What is often overlooked, however, is the literary importance of the Somme: more writers and poets fought in it than in any other battle in history.

Narrated by Michael Sheen, this film details the experiences of the poets and writers who served in the battle. The work of Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, David Jones, Isaac Rosenberg and JRR Tolkien (who arrived at the Western Front with ambitions to be a poet) was informed and transformed by the battle. Taken together, their experiences allow us to see this dreadful historical event through multiple points of view.

The film uses animation, documentary accounts, surviving artefacts, battalion war diaries and the landscape itself to reconnect this literature to the events that inspired it.

SUN 02:00 Balletboyz - Young Men (b0834qvd)
A group of young men brought together by the indiscriminate brutality of war struggle to maintain their humanity in an unending cycle of combat and death. A potent combination of music and choreography, this film without words is an immersive emotional journey into the reality facing young men at the extremes of human experience.

These young men succumb to the terror of their situation in a myriad of ways. The ruthless, indiscriminate brutality of war takes its mental and bodily toll on these comrades, as they struggle to survive one day's destruction, only to wake to another's mortal threats.

Based on the hugely successful stage production of the same name that premiered at Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, in 2015, it is choreographed by Ivan Perez with a commissioned score by composer Keaton Henson.

SUN 03:00 Shark (p02n7sc6)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


MON 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (b09ffp17)
Series 1


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

MON 19:30 A King's Speech - Martin Luther King on Tyneside (b045gnk1)
Fifty years ago Martin Luther King came to Tyneside to be honoured for his civil rights campaigning. Sir Lenny Henry tells the story of a unique visit - and its impact on the man and the people he met.

MON 20:00 Art of Scandinavia (b075dxdv)
Democratic by Design

In the final instalment of Andrew Graham-Dixon's windswept journey through the art of the Norselands, we arrive in Sweden - home of Ikea and a tradition of brilliant furniture design stretching back to the early years of the 20th century. Sweden has made its modern democratic mission one of comfort and civilised living for the masses - but has it got there?

MON 21:00 Storyville (b09fz33h)
Toffs, Queers and Traitors: The Extraordinary Life of Guy Burgess

It was a scandal that shook the British establishment to its roots. In June 1951, the government was forced to admit that two Foreign Office diplomats had disappeared. One of them, Donald Maclean, had slipped through their fingers three days before he was due to be questioned for passing secrets to the Russians. The other, Guy Burgess, was a total surprise. He was a charming, clever Etonian, with powerful friends everywhere. And lovers too - at a time when homosexuality was illegal, Burgess made no secret of his sexual tastes. He turned out to be the most flamboyant of a ring of privileged Cambridge students who had secretly joined the Communists in the 1930s, disgusted by their own government's policy of appeasing Hitler.

With the help of newly declassified documents, George Carey's film shows how the most celebrated spy ring of the 20th century grew out of the class system, sexual hypocrisy and the sheer incompetence of some people who then ran Britain.

MON 22:30 Kim Philby - His Most Intimate Betrayal (b0406w88)
Episode 1

In programme one of this two-part special, best-selling author Ben Macintyre explores the truth behind the most famous double agent in modern history - Harold Kim Philby.

He argues that Philby has become a caricature of the gentleman spy, obscuring the fact that Philby was a ruthless killer, who betrayed everyone around him.

The key to Philby's success and his survival, Macintyre explains, lay in his friendship with a man that history has largely forgotten - Nicholas Elliott. Elliott was Philby's colleague in MI6 who befriended him, defended him, and unwittingly supplied him with secrets until he discovered the truth.

This is the remarkable tale of two friends and two spies, each working on opposite sides in the Cold War.

MON 23:30 Kim Philby - His Most Intimate Betrayal (b0406y95)
Episode 2

In the second episode of this two-part special, the net begins to close on Philby.

Summoned back to London from Washington, he faces interrogation, as suspicion grows that he is a Soviet agent, working within MI6. His old friend and colleague in MI6, Nicholas Elliott, defends his friend's reputation, insisting that he is innocent.

For the next 12 years Philby, with Elliott's unwitting help, manages to charm and bluff his way out of every accusation. Then, in January 1963, Philby's luck runs out as the two friends meet for the final time and Elliott demands the truth.

This is the remarkable tale of two friends and two spies, each working on opposite sides in the Cold War.

MON 00:30 Francesco's Venice (b0078sl0)

Francesco da Mosto tells the fantastic story of the birth of the most beautiful city in the world, Venice. Of how a city of palaces, of gold and jewels, of art and unrivalled treasures arose out of the swamp of a malaria-ridden lagoon.

Of how one city came to enjoy all the glory of a royal capital yet did away with kings and queens; of how a tomb violently robbed would make an entire people rich; and of how one man - tortured and blinded by his enemies - would lead Venice to a revenge so terrible it would go down in history as one of the worst crimes ever.

Da Mosto reveals the stunning interiors of the Doge's Palace, the Basilica of St Mark, the Ca da Mosto, the Ca D'Oro and the first low-level aerial shots of the city in years. As a Venetian by birth whose family has lived there for over a thousand years, Da Mosto also reveals secret Venice - beset by violence and political intrigue and yet a place which has become the most romantic destination on earth.

MON 01:30 The Search for Life: The Drake Equation (b00wltbk)
For many years our place in the universe was the subject of theologians and philosophers, not scientists, but in 1960 one man changed all that.

Dr Frank Drake was one of the leading lights in the new science of radio astronomy when he did something that was not only revolutionary, but could have cost him his career. Working at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Greenback in Virginia, he pointed one of their new 25-metre radio telescopes at a star called Tau Ceti twelve light years from earth, hoping for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.

Although project Ozma resulted in silence, it did result in one of the most seminal equations in the history of science - the Drake Equation - which examined seven key elements necessary for extraterrestrial intelligence to exist, from the formation of stars to the likely length a given intelligent civilisation may survive. When Frank and his colleagues entered the figures, the equation suggested there were a staggering 50,000 civilisations capable of communicating across the galaxy.

However, in the 50 years of listening that has followed, not one single bleep has been heard from extraterrestrials. So were Drake and his followers wrong and is there no life form out there capable of communicating? Drake's own calculations suggest that we would have to scan the entire radio spectrum of ten million stars to be sure of contact.

The answers to those questions suggest that, far from being a one-off, life may not only be common in the universe but once started will lead inevitably towards intelligent life.

To find out about the equation's influence, Dallas Campbell goes on a worldwide journey to meet the scientists who have dedicated their lives to focusing on its different aspects.

MON 02:30 Art of Scandinavia (b075dxdv)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


TUE 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (b09ffp1j)
Series 1


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

TUE 19:30 Great Continental Railway Journeys (b08gcz1d)
Series 4 - Reversions

Sofia to Istanbul - Part 1

Bradshaw's 1913 Continental Railway Guide in hand, Michael Portillo travels through the Balkans, following the route of the historic Orient Express. His journey begins in Sofia, where he discovers the then newly independent orthodox Christian nation, which had broken free of the decaying Ottoman Empire and found an ally in a British prime minister. In the ancient city of Plovdiv, Michael discovers a Roman amphitheatre built in the 2nd century AD and still in use today. Further east in the beautiful region of Rumelia, Michael picks roses with the flower girls to produce precious rose oil in a 100-year-old distillery.

TUE 20:00 Border Country: The Story of Britain's Lost Middleland (b0404r3t)
Episode 1

For historian and MP Rory Stewart, the building of Hadrian's Wall was the single most important event in Britain's history. Meeting experts and local people, and drawing on memories from his life in Iraq and Afghanistan, he explores the impact of Rome's occupation and departure, and tells the story of how the powerful new Kingdom of Northumbria was born in Britain's lost Middleland.

TUE 21:00 Operation Grand Canyon with Dan Snow (p01m5pjg)
Episode 1

Dan Snow and team take on the rapids of the Grand Canyon in antique wooden boats to rediscover one of the wild west's great adventures of discovery.

TUE 22:00 Timeshift (b08mp2l8)
Series 17

Dial "B" for Britain: The Story of the Landline

Timeshift tells the story of how Britain's phone network was built. Incredibly, there was once a time when phones weren't pocket-sized wireless devices but bulky objects wired into our homes and workplaces. Over the course of 100 years, engineers rolled out a communications network that joined up Britain - a web of more than 70 million miles of wire. Telephones were agents of commercial and social change, connecting businesses and creating new jobs for Victorian women. Wires changed the appearance of urban skylines and the public phone box became a ubiquitous sight.

Yet despite ongoing technical innovation, the phone service often struggled to meet demand. When the mobile phone arrived, it appeared to herald the demise of the landline. Yet ironically, now we're more connected than ever, it's not the telephone that's keeping us on the landline.

In 1877, Scottish-born inventor Alexander Graham Bell returned to Britain from America to showcase a revolutionary new electric device - the telephone. After impressing no less than Queen Victoria, Bell helped drive uptake of the telephone in Britain, tapping into the growth of a growing commercial phenomenon - the office. Soon, whole networks of telephone lines were being built, connected together by exchange switchboards. Female switchboard operators were preferred by telephone companies as they were cheaper and perceived as more polite, opening up new employment opportunities for women in late Victorian Britain.

At first only the wealthiest people had phones in their homes, but the public call box soon emerged, although when the GPO - the General Post Office - took over the private networks, it initially struggled to find an acceptable design for its box and met some resistance to its now iconic bright red colour.

The introduction of direct dial telephones and automatic exchanges, as well as services like the 999 emergency number and the speaking clock, helped drive private uptake of phones in the 1930s. However, with the onset of World War Two, military concerns took priority. Gene Toms, a switchboard operator, recalls her time during the war, trying to work while wearing a helmet during air raids, dealing with self-important officers and doing her best to assist servicemen phoning home.

A renewed drive to restore, modernise and expand the network after the war kept a legion of engineers busy. Former GPO engineers Jim
Coombe, Bryan Eagan and Dez Flahey share their memories of dubious safety practices and difficult customers. Despite the expansion, the network still had limited capacity relative to demand, and one cheaper solution was the "party line", shared with another household, although it created problems of privacy.

The introduction of STD - subscriber trunk dialling - in the late 1950s enabled callers to make long distance calls without the help of an operator. But STD, like the network itself, was taking a long time to roll out; and despite the introduction of stylish coloured telephones and the Trimphone in the 1960s to tempt customers, the service acquired a bad reputation among many users. Even an episode of the children's series Trumpton reflected the general frustration. Archive footage shows the then postmaster general, Anthony Wedgwood Benn, being grilled by an interviewer about the shortcomings of the phone service.

But there was an exciting new symbol of the future under construction - the Post Office Tower, part of a network of towers designed to expand the capacity of the network using a wireless, microwave system. By the 1970s telephone supply was catching up with demand. People were increasingly moving home around the country, relocating for work, and young families expected to have a phone as a standard mod con. An advertising campaign featuring a talking cartoon bird - Buzby - encouraged customers to make more calls. What was once a service had become a thriving business, and British Telecommunications was privatised in 1984.

The arrival of the mobile phone soon threatened to supersede the landline - but the internet, a technology that the founding fathers of telephony could never have dreamed of, has given the landline a new lease of life.

TUE 23:00 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 00:00 Francesco's Venice (b0078sny)

Documentary series telling the story of the birth of Venice, one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world, presented by Francesco da Mosto. The golden age of art and architecture arrived and it was the moment the Venice we know today emerged - when wooden houses transformed into stone and marble palaces covered in gold and jewel-encrusted palaces lined the Grand Canal.

The fishermen of early Venice were changing, turning into princely merchants who traded throughout the east and west to become some of the richest patrons of art. Fine paintings and sculpture came to adorn every home as Venetians vied to impress.

This was the age of Venice producing the world's most famous artists and most heroic buildings as Titian and Palladio transformed the look and reputation of the city.

Meanwhile, a calamity hovered over the city, threatening to engulf it and ultimately take Venice to the very brink of disaster - the plague. No one, rich or poor would escape and the city would be left in ruins.

TUE 01:00 Border Country: The Story of Britain's Lost Middleland (b0404r3t)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

TUE 02:00 Operation Grand Canyon with Dan Snow (p01m5pjg)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]

TUE 03:00 Timeshift (b08mp2l8)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]


WED 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (b09ffp1q)
Series 1


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

WED 19:30 Great Continental Railway Journeys (b08gd56c)
Series 4 - Reversions

Sofia to Istanbul - Part 2

Michael Portillo arrives in Istanbul, takes a boat trip on the Bosphorus, samples Turkish delight, and crosses from Europe to Asia on the Marmaray metro line which joins the two continents.

WED 20:00 Gods and Monsters: Homer's Odyssey (b00vtwnz)
Virginia Woolf said that Homer's epic poem the Odyssey was 'alive to every tremor and gleam of existence'. Following the magical and strange adventures of warrior king Odysseus, inventor of the idea of the Trojan horse, the poem can claim to be the greatest story ever told. Now British poet Simon Armitage goes on his own Greek adventure, following in the footsteps of one of his own personal heroes. Yet Simon ponders the question of whether he even likes the guy.

WED 21:00 Venus Uncovered: Ancient Goddess of Love (b09g0k3j)
In 1914, the suffragette Mary Richardson attacked the Rokeby Venus at the National Gallery in London. But why did this painting fire such outrage? Professor Bettany Hughes embarks on a voyage of discovery to reveal the truth behind the Venus depicted in the painting, proving that this mythological figure is so much more than just an excuse for sensual nudity and chocolate-box romance. Venus Uncovered is the remarkable story of one of antiquity's most potent forces, and more than that. Hers is the story of human desire, and how desire transforms who we are and how we behave.

Charting Venus's origins in powerful ancient deities, Bettany demonstrates that Venus is far more complex than first meets the eye. Beginning in Cyprus, the goddess's mythical birthplace, she explores the mysterious and obscure ways this ancient goddess was imagined and looks into Venus's own love life to see that, even for her, tangling with another was often bittersweet.

Through ancient art, evocative myth, exciting archaeological revelations and philosophical explorations Bettany reveals how this immortal goddess endures through to the 21st century, and what her story and journey through time reveals about what matters to us as humans. Uncovering Venus shows us why we still need to care about this primordial companion on the human journey - and how we trivialise her power at our peril.

WED 22:00 Detectorists (b09ffxyn)
Series 3

Episode 2

Just as they're losing their farm, Lance and Andy start finding good stuff. But old enemies are sniffing around. Home lives are chaotic as usual and Lance is persuaded to try hypnotherapy for an awkward affliction. With mixed results.

WED 22:30 The League of Gentlemen (p008wlv9)
Series 1

The Road to Royston Vasey

Black comedy about small-town life. We meet Pop, the godfather of sweets and crisps, and Hilary Briss, a butcher with something sinister in his sausages.

WED 23:00 Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers: Andrew Marr's Paperback Heroes (p040pw15)

What is it about stories of magic, epic adventure, and imaginary worlds that has turned fantasy fiction into one of the world's most popular forms of storytelling, regularly filling the bestseller lists and entrancing adults and children alike?

In the second episode of his series that deconstructs the books we (really) read, Andrew Marr argues that these stories are filled with big ideas. Yes, there may be wizards with pointy hats as well as the odd dragon, but what fantasy novels are really good at is allowing us to see our own world in a surprising way, albeit through a twisted gothic filter.

The current leading exponent of fantasy fiction is a bearded Texan, George RR Martin, whose A Game of Thrones began a bookshelf-buckling series of novels, and spawned a vast TV empire. But Andrew reminds us that this is a genre whose origins are British, and at its heart is still a quest to reconnect readers with the ancient ideas and folk beliefs of the world before the Enlightenment.

Andrew breaks down fantasy books into a set of conventions that govern the modern genre - he looks at the intricacy with which imaginary worlds are built (as seen in George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series), the use of portals that are able to bridge this world and another (most famously, the wardrobe in CS Lewis's Narnia books), as well the concept of 'thinning' - these novels are typically set in a world in decline. In fantasy fiction, winter is always coming.

To help him understand these books, Andrew meets bestselling fantasy writers and the programme includes interviews with Neil Gaiman, Alan Garner and Frances Hardinge.

As well as profiling key figures such as CS Lewis and Sir Terry Pratchett, Andrew considers the spell that medieval Oxford has cast on generations of authors from Lewis Carroll to Philip Pullman. And he gets to grips with the legacy of JRR Tolkien, a figure so important that his influence pops up everywhere 'like Mount Fuji in Japanese prints', according to Pratchett. Tolkien's predominance would not go unchallenged, and Andrew shows how writers like Ursula K Le Guin confronted Tolkien's rather European notions of what an imaginary world should be.

WED 00:00 Francesco's Venice (b0078ssj)

Francesco da Mosto continues his story of Venice with its most outrageous period of partying and licentiousness. This is the age of Casanova, the age of the courtesan - when Venice was the red-light district of Europe, attracting rich and hopeful dandies from across the continent.

Ostensibly the young men would come in search of art - and there was plenty for them, with Vivaldi, Canaletto and Canova at work in the city creating art on a scale never before seen. These were artists who responded directly to their public - Vivaldi churning out score after score as tourist-patrons demanded them, Canaletto painting the most upmarket postcards of the age for the growing number of rich visitors to the city, and Canova taking the human figure in marble to a level of perfection not seen since the time of Michelangelo.

Yet storm clouds were gathering and for the Venetians who saw them coming it could only seem as though the wrath of God was about to descend upon the city. The city had grown decadent and careless of its security. Guaranteed a safe haven for a thousand years by the hidden sandbanks of the lagoon, now new technology gave the enemies of Venice long-distance guns that could hit the city from beyond the shallows.

A new monster was rising in Europe - Napoleon Bonaparte, who saw Venice as rich pickings with which to fund his revolution. He would bring disaster to the city beyond any other it had known in its thousand-year history.

WED 01:00 Gods and Monsters: Homer's Odyssey (b00vtwnz)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

WED 02:00 The Genius of Turner: Painting the Industrial Revolution (b01s50kn)
A film that looks at the genius of JMW Turner in a new light. There is more to Turner than his sublime landscapes - he also painted machines, science, technology and industry. Turner's life spans the Industrial Revolution, he witnessed it as it unfolded, and he painted it. In the process he created a whole new kind of art. The programme examines nine key Turner paintings and shows how we should rethink them in the light of the scientific and Industrial Revolution. Includes interviews with historian Simon Schama and artist Tracey Emin.

WED 03:00 Venus Uncovered: Ancient Goddess of Love (b09g0k3j)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


THU 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (b09ffp1w)
Series 1


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

THU 19:30 The Sky at Night (b09ffsnd)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Sunday]

THU 20:00 SAS: Rogue Warriors (b08f00s0)
Series 1

Episode 1

The Special Air Service is the world's most famous combat unit, with the motto Who Dares Wins, but the story of how it came into existence has been, until now, a closely guarded secret.

For the first time, the SAS has agreed to open up its archive and allow Ben Macintyre to reveal the true story of their formation during the darkest days of World War Two.

With unprecedented access to the SAS secret files, unseen footage and exclusive interviews with its founder members, this series tells the remarkable story behind an extraordinary fighting force.

Episode one tells the story of the founding of the SAS in the heat of the north African desert in 1941. David Archibald Stirling is an aristocratic dreamer who had once held ambitions to be an artist or perhaps a famous mountaineer but now, with the war in the desert reaching its most desperate stage, Stirling has a vision for a new kind of war: attacking the enemy where they least expect it - from behind their own lines. But Stirling is up against the many in British High Command who do not want to see him succeed with his radical new way of warfare. Against the odds, Stirling wins through and helps the Allies towards victory in the desert. The cost is high. In combat, Stirling loses lieutenant Jock Lewes, his right-hand man. With his brilliant training methods and invention of a new weapon, Lewes has proved vital to making Stirling's dream of a crack fighting force a reality. Stirling must soldier on alone.

THU 21:00 Ovid: The Poet and the Emperor (b09g0l2q)
Michael Wood explores the life, works and influence of one of the world's greatest storytellers who died 2,000 years ago. When an Elizabethan literary critic said that the witty soul of Ovid lived on in 'honey tongued Shakespeare', they were just stating the obvious. Ovid, everyone knew, was simply the most clever, sexy and funny poet in the western tradition. His Metamorphoses, it has often been said, is the most influential secular book in European literature.

Unique among ancient poets, Ovid left us an autobiography, full of riveting intimacy, as well as ironical and slippery self-justification. Using Ovid's own words, brought to life by one of Britain's leading actors, Simon Russell Beale, the film tells the story of the poet's fame, and his fateful falling out with the most powerful man in the world, the Roman emperor Augustus.

Born in Sulmona in central Italy, Ovid moved to Rome to study law but, seduced by 'the muse of poetry', he soon abandoned that career path. Part of Rome's postwar, young generation, Ovid rose to spectacular fame with his poems about sex - Love Affairs (Amores) and The Art of Love (Ars Amatoria) - an amoral guide to seduction and adultery. Today some of his poems are seen as problematic and even carry a health warning when studied in US universities. But he is difficult to pigeonhole as he also took the female side in a powerful series of fictional letters by women heroes.

By his twenties he was a literary superstar and a thorn in the emperor's side, his poetry of sex and seduction falling foul of the emperor's new puritanism, which had even outlawed adultery. In the midst of a sensational sex scandal involving his daughter, the Emperor Augustus banished Ovid to the farthest edge of the empire - the wilds of the Black Sea coast and the marshes of the Danube delta. It's a tale full of sex, drama and scandal, but his banishment is still a mystery- as he put it, 'my downfall was all because of a poem - and a mistake- and on the latter my lips are sealed forever'.

Exile in Romania was unbelievably harsh and dangerous, but worse for Ovid was a sense of separation and loss. His poetry from the Black Sea has inspired the European literature of exile for millennia, from Dante and Petrarch to Mandelstam and Seamus Heaney. The poems, the mystery, and Ovid's immense legacy in world literature and art, are discussed with leading experts, who trace his influence on, among others, Titian, Turner and even Bob Dylan, whose Modern Times album quarries Ovid's exile poetry. His greatest and most influential work Metamorphoses, a compendium of the great tales of Greek myth, became one of the core texts of Western culture. Artistic director of the RSC, Greg Doran looks at Ovid's influence on Shakespeare and the myths in the Metamorphoses that pervade our art, music, and literature. Professor Alessandro Schiesaro discusses Ovid and the postmodern imagination; Professor Roy Gibson untangles his relations with Augustus; while Dr Jennifer Ingleheart, author of a new study on Roman sexual politics, looks at Ovid's ambition, psychology and influence. Lisa Dwan -the leading interpreter of the drama of Samuel Beckett, another exile and Ovid fan, explores the poet's use of the female voice and his poetry of exile, which has influenced western writers and artists for the last two millennia.

Following in Ovid's footsteps, Michael Wood travels from the poet's birthplace in the beautiful town of Sulmona, to the bright lights of the capital, Rome. Here we visit the Houses of Augustus and Livia, recently opened after 25 years of excavation and conservation. Inside the emperor's private rooms glow with the colour of their newly restored frescoes. Wood then follows Ovid into exile in Constanta in today's Romania, and on to the Danube delta, where dramatic footage shows the Danube and the Black Sea frozen over in winter just as Ovid described in his letters.

Throughout the film Ovid's own words reveal an engaging personality: a voice of startling modernity. 'He is funny, irreverent, focused on pleasure and obsessed with sex' says Prof Roy Gibson. But, says Greg Doran, he is also a poet of cruelty and violence, which especially fascinated Shakespeare. Ovid raises very modern questions about the fluidity of identity and gender, and the mutability of nature. He also explores the relationship between writers and power and the experience of exile, themes especially relevant in our time when, as Lisa Dwan observes, exile has become part of the human condition. But above all, says Michael Wood, Ovid is the Poet of Love, and 2,000 years after his death he is back in focus as one of the world's greatest poets: ironical, profound, and relevant.

THU 22:00 Ovid from the RSC: The World's Greatest Storyteller (b09g0l2s)
BBC Four partners with the Royal Shakespeare Company to introduce highlights from the Roman poet Ovid's Metamorphoses. Shakespeare's best lines reference these shape-shifting characters, but do today's audiences know why Niobe was "all tears", or of Phaethon and his "unruly jades"?

Featuring spellbinding contributions from Britain's leading actors including Fiona Shaw and Simon Russell Beale, this film delivers a series of dramatic monologues, interspersed with behind the scenes discussions chaired by RSC artistic director Gregory Doran on the significance of the original texts and their continuing influence on art and literature. By letting Ovid's original tales speak for themselves, we see exactly why the Roman poet is still regarded as one of the world's greatest storytellers, 2,000 years after his death.

THU 23:00 Handmade in Hull (b09g0l2v)
A visually stunning tribute to Hull's craft traditions, produced in collaboration with artist Linda Brothwell as part of Hull City of Culture 2017. The film profiles the artisans whose skills put Hull on the map in Britain's industrial heyday, from the compass maker whose precision-crafted instruments helped steer Hull's fishing fleet to boat builders and woodcarvers, all reflecting on the joys of their craft and its role in the city's past. A heartfelt and evocative portrait of Hull's great industrial heritage and the people who helped create it.

THU 23:45 Francesco's Venice (b0078sx5)

Final episode of a documentary series telling the story of Venice, presented by Francesco da Mosto.

Venice may be sinking, it may even be in peril, but da Mosto is in no mood to throw in the towel. The fate of Venice still hangs in the balance, and he puts at least some of the blame at the door of the British. From the moment that Byron put Venice on the tourist map, the city has been caught up in a trail of events that has made life harder and harder for the Venetians.

But this episode is also Francesco's personal story, and he has pledged his belief in the future of Venice by continuing to live and bring up his children there, even though his life has been affected by the dangers the city faces. In the great flood of 1966 that threatened to wash the city away, he was a terrified child of five who watched the waters invade his home and wondered if life could ever continue. Francesco's father, Count da Mosto, reminisces about the 1966 floods with chilling immediacy, and Francesco swims the Grand Canal.

It has not just been the tourists or the rising waters of the lagoon that have threatened the city. Outrageous ideas to bring the city into the modern age have included bridges linking the city with mainland Italy, flattening old churches and even converting the Grand Canal into an eight-lane motorway.

THU 00:45 SAS: Rogue Warriors (b08f00s0)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

THU 01:45 Ovid: The Poet and the Emperor (b09g0l2q)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]

THU 02:45 Ovid from the RSC: The World's Greatest Storyteller (b09g0l2s)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]


FRI 19:00 World News Today (b09ffp21)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

FRI 19:30 The Good Old Days (b09g38n7)
Leonard Sachs presents the old-time music hall programme, first broadcast on 2 July 1980. Featuring Moira Anderson, Jack Douglas, Robert White, Audrey Jeans, Jenny Till, Omar Pasha, Marc Metral and members of the Players' Theatre, London.

FRI 20:30 Top of the Pops (b09g38n9)
Simon Bates and Janice Long present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 20 December 1984. Featuring Roy Wood, Paul McCartney & The Frog Chorus, Bronski Beat, The Council Collective, Foreigner, Thompson Twins and Band Aid.

FRI 21:00 Top of the Pops (b01pmbdy)
1978 - Big Hits

A pick 'n' mix of Top of the Pops classics from 1978, when in-yer-face punk and new wave rebellion co-existed with MOR suburban pop, disco fever, soul balladry, reggae and prog rock, and when two mega-successful movie soundtracks in the shape of Grease and Saturday Night Fever squared up on the dancefloor. Featuring shouty Sham 69, the cool rebellion of Ian Dury, Elvis Costello and Blondie, the media-savvy clowning of The Boomtown Rats, Kate Bush's debut with Wuthering Heights, alongside Brotherhood of Man's perky Figaro, Dan Hill's sentimental Sometimes When We Touch and the high camp of Boney M's Rasputin. Bob Marley shares chart space with 10cc's Dreadlock Holiday, and ELO and Manfred Mann's Earth Band keep on rockin'.

FRI 22:00 Gregory Porter's Popular Voices (p05d3p0d)
Series 1


Gregory Porter explores 100 years of voices on the brink, those that go one note higher, turn it up to eleven and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.

Starting with the world's first pop star, the legendary Italian tenor Enrico Caruso, Gregory explores the sound and work of his favourite vocal showstoppers - the genius of Ella Fitzgerald, the soul of Mahalia Jackson, the power and stagecraft of Freddie Mercury, the artistry and extravagance of Prince, and the modern melisma of Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. With Dave Grohl, Beck, Adam Lambert, Wendy & Lisa.

FRI 23:00 Popular Voices at the BBC (b09ffzkd)
Series 1


This compilation is a companion piece to the Showstoppers episode of Gregory Porter's Popular Voices, celebrating bravura singers who bring the house down with their showstopping vocal delivery and performances. We take a look back through the archives as some of the biggest names in popular music history have stopped by the BBC studios to dazzle us with their jaw-dropping brilliance.

From Mahalia Jackson's breathtaking gospel delivery to Ella Fitzgerald's rapid-fire scat; Tom Jones and Dusty Springfield's 60s big balladry to the soul divas of the 80s and beyond; alongside superb vocal eccentrics like Kate Bush and Bjork; and the staggering vocal range of Jeff Buckley, captured in his only BBC performance on The Late Show in 1994 - these performances all have the wow factor in common.

Featuring clips from various BBC programmes including How It is, Dusty, Top of the Pops, It's Lulu and Wogan, these are our showstoppers.

FRI 00:00 Live at Eden (p05ff5nn)
Series 1

Van Morrison

Van Morrison and his band at Cornwall's Eden Project July 2017, performing fourteen songs including well-known hits Here Comes the Night, Moondance and Brown Eyed Girl. The Belfast-born all-time music legend Sir Van Morrison played against the world-famous Eden biomes to a sold-out arena. Van's performance was a highlight of the sixteenth year of the Eden Sessions. Sir Van Morrison was knighted in 2016 for services to music and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has won six Grammys, a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution and the Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement.

FRI 00:55 Top of the Pops (b09g38n9)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 today]

FRI 01:30 Top of the Pops (b01pmbdy)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]

FRI 02:30 Gregory Porter's Popular Voices (p05d3p0d)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]

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

A King's Speech - Martin Luther King on Tyneside 19:30 MON (b045gnk1)

Art of Scandinavia 20:00 MON (b075dxdv)

Art of Scandinavia 02:30 MON (b075dxdv)

Balletboyz - Young Men 02:00 SUN (b0834qvd)

Beyond 100 Days 19:00 MON (b09ffp17)

Beyond 100 Days 19:00 TUE (b09ffp1j)

Beyond 100 Days 19:00 WED (b09ffp1q)

Beyond 100 Days 19:00 THU (b09ffp1w)

Border Country: The Story of Britain's Lost Middleland 20:00 TUE (b0404r3t)

Border Country: The Story of Britain's Lost Middleland 01:00 TUE (b0404r3t)

Detectorists 22:00 WED (b09ffxyn)

Francesco's Venice 00:30 MON (b0078sl0)

Francesco's Venice 00:00 TUE (b0078sny)

Francesco's Venice 00:00 WED (b0078ssj)

Francesco's Venice 23:45 THU (b0078sx5)

Gods and Monsters: Homer's Odyssey 20:00 WED (b00vtwnz)

Gods and Monsters: Homer's Odyssey 01:00 WED (b00vtwnz)

Great Continental Railway Journeys 19:30 TUE (b08gcz1d)

Great Continental Railway Journeys 19:30 WED (b08gd56c)

Gregory Porter's Popular Voices 22:00 FRI (p05d3p0d)

Gregory Porter's Popular Voices 02:30 FRI (p05d3p0d)

Handmade in Hull 23:00 THU (b09g0l2v)

Hedd Wyn: The Lost War Poet 20:00 SUN (b0916cy4)

Horizon 22:30 SUN (b08r3xr3)

I Know Who You Are 21:00 SAT (b09ffrlm)

I Know Who You Are 22:15 SAT (b09ffrlp)

I Was There: The Great War Interviews 23:30 SUN (b03y76xl)

Kim Philby - His Most Intimate Betrayal 22:30 MON (b0406w88)

Kim Philby - His Most Intimate Betrayal 23:30 MON (b0406y95)

Live at Eden 00:00 FRI (p05ff5nn)

Maps: Power, Plunder and Possession 23:00 TUE (b00s2wvh)

Natural World 19:00 SAT (b0418x7x)

Natural World 01:45 SAT (b0418x7x)

Only Connect 19:00 SUN (b09fb6kf)

Operation Grand Canyon with Dan Snow 21:00 TUE (p01m5pjg)

Operation Grand Canyon with Dan Snow 02:00 TUE (p01m5pjg)

Ovid from the RSC: The World's Greatest Storyteller 22:00 THU (b09g0l2s)

Ovid from the RSC: The World's Greatest Storyteller 02:45 THU (b09g0l2s)

Ovid: The Poet and the Emperor 21:00 THU (b09g0l2q)

Ovid: The Poet and the Emperor 01:45 THU (b09g0l2q)

Popular Voices at the BBC 23:00 FRI (b09ffzkd)

SAS: Rogue Warriors 20:00 THU (b08f00s0)

SAS: Rogue Warriors 00:45 THU (b08f00s0)

Shark 21:00 SUN (p02n7sc6)

Shark 03:00 SUN (p02n7sc6)

Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers: Andrew Marr's Paperback Heroes 23:00 WED (p040pw15)

Storyville 21:00 MON (b09fz33h)

The Genius of Turner: Painting the Industrial Revolution 02:00 WED (b01s50kn)

The Good Old Days 19:30 FRI (b09g38n7)

The League of Gentlemen 22:30 WED (p008wlv9)

The Mekong River with Sue Perkins 20:00 SAT (b04plfkb)

The Mekong River with Sue Perkins 02:45 SAT (b04plfkb)

The Search for Life: The Drake Equation 01:30 MON (b00wltbk)

The Sky at Night 22:00 SUN (b09ffsnd)

The Sky at Night 19:30 THU (b09ffsnd)

The Vietnam War 23:35 SAT (b096k948)

Timeshift 22:00 TUE (b08mp2l8)

Timeshift 03:00 TUE (b08mp2l8)

Top of the Pops 00:30 SAT (b09dx3lx)

Top of the Pops 01:05 SAT (b09dx48t)

Top of the Pops 20:30 FRI (b09g38n9)

Top of the Pops 21:00 FRI (b01pmbdy)

Top of the Pops 00:55 FRI (b09g38n9)

Top of the Pops 01:30 FRI (b01pmbdy)

University Challenge 19:30 SUN (b09ffhs3)

Venus Uncovered: Ancient Goddess of Love 21:00 WED (b09g0k3j)

Venus Uncovered: Ancient Goddess of Love 03:00 WED (b09g0k3j)

War of Words: Soldier-Poets of the Somme 00:30 SUN (b04pw01r)

World News Today 19:00 FRI (b09ffp21)