Katty Kay in Washington and Christian Fraser in London report on the events that are shaping the world.
University Challenge icons and real-life best friends Eric Monkman and Bobby Seagull are on a road trip with a difference. Feeding their insatiable appetite for knowledge, they visit Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales in search of hidden gems of British scientific and technological ingenuity.
Their 'genius guide' to Northern Ireland celebrates some of the most significant and iconic transportation breakthroughs of the last century. It begins with an encounter with a piece of aviation history that has saved thousands of lives - the ejector seat, designed in Northern Ireland - and ends in Belfast on the deck of 'Titanic's Little Sister', with a host of inquisitive encounters along the way.
Heading west, there is a must-see for anyone with an interest in the cosmos. The Armagh Observatory has been monitoring the night sky and measuring the weather for over two centuries. Here, Monkman and Seagull encounter one of the most important telescopes ever made - the 1885 Grubb ten-inch Refractor, which played a pivotal role in the discovery and cataloguing of thousands of interstellar galaxies.
Passing through the small town of Enniskillen gives Monkman and Seagull the chance to visit a unique railway museum located inside a barber shop. As their journey through Northern Ireland nears its climax, Eric and Bobby arrive at the historic Belfast docks, where they step on board the ship known 'Titanic's little sister'. Built in 1911, The SS Nomadic ferried 274 passengers to the Titanic as it embarked upon its doomed journey and - somewhat eerily - is now the only remaining White Star Line ship in the world, outliving its tragic big sister. Finally, Monkman and Seagull meet one of the most iconic cars ever to be built in Northern Ireland - the DeLorean - famous for its appearances in the Back to the Future movies. The conversation soon turns to flux capacitors and the existential possibilities of time travel, which Monkman refuses to rule out the possibility of.
Using the latest 3D scanning technology, Alexander Armstrong and Dr Michael Scott explore the romantic city of Florence.
They reveal how its wonderful facades and artworks mask a hidden story of intrigue and secrecy, and one powerful dynasty was behind it all - the Medicis, godfathers of the Renaissance. Finally, the scanning team build a virtual reality 3D model to reveal how the city's secret corridors of power were the foundation of its Renaissance glory.
Professor Alice Roberts joins the team excavating a 3,000-year-old Bronze Age village in the Cambridgeshire Fens that has been called the British Pompeii.
The village earned its nickname because 3,000 years ago it burned to the ground, and as it burned it fell into the peat, preserving both the houses and their contents. Until its discovery, we had little real idea of what life was like in Bronze Age Britain.
Now we can peek inside our Bronze Age ancestors' homes as archaeologists discover perfectly preserved roundhouses, and the contents inside them - right down to the utensils in their kitchens. These roundhouses were built in a style never seen in the UK before - testimony not only to the villagers' technical skills, but also of their connections to Europe.
The team has made other incredible discoveries on the dig - from Britain's oldest-found wheel, to swords used in battle, and bowls still containing preserved remnants of food. One of the biggest revelations is the discovery of a complete set of the early technology used to produce cloth - a full industrial process we've never seen in Britain before.
This glimpse into domestic life 3,000 years ago is unprecedented, but it also transforms our impressions of Bronze Age Britain - far from being poor and isolated, it seems the villagers were successful large-scale farmers who used their farming surplus to trade with Europe, exchanging their crops for beautiful glass jewellery and multiple metal tools per household.
As part of the dig, the archaeologists also investigate the cause of the fire - was it just a terrible accident, or did the villagers' wealth provoke an attack?
The Crown Prosecution Service is often under scrutiny for its decision-making. Now for the first time the CPS has allowed cameras in. Filmed over 18 months with prosecutors in Merseyside, Cheshire and the south east, including the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, this groundbreaking series goes behind the scenes to reveal how our criminal justice system really works and what it takes to secure a conviction. Each episode focuses on a different part of the process, following prosecutions and those involved in the case from start to finish.
In this episode the prosecutors deal with two violent domestic murders and the victim of an assault who is unhappy that her attacker has not been prosecuted.
In 2014 the police brought prosecutors over 100,000 cases of violence against women to consider. In a quarter of the cases, the CPS decided a prosecution could not go ahead.
Viv Driver-Hart can't remember the details of the assault against her, but a huge chunk of her hair had been ripped out and she'd been knocked unconscious. Now she's written to the CPS to appeal their decision not to prosecute under a new initiative, the Victims' Right to Review.
Chief crown prosecutor Claire Lindley oversees all prosecutions in the Mersey-Cheshire area. The decision not to prosecute Viv's attacker can only be overturned with her approval. But every decision, however difficult, must be based on the evidence.
Proving that the defendant committed the offence they are charged with is essential to secure a conviction. A jury must be convinced that the prosecution team has produced evidence and presented the case so as to leave them in no doubt of guilt.
Prosecutor Richard Riley deals with two murder cases of women who have been killed by someone they know. In both cases there appears to be overwhelming evidence against the defendants. Police find Paul Fox attempting suicide, with his mother dead downstairs, and a note he's written, 'Warning Dead Bodies'. A witness sees David Hoyle leaving the scene with a knife, where his girlfriend has been stabbed. As the cases develop, it becomes clear that securing a conviction is never straightforward.
If modern Britain lives in a terrace house and loves a cottage, it cannot make its mind up about the high-rise flat. Is the skyscraper a blot on the landscape, or the answer to the national housing crisis?
For Dan Cruickshank, the idea of living high above the city streets really is the future once again. 21st-century London is the site of an extraordinary building boom. Hundreds of residential high-rise towers are being built at record speed, many hugely controversial, as private developers cotton on to what social housing idealists realised 60 years ago.
Dan is in Bow in east London, charting the extraordinary history of one estate - the Lincoln. Designed in 1960 for the London County Council by a young idealistic architect, the 19-storey Lincoln was once the tallest residential building in London. Inside every flat were the latest space-age gadgets - a lift, a shower and a fitted kitchen. But the dream turned sour. The Lincoln became notorious for drugs and violence. There was even a brutal murder. It was the same all over Britain - the flat was a byword for deprivation and social exclusion. But then, just as everything looked lost, the Lincoln was saved and with, perhaps, the hopes of an entire generation for that most precious of things - a home. For Dan, as perhaps for Britain, 'the only way is up'.
The first episode, presented by Kate Humble, Jing Lusi and Ant Anstead, follows the weeks leading up to New Year and is based at the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival - an extraordinary sub-zero celebration in China's far north east. It is an ice wonderland, full of people braving the cold, diving into frozen water and enjoying themselves at minus 30 degrees.
The three of them also experience the New Year transport rush and crush in Beijing, following an Anglo-Chinese family back to China, joining the crush at Beijing's West Station and battling through Beijing traffic.
2016 is the year of the monkey, and Kate goes in search of the extremely rare snub-nosed monkeys of Yunnan. She goes on a poo hunt, looking for monkey faeces to test for their health. Jing experiences the spectacular showers of sparks from ancient fireworks made from molten metal by Mr Xue, the last practitioner of this dying craft, whose only protection is a sheepskin coat and a straw hat. Ant finds out how an entire ice city is made from just frozen river water, sculpted to make full-sized buildings that are illuminated beautifully at night.
Meanwhile, the Hairy Bikers Dave and Si join the largest motorbike flotilla on earth as thousands of migrant workers in Guangdong province head for home as New Year approaches - it is an extraordinary scene as workers from the city go back to their home villages, often for the only time in a year. The Bikers join the volunteers helping the motorcyclists as they head carefully back home on bikes loaded high with people and presents.
This episode looks at America's most controversial cultural territory - the interstitial America of small towns and trailer parks. As his road trip takes him from Iowa to Tennessee, Waldemar Januszczak discovers how this much maligned territory had an immensely beneficial impact on American art. From the small town brilliance of Grant Wood, to the small town alienation of Edward Hopper, to the spooky Dust Bowl symbolism of Alexandre Hogue, interstitial America inspired much that was great. The film culminates in the brilliant assemblages of David Smith, the leading sculptor of abstract expressionism.
WEDNESDAY 22 JANUARY 2020
WED 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (m000dl23)
Katty Kay in Washington and Christian Fraser in London report on the events that are shaping the world.
WED 19:30 James May: The Reassembler (b088syhb)
Portable Record Player
Back in the 1950s listening to music meant sitting around with your mum and dad and having to listen to whatever drivel they wanted, but thankfully along came the portable record player, which helped gave birth to the teenager and a magical music revolution.
James May reassembles the past to hear what it sounded like as he pieces together the 195 parts of the game-changing 1963 Dansette Bermuda portable record player.
James reminisces about his teenage years and what it was like growing up in the 1970s as he takes us on a journey through sound and mechanical wonderment. James falls in love with the beautiful mechanisms that lie in the belly of the beast, finds the perfect solution to his soldering dilemma and has a rather exciting new screwdriver to show us.
WED 20:00 Earth's Great Rivers (b0bwqpbj)
It is an unexpected and contrasting journey through America's iconic and varied landscapes as the Mississippi flows from source to mouth. The Mississippi's greatest surprise is its incredible reach. Its fingers stretch into nearly half of the USA, collecting water from 31 states. More than any other, this one river has helped unite the many and varied parts of America. The Mississippi's longest tributary begins life in the depths of winter, in the towering Rocky Mountains of Wyoming and Montana. Billions of tonnes of water, ultimately destined to flow south are trapped as ice and snow. Here, its headwaters are a draw for the world's top ice climbers, who celebrate winter with daring climbs up towering frozen waterfalls - surely the most dangerous and spectacular winter faces of the ice-bound Mississippi.
In this frozen wilderness, a handful of tenacious coyotes have learned to fish, in one remarkable Mississippi headwater kept flowing by the steaming geysers of Yellowstone National Park. In the bone-chilling water, the coyotes stand stock still for hours, risking severe hypothermia in the hope of pouncing on a fish. Spring in the Upper Mississippi in Minnesota, arrives on the wings of tens of thousands of white pelicans who bring the river to life. Both comical and beautiful, their crowded flotillas put on balletic, synchronised fishing displays. On the other side of the continent in crystal-clear Appalachian Mountain streams, some devious parents employ the creepiest childcare strategy on earth. Freshwater mussels produce bizarre growths which mimic small fish. These lifelike lures even have false eyes and dance, imitating real fish. Their purpose is to act as living bait, tricking larger predatory fish into attacking them. Once bitten, a cloud of blood-sucking baby mussels clamp onto the unwitting fish's gills. After several weeks of feeding on their victim's body fluids, they drop off and disperse. These sneaky mussels provide their babies with food and transport to different parts of the river. It is a macabre underwater puppet show, made all the more weird as the puppet master (the parent mussel) is blind and has no idea what a fish looks like.
But the spring thaw also means extra work for busy beavers - safe in their cosy lodges all winter, they must now venture out to repair the damage that the rushing meltwater has done to their precious dams. As the river flows south through the central US, it becomes a vital transport link. Special cameras take us on a time-travelling journey down the busiest section of the river. A gigantic boat zooms hundreds of miles downriver in seconds, flashing through night and day. This is the industrial heart of the river. Even here, the river still hosts incredible wildlife spectacles. Each Independence Day, millions of mayflies gather in swarms so large they can be seen on weather radar.
As it flows into the south, it spreads and slows, feeding the largest swamp in the US - the fertile, mysterious Atchafalaya. Over 2,000 square miles of wetlands, where alligators still rule. This is one of the richest and most diverse wilderness regions of the states, - a melting pot where racoons and beavers mix with tropical specialties like roseate spoonbills and emerald-green anole lizards. These back waters are the fabled spirit of the Mississippi made famous by Mark Twain and the Blues. As the massive river nears the ocean, it passes cities that have grown up along its banks - like New Orleans. Here 60 miles of docks make it the largest port in the western hemisphere where goods brought down the Mississippi are transferred to huge ocean going ships.
At the end of its 3,500-mile journey, the Mississippi eventually creates one of the biggest river deltas on the planet. But today this delta is under threat. Damming and controls along the river's length are preventing the Mississippi's natural flood cycles - it can no longer replace land that the ocean washes away. This remarkable delta is home to millions of migrant birds and protects vast areas inland from hurricane surges. Its preservation is key to both the people and the wildlife here. The delta is a landscape built by the river from cornfields in Iowa, mountaisides in the Rockies and sediment from Tennessee streams - all collected and deposited by one huge river which unites and defines one great nation.
WED 21:00 The Truth About... (b09qjl7d)
By the middle of January many people struggle to keep up their resolutions to be more active. The result is that the UK wastes nearly £600 million a year on unused gym memberships.
But new science has the answers.
Medical journalist Michael Mosley teams up with scientists whose latest research is turning common knowledge about fitness on its head.
They reveal why 10,000 steps is just a marketing ploy and that two minutes of exercise is all a person needs each week. They discover how to get people to stick to their fitness plans and what exercise can actually make everyone more intelligent. Whether it is for couch potatoes who hate the thought of exercise, someone too busy to consider the gym, or even for fitness fanatics who are desperate to do more - science can help everyone exercise better.
WED 22:00 The Prosecutors (b072wyvj)
Real Crime and Punishment
The Crown Prosecution Service is often under scrutiny for its decision-making. Now for the first time the CPS has allowed cameras in. Filmed over 18 months with prosecutors in Merseyside, Cheshire and the South East, including the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, this groundbreaking series goes behind the scenes to reveal how our criminal justice system really works and what it takes to secure a conviction. Each episode focuses on a different part of the process, following prosecutions and those involved in the case from start to finish.
In the final episode, prosecutors in the Complex Casework units of CPS Mersey-Cheshire and CPS South-East are preparing for trials in separate historic cases.
In 1993, a few days after her 16th birthday, Claire Tiltman was murdered in an alleyway. Since Colin Ash-Smith admitted to other knife attacks in the same area, he has been the main suspect for the crime. In 1996 he was sentenced to life imprisonment for those offences. But without direct evidence, he was not charged with the murder of Claire Tiltman.
Claire's parents died before seeing her killer brought to justice and a group of her school friends took up the campaign to keep the case in the public eye. Now, using a change in the law which might allow the jury to know about Ash-Smith's other attacks and the similarities between them, prosecutor Nigel Pilkington is trying to build a circumstantial case against Colin Ash-Smith.
In Mersey-Cheshire, a non-recent sex abuse case is being prepared for trial. Keith Cavendish Coulson is facing 42 counts of indecent assault on boys in the 1970s and 80s. He says they're lying and that it never happened. The CPS's handling of non-recent sex abuse cases is often highly controversial and Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, is involved in overseeing the case.
Cases committed a long time ago are charged and sentenced according to the law at the time. As Cavendish Coulson's offences were in the 1970s and 80s, they can only charge him under the old law of 1956. Historic cases also present challenges, as the memories of witnesses might have faded and evidence might no longer be available. But moving testimony from Cavendish Coulson's accusers suggests they have far from forgotten these offences.
WED 23:00 Treasures of Ancient Egypt (p01mv1kj)
A New Dawn
Alastair Sooke concludes the epic story of Egyptian art by looking at how, despite political decline, the final era of the Egyptian Empire saw its art enjoy revival and rebirth. From the colossal statues of Rameses II that proclaimed the pharaoh's power to the final flourishes under Queen Cleopatra, Sooke discovers that the subsequent invasions by foreign rulers, from the Nubians and Alexander the Great to the Romans, produced a new hybrid art full of surprise. He also unearths a seam of astonishing satirical work, produced by ordinary men, that continues to inspire Egypt's graffiti artists today.
WED 00:00 Chinese New Year: The Biggest Celebration on Earth (b071c4dn)
The Hairy Bikers Dave Myers and Si King take us to New Year's Eve in Beijing, following an extraordinary day in China's capital city. They experience life in the mega-city on this special day, from preparations at the bell tower, which can only ever ring on the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, to a Beijing family, the Zhangs, who are getting ready for the biggest family get-together of the year. The whole city comes to a halt as everyone gathers round dinner tables to tuck into the traditional reunion dinner.
Jing Lusi goes behind the scenes at what some call the world's most popular television show - CCTV's Chunwan Gala, watched by 800 million viewers. For the performers, this is a make-or-break opportunity. Kate Humble takes part in a huge flower auction in the warmer Yunnan province as bales of flowers - mostly lucky red roses - are sold to hit the shops in time for new year. Ant Anstead discovers how the spirit baijiu is made in 450-year-old pits and learns the subtle etiquette that surrounds its drinking.
WED 01:00 Carved with Love: The Genius of British Woodwork (b01q6xrv)
The Divine Craft of Carpentry
This series about the history of British woodworking concludes by looking at the Middle Ages, a golden era. Sponsored by the monarchy and the church, carvers and carpenters created wonders that still astound us today, from the magnificent roof of Westminster Hall to the Coronation Chair, last used by Elizabeth II but created 700 years ago. The film also shows how this precious legacy was nearly destroyed during the fires of the Reformation.
WED 02:00 Robert Rauschenberg - Pop Art Pioneer (b085k35h)
Alastair Sooke celebrates the protean genius of one of America's most prolific and original artists, Robert Rauschenberg. Fearless and influential, he blazed a trail for artists in the second half of the 20th century, and yet his work is rarely seen here in the UK.
Rauschenberg was the first artist to win the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 1964, creating a crucial bridge between the abstract expressionists of the 50s and the pop artists who emerged in the 60s.
Famous for his 'combines' that elevated the rich junk of life to the status of high art, he continued to work right up to his death in 2008, collaborating with dancers, scientists and social activists on a startlingly broad array of projects.
Alastair travels to the east coast of the USA to talk to those closest to Rauschenberg to reveal the boundless curiosity and restless experimentation that kept him engaged till the very end of his six-decade career.
WED 03:00 Earth's Great Rivers (b0bwqpbj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
THURSDAY 23 JANUARY 2020
THU 19:00 Beyond 100 Days (m000dl1x)
Katty Kay in Washington and Christian Fraser in London report on the events that are shaping the world.
THU 19:30 Turtle, Eagle, Cheetah: A Slow Odyssey (m0001kxf)
A Slow Odyssey: A Cheetah's Hunt
Join three young, orphaned cheetah siblings as they set out across the savannah in Namibia in search of prey. The orphaned cats are being reintroduced into the wilds of Namibia, and specially designed on-board cameras are being used to monitor their progress.
The summer rains have turned the land into a verdant scene, unleashing new sounds, sights and smells for the young cats to experience. As they move through the acacia woodland, thorny scrub and open grassy plains, they encounter herds of gemsbok and zebra and the occasional warthog. These are encounters that will test the young cheetah's hunting skills.
At this age, the siblings are still learning the ropes and are curious about everything they come across. The siblings pursue zebra and chase a warthog, but both are more than a match for them. Undeterred, the siblings continue on their journey, next testing their prowess on a herd of gemsbok that immediately turn the tables and chase the cheetah.
THU 20:00 The Great British Year (p01dfl7j)
Whilst the human population of Britain kicks back, summer is boom time for the animals. More sun means more food, but animals are arriving from afar to share, and competition is high. Hunters time their arrival from Africa to feast on the huge glut of flying insects, hobbies race after dragonflies, and thermal cameras reveal nightjars on a Dorset heath. Will the weather hold? One day harmful UV rays force sea urchins to cover up, the next sees thunderstorms bring out hordes of hungry snails.
THU 21:00 Concorde: A Supersonic Story (b097tvt3)
The life of the most glamorous plane ever built, told by the people whose lives she touched. We uncover rare footage telling the forgotten row between the French and British governments over the name of Concorde that threatened to derail the whole project. On the eve of the opening of Bristol's multi-million-pound aerospace museum, a cast of engineers, flight technicians and frequent fliers tell the supersonic story aided by Lord Heseltine and Dame Joan Collins - and we meet the passenger who shared an intimate moment with The Rolling Stones.
Narrated by Sophie Okonedo.
THU 22:00 Wonders of the Universe (b00zm833)
In the second stop in his exploration of the wonders of the universe, Professor Brian Cox goes in search of humanity's very essence to answer the biggest questions of all: what are we? And where do we come from? This film is the story of matter - the stuff of which we are all made.
Brian reveals how our origins are entwined with the life cycle of the stars. But he begins his journey here on Earth. In Nepal, he observes a Hindu cremation. Hindu philosophy is based on an eternal cycle of creation and destruction, where the physical elements of the body are recycled on to the next stage. Brian draws a parallel with the life cycle of the stars that led to our own creation.
Next, he explains how the Earth's resources have been recycled through the ages. How every atom that makes up everything we see was at some time a part of something else. Our world is made up of just 92 elements, and these same 92 elements are found throughout the entire universe. We are part of the universe because we are made of the same stuff as the universe.
THU 23:00 Storyville (b07176xr)
Decadence and Downfall: The Shah of Iran's Ultimate Party
In 1971, the Shah of Iran, the self-proclaimed 'king of kings', celebrated 2,500 years of the Persian monarchy by throwing the greatest party in history. Money was no object - a lavish tent city, using 37km of silk, was erected in a specially created oasis. The world's top restaurant at the time, Maxim's, closed its doors for two weeks to cater the event, a five-course banquet served to over sixty of the world's kings, queens and presidents, and washed down with some of the rarest wines known to man.
Over a decadent five-day period, guests were treated to a pageant of thousands of soldiers dressed in ancient Persian costume, a 'son et lumiere' at the foot of Darius the Great's temple, and the opening of the Azadi Tower in Tehran, designed to honour the Shah himself.
Every party leaves a few hangovers. This one left a country reeling, never to recover. It crystallised the opposition, led by the Ayatollah Khomeini. More than any other event, this party marked the break between the king of kings and the people of Iran he reigned over.
THU 00:15 Chinese New Year: The Biggest Celebration on Earth (b071c4qc)
Kate Humble and Ant Anstead present the final programme from Hong Kong, looking at what happens right after New Year. This great port city is a strange mix of ultra-modern and traditional. Kate trains with a top dragon-dancing troupe and discovers that not only is it a highly demanding kung fu-based art, it is also taken very seriously as Hong Kong people sincerely embrace the tradition of lucky lions and dragons at New Year.
Meanwhile, the Hairy Bikers are in Beijing at the Temple Fair, where they explore a tradition from imperial China of the emperor starting the new year by renewing his mandate of heaven.
Ant heads to China's frozen north east to Chagan Lake to discover the ancient art of fishing beneath the thick frozen surface. It is an extraordinary scene as the fishermen use centuries-old techniques to catch fish, a key part of any New Year's banquet.
The culmination of the series is all about fireworks. Their loud bangs are believed to ward off evil spirits at this time of year. Ant goes to Liuyang, the city that produces nearly all of China's fireworks and many of those used in displays in British skies too. They even have a temple here to the inventor of fireworks, where workers still pay homage to the monk Li Tian, who started it all. And back in Hong Kong, we experience one of the most extraordinary fireworks displays on the planet as millions of Hong Kong dollars' worth go off in a blaze of light and colour over the famous harbour.
THU 01:15 Bought with Love: The Secret History of British Art Collections (b037nhb9)
The Age of the Individual
Helen Rosslyn explores how collecting reached its maturity in the 19th century when unprecedented wealth from Britain's booming economy encouraged enlightened, philanthropic industrialists to spend their fortunes on art, and in many cases then donate their collections to the nation.
With different taste from the British aristocracy who had dominated collecting to this point, a new breed of art buyer enriched Britain's cultural story by acquiring adventurous and often avant-garde work. Helen looks at the influence of pharmaceutical magnate Thomas Holloway, the Rothschild banking dynasty and the Welsh Davies sisters.
THU 02:15 A History of Art in Three Colours (b01lcz2s)
Dr James Fox explores how, in the hands of artists, the colours gold, blue and white have stirred emotions, changed behaviour and even altered the course of history.
When, in the Middle Ages, the precious blue stone lapis lazuli arrived in Europe from the east, blue became the most exotic and mysterious of colours. And it was artists who used it to offer us tantalising glimpses of other worlds beyond our own.
FRIDAY 24 JANUARY 2020
FRI 19:00 World News Today (m000dl2b)
LIST OF THIS WEEK'S PROGRAMMES
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 (m000dl2d)
Simon Mayo and Steve Wright present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 2 February 1989 and featuring Holly Johnson, Roy Orbison, Robert Howard and Kym Mazelle, Sheena Easton, Michael Ball, Yazz, Hue and Cry, Samantha Fox, Simply Red, Roachford, Marc Almond and Gene Pitney, and Bobby Brown.
FRI 20:00 Sound of Musicals with Neil Brand (b088t0kj)
Neil Brand explores how a new generation of composers transformed musical theatre by embracing more gritty, challenging subjects, from the mean streets of 1950s New York in West Side Story, to the Dickensian London of British blockbuster Oliver!. Neil learns the stories behind Broadway hits Fiddler on the Roof and A Chorus Line, and celebrates the groundbreaking work of Stephen Sondheim. And Neil takes us step by step through the secrets of some classic numbers with the help of star performers Robert Lindsay and Frances Ruffelle.
FRI 21:00 Top of the Pops (m000dl2j)
Mike Read and Sybil Ruscoe present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 9 February 1989 and featuring Samantha Fox, Rick Astley, Yazz, Hue and Cry, Def Leppard, Poison, Texas, Michael Ball, Bobby Brown, Morrissey, Marc Almond and Gene Pitney, and Mike and the Mechanics.
FRI 21:30 Stewart Copeland's Adventures in Music (m000dl2n)
Stewart Copeland continues his mission to understand how music works by exploring its extraordinary power to tell stories.
His journey includes meetings with film director Francis Ford Coppola, who explains how simple musical devices transformed the most famous scenes in The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, his old friend Sting, who describes the secrets of his songwriting process, rapper Talib Kweli, who looks at the power of music in protest, and the French-Cuban Ibeyi sisters, who show how music has kept the Yoruban tradition alive. Finally, he meets the man who composed one of the shortest but most effective musical stories ever written - the Intel bongs!
FRI 22:30 Boy George's 1970s: Save Me from Suburbia (b07z7y5v)
British popstar Boy George recalls, revisits and assesses how the 1970s moulded the person and artist he has become. This is his musical, social and sexual coming of age, when he discovered the power of his own sexuality before setting about turning that persona into a popstar. Set against a backdrop of social discord, disenfranchisement and sexual repression, the 70s was also conversely the decade that revelled in colour and creative chaos, giving the world glam rock, disco and punk, and the young George O'Dowd was at the birth of them all. The documentary includes contributions from contemporaries like Martin Degville (Sigue Sigue Sputnik), Andy Polaris (Animal Nightlife), DJ Princess Julia and popstar Marilyn.
Boy George says: 'I think of the 70s as being this glorious decade where I discovered who I was and discovered all these amazing things - punk rock, electro music, fashion, all of that. And yeah of course there was that dark side to the 70s, the rubbish, the strikes, the poverty, and I'd get chased and confronted for the way I looked. But I was a teenager. I didn't have any time for misery. I was just having a great time with my friends.'.
FRI 23:30 Reginald D Hunter's Songs of the South (p02j94nr)
Tennessee and Kentucky
In the first of a three-part road trip, Georgia-born but London-based Reginald D Hunter returns home to explore the American south both past and present through its world-famous songs. Reg begins by exploring the sounds of Kentucky and Tennessee and the disturbing tradition of blackface minstrelsy.
Hunter is led through the south by its signature songs, including Dolly Parton's My Tennessee Mountain Home, Knoxville Girl, Blue Moon of Kentucky, Chattanooga Choo Choo and minstrel songs such as My Ol' Kentucky Home and Old Folks at Home.
On his voyage Reg visits Dollywood, a slave plantation in Bardstown, Nashville - the home of country music, a moonshine distillery in Gatlinburg and a string band festival in Mount Airy.
Featuring Dolly Parton, The Handsome Family and Del McCoury.
FRI 00:30 The Story Of... (m00030wt)
Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive
Documentary series uncovering the stories behind famous songs. An in-depth look at Gloria Gaynor's disco hit and, for many, the ultimate soundtrack to breakups, I Will Survive. Participants include Gloria Gaynor herself and the song's co-composer and lyricist, Dino Fekaris.
FRI 01:25 Stewart Copeland's Adventures in Music (m000dl2n)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:30 today
FRI 02:25 Sound of Musicals with Neil Brand (b088t0kj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
(Note: the times link back to the details; the pids link to the BBC page, including iPlayer)
... Sings Musicals 00:35 SAT (b019jshd)
A Fresh Guide to Florence with Fab 5 Freddy 21:00 MON (m0007737)
A Fresh Guide to Florence with Fab 5 Freddy 03:00 MON (m0007737)
A History of Art in Three Colours 02:15 THU (b01lcz2s)
All Aboard! New Zealand by Rail, Sea and Land 20:00 SUN (m000dl2m)
Art of Scandinavia 00:30 MON (b074hh79)
Beyond 100 Days 19:00 MON (m000dl1z)
Beyond 100 Days 19:00 TUE (m000dl21)
Beyond 100 Days 19:00 WED (m000dl23)
Beyond 100 Days 19:00 THU (m000dl1x)
Big Sky, Big Dreams, Big Art: Made in the USA 01:00 TUE (b0b618m6)
Billy Connolly: Portrait of a Lifetime 22:30 SUN (p0535lq5)
Billy Connolly: Portrait of a Lifetime 02:30 SUN (p0535lq5)
Bought with Love: The Secret History of British Art Collections 01:15 THU (b037nhb9)
Boy George's 1970s: Save Me from Suburbia 22:30 FRI (b07z7y5v)
Britain in Focus: A Photographic History 01:30 MON (b08k0srb)
Britain's Pompeii: A Village Lost in Time 21:00 TUE (b07myxws)
Britain's Pompeii: A Village Lost in Time 02:00 TUE (b07myxws)
Bunkers, Brutalism and Bloodymindedness: Concrete Poetry with Jonathan Meades 00:30 SUN (b03vrphc)
Caribbean with Simon Reeve 20:00 MON (p02lbhhc)
Carved with Love: The Genius of British Woodwork 01:30 SUN (b01psbwz)
Carved with Love: The Genius of British Woodwork 01:00 WED (b01q6xrv)
Chinese New Year: The Biggest Celebration on Earth 00:00 TUE (b071c3nh)
Chinese New Year: The Biggest Celebration on Earth 00:00 WED (b071c4dn)
Chinese New Year: The Biggest Celebration on Earth 00:15 THU (b071c4qc)
Coast 20:00 SAT (b07xs2r9)
Coast 02:05 SAT (b07xs2r9)
Concorde: A Supersonic Story 21:00 THU (b097tvt3)
Dan Cruickshank: At Home with the British 23:00 TUE (b07d7sdp)
Earth's Great Rivers 20:00 WED (b0bwqpbj)
Earth's Great Rivers 03:00 WED (b0bwqpbj)
Francesco's Mediterranean Voyage 19:30 MON (b00cjs85)
Ice Dream: Lapland's Snow Show 01:35 SAT (m0001v0s)
Italy's Invisible Cities 20:00 TUE (b08cbkvr)
Italy's Invisible Cities 03:00 TUE (b08cbkvr)
James May: The Reassembler 19:30 WED (b088syhb)
Meat Loaf: In and out of Hell 23:30 SAT (b04xdrrb)
Monkman & Seagull's Genius Guide to Britain 03:05 SAT (b0blqs45)
Monkman & Seagull's Genius Guide to Britain 19:30 TUE (b0bmfbrs)
Natural World 19:00 SAT (b0b7jdwp)
Reginald D Hunter's Songs of the South 23:30 FRI (p02j94nr)
Robert Rauschenberg - Pop Art Pioneer 02:00 WED (b085k35h)
Scotland and the Klan 23:30 SUN (b07yjk0j)
Secret Knowledge 19:30 SUN (b01rml7t)
Sound of Musicals with Neil Brand 20:00 FRI (b088t0kj)
Sound of Musicals with Neil Brand 02:25 FRI (b088t0kj)
Stewart Copeland's Adventures in Music 21:30 FRI (m000dl2n)
Stewart Copeland's Adventures in Music 01:25 FRI (m000dl2n)
Storyville 23:00 THU (b07176xr)
The Betrayed Girls 23:00 MON (b08xdh9r)
The Great British Year 20:00 THU (p01dfl7j)
The Prosecutors 22:00 MON (b071gvs3)
The Prosecutors 22:00 TUE (b0726h15)
The Prosecutors 22:00 WED (b072wyvj)
The Story Of... 00:30 FRI (m00030wt)
The Truth About... 21:00 WED (b09qjl7d)
The Women's Football Show 19:00 SUN (m000dl2h)
Top of the Pops 22:30 SAT (m000db8c)
Top of the Pops 23:00 SAT (m000db8f)
Top of the Pops 19:30 FRI (m000dl2d)
Top of the Pops 21:00 FRI (m000dl2j)
Treasures of Ancient Egypt 23:00 WED (p01mv1kj)
Turtle, Eagle, Cheetah: A Slow Odyssey 19:30 THU (m0001kxf)
Upstream 02:30 MON (m0008z3c)
Wisting 21:00 SAT (m000dl25)
Wisting 21:45 SAT (m000dl27)
Wonders of the Universe 22:00 THU (b00zm833)
World News Today 19:00 FRI (m000dl2b)