Radio-Lists Home Now on BBC 4 Contact

Unofficial Weekly Listings for BBC 4 — supported by


SAT 19:00 Nature's Wonderlands: Islands of Evolution (b06yrgvr)
Madagascar: A World Apart

Professor Richard Fortey travels to the rainforests of Madagascar - an ancient island that has spawned some of the most extraordinary groups of plants and animals anywhere in the world. From beautiful Indri lemurs, toxic frogs, and the cat-like giant mongoose called the fossa, to evolutionary oddities like the giraffe-necked weevil and the otherworldly aye-aye, he uncovers the secrets of the evolutionary niche - examining how, given millions of years, animals and plants can adapt to fill almost any opportunity they find.

SAT 20:00 Wild China (b00c5n6g)
Land of the Panda

China's heartland is the centre of a 5,000-year-old civilization and is home to the giant panda, the golden snub-nosed monkey and the golden takin. China faces environmental problems, but the relationship the Chinese have with their environment is deep and extraordinary. We will understand what this means for the future of China.

SAT 21:00 Spiral (m000b1fw)
Series 7

Episode 7

Following the debacle resulting in Fouad's death, the team is taken off the investigation. Laure is increasingly concerned about Lebrion's interference, while Josephine realises she also has reasons not to trust Edelman.

In French with English subtitles

SAT 22:00 Spiral (m000b1fy)
Series 7

Episode 8

Roban falls into a trap set by Josephine and Edelman, whose professional partnership is now, however, on the rocks. Laure and Gilou continue to work on the investigation they've officially been taken off, identifying a suspect who may have been involved in the money-laundering operation. Beckriche's loyalty to his former boss is put to the test.

In French with English subtitles.

SAT 22:50 Blackadder (p00bf6md)
Blackadder Goes Forth

Plan A - Captain Cook

Edmund cheats to win a competition to be named Official War Artist, thinking it's his ticket out of the trenches. So he's furious when his reward turns out to be going into no man's land to sketch the German positions.

SAT 23:20 Blackadder (p00bf6pz)
Blackadder Goes Forth

Plan B - Corporal Punishment

Blackadder faces court martial for eating a carrier pigeon. With the pigeon's owner Melchett as judge and Darling as prosecutor, Edmund is relying on George and Baldrick to save his skin.

SAT 23:50 Blackadder (b00819cc)
Blackadder Goes Forth

Plan C - Major Star

Sitcom set during the Great War. The October Revolution in Moscow produces three appalling results: a ceasefire by Russia, an offensive by Germany and a Charlie Chaplin impression by Baldrick.

SAT 00:20 Top of the Pops (m0009tpn)
Mike Read and Andy Crane present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 8 September 1988 and featuring Mark Almond, Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine, Spagna, Anthrax, Bill Medley, The Proclaimers, Michael Jackson, Yello, Phil Collins and Jane Wiedlin.

SAT 00:50 Top of the Pops (m0009tqc)
Simon Mayo and Peter Powell present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 15 September 1988 and featuring Bros, The Commodores, The Proclaimers, The Pasadenas, Coldcut ft Junior Reid, Salt-N-Pepa, Jason Donovan, The Hollies, Phil Collins and Inner City.

SAT 01:20 Get Rich or Try Dying: Music's Mega Legacies (m0009tqh)
Both Bob Dylan and Nick Cave have testified in song that death is not the end. But, not all stories from the musical afterlife are created equal. Death may have its obvious downside. However, in the world of pop, shuffling off your mortal coil could be a unique business opportunity.

In this documentary, Scissor Sisters star Ana Matronic goes on a journey into the afterlife of pop. Think of her as music’s pearly gatekeeper of making it big in the ever after. But here’s the rub: this isn’t about the music; no, this is about the many other ways dead pop stars earn a living when they’re gone. So join her as she books in with the agents, publicists, producers and families to discover the dos and don’ts of keeping the dream alive.

Using a combination of interview, archive and investigation, Get Rich or Try Dying peels back the complicated mechanics of the pop music industry, showing how it really works and who ultimately profits from it. Once the mansions, yachts, luxury cars, private jets and entourages are dispensed with, death ushers in a new cast of characters, not all of whom were party to creating the wealth in the first place, but all of them are interested in profiting from it.

The documentary reveals how Elvis was the architect of the entire legacy industry and how his lawyers, working on behalf of his family, changed American law to permit the surviving family members to benefit from his rights of publicity. It shows Prince’s story to be a cautionary tale for those without a will, and ponders how Bob Marley has retained his dignity despite attaching his name to everything from bath salts to electric goods and Californian marijuana. Linda Ramone professes her love of ‘merch’ and explains how her dead husband’s influential but niche NY punk act, The Ramones, continues to stand for something way beyond their music. Finally, Frank Zappa’s son delves into the morality of hologram tours, as illustrated by his father’s, before the immaculate planning of David Bowie sets out how to go about it the right way.

Last year, the top five estates of the most cherished ‘deceased’ popstars earned an incredible US$0.5bn - this documentary shows you how they did it.

SAT 02:20 Franco Building with Jonathan Meades (m0007z31)
Writer and broadcaster Jonathan Meades has in his time made films about the architecture of the infamous European dictators of the 20th century - Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini. He's now completing the set by turning his gaze onto Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. Franco, unlike the other three, died peacefully in his bed having been in power for 36 years, and his architectural legacy, Meades argues, was more enduring and surprising than any of the others.

In his search for how Franco shaped Spain, Meades doesn’t look in the obvious places. For him Franco's legacy isn’t to be found in the dull and pompous government buildings put up in the 1940s and 50s after the Spanish Civil War but in the riotous clash of building styles of the 1960s and 70s that grew up along Spain's coasts, particularly the proliferation of skyscrapers in resorts such as Benidorm. It’s here that a new type of city was created that has influenced urban development all over the world.

The theme of tourism runs through Meades's excursion into the world of Franco's Spain. Apart from giving the go-ahead to the development of Mediterranean beach resorts to encourage mass tourism, Franco also actively encouraged the revival of the medieval pilgrimage trail to Santiago de Compostela, the north western city named after St James.

Franco cleverly exploited religious belief and myths to bolster his autocratic regime. Central to this was the elevation of the position of St James - the patron saint of Spain. St James the apostle was martyred by King Herod in AD 44. Before that, according to myth, he had brought Christianity to northern Spain, and Santiago de Compostela became the end point of a pilgrim trail in the Middle Ages. Franco revived the pilgrimage. Paradors (luxury hotels sited in ancient monuments), hotels and hostels were built along the various routes to cater for every pocket. Meades shows how St James and Santiago de Compostela became crucial pillars propping up the Franco regime.

Away from the obvious tourist sites, Meades looks at the dark side of Franco's legacy. He uncovers the sinister history of Franco's mausoleum - the Valley of the Fallen - built by republican prisoners of war in the 1940s and 50s. Meades describes it as 'the biggest slave labour project in Europe since World War II'. The building is currently the site of a massive controversy in Spain. The socialist government wants to exhume Franco's body and detoxify the site, while Franco's family strenuously reject any attempt to remove him. The issue remains unresolved to date.

As with all Jonathan Meades's television essays, Franco Building turns conventional wisdom on its head, providing new insights into Spanish history, architecture and landscape.


SUN 19:00 For Folk’s Sake: Morris Dancing and Me (m0003vhz)
What’s the best way to save the ageing breed of male Morris dancer from extinction? Richard Macer infiltrates the endangered world of bells, beer and beards to discover an unlikely saviour of this ancient masculine tradition in the form of women.

The Morris Ring, the oldest Morris organisation in the country, has voted to admit women dancers for the first time with the hope that its member sides - as the teams are called - might stem the tide of declining numbers. But there are hardliners who believe females will dilute the very essence of what makes men’s Morris great. So, is Morris better when danced just by men or are women and mixed sides just as good?

During this journey, Macer is invited to join his local side the Manchester Morris Men, where the average age is over 70. Macer might represent an injection of youth to this team but does he have the talent to perform at one of the biggest festivals in the Morris Ring calendar?

What emerges during a long hot summer of folk dance is a bitter conflict as one of Britain’s most enduring traditions tries to reconcile itself to the modern world of gender equality. It also becomes a fascinating meditation on the nature of masculinity in a society in thrall to the idea of political correctness. And there is a personal development too for Macer, which sends his journey off in an unexpected direction.

SUN 20:00 Britain's Nuclear Bomb: The Inside Story (b08nz0xh)
In 1957, Britain exploded its first megaton hydrogen bomb - codenamed Operation Grapple X. It was the culmination of an extraordinary scientific project, which against almost insuperable odds turned Britain into a nuclear superpower. This is the inside story of how Britain got 'the bomb'.

The BBC has been granted unprecedented access to the top-secret nuclear research facility at Aldermaston. The programme features interviews with veterans and scientists who took part in the atomic bomb programme, some speaking for the first time, and newly released footage of the British atomic bomb tests.

SUN 21:00 imagine... (b09vdpzw)
Winter 2017/18

Philip Pullman: Angels and Daemons

Romantic, fearless, fantastical; this edition delves into the thrilling world of Philip Pullman and explores the author's own dark materials.

Pullman has been named both one of Britain's greatest writers and the most dangerous writer in Britain. He is best-known for the much-loved His Dark Materials trilogy, which follows a young heroine, Lyra, through a series of heart-stopping adventures into other worlds. Appealing to both adults and children alike, his books have sold over 20 million copies and have been translated into 40 languages. La Belle Sauvage, his recent novel, became an instant best-seller. 'The things we need most in the world are stories,' he says.

Alan Yentob spends time with Pullman in Oxford, discovering how the inspirational middle-school teacher became an acclaimed author of fantasy fiction and an outspoken critic of organised religion.

SUN 22:05 Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (m000b55c)
Tom Cruise narrates a penetrating documentary, which explores the many sides to Stanley Kubrick - film director, producer, writer, photographer, husband and father.

SUN 00:25 The Sinner (m0001ktj)
Series 1

Episode 6

Detective Ambrose decides to let Cora visit the Beverwyck club. Will she remember why she stabbed Frankie Belmont?

SUN 01:05 Pappano's Classical Voices (b061f4gb)

Series in which conductor Sir Antonio Pappano (music director of the Royal Opera House since 2002) explores the great roles and the greatest singers of the last hundred years through the prism of the main classical voice types - soprano, tenor, mezzo-soprano, baritone and bass. Through discussion, demonstrations and workshops, Pappano explores every aspect of the art of great singing.

The tenor is opera's glamour boy, the king of the high Cs, the leading man. Whether the tragic hero or the young romantic lead, whether dramatic or lyric, the tenor usually gets the girl, even if they rarely live happily ever after. Antonio examines the techniques behind the bravura performances, featuring great tenors such as Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti, Franco Corelli, Fritz Wunderlich, Jon Vickers, Peter Pears and Mario Lanza.

With contributions from leading tenors of today - Jonas Kaufmann, Juan Diego Florez and Jose Carreras - and a voice lesson from Thomas Allen, Antonio seeks out the tricks of the trade. How does a tenor 'colour' his voice? Why do his high notes provoke an animal response in audiences? How does he sing from bottom to top of his two-octave range without seeming to change gear? Why did the tenor only come centre stage in the 1830s? Why is Enrico Caruso still regarded as the greatest and most influential tenor ever? And what does it do to your nerves to sing a high C?

SUN 02:05 Natural World (b00gfq9w)

Great White Shark - A Living Legend

Wildlife film. South African naturalist Mike Rutzen is crazy about great white sharks. He never saw Jaws, so he doesn't share the terror that makes these sharks the world's most feared predator.

For ten years, Mike has swum with great whites without the protection of a cage. He has spent so much time in their company that he has learnt to read their body language and to think like a shark. It is this knowledge that keeps him safe.

Mike's quest to understand them better now takes him into the heart of a seal ambush site, where he hopes to witness their hunting behaviour underwater.

SUN 02:55 For Folk’s Sake: Morris Dancing and Me (m0003vhz)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]


MON 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (m000b3vd)
Series 1


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

MON 19:30 A Stitch in Time (b09p6mxw)
Series 1


Fusing biography, art and the history of fashion, Amber Butchart explores the lives of historical figures through the clothes they wore. She looks at Dido Belle, the 18th-century daughter of an enslaved African woman brought up at Kenwood House in London.

MON 20:00 Great Barrier Reef (b019hd78)
Reef to Rainforest

Three-part series exploring Australia's Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world and the largest living structure on our planet.

Monty Halls explores its full 2,000-kilometre length, from the wild outer reefs of the Coral Sea to the tangled mangrove and steaming rainforest on the shoreline; from large mountainous islands to tiny coral cays barely above sea level; from the dark depths of the abyss beyond the reef to colourful coral gardens of the shallows.

Along the way, he experiences the reef at its most dangerous and its most intriguing, and visits areas that have rarely been filmed, from the greatest wildlife shipwreck on earth to the mysterious seafloor of the lagoon, where freakish animals lurk under every rock.

The Great Barrier Reef as a whole covers an area larger than Great Britain, but amazingly only seven per cent of it is coral reef. The rest is a variety of interconnected habitats including the world's oldest jungle, hundreds of islands, mangrove swamps, mysterious deep-water gardens, vast sand flats and meadows of sea grass - all full of amazing wildlife. A giant deep-water lagoon connects all of these, and many of the creatures that live in it are almost impossibly weird - from giant hammerhead sharks to the bizarre 'pearl fish' that lives its life up a sea cucumber's bottom.

Marine life here also exists in spectacular profusion, as on the 100-year-old shipwreck of the SS Yongala, considered to be the greatest wildlife wreck on earth. The connections between all these environments mean that not only do they depend on each other, but without them the coral reef itself would not survive.

MON 21:00 Arena (m000b1gn)
A British Guide to the End of the World

A haunting film about Britain and the nuclear age, from the first bomb tests to our potentially futile preparations for attack during the Cold War. Framed by Britain's mission to build the bomb, A British Guide to the End of the World uses extraordinary unseen archive and exclusive testimonies from people directly involved in our nuclear story, from conscripted soldiers attending the early nuclear tests in the South Pacific to servicemen, volunteers and civil servants involved in the planning of how we might have managed in the event of a nuclear catastrophe.

Accompanied by an atmospheric score, the film features classified footage, hidden for decades, as well as television reports and government information videos that retain the spirit of Cold War paranoia. Horrifying, absurd and at times achingly poignant, the film recaptures a time of stockpiled paranoia that left a generation traumatised.

MON 22:15 The Story of China (b07216nl)
The Age of Revolution

'Revolution', Michael Wood observes, 'has been a fact of life in Chinese history'. Between 1850 and 1950, three cataclysmic revolutions shook China to the core, but out of them, today's China emerged.

The film begins in Canton with the meeting of a US missionary and a Chinese student. Inspired by the Christian story and calling himself God's second son, Hong unleashed the bloodiest war of the 19th century, the Taiping Rebellion. Wood heads into wild mountain villages in the south, where the revolution began.

As imperial China weakened, foreign influence grew. Treaty ports expanded, bringing growth and wealth, trams, railways and western sensibilities. But this provoked another surge of violence, the Boxer Rebellion, an attack against the foreigners, which was crushed by those same foreigners, who extorted a huge indemnity - $60 billion in today's money.

Then in 1912, the empire fell, and many groups contested China's future. In World War I, China sent 100,000 men to the western front, only to be humiliated at Versailles when German colonies in China were handed to Japan.

Between the two world wars, the disparity between rich and poor, city and countryside increased. We visit Hong Kong's Peninsular Hotel in the jazz age and then follow Mao on the Long March to Yan'an, the heartland of revolution.

World War II came to China two years earlier than it did in the west. Wood talks to a survivor of the Japanese massacre of Nanjing in 1937 and then charts the triumph of the communists, before ending the story with Mao's death and the boom time of the last 30 years. The series ends with the warmth of the Chinese family and, at Beijing's Altar of Heaven, a final haunting glimpse of eternal China.

MON 23:15 A Call from the Hostage Takers (m000b1gq)
Forty years ago, the Iranian hostage crisis gripped the world, with details unfolding nightly on television. But, until now, one story remains untold.

Desperate to get their message out, the hostage takers invited 50 ordinary Americans to visit Iran. For the Americans, this high-risk trip held the tantalising possibility of securing the release of the hostages. What transpired was a journey quite unlike any of them had planned.

Using archive of the visit and interviews with former Iranian hostage takers in Iran and their American visitors, we hear about their hopes and misgivings at the time and their reflections four decades on.

This film was made by BBC Persian as part of Crossing Divides, bringing people together in a fragmented world.

MON 00:15 Genius of the Modern World (b07h0hg9)

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was one of the most brilliant and dangerous minds of the 19th century. His uncompromising and often brutal ideas smashed the comfortable presuppositions and assumptions of religion, morality and science. His was a world not just bereft of God but almost of humanity, breathtaking in both its post-religious starkness and its originality.

Bettany Hughes goes in search of the beliefs of a man whose work is amongst the most devastatingly manipulated and misinterpreted in philosophical history. Nietzsche's dislike of systems and of seeking truths left his ideas ambiguous and sometimes incoherent. It was this that made him vulnerable to interpretation, and as a result his thoughts - which warned against the very notion of a political system like totalitarianism - were manipulated to strengthen its ideals.

Vocally opposed to anti-Semitism, his anti-Semitic sister made sure he became the poster boy for Hitler's drive for an Aryan ideal. Anti-nationalistic, he came to symbolise a regime he would have loathed. His philosophical quest led him to isolation and ultimately madness, but his ideas helped shape the intellectual landscape of the modern world.

MON 01:15 Apples, Pears and Paint: How to Make a Still Life Painting (b03ny8wk)
A richly detailed journey through the epic history of still-life painting, featuring a range of delights from the earliest existing Xenia mural paintings discovered at Pompeii to the cubist masterpieces of Picasso.

Awash with rich imagery of fruit, flowers and humble domestic objects, this lively take on the story of still life encompasses the work of some of the genre's greatest artists from Caravaggio to Chardin and Cezanne. But it also captures the surprising contributions of the less well-known, including asparagus enthusiast Adriaen Coorte and female flower painter in the court of Louis XVI, Anne Vallayer-Coster.

With contributions from historians Bettany Hughes and Janina Ramirez, art historians Andrew Graham Dixon and Norman Bryson, and philosopher Alain de Botton amongst others, it opens up the huge social histories that lie behind the paintings and the fascinating lives of the people who made them.

MON 02:45 Great Barrier Reef (b019hd78)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


TUE 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (m000b42k)
Series 1


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

TUE 19:30 A Stitch in Time (b09q047h)
Series 1

The Black Prince

Fusing biography, art and the history of fashion, Amber Butchart explores the lives of historical figures through the clothes they wore. She looks at Edward the Black Prince.

TUE 20:00 Dive, Dive, Dive! (b00s96m9)
To the sound of pinging sonar, Robert Llewellyn ups periscope to discover why submarine movies have gripped us for over a century. He travels along the River Medway to find a beached Cold War Russian nuclear sub and then on to the abandoned WWII German U-boat pens on the French coast, recalling many of the real events that inspired these films.

From 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to Das Boot and The Hunt for Red October, Llewellyn discovers that fear - and its antithesis, bravery - is the key, and he also reveals the unique role that Walt Disney played in promoting atomic submarines. Interviewees include director John McTiernan (The Hunt For Red October), Sir Christopher Frayling and screenwriter Michael Schiffer (Crimson Tide).

TUE 21:00 Rich Hall's Red Menace (m000b1gw)
2019 marks the 30th year since the fall of the Berlin Wall and, ostensibly, the end of the Cold War. In light of this, Rich Hall embarks on an examination of the relationship between the West and the East, America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

In his unique way, Rich looks at the propaganda, ignorance, fear and secrecy, and the natural offspring of these, paranoia, and considers how a 40-year stand-off between the superpowers brought the US and Russia to the verge of nuclear war.

The documentary does not look at the Cold War from an American perspective alone. Rich Hall also delves into the psyche of those living in the Soviet Union, of those who took part in the machinations, plots and conspiracies, and of ordinary citizens who, like Rich, lived through this most tense of times.

The Cold War and America’s obsession with communism and the Soviet Union isn’t just about the race to produce the atom bomb and conquer space. It’s about spying, political scheming and the fear of communism in Hollywood, in literature and on television.

It was science fiction. It went from the absurd to the ridiculous. It even created incredible sporting drama. Rich uses the bizarre, the extraordinary and previously untold stories to give us his take on the Cold War and America’s hysterical preoccupation with the ‘Red Menace’.

TUE 22:30 Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (m000b8c3)
To mark twenty years since the death in 1999 of one of cinema’s visionary filmmakers, British actor and producer Steve Coogan, whose own credits include Stan & Ollie, Philomena, and Night at the Museum, introduces Stanley Kubrick’s film Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

In the firm belief that his impotence is the result of a Soviet plot to poison the water supply of the ‘free world’, Brigadier General Jack D Ripper dispatches a squadron of nuclear-armed B52s to bomb Moscow. It is the task of President Muffley, hidden deep in the Pentagon War Room, to sort out this little problem.

Stanley Kubrick's masterful ‘nightmare comedy’ mixes laughter with the most chilling of crises.

TUE 00:10 The Silent War (b03lb1fn)
Know Your Enemy

For decades, Britain and America's Cold War submarines waged a secret war of espionage against the Soviet navy. Deep in the ocean, crews were locked in a game of cat and mouse as each side battled to gain the tactical and technological advantage.

After decades of silence, submariners from both the east and west are now allowed to talk more openly than ever before about how they plotted to win the war beneath the waves. The west's superior technology allowed them to secretly shadow the Soviet fleet, at close quarters, giving them vital intelligence and the upper hand if war broke out.

Shadowing submarines was dangerous. The film explores close encounters between western and Soviet forces that put the lives of submariners at risk. Candid interviews with British, American and Russian submariners reveal the pressures of lengthy underwater patrols that drove them to the edge of their physical and mental limits.

TUE 01:05 The Silent War (b03lnswn)
The Russians Are Coming!

Throughout the 1970s and 80s, the front line of the Cold War was hidden beneath the ocean. Submariners from three navies - American, Soviet and British - played a deadly game of cat and mouse in a secret war of espionage and intimidation. The nuclear balance between East and West was constantly shifting. This was a constant struggle to gain technological advantage, and the Soviets developed submarines that were ever more sophisticated - bigger, faster and more luxurious - than any developed by the West.

For over 40 years the details of this tense stand-off have been a closely guarded secret. Now submariners from all three navies are able to talk more openly than ever before. They reveal how the underwater arms race took ballistic missiles beneath the Arctic ice, and they remember how it nearly ended in nuclear disaster at sea.

TUE 02:05 A Stitch in Time (b09q047h)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

TUE 02:35 Dive, Dive, Dive! (b00s96m9)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


WED 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (m000b418)
Series 1


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

WED 19:30 A Stitch in Time (b09qrf0s)
Series 1

Marie Antoinette

Fusing biography, art and the history of fashion, Amber Butchart explores the lives of historical figures through their clothes. She looks at Marie Antoinette.

WED 20:00 Six Wives with Lucy Worsley (b085zjww)
Episode 2

This episode follows the end of Henry's marriage to Katherine of Aragon, made possible by Henry's rejection of Catholicism and the pope, with him setting himself up as head of the Church of England. He marries his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and she gives birth to a baby girl, Elizabeth.

After rumours spread that Anne has been unfaithful to the king, she is arrested and executed, leaving Henry free to marry Jane Seymour. Jane gives birth to a son, Edward, but Henry's joy is overshadowed by grief as Jane dies 12 days later.

WED 21:00 Britain's Lost Masterpieces (m000b1gs)
Series 4


Could two anonymous landscape paintings, discovered at Birmingham Art Gallery, be by artists whose work profoundly influenced the development of European landscape painting in the 17th and 18th centuries?

The first, a very badly damaged picture whose panel has spilt into two pieces is currently just attributed to the Flemish School rather than any single artist. The second is a forest scene thought to be a copy of a famous painting by Gainsborough.

Dr Bendor Grosvenor believes the damaged painting is by Jan Breughel the Elder, a seminal figure in Antwerp during the 16th century. He believes the second painting is good enough to be by Gainsborough himself. The Flemish landscape tradition was a source of inspiration to Thomas Gainsborough. If these works are, as Bendor suspects, by these two eminent artists, they provide a fascinating, and previously missing, episode in the story of the development of landscape painting in European art.

WED 22:00 An Art Lovers' Guide (b08ps5rd)
Series 1


With sumptuous palaces, exquisite artworks and stunning architecture, every great city offers a dizzying multitude of artistic highlights. In this series, art historians Dr Janina Ramirez and Alastair Sooke take us on three cultural citybreaks, hunting for off-the-beaten-track artistic treats - and finding new ways of enjoying some very famous sights.

In this second episode, Janina Ramirez and Alastair are on a mission to get to know one of the most popular cities in the world through its art and architecture. Although Barcelona is famous for its exuberant modernista buildings, the Gothic Quarter and artistic superstars such as Picasso, Janina and Alastair are determined to discover some less well-known cultural treats. Escaping the crowds on the Ramblas, they seek out the designs of an engineer who arguably put more of a stamp on the city than its star architect, Antoni Gaudi. Alastair marvels at the Romanesque frescoes that inspired a young Miro, while Janina discovers a surprising collection of vintage fans in the Mares, one of the city's most remarkable but rarely visited museums.

With a behind-the-scenes visit to Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, a session of impromptu Catalan dance and Alastair adding the finishing touches to some Barcelona street art, it is a fast-paced and colourful tour of the city's art and artists, revealing how Barcelona developed its distinctive cultural identity and how the long-running fight for independence has shaped the artistic life of the city.

WED 23:00 Queen Victoria's Letters: A Monarch Unveiled (b04pl2mn)
Episode 2

AN Wilson discovers the real story behind the woman who supposedly spent the last half of her life in hiding, mourning the loss of her beloved Prince Albert. Alongside this well-known image of Victoria as the weeping widow, Wilson reveals that the years after Albert's death were actually a process of liberation and her most productive and exciting.

By examining her closest relationships in the four decades after Albert's death, Wilson tells the story of the Queen's gradual freedom from a life spent under the shadow of domineering men. Victoria's marriage had been a source of constraint as well as love, as Albert had used her pregnancies as a way to gain power and punished her for resenting it. But in her widowhood Queen Victoria, although bereft and deranged, was free to move in the world of politics and make deep friendships without concern.

From the controversial friendship with her highland servant John Brown to her most unconventional behaviour with her young Indian servant Abdul Karim, Wilson uncovers Victoria as a woman who was anything but 'Victorian'. Far from being prim and proper, she loved life in all its richness - she was blind to class and colour and, contrary to what we think, had a great sense of humour.

Queen Victoria's journals and letters are read by Anna Chancellor throughout.

WED 00:00 The Secret Life of Waves (b00y5jhx)
Documentary maker David Malone delves into the secrets of ocean waves. In an elegant and original film, he finds that waves are not made of water, that some waves travel sideways, and that the sound of the ocean comes not from water but from bubbles. Waves are not only beautiful but also profoundly important, and there is a surprising connection between the life cycle of waves and the life of human beings.

WED 01:00 The Renaissance Unchained (b071gsdv)
Whips, Deaths and Madonnas

Waldemar Januszczak returns to Italy to trace the Italian Renaissance from its perceived origins with Giotto and takes a look at the importance of religious narrative in Italian art. While there were certainly a few aesthetic influences from classical art, the majority of Italian painting and sculpture in the 14th and 15th centuries was created to inspire devotion, especially in the work of Piero della Francesca, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael and Fra Angelico.

WED 02:00 Six Wives with Lucy Worsley (b085zjww)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

WED 03:00 Britain's Lost Masterpieces (m000b1gs)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


THU 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (m000b467)
Series 1


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

THU 19:30 Top of the Pops (m000b1gy)
Gary Davies and Mark Goodier present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 29 September 1988 and featuring Sinitta, U2, Hazell Dean, Alexander O'Neal, Duran Duran, Erasure, Whitney Houston, Bananarama The Hollies and T'Pau.

THU 20:00 London Calling: Cold War Letters (m000b1h0)
For over 25 years, the BBC gave voice to the silenced people of East Germany by inviting them to secretly write in to a radio programme called Letters without Signature. Broadcast on the BBC’s German Service, the programme gave voice to ordinary East German citizens who wrote about life under the repressive communist regime.

On the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, this documentary explores an unknown story of the Cold War. It looks at the impact of the Letters without Signature series on both the letter writers in East Germany - who faced jail if discovered - and the producers of the show in London, particularly its mysterious presenter, Austin Harrison.

Using never-before-seen Stasi files and recordings, London Calling: Cold War Letters documents the tit-for-tat propaganda war between the Stasi and BBC. It reveals a fascinating world of spies, secret state subterfuge and individual acts of bravery.

THU 21:00 The Fall of the Berlin Wall with John Simpson (m000b1h2)
It’s said that journalists write the first draft of history. To mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989, John Simpson, the BBC’s world affairs editor and longest-serving correspondent, goes back to his reports on what he believes is the most important story he ever covered – the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

Back in 1989, John thought this event would change the world for the better, forever. But history has not turned out quite the way he expected. Russia is yet again an enemy of the West, and the Cold War battle that built the Berlin Wall has been replaced with other destabilising global power struggles - even more dangerous and much harder to understand.

Three decades on, John wonders if he was wrong to have been so optimistic. Using the anniversary as an opportunity to re-examine how he told the story, John watches the BBC’s extensive archive and talks with historians and other experts to try and understand just how accurate his reporting was.

At the heart of the documentary is an intense and personal interview with John. He begins by describing how he grew up in the shadow of the Cold War battle between the capitalist West and the communist East, and how he - like everyone else - believed that this global stand-off would continue for many more decades, ending sooner or later in nuclear war.

On 9 November 1989, John, like the rest of the world, in shock at reports that the Berlin Wall’s checkpoints had been opened up, rushed to Berlin to cover the incredible story. With great emotion, John recalls his happiness as he reported from in front of the Wall as Berlin’s people tore it down, until his broadcast was cut off midway by technical failure – giving him by far the most humiliating moment of his long career.

After the technical meltdown, John describes how he walked into the crowd feeling utterly depressed. But, surrounded by the thousands of people who had streamed through the checkpoints from East Berlin, untouched by the once trigger-happy border guards and greeted with delight by West Berliners, he could barely believe his own eyes and found himself overwhelmed with joy.

So, why has the legacy of the Wall not turned out the way John hoped and expected? He examines why he did not predict that the pace of change across Europe would lead to the terrible war in Yugoslavia, nor that Russia, with Vladimir Putin – a former KGB agent – as its president, would find a new guise in which to become a bitter enemy of the West.

John also reflects on the terrifying uncertainty of global politics today, which has left him with a certain nostalgia for the decades of the Cold War – a period that was certainly frightening, but arguably less so than the uncertainty and complexity of global politics that we live with today.

THU 22:00 The Secret Life of the Berlin Wall (b00nx0y6)
Berlin is a place that is indispensable to the imagination, a city where history ticks all the boxes. The longest of all the helter-skelter rides that Berliners have taken through the playground of history ended in 1989 when the Berlin Wall shattered into a million souvenirs.

The Berlin Wall was the ugly, concrete obstacle that for more than a generation (from 1961 to 1989) split the city and divided its families. Hundreds of people, mainly young, were killed there trying to escape to the West.

The people who built the Wall thought they were building a brave new socialist world. But their dream turned into a nightmare as over time the Wall poisoned, corrupted and brutalized the little world it encircled.

In The Secret Life of the Berlin Wall, the dreams and nightmares come dramatically back to life as the spies, informers, double agents and interrogators of Cold War Berlin weave their nervy spells of double lives and double dealing.

Walls divide the world into two and this is a film with two faces - flawed heroes and heroic villains, traitors, compromised victories and sad defeats. A world of good intentions heading in bad directions. A world where nothing is what it seems to be.

THU 23:30 Storyville (b065y1dx)
Atomic, Living in Dread and Promise

The bombing of Hiroshima showed the appalling destructive power of the atomic bomb. Mark Cousins's bold documentary looks at death in the atomic age, but life too. Using only archive film and a new musical score by the band Mogwai, the film shows us an impressionistic kaleidoscope of our nuclear times - protest marches, Cold War sabre-rattling, Chernobyl and Fukishima - but also the sublime beauty of the atomic world, and how x-rays and MRI scans have improved human lives. The nuclear age has been a nightmare, but dreamlike too.

THU 00:40 Top of the Pops (m000b1gy)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

THU 01:10 Africa's Great Civilisations (b0b6tp5l)
Series 1

Empires of Gold

The award-winning film-maker and academic Henry Louis Gates Jr travels the length and breadth of Africa to explore the continent's epic history.

Empires of Gold marks an era of great commercial and manufacturing growth throughout several of the continent's regions. Beginning with the revolutionary transformation of north and west Africa, Gates travels to the shores of the Sahara Desert, where farmers, traders, warriors and nomads have turned the region into the crossroads of some of history's most advanced and wealthiest civilisations.

THU 02:05 Africa's Great Civilisations (b0b873nn)
Series 1


The award-winning film-maker and academic Henry Louis Gates Jr travels the length and breadth of Africa to explore the continent's epic history.

This episode shines a light on the powerful, cosmopolitan cities that dotted Africa at the time when Europe was in its Middle Ages. From 1000 to 1600, commerce, wealth and prosperity expanded across Africa, building new cities and founding new powerful states that mark this golden age.

THU 03:00 London Calling: Cold War Letters (m000b1h0)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


FRI 19:00 World News Today (m000b3x1)
The news programme for audiences who want more depth to their daily coverage. With a focus on Europe, Middle East and Africa.

FRI 19:30 Top of the Pops (m000b1sn)
Simon Mayo and Richard Skinner present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 6 October 1988 and featuring The Pasadenas, Bobby McFerrin, The Wee Papa Girl Rappers, Spear of Destiny, The Beatmasters with PP Arnold, Kim Wilde, Erasure, Rick Astley, U2 and Duran Duran.

FRI 20:00 It's Only Rock 'n' Roll: Rock 'n' Roll at the BBC (b063m6wy)
A celebration of rock 'n' roll in the shape of a compilation of classic artists and songs, featuring the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Dion and Dick Dale who all featured in the Rock 'n' Roll America series, alongside songs that celebrate rock 'n roll itself from artists such as Tom Petty (Anything That's Rock 'n' Roll), Joan Jett (I Love Rock 'n' Roll) and Oasis (Rock 'n' Roll Star).

FRI 21:00 Top of the Pops (m000b1sq)
Bruno Brookes and Gary Davies present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 13 October 1988 and featuring The Beatmasters with PP Arnold, Sabrina, T'Pau, Enya, The Christians, D Mob ft Gary Haisman, Kim Wilde, Sinitta, Whitney Houston and Bananarama.

FRI 21:30 The Beatles: Made on Merseyside (m0003lx8)
They defined music and popular culture like no other band ever will. But how did The Beatles make the journey from Merseyside teenagers to international pop stars in the 1960s? This film recounts how American rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues turned postwar Liverpool into one of the most vibrant music cities ever, the home of the Mersey Sound.

Featuring unique archive and revealing interviews with those involved in the early years of The Beatles in Liverpool and Hamburg, we discover the story of The Beatles’ previous band formations and why it took so long for them to achieve success. From school bands to colleges, Hamburg to the Cavern Club, The Beatles moved from skiffle to rock ‘n’ roll before creating their unique sound.

FRI 22:50 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 23:55 Tom Jones at the BBC (b00vz5ml)
An archive celebration of Tom Jones's performances at the BBC from the start of his pop career in the mid-60s to Later...with Jools Holland in 2010 and all points in between, including Top of the Pops and The Dusty Springfield Show. A chronological celebration of Sir Tom through the years that is also a history of music TV at the BBC over most of the past 50 years.

FRI 00:50 Top of the Pops (m000b1sn)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

FRI 01:20 It's Only Rock 'n' Roll: Rock 'n' Roll at the BBC (b063m6wy)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

FRI 02:20 The Beatles: Made on Merseyside (m0003lx8)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:30 today]

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

A Call from the Hostage Takers 23:15 MON (m000b1gq)

A Stitch in Time 19:30 MON (b09p6mxw)

A Stitch in Time 19:30 TUE (b09q047h)

A Stitch in Time 02:05 TUE (b09q047h)

A Stitch in Time 19:30 WED (b09qrf0s)

Africa's Great Civilisations 01:10 THU (b0b6tp5l)

Africa's Great Civilisations 02:05 THU (b0b873nn)

An Art Lovers' Guide 22:00 WED (b08ps5rd)

Apples, Pears and Paint: How to Make a Still Life Painting 01:15 MON (b03ny8wk)

Arena 21:00 MON (m000b1gn)

Beyond 100 Days 19:00 MON (m000b3vd)

Beyond 100 Days 19:00 TUE (m000b42k)

Beyond 100 Days 19:00 WED (m000b418)

Beyond 100 Days 19:00 THU (m000b467)

Blackadder 22:50 SAT (p00bf6md)

Blackadder 23:20 SAT (p00bf6pz)

Blackadder 23:50 SAT (b00819cc)

Britain's Lost Masterpieces 21:00 WED (m000b1gs)

Britain's Lost Masterpieces 03:00 WED (m000b1gs)

Britain's Nuclear Bomb: The Inside Story 20:00 SUN (b08nz0xh)

Dive, Dive, Dive! 20:00 TUE (b00s96m9)

Dive, Dive, Dive! 02:35 TUE (b00s96m9)

Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb 22:30 TUE (m000b8c3)

For Folk’s Sake: Morris Dancing and Me 19:00 SUN (m0003vhz)

For Folk’s Sake: Morris Dancing and Me 02:55 SUN (m0003vhz)

Forever Young: How Rock 'n' Roll Grew Up 22:50 FRI (b00sxjls)

Franco Building with Jonathan Meades 02:20 SAT (m0007z31)

Genius of the Modern World 00:15 MON (b07h0hg9)

Get Rich or Try Dying: Music's Mega Legacies 01:20 SAT (m0009tqh)

Great Barrier Reef 20:00 MON (b019hd78)

Great Barrier Reef 02:45 MON (b019hd78)

It's Only Rock 'n' Roll: Rock 'n' Roll at the BBC 20:00 FRI (b063m6wy)

It's Only Rock 'n' Roll: Rock 'n' Roll at the BBC 01:20 FRI (b063m6wy)

London Calling: Cold War Letters 20:00 THU (m000b1h0)

London Calling: Cold War Letters 03:00 THU (m000b1h0)

Natural World 02:05 SUN (b00gfq9w)

Nature's Wonderlands: Islands of Evolution 19:00 SAT (b06yrgvr)

Pappano's Classical Voices 01:05 SUN (b061f4gb)

Queen Victoria's Letters: A Monarch Unveiled 23:00 WED (b04pl2mn)

Rich Hall's Red Menace 21:00 TUE (m000b1gw)

Six Wives with Lucy Worsley 20:00 WED (b085zjww)

Six Wives with Lucy Worsley 02:00 WED (b085zjww)

Spiral 21:00 SAT (m000b1fw)

Spiral 22:00 SAT (m000b1fy)

Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures 22:05 SUN (m000b55c)

Storyville 23:30 THU (b065y1dx)

The Beatles: Made on Merseyside 21:30 FRI (m0003lx8)

The Beatles: Made on Merseyside 02:20 FRI (m0003lx8)

The Fall of the Berlin Wall with John Simpson 21:00 THU (m000b1h2)

The Renaissance Unchained 01:00 WED (b071gsdv)

The Secret Life of Waves 00:00 WED (b00y5jhx)

The Secret Life of the Berlin Wall 22:00 THU (b00nx0y6)

The Silent War 00:10 TUE (b03lb1fn)

The Silent War 01:05 TUE (b03lnswn)

The Sinner 00:25 SUN (m0001ktj)

The Story of China 22:15 MON (b07216nl)

Tom Jones at the BBC 23:55 FRI (b00vz5ml)

Top of the Pops 00:20 SAT (m0009tpn)

Top of the Pops 00:50 SAT (m0009tqc)

Top of the Pops 19:30 THU (m000b1gy)

Top of the Pops 00:40 THU (m000b1gy)

Top of the Pops 19:30 FRI (m000b1sn)

Top of the Pops 21:00 FRI (m000b1sq)

Top of the Pops 00:50 FRI (m000b1sn)

Wild China 20:00 SAT (b00c5n6g)

World News Today 19:00 FRI (m000b3x1)

imagine... 21:00 SUN (b09vdpzw)