Katty Kay in Washington and Christian Fraser in London report on the events that are shaping the world.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
THURSDAY 16 NOVEMBER 2017
THU 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (b09ffp1w)
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)
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
FRIDAY 17 NOVEMBER 2017
FRI 19:00 World News Today (b09ffp21)
LIST OF THIS WEEK'S PROGRAMMES
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)
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)
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)
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)