On the island of Kyushu in Japan, one of the country's last remaining families of Samurai sword makers are continuing a tradition their ancestors began 230 years ago. Working with his brother and son, Shiro Kunimitsu is dedicated to perfecting the art of producing swords of exceptional sharpness and durability. This film follows Shiro and his family as they lovingly craft a sword - a process that takes many months. We discover the importance of the sword in the ancient Samurai code, its enduring spiritual and symbolic power, and the challenges facing the dwindling numbers of sword makers in Japan today.
Documentary series featuring dramatic reconstruction in which Lucy Worsley revisits key events in the lives of Henry VIII's six wives, revealing how each attempted to exert influence on the king and the Tudor court. Lucy delves into records of private moments and personal feelings in the women's lives that ended up shaping the course of history.
This episode follows the emotional and physical struggles of Catherine of Aragon as she strove to give Henry the male heir he so desired. As Henry's eye wandered over the women at court, Anne Boleyn, not wishing to be cast aside as her sister Mary had been, repeatedly rejected the king's advances and insisted on marriage.
Henry set about trying to arrange an annulment, but Catherine was defiant and passionately defended her position.
The story of the reserved young prodigy from Northern Ireland who became a global superstar.
This is the feature-length documentary exploring the remarkable life of the footballer George Best.
Andrew Graham-Dixon investigates the story of the 20th century’s greatest art forger, Dutch artist Han van Meegeren, who made millions during World War II selling fake Vermeers in Nazi-occupied Holland.
Following a trail of evidence across Europe, Graham-Dixon pieces together how van Meegeren fooled the art establishment - and even swindled Hermann Göring, selling him what was then one of the most expensive paintings in the world.
Looking at this tale of intrigue and double-dealing against the backdrop of Europe’s darkest hour, Graham-Dixon tries to uncover the motives of the master forger. Was he a Dutch folk hero, outwitting the Nazi occupiers? A cynical opportunist? Or even ruthless collaborator?
As Andrew Graham-Dixon discovers, this is a tale about much more than simply art forgery: a twisted, timely morality tale about the blurred lines between truth and fiction that poses uncomfortable questions about deception - and collusion. About what happens when we want to believe something a little too much, even when the evidence of fakery is before our eyes.
In the concluding episode, Dr Sam Willis charts the evolution of weaponry in Britain from 1800 to the First World War, looking at the drive to develop ever more precise weapons, from artillery shells to rifles to the Maxim machine gun.
The pace of technological change in the 19th century was phenomenal. Sam test-fires a 'Brown Bess' musket, the infantry weapon of choice at Waterloo in 1815 and discovers that a well-trained soldier could fire up to three shots a minute. He also looks at efforts to make artillery more effective on the battlefield with the invention of spherical case shot, a new type of shell that was named after its inventor - Henry Shrapnel.
Sam finds out how accessible firearms were to the public in the early 19th century and tells the little-known story of Spencer Percival, the only British prime minister ever to be assassinated, shot at point blank range in the lobby of the House of Commons in 1812.
By the turn of the 20th century, several inventors believed that they could banish war if they invented the ultimate weapon, an instrument so horrific that no-one would dare use it. In the 1880s, Hiram Maxim, an American inventor, devised the first 'Maxim' machine guns in his workshop in Hatton Garden, London. The first rapid-fire weapon to harness the energy of its own recoil, the Maxim gun, and its successor the Vickers machine gun, could fire 600 rounds a minute and were used to devastating effect on the battlefields of the First World War.
Automatic weapons were also sought by criminal gangs, as Sam discovers when he looks back at one of the most infamous sieges of the 20th century - the Siege of Sidney Street in 1911.
The series culminates in a remarkable experiment to find out whether a bulletproof vest made of silk might have stopped a bullet fired at Archduke Franz Ferdinand. With the aid of the Royal Armouries, Sam conducts a unique experiment with assistant firearms curator Lisa Traynor to prove that a bulletproof vest owned by the archduke would have stopped a bullet fired by his assassin, Gavrilo Princip. The killing of the archduke on June 28 1914 set in motion a chain of events that led to the outbreak of the First World War.
World War I was the deadliest war of its age, with the most technologically advanced firearms and weapons of almost medieval brutality used to wage a devastating conflict. When the firing finally stopped on November 11, 1918, an estimated 17 million people had died and 20 million had been wounded. In the aftermath of World War I, we now put increasing faith in treaties, international conventions and diplomacy. Surely we could never allow such carnage to happen again?
Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama’s work pushed boundaries that often alienated her from her peers and those in power in the art world. Kusama was an underdog with everything stacked against her: the trauma of growing up in Japan during World War II, life in a dysfunctional family that discouraged her creative ambitions, sexism and racism in the art establishment, and mental illness.
Kusama overcame countless odds to bring her radical vision to the world stage and created a legacy of artwork that spans the disciplines of painting, sculpture, performance art, film and literature. Born in 1929, Kusama still creates new work every day. Her Infinity Mirror Room installations, the first of which was created in 1965, continue to attract visitors in record numbers.
THURSDAY 02 APRIL 2020
THU 19:00 BBC News (m000h9h1)
Twenty four hours a day - the latest national and international stories as they break.
THU 19:30 The Wonder of Animals (b04gbdwr)
The 100 trillion ants in the world weigh as much as all the people on earth and have colonised the planet like no other animal.
Chris Packham explores the ingenious ways in which ants have collaborated to achieve their global success - natural air-conditioning systems keep ants cool in their nests, shelters made from their own bodies protect nomadic ants from the elements and a sense of smell five times more powerful than other insects allows them to overpower animals hundreds of times larger than themselves.
Remarkably, new research reveals how ant colonies are capable of immunising themselves against diseases.
THU 20:00 How to Make (m000gwzd)
Zoe Laughlin, designer, maker and materials engineer, is fascinated by the science and technology hidden within the everyday objects we take for granted. In this series, she dismantles and dissects three classic items to understand the wonders of form, function and material that go into making them, before building her own truly bespoke versions, step by step.
In this episode, Zoe takes on the trainer - a much-loved modern classic that's a marvel of engineering and design. Setting out in search of inspiration, she meets some of the UK's leading trainer designers and manufacturers, as well as the young inventors working on mind-blowing sustainable creations such as material made by bacteria and self-deodorising fabrics.
Zoe also goes behind the scenes at Britain's largest footwear factory, where high-speed injection-moulding processes turn out a shoe every nine seconds. And she meets one of the country's pre-eminent trainer historians, Thomas Turner, to find out how our favourite everyday footwear would be nothing without car tyres. All before building her own bespoke trainers. In Zoe's own words, ‘they are mad, but they're mine - and that makes them special!’
THU 21:00 Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema (m000gwzj)
Mark Kermode explores one of the most distinctive and popular genres of all. The spy movie plays on our paranoia and feeds our fears as well as fulfilling our fantasies of secret missions and special skills. It has also given us perhaps the most famous hero in all of cinema – James Bond.
Spy movies capture a world not of black and white but shades of grey. But if the morality is often ambiguous, the genre is full of tried and tested conventions. Mark opens up the cinematic agent’s essential toolkit, from the spy boss to the mysterious McGuffin, surveillance techniques to a striking set of opening titles, and he traces the development of the genre from its earliest days.
Whether you’re a blockbuster superspy or a compromised cold warrior, Mark reveals all you need to survive in the murky yet thrilling world of big screen espionage.
THU 22:00 Pinewood: 80 Years of Movie Magic (b05ys7zz)
Jonathan Ross gains unprecedented access to Britain's famous film studio to reveal the magic behind some of the greatest movies ever made. He encounters legendary stars including Dame Joan Collins and Barbara Windsor, casts the spotlight upon the award-winning teams behind iconic heroes such as Superman and James Bond, and even risks life and limb attempting some daring and dangerous stunts of his own!
THU 23:00 Score: Cinema's Greatest Soundtracks (m0002pf6)
What makes a film score unforgettable? Featuring Hans Zimmer, James Cameron, Danny Elfman, John Williams, Quincy Jones and Trent Reznor, amongst many others, Score: Cinema’s Greatest Soundtracks brings Hollywood's elite composers together for a privileged look inside the challenges and creative secrecy of the world's most international music genre, the film score.
THU 00:35 Our Classical Century (m0005wrw)
1980s to the present
Music broadcaster Suzy Klein and West-End star Alexandra Burke chart how, in the 80s and 90s, a new generation of young musicians – from Simon Rattle and Nigel Kennedy to Vanessa-Mae - defied tradition and burst out of the accepted confines of the classical genre. We look at Torvill and Dean’s triumph at the Winter Olympics, the Three Tenors at Italia 90, Tavener’s haunting anthem accompanying the funeral of Princess Diana and the successful launch of Classic FM.
Alexandra meets Torvill and Dean to explore how Maurice Ravel’s Bolero burst into the pop charts in 1984. The skaters reveal why it was chosen and why it worked so well. Composer Richard Hartley explains to Suzy how he had to re-orchestrate Ravel’s composition on the synclavier to get it to the right length for the Olympic performance.
In 1989 Nigel Kennedy burst onto the scene with his punk loom and ferocious playing. A protege of Yehudi Menuhin, he tore up the conventions of the classical concert hall. Producer Barry McCann reveals how they marketed Kennedy and his chart-topping version of Vivaldi’s Summer and we see Kennedy in action today performing Jimmy Hendrix.
Sir Simon Rattle reveals how classical music transformed the reputation and fortunes of a city – Birmingham. The Midlands was the birthplace of Heavy Metal, music forged in the din of its industrial heritage. But the car industry had collapsed and in 1980 the arrival of Rattle, a charismatic young conductor with a passion for Mahler, proved the unlikely catalyst for Birmingham’s transformation. Suzy goes behind the scenes at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, one of the world’s finest concert halls while Sir Simon reveals why The Queen stayed away from the opening ceremony
In 1990 Puccini’s Nessun Dorma brought opera to a whole new audience of football supporters when the BBC used Pavarotti’s 1972 recording as their title music. When Pavarotti, Carreras and Domingo performed together for the first time on the eve of the final, The Three Tenors became icons of popular culture. At Arsenal FC’s Emirates stadium, Alexandra meets football fans inspired by Nessun Dorma to create the FA Fans Choir.
Until 1993 the options to hear classical music were through records, concert hall or Radio Three. Broadcaster Petroc Trelawny tells the inside story of the early days of the country’s first commercial classical radio station, Classic FM. Its recipe of popular music for a broad audience was an immediate hit, but Trelawny reveals that ‘the critics were quite sniffy.’ He also tells how founder Michael Bukht would reprimand him on air if the talking got in the way of the music.
During a rare interview with Vanessa-Mae, we see her barnstorming arrival on the music scene. Mae made her debut with the London Philharmonia aged 10 and at 13 set a world record as the youngest soloist to record both the Tchaikovsky and Beethoven violin concertos. A child of the 80s, a fan of Michael Jackson and Prince, Mae wanted to experiment, which she did with an album heavily influenced by pop and rock. To accompany it, she was filmed in pop videos shot cavorting in hot pants in Ibiza and playing the violin in the sea. It shocked the classical world, but gained Mae instant popularity and recognition with the young.
But as classical music was flirting with the pop world, it retained its power to unite the nation in exceptional times. The funeral of Princess Diana was a moment of national mourning, with John Tavener’s piece Song for Athene at the heart of the service. Martin Neary, who conducted the choir, explains why he chose the piece. Suzy explores why it so aptly captured the sense of ancient ritual and tradition, modernity and spirituality for the congregation and the millions watching the event on television. World-class cellist, Stephen Isserlis, performs excerpts from Tavener’s The Protecting Veil, a piece composed for him, and discusses the spiritual quality of the music.
In 2007, an ensemble of 12- to 26-year-olds from Venezuela’s most troubled neighbourhoods rocked the Royal Albert Hall with the Telegraph asking, ‘Was this the greatest Prom of all time?’ The Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra was the product of a government-sponsored initiative known as El Sistema. Our presenters explore this remarkable illustration of how the idea of who can play classical music was transformed.
Crashing through the sound barrier the programme finally looks at the work of one of the UK’s most exciting young composers, Anna Meredith, who combines classical, electronic, pop, vocal and visual styles in her work.
Our Classical Century climaxes with a look to the future in which barriers between musical genres and performance styles are breaking down. Sir Simon Rattle explains: ‘Music’s like the virus you don’t get rid thankfully of because it’s incurable! We just try and spread it to as many people as we can and it should be in everybody’s life in some way or other. Music’s like weeds, it’s amazing where it grows.’
THU 01:35 Cinema Through the Eye of Magnum Photos (b095vnk0)
From the day it was created in 1947, Magnum Photos has represented some of the most famous names in photography whose pictures have come to define their times. But Magnum's work also includes more surprising images - pictures of cinema. This film recounts this remarkable collaboration - from Robert Capa's photographs of Ingrid Bergman and Eve Arnold's intimate relationship with Marilyn Monroe through to Paolo Pellegrin's portraits of Kate Winslet, providing an essential history of both cinema and photography.
THU 02:30 The Wonder of Animals (b04gbdwr)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
THU 03:00 How to Make (m000gwzd)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
FRIDAY 03 APRIL 2020
FRI 19:00 BBC News (m000h9h3)
LIST OF THIS WEEK'S PROGRAMMES
The latest international news from the BBC.
FRI 19:30 Top of the Pops (m000gx1r)
Mark Goodier and Simon Parkin present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 15 June 1989 and featuring Fuzzbox, Sinitta and Donna Allen.
FRI 20:00 ABBA at the BBC (b03lyzpr)
If you fancy an hour's worth of irresistible guilty pleasures from Anni-Frid, Benny, Bjorn and Agnetha, this is the programme for you. ABBA stormed the 1974 Eurovision song contest with their winning entry Waterloo, and this programme charts the meteoric rise of the band with some of their greatest performances at the BBC.
It begins in 1974 with their first Top of the Pops appearance, and we even get to see the band entertaining holidaymakers in Torbay in a 1975 Seaside Special. There are many classic ABBA tunes from the 1979 BBC special ABBA in Switzerland, plus their final BBC appearance on the Late Late Breakfast show in 1982.
This compilation is a must for all fans and includes great archive interviews, promos and performances of some of ABBA's classics including Waterloo, Dancing Queen, Does Your Mother Know, Thank You for the Music, SOS, Fernando, Chiquitita and many more.
FRI 21:00 Top of the Pops (m000gx1t)
Simon Mayo and Gary Davies present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 22 June 1989 and featuring Living in a Box, The Beautiful South and Bangles.
FRI 21:30 Rich Hall's Countrier Than You (b08j8lqb)
Award-winning comedian Rich Hall takes a country music journey from Tennessee to Texas to look at the movements and artists that don't get as much notoriety but have helped shape the genre over the years.
With the help of prominent performers and producers including Michael Martin Murphey, Robbie Fulks and Ray Benson, Rich explores the early origins of country music in Nashville and Austin. He visits the rustic studios where this much-loved sound was born and discovers how the genre has reinvented itself with influences from bluegrass, western swing and Americana.
Rich also explores how the music industries differ between these two cities and how they each generated their own distinct twist on the genre, from cosmic country and redneck country to the outlaw artists of the 1970s. Through Working Dog, a three-minute self-penned soap opera about a collie dog, Rich illustrates how different styles can change.
As he unearths the roots and inner workings of country music, Rich finds it's more than just music - it's a lifestyle.
FRI 23:00 ... Sings the Great American Songbook (b00rs3w4)
Presenting the best and most eclectic performances on the BBC from the world's best-known artists performing their interpretations of classic tracks from The Great American Songbook.
In chronological order, this programme takes us through a myriad of BBC studio performances, from Dame Shirley Bassey in 1966 performing The Lady is A Tramp, to Bryan Ferry in 1974 on Twiggy's BBC primetime show performing Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, to Captain Sensible on Top of the Pops in 1982 with his number one hit version of Happy Talk, through to Kirsty MacColl singing Miss Otis Regrets in 1994 to Jamie Cullum with his version of I Get a Kick Out Of You on Parkinson in 2004 and bang up to date with Brit winner Florence from Florence and the Machine performing My Baby Just Cares for Me with Jools Holland on his Annual Hootenanny at the end of 2009.
The Great American Songbook can best be described as the music and popular songs of the famous and prolific American composers of the 1920s and onwards. Composers such as Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Hoagy Carmichael to name but a few... songwriters who wrote the tunes of Broadway theatre and Hollywood musicals that earned enduring popularity before the dawning of rock 'n' roll.
These famous songwriters have penned songs which have entered the general consciousness and which are now best described as standards - tunes which every musician and singer aspires to include in their repertoire.
FRI 00:00 Sinatra: All or Nothing at All (b065h3vy)
An up-close and personal examination of the life, music and career of the legendary entertainer. In 1971, Frank Sinatra sang his legendary 'retirement concert' in Los Angeles, featuring music which was said to reflect his own life. Told in his own words from hours of archived interviews, along with commentary from those closest to him, this definitive four-part series weaves the legendary songs he chose with comments from friends and family, as well as never-before-seen footage from home movies and concert performances.
An unprecedented tribute to the beloved showman, with the full participation of the Frank Sinatra Estate, the second episode follows Sinatra's growing political profile, his relationship with Ava Gardner and the split from Nancy, his first wife.
FRI 01:00 Music Moguls: Masters of Pop (p039w64c)
Three-part series revealing the secret history of pop and rock from the men and women who pull the strings behind the scenes.
Programme one tells the story of the maverick managers who controlled the careers of megastar artists, from Colonel Parker (Elvis) right the way up to Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber). Along the way are rollicking tales of industry legends like Led Zeppelin's Peter Grant, and Don Arden, who managed The Small Faces, Black Sabbath and ELO.
Narrated by Simon Napier-Bell, it also features contributions from Andrew Loog Oldham (The Rolling Stones), Jon Landau (Bruce Springsteen), Bill Curbishley (The Who), Paul McGuinness (U2) and Jonathan Dickins (Adele).
FRI 02:00 Rich Hall's Countrier Than You (b08j8lqb)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:30 today
(Note: the times link back to the details; the pids link to the BBC page, including iPlayer)
... Sings the Great American Songbook 23:00 FRI (b00rs3w4)
A Day in the Life of Andy Warhol 00:30 TUE (b067fw3w)
ABBA at the BBC 20:00 FRI (b03lyzpr)
Arena 01:00 WED (m00084zh)
BBC News 19:00 MON (m000h828)
BBC News 19:00 WED (m000h9j7)
BBC News 19:00 THU (m000h9h1)
BBC News 19:00 FRI (m000h9h3)
Ben Building: Mussolini, Monuments and Modernism 01:30 MON (b07d7nj9)
Britain Beneath Your Feet 21:00 TUE (b0619k6l)
Britain Beneath Your Feet 02:30 TUE (b0619k6l)
Britain's Ancient Capital: Secrets of Orkney 22:00 TUE (b087vh70)
Britain's Lost Waterlands: Escape to Swallows and Amazons Country 20:00 SUN (b07k18jf)
Britain's Lost Waterlands: Escape to Swallows and Amazons Country 02:45 SUN (b07k18jf)
Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Monumental Art 00:00 MON (b0bjj23v)
Cinema Through the Eye of Magnum Photos 01:35 THU (b095vnk0)
Clive James 23:00 SAT (m000gx15)
Coast 20:00 SAT (b07zcmsq)
Digging for Britain 20:00 TUE (m000gx1f)
Digging for Britain 02:00 TUE (m000gx1f)
Discovering... 01:45 SUN (m00041td)
Dynasties 20:00 MON (p06mvrr0)
England's Forgotten Queen: The Life and Death of Lady Jane Grey 22:00 MON (b09m5rpg)
Francesco's Mediterranean Voyage 19:30 MON (b00d06bk)
Francis Bacon: A Brush with Violence 23:55 SUN (b08cwq3v)
Gareth Edwards’ Great Welsh Adventure 19:30 TUE (m000b4kx)
George Best: All by Himself 21:00 WED (b08s3wxj)
George Best: All by Himself 02:10 WED (b08s3wxj)
Handmade in Bolton 01:15 SUN (m00095hq)
Handmade in Japan 19:30 WED (b08v8gxl)
How to Make 20:00 THU (m000gwzd)
How to Make 03:00 THU (m000gwzd)
Inspector Montalbano 21:00 SAT (b08nqzt1)
Lost Sitcoms 23:45 SAT (b07v86cq)
Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema 21:00 THU (m000gwzj)
Music Moguls: Masters of Pop 01:00 FRI (p039w64c)
Natural World 19:00 SUN (b04bzsjs)
Operation Gold Rush with Dan Snow 21:00 SUN (b082w0zw)
Our Classical Century 00:35 THU (m0005wrw)
Pinewood: 80 Years of Movie Magic 22:00 THU (b05ys7zz)
Railways: The Making of a Nation 19:00 TUE (b07x4f7s)
Rich Hall's Countrier Than You 21:30 FRI (b08j8lqb)
Rich Hall's Countrier Than You 02:00 FRI (b08j8lqb)
Rick Stein's Long Weekends 19:00 SAT (b085024t)
Rick Stein's Long Weekends 03:15 SAT (b085024t)
Scandal & Beauty: Mark Gatiss on Aubrey Beardsley 21:00 MON (m000gx0d)
Scandal & Beauty: Mark Gatiss on Aubrey Beardsley 03:00 MON (m000gx0d)
Score: Cinema's Greatest Soundtracks 23:00 THU (m0002pf6)
Sex and Sensibility: The Allure of Art Nouveau 23:00 MON (b01fd4z2)
Sinatra: All or Nothing at All 00:00 FRI (b065h3vy)
Six Wives with Lucy Worsley 20:00 WED (b0853mvq)
Soup Cans & Superstars: How Pop Art Changed the World 23:00 TUE (b067ftp7)
Sword, Musket & Machine Gun: Britain's Armed History 00:00 WED (b088sznj)
Synth & Beyond with Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert 02:15 SAT (b0bnk6vc)
The Art Mysteries with Waldemar Januszczak 20:30 TUE (m000gx1h)
The Art Mysteries with Waldemar Januszczak 01:30 TUE (m000gx1h)
The Odyssey 22:00 SUN (m000gx08)
The Secret Life of Books 01:00 MON (b06kxw9l)
The Wonder of Animals 19:30 THU (b04gbdwr)
The Wonder of Animals 02:30 THU (b04gbdwr)
Top of the Pops 00:15 SAT (m000gp1d)
Top of the Pops 00:45 SAT (m000gp1h)
Top of the Pops 19:30 FRI (m000gx1r)
Top of the Pops 21:00 FRI (m000gx1t)
Van Meegeren: The Forger Who Fooled the Nazis 22:30 WED (m00095j6)