Bob Ross paints a landscape with a faraway mountain, snuggled in bright green trees and bushes, and mirrored in glistening waters.
The British Library in London is home to 14 million books, on shelves that stretch over 600km. Extraordinary vessels of ideas and knowledge, they testify to the love affair we have with books. This series explores the enduring appeal and importance of books from a 4th century bible to present day paperbacks.
The Codex Sinaiticus is the world's oldest surviving bible. Made around 350 AD, it is a unique insight into early Christians and their effort to find a single version of the biblical text that everyone could accept - a bible fit for the Roman Empire. 800 years later, an illuminated bible rich in gold and lapis lazuli and produced in Winchester, recalls a time when bibles were at the centre of the Church's struggle with the State for ultimate authority.
Both of these bibles are works of art and remarkable achievements in book technology. They are also annotations on the political era in which they were created, providing fascinating commentary on the life of Jesus and the murder of Thomas Becket.
In a vibrant two-part special for Holy Week, artist Lachlan Goudie packs his easel to undertake a trip of a lifetime. Part travelogue, part spiritual quest, part artistic exploration, this series transports the viewer visually and emotionally as Lachlan challenges himself to capture the look and feel of the Holy Land and the Bible story.
In the first episode, Lachlan follows Jesus's last days on earth, travelling from the north of what is now Israel to Jerusalem. It's a pilgrimage that millions undertake and a story of love and suffering that has inspired some of the world's most remarkable masterpieces.
From an early age, Lachlan was gripped by a vivid sense of the Holy Land, and especially the Easter story gleaned from the images in his illustrated children's Bible. As he grew up, those images were supplanted by others - the great masterpieces of Leonardo and Raphael, among others. Above all, Lachlan absorbed the Bible story through the many powerful paintings of the crucifixion by his own father, the artist Alexander Goudie. All these artists had one thing in common: they had never been to the Holy Land.
Lachlan has always wondered what it might be like to visit and paint the actual sites where the Bible stories took place. In this film, Lachlan explores the Holy Land for himself, sketching and painting the people and landscapes he sees there - looking afresh at its sacred sites and bustling streets, through the eyes of an artist. Exploring and sketching the key sites of Christianity that marked the end of Jesus's earthly life, will the experience of working and travelling in the Holy Land make him think about his own relationship with the Bible story?
Along the way, in a series of surprising encounters, Lachlan meets locals who have their own take on daily life in the Holy Land. This is personal odyssey for Lachlan, exploring the places his father painted but never saw, rooted in the past but brimming with life in the present day.
A unique insight into the life and work of celebrated painter Paula Rego directed by her son, film-maker Nick Willing. Notoriously private and guarded, Rego opens up for the first time, surprising her son with secrets and stories of her unique life, battling fascism, a misogynistic art world and manic depression.
Born in Portugal, a country which her father told her was no good for women, Rego nevertheless used her powerful pictures as a weapon against the dictatorship before settling in London, where she continued to target women's issues such as abortion rights. But above all, her paintings are a cryptic glimpse into an intimate world of personal tragedy, perverse fantasies and awkward truths.
Nick Willing combines a huge archive of home movies and family photographs with interviews spanning 60 years and in-depth studies of Rego at work in her studio. What emerges is a powerful personal portrait of an artist whose legacy will survive the years, graphically illustrated in pastel, charcoal and oil paint.
Documentary about the painters Augustus John and James Dickson Innes who, in 1911, left London for the wild Arenig Valley in north Wales. Over three years, they created a body of work to rival the visionary landscapes of Matisse.
Andrew Graham-Dixon shows how the art of Renaissance Flanders evolved from the craft of precious tapestries within the Duchy of Burgundy into a leading painting school in its own right. Starting his journey at the magnificent altarpiece of Ghent Cathedral created by the Van Eyck brothers, Andrew explains their groundbreaking innovation in oil painting and marvels at how the colours they obtained can still remain so vibrant today.
Andrew describes how, in the early Renaissance, the most urgent preoccupation was not the advancement of learning, humanist or otherwise, but the Last Judgment. People believed they were living in the end of days; a subject popular with preachers and artists and intensely realised in swarming microscopic detail by Hieronymus Bosch.
TUESDAY 10 AUGUST 2021
TUE 19:00 The Joy of Painting (m000n7fp)
Bob Ross paints a beautiful summer scene, with a rushing little rivulet flowing through the luscious greenery of a cabin landscape.
TUE 19:30 The Beauty of Books (b00ymh76)
The medieval era was the heyday of illuminated manuscripts. In the 14th and 15th centuries, there was a flowering of religious texts set into beautifully decorated pages. Among these devotional books were psalters, or books of psalms. Hundreds of these were produced, but the Luttrell Psalter is remarkable for its whimsical, humorous and vivid pictures of rural life and a demonic world that is terrifying and grotesque.
This period also saw the development of literature in English. The great Geoffrey Chaucer, often called the father of English literature, took the bold decision to reject literary convention and write in English. His brilliant, bawdy satire the Canterbury Tales became a medieval bestseller and, as a result, when William Caxton set up his first printing press in London, he chose Chaucer's tales as his first major English publication.
These wonderful books contain clever, often mysterious references for their readers and are crucial milestones in the story of the book, charting the last phase of the manuscript and the arrival of the printed book.
TUE 20:00 Yes, Minister (b0074rnd)
The Middle-Class Rip-Off
Jim Hacker encounters civil service snobbery when he suggests selling an art gallery to save his local football team.
TUE 20:30 The Good Life (b00781sr)
Backs to the Wall
Seventies sitcom about a couple who decide to become self-sufficient. Tom and Barbara receive help from an unexpected quarter when harvest time comes around and Tom sprains his back.
TUE 21:00 Write Around the World with Richard E Grant (p09nlfbk)
Book and travel lover Richard E Grant journeys to southern France, visiting the Cévennes mountains, Marseille, Juan-les-Pins on the French Riviera and Grasse in the hills north of Cannes, in the footsteps of writers inspired by the country, its culture and history.
Reading key passages from their books as he goes along, including works by Robert Louis Stevenson, Alexandre Dumas, F Scott Fitzgerald, Elizabeth David and Patrick Süskind, Richard not only learns about the lives of these great authors, but also experiences many of the places immortalised in the literary classics they created.
TUE 22:00 The Culture Show (b01y7sj4)
Sincerely, F Scott Fitzgerald
Novelist Jay McInerney explores the life and writing of F Scott Fitzgerald, whose masterwork The Great Gatsby has just been filmed for the fifth time.
Fitzgerald captured the reckless spirit of New York life in the roaring twenties - the flappers, the parties, the bootleg liquor, the inevitable reckoning, and the hangover to come. In Gatsby, he created a character who reinvented himself for love - just as Fitzgerald would, not once, but twice. Fitzgerald never wrote an autobiography. He left us something better - letters. Romantic, arrogant, humble letters; letters to editors, publishers, lovers, or friends.
These letters reveal the inner thoughts of a man whose real life was never far from the fiction he wrote.
TUE 23:00 What We Were Watching (m000l9vc)
Summer TV Classics
Join Grace Dent on a televisual trip of a lifetime as she explores the sights, sounds and schedules of the great British summer. Grace’s epic journey covers everything that informs our attitudes to summertime, from the travel shows of the 60s and 70s, which first brought the world’s finest resorts into our living rooms, to Del and Rodney Trotter fooling about abroad and the high jinks of Hi-de-Hi!
She explores the influence that holiday camp staples like beauty contests and talent shows had on primetime programmes like Seaside Special, which attracted stars as iconic as Abba and Grace Jones. Away from the glitz and glamour, there’s a look at the notorious Notting Hill Carnival of 1976, where a celebration of colour ended in rioting that changed Britain’s race laws forever, and a trip to Ibiza in the 80s, where young Brits were discovering new ways of getting away from it all. Also abroad are the then-young cast of EastEnders, with a young Grant Mitchell showing how to hit the clubs of Spain in epic style – and of course, sun, sea and soap means a look at the show that really burned the BBC – Eldorado.
TUE 00:00 The High Art of the Low Countries (b01rtf47)
Boom and Bust
Andrew Graham-Dixon looks at how the seemingly peaceful countries of Holland and Belgium - famous for their tulips and windmills, mussels and chips - were in fact forged in a crucible of conflict and division. He examines how a period of economic boom driven for the first time by a burgeoning and secular middle class led to the Dutch golden age of the 17th century, creating not only the concept of oil painting itself, but the master painters Rembrandt and Vermeer combining art and commerce together as we would recognise it today.
TUE 01:00 Fabric of Britain (b03bm1rg)
The Story of Wallpaper
Paul Martin presents the surprisingly compelling story of wallpaper. From its origins in the 16th century to the present day, wallpaper has always had something to say about us and our tastes and aspirations. It's a journey that takes Paul from the grandest of stately homes to the poorest of two-up-two-downs, the height of luxury to industrial grime and infestation. There are some fascinating tales along the way; wallpaper may seem insignificant, but governments have tried to control it, and it's even threatened to poison us.
The programme also reveals the art and craft of wallpaper. Paul learns how to make flock wallpaper, very much a deluxe item in the 18th century, helps to uncover a rare antique piece of wallpapering from a building site, and prints the designs of Marthe Armitage. Along the way, he meets contemporary designers and makers, and tells the stories of such historical wallpaper luminaries as Pugin and William Morris.
TUE 02:00 The Beauty of Books (b00ymh76)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
TUE 02:30 Write Around the World with Richard E Grant (p09nlfbk)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
WEDNESDAY 11 AUGUST 2021
WED 19:00 The Joy of Painting (m000n7g2)
Bob Ross captures the graceful and uncommon qualities of distant sloping hills and a peaceful nearby lake.
WED 19:30 The Beauty of Books (b00yvs8l)
The Victorians were masters of illustrated books, especially for children. Thanks to an emerging middle class readership, new printing technology and a sentimentalised regard for childhood, fairy tales and fantasy fiction containing words and pictures grew into an established genre.
First published in 1865, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll was one of the most remarkable books of the period, a combination of the genius of Carroll's nonsense verse and prose and the meticulously detailed illustrations of John Tenniel. Creating a handshake on the page, they formed an inseparable bond that has since become a cultural phenomenon. But beyond Tenniel, Carroll's masterpiece has been illustrated hundreds of times by artists like Salvador Dali, Ralph Steadman and Mervyn Peake, all creating their own distinctive Wonderlands. Peake was also a talented writer, and his Gormenghast trilogy of 1946 is an illustrated series of fantasy novels that re-interpreted the genre in the 20th century.
Today, illustrated or 'picture' books are still thriving for the youngest readership. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler reveals how the genius of the writer and illustrator partnership continues to enthral and enrich the story of the book.
WED 20:00 Earth from Space (p072n8b8)
We think of the Earth as a blue planet, but satellite cameras reveal it to be a kaleidoscope. The astonishing colours of the aurora are towering vertical streaks, hundreds of kilometres high, phytoplankton blooms turn the ocean into works of art, triggering a feeding frenzy, and for a few weeks a year China's Yunnan province is carpeted in yellow as millions of rapeseed flowers bloom.
This is our home, as we’ve never seen it before.
WED 21:00 The Planets (p06qj348)
Life Beyond the Sun: Saturn
One family. Worlds apart.
Saturn is the jewel of the solar system, the most seductive of all the planets, but as Professor Brian Cox reveals - it wasn’t born that way.
Raised in the freezing outer reaches of the solar system Saturn began life as a strange planet of rock and ice. Born outside the snow line, with an abundance of building materials, it soon grew to dwarf the Earth, drawing in colossal amounts of the hydrogen and helium that permeated the early solar system. In time Saturn was transformed into a gas giant, ring-less and similar looking to its great rival, Jupiter. As the gas giant grew, its original rocky form was lost forever, becoming part of the planet’s core, where temperatures are hotter than the surface of the sun, and pressures so intense that carbon there falls as diamond rain.
Saturn’s core isn’t the only part of it to change over time. As Nasa’s Cassini probe has discovered, the planet remained ring-less most of its life - until a fateful encounter changed everything. Less than a hundred million years ago, one of Saturn’s ice moons was drawn too close to the planet. In a truly cataclysmic event the entire moon was destroyed and the rings where born.
But Saturn’s true beauty may have remained hidden forever if it wasn’t for the decision to send Cassini on a risky close encounter with another moon, Enceladus. There we discovered an ocean with similar conditions to places on Earth where life thrives. Way out, far beyond the Sun, hydrothermal vents have been found, the very same habitat that we think life here on Earth may have got its start.
WED 22:00 Missions (p09mzv2r)
French sci-fi drama series. The crew’s forest quest for Jeanne is hampered by internal tensions and the discovery that they are not alone. In French with English subtitles.
WED 22:25 Missions (p09mzy4w)
French sci-fi drama series. Callous acts result from tampering with humanity, while Sam shares his confusing findings with a worried Allan. In French with English subtitles.
WED 22:50 Timeshift (b06pm5vf)
How Britain Won the Space Race: The Story of Bernard Lovell and Jodrell Bank
The unlikely story of how one man with some ex-WWII army equipment eventually turned a muddy field in Cheshire into a key site in the space race. That man was Bernard Lovell, and his telescope at Jodrell Bank would be used at the height of the Cold War by both the Americans and the Russians to track their competing spacecraft. It also put Britain at the forefront of radio astronomy, a new science which transformed our knowledge of space and provided the key to understanding the most mind-bending theory of the beginnings of the universe - the Big Bang.
WED 23:50 The Sky at Night (m000ypbk)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Sunday
WED 00:20 The High Art of the Low Countries (b01rxpy1)
Daydreams and Nightmares
Following a brief period of decline, the entrepreneurial and industrious region of the Low Countries rose again to become a cultural leader in the modern age. Despite its small and almost insignificant size it produced important forward-thinking artists like van Gogh, Mondrian, Magritte and Delvaux, who changed the face of art forever.
Andrew's journey takes him to a remote beach in north west Holland that inspired Mondrian's transition to his now-renowned abstract grid paintings. Andrew digs deep into the psychology and social history of the region, exploring how the landscape of the past has informed the culture and identity of the Low Countries today and the impossibility of the Dutch drive to turn the philosophy of Mondrian's geometric order into a way of living.
WED 01:20 The Beauty of Books (b00yvs8l)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
WED 01:50 Earth from Space (p072n8b8)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
WED 02:50 The Planets (p06qj348)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
THURSDAY 12 AUGUST 2021
THU 19:00 The Joy of Painting (m000n7hg)
A snowy mountain range, an ice-covered lake and a lost little cabin combine to create a wintry testimony to Bob Ross’s artistic magic.
THU 19:30 The Beauty of Books (b00z1z0d)
The paperback book democratized reading in the 20th century, and printing directly onto the covers became a way of selling a book in the mass market.
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell was a book written in and for this era, emerging as a paperback in 1954. Its changing cover design reflects each decades approach to selling the book to new readers: from its classic 50s Penguin cover to the latest design from Jon Gray, they are signs of our times.
As an example of how cover design has become art, the iconic 'cog eye' design by David Pelham of Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange has permeated society since the first paperback of 1972.
Bringing the story of the book up to the 21st century, the arrival of electronic readers has sent traditional publishing into a tailspin. The paperback and its cover design has been replaced by the concept of mass storage and electronic pages. As this new technology gains new fans the paper book comes under renewed scrutiny. Whether society accommodates both ways of disseminating knowledge in the future depends on our continued devotion to good writing, editing and design.
THU 20:00 The Great Gatsby (m000yp9f)
Dramatisation of F Scott Fitzgerald 's classic novel of doomed love, starring Mira Sorvino and Toby Stephens. In the volatile era of the twenties, flamboyant millionaire Jay Gatsby pursues the seductive Daisy, the love he lost while serving in the First World War.
THU 21:30 Meet Me in St Louis (m000qxbt)
Vincente Minnelli's colourful MGM musical about the everyday adventures and romantic entanglements of the Smith family in St Louis, starring Judy Garland.
Among the memorable tunes are The Boy Next Door, The Trolley Song, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and, of course, the title song.
THU 23:20 Write Around the World with Richard E Grant (p09nlfbk)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Tuesday
THU 00:20 The Culture Show (b01y7sj4)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Tuesday
THU 01:20 The Beauty of Books (b00z1z0d)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
THU 01:50 Motherland (m000w753)
The mums (and dad) join the merry-go-round of secondary school open days as they face the choice of where to send their kids at 11. Julia panics about which catchment area she lives in and even considers a fake religious conversion to beat the system. As Kevin’s divorce progresses, Liz helps him navigate the shark pool of lawyers and makes a worrying discovery about her own situation along the way. Meanwhile, queen bee Amanda struggles with playing second fiddle to Meg’s illness.
THU 02:20 What We Were Watching (m000l9vc)
[Repeat of broadcast at 23:00 on Tuesday
FRIDAY 13 AUGUST 2021
FRI 19:00 BBC Proms (m000ypc6)
Discovering Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite
Tom Service, conductor Nicholas Collon and the Aurora Orchestra continue their impressive feat of explaining complex works and then performing them from memory.
This year, their biggest challenge yet to the Proms: Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. Russian fairy tales and folk melodies collide with Stravinsky’s bold modernism in one of the great ballet scores of the 20th century.
The concert opens with another Russian classic: Rachmaninov’s virtuosic Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, performed by former Radio 3 New Generation Artist Pavel Kolesnikov.
FRI 20:30 Top of the Pops (m000ypc8)
Simon Mayo presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 27 June 1991 and featuring Lenny Kravitz, Erasure and Jason Donovan.
FRI 21:00 Top of the Pops (m000ypcb)
Gary Davies presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 4 July 1991 and featuring Cola Boy, Kim Appleby and Jason Donovan.
FRI 21:30 The Story of Bohemian Rhapsody (b0074d94)
The full story behind the iconic song, featuring Brian May and Roger Taylor's return to Rockfield Studios, where they re-record the guitar and drum parts and tell the story of how the song came together. Narrated by Richard E Grant, the documentary includes exclusive rare recordings of Freddie Mercury performing the song in studio, Queen's first ever TV performance and the making of the video, as well as interviews with Mercury's friends and family, The Darkness and Bjorn Ulvaeus from Abba.
FRI 22:25 Queen Rock Montreal (m000v0dx)
In November 1981, with Under Pressure topping the charts in the UK, Queen arrived in Montreal following dates in Japan and their record-breaking tour of Latin America. It was to be the only concert by Queen that was ever shot on film. Always a great live band, with arguably the greatest frontman of all time in Freddie Mercury, they excelled themselves with the cameras rolling.
FRI 00:00 Sounds of the 70s 2 (b01glwkz)
Arthouse Glam - Get in the Swing
Performances from The Kinks, Roxy Music, Elton John, New York Dolls, Queen, Sparks, Rod Stewart and the rediscovered David Bowie performance of The Jean Genie from January 1973.
Welcome to gender-bending, boys getting in the swing and girls who would be boys and boys who would be girls in this mixed-up, shook-up 70s world.
FRI 00:30 Singer-Songwriters at the BBC (b015swyr)
The celebration of the singing-songwriting troubadours of the 1960s and 70s continues with a further trawl through the BBC archives for timeless and classic performances.
Starting proceedings is Scots-born Sunshine Superman, Donovan, with a rare performance from Julie Felix's show in 1968. Buffy Sainte-Marie performs Cripple Creek, and buddies Carole King and James Taylor perform classic Carole King songs.
Songwriting genius Jimmy Webb performs a gem in Didn't We, while a beautiful and sensuous Rod Stewart gives an intense performance of his song about his friend in The Killing of Georgie, from a Boxing Day edition of Top of the Pops in 1976. And from 1977 the inimitable and much-loved John Martyn, with help from Danny Thompson, rounds things off with a classic performance of Couldn't Love You More.
FRI 01:30 Top of the Pops (m000ypc8)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 today
FRI 02:00 Top of the Pops (m000ypcb)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
FRI 02:30 The Story of Bohemian Rhapsody (b0074d94)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:30 today