SATURDAY 20 JANUARY 2024
SAT 19:00 Jet! When Britain Ruled the Skies (b01m9vjl)
The Shape of Things to Come
In the heady years following World War II, Britain was a nation in love with aviation. Having developed the jet engine in wartime, British engineers were now harnessing its power to propel the world's first passenger jets. By 1960 the UK's passenger airline industry was the largest in the world, with routes stretching to the furthest-flung remnants of Empire.
And the aircraft carrying these New Elizabethans around the globe were also British - the Vickers Viscount, the Bristol Britannia and the world's first pure jet-liner, the sleek, silver De Havilland Comet, which could fly twice as high and twice as fast as its American competitors. It seemed the entire nation was reaching for the skies to create the shape of things to come for air travel worldwide. But would their reach exceed their grasp?
SAT 20:00 Arctic with Bruce Parry (b00y4894)
Bruce travels to Alaska, America's last great wilderness, where modern-day pioneers are harvesting the vast natural wealth of the seas.
Bruce learns the ropes onboard a salmon-fishing boat, and dives to the bottom of the Bering Sea to look for gold.
In the far north Bruce witnesses the annual whale hunt of the Inupiak people whose ancient tradition is now at odds with the modern world and questions what is more important: the life of a whale or the death of a culture?
SAT 21:00 Señorita 89 (m001tklm)
Isabel has been crowned Miss Mexico and is living the life of a beauty queen in a five-star hotel. Jocelyn and Angeles accept their fate and are sent to jail. While Jocelyn unexpectedly finds protection from La Madrina, a narco boss, Angeles does not. Mexican drama.
SAT 21:45 Señorita 89 (m001tklp)
After giving a television interview, Jocelyn discovers that many people consider her 'the queen of the poor'. At Canalvisa, Isabel must endure humiliating treatment as an actress and a model in advertisements, so she makes an interesting proposal to Raul.
SAT 22:30 Parkinson (m001vn1f)
Michael Palin, Kate Adie and Ricky Gervais
Michael Parkinson with guests Michael Palin, Kate Adie and Ricky Gervais.
SAT 23:30 Artsnight (b07zc1bv)
Michael Palin Meets Jan Morris
Veteran broadcaster Michael Palin travels to north Wales to interview the legendary travel writer Jan Morris. Originally born as James Morris, Jan shot to fame as part of the team that successfully climbed Mount Everest in 1953. She spent the rest of the decade as a journalist travelling the world, interviewing figures such as Che Guevara, and producing reports for BBC Panorama from Hong Kong and Japan. In the 1960s, she turned her attention to writing books about cities and countries, before undergoing gender reassignment in 1972, a process chronicled in her autobiography Conundrum. Michael Palin meets Jan and finds out the secret to her long and happy life.
SAT 00:05 To the Manor Born (b00785zt)
Going to Church
Class-based sitcom. Audrey takes DeVere to task for failing to turn up in church on Sunday, but then fails to practise what she preaches.
SAT 00:35 Yes, Prime Minister (b0074qvc)
The Smoke Screen
The health minister wants to abolish smoking using prohibitive taxation, losing the Treasury £4bn revenue. Jim sees how he can use this to stop Treasury opposition to his plans for tax cuts.
SAT 01:05 Jet! When Britain Ruled the Skies (b01m9vjl)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
SAT 02:05 Arctic with Bruce Parry (b00y4894)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
SUNDAY 21 JANUARY 2024
SUN 19:00 Attenborough: 60 Years in the Wild (p00zsrz4)
Our Fragile Planet
Sir David Attenborough reflects on the dramatic impact that humankind has had on the natural world within his own lifetime. He tells the surprising and deeply personal story of the changes he has seen, of the pioneering conservationists with whom he has worked - and of the global revolution in attitudes towards nature that has taken place within the last six decades.
In a journey that takes him from the London Zoo to the jungles of Borneo, Attenborough reveals what inspired him to become a conservationist. He remembers classic encounters with mountain gorillas, blue whales and the giant tortoise, Lonesome George. These are all characters that have helped to change public attitudes to the natural world.
SUN 20:00 Earth's Seasonal Secrets (b0868zy0)
Andrew Scott narrates a special programme which celebrates winter and explores how animals and plants rise to the challenges it brings. With their world encased in snow and ice, animals must find the most inventive ways to survive and even benefit from the cold. Caribou become ice road travellers as it gets slippery underfoot, stoats make their own fur bedding, and snow monkeys find a warm bath. Emperor penguins are built for the cold weather, but even they must find their own tricks to endure the world's most savage winter.
SUN 21:00 Russell Maliphant's Vortex (m001vn3d)
Visually rich dance from an award-winning director and choreographer inspired by the works and process of artist Jackson Pollock and the abstract expressionists.
Filmed live at Sadler’s Wells in London, Russell Maliphant paints his own interpretation with movement, light and shadow to create a poetic journey, with the exceptional dancers of Russell Maliphant Dance Company.
Creative collaborators include Ryan Stafford (lighting design), Katya Richardson (music) and Stevie Stewart (costume design). Filmed by producer and director Martin Collins.
SUN 22:00 Coppelia (m001gq32)
When everyone in town falls under the spell of charismatic cosmetic surgeon Doctor Coppelius, feisty Swan must act to save her sweetheart Franz before his heart is used to spark life into Coppelia - the 'perfect' robot woman the doctor has created.
Through Swan’s quest to uncover Coppelia's secret, the townspeople come to learn that in an increasingly image conscious culture, it’s never been more important to be yourself.
Enchanting animation and live-action dance in a modern twist on the much-loved ballet.
SUN 23:15 The Magic of Dance (p0gwdw3p)
Out in the Limelight, Home in the Rain
Margot Fonteyn explores the dancer's life. The rigours of ballet class, the rehearsals and preparation, and finally the moment of judgment when it's out in the limelight and on with the performance.
Some of Margot Fonteyn's greatest moments on stage are relived in Salut d'Amour, which Frederick Ashton created for a Gala Birthday Tribute. The series ends with a complete performance of Ashton's ballet Marguerite and Armand, which was inspired by Dumas's tragic love story La Dame aux Camelias. It is performed by the partnership for which it was created - Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev.
SUN 00:15 Inside the Mind of Robert Burns (m000dnsf)
Writer Alan Bissett explores the complex brain of Robert Burns in a quest to discover the real man behind the myths and reveal the conflicts in his life and work.
Burns was a poetic genius, but full of contradictions. He was a lover of women, and an exploiter of them; a Republican firebrand, and a social-climbing government excise man; an advocate of freedom who almost became a Caribbean slave master. Alan examines the groundbreaking research that suggests that the poet suffered from bi-polar disorder, a condition that led him to have severe mood swings.
One of Burns’ most famous poems, Tam O’Shanter, is now being interpreted as a journey through his abnormally high and low moods – literally facing his demons. And Cutty Sark was inspired by his sexual relationship with a Dumfries barmaid, not his long-suffering wife Jean Armour.
Alan’s expert contributors are Scotland’s current Makar (national poet) Jackie Kay, poet and Burns biographer Robert Crawford, literary scholars Gerard Carruthers, Moira Hansen and Pauline MacKay, social historian Katie Barclay and science historian Elaine Thomson. They tackle the
conundrums of Burns’ life and personality - his rocky relationships with women, his strange attitude to slavery and how he hid his radical leanings in dangerous times.
The documentary is interwoven with performances from The Burns Cabaret, in which Alan, singer Robyn Stapleton and actor Andrew Rothney highlight some of Burns’ most revealing work in front of a live audience. Classics such as Ae Fond Kiss and A Man’s A Man for A’ That share the stage with a less well-known version of Green Grow the Rashes and the political satire When Princes and Prelates - racy and obscene songs contained in The Merry Muses of Caledonia - Burns’s gift to a rakish gentlemen’s club.
SUN 01:15 Attenborough: 60 Years in the Wild (p00zsrz4)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
SUN 02:15 Earth's Seasonal Secrets (b0868zy0)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
MONDAY 22 JANUARY 2024
MON 19:00 Seven Worlds, One Planet (m000bqjg)
Europe, a crowded continent transformed by mankind where extraordinary animals are found in surprising places.
High above the city of Gibraltar, Barbary macaques - Europe’s only primate, live a life full of kidnappings and high drama whilst in the cemeteries of Vienna ‘grave robbing’ European hamsters do battle with each other for food. Come nightfall, the forests surrounding ancient Italian mountain villages become the hunting grounds for rarely seen wolves whilst deep underground in Slovenia’s caves, and living for up to a hundred years, ‘baby dragons’ or olms can be found lurking in the pitch black.
But in this crowded world there is still wilderness. On the far eastern edge of the continent, hidden in the vast forests of Finland, is the perfect place for mother brown bears to raise their youngsters. To the North, on the fringes of the Arctic Circle, the open tundra echoes with the sound of titanic battles as head-banging musk ox bulls fight for the right to breed.
Europe’s warm, stable climate and the long warm summer days help trigger the continent’s most spectacular wildlife spectacle. In Hungary, for just a few days in June, millions of giant mayflies emerge from the Tisza River. They all now compete, desperate to find a mate - within just a few hours they will all be dead and the spectacle will be over for another year. Romania’s mighty Danube delta attracts birds from around the globe. Here, great white pelican gather in their thousands but instead of finding their own fish, these bully birds rob their cormorant victims of their hard won catch.
Today just 4% of Europe is protected wilderness. Many of Europe’s animals have suffered at the hands of man for thousands of years. However, recently dedicated conservation efforts have thrown a lifeline to a lucky few. Once on the brink of extinction, the Iberian lynx is returning to the hills of Spain. Numbers have increased from under 100 to 700 in a matter of decades. Only by protecting the wilderness that remains, and creating new wild spaces, can a future for Europe’s precious wildlife be ensured.
MON 20:00 Stolen: Catching the Art Thieves (p0cz8gbp)
In 2004, Munch’s The Scream is ripped from a gallery wall in Oslo.
The detectives leading the investigation describe a complex and dangerous investigation which exposes the lengths to which criminals will go to gain a get-out-of-jail card for murder.
MON 21:00 Britain's Lost Masterpieces (m001494m)
Britain’s premier art detectives, Bendor Grosvenor and Emma Dabiri, are on the hunt to find and restore one of the nation’s great lost masterpieces. Can a mysterious painting of a beautiful society woman really be by the celebrated artist Joshua Reynolds? And which celebrity playwright will lead them from Rome to Bath to London’s Royal Academy? With a fascinating treasure hunt into the art of the Georgians and a very modern 21st-century digital restoration, the results are truly spectacular.
Bendor traces the remarkable life of Sir Joshua from humble beginnings in the West Country to reach the pinnacle of the artistic establishment, becoming the first president of the Royal Academy and the country's most respected authority on art. In Rome, Bendor explores how Reynolds developed his style, known as the Grand Manner, and visiting the home of a private collector, he looks at a little-known self-portrait by Reynolds. Bendor explains why he believes it to be the greatest self-portrait ever made by a British artist, with virtuoso brushwork and a fluidity that gives it a remarkably modern appeal. Intensely personal and sympathetic, it was painted when Reynolds was at the height of his success, wealthy enough to buy a large house in the centre of London, lavishly furnished and adapted for his own needs. Bendor is also pleased to see the picture has many similarities to the portrait of Elizabeth Linley.
Emma explores the story of the man who donated the picture, Archibald McLellan, a wealthy businessman whose passion for art saw him amass an outstanding collection, which he left to the city of Glasgow.
Reynolds's achievements culminated with his presidency of the newly created Royal Academy of the Arts, a position he made his own and which gave him an authority to promote his own opinions about painting. The suite of rooms at Somerset House in the Strand, where the academy was originally housed, have recently been restored. Bendor visits it to get a taste of the spaces that would have been familiar to Reynolds, including the Great Room, where the tradition of the Summer Exhibition was born under Sir Joshua.
At the restoration studio, the portrait itself has been subject to close scrutiny. At some point in the last few years, the surface of the painting had been coated with a thick varnish, which has now discoloured and darkened. However, Reynolds's unorthodox painting methods, often using wax instead of oil to mix his paints, mean it must undergo stringent technical analysis to ensure it is safe to clean it. It soon becomes clear it will be impossible to restore the picture, which Bendor feels will damage the prospects of a favourable verdict from the Reynolds expert, Martin Postle.
Emma investigates the brief and tragic life of the woman who has always been the accepted subject of the picture, Elizabeth Linley. A child prodigy, she became a celebrity singer performing in her hometown of Bath from the age of nine. In her teens, she was regarded as a great beauty and suffered frequent but unwelcome attention from suitors. She eloped and married the playwright and politician Richard Brindsley Sheridan, and found herself at the centre of a constitutional crisis before her tragic early death at the age of 37. Emma is puzzled to know what evidence there is that the portrait is really Elizabeth, as there have been doubts expressed in the past. When she looks at some of Reynolds's vivid and insightful portraits of female celebrities from the Georgian era, she is surprised when she uncovers the true identity of the sitter in our portrait.
To give a sense of how the portrait would look if it had been possible to clean it, and to give his case a boost, Bendor creates a three-dimensional digital facsimile using laser scanning techniques and high-resolution re-colourisation. The portrait is returned to Glasgow for the verdict to be revealed.
MON 22:00 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.
MON 23:30 Treasures of the Indus (p02qvb6j)
This is the story of the Indian subcontinent told through the treasures of three very different people, places and dynasties that have shaped the modern Indian world.
All too often, Pakistan is portrayed as a country of bombs, beards and burkhas. The view of it as a monolithic Muslim state is even embodied in the name of the country, 'the Islamic Republic of Pakistan'.
Yet, as Sona Datta shows, it used to be the meeting point for many different faiths from around the world and has an intriguing multicultural past - a past about which it is to some extent in denial. It also produced some extraordinary and little-known works of art which Sona, from her work as a curator at the British Museum, explores and explains.
MON 00:30 Inside America's Treasure House: The Met (m00103dc)
Autumn, 2020. The Met is open, but in a safe and very limited way. Visitor income helps keep the museum running, so times are hard. Since it was founded, like so many US arts institutions, the Metropolitan has largely been funded by benefactors. We visit Clyde B Jones III, the executive matching modern donors to exhibitions and events as the economy tanks.
Jones explains how hard it is to keep up the social links that the system depends on. He has, nonetheless, found it possible to drum up millions of dollars for the imminent remodelling of the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas galleries. Currently, the need to shade the massive south-facing glass wall that illuminates the rooms means artefacts are not shown to their best advantage. Now he must find the funds to replace those walls.
Some give money, but others donate items from their own collections. We meet curator Jaysen Dobney of the musical instruments department as a rock musician and long-term patron asks for help with his problem, a collection of 403 guitars. Dobney is only too happy to have a promised gift of a 60s Gibson Les Paul TV Special.
Every department is currently calling on its supporters. In Textile Conservation, Head Curator Janina Poskrobko makes breakfast for a visiting professor. We've been with her since dawn, at home in Staten island, saying her prayers. She must find the money for an unfunded project - the rescue of an Ottoman robe. We observe as she subtly raises the issue while showing him a Renaissance cape. The professor is a textile expert and passionate supporter. Might he dig deep?
The Costume Institute is normally funded by stars who pay to attend the famous Met Gala fashion event, but this year they're economising. The 2020 Ball is cancelled, so 2019's proceeds must be used carefully. We follow the building of About Time as the set undergoes construction and the garments are installed.
Meanwhile, fashionable friends are stepping up. In Detroit, America's most flamboyant private collector of couture, Sandy Shrier, opens her home, and her heart, to explain why the Met is so important to her - and why last year she donated 160 garments amassed over seven decades of collecting.
In London, we are with top-end cobbler Georgina Goodman, who has just taken a call from the Met, asking for help bolstering their huge accessories archive. In the mid-2000s, Goodman attracted the attention of couturier Alexander McQueen. Packing up her sketches, the designer reveals how she was charged with interpreting Lee McQueen's footwear visions, including the iconic armadillo shoe. The Met has a pair, but is keen to acquire Goodman's original sketches.
As Covid keeps visitor numbers low, every ticket purchased helps keep the lights on and the building open. With no tourist trade, the Met is back to where it began in 1870, catering for locals. Citizens are not obliged to pay for entry into the museum, but Naqiya Hussein has bought two tickets. She's joining the many young people, newly unlocked but making only tentative outings, on a Met Date. Her scientist beau Cyril and she enjoy the tranquillity of solitude in her favourite galleries, though the camera is ever present. A date here is a litmus test of love. If the million objects on display can't spark a conversation, it's never going to work.
Perhaps the greatest donation is a lifetime of work at the Met - or the possibility at least. We are with Vietnamese-American student Kevin Pham as he visits the medieval department at the Met Cloisters in northern Manhattan. He's one of 120 postgraduate interns, paid through a new $5M donation to study with a view to a possible career in the museum. The Met wants to build a new and diverse staff, and must succeed if it is to remain relevant. As Kevin says, the museum can't be the preserve of bearded old white men.
At Halloween, About Time opens. The annual Costume Institute show is always a blockbuster that draws in the crowds, and now the stakes are high. The newly reopened Met must show that it is still the place for fashion as art. This anniversary year, a mirrored gallery, packed with black garments from across 150 years, points to objects that are timeless in an industry now driven by constant change. We're with fashionistas as they thrill to the show, noting that even on a budget, Curator Andrew Bolton has managed to make a splash.
Philanthropy has always kept the Met alive and vibrant, and as the nights draw in, there's disquiet about the upcoming US election and its effect on giving. A change of administration, or the return of President Trump, might warp the delicate web of tax breaks and write-offs that underpin the whole arts world. With the fall-out of Covid and the tumult of Black Lives Matter in mind, CEO Dan Weiss gives a dark assessment of America's contribution to history. And on the night of the election itself, Head of Communications Ken Weine worries about money, staff and the fate of culture itself.
MON 01:30 Seven Worlds, One Planet (m000bqjg)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
MON 02:30 Stolen: Catching the Art Thieves (p0cz8gbp)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
TUESDAY 23 JANUARY 2024
TUE 19:00 Seven Worlds, One Planet (m000byxk)
More than any other continent, North America is defined by extreme weather and seasonal change. For animals that live here this poses great challenges, but for those with a pioneering spirit it can also offer great rewards.
In Canada’s Yukon, winter can be brutal - up to six feet of snow can fall in a single day. But lynx have found a way to survive where others cannot, pushing farther north than any other cat species on earth. To catch a meal, they must outsmart quicker and more nimble prey, the aptly named snowshoe hair.
With no east-west mountain range crossing North America, Arctic air can flow unimpeded as far south as the southern swamps, locking alligators into a blanket of ice and forcing manatees to flee in search of warmer water.
Spring arrives rapidly, covering the Rocky Mountains in a riot of wildflowers and turning frozen creeks into raging torrents. In the streams of Tennessee, male chub fish go to great lengths to attract a mate, moving thousands of stones to build rock pyramids over a metre high. When temperatures are just right, the forests of Mississippi come alive with the spectacular glow of millions of fireflies illuminating the night.
On the central prairies, summer brings formidable weather. Warm air from the Gulf of Mexico meets Arctic air head-on, resulting in tornados. Spinning across the Great Plains at speeds of 300 miles per hour, these are the fastest winds on earth. Prairie dogs take evasive action, and it’s not just tornados they’re avoiding. American badgers slink through the long summer grass on the hunt for burrowing owls and unsuspecting prairie dog pups.
TUE 20:00 To the Manor Born (b0078629)
Stately sitcom. DeVere moves his multinational grocery business to the manor and crosses swords with Audrey over a fireplace.
TUE 20:30 Yes, Prime Minister (b0074rsm)
Sir Humphrey has skilfully moved Dorothy Wainwright, the PM's political advisor, out of her office. She insists on moving back and tells Jim that he is letting Humphrey become too dominant.
TUE 21:00 England's Forgotten Queen: The Life and Death of Lady Jane Grey (b09m5rmf)
Jane is known as the 'Nine Days Queen' - and three days into her reign the clock is ticking. Mary Tudor, eldest daughter of Henry VIII, is determined to seize power. Both women are raising armies.
The manipulative Duke of Northumberland is dispatched from the Tower of London to lead Jane's forces against Mary at her castle at Framlingham. Northumberland sets out for a battle that could descend into civil war. But ordinary people can turn the tide of history. Will they go against the odds and side with the Catholic Mary Tudor?
Jane's military leaders send heavily armed ships to the coast of East Anglia to prevent Mary escaping by sea and to cut her off from any help that might come from Catholic supporters in Europe. But the crews rebel and turn the ships and their weapons over to Mary. Mary and Jane now have armies matched in size and matched in firepower. The future of the country - its religion and its ruler - hangs in the balance.
TUE 22:00 Storyville (m001vn46)
Revenge: Our Dad the Nazi Killer
Hundreds of Nazi war criminals fled to Australia after World War Two hoping to start over and avoid prosecution. Not all of them found the refuge they had sought; quite a few died prematurely in freak accidents or by taking their own lives, or at least that was how their deaths were reported.
In this real-life murder mystery, three Australian Jewish brothers investigate whether their father and uncle, the sole survivors of a large Eastern European family, may have been involved in these mysterious deaths.
TUE 23:30 The US and the Holocaust (p0dm3gdg)
The Homeless, Tempest-Tossed (1942- )
First reports of the industrial scale of killing reach the United States. A group of dedicated government officials establish the War Refugee Board to finance and support rescue operations. As the Allies advance, soldiers uncover mass graves and liberate German concentration camps, revealing the full horror of the Holocaust. The danger of its reverberations soon become apparent.
TUE 01:35 Seven Worlds, One Planet (m000byxk)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
TUE 02:35 Britain's Lost Masterpieces (m001494m)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Monday
WEDNESDAY 24 JANUARY 2024
WED 19:00 Seven Worlds, One Planet (m000c6pn)
Africa - home to the greatest wildlife gatherings on earth. But even in this land of plenty, wildlife faces huge challenges. At its heart is a vast tropical rainforest full of life. Here young chimpanzees learn how to use tools to make the most of the jungles riches. With knowledge passed down from generation to generation, they can access the best forest foods.
Rivalling the jungle for it sheer abundance of life is Africa’s Great Rift Valley. It formed 30 million years ago when a mass of molten rock forced the land upwards, eventually tearing the planet’s crust apart. As the valley deepened, rivers flooded the valley floor creating stunning lakes. These are the richest freshwater habitats on the planet.
Africa’s rich Serengeti grasslands are home to the greatest herds of antelopes, wildebeest and zebras. Close behind them are their predators. To increase their chances of a successful kill a group of five cheetahs team up to form one of the largest cheetah coalitions ever seen. But numbers aren’t always enough.
Covering one third of the continent, Africa’s deserts are tough environments for wildlife. In the Namib, the oldest desert on Earth, brown hyenas make epic journeys in search of food for their families and seek shelter in long-abandoned ghost towns. Meanwhile, in the Kalahari the bizarre-looking aardvark digs deep to find a meal.
For millennia, Africa’s unique wildlife has managed to thrive, even in its most hostile corners, but today its greatest threat comes from human activity. In the last century, millions of elephants have been killed by hunters and poachers, and the desire for northern white rhino horn has brought the sub-species to the brink of extinction.
But with help, wildlife populations can recover. In the Virunga mountains, dedicated conservation efforts have meant mountain gorilla numbers have increased above 1000 for the first time since records began. The decisions we make now will decide the future of animals, humanity and all life on earth.
WED 20:00 Sahara with Michael Palin (b0074p5v)
Series charting Michael Palin's trek across the Sahara Desert. Michael arrives at the border of Niger and Algeria, the most desolate crossing, and then turning north Michael passes through the mountains of the Hoggar massif before pausing in the oil and gas fields of central Algeria. Then onto Libya to attend the very last reunion of the Desert Rats of Tobruk, before turning west along the north coast past deserted classical sites at Apollonia, Cyrene and Leptis Magna.
Crossing into Tunis, Michael relives the filming of The Life of Brian in Monastir, before taking the Maghreb Express to the dangerous city of Algiers, and then west to Algeria's second city, Oran.
Just along the coast is Ceuta, a Spanish enclave on Morocco's coast, where Michael talks to would-be immigrants before returning to Gibraltar. En route he learns of the terrible fate that has engulfed many Saharan people who attempt the eight-mile crossing.
WED 21:00 Hidden Treasures of the National Trust (m001m0y1)
A collapsed ceiling means restoring writer Vita Sackville-West’s study from scratch, while Rudyard Kipling’s family history is revealed in a precious possession.
WED 22:00 All Passion Spent (p0gtzwxx)
Lord Slane is dead. After a lifetime spent supporting his career as Viceroy of India, Prime Minister and elder statesman, Lady Slane is free at last to do as she pleases. Downstairs her children are busily deciding her future, assuming gracious compliance but Lady Slane plans to reassert her independence.
WED 22:55 All Passion Spent (p0gtzy0n)
Lady Slane has escaped the clutches of her family. Now the tenant of Mr Bucktrout's house at Hampstead, she sets about creating a new home for herself and Genoux. An unexpected visitor, however, disturbs the calm by confronting Lady Slane with the errors of her past.
WED 23:45 All Passion Spent (p0gv03cz)
After more than half a century as a dutiful and loving wife, Lady Slane revels in the company of her new-found friends. But FitzGeorge has one last surprise in store for her, leaving a problem which only she can resolve.
WED 00:40 Seven Worlds, One Planet (m000c6pn)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
WED 01:40 Sahara with Michael Palin (b0074p5v)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
WED 02:40 Hidden Treasures of the National Trust (m001m0y1)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
THURSDAY 25 JANUARY 2024
THU 19:00 Great Coastal Railway Journeys (m0013x98)
Dunbar to Edinburgh
An epic stretch of Scottish coastline is the first stop for Michael Portillo as he begins a series of coastal railway journeys around the British Isles.
Siccar Point, close to Dunbar on the Firth of Forth, was the site of an extraordinary 18th-century discovery and is today a place of pilgrimage for earth scientists from across the world. Michael finds out how James Hutton’s Unconformity upended biblical teaching about the age of the earth.
From North Berwick, Michael takes a boat a mile out into the Firth to visit one of the wildlife wonders of the world, a volcanic island known as Bass Rock. Long since abandoned by humans, it is now a breeding ground for 150,000 northern gannets. Standing with his seabird centre guide and with the white-and-yellow birds nesting and courting only feet away, Michael has to pinch himself to believe the scene.
Next stop is the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. Arriving at Britain’s second largest station, Waverley, Michael walks out into the Old Town with its castle and palace linked by the Royal Mile. He climbs to the city’s highest point, Arthur’s Seat, for a paleontologist’s story of settlement in the region from 7,000 years ago. Neither she nor Michael will forget the name of her favourite fossil, which is tattooed on her fingers.
At Holyrood House, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland, Michael visits the scene of a grisly 16th-century murder, which was the stuff of myth in his childhood. Mary Queen of Scots’ secretary, David Rizzio, was murdered by her husband and fellow lords in front of Mary in her private apartments. The palace building, its location and the historical events that took place within its walls help Michael to understand how royal power continues to be asserted in Scotland.
THU 19:30 Burns Night with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (m000rs3k)
To mark Burns Night, Jamie MacDougall hosts an evening of musical celebration with Eddi Reader, Karen Matheson and Robyn Stapleton accompanied by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Featuring Robert Burns classics such as Ae Fond Kiss, My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose and Auld Lang Syne.
THU 20:30 The Magnificent Ambersons (b0078b9s)
Orson Welles's period drama telling the story of a wilful son of the proud Amberson family who destroys his mother's hopes of marrying her first love - a recent widower. Refusing to move with the times, he not only causes his mother to suffer but also brings about his own financial ruin.
Based on the novel by Booth Tarkington.
THU 21:55 Arena (b00plc6x)
The Orson Welles Story
Second of a two-part profile of Orson Welles, looking at films including The Trial, Chimes at Midnight, The Immortal Story and F for Fake and discussing his many unfinished projects, including The Other Side of the Wind and Don Quixote.
THU 22:50 Judgment at Nuremberg (m001qp0w)
Two years after the end of the second world war, Chief Judge Dan Haywood arrives in Nuremberg to head the tribunal hearing against four eminent German judges accused of crimes against humanity.
Stanley Kramer’s acclaimed fictional masterpiece tackles some of the most sensitive questions about the Nazi holocaust and how far individual responsibility lay for the horrors enacted by the regime.
THU 01:45 Burns Night with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (m000rs3k)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
THU 02:45 Arena (b00plc6x)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:55 today
FRIDAY 26 JANUARY 2024
FRI 19:00 Top of the Pops (m000crqz)
Big Hits 1989
As the 80s come to a close, the Top of the Pops vaults open once more to offer up the movers, shakers and chart toppers of 1989.
This compilation looks back at performances by established megastars Tina Turner and Phil Collins, all-conquering funki dreds Soul II Soul, dance queen Paula Abdul, northern soul girl Lisa Stansfield and wry vocal group The Beautiful South.
Madchester favourites Stone Roses and Happy Mondays also put in an appearance along with Stock Aitken and Waterman stalwarts Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Sonia, not forgetting Sydney Youngblood, Mike and The Mechanics, Rebel MC and Double Trouble, plus duets from strange bedfellows Marc Almond and Gene Pitney, and Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville.
FRI 20:00 Top of the Pops (m000n18l)
1990 - Big Hits
The start of a new decade - and a new era - as hip-hop, dance and indie begin to find a place in the mainstream charts. Top of the Pops continued to present the biggest stars every Thursday to the British public, with lots of dry ice, hand-held cameras and a small but noisy studio audience.
This compilation celebrates performances of some of the biggest hits of 1990, including breakout appearances by Adamski featuring Seal, Vanilla Ice, Beats International, EMF, The KLF, Primal Scream and Snap!. Plus plenty of girl power from Betty Boo, Sinead O’Connor, Maria McKee, En Vogue, Kylie and Tina Turner.
FRI 21:00 Top of the Pops (m0015gfw)
1991 Biggest Hits
Top of the Pops Big Hits re-opens the BBC vaults to showcase and celebrate the biggest and best performances of 1991.
There are some massive pop hits from the likes of Right Said Fred, Color Me Badd and Chesney Hawkes. Seal goes solo and a little Crazy, Mariah Carey shows off her extraordinary vocal range while James encourage everyone to Sit Down. There are plenty more signs and sounds of the times from Crystal Waters, The Mock Turtles, Oleta Adams, Nomad, Cathy Dennis, PM Dawn, Massive Attack, The KLF and the frankly bizarre one-off appearance by Nirvana. Plus the single TOTP performance from Bryan Adams with Everything I Do that seemed to be in permanent rotation as the show moved from Television Centre to Elstree.
FRI 22:00 Top of the Pops (m0015nxb)
1992 Biggest Hits
The Top of the Pops vaults are opened up to relive some of the classic and biggest songs of 1992.
Featuring the hip-hop and dance of Kris Kross, SL2, Bizarre Inc and Felix to the rock stylings of Manic Street Preachers and Primal Scream, as well as the emergence of boy band royalty Take That, Miley’s dad Billy Ray getting the line dancing going, divas in the form of Annie Lennox and Mariah Carey - and, of course, Jimmy Nail. Plus many more.
FRI 23:00 Top of the Pops (m00165cp)
1993 Biggest Hits
A look back at some of the songs performed on the show in 1993. Dance music and Euro pop continued to dominate the charts with performances from Haddaway, Sub Sub, Ace of Base and Robin S. The early stages of Britpop begin to emerge with Suede and Radiohead, and Icelandic superstar Björk makes an early appearance. Then there are the big sellers from Meat Loaf and Gabrielle, and the grooves come courtesy of Jamiroquai, Chaka Demus & Pliers and many more.
FRI 00:00 Top of the Pops (m000crqx)
The Story of 1989
As the 80s concluded with Margaret Thatcher’s tenth year in power in contrast to worldwide political change, Top of the Pops provided the perfect barometer of the UK's end-of-decade uncertainty.
Top of the Pops hosted Pete Waterman’s final year of chart domination, courtesy of Jason Donovan, alongside the dawn of Madchester, a fresh front of female artists with attitude and power, an old-school duet between a 60s legend and an 80s icon, funki dreds and, yes, that pesky bunny.
Meanwhile, Radio 1’s old guard were stood down as a team of fresh-faced recruits from children’s television took up the helm of the BBC’s weekly pop warhorse, which remained torn between its sense of heritage and the emerging threat of youth TV.
The stars of the year, including Jason Donovan, Lisa Stansfield, Shaun Ryder, Chris Rea, Marc Almond, Sharleen Spiteri, Jazzie B and more, plus TOTP presenter Jenny Powell, deliver their tales of a poptastic 1989 at Television Centre as they prepare to head into the 1990s.
FRI 00:45 Top of the Pops (m000n18n)
The Story of 1990
After the global political upheaval of 1989, from the Berlin Wall to Tiananmen Square, the start of the 1990s soon demonstrates that the new pop grammars of hip-hop and dance all too often bewilder the entertainment-focused, old-school institution that is the BBC’s weekly chart show.
Adamski, Orbital, 808 State and Eurodance sensations Snap! struggle to translate their brand of cool beats to the BBC’s need for entertainment, musicianship and random dancers, while the likes of Betty Boo, MC Tunes and Beats International introduce the British take on hip-hop to the studio. In a year in which even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and John Barnes embrace rap, these breakthrough hip-hop artists have to share the Top of the Pops stage with some big balladeers, including Sinead O’Connor and Maria McKee.
As the Milli Vanilli scandal breaks internationally, Top of the Pops begins to question and change its own miming policy. Hip-hop kids and the indie underground start entering the pop mainstream, as Liverpool’s finest football freaks The Farm demonstrate. But despite the new zeitgeist, the battle for the Christmas Number 1 is an almost traditional stand-off between the old guard (Cliff Richard) and the young pretender (Vanilla Ice).
Contributors include Adamski, Seal, Betty Boo, Orbital, Norman Cook, 808 State, MC Tunes, Lindy Layton, Peter Hooton from The Farm and Penny Ford from Snap!
FRI 01:45 Top of the Pops (m000crqz)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
FRI 02:45 Top of the Pops (m000n18l)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today