Archaeologist Ben Robinson flies over Wiltshire to uncover new discoveries in the Stone Age landscape. Sites found from the air have led to exciting new evidence about Stonehenge. The discoveries help to explain why the monument is where it is, and reveal how long ago it was occupied by people.
Series exploring strange animal behaviour looks at how a surprising number of creatures take substances for pleasure or to cure ailments. Discover starlings that use aromatherapy, chimps that administer their own medicine, an odd amphibian that can heal itself, bee bouncers that stop drunk and disorderly bees returning to the hive, monkeys whose liking for happy hour tells us about our own drinking habits, lemurs that ingest mind-altering millipedes, hedgehogs that indulge in strange rituals, cats that get high on plants and reindeer whose fondness for magic mushrooms may have spawned the greatest legend of them all.
In the second part of a major three-part drama-documentary series, Anita Dobson stars as Elizabeth I, and Dan Snow takes to the sea to tell the story of how England came within a whisker of disaster in summer 1588. Using newly discovered documents, Dan relives the fierce battles at sea and we go behind the scenes in the royal court of Elizabeth as the Spanish fleet prepares for full-on invasion.
Andrew Marr revisits Britain in 1945 and finds the country victorious, but badly beaten up and nearly bankrupt. With astonishing archive and telling anecdote, he tells the story of Britain's extraordinary struggle for national and cultural survival in the post-war world.
As the newly elected Labour government sets out to build 'New Jerusalem', Britain is forced to hold out the begging bowl in Washington. Back in Britain, Ealing Studios attempts to hold back the tide of Hollywood with a series of very British comedies.
There is a spirit of hope and optimism in the air, but the shortage of consumer goods and the British people's growing impatience with austerity threaten to take the country from bankruptcy to self-destruction.
A stirring story of Britain's battle against the odds to retain its world power status.
Michael Palin presents a profile of the television career of David Attenborough, from controller of BBC Two to his wildlife programmes such as Life on Earth and The Blue Planet.
The first ever episode of the landmark natural history series Life on Earth. David Attenborough explores the wildlife and landscape that inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.
Pop moments from the BBC's sixties archive. Britain's inoffensive pop conquerors of America, who anticipated the sound that the Monkees would later call their own, perform Something Is Happening on the Wednesday Show in 1968. Peter Noone leads the band on the song that made number six in the Swiss charts.
In the second episode, Joann explores how the Pyramid Age ended in catastrophe. In one of Saqqara's last pyramid complexes, Joann uncovers evidence of famine as the young Egyptian state suffered a worsening climate and political upheaval. With depleted coffers, Egypt was plunged into the dark ages and civil war. With the land fractured into many small states, Joann tells the story of small-town leaders rising through the ranks.
In a little-known tomb in Thebes, Joann uncovers stories of warriors who fought in the bloody battle which eventually would mark the reunification of Egypt. This burial represents the world's first recorded war cemetery and the rise of Thebes. The country was reborn, resuming grand building projects for Egypt's mighty kings and bejewelled queens.
Joann reveals how settlers known as the Hyksos tried to infiltrate the government and take the throne. But their rule was short-lived as they were ousted by southern rulers who laid the groundwork for Egypt's largest empire.
Provocative two-part documentary in which Dan Snow blows the lid on the traditional Anglo-centric view of history and reveals how the Irish saved Britain from cultural oblivion during the Dark Ages.
He follows in the footsteps of Ireland's earliest missionaries as they venture through treacherous barbarian territory to bring literacy and technology to the future nations of Scotland and England.
THURSDAY 17 JANUARY 2019
THU 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (m00023vw)
The latest news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.
THU 19:30 The Sky at Night (m00023bc)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:40 on Sunday
THU 20:00 Wonders of Life (b01qm913)
Amidst the rich natural history of the United States, Professor Brian Cox encounters the astonishing creatures that reveal how the senses evolved.
Every animal on Earth experiences the world in a different way, using a unique suite of senses to detect its physical environment. Tracing the evolution of these mechanisms is a story that takes us through life's journey - from single-celled organisms to more complex, sentient beings. Brian finds that over the course of 3.8 billion years, the senses have driven life in new directions and may, ultimately, have led to our own curiosity and intelligence.
Brian begins deep in the caves of Kentucky, where, devoid of light, he must orientate by sense of touch and sound alone. Yet even in this limited environment he encounters a creature that is perfectly able to find its way around. This is the paramecium, a microscopic single-celled organism.
Despite their apparent simplicity, paramecia display a clear sense of touch, changing direction whenever they bump into something. Brian finds that the electrochemical process through which they 'feel' the world underlies practically all senses in all living things.
Brian next explores the sense of taste in the muddy waters of the Mississippi Delta. With a metre-long catfish in his arms, Brian explains how its entire body is covered in taste buds. These behave like one giant tongue, allowing the catfish to build up a three-dimensional map of its otherwise murky surroundings.
A scuba-dive off the coast of California brings Brian face to face with the strange yet remarkable mantis shrimp. These inhabitants of the ocean floor see the world through eyes made of 10,000 lenses, each with twice as many visual pigments as any other animal on Earth.
But it's in the eyes of the octopus that Brian finds a link between the ability to process sensory data and the emergence of intelligence. This tantalising discovery may be evidence that humans evolved large brains in order to process the vast amounts of information gathered through our sense of vision.
For Brian this raises an extraordinary prospect - that ultimately it was our senses that allowed us to gaze up at the vast expanse of the universe and begin to understand its origins.
THU 21:00 American History’s Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley (m00023vy)
The American Revolution
In the first of a three-part series, Lucy Worsley explores how American history has been mythologised and manipulated by generations of politicians, writers and protesters. This episode examines the American Revolution – a David-and-Goliath battle of men with high ideals taking on the might of the British Empire. But how much of America’s founding story is based on fact?
THU 22:00 Light and Dark (b03jrxhv)
Professor Jim Al-Khalili tells the story of how we went from thinking we were close to a complete understanding of the universe to realising we had seen almost none of it. Today, our best estimate is that more than 99 per cent of the cosmos is hidden in the dark, invisible to our telescopes and beyond our comprehension.
The first hints that there might be more out there than meets the eye emerged from the gloom in 1846 with the discovery of the planet Neptune. It was hard to find, because at four billion kilometres from the sun there was precious little light to illuminate it and, like 89 per cent of all the atoms in the universe, it gives off almost no light.
In the middle of the 20th century scientists discovered something even stranger - dark matter - stuff that wasn't just unseen, it was fundamentally un-seeable. In fact, to explain how galaxies are held together and how they formed in the first place, there needed to be four times as much dark matter as there was normal atomic matter.
In the late 1990s scientists trying to measure precisely how much dark matter there was in the universe discovered something even more elusive out there - dark energy, a mysterious new force driving the universe apart that is thought to make up a colossal 73 per cent of it.
Finally, Jim explores the quest to uncover the nature of dark energy and to see dark matter pull the first stars and galaxies together, a quest that involves peering into the darkest period in the cosmos's past.
THU 23:00 Spider House (b04mqc4z)
Ever wondered what spiders really get up to in your home? In this Halloween special Alice Roberts overcomes her arachnophobia to enter a spider-filled house where an astonishing drama unfolds within its walls.
Inside she meets entomologist Tim Cockerill, who loves spiders and quickly immerses Alice in the wonders of web-building, the secrets of fly-catching and the dangerous spider-eat-spider world they inhabit.
Tim wants us to welcome spiders into our homes. He takes Alice on a macro mystery tour of the rooms of the Spider House, revealing what goes on in the cracks and crannies of our homes.
Why do we always find spiders in the bathroom? And what happens if we flush them down the plughole? Using powerful macrophotography, Tim and Alice find out.
In the dining room, they uncover the complex engineering behind the most beautifully constructed 'dinner plate' in the home - a spider's web. In the kitchen Alice witnesses the extraordinary hunting ability of the keen-eyed jumping spider, while Tim finds out how spiders kill their prey using venom.
In the bedroom, the secrets of spider courtship are revealed. For spiders, mating is a high-stakes life-or-death game, where males risk being eaten by females. In the nursery, we enter an enchanting cocoon where tiny spiderlings struggle out of their exoskeletons - the first of many moults on the road to becoming adult spiders. Meanwhile, down in the cellar, we meet an unexpectedly voracious killer - the daddy longlegs.
Many of us have a love-hate relationship with spiders. The rational side of Alice Roberts understands their benefits, but can she overcome her irrational fears? She faces the ultimate challenge: to spend the night alone... with the spiders... in Spider House.
THU 00:30 Inside No. 9 (b05sz3sd)
Having never consulted the spirit world before, Tina isn't quite sure what to expect. Her visit to the spiritualist medium Madam Talbot has been arranged by her sister. Hives, Talbot's assistant in the mundane world, seems quite helpful, but there's something already waiting for Tina on the Other Side, and Hives knows all about it.
THU 01:00 A Timewatch Guide (b051h0gy)
The Mary Rose
Historian Dan Snow explores the greatest maritime archaeology project in British history - the Mary Rose. Using 40 years of BBC archive footage Dan charts how the Mary Rose was discovered, excavated and eventually raised, and what the latest research has revealed about this iconic ship and her crew. Dan also investigates how the Mary Rose project helped create modern underwater archaeology, examining the techniques, challenges and triumphs of the divers and archaeologists involved.
THU 02:00 Wonders of Life (b01qm913)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
THU 03:00 American History’s Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley (m00023vy)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
FRIDAY 18 JANUARY 2019
FRI 19:00 World News Today (m00023xg)
LIST OF THIS WEEK'S PROGRAMMES
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.
FRI 19:30 Top of the Pops (m00023xj)
Gary Davies and Steve Wright present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 22 January 1987, featuring Dead or Alive, UB40, Randy Crawford, Curiosity Killed the Cat, Pepsi & Shirlie, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley and Swing Out Sister.
FRI 20:00 The Everly Brothers: Harmonies from Heaven (b077x1fh)
Documentary which celebrates, over the period covering the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 60s, the phenomenon of The Everly Brothers, arguably the greatest harmony duo the world has witnessed, who directly influenced the greatest and most successful bands of the 60s and 70s - The Beatles, The Stones, The Beach Boys and Simon & Garfunkel to name but a few.
Don and Phil Everly's love of music began as children, encouraged by their father Ike. Little Donnie and Baby Boy Phil sang on Ike's early morning radio shows in Iowa.
After leaving school, the brothers moved to Nashville where, under the wing of Ike Everly's friend, the highly talented musician Chet Atkins, Don and Phil signed with Cadence Records. They exploded onto the music scene in 1957 with Bye Bye Love, written by Boudleaux and Felice Bryant.
After Bye Bye Love came other hits, notably Wake Up Little Susie, followed by the worldwide smash hit All I Have to Do Is Dream and a long string of other great songs which also became hits.
By 1960, however, the brothers were lured away from Cadence to Warner Bros with a $1,000,000 contract. Their biggest hit followed, the self-penned Cathy's Clown, which sold 8 million copies. Remaining at Warner Bros for most of the 60s, they had further success with Walk Right Back, So Sad and the King/Greenfield-penned track Crying in the Rain.
FRI 21:00 Guitar, Drum and Bass (m00023xl)
On Bass... Tina Weymouth!
Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club celebrates the extraordinary contribution of bass to popular music, tracing its progress from street-corner doo-wop and the overlooked ‘guy at the back’ in rock ‘n’ roll, via Paul McCartney, the anonymous James Jamerson and Carol Kaye - whose genius bass lines underpinned The Beatles, Motown and LA sound respectively - British jazzer Herbie Flowers’s immortal line in Walk on the Wild Side, the emergence of 70s funky bass stars Bootsy Collins and Chic’s Bernard Edwards, the driving lead bass of postpunk maverick Peter Hook in both Joy Division and New Order, through to the growth of bass culture in reggae, whose sound systems sparked whole new genres in drum and bass, grime and beyond.
With Bootsy Collins, Dizzee Rascal, Ray Parker Jr, Nile Rodgers, Peter Hook, Carol Kaye, Herbie Flowers, Valerie Simpson, The Marcels’ Fred Jonson, DJ Aphrodite and Gail Ann Dorsey.
FRI 22:00 Forever Young: How Rock 'n' Roll Grew Up (b00sxjls)
Documentary which looks at how rock 'n' roll has had to deal with the unthinkable - namely growing up and growing old, from its roots in the 50s as music made by young people for young people to the 21st-century phenomena of the revival and the comeback.
Despite the mantra of 'live fast, die young', Britain's first rock 'n' roll generations are now enjoying old age. What was once about youth and taking risks is now about longevity, survival, nostalgia and refusing to grow up, give up or shut up. But what happens when the music refuses to die and its performers refuse to leave the stage? What happens when rock's youthful rebelliousness is delivered wrapped in wrinkles?
Featuring Lemmy, Iggy Pop, Peter Noone, Rick Wakeman, Paul Jones, Richard Thompson, Suggs, Eric Burdon, Bruce Welch, Robert Wyatt, Gary Brooker, Joe Brown, Chris Dreja of The Yardbirds, Alison Moyet, Robyn Hitchcock, writers Rosie Boycott and Nick Kent and producer Joe Boyd.
FRI 23:00 Reginald D Hunter's Songs of the South (p02j952b)
Alabama and Georgia
In the second of a three-part road trip, Georgia-born but London-based Reginald D Hunter heads home to explore the interplay between gospel, soul and hip-hop. Passing through Alabama, Reg witnesses a Lynyrd Skynyrd gig and discovers the soul riches of the town of Muscle Shoals.
Arriving in Georgia, Reg visits the Athens of the B52s and REM, as well as Martin Luther King's and Ludacris's Atlanta.
Featuring Arrested Development, St Paul and the Broken Bones, Clarence Carter and Sharon Jones.
FRI 00:00 The Easybeats to AC/DC: The Story of Aussie Rock (b0705t5j)
A film about the sound of Australian rock and the emergence of one of the world's greatest rock bands - AC/DC, or Acca Dacca as they are known in Australia, and the legendary music company, Albert Music (Alberts) that helped launched them on to the global rock scene.
Through the 1960s, 70s and 80s, Alberts created a house of hits in Australia that literally changed the sound of Australian popular music.
It started with The Easybeats and their international hit Friday on My Mind back in the 60s. In the 1970s when Australia was in the midst of a deep recession, a rough and ready pub rock sound emerged, characterised by bands like Rose Tattoo who were promoted by family-run company Alberts. The raw power and fat guitar sound that characterised Aussie rock was pioneered by the Alberts and took Australia and the world by storm.
The sound of Aussie rock really exploded when the Alberts, a well-to-do family from the Sydney suburbs, joined forces with the Youngs, a Glasgow family who had emigrated to Australia. The result was AC/DC.
The documentary tells the story of how brothers Angus and Malcolm Young were produced by their older brother George and fellow Easybeats member Harry Vanda. Vanda and Young produced the band at Albert Studios and they were soon joined by the wild and charismatic lead singer Bon Scott.
Head of Alberts was Ted Albert - a quietly confident risk-taker. He backed AC/DC for many years with rock-solid conviction when their type of music and fashion seemed completely at odds with a UK and US music scene dominated by punk. Then, in 1980, AC/DC's Back in Black album was a massive success around the world and the rest is history. The film retraces the band's explosion in popularity, the relentless touring and the tragic death of Bon Scott.
Even after Bon's death, and with the addition of Brian Johnson, the band went from strength to strength and remain hugely popular and one of the world's most legendary bands. Today, the Albert family remains a potent force in Australian music.
FRI 01:00 Top of the Pops (m00023xj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
FRI 01:30 The Everly Brothers: Harmonies from Heaven (b077x1fh)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
FRI 02:30 Guitar, Drum and Bass (m00023xl)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
(Note: the times link back to the details; the pids link to the BBC page, including iPlayer)
A Timewatch Guide 01:00 THU (b051h0gy)
American History’s Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley 21:00 THU (m00023vy)
American History’s Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley 03:00 THU (m00023vy)
Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain 21:00 WED (b00brnr1)
Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain 03:00 WED (b00brnr1)
Armada: 12 Days to Save England 20:00 WED (b05xj5t4)
Armada: 12 Days to Save England 02:00 WED (b05xj5t4)
Art of America 21:00 MON (b017755r)
Art of America 03:00 MON (b017755r)
BBC News Special 19:00 TUE (m00028y3)
Beyond 100 Days 19:00 MON (m00023bf)
Beyond 100 Days 19:00 THU (m00023vw)
Black Lake 21:00 SAT (m00023b7)
Black Lake 21:45 SAT (m00023b9)
Dan Cruickshank: At Home with the British 00:00 MON (b07c645b)
Fake or Fortune? 20:00 MON (b012m6p5)
Fake or Fortune? 02:00 MON (b012m6p5)
Forever Young: How Rock 'n' Roll Grew Up 22:00 FRI (b00sxjls)
Francesco's Venice 23:00 MON (b0078sl0)
Genius of the Modern World 01:00 TUE (b07gpdbx)
Going Going Gone: Nick Broomfield's Disappearing Britain 01:10 SUN (b07chym0)
Guitar, Drum and Bass 01:00 SAT (m0001y8k)
Guitar, Drum and Bass 21:00 FRI (m00023xl)
Guitar, Drum and Bass 02:30 FRI (m00023xl)
Hidden Kingdoms 19:00 SAT (b03rmckl)
Hidden Kingdoms 02:00 SAT (b03rmckl)
How the Celts Saved Britain 01:00 WED (b00ktrby)
Immortal Egypt with Joann Fletcher 00:00 WED (b06wj4bw)
Indian Hill Railways 19:00 SUN (b00qvk99)
Indian Hill Railways 02:10 SUN (b00qvk99)
Inside No. 9 00:30 THU (b05sz3sd)
Life on Air - David Attenborough's 50 Years in Television 22:00 WED (p031d2k6)
Life on Earth 23:00 WED (b01qgr55)
Light and Dark 22:00 THU (b03jrxhv)
Metalworks! 00:00 TUE (b01hdhpy)
Pop Go the Sixties 23:55 WED (b00crz39)
Pugin: God's Own Architect 01:00 MON (b01b1z45)
Reginald D Hunter's Songs of the South 23:00 FRI (p02j952b)
Rome Unpacked 21:00 TUE (b09m6bmp)
Rome Unpacked 03:00 TUE (b09m6bmp)
Russia's Lost Princesses 22:00 MON (b04fljyk)
Spider House 23:00 THU (b04mqc4z)
The Bridge: Fifty Years Across the Forth 23:10 SUN (b04g80p8)
The Easybeats to AC/DC: The Story of Aussie Rock 00:00 FRI (b0705t5j)
The Everly Brothers: Harmonies from Heaven 20:00 FRI (b077x1fh)
The Everly Brothers: Harmonies from Heaven 01:30 FRI (b077x1fh)
The Eyes of Orson Welles 21:00 SUN (m000235q)
The Flying Archaeologist 19:00 WED (b01s1ll4)
The Heart of Country: How Nashville Became Music City USA 23:30 SAT (b04ndxlr)
The Incredible Human Journey 20:00 TUE (b00kmtft)
The Incredible Human Journey 02:00 TUE (b00kmtft)
The Plantagenets 23:00 TUE (b03zdm4b)
The Sky at Night 22:40 SUN (m00023bc)
The Sky at Night 19:30 THU (m00023bc)
Top of the Pops 22:30 SAT (m0001y8c)
Top of the Pops 23:00 SAT (m0001y8h)
Top of the Pops 19:30 FRI (m00023xj)
Top of the Pops 01:00 FRI (m00023xj)
Treasures of the Indus 00:10 SUN (b069g53h)
Weird Nature 19:30 MON (b0078hh5)
Weird Nature 19:30 TUE (b0078hk2)
Weird Nature 19:30 WED (b0078hny)
Wild Arabia 20:00 SAT (b01r12zm)
Wild Arabia 03:00 SAT (b01r12zm)
Wild West - America's Great Frontier 22:00 TUE (b07zvr81)
Wonders of Life 20:00 THU (b01qm913)
Wonders of Life 02:00 THU (b01qm913)
Woolly Mammoth: Secrets from the Ice 20:00 SUN (b01fkcdr)
World News Today 19:00 FRI (m00023xg)