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

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SAT 19:00 All About the Good Life (b00wyhth)
The programme explores the enduring appeal of the classic sitcom. With contributions from, amongst others, Richard Briers, Penelope Keith, Monty Don, Brian Sewell and John O'Farrell, All About the Good Life goes behind the scenes and reveals all you ever wanted to know about the series - from choosing outfits for Margo to the iconic title sequence.

SAT 20:00 Natural World (b08ltnyp)

Hotel Armadillo

David Attenborough looks at the giant armadillo and examines how this seldom-seen animal provides scores of other creatures with the hotel and restaurant services they need to thrive in earth's biggest natural wetland - the Pantanal of Brazil.

SAT 21:00 Follow the Money (m0004h46)
Series 3

Episode 5

After a violent confrontation at home, Anna asks Nicky for help. She continues to organise Nicky’s banking businesses while he tries to re-establish his relationship with Milas. Meanwhile, Nicky meets again with Sahar and is intrigued by her.

Alf starts monitoring Nicky’s apartment but does not find what he was expecting. Frustrated, and struggling with insomnia and PTSD, he makes some quick, and bad, decisions, which will have fatal consequences for innocent people.

In Danish with English subtitles.

SAT 22:00 Follow the Money (m0004h48)
Series 3

Episode 6

Alf and the Nørrebro police try to recover after the shooting. Alf confronts Nicky and starts a series of raids against the drug dealers to find evidence against him and Marco. But the chief police inspector has other plans for the investigation. Nicky wants to hand over his business to his partner Lala, to focus on a normal life with his son Milas. After an unexpected visit from the auditors, Anna is confronted by her new boss Nete, but she gets the last word.

In Danish with English subtitles.

SAT 23:00 Top of the Pops (m00048qj)
Janice Long and Steve Wright present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 20 August 1987 and featuring Wax, Five Star, Sherrick, Bon Jovi, Prince and Sheena Easton, The Smiths, Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield, Sinitta and Spagna.

SAT 23:30 Blackadder (b0078vmr)
Blackadder II


Classic historical comedy. The Blackadder genes resurface in Elizabethan England in the guise of Edmund, great-great-grandson of the repulsive original. Blackadder is struck by Cupid's arrow when he takes on a new servant - a girl named Bob.

SAT 00:00 Blackadder (b015msyb)
Blackadder II


When Edmund is appointed lord high executioner, he moves a beheading forward from Wednesday to Monday, so he and his staff can enjoy some time off. But he didn't take into account the queen's tendency to change her mind.

SAT 00:30 Blackadder (b01nllvy)
Blackadder II


Historical sitcom set in Tudor England. To keep up with Sir Walter Raleigh, Edmund announces he will navigate the treacherous waters of the Cape of Good Hope.

SAT 01:00 Blackadder (b0078vyl)
Blackadder II


Sitcom set in Tudor England. Edmund is in trouble when he is visited by a debt-collecting bishop armed with a red-hot poker.

SAT 01:30 Blackadder (b0078w0y)
Blackadder II


Comedy series set in Tudor England. There are problems in the Blackadder household due to an embarrassing incident with a turnip, an ostrich feather and a puritanical fat aunt.

SAT 02:00 Blackadder (b01jhk72)
Blackadder II


Classic historical comedy. The evil Prince Ludwig kidnaps both Blackadder and Lord Melchett, and the Queen remembers Blackadder's earlier advice to have nothing to do with any ransom notes. Is our hero doomed, or does Baldrick have a cunning plan?

SAT 02:30 Natural World (b08ltnyp)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


SUN 19:00 Retreat: Meditations from a Monastery (b09bdzpf)
Series 1

Downside Abbey

The first film is set in Downside, a spectacular neo-gothic monastery set in the beautiful valleys of Somerset. It is home to fourteen Benedictine monks who live according to the 6th-century Rule of St Benedict. We follow two of the monks over the course of a typical, quiet monastic day, as they engage with carpentry and baking, religious services and moments of private prayer in the monastery gardens.

The pattern of the monks' day has changed little over hundreds of years and this programme encourages us to slow down to their pace, share their silence and eavesdrop on their rituals. Father Michael has been designing and making extraordinary pieces of furniture in his workshop for the past 48 years. He picked up his passion for woodwork from his father - but found when he joined the abbey in his early twenties that it was a role he could embrace and nurture. He's now a master craftsman and is on hand should the abbey need repairs, restorations or any new items of furniture. We watch him working on prie-dieu (a traditional prayer desk), carving, whittling and sawing until it's finished and we watch him use it in private prayer. 'Ora et labora' (prayer and work) is the Benedictine motto.

Father Christopher originally came from Malta where he developed his love of food and in particular bread. He first joined Downside Abbey when he was 24, but stayed only five years. Aged 60, he decided to become a monk again and joined the community for good. We watch him bake a loaf of sourdough bread for lunch, mixing, kneading and baking the dough. He also collects wild garlic from the monastery meadows and makes a garlic butter dish to serve alongside the bread.

Filmed with an eye to the beauty and peace of the ancient surroundings, the film has a painterly quality that creates a feeling of restfulness and quiet contemplation. And by focusing on the natural sounds of nature and the peace of the abbey we have created a meditative soundtrack that adds to this unique experience.

SUN 20:00 The World's Most Beautiful Eggs: The Genius of Carl Faberge (b0336tf3)
Stephen Smith explores the extraordinary life and work of the virtuoso jeweller Carl Faberge. He talks to HRH Prince Michael of Kent about Faberge items in the Royal Collection and to Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, who spent $100 million acquiring nine exquisite Faberge eggs. The bejewelled trinkets Faberge made for the last tsars of Russia in the twilight of their rule have become some of the most sought-after treasures in the world, sometimes worth millions.

Smith follows in Faberge's footsteps, from the legendary Green Vaults in Dresden to the palaces of the tsars and the corridors of the Kremlin museum, as he discovers how this fin-de-siecle genius transformed his father's modest business into the world's most famous supplier of luxury items.

SUN 21:00 Attenborough and the Giant Egg (b00z6dsg)
David Attenborough returns to the island of Madagascar on a very personal quest.

In 1960, he visited the island to film one of his first ever wildlife series - Zoo Quest. Whilst he was there, he acquired a giant egg belonging to an extinct bird known as the 'elephant bird' - the largest bird that ever lived. It has been one of his most treasured possessions ever since.

Fifty years older, he now returns to the island to find out more about this amazing creature and to see how the island has changed. Could the elephant bird's fate provide lessons that may help protect Madagascar's remaining wildlife?

Using Zoo Quest archive and specially shot location footage, this film follows David as he revisits scenes from his youth and meets people at the front line of wildlife protection. On his return, scientists at Oxford University are able to reveal for the first time how old David's egg actually is, and what that might tell us about the legendary elephant bird.

SUN 22:00 Mary Magdalene: Art's Scarlet Woman (b08ljvt7)
Waldemar Januszczak explores the impact of Mary Magdalene's myth on art and artists. All saints in art are inventions, but no saint in art has been invented quite as furiously as Mary Magdalene. For a thousand years, artists have been throwing themselves at the task of describing her and telling her story, from Caravaggio to Cezanne, Rubens to Rembrandt, Titian to van Gogh.

Her identity has evolved from being the close follower of Jesus who was the first witness to his resurrection, to one of a prostitute and sinner who escaped from persecution in the Holy Land by fleeing across the Mediterranean to end up living in a cave as a hermit in the south of France, enjoying ecstatic experiences with Christ.

SUN 23:00 Cold War, Hot Jets (b03j5cf8)
Episode 2

As an 'Iron Curtain' fell across Europe, the jet bomber came to define how the Cold War was fought. Able to fly faster, higher and further than ever before, and armed with a devastating new weapon, Britain's V Force became the platform for delivering nuclear Armageddon.

SUN 00:00 The Most Dangerous Man in Tudor England (p0185y5g)
Melvyn Bragg explores the dramatic story of William Tyndale and his mission to translate the Bible into English. Melvyn reveals the story of a man whose life and legacy have been hidden from history, but whose impact on Christianity in Britain and on the English language endures today. His radical translation of the Bible into English made him a profound threat to the authority of the church and state, and set him on a fateful collision course with Henry VIII's heretic hunters and those of the pope.

SUN 01:00 Faithfull: The Marianne Faithfull Story (m00030w3)
Marianne Faithfull has seen it all. Success and celebrity at 17. Life with Mick Jagger through the turbulent late sixties. Scandal, drugs, addiction and hitting rock bottom before rebirth, awards and artistic recognition.

Director Sandrine Bonnaire tells the incredible story of her thousand lives, her encounters with some of music’s greats and her extraordinary career.

Directed by Sandrine Bonnaire
A Cinétévé production for Arte France, acquired by BBC Music.

SUN 02:05 Secret Knowledge (b01r3n6m)
The Kimbolton Cabinet

Granted privileged access to the Victoria and Albert Museum after hours, John Bly seeks out the Kimbolton Cabinet, an exquisite piece of 18th-century English furniture that promises to reveal much about not only our nation's craft heritage but also his very own childhood.

SUN 02:35 The World's Most Beautiful Eggs: The Genius of Carl Faberge (b0336tf3)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


MON 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (m0004gcg)
Series 1


The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

MON 19:30 Secrets of Bones (b03z05zx)

Ben Garrod seeks out the big part that bones can play in reproduction. Through sexual selection, the skeleton has adapted to aid courtship, competition and even copulation. On his travels, Ben meets baseball players, drops a 10kg weight on a sheep's skull and finds out that by not having a penis bone humans are very much in the minority.

MON 20:00 Empire of the Seas: How the Navy Forged the Modern World (b00qlmcq)
Series 1

Sea Change

In the last of this four-part series, historian Dan Snow explores the ups and downs of a climactic century in naval and British history.

Rapacious and ruthless, the 19th-century Navy used 'gunboat diplomacy' to push British interests further afield than ever before. It was control of the sea rather than her land empire that was the key to Britain's growing wealth.

Technological advances saw Britain and France engage in an arms race over battleships. While Britain's navy appeared to be winning, the meritocracy fostered in Nelson's time was slowly being eroded by an entrenched hierarchy which smothered any spark of initiative among its sailors.

When Germany emerged as a new threat, modernising admiral Jackie Fisher was called to reform the Navy. Fisher believed in peace through deterrence and had plans for a huge new battleship - the Dreadnought.

When war finally came, the British and German fleets clashed off Jutland in 1916. But the outcome was not the knock-out blow the British public wanted. Britain emerged from World War I victorious but broke, and no longer able to maintain by far the world's largest fleet. In time, other nations eclipsed her. It was the end of centuries of naval supremacy.

MON 21:00 Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema (m0004hrx)
Mark Kermode's Disaster Movies

Earthquakes, explosions, eruptions… since the earliest days of cinema, film-makers have understood that true spectacle lies not in building things up, but in bringing them crashing down.

Mark Kermode grew up in the 1970s, the heyday of the all-star Hollywood disaster movie, and he has always been fascinated by the genre, which continues to thrive today. Mark shows how disaster movies use stunts and sound, editing and special effects to bring us jaw-dropping visions of destruction.

But spectacle alone is not enough, and Mark reveals how film-makers rely on recurring story devices, themes and character types to build drama and maintain our sense of jeopardy. Mark also showcases the remarkable range of disaster movies, from claustrophobic solo survival stories to films that explore the ultimate catastrophe – the end of the world.

MON 22:00 The Finest Hours (b07vvn49)
Drama based on a true story, recounting one of history's most daring coastguard rescue attempts. Stranded on a sinking oil tanker along with 30 other sailors, engineer Ray Sybert battles to buy his crew more time as Captain Bernie Webber and three of his colleagues tackle gigantic waves and gale-force winds in their astonishing bid to save the seamen.

MON 23:50 World's Greatest Food Markets (b04th3kt)

Following a dream of visiting and trading in the world's greatest food markets, Billingsgate fish merchant Roger Barton heads to Asia's largest fruit and veg market: Delhi's Azadpur Mandi, a market so big it feeds not only Delhi but provides food for the whole of India.

Roger has won over New York, but got badly stung in Mexico. Having lost his pride, Roger wants it back. But to make a profit Roger will have to overcome entrenched family values, powerful middlemen and a business system run on trust and credit.

MON 00:50 Cosmonauts: How Russia Won the Space Race (b04lcxms)
When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon in 1969, America went down in popular history as the winner of the space race. However, the real pioneers of space exploration were the Soviet cosmonauts.

This remarkable feature-length documentary combines rare and unseen archive footage with interviews with the surviving cosmonauts to tell the fascinating and at times terrifying story of how the Russians led us into the space age. A particular highlight is Alexei Leonov, the man who performed the first spacewalk, explaining how he found himself trapped outside his spacecraft 500 miles above the Earth. Scary stuff.

MON 02:20 How to Build... (b00t0yx9)
Series 1

A Jumbo Jet Engine

As Boeing's 787 Dreamliner makes its inaugural flight, Rolls-Royce engineers celebrate the performance of its revolutionary Trent 1000 jet engines. They're the latest in a family of sophisticated aero engines that have driven Rolls-Royce to become world leaders in the market for jumbo jet engines.

This is the story of the thousands of people who design, build and test engines at Rolls-Royce's manufacturing plants in Derby and across the UK, making Rolls-Royce a central part of life for the people who work there.

Exploring some of the astonishing technology behind the engines' advanced components, the programme meets the skilled engineers who design and build them, and experience the ups and downs of life on the assembly line.

MON 03:20 Secrets of Bones (b03z05zx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]


TUE 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (m0004ddq)
Series 1


The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

TUE 19:30 Great British Railway Journeys (b04xw3w6)
Series 6

Ayr to Stewarton

Michael Portillo embarks on a journey through southern Scotland from west to east. From Ayr, he admires the granite island of Ailsa Craig before getting to grips with the ancient sport of curling, with help from a Scottish world champion.

The Ancient Society of Kilwinning Archers invites Michael to take part in the oldest archery competition in the world. At Barassie, he rides the footplate of a freight train hauling coal on Scotland's oldest railway line. He caps off this leg of his journey in Stewarton.

TUE 20:00 Blue Planet II (b09g5ks6)
Series 1

Big Blue

The big blue is the world's greatest wilderness, far from shore and many kilometres deep. It's a vast marine desert where there is little to eat and nowhere to hide. Yet it's home to some of the biggest and most spectacular creatures on earth.

This episode reveals what it takes to survive in this savage and forbidding world. We witness feats of incredible endurance, moments of high drama and extraordinary acts of heart-wrenching self-sacrifice.

Every animal in the big blue must find their own unique way to survive. Sperm whales have the largest brains in the world. They live for 80 years, and we are only now beginning to learn the extraordinary complexity of their language of clicks - thought to coordinate the whole family in everything from childcare to hunting. With special pressure-proof cameras, we witness record-breaking feats of endurance as they hunt for squid a kilometre down into the abyss.

Many smaller creatures find sanctuary in this great wilderness. Only recently have we begun to solve the mystery of where baby turtles disappear to in their early years. They leave the crowded waters of the coast and head to the open ocean, where they use floating debris like logs as life rafts. Here they remain until adulthood, adrift on the high seas in relative safety away from coastal predators.

Over half of all animals in the open ocean drift in currents. Jellyfish cross entire oceans feeding on whatever happens to tangle with their tentacles. The jelly-like Portuguese man-of-war can harness sail power to fish with its deadly tentacles. Sometimes there is a brief explosion of food in this marine desert, but ocean hunters must be fast to make the best of this bonanza. We witness super pods of up to 5,000 spinner dolphins racing to herd vast shoals of lanternfish, briefly caught at the surface where it is thought they spawn. New aerial footage reveals, for the first time, the truth to a centuries-old sailors' legend of the 'boiling seas' - the spectacular feeding frenzy of 90kg tuna and dolphins smashing through the lantern fish shoals turning the sea white with foam.

Raising your young in this great wilderness is a huge challenge. The episode follows two very different ocean voyagers that show amazing care. We get closer to solving the mystery of where the biggest fish in the sea, the whale shark, gives birth. The pregnant females make an epic journey across the Pacific to the Galapagos Islands. Scientists now think it might be here that the pregnant females give birth to their pups in the safety of the depths. And in the freezing south Atlantic, a pair of ageing wandering albatrosses give their all to raise their very last chick.

Yet even in the big blue, thousands of kilometres from land, there is evidence of human activity. An estimated eight million tons of plastic is dumped into the oceans every year. Globe-spanning currents carry it into the heart of every ocean, often with tragic consequences. In the Atlantic waters off Europe we follow a family of pilot whales whose calf has recently died. One possible cause of death is poisoning by its own mother's contaminated milk. As plastic breaks down it combines with other pollutants that are consumed by vast numbers of marine creatures. In top predators like pilot whales, the toxic chemicals can build up to lethal levels.

TUE 21:00 Looking for Rembrandt (m0004dds)
Series 1

Episode 3

Desperate for money, Rembrandt takes on commissions that even his pupils have passed by, pupils who are now getting the grand offers that once came through Rembrandt’s door. Bankruptcy proceedings hound him for years and, although Rembrandt tries various – sometimes fraudulent – ways to divert some money back into his own pocket, his creditors take his house, his copperplates and virtually all his possessions. Yet he paints a self-portrait as the prince of painters, a regal pose that belies his financial and reputational chaos.

As Rembrandt ages and enters the twilight of his career, his works take on a new painterly style. He revels in aged skin, in deformity, in humanity rather than hubris. But it is not a style favoured by all his patrons, and his most important commission in years is rejected. After his lover and his son die, and Rembrandt is left with just his paint brushes and his memories, we see the final self-portrait of a great painter who never stopped experimenting, never stopped searching. A genius still recognised four centuries after his death.

TUE 22:00 The Secret History of Our Streets (b04bx5r1)
Series 2

The Moray Estate, Edinburgh

BBC Two's multi-award-winning Secret History of Our Streets told the story of six London streets, from Victorian times to the present day.

Now, as its people stand at a crossroads in their history, the series travels to Scotland to tell the stories of three archetypal streets in Scotland's three great cities: Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

Endlessly surprising and not at all what you would expect, the stories of these streets are the story of a nation.

This is the story of Edinburgh's New Town and the Moray Estate - an area unlike anywhere else in Britain, with an architecture and a people seemingly unchanged over almost 200 years. The last bastion of the British Empire. A group of Scots, at a pivotal moment in time... the grandest street in Scotland.

TUE 23:00 Shakespeare's Mother: The Secret Life of a Tudor Woman (b05279pq)
Michael Wood tells the extraordinary story of an ordinary woman in a time of revolution. Born during the reign of Henry VIII, Mary Arden is the daughter of a Warwickshire farmer, but she marries into a new life in the rising Tudor middle class in Stratford-upon-Avon. There she has eight children, three of whom die young. Her husband becomes mayor, but is bankrupted by his shady business dealings. Faced with financial ruin, religious persecution and power politics, the family is the glue that keeps them together until they are rescued by Mary's successful eldest son - William Shakespeare!

TUE 00:00 Sex and Sensibility: The Allure of Art Nouveau (b01dprb6)

The delicious objects of Parisian Art Nouveau are explored by cultural correspondent Stephen Smith. Uncovering how the luscious decorative style first erupted into the cityscape, Stephen delves into the city's bohemian past to learn how some of the 19th century's most glamorous and controversial figures inspired this extraordinary movement.

Revealing the story behind Alphonse Mucha's sensual posters of actress Sarah Bernhardt, looking at the exquisite jewellery designer Renee Lalique and visiting iconic art nouveau locations such the famous Maxim's restaurant, the programme builds a picture of fin-de-siecle Paris.

But Smith also reveals that the style is more than just veneer deep. Looking further into the work of glassmaker Emile Galle and architect Hector Guimard, he sees how some of art nouveau's stars risked their reputation to give meaning and purpose to work they thought could affect social change.

TUE 01:00 Gaga for Dada: The Original Art Rebels (b07w6j9h)
On the 100th anniversary of Dada, Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves) goes on an irreverent trip into the world of the influential avant-garde art movement.

Absurd, provocative and subversive, Dada began as a response to the madness of World War I. But its radical way of looking at the world inspired generations of artists, writers and musicians, from Monty Python to punk, Bowie to Banksy.

Jim restages an early Dada performance in Zurich's Cabaret Voltaire, where the movement began. Among those joining him in his playful celebration of the Dadaists and their impact are Armando Iannucci, Terry Gilliam, designer Neville Brody and artists Michael Landy and Cornelia Parker.

TUE 02:00 Blue Planet II (b09g5ks6)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

TUE 03:00 Looking for Rembrandt (m0004dds)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


WED 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (m0004g6k)
Series 1


The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

WED 19:30 Great British Railway Journeys (b04xw6lc)
Series 6

Motherwell to Linlithgow

Armed with his Bradshaw's guide, Michael Portillo continues his journey through southern Scotland. He celebrates Victorian iron and steel in Motherwell and admires one of its crowning achievements - the Forth Rail Bridge. Michael journeys through picturesque countryside to admire the raw power of nature at the magnificent and romantic Clyde Falls, which inspired Wordsworth and Coleridge, and where Victorian ladies swooned. In Cumbernauld, Michael learns of the birth of one of Scotland's best-selling soft drinks. In Linlithgow, he marvels at the ingenuity of the engineers who built the Union Canal and experiences a 21st-century technological refinement at Falkirk.

WED 20:00 Sword, Musket & Machine Gun: Britain's Armed History (b087llsj)
Cut & Thrust

In the first of this three-part series, Dr Sam Willis charts the evolution of weaponry in Britain throughout the Middle Ages.

Beginning with the Battle of Ethandun in 878, when the future of Anglo-Saxon England lay in the balance, Sam examines the weapons and tactics used by King Alfred to keep the Viking raiders at bay, and gets hands-on experience as he joins re-enactors behind a shield-wall, used by the Anglo-Saxons en masse as an attacking weapon to drive back and defeat the Vikings.

Sam travels to France to examine the famous Bayeux Tapestry, with its depiction of the huge arsenal massed by William the Conqueror for his invasion of England in 1066. With the Norman mounted knight came innovations in weapon technology, chiefly stronger and lighter swords, and Sam is given a lesson in swordsmanship using the earliest known combat manual.

Sam also visits the Chateaux de Tancarville in Normandy to tell the story of William Marshal, said to be the greatest knight who ever lived, and how he forged his reputation using a new weapon - the lance - in the extreme sport of its day, the tourney. To get a real sense of the tourney, Sam watches a display of its later incarnation - the joust.

The increasing number of castles and sieges brought with it a new age of projectile missile weaponry, principally the crossbow. Holed up in a castle tower, Sam gets to test-fire different crossbows and discovers why they became outlawed by the pope as instruments of the devil. Visiting the battlefield sites of Halidon Hill in Northumberland and Crecy in northern France, and again getting hands-on with the weapon in question, Sam examines how King Edward III strategically deployed the traditional longbow in vast numbers to devastating effect against the Scots and the French, and as such how it came to be regarded as the chief weapon of the Middle Ages.

WED 21:00 Morocco to Timbuktu: An Arabian Adventure (b08qlhl6)
Series 1

Episode 1

Timbuktu - a place so mysterious, mythical and far, far away that it has become a legendary destination. Alice Morrison, Arabist, writer, explorer and Marrakech resident, follows what was once one of the world's richest trading networks - the infamous salt roads - across north Africa from the top of Morocco to the fabled sandstone city of Timbuktu. Trekking 2,000 miles across some of the deadliest landscapes on earth, Alice journeys deep into the history, culture and civilisation of both ancient and modern north Africa.

Standing at the crossroads between north and sub-Saharan Africa, and straddling the vast Sahara Desert and the great River Niger, the legendary trading post of Timbuktu, now one of the most dangerous places on earth, was founded over a thousand years ago, and its wealth was built on two precious commodities - gold and salt. Over the centuries, caravans with thousands of camels passed regularly between Timbuktu and Morocco. They were led across the deadly trans-Saharan 'salt roads' by a desert tribe called the Tuareg, who still patrol the desert today.

Setting off from Tangier, Alice learns how gold was in high demand in north Africa, to be minted into coins and adorn palaces. Its source was the gold mines of sub-Saharan Africa, and so the routes across the desert were forged. Hitching a ride in a crowded taxi, Alice passes through the Islamic city of Fes, home to the world's oldest university, where she stays in a caravanserai, the ancient traders' version of a motel with mule and camel parking, and helps prepare the merchant's dish of the day, camel meatballs.

Next, she catches the famous hippy train, the Marrakech Express, to the other northern terminus of trans-Saharan trade, the market town of Marrakech, where she learns how to treat leather the ancient way by wading up to her waist in vats of cow hide, poison and... pigeon poo. And in the grand square, Djemaa El Fnaa, she hears tall tales of the traders of old and their travels across the Sahara.

Continuing on foot, she treks in snow and storms across the Atlas Mountains dotted with Berber villages; the Berbers, or Amazigh, are the indigenous people of Morocco. On the other side of the Atlas, Alice discovers ancient caves of salt, the commodity which gave the salt roads their name.

Further south, she travels through valleys lined with casbahs, fortresses where the traders could stay in safety along the route. In the barren, unforgiving heat of the Jebel Saghro desert, she enlists the help of Berber nomads. They still graze their animals there and live the same traditional lifestyle. They help her on her way to the ancient city of Sijilmasa, whose forgotten ruins sit on the edge of the great Sahara Desert. It's a lost city, which was once a great trading post, a sanctuary for merchants arriving after the long trek across the Sahara from Timbuktu.

WED 22:00 The Normans (b00tfdsk)

In the second of this three-part series, Professor Robert Bartlett explores the impact of the Norman conquest of Britain and Ireland. Bartlett shows how William the Conqueror imposed a new aristocracy, savagely cut down opposition and built scores of castles and cathedrals to intimidate and control. He also commissioned the Domesday Book, the greatest national survey of England that had ever been attempted.

England adapted to its new masters and both the language and culture were transformed as the Normans and the English intermarried. Bartlett shows how the political and cultural landscape of Scotland, Wales and Ireland were also forged by the Normans and argues that the Normans created the blueprint for colonialism in the modern world.

WED 23:00 Churchill: When Britain Said No (b05x31b6)
Just weeks after VE day, Britain's great war leader Winston Churchill found himself in another battle - to be elected prime minister. He was confident of victory - a just reward for his leadership of the country through the dark days of World War II - but what happened next many still can't understand.

In one of the greatest election defeats of all time, Churchill was humiliated at the polls, his Conservative party almost annihilated. Why did his countrymen turn so vehemently on their great British bulldog? Was the rejection of Churchill a disgraceful mark of ingratitude or the most mature electoral decision ever made by a democracy?

With surprising revelations from first-hand witnesses, as well as historians including Sir Max Hastings, Juliet Gardiner, Anthony Beevor and writer Dave Douglass, this programme looks at his controversial legacy, and debates the weaknesses as well as the strengths of the man.

WED 00:00 The Many Primes of Muriel Spark (b09qlx14)
Kirsty Wark celebrates the life and work of Dame Muriel Spark, author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and one of the 20th century's most enigmatic cultural figures, on the one-hundredth anniversary of her birth.

Born in Edinburgh, Muriel's extraordinary life took her to colonial Africa, wartime London, literary New York and vibrant 1960s Rome. Her most famous novel - The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - immortalised the city of her childhood but with an added darkness and acerbic wit that became her trademark style.

Kirsty retraces Muriel's footsteps from the cobbled streets of Edinburgh to the sublime beauty of Victoria Falls. Contributions from writers AL Kennedy, Janice Galloway, Ali Smith, William Boyd and Val McDermid tell of Muriel Spark's unique literary style and a life full of reinvention.

Kirsty meets with the journalist Alan Taylor, who has recently published his memoir of Muriel, and she travels to Italy for the first television interview with Penelope Jardine, Muriel's close friend of 40 years.

WED 01:00 Genius of the Ancient World (b065gv2m)

Historian Bettany Hughes is in Greece, on the trail of the hugely influential maverick thinker Socrates, who was executed for his beliefs.

WED 02:00 MAKE! Craft Britain (b09x5z01)
Series 1

Episode 2

Rookie crafters discover the ancient arts of silver jewellery-making and cross-stitch, but with a distinctly 21st-century twist. Also demonstrating how making things with your hands can give you an enormous sense of pride, origami expert Sam Tsang shows how to make an origami snack box- perfect for popcorn.

In a converted biscuit factory in the Ouse Valley, home to Newcastle's thriving artistic community, silversmith Lisa Cain welcomes six amateur crafters to her two-day workshop in silverclay jewellery. Each of the students will make two pieces of jewellery to take home or give to a loved one.

Silverclay is a new material, discovered by Mitsubishi in the 1990s, and Lisa has been teaching students how to use it for longer than anyone else in the country. She likes it because it's so accessible for first-timers. Comprising the three parts of silverclay particles, water and binder, silverclay starts off looking like putty. It's malleable to work with and takes all kinds of texture - everything from leaves to lace to latticework - very well. As the water and binder are removed, all that's left is the silverclay and this can then be polished - in a process that seems quite magical - to a fine glossy finish.

Jimmy is a patissier and a perfectionist. He wants to mould a rose similar to the kind he makes out of sugar fondant, but this is an ambitious make for even the most experienced of silverclay artists. Meanwhile, his girlfriend Sara plunges straight in to her model of their whippet, Blue. Jimmy thinks she's being hasty but Sara puts him right - 'Oh Jimmy, I'm not a photocopier' - and goes on to surprise everyone with her creation.

Hampton Court Palace is home to the Royal School of Needlework and it is here that our second workshop is held, taught by visiting lecturer and self-proclaimed 'manbroiderer' Jamie Chalmers, aka Mr X Stitch. Jamie has a huge following and is introducing cross-stitch to a new generation of embroiderers through his workshops and lectures.

Across a single day, six cross-stitch novices learn how to embroider their initials onto a t-shirt, and how to convert their own designs into pixelated cross-stitch patterns. Lena, who has ADHD, claims she has no idea how much time has passed as the students fall into a mesmeric state of flow. Gareth the blacksmith, however, sets himself the near impossible task of recreating a white-hot furnace in cross-stitch as a reminder of his teacher Pete's favourite phrase - keep it hot! He needs time to finish it off at home, and in a touching postscript, travels to Shropshire to give his finished work to Pete who is quite overcome by the gift.

WED 03:00 Sword, Musket & Machine Gun: Britain's Armed History (b087llsj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


THU 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (m0004j81)
Series 1


The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

THU 19:30 Top of the Pops (m0004j84)
Gary Davies presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 27 August 1987 and featuring Then Jerico, The Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield, Wet Wet Wet, Black, T'Pau, Rick Astley, and Prince and Sheena Easton.

THU 20:00 A History of Ancient Britain (b00z597g)
Series 1

Age of Bronze

Neil Oliver continues his epic tour of Britain's most distant past with the arrival of metals and the social revolution that ushered in a new age of social mobility, international trade, and village life.

THU 21:00 Happy Birthday OU: 50 Years of the Open University (m0004j88)
2019 marks the 50th birthday of the Open University.

In its five decades, the OU has educated more than two million students. Sir Lenny Henry is one of them.

Sir Lenny presents this documentary, which tells the story of the OU from 1969 to 2019, with archive and interviews with past graduates, observers and academics. It is nostalgic, affectionate, funny and a piece of cultural and social history.

The story begins with Harold Wilson’s idea of a ‘University of the Air’ through the times of late-night black-and-white TV programmes to modern-day landmark series such as Blue Planet II. Today the OU works with space research and avatars and looks forward to the next 50 years.

THU 22:00 The Fantastic Mr Feynman (p016d3kk)
Richard Feynman is one of the most iconic, influential and inspiring scientists of the 20th century. He helped design the atomic bomb, solved the mystery of the Challenger Shuttle catastrophe and won a Nobel Prize. Now, 25 years after his death - in his own words and those of his friends and family - this is the story of the most captivating communicator in the history of science.

THU 23:00 Catching History's Criminals: The Forensics Story (p02l4pjs)
A Question of Identity

Sherlock has his mind palace, Morse his music - every detective has an edge. For most, it's forensic science. This three-part series provides a rare and fascinating insight into the secret history of catching murderers, charting two centuries of the breakthroughs that have changed the course of justice. Surgeon and writer Gabriel Weston explores this rich history through some of the most absorbing, and often gruesome, stories in the forensic casebook - and looks ahead to how forensics will continue to solve the murders of the future.

The first episode looks at the difficulty of identifying the body in a murder case. The question of identity is a crucial start to the investigation. From charred bones to bodies completely dissolved in acid, with each horrific new case science has had to adapt to identify both the victim and the murderer. Investigating four breakthrough cases, Gabriel reveals the scientific innovations that tipped the scales of justice in favour of the detective - and caught the killers.

Firstly, Gabriel investigates the use of teeth and bite marks to identify a victim or murderer, starting with a problematic case at Harvard Medical School in 1849. Next, she traces the use of entomology (the study of insects) to pinpoint the time of death - a crucial piece of evidence that helped identify both the killer and his victims when a gruesome collection of unidentifiable body parts was discovered in a river in Moffat in 1935.

Gabriel meets Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, the geneticist who pioneered the technique of DNA profiling. Initially used to establish paternity in an immigration dispute, the application of this revolutionary discovery to the field of criminal investigation was soon established. In 1986 it led to a world first - a person caught and convicted solely on the basis of DNA evidence.

Taking us right to the cutting edge of forensics, Gabriel then experiments with a new technique in development - molecular face fitting, which uses only a person's DNA to create an image of their face.

THU 00:00 Top of the Pops (m0004j84)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

THU 00:30 Treasures of the Louvre (b01r3n6r)
Paris-based writer Andrew Hussey travels through the glorious art and surprising history of an extraordinary French institution to show that the story of the Louvre is the story of France. As well as exploring the masterpieces of painters such as Veronese, Rubens, David, Chardin, Gericault and Delacroix, he examines the changing face of the Louvre itself through its architecture and design. Medieval fortress, Renaissance palace, luxurious home to kings, emperors and more recently civil servants, today it attracts eight million visitors a year. The documentary also reflects the latest transformation of the Louvre - the museum's recently-opened Islamic Gallery.

THU 02:00 A History of Ancient Britain (b00z597g)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

THU 03:00 The Fantastic Mr Feynman (p016d3kk)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]


FRI 19:00 World News Today (m0004j85)
The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.

FRI 19:30 Top of the Pops (m0004j89)
Peter Powell and Simon Bates present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 10 September 1987 and featuring T'Pau, Level 42, W.A.S.P., Wax, Jonathan Butler, Rick Astley and U2.

FRI 20:00 BBC Young Dancer (m0004j8c)

Contemporary Dance Final

BBC Young Dancer 2019 continues in the search to discover the UK’s best dance talent. In the Contemporary Dance Final, five more aspiring young dancers perform at The Lowry, Salford.

The competition showcases dancers aged 16 – 21 in Ballet, Contemporary, Street and South Asian Dance.

Judging the Contemporary Dance Final are Ben Wright, artistic co-director for Candoco Dance Company, a repertoire ensemble for disabled and non- disabled dancers; Fleur Darkin, an award-winning choreographer whose works have been performed across the world; and general adjudicator across all four dance finals, Jonzi D, a graduate of the London Contemporary Dance School, founder and artistic director of Jonzi D Projects and Breakin’ Convention.

They decide who will make it through to the Grand Final and receive the opportunity to perform at the Birmingham Hippodrome in May.

The Contemporary finalists are Max Cookward, Adanna Lawrence, Hannah Connor, Matthew Rawcliffe and Hana Kato.

FRI 21:00 John Lee Hooker: The Boogie Man (m0004j8f)
John Lee Hooker was one of the greatest bluesmen of the 20th century. Born into poverty and racial segregation, he lived through a monumental time in American history.

This is the story of a cultural icon, and his far-reaching impact on popular music, told in his own words and those of his family and closest collaborators.

Interviews with Keith Richards, Van Morrison, Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt and Robert Cray tell how an illiterate man from the rural and impoverished backwaters of the Mississippi Delta influenced their own musical journey. We reveal his part in bringing the Blues to a new generation of young British musicians and how, in turn, those musicians introduced young, mainstream Americans to their own cultural heritage.

His is an astonishing tale of survival and creativity, ingenuity and reinvention - of a man who became a superstar against extraordinary odds. It is also the story of modern America, portrayed through the incredible and touching journey of a singer-songwriter who has left an indelible mark on today’s music.

FRI 22:00 The Rolling Stones at the BBC (b01p1pmf)
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Rolling Stones we delve into the BBC vaults to deliver some timeless Stones archive. From the early days of their career and some unforgettable performances on Top of the Pops with the Last Time, Let's Spend the Night Together and Get Off of My Cloud through the late 60s and early 70s era of prolific song writing when the band were knocking out a classic album every other year and offering up such classics as Honky Tonk Women and Gimme Shelter.

The late 70s brought a massively successful nod to disco with Miss You and the early 80s a stomping return to form with the rock 'n' roll groove of Start Me Up. Peppered amongst the performances are snippets of wisdom from the two main men - the Glimmer Twins, aka Mick and Keith. Plus as a special treat, some lost footage of the band performing 19th Nervous Breakdown on Top of the Pops in 1966 - recently discovered in a BBC documentary from the 1960s about women with depression.

FRI 22:45 Blues & Beyond with Cerys Matthews and Val Wilmer (b0bpb14f)
DJ and broadcaster Cerys Matthews and acclaimed blues photographer Val Wilmer select their favourite blues musicians, several of whom Val has met and photographed.

As they view their selection, they reveal the reasons behind their choices. Discover why Muddy Waters is their master of mojo, and how Val rescued Jimi Hendrix from some over-eager fans. From Howlin' Wolf to John Lee Hooker, Sister Rosetta Tharpe to Peggy Lee and many more, their playlist is packed with classic blues and punctuated with great stories.

Blues and Beyond offers new insights on both the subject and the narrators, as well as providing a heady nostalgic hit of the very best in blues music, from the intimate to the epic.

FRI 23:45 Blues at the BBC (b00k36m5)
Collection of performances by British and American blues artists on BBC programmes such as The Beat Room, A Whole Scene Going, The Old Grey Whistle Test and The Late Show.

Includes the seminal slide guitar of Son House, the British R&B of The Kinks, the unmistakeable electric sound of BB King and Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton and John Lee Hooker, as well as less familiar material from the likes of Delaney and Bonnie, Freddie King and Long John Baldry.

FRI 00:45 Top of the Pops (m0004j89)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

FRI 01:15 ... Sings Dylan (b0074rpk)
A look through the archives at some of the many artists who have come into BBC studios to sing their versions of Bob Dylan songs. Featured performers include Peter, Paul and Mary, Lulu, the Byrds, Joan Baez, Eric Clapton, Madeleine Peyroux, Bryan Ferry, UB40, Julie Felix, Manfred Mann, the Brian Auger Trinity and Pops Staples.

FRI 01:55 John Lee Hooker: The Boogie Man (m0004j8f)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]

FRI 02:55 The Rolling Stones at the BBC (b01p1pmf)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]

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

... Sings Dylan 01:15 FRI (b0074rpk)

A History of Ancient Britain 20:00 THU (b00z597g)

A History of Ancient Britain 02:00 THU (b00z597g)

All About the Good Life 19:00 SAT (b00wyhth)

Attenborough and the Giant Egg 21:00 SUN (b00z6dsg)

BBC Young Dancer 20:00 FRI (m0004j8c)

Beyond 100 Days 19:00 MON (m0004gcg)

Beyond 100 Days 19:00 TUE (m0004ddq)

Beyond 100 Days 19:00 WED (m0004g6k)

Beyond 100 Days 19:00 THU (m0004j81)

Blackadder 23:30 SAT (b0078vmr)

Blackadder 00:00 SAT (b015msyb)

Blackadder 00:30 SAT (b01nllvy)

Blackadder 01:00 SAT (b0078vyl)

Blackadder 01:30 SAT (b0078w0y)

Blackadder 02:00 SAT (b01jhk72)

Blue Planet II 20:00 TUE (b09g5ks6)

Blue Planet II 02:00 TUE (b09g5ks6)

Blues & Beyond with Cerys Matthews and Val Wilmer 22:45 FRI (b0bpb14f)

Blues at the BBC 23:45 FRI (b00k36m5)

Catching History's Criminals: The Forensics Story 23:00 THU (p02l4pjs)

Churchill: When Britain Said No 23:00 WED (b05x31b6)

Cold War, Hot Jets 23:00 SUN (b03j5cf8)

Cosmonauts: How Russia Won the Space Race 00:50 MON (b04lcxms)

Empire of the Seas: How the Navy Forged the Modern World 20:00 MON (b00qlmcq)

Faithfull: The Marianne Faithfull Story 01:00 SUN (m00030w3)

Follow the Money 21:00 SAT (m0004h46)

Follow the Money 22:00 SAT (m0004h48)

Gaga for Dada: The Original Art Rebels 01:00 TUE (b07w6j9h)

Genius of the Ancient World 01:00 WED (b065gv2m)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:30 TUE (b04xw3w6)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:30 WED (b04xw6lc)

Happy Birthday OU: 50 Years of the Open University 21:00 THU (m0004j88)

How to Build... 02:20 MON (b00t0yx9)

John Lee Hooker: The Boogie Man 21:00 FRI (m0004j8f)

John Lee Hooker: The Boogie Man 01:55 FRI (m0004j8f)

Looking for Rembrandt 21:00 TUE (m0004dds)

Looking for Rembrandt 03:00 TUE (m0004dds)

MAKE! Craft Britain 02:00 WED (b09x5z01)

Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema 21:00 MON (m0004hrx)

Mary Magdalene: Art's Scarlet Woman 22:00 SUN (b08ljvt7)

Morocco to Timbuktu: An Arabian Adventure 21:00 WED (b08qlhl6)

Natural World 20:00 SAT (b08ltnyp)

Natural World 02:30 SAT (b08ltnyp)

Retreat: Meditations from a Monastery 19:00 SUN (b09bdzpf)

Secret Knowledge 02:05 SUN (b01r3n6m)

Secrets of Bones 19:30 MON (b03z05zx)

Secrets of Bones 03:20 MON (b03z05zx)

Sex and Sensibility: The Allure of Art Nouveau 00:00 TUE (b01dprb6)

Shakespeare's Mother: The Secret Life of a Tudor Woman 23:00 TUE (b05279pq)

Sword, Musket & Machine Gun: Britain's Armed History 20:00 WED (b087llsj)

Sword, Musket & Machine Gun: Britain's Armed History 03:00 WED (b087llsj)

The Fantastic Mr Feynman 22:00 THU (p016d3kk)

The Fantastic Mr Feynman 03:00 THU (p016d3kk)

The Finest Hours 22:00 MON (b07vvn49)

The Many Primes of Muriel Spark 00:00 WED (b09qlx14)

The Most Dangerous Man in Tudor England 00:00 SUN (p0185y5g)

The Normans 22:00 WED (b00tfdsk)

The Rolling Stones at the BBC 22:00 FRI (b01p1pmf)

The Rolling Stones at the BBC 02:55 FRI (b01p1pmf)

The Secret History of Our Streets 22:00 TUE (b04bx5r1)

The World's Most Beautiful Eggs: The Genius of Carl Faberge 20:00 SUN (b0336tf3)

The World's Most Beautiful Eggs: The Genius of Carl Faberge 02:35 SUN (b0336tf3)

Top of the Pops 23:00 SAT (m00048qj)

Top of the Pops 19:30 THU (m0004j84)

Top of the Pops 00:00 THU (m0004j84)

Top of the Pops 19:30 FRI (m0004j89)

Top of the Pops 00:45 FRI (m0004j89)

Treasures of the Louvre 00:30 THU (b01r3n6r)

World News Today 19:00 FRI (m0004j85)

World's Greatest Food Markets 23:50 MON (b04th3kt)