Neil Oliver becomes a silent movie director as he films a scene from The Mayor of Casterbridge using an antique camera, to reveal how pioneers in Brighton taught the world to make movies long before Hollywood shot a frame.
Fred traces the development of the production of iron and steel, beginning his journey at Ironbridge. Travelling throughout Britain, he concludes his journey in Sheffield, the home of steel.
Classical historian Dr. Michael Scott takes us on an extraordinary journey through the often-invisible treasures of one of the greatest ancient cities in the world – Istanbul.
The city has been at the crossroads of Europe and Asia for over two and a half millennia. From the Greeks and Romans, through the Ottomans to the Turks, Istanbul has been fought over, destroyed and rebuilt time after time.
First Michael brings the city’s tumultuous history alive in one iconic building - the Hagia Sophia. Built by the Romans, this Christian Cathedral has survived earthquakes, riots, sieges and conquest to become a mosque and now a museum. As Michael explores, he reveals the ingenious solutions that enabled this awe-inspiring church to survive 1,500 years of turmoil.
As Istanbul, once known as Constantinople, was built by Emperor Constantine to outdo Rome itself, Michael goes in search of the mighty city the emperor built – Constantinople. Michael discovers that Istanbul is built upon layer upon layer of history and culture, one era's buildings erected on top of the other. With the help of local archeologists and experts, Michael delves into some surprising spaces – such as the once enormous Hippodrome. It began as a stadium for chariot racing but it's foundations were later converted into a huge water cistern to supply the Emperor’s Great Palace. Michael wades through its foul smelling water to uncover the Hippodrome’s secrets.
With many of the city’s most extraordinary places concealed, out of sight or underground, we turn to the latest 3D imaging technology to reveal them. Our scanning team help us to see the city as no human eye ever could; peeling back the layers of history; showing how the city has had to reinvent itself over and over through its turbulent past.
Michael’s adventure finds him unearthing a holy well, hidden 30 feet under a modern carpet shop. He walks high above the city on the most sophisticated and longest aqueduct of the Roman world and finds that part of the once glorious Great Palace of Constantine is now a burned out shelter for a homeless man. He explores the fortress headquarters of the Muslim Sultan who captured the city. And with the help of the hi-tech 3D scans, reveals one of the fortress towers as a ruthlessly efficient war machine that helped end the Roman Empire, less than 50 years before Columbus discovered America.
Along the way Michael visits the teaming exuberance of the conquering Sultan’s Grande Bazaar and uncovers the engineering innovations of the magnificent Süleymaniye Mosque, a treasure of the Ottoman Empire’s “golden age”.
But Michael goes beyond even the extraordinary 3D scans to experience Istanbul in a whole new way – through Virtual Reality - flying up, right through the ancient dome of the Hagia Sophia, seeing Istanbul as even the locals have never seen it before.
Having missed his deadline to reach Antarctica, Michael abandons his original plan. Luckily a travel adventure company swoops in to save the expedition with a route through Chile.
Mikael Blomkvist is contacted by a freelancer, Dag Svensson, who wants Millennium to publish his exposé on the sex trade in Sweden, in particular, the trafficking of women from eastern Europe. When the journalist and his girlfriend are murdered, police become convinced that Lisbeth Salander is responsible.
What exactly was it going to take for America to beat the Soviets to the moon? Cold War tensions persisted, as rumours circulated that the Soviets were preparing to send an unmanned spacecraft to the moon. Nasa quickly developed the Gemini program, sending astronauts into orbit around the Earth to practice critical manoeuvres for the eventual trip to the moon. Ed White became the first American to walk in space, an experience so exhilarating that, when Houston ordered him back in the space craft, he replied, ‘Not yet!’.
Nasa’s next-generation spacecraft, Apollo 1, was meant to dramatically launch the new era. Virgil Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee were Apollo’s very first crew. On a cool January day in Florida, in 1967, the three men suited up for a pre-launch training run in the new command capsule. Two and a half hours through the training, somewhere in the closed capsule, a fire broke out. The hatch design opened inwards and all three men perished. Mission control was powerless. The disaster shook the nation and left the future of Apollo, Nasa and the entire race to the moon in doubt. The cost perhaps was too high.
A film By Robert Stone.
A Robert Stone Production for American Experience WGBH/PBS in association with Arte France.
In the aftermath of the deadly Apollo 1 fire, Nasa faced harsh scrutiny. The horror of the first casualties at Cape Kennedy led Americans to increasingly question the very premise of landing a man on the moon. Yet again, it was the Cold War that gave Nasa’s mission new urgency and life.
Amid concerns that the Soviets might exploit the hiatus to overtake the Americans, less than a year after the fatal Apollo 1 fire, the nation gathered on 21 December 1968, to watch as Apollo 8 lifted off and headed for the moon. Apollo 8 astronaut Frank Borman recalls, ‘My odds for mission success were a hundred percent. If I didn’t think I was coming back, I wasn’t going to go.’ The rest of America, Borman’s wife and children included, gathered nervously to watch the televised live broadcast as the Saturn V launched into orbit around the Earth and then took three men out of the gravitational pull of their home planet for the very first time.
As the American crew became the first to orbit the moon, footage and photography from Apollo 8 not only gave us images of the Earth’s satellite but an entirely new perspective of our world. Americans celebrated this unparalleled accomplishment. The space programme had turned a corner.
A film By Robert Stone.
A Robert Stone Production for American Experience WGBH/PBS in association with Arte France.
SUNDAY 28 NOVEMBER 2021
SUN 19:00 The Chronicles of Erne (m000g2b6)
It’s summer, and the Erne is busy with summer visitors. Over the next few months, it is transformed into a giant watery playground welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world. But away from a busy tourist season, nature is also buzzing away enjoying the longer days and warmer weather.
In early summer, mayfly begin to hatch, and fisherman Michael Shortt is fly fishing for trout. It is also the nesting season for curlews, and Amy Burns from RSPB NI is travelling to island reserves to install cameras and measure and monitor the eggs.
At Castle Archdale, nature writer Dara McAnulty is pond dipping. He catches a dragonfly nymph and explains how it uses a jet propulsion system to get around the pond. Later in the programme he watches adult dragonflies and talks about how he has experienced bullying at school because of his autism and love of nature.
On the lough, the members of Row the Erne are rowing their hand-built traditional Irish currach to Devenish Island for an evening picnic and swim.
It's summer solstice, and painter Lorna Smyth joins a group from the Share Discovery Village who are paddling to Trannish Island, and in the island town of Enniskillen, Pat Lunny watches his grandson take part in his first open-water swimming race.
We meet French chef Pascal Brissaud, whose Watermill restaurant is on the bank of the Upper Lough. Summer is a busy time of year, but he relishes in the challenge of looking after people, and when things get too busy, looking at the lake calms him down.
SUN 19:30 This Cultural Life (m001227x)
Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo talks to John Wilson about the formative experiences and cultural influences that have had a profound effect on her work.
Evaristo looks back on her early childhood in south London, the racism she encountered, and how she found her artistic voice attending a youth theatre group. She reveals the influence of a Catholic upbringing on her writing, discusses the influence of works by Ntozake Shange and Dylan Thomas, and explains how a personal relationship had a huge impact on her creativity.
This Cultural Life is a BBC Radio 4 podcast.
SUN 20:00 An American in Paris: The Musical (b0bwdcvy)
This breathtakingly beautiful Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, inspired by the Oscar-winning MGM film, tells the impassioned story of discovering love in the City of Light. Featuring the gorgeous music and lyrics of George and Ira Gershwin, including the classic hits 'S Wonderful and I Got Rhythm, stunning designs and show-stopping choreography.
Jerry Mulligan is an American GI striving to make it as a painter in a city suddenly bursting with hope and possibility. Following his encounter with a beautiful young dancer named Lise, the streets of Paris become the backdrop to a sensuous, modern romance of art, friendship and love in the aftermath of war.
SUN 22:15 Arena (m001227z)
The Vasulka Effect
An exploration of the life and work of video art pioneers Steina and Woody Vasulka. The film examines the artistic processes of the pair and their profound effect on the 1960s New York art scene and beyond, through their experiments in the electronic medium of video.
Following their story over a 40-year-long journey, the film explores how the video art movement caught the spirit of the times. Their unique cross-disciplinary environment – The Kitchen - helped to launch the careers of many artists who have defined the American avant-garde, including Philip Glass, Jonas Mekas, Brian Eno, Talking Heads, Robert Mapplethorpe, Laurie Anderson and Cindy Sherman. The film examines the artistic struggles between the pair and celebrates the revolutionary power of the creative spirit.
SUN 23:45 Kill Your TV: Jim Moir's Weird World of Video Art (m000bpjw)
Jim Moir, aka Vic Reeves, explores video art, revealing how different generations hacked the tools of television to pioneer new ways of creating art that could be beautiful, bewildering and wildly experimental. Jim argues that underpinning much of this work is an urge to question our modern, screen-based world: ‘When artists get hold of cameras, things get interesting.’
With contributions from leading British artists such as Isaac Julien and Rachel Maclean, Jim shows how the arrival of the portable video camera in the 1960s allowed artists to create work that set out to take on the power of corporate media. New York-based artist Nam June Paik, credited as video art’s inventor, once declared, ‘television has been attacking us all our lives - now we can attack it back.’
With the arrival of video art in the UK in the 1970s, British artists discovered that the instant playback of the video camera gave them a level of control not possible with film, and led to a creative explosion, from works of cosmic abstraction to feminist visions and Dadaist TV pranks.
Jim looks at the tradition of performance art and sees how artists used the latest developments, from home video to artificial intelligence, in their work. And he explores, with the arrival of the epic video installations of the 90s and early millennium, how this outsider art form became part of the creative establishment, as well as a purpose-built platform for our screen-obsessed world.
SUN 00:45 Ryan Gander: The Idea of Japan (b08v8jd1)
Ryan Gander OBE is a leading conceptual artist. He creates artworks full of symbolic meaning – images, sculpture, installations and films that may appear to be about one thing, but contain further messages for the thoughtful. And this, he believes, is why he is “big in Japan.” Ryan believes he is appreciated there because the country has a highly sophisticated visual culture, expressed through images and symbols that broadcast cultural messages to the world, as well as to the Japanese themselves. The Geisha and the Samurai are obvious examples; bullet train, tattoo art, and Tokyo street style are less so. The exploration of these signs and symbols takes him six thousand miles east of his Suffolk studio, to investigate how Japanese visual culture is closely linked to a special relationship with time, as the country’s past and future inform its present tense.
The journey begins at Tokyo and the famous Scramble Crossing at Shibuya, where crowds race across a huge junction. It looks like chaos, but it’s actually an affirmation of an unwritten Japanese code of civic conduct and an underlining of the power of Buddhism, and the state religion, Shinto. Visiting a series of temples Ryan investigates the teachings of Shinto, a word which means Way of the Gods and demands civic responsibility of citizens who have always lived cheek-by-jowl in Japanese cities.
Cleanliness is famously of special interest to the Japanese. In pursuit of the meaning behind everyday objects, Ryan visits a shop selling humble cleaning cloths that are nevertheless beautifully printed, raising chores to the level of art. At a primary school he observes students gleefully cleaning their classroom between lessons, aware of their shared obligations as citizens.
In a film that allows him to make unexpected connections between subjects, musing on a society that appears to march in step leads to those who don’t – the Yakuza. These gangsters are despised for their lack of civic sense, yet are frequently on hand with earthquake relief and in plain sight at religious festivals. Ryan’s interested in their tattoos, exquisite designs that in the West would be a source of pride, but which here exclude the wearer from beaches and bathhouses. He meets an art collector for whom he designed a simple tattoo that nevertheless suggests to other citizens that this law-abiding businessman is a friend to outlaws. Will perceptions ever shift? They might, as change is an important factor in Japanese culture. In Kyoto, Ryan discovers that the meaning of even the powerful Geisha has changed. He arrives expecting a therapist-entertainer-confidant, but learns that today these powerful businesswomen are now most frequently found in conference centres delivering PR messages. Their traditional role is now partly filled, he believes, by soft-spoken Host Boys in Tokyo night-clubs.
Dr Angus Lockyer, lecturer at the School of African and Oriental Studies, explains that the Japanese live in the present, savouring the moment, a mind-set reinforced by their home-grown religion, in a country that is in constant geological peril. This is the only nation to have experienced the horror of instant change by thermonuclear means, symbolised for Ryan by the small pocket watch stopped by the detonation, exhibited in a Hiroshima museum. Ryan makes another turn, noting the Japanese ability to move on, evidenced in their embrace of nuclear power within a decade of the bombings, and by the emergence, in 1954, of the mutant Godzilla. Spawned in nuclear disaster, the saurian was, to Japanese movie-goers, also an agent of change with messages about endings and new beginnings.
What Ryan labels a fixation on novelty is also explored through distinctive Tokyo street fashion, and with a deconstruction of the cherry blossom fever that breaks out every spring, impelling droves of city-dwellers to leap onto trains bound for the trees. Ryan links the interest in rejuvenation with an urgent issue facing the nation – they have the greatest population of aged citizens and a fast-falling birth-rate. Since the Japanese economic crisis of the nineties, the certainties of a corporate job for life are gone, and with it the hopes of up to a million would-be workers, the Hikokomori, who lock themselves in their bedrooms to avoid the new, uncertain world. Perhaps, says the artist, they should look to the past for inspiration, and the message of the Samurai. This A-list icon speaks of individualism, courage and iron will. But Ryan also finds him in toy stores in the form of robotic Gundam figures, and then, with the head of design at Nissan, injecting his aesthetic into auto bodies. The robots that we fear might be about to take over are welcomed in Japan, their futuristic qualities tempered by their ancient inheritance: here to protect and serve, nothing more.
SUN 01:45 Mindful Escapes: Breathe, Release, Restore (m000mf8z)
Join mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe as he focuses on change and what we can learn from how animals adapt to changes in the world around them. Why is a chameleon's ability to alter its appearance crucial to its survival and what lessons are there from understanding how elephants grieve?
Learning to be mindful can help us cope with life’s stresses, and Andy shows how focusing on the sights and sounds of the natural world can help us deal with change in our lives and how to live in the moment.
SUN 02:15 This Cultural Life (m001227x)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
SUN 02:45 The Chronicles of Erne (m000g2b6)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
MONDAY 29 NOVEMBER 2021
MON 19:00 The Joy of Painting (m000qpfk)
Bob Ross takes you to a secluded cabin, snuggled deep in blankety drifts of fluffy snow, far into the frozen mountains.
MON 19:30 Winter Walks (m001226k)
The 'Yorkshire Shepherdess', Amanda Owen, explores familiar territory as she crosses hills and fields through Wensleydale and Raydale on her Winter Walk. Taking ancient routes first made by the Romans, Amanda meets fellow sheep farmers and exchanges notes on their shared occupation.
As she walks across the Dales with her 360-degree camera, she describes what life is like living and working in this landscape. She takes her time to tune in to the soft sounds and scenes of the rolling hills, finding fossils in the stones below her feet. Crossing over the Dales, she drops down to Semer Water, ending her walk on the pebble banks as the water laps at her feet.
MON 20:00 Britain's Lost Masterpieces (b0bg5t91)
In Knightshayes Court Devon the team are examining a work that is a copy of a Rembrandt. But, might it be the real thing, a genuine self-portrait?
Bendor discovers a small portrait of Rembrandt in the collection of a National Trust house, Knightshayes Court in Tiverton, Devon. The painting is thought to be a later copy of a self-portrait by Rembrandt now in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, but Bendor believes it is in fact a study for the finished picture by Rembrandt himself. There is a third version in a collection in Germany that was always thought to be the original until the Amsterdam version was found in a Glasgow attic in 1959.
The picture is sent to be restored and have a later background overpaint removed while Bendor sets out to see all three versions and in the process visits the world-expert on Rembrandt, Ernst van de Wettering, in Amsterdam. But Ernst is not persuaded by the painting. Bendor decides to try and use scientific investigation to prove the portrait is not a later copy.
Emma explores the history of the house and its eccentric opium smoking Victorian Gothic architect, William Burges. She investigates the history of the lace factory in the town of Tiverton on which the family fortune was based, and tries her hand at golf, as the last family member in the house was British Ladies Golf Champion five times in the 1920s.
MON 21:00 Blood and Gold: The Making of Spain with Simon Sebag Montefiore (b06ssjfk)
Simon explores Spain's golden age under Philip II through to the Spanish Civil War and dictatorship under Franco, from which Spain has emerged as a modern democratic monarchy.
MON 22:00 The Ash Tree (m0001qqw)
Adaptation of MR James's classic ghost story. A 17th-century squire is haunted by a curse his great uncle brought upon the household.
MON 22:35 imagine... (b08yw74w)
Chris Ofili - The Caged Bird's Song
Alan Yentob follows the celebrated Turner Prize-winning British artist Chris Ofili as he creates a spectacular contemporary tapestry - The Caged Bird's Song. Nearly three years in the making, it is a triumph of craft and dedication, transforming Ofili's free-flowing watercolour paintings into vibrant wool on a giant scale. Made with a team of master weavers in Edinburgh, the piece, over seven metres wide and three metres tall, draws together the sights and sounds of tropical Trinidad, where Ofili lives. Imagine explores Ofili's passion for his adopted island home and its inspiration on his creative practice, and reveals the final tapestry as it is installed in an exhibition at the National Gallery in London.
MON 23:35 Antony Gormley: How Art Began (b0c1ngds)
Why do humans make art? When did we begin to make our mark on the world? And where? In this film, Britain's most celebrated sculptor Antony Gormley is setting out on a journey to see for himself the very beginnings of art.
Once we believed that art began with the cave paintings of Ice Age Europe, tens of thousands of years ago. But now, extraordinary new
discoveries around the world are overturning that idea. Antony is going to travel across the globe, and thousands of years back in time, to piece together a new story of how art began. He discovers beautiful, haunting and surprising works of art, deep inside caves across France, Spain and Indonesia, and in Australian rock shelters. He finds images created by hunter-gatherers that surprise him with their tenderness, and affinity with the natural world. He discovers the secrets behind the techniques used by our ancestors to create these paintings. And he meets experts making discoveries that are turning the clock back on when art first began.
Finally Antony asks what these images from millennia ago can tell us - about who we are. As he says, 'If we can look closely at the art of our ancestors, perhaps we will be able to reconnect with something vital that we have lost."'.
MON 00:50 Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons Side by Side: The Interview (b07dpfmg)
In this exclusive television interview, Kirsty Wark meets two of the biggest stars of the modern art world, Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons.
The occasion is a major new exhibition of Koons's work collected and curated by Hirst at his new gallery in London's Vauxhall. In an intimate and revealing interview, Hirst and Koons talk about how they first met and fell in love with each other's work.
Both started out as rebels who provoked outrage. Now they are part of the art establishment and among the richest artists in the world. But, as Wark discovers, they retain their passionate belief in the power of art.
MON 01:20 Britain's Lost Masterpieces (b0bg5t91)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
MON 02:20 Winter Walks (m001226k)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
MON 02:50 Blood and Gold: The Making of Spain with Simon Sebag Montefiore (b06ssjfk)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
TUESDAY 30 NOVEMBER 2021
TUE 19:00 The Joy of Painting (m000qpgm)
Paint along with Steve Ross as he creates a lovely oval depiction of a winter landscape surrounding a frozen lake.
TUE 19:30 Winter Walks (m0012290)
The snow-covered hillsides of Ribblesdale are the setting for Alastair Campbell’s Winter Walk through the Yorkshire Dales. Fog and snow don’t deter the political veteran as he makes his way through the county he was born and raised in. Starting at a waterfall above the market town of Settle, Alastair descends into town, meeting local residents who are also out braving the weather. Twisted trees and drystone walls line his route. The steep hillsides and dramatic views remind Alastair of the humbling power of nature.
Talking about his mental health, Alastair describes the comfort he draws from being out in a landscape and how time in this space can help him focus on what’s really important in life.
TUE 20:00 Keeping Up Appearances (b01djr8z)
Sitcom about a snobbish housewife. Hyacinth is looking forward to visiting her favourite stately home, but the trip goes wrong when her family become involved.
TUE 20:30 One Foot in the Grave (b007bv14)
Margaret joins the local amateur dramatic society and takes Victor to a Bergerac party. Meanwhile, Margaret's mother manages to get stuck in the bath with wallpaper paste.
TUE 21:00 dinnerladies (p09yhs79)
Tony and Bren are happy, but everyone else is in a bad mood. To lift the mood, a tea party is organised for everybody's parents.
TUE 21:30 Mark Lawson Talks To... (b00l22n2)
Mark Lawson talks to actor and director Richard Wilson about his life and work. Best known for playing the irascible character of Victor Meldrew in the hit BBC sitcom One Foot in the Grave, Wilson reflects on the opportunities that have come his way as a result of the staggering success of the series, as well as the drawbacks of being famously associated with one character and a catchphrase.
Wilson talks about life before acting, growing up in Greenock, working as a laboratory technician and doing military service in Singapore. He remembers working with David Lean in A Passage to India and his rise to stardom through sitcoms such as Hot Metal and Tutti Frutti before agreeing to play Victor, a part written for him, after initially turning it down.
He also discusses more recent roles in Merlin and as a documentary presenter, as well as looking forward to future projects and ambitions.
TUE 22:30 Scots in China (b0by3blh)
China - a country that fascinates us but one that we struggle to understand. The people's republic, a communist nation of 1.4 billion, born of revolution yet now with the most billionaires of any nation. China has stealthily reinvented itself and is rapidly developing. Shut off from the world no more, it is looking outwards, opening itself to the global markets and playing a part in this transformation are Scots!
Neil Oliver will meet extraordinary Scottish people from all walks of life, living in and working in China today and using their experiences to unpack the mystery of modern China.
In this episode, presenter Neil Oliver will look at the seeming contradiction between China's embrace of both communism and capitalism, its recent amazing development and how it has arrived at 'socialism with Chinese characteristics'!
TUE 23:30 Scots in China (b0byj4px)
China - a country that fascinates us but one that we struggle to understand. The people's republic, a communist nation of 1.4 billion born of revolution and yet now home to the most billionaires of any nation.
China has stealthily reinvented itself, it's taken another great leap forward, to steal a phrase from Chairman Mao, rapidly developing and shut off from the world no more, it is looking outwards, opening itself to the global markets and playing a part in this transformation are Scots!
Neil Oliver will meet extraordinary Scottish people from all walks of life, living in and working in China today, using their experiences to unpack the mystery of Modern China. In part two, Neil will try to predict 'what next' for China. Should its transformation worry us? Will the Chinese people be more individual in the great mass of modern China?
TUE 00:30 What Do Artists Do All Day? (b0bg2nsb)
As part of the Big British Asian Summer season, What Do Artists Do All Day? celebrates prominent Asian artists and performers.
Mahtab Hussain is a photographer whose work chronicles the complex experiences of the British Muslim community. His portraits of young, working-class Muslim men were the basis of an acclaimed exhibition and book You Get Me?, exploring questions of masculinity and self-esteem in a series of striking images.
Recently, his work has also focused on the changing identity of British Muslim women. This film follows Mahtab at work on his latest photographic project and hears from some of his subjects.
TUE 01:00 Mindful Escapes: Breathe, Release, Restore (m000mf8s)
Mindfulness is the ability to be present with a clear, calm, curious mind - and feelings of joy can be triggered when this happens. How can watching penguins pinching pebbles, seeing antelope leaping in the air or looking at scenes of summer flowers help us to feel more positive emotionally?
Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe takes us on a global journey with imagery that will bring feelings of happiness and wellbeing to the viewer as we immerse ourselves in the sights and sounds of the natural world.
TUE 01:30 Mindful Escapes: Breathe, Release, Restore (m000mf8f)
The natural world offers a constant source of calm and comfort. How do images of hypnotic starling murmurations or macaques relaxing in hot springs in Japan encourage us to slow down? How can we experience more being and less doing?
Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe talks us through the process and takes us on an immersive journey around the sights and sounds of resting wildlife all over the planet.
TUE 02:00 Mark Lawson Talks To... (b00l22n2)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:30 today
TUE 03:00 Winter Walks (m0012290)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
WEDNESDAY 01 DECEMBER 2021
WED 19:00 The Joy of Painting (m000qpg1)
Portrait of Winter
Bundle up with Bob Ross and visit the north of the USA in the middle of winter! Snow and ice abound in a profusion of beauty.
WED 19:30 Winter Walks (m00122hp)
Reverend Kate Bottley takes in the historic ruins and snow-dusted landscape of Wensleydale and Coverdale on her Winter Walk. Kate sets off on her walk as the sun rises over the ruins of Jervaulx Abbey. With a 360-degree camera in her hand, she walks along the banks of the River Cover and into the dale of the same name. Passing through woodland she meets local residents who are out braving the chilly conditions.
As she walks, Kate reflects on her faith and relationships. Her journey ends at Middleham Castle, the ruined fortress that was a childhood home of Richard III.
WED 20:00 Earth: The Power of the Planet (b008j7d3)
Geography series with Dr Iain Stewart. Our planet is unique within the solar system. Four-and-a-half billion years ago it had a twin named Theia which was absorbed into the Earth, increasing its gravity and allowing it to form an atmosphere. Iain travels to Meteor Crater in Arizona to explore the atmosphere's role in protecting us from bombardment by meteorites. Life on earth only prospers because it is provided with right amount of heat from the sun.
WED 21:00 Charley Boorman: Sydney to Tokyo by Any Means (b00ntbvk)
In the second series of By Any Means, Charley Boorman starts his adventure in Sydney and travels up the Pacific Rim through Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan, to finish in Tokyo, Japan.
Starting in the city of Kaohsiung on the south west corner of the island of Taiwan, Charley stops in on the country's largest Buddhist monastery, Fo Guang Shan. From there he travels north and tries his hand at cricket fighting and then samples the edible creatures - tempura style!
After jumping on board the Taiwanese high-speed rail train, Charley heads up into the Alishan Mountains where he hand-picks tea leaves with award-winning tea farmer Hsiu-Mei.
Dirt-biking through the amazing valleys of the Taroko Gorge, Charley finally arrives at the capital, Taipei, where he prepares to board a cruise ship for the 376-mile cruise to the port of Okinawa, Japan.
WED 22:00 Rise of the Clans (b0bvfb6f)
A Queen Betrayed
Neil Oliver reveals how the clans plotted against Mary Stewart, Queen of Scots, ultimately leading to the beheading of the most charismatic queen in Scottish history. The tale turns on a brother's plot to overthrow his sister in a ruthless bid for power. James Stewart, Earl of Moray, uses clan power to first control and then rid Scotland of his sister Mary. As she battles conspiracies, plots and counterplots, Mary is trapped in the cruel and tumultuous world of clan blood feuds. After they murder her husband Lord Darnley and Mary flees into the arms of the Earl of Bothwell, the most ruthless of Scotland's clan chiefs, civil war breaks out. Mary escapes to England, never to return again.
WED 23:00 Bute: The Scot Who Spent a Welsh Fortune (b08y60r0)
John Patrick Crichton Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute, was one of the richest men in the British Empire in the late 19th century. With an annual income in excess of £150,000 - around £15 million in contemporary currency - he pursued his passion for architecture with a vengeance. Narrated by Suzanne Packer, The Scot Who Spent a Welsh Fortune delves into the extraordinary world of Lord Bute and reveals what connects the small Scottish island of Bute to modern Cardiff.
Bute was one of the most unconventional mavericks of the Victorian age, passionate about the past but also far ahead of his time - a blue-blooded aristocrat, who supported women's rights and striking miners, a Welsh-speaking intellectual Catholic who was also a ghost hunter. Above all, Bute was a fabulously rich and visionary creator of great architecture including the Gothic fantasy of Cardiff Castle, and Castell Coch - the fairy-tale castle.
The 3rd Marquess got his hands on his fortune at the age of 21, but already when he was 18, he met the outrageous and eccentric Gothic designer William Burges. It was the start of a lifetime's collaboration with artists and architects which would pour Bute's original mind into fabulous buildings in an astonishing variety of styles.
William Burges transformed Bute's medieval Cardiff Castle into a Welsh Camelot. Within fantasy towers, he created lavish interiors, rich with murals, stained glass, marble, gilding and elaborate wood carvings. Then Bute gave Burges the dream commission - to restore the 14th-century Welsh ruins of Castell Coch near Cardiff as a summer party house for the family. He recreated, from a heap of rubble, a fairy-tale castle. The interiors were elaborately decorated, with specially designed furniture. It even had its own vineyard - the first in Britain.
Bute's next target was the family ancestral seat Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute, where he was born. When it was destroyed in a fire, Bute embarked on a huge new Gothic palace, driven by his own taste and design skills.
The footprint of the Bute family still looms large in Cardiff. The Bute obsession with Gothic style entered the architectural DNA of Cardiff's domestic buildings. The green lung at the city's heart - Bute Park - was the family's back garden, and Cathays Park, one of the finest civic centres in Britain, was sold to the city by Lord Bute on condition it would be used for cultural, civic and educational purposes. The Bute family names are everywhere - Bute Street, Mount Stuart Square, after the family estate in Scotland, and the now demolished Ninian Park Football Ground, after the 3rd Marquess's second son, who became MP for Cardiff and died in the First World War.
Bute died in 1900 aged only 53 after a protracted illness and was buried in a small atmospheric mausoleum in the family graveyard on the shores of the Isle of Bute. His heart was buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. But his greatest memorials are his Welsh and Scottish grand designs.
WED 00:00 Two Types: The Faces of Britain (b0903ppd)
We are surrounded by types, the words on signs, buses, shops and documents which guide us through our lives. Two types in particular are regarded as the faces of Britain - Johnston and Gill Sans. Their story is told by typeface expert Mark Ovenden.
WED 01:00 Earth: The Power of the Planet (b008j7d3)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
WED 02:00 Winter Walks (m00122hp)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
WED 02:30 Rise of the Clans (b0bvfb6f)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today
THURSDAY 02 DECEMBER 2021
THU 19:00 The Joy of Painting (m000qpjh)
Bob Ross takes us to an isolated cabin, deep in the woods, on a cold, snowy winter's day.
THU 19:30 Winter Walks (m00122hx)
Nihal Arthanayake, broadcaster and radio DJ, explores coast and countryside around the Cumbria and Lancashire border, and finds local characters, breathtaking views and moments of serenity along the way. As a recent resident of the north west, Nihal is keen to discover what is on his doorstep. Starting in the coastal town of Arnside and looking out over the mudflats of Morecambe Bay, Nihal heads south with just his 360-degree camera for company.
The quiet and stillness of his walk gives him time to ‘declutter’ his mind and reflect on the importance of solitude. Along the way, Nihal passes Arnside Tower and crosses the border into Lancashire. Views from the top of Arnside Knott and from hidden coves on the Silverdale coast showcase the beauty of this corner of the country, and give Nihal fresh perspectives on his work and relationships.
THU 20:00 Sound of Musicals with Neil Brand (b0888r7n)
Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'
Series in which composer Neil Brand explores how musical theatre evolved over the last 100 years to become today's global phenomenon. Neil hears the inside story from leading composers and talent past and present, and recreates classic songs, looking in detail at how these work musically and lyrically to captivate the audience.
In the first episode, Neil finds out how the modern shape of the musical was established through a series of pioneering works, from Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's Show Boat in the 1920s with its bold take on America's racial divide and innovative use of songs that further the narrative, to Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's My Fair Lady, which made a star of Julie Andrews in the late 1950s. Neil also reveals the songwriting secrets of some much-loved numbers, including Ol' Man River, Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin', and If I Loved You.
THU 21:00 The Conversation (m000hjmn)
Acclaimed psychological thriller. Harry Caul is a surveillance expert - a wire tapper and industrial spy for hire. He is also a man who obsessively guards his own privacy, but when his latest job appears to involve a murder plot, his work and private life become terrifyingly entangled.
THU 22:50 Timeshift (b08mp2l8)
Dial 'B' for Britain: The Story of the Landline
Timeshift tells the story of how Britain's phone network was built. Incredibly, there was once a time when phones weren't pocket-sized wireless devices but bulky objects wired into our homes and workplaces. Over the course of 100 years, engineers rolled out a communications network that joined up Britain - a web of more than 70 million miles of wire. Telephones were agents of commercial and social change, connecting businesses and creating new jobs for Victorian women. Wires changed the appearance of urban skylines and the public phone box became a ubiquitous sight.
Yet despite ongoing technical innovation, the phone service often struggled to meet demand. When the mobile phone arrived, it appeared to herald the demise of the landline. Yet ironically, now we're more connected than ever, it's not the telephone that's keeping us on the landline.
In 1877, Scottish-born inventor Alexander Graham Bell returned to Britain from America to showcase a revolutionary new electric device - the telephone. After impressing no less than Queen Victoria, Bell helped drive uptake of the telephone in Britain, tapping into the growth of a growing commercial phenomenon - the office. Soon, whole networks of telephone lines were being built, connected together by exchange switchboards. Female switchboard operators were preferred by telephone companies as they were cheaper and perceived as more polite, opening up new employment opportunities for women in late Victorian Britain.
At first only the wealthiest people had phones in their homes, but the public call box soon emerged, although when the GPO - the General Post Office - took over the private networks, it initially struggled to find an acceptable design for its box and met some resistance to its now iconic bright red colour.
The introduction of direct dial telephones and automatic exchanges, as well as services like the 999 emergency number and the speaking clock, helped drive private uptake of phones in the 1930s. However, with the onset of World War Two, military concerns took priority. Gene Toms, a switchboard operator, recalls her time during the war, trying to work while wearing a helmet during air raids, dealing with self-important officers and doing her best to assist servicemen phoning home.
A renewed drive to restore, modernise and expand the network after the war kept a legion of engineers busy. Former GPO engineers Jim
Coombe, Bryan Eagan and Dez Flahey share their memories of dubious safety practices and difficult customers. Despite the expansion, the network still had limited capacity relative to demand, and one cheaper solution was the "party line", shared with another household, although it created problems of privacy.
The introduction of STD - subscriber trunk dialling - in the late 1950s enabled callers to make long distance calls without the help of an operator. But STD, like the network itself, was taking a long time to roll out; and despite the introduction of stylish coloured telephones and the Trimphone in the 1960s to tempt customers, the service acquired a bad reputation among many users. Even an episode of the children's series Trumpton reflected the general frustration. Archive footage shows the then postmaster general, Anthony Wedgwood Benn, being grilled by an interviewer about the shortcomings of the phone service.
But there was an exciting new symbol of the future under construction - the Post Office Tower, part of a network of towers designed to expand the capacity of the network using a wireless, microwave system. By the 1970s telephone supply was catching up with demand. People were increasingly moving home around the country, relocating for work, and young families expected to have a phone as a standard mod con. An advertising campaign featuring a talking cartoon bird - Buzby - encouraged customers to make more calls. What was once a service had become a thriving business, and British Telecommunications was privatised in 1984.
The arrival of the mobile phone soon threatened to supersede the landline - but the internet, a technology that the founding fathers of telephony could never have dreamed of, has given the landline a new lease of life.
THU 23:50 Life Cinematic (m000pr04)
American Oscar-winning screenwriter and director Sofia Coppola talks to Edith Bowman about the films that have shaped her life and career. Her choices range from contemporary cult classics - To Die For, Safe and Fish Tank - to some vintage Hollywood greats including Gilda and A Place in the Sun.
As well as discussing her latest film On the Rocks, she reflects on her working methods and the influence dad Francis Ford Coppola had on early viewing habits.
THU 00:50 Sound of Musicals with Neil Brand (b0888r7n)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
THU 01:50 Winter Walks (m00122hx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
THU 02:20 Antony Gormley: How Art Began (b0c1ngds)
[Repeat of broadcast at 23:35 on Monday
FRIDAY 03 DECEMBER 2021
FRI 19:00 Pop Go the Sixties (m00122ls)
A colourful nugget of pop by Marmalade, mined from the BBC's archive.
FRI 19:05 Biffy Clyro: A Celebration of Endings (m00122lv)
Following the success of their 2020 album A Celebration of Endings, Scottish rock group Biffy Clyro perform an ambitious, one-off, live show at Glasgow’s iconic Barrowland Ballroom. The performance sees the band play the album in full for the very first time, across different spaces within the venue to create a unique and truly special experience.
Known for their songs including Many of Horror and Mountains, they have released eight studio albums to date, with A Celebration of Endings becoming their third UK number one.
FRI 20:00 Top of the Pops (b09jc3k1)
The 1984 Christmas special of the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 25 December 1984. Featuring Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Howard Jones, Duran Duran, Nik Kershaw, Culture Club, Thompson Twins, Jim Diamond, Wham!, Paul Young, George Michael and Band Aid.
FRI 21:00 St Andrew's Day at the BBC (m00122lx)
From Texas to Travis, Annie Lennox to Lulu, and Primal Scream to The Proclaimers, this collection of the best of Scottish rock and pop is the perfect way to celebrate St Andrew’s Day. With performances from a range of BBC shows across the decades, this selection also features the likes of Emeli Sande, Simple Minds, Sheena Easton and Deacon Blue.
FRI 22:00 Proclaimers: This Is the Story (b08w51r4)
In 1987, two brothers from Auctermuchty in Fife released an album called This Is the Story. Featuring songs such as Letter from America, the album propelled The Proclaimers and the Scottish accent into the charts.
Superfan David Tennant talks to Craig and Charlie Reid about 30 years in the business which has taken them from playing small pubs and clubs across Scotland to become one of the nation's most iconic bands.
FRI 23:00 Travis with the BBC SSO at the Barrowland (b07pqqsw)
In 2016, Travis performed a selection of hits with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and special guests at Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom to celebrate BBC Music Day. This is another chance to enjoy a great night of music in one of Scotland’s iconic music venues.
FRI 00:00 The Old Grey Whistle Test (m0012c2r)
Bob Harris introduces Ralph McTell in concert at the BBC Television Theatre in London's Shepherds Bush in 1976.
FRI 00:40 Top of the Pops (b09jc3k1)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
FRI 01:40 St Andrew's Day at the BBC (m00122lx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
FRI 02:40 Proclaimers: This Is the Story (b08w51r4)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today