Autumn is the season when the landscape is at its most colourful. Iolo Williams finds himself in the midst of a flock of thousands of fieldfares arriving from Europe to escape the colder continent. They gorge themselves on berries in trees surrounding the smallest church in Wales. In the Usk Valley, bats feed before they hibernate in caves, and migrating ducks gather on Talybont Reservoir, ready for winter. Underground, cave spiders are lurking, and sea trout are heading upstream to spawn in the rivers.
In our second episode of Dig WW2, Dan Snow heads out to sea to hear the story of the Empire Heritage, a cargo ship filled with Sherman Tanks sunk off Malin Head during the Battle of the Atlantic in 1944. Staying on the water, he visits an RAF Flying Boat Base on Lough Erne, where he gets to fly in an original WW2 Catalina, an aircraft built for hunting U-boats. Dan also gets to hear some of the stories which bring a personal aspect to his discoveries, visiting a group of experts intent on discovering the unknown identities of bodies of Second World War soldiers and finally bringing closure to their families all these years later.
Winston Churchill understood the power of films, but the true extent of his use of cinema as a propaganda tool is rarely explored. In 1934, one of Britain's most celebrated film producers, Alexander Korda, signed Churchill up as a screenwriter and historical advisor. It was the start of a unique collaboration. Churchill provided script notes for Korda's productions and penned an epic screenplay.
When war broke out, their collaboration took on national importance. Korda was sent on a mission to Hollywood to help bring America into the war, with positive results.
With access to previously undiscovered documents, this film documentary examines that mission and a friendship that underpinned a unique, creative partnership.
When Orson Welles went into self-imposed exile in Europe, he first found stardom with The Third Man and then immersed himself in challenging films, television, theatre and bullfighting. Simon Callow trails the complex actor-director.
Neil Oliver explores how the Viking Age finally ended, tracing the Norse voyages of discovery, the first Danish kings, and the Christian conversions that opened the door to European high society. He also uncovers the truth about England's King Canute - he was not an arrogant leader who thought he could hold back the waves, but the Viking ruler of an entire empire of the north and an early adopter of European standardisation.
Julian Richards returns to the excavation of two burials from the Stone Age - the grave of an entire Neolithic family in Dorset and a tomb on Orkney that is helping to reveal some strange and unexpected burial rites from over 5,000 years ago.
Professor Bettany Hughes investigates the story of Bacchus, god of wine, revelry, theatre and excess, travelling to Georgia, Jordan, Greece and Britain to discover his origins and his presence in the modern world, and explore how 'losing oneself' plays a vital role in the development of civilisation.
In this fascinating journey, Bettany begins in Georgia where she discovers evidence of the world's oldest wine production, and the role it may have played in building communities. In Athens, she reveals Bacchus's pivotal role in a society where his ecstatic worship was embraced by all classes, and most importantly women. On Cyprus, she uncovers startling parallels between Bacchus and Christ. Finally, Bettany follows the god's modern embrace in Nietzsche's philosophy, experimental theatre and the hedonistic hippie movement to conclude that, while this god of ecstasy is worthy of contemporary reconsideration, it is vital to heed the warning of the ancients - 'MEDEN AGAN' - nothing in excess.
THURSDAY 26 SEPTEMBER 2019
THU 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (m0008rmt)
The latest news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.
THU 19:30 Top of the Pops (m0008rmw)
Gary Davies and Peter Powell present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 30 June 1988 and featuring Hazell Dean, Bruce Springsteen, Tracy Chapman, Matt Bianco, Salt-N-Pepa, T'Pau, The Fat Boys and Chubby Checker, Bros and Glenn Medeiros.
THU 20:00 Greece with Simon Reeve (p03gk743)
In the first episode of this two-part travel series, Simon Reeve travels from the islands of the Aegean to Greece's capital, Athens. To learn more about Greece and the Greeks, he meets an extraordinary cast of characters, from gun-toting priests to the last remaining sponge divers. Getting behind the picture postcard image of this beautiful country, he finds out how the Greeks are coming to terms with a seemingly endless crisis.
THU 21:00 Spitfire (m0008rmy)
An epic, sweeping tale of determination, vision and courage, this documentary is the story of an aircraft that was forged in competition, shaped as the war clouds gathered, and refined in the white heat of combat.
Told in the words of the last-surviving World War II veterans, with stunning contemporary and historical aerial footage, Spitfire explores how an extraordinary plane became an international icon.
THU 22:30 Land of the Lost Wolves (b01fngfw)
After spending four weeks camping out in the bitterly cold Cascade Mountains, wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan and a team of wolf experts discover that most of the pack have been killed by locals who live by the motto 'shoot, shovel and shut up'. But have any of the pack escaped unharmed? As the team chase exciting new leads, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
THU 23:30 Top of the Pops (m0008rmw)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
THU 00:00 Timeshift (b00ff170)
How to Write a Mills and Boon
What happens when a literary novelist tries to write popular romantic fiction? To mark 100 years of romance publishers Mills and Boon, literary novelist Stella Duffy takes on the challenge of writing for them.
Romantic fiction is a global phenomenon, and Mills and Boon are among the biggest names in the business. The company welcomes submissions from new authors, but as Duffy soon finds out, writing a Mills and Boon is harder than it looks.
Help is at hand from the publishers themselves, a prolific Mills and Boon author and some avid romance fans, as Duffy's quest to create the perfect romantic novel takes her from London to Italy on a journey that is both an insight into the art of romantic fiction and the joy and frustration of writing itself.
THU 01:00 Nolan: Australia’s Maverick Artist (m000264q)
Sidney Nolan is unquestionably one of the best-known names in the history of Australian modern art. His images are iconic treasures of the Australian visual language – everyone feels they know Nolan, but that is far from the truth. He was a restless spirit, boundlessly curious, intellectual and mischievous, and his creativity was unrelenting; he was a genius. This film explores and celebrates the artist and the man, going well beyond his early years to his extraordinary international career and all the success and turmoil that came with it.
The prodigious Nolan came from humble working-class beginnings and from a young age made his way straight to the centre of contemporary artistic and intellectual circles in Melbourne, where he both produced some of his most enduring images and also became tightly enmeshed in the complicated and doomed love affair that was to stay with him for the rest of his life. Restless and on fire with the excitement of the international modernist movement, Nolan created the St Kilda, Wimmera, Ned Kelly and the Central Australia series - passionate responses to the world, and the landscape and national mythology of Australia, but more importantly and more deeply, windows into the poetic psyche of the man.
Fuelled by insatiable curiosity, Nolan became a tireless traveller, settling in London, where he found 'his people', the stellar intellectual circle of artists, musicians, writers, collectors and connoisseurs. While living in London, Nolan continued to visit and travel around Australia because, he said simply, 'he was Australian', and then returned to England to paint what had inspired him here and in other parts of the world. He welcomed artistic challenges; he was an entrepreneur and an unselfconscious-self promoter who threw himself into music, theatre and opera design.
The film shows Nolan’s unexamined work in new light, exploring the range of experimental, innovative qualities that marked him as one of the world’s truly great painters in the 20th century - a man ahead of his time, exploring digital manipulation in its early incarnations, experimenting with desiccated carcasses many decades before Damien Hirst, and taking selfies before Instagram was thought of.
THU 02:00 Spitfire (m0008rmy)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
FRIDAY 27 SEPTEMBER 2019
FRI 19:00 World News Today (m0008rm0)
LIST OF THIS WEEK'S PROGRAMMES
The latest news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.
FRI 19:30 Top of the Pops (m0008rm2)
Janice Long and Simon Mayo present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 7 July 1988 and featuring the Communards, the Mac Band ft. the McCampbell Brothers, Everything But The Girl, INXS, Eighth Wonder, Glenn Medeiros and Transvision Vamp.
FRI 20:00 New Power Generation: Black Music Legends of the 1980s (b017gssb)
Janet Jackson: Taking Control
Emerging from the shadows of the most famous family in showbusiness to become a superstar in her own right, Janet Jackson was one of the biggest female pop icons of the 80s and 90s, scoring huge international hits with songs such as What Have You Done For Me Lately? and Nasty.
This film examines Janet's phenomenal career, from her early success as a teenage actress in hit US sitcom Diff'rent Strokes to multi award-winning pop star rivalling her brother's success with ten number one singles on the American Billboard charts and worldwide album sales of over 65 million. The struggle to control both her creative and personal life is central to Janet's development as an artist and key to understanding her story - from escaping the clutches of her overbearing father to the thirst for new challenges in her groundbreaking collaborations with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Dubbed the 'Queen of Radio' in America, she always seemed capable of maintaining her broad-base appeal - until the infamous 2004 American Super Bowl appearance alongside Justin Timberlake.
Featuring an exclusive interview with Janet Jackson and contributions from the likes of Jimmy Jam, Janet's brother Jackie Jackson, actor Deborah Allen and British pop talent Estelle.
FRI 21:00 Joan Armatrading: Me Myself I (m0008rm4)
Joan Armatrading is one the most influential singer-songwriters in Britain. A national icon, she is known for her singular vision, both as a writer and as a performer. She has performed around the world to sell-out stadiums, releasing records and touring almost constantly from the early 70s to the present day.
In this documentary Joan talks about her self-belief and her unique ability to craft songs that have spoken to millions. Known for her reclusiveness, Joan has, for the first time, granted access to her life and music. Joan tells her story from Caribbean émigré to becoming one of the most revered songwriters of our generation.
The film covers Joan’s childhood growing up in Birmingham, and how she began writing songs from a young age. Joan met some of the key people in her life when she joined the rock musical Hair in 1968. She left home to go on tour and forged a musical partnership with songwriter Pam Nestor. Their collaboration led to a major record deal and an opportunity to work with Elton John’s producer, Gus Dudgeon. Her album, Whatever’s for Us, received rave reviews and chimed with the burgeoning songwriting movement on the west coast of America. The album signalled a new energy and freedom taking shape in the 70s in Britain among the black population. Joan was propelled into the musical stratosphere, signing with major American label A&M for over ten years. She created her own genre of songwriting, defying stereotypes and breaking barriers, becoming one of the first black singer-songwriters in Britain.
Joan went on to forge an unbeatable dynamic with rock producer Glyn Johns, who had produced seminal albums with the Rolling Stones, the Eagles and the Who. She created one of the most-loved and iconic songs of the 70s when she wrote Love and Affection in 1976. She was 26 years old. It was a song that took simple emotional fragility and made it somehow both sensuous and raunchy.
Joan made three more hit albums in three years with Glyn and her music would become anthemic to the feminist movement gathering pace since the early 70s. Despite her gold records, international status and touring worldwide, Joan had to overcome misogyny in the music studio and fight racism in the music business.
In 1978, Bob Dylan asked her to play at his festival BlackBushe. Joan, the only woman on the bill, played alongside rock gods such as Eric Clapton. Ask her how she felt, being up there, and you will hear Joan’s fearlessness - ‘The Rock Gods don’t scare me!’ - showing the determination and strength that contributed to her success.
By the 80s, Joan refused to be pigeonholed into a 70s guitar sound and she would diversify her style, experimenting with synths and finding a new direction to create music without a producer. Joan was also one of the first black British musicians to appear on MTV, creating innovative music videos and capturing the imagination of younger artists in the States who had never seen a British black woman play and sing like her before.
Joan was nominated for a Grammy three times, one of which was for the song How Cruel, a song that articulated the racism that many black British people encountered in the UK at the time. Notably, it highlighted to African-Americans that the same problems with race were happening on both sides of the Atlantic.
Songs like Me Myself I and Drop the Pilot became overnight hits in the 80s, testimony to Joan’s consummate songwriting ability. By the late 80s, Joan was one of the first women to write, arrange and produce all her albums, building a music studio at her home and working with the likes of Elton John, Pino Palladino and Mark Knopfler.
As well as unprecedented access to Joan, watching her play a sold-out tour, the film features exclusive, previously unseen archive and interviews with key collaborators from music producers Glyn Johns and Steve Lillywhite to musician Pino Palladino. The film also features interviews and cover versions of Joan’s songs, from Martha Wainwright singing Me Myself I and Meshell Negeocello covering How Cruel to Shingai Shoniwa from the Noisettes performing Love and Affection.
FRI 22:00 The Old Grey Whistle Test (b014vzy3)
The Old Grey Whistle Test was launched on 21 September 1971 from a tiny studio tucked behind a lift shaft on the fourth floor of BBC Television Centre. From humble beginnings, it has gone on to provide some of the best and most treasured music archive that the BBC has to offer.
This programme takes us on a journey and celebrates the musically mixed-up decade that was the 1970s, and which is reflected in the OGWT archive. There are classic performances from the glam era by Elton John and David Bowie, an early UK TV appearance from Curtis Mayfield, the beginnings of heavy metal with Steppenwolf's iconic Born to Be Wild anthem and the early punk machinations of the 'mock rock' New York Dolls. Archive from the pinnacle year, 1973, features Roxy Music, The Wailers and Vinegar Joe. The programme's finale celebrates the advent of punk and new wave with unforgettable performances from Patti Smith, Blondie, Iggy Pop and The Jam.
Artists featured are Elton John, Lindisfarne, David Bowie, Curtis Mayfield, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Steppenwolf, Vinegar Joe, Brinsley Schwarz, New York Dolls, Argent, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Captain Beefheart, Johnny Winter, Dr Feelgood, Gil Scott Heron, Patti Smith, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Cher & Gregg Allman, Talking Heads, The Jam, Blondie, Iggy Pop and The Specials.
FRI 23:30 Top of the Pops (b06v9fdp)
The Story of 1981
The year the teens take over and 80s 'new pop' is born with Depeche Mode, the teen-fronted Human League, Kim Wilde and Duran Duran all debuting, while Ultravox and Visage master the art of pop videos. The show embraces the shift with a new theme tune and titles and, as Legs and Co leave, invite a swathe of club kids and cheerleaders in to create a permanent 80s party atmosphere. Britain is torn between rioting, unemployment and the royal wedding, a mood captured in the Specials' Ghost Town, which the band perform on Top of the Pops, and then promptly split up in their dressing room at Television Centre.
With Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, the Human League, Kim Wilde, Midge Ure, Jerry Dammers (the Specials), Leee John, Freeez, Beggar and Co, Richard Skinner, Mike Read and Carrie Grant.
Narrated by Mel Giedroyc.
FRI 00:30 Top of the Pops (m0008rm2)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
FRI 01:00 TOTP2 (b01lwbt0)
TOTP2 once more delves into the archives to brighten up your day with summer sizzlers from John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, the Undertones, Shaggy, Bananarama, Bobby Goldsboro, Bay City Rollers, Fun Boy Three, the Style Council and Don Henley.
Other scorchers include Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, the Sundays, Sabrina, Chris Rea, the Barracudas, Zoe, Martha and the Muffins, Bryan Adams, Girls Aloud and ELO.
FRI 02:00 New Power Generation: Black Music Legends of the 1980s (b017gssb)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
FRI 03:00 Joan Armatrading: Me Myself I (m0008rm4)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
(Note: the times link back to the details; the pids link to the BBC page, including iPlayer)
Arena 21:00 SUN (m0008rpj)
BBC Proms 19:00 SUN (m0008rpg)
Bacchus Uncovered: Ancient God of Ecstasy 01:00 WED (b09z8d01)
Beyond 100 Days 19:00 MON (m0008rnp)
Beyond 100 Days 19:00 WED (m0008rnj)
Beyond 100 Days 19:00 THU (m0008rmt)
Britain's Secret Seas 19:00 SAT (b011j8vk)
Churchill and the Movie Mogul 21:00 WED (m0008rnl)
Churchill and the Movie Mogul 02:55 WED (m0008rnl)
Dam Busters Declassified 00:00 MON (b00trb2g)
Darkness: Those Who Kill 21:00 SAT (m0008rn1)
Darkness: Those Who Kill 21:40 SAT (m0008rn3)
Detectorists 22:25 SAT (b04m9rh2)
Detectorists 22:55 SAT (b04n1plq)
Detectorists 23:25 SAT (b04nqrq5)
Dig WW2 with Dan Snow 20:00 WED (b01j0m7f)
England's Forgotten Queen: The Life and Death of Lady Jane Grey 20:00 TUE (b09m5rmf)
Great Indian Railway Journeys 21:00 MON (b09zg7vg)
Greece with Simon Reeve 20:00 THU (p03gk743)
Inside the Perfect Predator 00:00 TUE (b00rfh1s)
Joan Armatrading: Me Myself I 21:00 FRI (m0008rm4)
Joan Armatrading: Me Myself I 03:00 FRI (m0008rm4)
Land of the Lost Wolves 22:30 THU (b01fngfw)
Life in the Air 20:00 SAT (b077nq4q)
Nelson's Caribbean Hell-hole: An Eighteenth Century Navy Graveyard Uncovered 20:00 MON (b01s6gjx)
Nelson's Caribbean Hell-hole: An Eighteenth Century Navy Graveyard Uncovered 01:55 WED (b01s6gjx)
New Power Generation: Black Music Legends of the 1980s 20:00 FRI (b017gssb)
New Power Generation: Black Music Legends of the 1980s 02:00 FRI (b017gssb)
Nolan: Australia’s Maverick Artist 01:00 THU (m000264q)
Orson Welles over Europe 22:00 WED (b00phtpq)
Peaky Blinders 01:00 SAT (b079vtpm)
Peaky Blinders 01:55 SAT (b07bksbb)
Peaky Blinders 02:55 SAT (b07cgpy2)
Peaky Blinders 01:05 SUN (b07czw04)
Peaky Blinders 02:00 SUN (b07dwngq)
Peaky Blinders 03:00 SUN (b07fg86c)
Peaky Blinders 01:00 MON (b09g85kh)
Peaky Blinders 02:00 MON (b09gvn5j)
Peaky Blinders 03:00 MON (b09hc65q)
Peaky Blinders 01:00 TUE (b09j0hxs)
Peaky Blinders 02:00 TUE (b09jhn03)
Peaky Blinders 03:00 TUE (b09k8gjf)
Secret Knowledge 00:35 SUN (b06n9k13)
Spitfire 21:00 THU (m0008rmy)
Spitfire 02:00 THU (m0008rmy)
Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History 21:00 TUE (m0008rn7)
Stories from the Dark Earth: Meet the Ancestors Revisited 00:00 WED (b01sbvzt)
TOTP2 01:00 FRI (b01lwbt0)
The Banker's Guide to Art 22:30 MON (b07kd109)
The Brecon Beacons with Iolo Williams 19:30 MON (b06wrhn5)
The Brecon Beacons with Iolo Williams 19:30 TUE (b06wyxfx)
The Brecon Beacons with Iolo Williams 19:30 WED (b06ynxk8)
The Flying Archaeologist 19:00 TUE (b01s1hnr)
The Last Explorers 23:00 TUE (b017sp66)
The Old Grey Whistle Test 22:00 FRI (b014vzy3)
The Seventh Seal 22:55 SUN (m0008rpl)
Timeshift 00:00 THU (b00ff170)
Top of the Pops 23:55 SAT (m0008kb3)
Top of the Pops 00:30 SAT (m0008k8n)
Top of the Pops 19:30 THU (m0008rmw)
Top of the Pops 23:30 THU (m0008rmw)
Top of the Pops 19:30 FRI (m0008rm2)
Top of the Pops 23:30 FRI (b06v9fdp)
Top of the Pops 00:30 FRI (m0008rm2)
Tornado - the 100mph Steam Engine 22:00 MON (b08rb16k)
Vikings 23:00 WED (b01n3gbj)
Voyages of Discovery 22:00 TUE (b0074t3q)
What Do Artists Do All Day? 20:30 SUN (b03z08ms)
World News Today 19:00 FRI (m0008rm0)