SATURDAY 07 OCTOBER 2023
SAT 19:00 Lost Land of the Tiger (b00ty6bd)
The second part of the BBC Natural History Unit's wildlife adventure series following an expedition to search for tigers in the Himalayas.
The team strikes out from base camp to track down tigers throughout Bhutan. Kayaker Steve Backshall heads to the eastern jungles and is pushed to the absolute limit when he takes on a mighty white-water river. Big cat cameraman Gordon Buchanan deploys remote cameras far and wide, and he uses a clever fingerprinting technique to identify individual tigers from their unique stripe patterns.
Meanwhile, biologist Dr George McGavin is on a mission to India, where he finally comes face to face with the king of the jungle.
We follow the expedition every emotional step of the way as they strive to find evidence that could help to bring wild tigers back from the brink of extinction and safeguard their future.
SAT 20:00 Ray Mears and Ewan McGregor: Extreme Jungle (p031d346)
Survival expert Ray Mears takes Ewan McGregor the chance to go on a trek of a lifetime. They go deep into the Honduran jungle in search of a lost civilisation.
SAT 21:00 Black Snow (p0g5k01t)
An important witness is found dead in unexplained circumstances. Turner is quick to declare the death an accident, but Cormack suspects foul play, and a link to Isabel’s murder. The discovery of fresh evidence shines the spotlight on a potential new suspect.
SAT 21:50 Black Snow (p0g5k0hk)
Cormack and Hazel realise that Kalana is missing and fear the worst. They set off to find her and aim for the place where Cormack believes Isabel might have been killed.
SAT 22:45 Parkinson: The Interviews (b01hr5s7)
Michael Parkinson recalls a rare interview with the brilliant film-maker and actor Orson Welles.
SAT 23:25 Parkinson: The Interviews (b01h22vh)
Michael Parkinson looks back at his unique interview with talented and troubled film star Richard Burton. Back in 1974, Burton was battling against alcoholism and had spent six weeks in hospital for treatment prior to the interview. Parkinson persuaded him to talk candidly about his career, love life and drink problems.
SAT 00:05 In Conversation (b06nxrv1)
Antony Sher and Greg Doran in Conversation with Sue MacGregor
Sue MacGregor talks to Antony Sher and Greg Doran about their stage work together and their shared passion for Shakespeare. Over the last two decades the actor and director have collaborated on ten shows including Macbeth, Henry IV pts 1 and 2 and Death of a Salesman. In 2016 Doran will direct Sher in King Lear for the RSC, the company Doran runs. This is a rare chance to be in the audience for an intimate insight into a professional and personal partnership that is probably unique in British theatre.
SAT 01:05 Yes, Minister (b007836n)
Doing the Honours
Sir Humphrey has to combat Jim's economies, including cuts on profitable overseas students at his old college and linking civil servants' honours with achieving cuts.
SAT 01:35 Ray Mears and Ewan McGregor: Extreme Jungle (p031d346)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
SAT 02:35 Lost Land of the Tiger (b00ty6bd)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
SUNDAY 08 OCTOBER 2023
SUN 19:00 Gregory Doran Remembers... Shakespeare Live! From the RSC (m001r9zj)
Gregory Doran, former artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, looks back on the challenges he faced bringing together a cast of acclaimed actors and even members of the royal family for his 2016 live BBC extravaganza marking 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare.
Gregory explains how he managed to pull off the project and recalls the journey that transformed early ideas into to a huge popular success that resonated with critics and television viewers alike. He also shares his memories of working with the likes of David Tennant, Catherine Tate and a host of acclaimed Shakespeareans, and explains why he thinks the Bard remains so relevant even today.
SUN 19:15 Shakespeare Live! From the RSC (b0791mqd)
From the stage of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, hosts David Tennant and Catherine Tate are joined by Benedict Cumberbatch, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren, Meera Syal, David Suchet, Rufus Wainwright, Tim Minchin, Gregory Porter, Joseph Fiennes, English National Opera, The Royal Ballet and Akala for a very special evening.
Together, they mark the life and work of William Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death. This unique event takes place in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and celebrates Shakespeare's extraordinary legacy and his enduring influence on all performance art forms - from opera to jazz, dance to musicals.
SUN 21:40 Much Ado About Nothing (m001646w)
The Royal Shakespeare Company's 2022 production of one of Shakespeare's best-loved romantic comedies, filmed in Stratford-upon-Avon. In a colourful world where anything feels possible, two very different couples fall in love. With dastardly plots, hilarious slapstick and some of Shakespeare’s wittiest dialogue, Roy Alexander Weise directs this classic tale of matchmaking and manipulation.
SUN 00:25 The Wars of the Roses (p0gfvb7d)
The second play in the RSC's production by Peter Hall starring Alan Tucker and Peggy Ashcroft.
MONDAY 09 OCTOBER 2023
MON 19:00 Life (b00p90d6)
Plants' solutions to life's challenges are as ingenious and manipulative as any animal's.
Innovative time-lapse photography opens up a parallel world where plants act like fly-paper, or spring-loaded traps, to catch insects. Vines develop suckers and claws to haul themselves into the rainforest canopy. Every peculiar shape proves to have a clever purpose. The dragon's blood tree is like an upturned umbrella to capture mist and shade its roots. The seed of a Bornean tree has wings so aerodynamic they inspired the design of early gliders. The barrel-shaped desert rose is full of water. The heliconia plant even enslaves a humming bird and turns it into an addict for its nectar.
MON 20:00 Simon Schama's Power of Art (b00793hc)
Simon Schama recounts the story of eight moments of high drama in the making of eight masterpieces. How Caravaggio changed the way artists portrayed religious icons.
MON 21:00 Andy Warhol's America (p0b5mr4h)
The American Nightmare
Charting Andy Warhol's response to the civil rights movement and the assassination of John F Kennedy, as well as other major historical events happening in America in the 1960s.
We hear stories about Warhol setting up the Silver Factory and managing The Velvet Underground, and also how he faced his own personal nightmare: he was shot by a Factory associate.
MON 22:00 The Sky at Night (m001rb07)
Question Time Special
A special Question Time edition of the programme, recorded at the University of Exeter as part of the British Science Association’s Science Festival.
The panel is chaired by science journalist Dallas Campbell and made up of The Sky at Night presenters Chris Lintott, Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Pete Lawrence, who are joined on stage by Dr Claire Davies, who studies star and planet formation, and Dr Hannah Wakeford, who specialises in the atmospheres of exoplanets.
The panel answer questions covering all things astronomical from The Sky at Night's avid viewers and from audience members. We also hear about updates from the Voyager missions to life on other planets and discover where the panel would want to send future space probes if they had the chance.
MON 23:00 Nelson in His Own Words (b054v8dl)
Horatio Nelson was Britain's greatest naval hero. He was famed for his dash-and-glory heroics. He was also a prolific letter writer. The letters reveal that Nelson was a very different and more complex man than the hero that Britain created after his death.
Using these letters, this drama documentary exposes Nelson's skilful and manipulative use of PR to advance his career and shows how he was careful in his praise of his rivals - in case they threatened his own prospects. The letters also reveal how his passionate love affair with Emma Hamilton changed his life forever.
MON 00:00 The Stuarts (p01lknsc)
And I Will Make Them One Nation
Presented by Dr Clare Jackson of Cambridge University, this three-part series argues the Stuarts, more than any other, were Britain's defining royal family. We tend to take today's modern United Kingdom for granted, but there was nothing inevitable about its creation. During the 17th century, the Stuarts grappled with the chaos of three separate Kingdoms, multiple religions and civil war. Britain has not known a century like it and some of the questions this dynasty faced have not gone away.
In the opening episode, Clare looks at James VI and I's attempts to unite Scotland and England under the umbrella of his crowns and persuade his subjects to feel more 'British'.
MON 01:00 Basquiat: Rage to Riches (b098pd3q)
Nearly 30 years after his death from a drug overdose in 1988, the legendary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat managed to take the world by storm yet again when one of his skull paintings from 1982 sold at Sotheby's for over one hundred million dollars. The monetary value and historical importance of the work by this former Downtown NYC street graffiti artist is now considered on a par with such luninaries as Picasso, Pollock and Francis Bacon.
This film features exclusive interviews with Basquiat's two sisters - Lisane and Jeanine Basquiat - who have never before talked about their brother and his art for a TV documentary. Other contributors include some of the most powerful art dealers in the world, such as Bruno Bischofberger, Larry Gagosian and Mary Boone. They helped fuel Basquiat as he rocketed to art world fame, but their own careers and fortunes may have benefited just as much, and possibly more.
With striking candor, Basquiat's art dealers and most intimate friends, lovers and fellow artists spill the beans on the cash, the drugs and the pernicious racism that Basquiat encountered and fought against on a daily basis. And the main weapon that Basquiat used to fight this racism was his art.
The beating heart of this documentary is the actual art of Basquiat - and the substantive ways in which it embodied and reflected breakthroughs in music, poetry and a new type of expressionism in modern art. But the story of his life is the raw material for countless legends!
MON 02:30 Life (b00p90d6)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
TUESDAY 10 OCTOBER 2023
TUE 19:00 Life (b00pcm3h)
Primates are just like humans - intelligent, quarrelsome, family-centred.
Huge armies of Hamadryas baboons, 400 strong, battle on the plains of Ethiopia to steal females and settle old scores. Japanese macaques in Japan beat the cold by lounging in thermal springs, but only if they come from the right family. An orangutan baby fails in its struggle to make an umbrella out of leaves to keep off the rain. Young capuchins cannot quite get the hang of smashing nuts with a large rock, a technique their parents have perfected. Chimpanzees, humans' closest relatives, have created an entire tool kit to get their food.
TUE 20:00 Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em (b0078mpr)
Frank and Marvin
Classic sitcom. Betty has to break the news to Frank that she is pregnant. And Frank goes for a job at a holiday camp, with predictably disastrous results.
TUE 20:30 Yes, Minister (b0074qg2)
The Death List
Political sitcom. The minister is shocked to discover that his department is responsible for supplying all of the government's electronic surveillance equipment.
TUE 21:00 Timeshift (b053pxdr)
The Nation's Railway: The Golden Age of British Rail
Timeshift revisits Britain's railways during the era of public ownership. For all its bad reputation today, the old British Rail boldly transformed a decayed, war-torn Victorian transport network into a system fit for the 20th century. With an eye firmly on the future, steam made way for diesel and electric, new modern stations like Euston were built, and Britain's first high-speed trains introduced.
Made with unique access to the British Transport Films archive, this is a warm corrective to the myth of the bad old days of rail, but even it can't hide from the horror that was a British Rail sandwich.
TUE 22:00 Storyville (m001r9zl)
Made of Steel: Wheelchair Rugby’s Fiercest Rivalry
Back in November 2022, England played host to the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup. The unflinching action and raw passion on display took many new fans by surprise, and as the tournament progressed, audience numbers - both in the stadiums and those watching on television - began to build in a moment of important visibility for the sport.
This film tells the inside story of the world's two best wheelchair rugby league teams, England and France, with privileged access to each side's progress through the tournament towards a potential winner-takes-all meeting in the final.
Following players from each squad both on and off the pitch also introduces us to the varied characters who play and coach this demanding sport, discovering the circumstances that brought them to the game and hearing about the often different philosophies they have on the subject of who should take part.
Made of Steel is a story of grit, sacrifice and determination... but above all about a fierce sporting rivalry between two teams who were both intent on coming out on top.
TUE 23:20 imagine... (m001ds18)
Malorie Blackman: What If?
Alan Yentob follows one of Britain’s best-loved writers: Malorie Blackman, former children’s laureate and the first children’s writer to win the prestigious Pen Pinter Prize. Bold, provocative and challenging, her books have plunged children’s literature into previously uncharted waters: her tragic reverse-racism novel Noughts and Crosses challenged assumptions and declared her a writer like no other.
As she prepares to publish her long-awaited autobiography, Malorie discusses the key moments in her life that made her a writer.
TUE 00:30 imagine... (m000ct0t)
Lenny Henry: Young, Gifted and Black
Alan Yentob follows one of our best loved performers as he releases his first autobiography charting his early years in show business. In this revealing and poignant film Sir Lenny Henry meets up with his closest friends, family and colleagues to remember his sudden rise to fame aged 16 on TV talent show, New Faces, which catapulted him from working-class kid from Dudley to one of Britain’s most celebrated black performers. imagine... also explores Lenny’s other early television breakthrough roles on Tiswas and Three Of A Kind as well as five troubling years as the only black performer in The Black & White Minstrel Show. Alongside his early achievements, Lenny Henry also discusses his recent career reinvention as a serious actor of stage and screen and his work as a political activist campaigning for greater diversity in the entertainment and broadcasting industry
TUE 01:45 Life (b00pcm3h)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
TUE 02:45 Andy Warhol's America (p0b5mr4h)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Monday
WEDNESDAY 11 OCTOBER 2023
WED 19:00 Africa (p010jc6r)
David Attenborough takes a breathtaking journey through the vast and diverse continent of Africa as it has never been seen before.
In Africa's ancient south west corner, two extraordinary deserts sit side by side. Water is in short supply, yet these deserts are somehow full of life because the creatures that live here have turned the rules of survival on their head. This film celebrates nature's ingenuity, no matter how tough it gets.
In the Kalahari scrublands, clever meerkats are outsmarted by a wily bird, solitary and belligerent black rhinos get together to party and giant insects stalk huge flocks of birds. Rain almost never falls in the Namib - instead it must make do with vaporous, vanishing fog. The creatures in this, the world's oldest desert, have gone to the extremes, as spiders wheel to escape and a desert giraffe fights to defend his scant resources in the greatest giraffe battle ever filmed.
WED 20:00 Universe (p09ybz58)
The Big Bang: Before the Dawn
Professor Brian Cox asks the ultimate question: how did the universe come to be? It is daunting in its scale. We live on one planet of eight that orbit just one of the 400 billion stars in our galaxy, which in turn is one of trillions in the universe. Yet it is amongst those galaxies that we have been able to unravel the story of the universe’s creation. Thanks to a series of discoveries, our most powerful space missions have unravelled 13.8 billion years of cosmic evolution and revealed the story of our universe from its birth all the way to the arrival of our nascent civilisation.
Our guide on this odyssey back to the dawn of time is light. Telescopes are time machines - by looking out into the distant universe, they open a window to the past. One telescope more than any other has helped us journey through the history of the universe: NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Over the course of three decades, Hubble has shown us cosmic evolution in action – including stars and planets being born and galaxies colliding. Remarkably, Hubble has even found one of the first galaxies ever to exist in the universe, which was born some 13.4 billion years ago. It's a discovery that hints at the beginnings of our own Milky Way. Vivid CGI brings this ancient galaxy to life, allowing us to witness for ourselves the first dawn. It was the beginning of a relationship between stars and planets that would, on a faraway world, lead to the origin of life - and ultimately to us.
Hubble’s incredible discoveries have allowed scientists to piece together much of our cosmic story, but it cannot take us back to the most important moment in history: the Big Bang. For decades, the moment the universe began was the subject of pure speculation, but by combining astronomy and cosmology, scientists have finally found a way to put their theories to the test and study the momentous events that took place during the Big Bang. They can do this because the European Space Agency’s Planck space telescope has seen the afterglow of the Big Bang itself – something we call the cosmic microwave background. The unparalleled detail Planck gave us has helped confirm something remarkable: the Big Bang may not be the beginning. There was a time before the dawn – a place beyond anything we can comprehend. Brian transports us back to the fraction of a second before the Big Bang, when the seeds of our universe were planted.
The story of our universe's origin is an improbable odyssey, one that helps us understand how we came to be here, contemplating this vast cosmic drama.
WED 21:00 Charles I: Downfall of a King (m0006pb8)
The Final Showdown
The beginning of 1642 has seen John Pym spurn the King’s attempt to bring him onside with a job offer and now Charles’s options are running short. He has just one chance left: arrest Pym and his colleagues. On Monday 3 January, Charles strikes, accusing the ‘Five Members’ of high treason.
The Commons prevaricate. Pym hopes that Charles will throw caution to the wind and resort to violence. Pressure is mounting; rumours of the Queen’s imminent impeachment reach Charles. On 4 January, Charles marches on Westminster, backed by 500 troops.
Pym, however, has been tipped off by someone on the inside: the Queen’s lady-in-waiting, Lucy Hay. She is the viper in the nest. As Charles storms through the front door, Pym and his associates slip out by the back.
Charles enters the chamber of the Commons, breaching ‘parliamentary privilege’. Armed troops wait outside, pistols cocked. The atmosphere is tense, the politicians are silent; they fear a blood bath. The King soon realises that his quarry has escaped and is forced to retreat. MPs’ cries of ‘Privilege! Privilege!’ follow him. He has failed and leaves humiliated.
Pym’s plan has worked; Charles looks like a tyrant to all in Westminster. Moderates now flock to Pym’s side.
Within days, Pym compounds his win by gaining the support of the Citizens’ Militia – a force of 10,000 men. Charles realises his wife’s life is in danger. On 10 January, he escapes with his family to Hampton Court Palace. He has lost his capital and his power. The next time he returns to London, it will be for his execution.
WED 22:00 Cardiac Arrest (p0g20nv4)
The Way of All Flesh
Claire puts pressure on a grieving father to give his consent to a transplant. Meanwhile, Raj becomes interested in a new student nurse.
WED 22:30 Cardiac Arrest (p0g20pt4)
The Age of Consent
The heat is on for Dr James Mortimer, who faces accusations of sexual assault, and 'Scissors' Smedley, who is forced to prioritise the treatment of three critically ill children.
WED 23:00 Cardiac Arrest (p0g20pys)
The Holy Triad
Andrew and Claire clash over an ethical dilemma involving a young Jehovah's Witness. Meanwhile, Raj makes a disastrous romantic overture to win back his ex-girlfriend.
WED 23:30 Cardiac Arrest (p0g20qbv)
The Oedipus Effect
Scissors puts his career at risk when he is provoked by a case involving a drunk driver.
WED 00:00 Cardiac Arrest (p0g20qxz)
Sympathy is in very short supply where Liz Reid is concerned.
WED 00:30 Cardiac Arrest (p0g20r94)
Death Us Do Part
Mr Docherty's wedding offers little respite as the series reaches a murderous climax.
WED 01:00 Universe (p09ybz58)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
WED 02:00 Black Snow (p0g5k01t)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Saturday
WED 02:55 Black Snow (p0g5k0hk)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:50 on Saturday
THURSDAY 12 OCTOBER 2023
THU 19:00 The Sky at Night (m001rb07)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Monday
THU 20:00 Henry V (b007xry1)
Star-studded adaptation of Shakespeare's play. England's King Henry V, insulted by the Dauphin of France, leads his army into battle across the Channel. Along the way, the young monarch must struggle with the sinking morale of his troops and his own inner doubts. The war culminates at the bloody Battle of Agincourt.
THU 22:10 Don't Look Now (m0010zjr)
Grieving the loss of their young daughter in a tragic accident, Laura and John Baxter visit Venice, where John is helping to restore a dilapidated church. As John works, Laura is befriended by two sisters, one of whom warns them to leave the city, claiming she has seen their dead daughter.
Classic mystery thriller from Nicolas Roeg.
THU 00:00 Scene by Scene (m001rb0g)
Donald Sutherland made his name in some of the outstanding films of the 1970s - including MASH, Klute and Don't Look Now - and has remained one of Hollywood's most versatile actors. He talks with Mark Cousins about his life and work.
THU 00:40 Arena (b0791p2k)
All the World's a Screen - Shakespeare on Film
From the silent days of cinema, Shakespeare's plays have often been adapted to the big screen. Film-makers relished his vivid characters and dramatic plots as well as the magic and poetry of his work.
At first the results were patchy, then came Laurence Olivier. With Henry V, made to stir patriotic spirit during the Second World War, he perfectly translated Shakespeare from the stage to the screen. He followed Henry V with Hamlet, and both were smash hits. Olivier led the way for directors as diverse as Orson Welles, Kurosawa, Franco Zeffirelli, Roman Polanski, Baz Luhrmann and Kenneth Branagh.
The Bard's language has been no barrier, with bold versions of his dramas coming out of Russia, Japan, India and many other countries, not to mention Hollywood's free adaptations in genres as diverse as musicals and science fiction. Already over 30 films worldwide have been produced based on Romeo and Juliet alone.
For the first time in a single documentary, Arena explores the rich, global history of Shakespeare in the cinema, with a treasure trove of film extracts and archival interviews with their creators.
THU 01:40 imagine... (m001ds18)
[Repeat of broadcast at 23:20 on Tuesday
THU 02:50 Timeshift (b053pxdr)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Tuesday
FRIDAY 13 OCTOBER 2023
FRI 19:00 Top of the Pops (m001rb00)
Simon Mayo presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 23 March 1995 and featuring Sean Maguire, Tin Tin Out featuring Espiritu, Rednex, Duran Duran, Wet Wet Wet, Leftfield & Halliday, East 17, Simple Minds and Cher, Chrissie Hynde and Neneh Cherry with Eric Clapton.
FRI 19:30 Top of the Pops (m001rb0b)
Ant and Dec present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 30 March 1995 and featuring Strike, Brownstone, Menswear, The New Power Generation featuring Tora Tora, Bruce Springsteen, Snap featuring Summer, Hole and The Outhere Brothers.
FRI 20:00 Top of the Pops (m0004nrq)
Gary Davies and Peter Powell present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 15 October 1987 and featuring UB40, Five Star, The Alarm, Terence Trent D'Arby, Los Lobos, Bananarama, Fleetwood Mac, Was (Not Was), The Fatback Band, the Bee Gees and Billy Idol.
FRI 20:30 Top of the Pops (b09b0ksf)
Mike Read and Tommy Vance present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 11 October 1984. Featuring Kim Wilde, Sade, Paul Young, Alison Moyet, the Style Council and Stevie Wonder.
FRI 21:00 Jazz Divas Gold (b01sbxqy)
BBC Four explores the archives for the sultry sounds and looks of 'Jazz Divas Gold'! Featured Jazz legends include Ella Fitzgerald, Marion Montgomery, Cleo Laine, Blossom Dearie, Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone, Peggy Lee, Betty Carter, Amy Winehouse, Eartha Kitt and many more who can be seen from 1965 to 2008 on BBC treasures such as Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life, Show of the Week, Not Only...But Also, Birdland, Parkinson, Later..with Jools Holland, Morecambe and Wise and more...so let's hear it for the ladies!
FRI 22:00 Joan Armatrading: Me Myself I (m0008rm4)
Joan Armatrading is one the most influential singer-songwriters in Britain. A national icon, she is known for her singular vision, both as a writer and as a performer. She has performed around the world to sell-out stadiums, releasing records and touring almost constantly from the early 70s to the present day.
In this documentary Joan talks about her self-belief and her unique ability to craft songs that have spoken to millions. Known for her reclusiveness, Joan has, for the first time, granted access to her life and music. Joan tells her story from Caribbean émigré to becoming one of the most revered songwriters of our generation.
The film covers Joan’s childhood growing up in Birmingham, and how she began writing songs from a young age. Joan met some of the key people in her life when she joined the rock musical Hair in 1968. She left home to go on tour and forged a musical partnership with songwriter Pam Nestor. Their collaboration led to a major record deal and an opportunity to work with Elton John’s producer, Gus Dudgeon. Her album, Whatever’s for Us, received rave reviews and chimed with the burgeoning songwriting movement on the west coast of America. The album signalled a new energy and freedom taking shape in the 70s in Britain among the black population. Joan was propelled into the musical stratosphere, signing with major American label A&M for over ten years. She created her own genre of songwriting, defying stereotypes and breaking barriers, becoming one of the first black singer-songwriters in Britain.
Joan went on to forge an unbeatable dynamic with rock producer Glyn Johns, who had produced seminal albums with the Rolling Stones, the Eagles and the Who. She created one of the most-loved and iconic songs of the 70s when she wrote Love and Affection in 1976. She was 26 years old. It was a song that took simple emotional fragility and made it somehow both sensuous and raunchy.
Joan made three more hit albums in three years with Glyn and her music would become anthemic to the feminist movement gathering pace since the early 70s. Despite her gold records, international status and touring worldwide, Joan had to overcome misogyny in the music studio and fight racism in the music business.
In 1978, Bob Dylan asked her to play at his festival BlackBushe. Joan, the only woman on the bill, played alongside rock gods such as Eric Clapton. Ask her how she felt, being up there, and you will hear Joan’s fearlessness - ‘The Rock Gods don’t scare me!’ - showing the determination and strength that contributed to her success.
By the 80s, Joan refused to be pigeonholed into a 70s guitar sound and she would diversify her style, experimenting with synths and finding a new direction to create music without a producer. Joan was also one of the first black British musicians to appear on MTV, creating innovative music videos and capturing the imagination of younger artists in the States who had never seen a British black woman play and sing like her before.
Joan was nominated for a Grammy three times, one of which was for the song How Cruel, a song that articulated the racism that many black British people encountered in the UK at the time. Notably, it highlighted to African-Americans that the same problems with race were happening on both sides of the Atlantic.
Songs like Me Myself I and Drop the Pilot became overnight hits in the 80s, testimony to Joan’s consummate songwriting ability. By the late 80s, Joan was one of the first women to write, arrange and produce all her albums, building a music studio at her home and working with the likes of Elton John, Pino Palladino and Mark Knopfler.
As well as unprecedented access to Joan, watching her play a sold-out tour, the film features exclusive, previously unseen archive and interviews with key collaborators from music producers Glyn Johns and Steve Lillywhite to musician Pino Palladino. The film also features interviews and cover versions of Joan’s songs, from Martha Wainwright singing Me Myself I and Meshell Negeocello covering How Cruel to Shingai Shoniwa from the Noisettes performing Love and Affection.
FRI 23:00 Sight and Sound in Concert (m0019mc1)
Alan Black introduces Joan Armatrading in concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1977.
FRI 00:00 Joan Armatrading at Asylum Chapel (m001d2cs)
One of the world's greatest singer-songwriters, Joan Armatrading, does what she does best, accompanied by a full live band.
Filmed at Asylum Chapel, London, in 2021, the show contains a plethora of new songs and classic tracks from across Joan's successful career - including Better Life, Consequences, Love and Affection, Drop the Pilot, Down to Zero and Me, Myself, I.
FRI 01:55 Top of the Pops (m0004nrq)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
FRI 02:25 Top of the Pops (b09b0ksf)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 today
FRI 02:55 Top of the Pops (m001rb00)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
FRI 03:25 Top of the Pops (m001rb0b)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today