Armed with his 1930s Bradshaw’s guide, Michael Portillo explores East Anglia between the wars. His railway journey begins at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, where archaeologists made a staggering discovery. Laura Howarth from the National Trust walks Michael to the top of a mound in a field, where in 1939 a 27-metre-long Anglo-Saxon ship was found buried in the earth. Buried along with the ship were precious objects from across the world.
At Leiston, Michael visits the oldest children’s democracy in the world, Summerhill School, founded in 1921 by a forward-thinking Scottish educator called A.S. Neill. Today, his daughter Zoe Readhead is school principal, and she introduces Michael to the school’s ethos and some of its pupils.
In the Essex village of Dedham, Michael unearths a nasty brush between painters. East Anglian art experts explain the antipathy between traditional artist Sir Alfred Munnings and the modern art school established in the village by Cedric Morris.
Michael takes the harbour ferry from Felixstowe to Harwich to find out about the young Jewish passengers who arrived in Harwich in 1938, having fled Nazi Germany as part of the Kindertransport. Siblings Ruth Jacobs and Harry Heber, now in their 80s, were among them, and Michael is moved to hear their story.
Fred Dibnah visits the North East, which is rich in railway history.
At Bowes Railway he sees an early engineering project by George Stephenson, which was a stationary engine that pulled coal wagons uphill with a rope. At Darlington Railway Museum he admires Stephenson's original Locomotive No 1, the first to run from Darlington to Stockton. At the National Railway Museum, York, he rides on a replica of the Rocket, made by Stephenson's son Robert and at Ffestiniog Railway, he sees how a new locomotive is designed with computer aids and rides on the footplate and stokes the boiler of a Black Five at Llangollen Railway.
Sitcom. Whilst Hyacinth lectures the milkman, she spies a man in Liz's house. She misunderstands the situation, and devises a plan involving Richard to flush him out.
Classic political sitcom. Jim Hacker considers cancelling the Trident programme after discovering some interesting facts about the UK's defence system.
Over the last few years, our weather in Britain has become more extreme.
The winter of 2013/14 was the wettest ever recorded, as deadly storms battered the country for weeks on end. But previous winters have seen bitter lows of -22, as Britain was plunged into a deep freeze.
Everyone wants to know why our weather is getting more extreme, whether we can expect to see more of it in the future, and if it has got anything to do with climate change.
Physicist Dr Helen Czerski and meteorologist John Hammond make sense of Britain's recent extreme weather and discover that there is one thing that connects all our recent extreme winters - the jet stream, an invisible river of air that powers along 10km above us. What's worrying is that recently it has been behaving rather strangely.
Scientists are now trying to understand what is behind these changes in the jet stream. Helen and John find out if extreme winters are something we may all have to get used to in the future.
Shipwrecks are the nightmare we have forgotten - the price Britain paid for ruling the waves from an island surrounded by treacherous rocks. The result is a coastline that is home to the world's highest concentration of sunken ships. But shipwrecks also changed the course of British history, helped shape our national character and drove innovations in seafaring technology, as well as gripping our imagination.
Mutiny, murder and mayhem on the high seas as Sam Willis takes the story of shipwrecks into the Georgian age when Britain first began to rule the waves. But with maritime trade driving the whole enterprise, disasters at sea imperilled all this. As key colonies were established and new territories conquered, the great sailing ships became symbols of the power of the Georgian state - and the shipwreck was to be its Achilles' heel. By literally turning this world upside down, mutinous sailors, rebellious slaves and murderous wreckers threatened to undermine Britain's ambitions and jeopardise its imperial venture.
In December 1981, the Penlee lifeboat was called out to help a stricken coaster off the coast of Cornwall. In hurricane winds and sixty foot waves, the crew of the Solomon Browne made a heroic attempt to rescue those on board the ill-fated Union Star. Using actual radio footage, eyewitness testimony and memories of bereaved family members, this film tells the story of that tragic night.
We love talking about the weather - is it too hot or too cold, too wet or too windy? It's a national obsession. Now scientists have started looking to the heavens and wondering what the weather might be like on other planets. Today, we are witnessing the birth of extraterrestrial meteorology, as technology is allowing astronomers to study other planets like never before. They began with our solar system, sending spacecraft to explore its furthest reaches, and now the latest telescopes are enabling astronomers to study planets beyond our solar system.
Our exploration of the universe is revealing alien worlds with weather stranger than anyone could ever have imagined - we've discovered gigantic storm systems that can encircle entire planets, supersonic winds, extreme temperatures and bizarre forms of rain. On some planets, the temperatures are so hot that the clouds and rain are believed to be made of liquid lava droplets, and on other planets it is thought to rain precious stones like diamonds and rubies.
We thought we had extreme weather on Earth, but it turns out that it is nothing compared to what's out there. The search for the weirdest weather in the universe is only just beginning.
WEDNESDAY 12 JANUARY 2022
WED 19:00 Great British Railway Journeys (m000vswy)
Colchester to Chadwell Heath
Michael Portillo continues his Bradshaw’s-inspired journey through East Anglia, where he discovers the Essex origins of the BBC, joins the Women’s Land Army to pick damsons at Tiptree, and visits homes fit for heroes in Becontree.
He begins close to Colchester at Abberton Reservoir, a man-made thousand-acre body of freshwater, begun in the year of his guidebook, 1936. He discovers how it was protected during the Second World War by hundreds of mines. It’s now an important wetland habitat for ducks, swans and water birds, and Michael spots a marsh harrier.
In the village of Tiptree, Michael finds out how, as war loomed once again and men were called up to fight, women stepped up to take their places on the farm as part of a revived Women’s Land Army.
From Chelmsford, Michael heads for the chocolate box village of Writtle, where he is surprised to discover Britain’s first regular scheduled radio broadcasting station in a tiny hut. Michael is intrigued by the technology of 1919.
Next stop is Chadwell Heath in the London borough of Barking and Dagenham. A massive building programme after the First World War resulted in what was, at the time, the largest municipal housing estate in the world. Michael learns about the estate from residents past and present.
WED 19:30 Fred Dibnah's Industrial Age (b0074mbg)
Ships and Engineering
Fred Dibnah examines the skill of the shipbuilders and machine engineers who turned Britain into a great manufacturing nation.
In Bristol, Fred visits the SS Great Britain and pays tribute to the designer and his hero, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Fred also travels to Scotland to take a voyage on the paddle steamer Waverley. Back in England, he visits the Windermere Steamboat Museum, the Long Shop Museum in Leiston, Suffolk, and the Kew Bridge Steam Museum.
Plus, Fred drives his pride and joy, the Aveling & Porter steam roller, talking about its history and recalling one rather dramatic crash he had while driving it.
WED 20:00 New Zealand: Earth's Mythical Islands (b07lp34l)
Isolated since the time of the dinosaurs, New Zealand's wildlife has been left to its own devices, with surprising consequences. Its ancient forests are still stalked by predators from the Jurassic era. It's also one of the most geologically active countries on earth.
From Kiwis with their giant eggs, to forest-dwelling penguins and helicopter-riding sheep dogs, meet the astonishing creatures and resilient people who must rise to the challenges of their beautiful, dramatic and demanding home.
WED 21:00 The Last Survivors (b0c1ngrx)
This landmark documentary gathers together the compelling and, in some cases, never-before-heard testimony from the last Holocaust survivors living in Britain today. All of these extraordinary people were children during the Holocaust, but now in their later years, they reflect on their experiences with a different perspective and understanding of how this past trauma permeates through to their contemporary lives with increased significance.
The film is based in the present tense, building a picture of a small number of survivors in their day to day lives, whilst also giving an insight into why they hold on to particular memories of the Holocaust, as well as what concerns them most as they contemplate reaching the end of their lives.
Over the course of a year, director Arthur Cary also follows these individuals on personal and profound journeys - including the story of a man who returns to Auschwitz with his daughter, a German Jewish survivor addressing the Bundestag, and a man who returns to his German childhood hometown for the first time since 1946 to finally acknowledge the death of his little brother. These scenes are punctuated by compelling interviews with a wider group of survivors who reveal shared feelings as well as their own unique thoughts and experiences. Having lived through 'humanity's darkest hour', these are the last survivors.
WED 22:30 The Diary of Anne Frank (b00gndt1)
June 1942. WWII Amsterdam is under Nazi occupation. Anne Frank, a teenage Jewish girl, is celebrating her 13th birthday with her family and friends by having a party. Amongst her birthday presents, she is given a red diary that she starts to write in immediately. Days later, call up papers arrive for her 16-year-old sister Margot and her parents, Otto and Edith, decide to hasten their plan to go into hiding from the Nazis to ensure that the family do not get separated.
The next morning, the Franks head to Otto's spice company. Once there, they are led past the warehouses by their helpers in the office and taken up to a secret annex at the back of the building that occupies the three top floors. Otto and Edith will sleep in one room, with Margot and Anne next door in another. They will soon be joined by their friends Mr and Mrs Van Daan and their teenage son Peter, who will live on the floor above, in the larger shared living area. At the very top of the building is a disused attic, too cold to sleep in but useful for storing food. They must obey strict rules in the annex, remaining completely silent during working hours while the warehouse men are in the building. Only the faithful office staff know of their existence and have agreed to help them survive.
At first, Edith and Margot find the confinement hard to bear and sink into depression, while Otto and Anne make themselves useful, arranging the furniture that has been hidden there for them, and sewing material together to make black-out curtains. The Van Daans soon arrive and liven things up, especially when Peter reveals that he has brought his pet cat Mouschi, while Anne was forced to leave her cat at home. Anne does not think much of Peter but decides she must try and be pleasant to him to keep the peace.
WED 23:00 The Diary of Anne Frank (b00gn81c)
October 1942. World War II. In the secret annex where Anne Frank is in hiding from the Nazis with her family and close friends the Van Daan family, the toilet is blocked and her father, Otto, is forced to try and unblock it with a stick. When he fails, they have to resort to using jam jars until it is mended. Their helpers in the offices downstairs call a plumber, and the family are terrified that he will need to come up to the annex and they will be discovered. Fortunately, it is finally sorted from downstairs and all is well.
Anne finds Mrs Van Daan increasingly hard to bear, as she orders her around and criticises her in a way that her liberal parents never do. She also finds Peter Van Daan frustratingly dim, and never misses an opportunity to tell him so. But overall they are getting used to their incarceration, and the strict rules of daily quiet by which they must live. Otto oversees their school studies and everyone has their routine tasks to perform. Only at night when the bomb raids start is Anne so scared that she runs into her parents' room for comfort.
Anne invites Miep and her husband Jan to come to dinner in the annex and to stay overnight in her room, while she and Margot camp in their parents' room, and Miep agrees. Anne is thrilled and draws up a special menu in their honour, which Mrs Van Daan cooks for them. But Miep brings the bad news, which she tells only the Franks, that the Van Daans' apartment has been ransacked by the Nazis and all their property confiscated. When Mrs Van Daan asks Miep to bring her some more of her things, it is Anne who covers the difficult moment with a toast to the helpers.
WED 23:30 The Diary of Anne Frank (b00gnv10)
Amsterdam, November 1942. The routine in the annex is now very established. Otto tries to keep up with company business by lying on the floor and listening to meetings downstairs, and he is shocked to discover that the building has had to be sold. They fear that the new owner will demand access to the annex and they will be discovered, but Mr Kleiman tells the owner that he has left the key at home. The lease won't be exchanged for months yet, and the war might be over by then, so for now the threat is over.
When Miep arrives she tells them their friendly grocer has gone missing, and they fear he might betray them to the Nazis as he has been providing extra supplies for the annex, but Miep trusts him. Miep also gives Mr Dussel the latest letter and food parcel from his fiance, which annoys Anne as she thinks he is putting them at greater risk with his letter exchanges. Her parents agree but do not want to say anything to him.
That evening Anne helps to wash her mother's hair and for once they are close, talking about how tiring she was as a small baby. It is Hanukkah and everyone in the annex gathers for the ceremony around the dinner table. But when drips start falling from the ceiling onto the food Peter dashes off to the attic, followed by Anne, where he admits that he forgot to put out the cat's litter tray. Anne is convinced he is a fool and teases him.
Food shortages are getting worse and Bep from the office now comes up to the annex for lunch every day. Anne asks Mr Dussel to let her use their shared bedroom for the agreed time but he isn't ready to give up the desk and they row. Otto talks to Dussel and persuades him how important writing is to Anne.
WED 00:00 The Sky at Night (m0013c9c)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Sunday
WED 00:30 Great British Railway Journeys (m000vswy)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
WED 01:00 Fred Dibnah's Industrial Age (b0074mbg)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
WED 01:30 New Zealand: Earth's Mythical Islands (b07lp34l)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
WED 02:30 Shipwrecks: Britain's Sunken History (b03l7kj8)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Tuesday
THURSDAY 13 JANUARY 2022
THU 19:00 Great British Railway Journeys (m000vsxt)
Potters Bar to Cardington
Michael Portillo’s Bradshaw travels resume in leafy Hertfordshire, where he attempts a canoe slalom course at the Lee Valley White Water Centre, built for the London Olympics in 2012. Former competitive canoeist Sue Hornby tells Michael how British canoeists first competed at the politically-charged Berlin Games in 1936. Britain won a gold and a silver medal here at the London Olympics, and Michael’s hopes are high as he takes to the paddling lake.
Travelling north, Michael reaches Hatfield and the country estate of the queen of romance and author of 723 books, Dame Barbara Cartland. The novelist’s eldest son welcomes Michael to Camfield Place with a gift for his onward journey, 'A Train to Love'.
In Stevenage, Michael learns how, in 1935, a new enterprise boosted production of the nation’s daily loaf with a factory in the town. Allied Bakeries now produces 1.8 million loaves a week, and Michael marvels at the scale of the operation while enjoying the smell of freshly baked bread.
Crossing into Bedfordshire, Michael reaches Sandy, from which he heads for Cardington, where the level countryside is dominated by two breathtakingly vast sheds. In Hangar No 2, Michael hears the shocking story of the 'Titanic of the skies', the R101 airship, which crashed on its first long haul voyage, killing all aboard.
THU 19:30 Fred Dibnah's Magnificent Monuments (b0074mbx)
Forts and Castles
Another chance to join Fred Dibnah as he celebrates Britain's great building and engineering feats, from prehistoric stone circles to the Humber Bridge. Fred travels around Britain to discover how some of our great buildings were constructed. Along the way, he meets the craftsmen who are preserving these buildings for future generations.
In the programme, Fred considers the development of castles from early Iron Age Forts to secret underground tunnels used during the Second World War. At Hadrian's Wall, he marvels at the design of Roman toilets, while in Warwick he joins a band of medieval knights to test the castle's defences.
THU 20:00 How the West Was Won (b0077dtl)
Epic western about three generations of a pioneer family, showing how its fortunes fluctuated during the dynamic westward expansion of America during the 19th century. Three top directors each tackle separate episodes of the story, filmed in the short-lived three-camera Cinerama process, and with an all-star cast.
THU 22:25 The Sisters Brothers (m0013cbc)
1851. Eli and Charlie Sisters, the most feared and ruthless gunslingers in Oregon, are sent down the Pacific Northwest coast on the hunt for a prospector called Hermann Kermit Warm. First, they have to find his secret, then they have to kill him.
THU 00:20 How the Wild West Was Won with Ray Mears (b044jl70)
Ray Mears looks at how the landscapes of America's three great mountain ranges - the Appalachians, the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada - challenged the westward push of the early pioneers.
As Ray travels through each landscape he discovers how their awe-inspiring geography, extreme weather, wild animals and ecology presented both great opportunities and great challenges for the native Indians, mountain men, fur traders, wagon trains and gold miners of the Wild West.
Ray begins his westward journey in the Appalachians where he explores how their timbered slopes fuelled the lumber industry and provided the fuel and building material for the emerging nation. Native Appalachian Barbara Woodall and lumberjack Joe Currie share their family history with him, and he gets to grips with the rare 'hellbender' salamander.
Further west, in the high jagged peaks of the Rocky Mountains, Ray goes mule trekking with modern-day mountain man Stu Sorenson and he has close encounters with beaver, elk and black bear.
Finally, in the desert mountains of the Sierra Nevada, he explores the tragic story of the Donner Party wagon train whose members allegedly turned to cannibalism to survive. His journey ends as he pans for gold with modern day gold prospector John Gurney, and explores the boom and bust story of ghost town, Bodie.
THU 01:20 Great British Railway Journeys (m000vsxt)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
THU 01:50 Fred Dibnah's Magnificent Monuments (b0074mbx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
THU 02:20 The Last Survivors (b0c1ngrx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Wednesday
FRIDAY 14 JANUARY 2022
FRI 19:00 Top of the Pops (b04w0fz1)
1980 - Big Hits
British pop and the BBC's flagship chart show said goodbye to the 70s and trembled on the edge of a new era for the show, for British music and for British society. This meant a continuing love for the nutty boys, Madness, who feature in this compilation with My Girl, and the man with the best cheekbones in pop, Adam Ant, gave us Antmusic.
We get to check out The Pretenders' first number one, Brass in Pocket, alongside Dexys Midnight Runners' tribute to soul legend Geno Washington. There are the early stirrings of new romantic with Spandau Ballet, and it's a veritable mod revival with The Piranhas and 2-Tone with The Beat.
Plus Hot Chocolate, OMD, Motorhead and many more top hits proving the 80s were truly beginning.
FRI 19:15 The Shirley Bassey Show (m0013cfh)
Shirley's guests are singer-sonwriters Johnny Nash and Gilbert O'Sullivan. Also on the show, The Shirley Bassey Dancers, choreographed by Nigel Lythgoe.
FRI 20:00 Top of the Pops (m0013cfk)
Tony Dortie and Claudia Simon present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 30 January 1992 and featuring The Pasadenas, Kicks Like a Mule, James, The Wonder Stuff, Dream Frequency, Julia Fordham, Manic Street Preachers, DNA featuring Sharon Redd and Wet Wet Wet.
FRI 20:30 Top of the Pops (m0013cfm)
Steve Anderson and Claudia Simon present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 13 February 1992 and featuring Color Me Badd, Michael Jackson, Ride, Bryan Adams, The Pasadenas, Simply Red, The Temptations, Pearl Jam and Wet Wet Wet.
FRI 21:00 Rolling Stones: Crossfire Hurricane (b01rrxkl)
Crossfire Hurricane, directed by Brett Morgen, provides a remarkable new perspective on the Stones' unparalleled journey from blues-obsessed teenagers in the early 60s to rock royalty. It's all here in panoramic candour, from the Marquee Club to Hyde Park, from Altamont to 'Exile, from club gigs to stadium extravaganzas.
With never-before-seen footage and fresh insights from the band themselves, Crossfire Hurricane places the viewer on the frontline of the band's most legendary escapades.
Taking its title from a lyric in Jumping Jack Flash, Crossfire Hurricane gives the audience an intimate insight, for the first time, into exactly what it's like to be part of the Rolling Stones, as they overcame denunciation, drugs, dissensions and death to become the definitive survivors.
The odyssey includes film from the Stones' initial road trips and first controversies as they became the anti-Beatles, the group despised by authority because they connected and communicated with their own generation as no-one ever had. 'When we got together,' says Wyman, 'something magical happened, and no one could ever copy that'.
Riots and the chaos of early tours are graphically depicted, as is the birth of the Jagger-Richards songwriting partnership. The many dramas they encountered are also fully addressed, including the Redlands drug bust, the descent of Brian Jones into what Richards calls 'bye-bye land', and the terror and disillusionment of 1969's Altamont Festival.
The film illustrates the Stones' evolution from being, as Mick vividly describes it, 'the band everybody hated to the band everybody loves': through the hedonistic 1970s and Keith's turning-point bust in Canada, to the spectacular touring phenomenon we know today. Richards also reveals the song that he believes defines the 'essence' of his writing relationship with Jagger more than any other.
The film combines extensive historical footage, much of it widely unseen, with contemporary commentaries by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood and former Stones, Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor.
FRI 22:50 The Rolling Stones: Totally Stripped (p09t8ld0)
Originally broadcast in 1995, a fly-on-the-wall account of The Rolling Stones that captures rehearsals, interviews, live shows and footage of the band in the studio, recording and performing stripped-down versions of some of their classic songs.
FRI 00:25 The Rolling Stones at the BBC (b01p1pmf)
To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of The Rolling Stones we delve into the BBC vaults to deliver some timeless Stones archive. From the early days of their career and some unforgettable performances on Top of the Pops with the Last Time, Let's Spend the Night Together and Get Off of My Cloud through the late 60s and early 70s era of prolific song writing when the band were knocking out a classic album every other year and offering up such classics as Honky Tonk Women and Gimme Shelter.
The late 70s brought a massively successful nod to disco with Miss You and the early 80s a stomping return to form with the rock 'n' roll groove of Start Me Up. Peppered amongst the performances are snippets of wisdom from the two main men - the Glimmer Twins, aka Mick and Keith. Plus as a special treat, some lost footage of the band performing 19th Nervous Breakdown on Top of the Pops in 1966 - recently discovered in a BBC documentary from the 1960s about women with depression.
FRI 01:10 Top of the Pops (m0013cfk)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
FRI 01:40 Top of the Pops (m0013cfm)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 today
FRI 02:10 The Shirley Bassey Show (m0013cfh)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:15 today
FRI 02:50 Top of the Pops (b04w0fz1)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today