Steered by his Edwardian Bradshaw's guide, Michael Portillo arrives in west Croydon, where he uncovers a once-celebrated, now forgotten, mixed-race composer with an uncannily familiar name. With the modern British rail network now half the size of the Edwardian one, Michael is delighted to discover a railway renaissance in Three Bridges.
After inspecting a new depot and its fleet of new Class 700 trains, Michael is accorded the great honour of washing one down. Next stop Lewes, where Michael makes a beeline for Charleston, the beautiful home of the artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, where he finds every surface exquisitely decorated by the inhabitants. At Shoreham-by-Sea, Michael discovers that magnificent Edwardians in flying machines took off from the oldest licensed airport in the country. Michael takes to the skies.
It’s such a tranquil day down at the beach! Join Bob Ross as he paints a lovely little rowboat waiting for its owner’s return.
It is an unexpected and contrasting journey through America's iconic and varied landscapes as the Mississippi flows from source to mouth. The Mississippi's greatest surprise is its incredible reach. Its fingers stretch into nearly half of the USA, collecting water from 31 states. More than any other, this one river has helped unite the many and varied parts of America. The Mississippi's longest tributary begins life in the depths of winter, in the towering Rocky Mountains of Wyoming and Montana. Billions of tonnes of water, ultimately destined to flow south are trapped as ice and snow. Here, its headwaters are a draw for the world's top ice climbers, who celebrate winter with daring climbs up towering frozen waterfalls - surely the most dangerous and spectacular winter faces of the ice-bound Mississippi.
In this frozen wilderness, a handful of tenacious coyotes have learned to fish, in one remarkable Mississippi headwater kept flowing by the steaming geysers of Yellowstone National Park. In the bone-chilling water, the coyotes stand stock still for hours, risking severe hypothermia in the hope of pouncing on a fish. Spring in the Upper Mississippi in Minnesota, arrives on the wings of tens of thousands of white pelicans who bring the river to life. Both comical and beautiful, their crowded flotillas put on balletic, synchronised fishing displays. On the other side of the continent in crystal-clear Appalachian Mountain streams, some devious parents employ the creepiest childcare strategy on earth. Freshwater mussels produce bizarre growths which mimic small fish. These lifelike lures even have false eyes and dance, imitating real fish. Their purpose is to act as living bait, tricking larger predatory fish into attacking them. Once bitten, a cloud of blood-sucking baby mussels clamp onto the unwitting fish's gills. After several weeks of feeding on their victim's body fluids, they drop off and disperse. These sneaky mussels provide their babies with food and transport to different parts of the river. It is a macabre underwater puppet show, made all the more weird as the puppet master (the parent mussel) is blind and has no idea what a fish looks like.
But the spring thaw also means extra work for busy beavers - safe in their cosy lodges all winter, they must now venture out to repair the damage that the rushing meltwater has done to their precious dams. As the river flows south through the central US, it becomes a vital transport link. Special cameras take us on a time-travelling journey down the busiest section of the river. A gigantic boat zooms hundreds of miles downriver in seconds, flashing through night and day. This is the industrial heart of the river. Even here, the river still hosts incredible wildlife spectacles. Each Independence Day, millions of mayflies gather in swarms so large they can be seen on weather radar.
As it flows into the south, it spreads and slows, feeding the largest swamp in the US - the fertile, mysterious Atchafalaya. Over 2,000 square miles of wetlands, where alligators still rule. This is one of the richest and most diverse wilderness regions of the states, - a melting pot where racoons and beavers mix with tropical specialties like roseate spoonbills and emerald-green anole lizards. These back waters are the fabled spirit of the Mississippi made famous by Mark Twain and the Blues. As the massive river nears the ocean, it passes cities that have grown up along its banks - like New Orleans. Here 60 miles of docks make it the largest port in the western hemisphere where goods brought down the Mississippi are transferred to huge ocean going ships.
At the end of its 3,500-mile journey, the Mississippi eventually creates one of the biggest river deltas on the planet. But today this delta is under threat. Damming and controls along the river's length are preventing the Mississippi's natural flood cycles - it can no longer replace land that the ocean washes away. This remarkable delta is home to millions of migrant birds and protects vast areas inland from hurricane surges. Its preservation is key to both the people and the wildlife here. The delta is a landscape built by the river from cornfields in Iowa, mountaisides in the Rockies and sediment from Tennessee streams - all collected and deposited by one huge river which unites and defines one great nation.
Gaza is a microcosm of a world without access to water. As the planet heats up, droughts may have become more commonplace, but that doesn't mean that water is disappearing.
Storm chasers and photographers track the global changes in giant storms and floods across America. Nasa’s Grace satellites reveal a new map showing global overuse of aquifers. In some places, underground water is being ‘mined’ – finite reserves, which are being used up for profit.
But there are solutions too. New York City uses nature and the Catskill mountains instead of an industrial plant for water treatment, demonstrating a collective appreciation for the importance of water.
In the Russian Arctic, there is a phenomenon beyond ice fishing, matryoshkas and vodka. It's the garage. Rows of tin sheds, inhospitable from the outside, where everything can be found except cars. They are the refuge of the Russian man. A few square metres to dream and escape the pressures of life. This is where illegal fish shops operate, where saints are carved, where booze is distilled and where quails are bred.
In this film, the 'Garage People' speak for themselves, and with each other, sharing their concerns, fears and joys, and giving an insight into a secret world of everyday Russians.
In the final episode, Dr James Fox explores the art of the Japanese home. The clean minimalism of the Japanese home has been exported around the world, from modernist architecture to lifestyle stores like Muji. But the origins of this ubiquitous aesthetic evolved from a system of spiritual and philosophical values, dating back centuries. James visits one of Japan's last surviving traditional wooden villages, and the 17th-century villa of Rinshunkaku, and reveals how the unique spirit of Japanese craftsmen (shokunin) turned joinery into an artform - creating houses without the need for nails, screws or even glue.
Exploring some of the traditional arts of the Japanese home (where even food and flower arranging have been elevated to the level of art), James also investigates attitudes to domestic culture in modern Japan, meeting photographer Kyoichi Tsuzuki, chronicler of Japan's crowded cities and tiny apartments.
Other highlights include a performance by calligrapher and artist Tomoko Kawao and a visit to the hometown of Terunobu Fujimori, one of the most singular and playful contemporary architects working in Japan today.
Selected archive performances from a variety of Mercury Prize winners on a mixture of BBC shows down the years.
Previous winners have included Primal Scream, M-People, Portishead, Roni Size, Dizzee Rascal, Elbow, Arctic Monkeys and James Blake, to name but a few.
THURSDAY 09 SEPTEMBER 2021
THU 19:00 BBC Proms (m000zgfd)
John Wilson and the Sinfonia of London
Suzy Klein presents a glorious evening of music inspired by Vienna. John Wilson conducts the award-winning Sinfonia of London in Johann Strauss’s sumptuous overture to Die Fledermaus, which incorporates a famous Viennese waltz, complemented by a performance of Ravel’s darker La Valse.
The programme also offers insights into some different styles of Viennese music, with Berg’s intimate Seven Early Songs, performed by Nigerian-American soprano Francesca Chiejina, plus Korngold’s rarely heard Symphony in F Sharp.
THU 21:00 Mercury Prize (m000zgfg)
Hyundai Mercury Prize 2021 Live: Album of the Year
Lauren Laverne hosts coverage of this year’s Hyundai Mercury Prize Album of the Year, which returns to its home at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, London.
2021’s shortlist reflects the current eclectic music scene in both the UK and Ireland, and this show will recognise all of the shortlisted albums through special performances and VTs, culminating in the live announcement of this year’s winner. The judges making the selection are a panel of artists, broadcasters and music industry heavyweights that includes last year’s winner Michael Kiwanuka.
Performing on the night will be the likes of Arlo Parks, Celeste, Ghetts, Mogwai, BERWYN and previous Mercury Prize winners Wolf Alice.
This year's 12 shortlisted albums are:
Arlo Park’s Collapsed in Sunbeams, the debut record from the west London singer-songwriter dubbed as the voice of generation who uses her poetic and personal lyrics to cover subjects from unrequited love to mental health issues.
Another debut, Demotape/Vega, comes from Trinidadian-born and Romford-raised BERWYN. Inspired by the trials and adversity of his life, the singer produced and recorded the record at home in just two weeks.
Seven-piece genre-traversing rock group Black Country, New Road released their inventive debut For the First Time in February, capturing the ferocity and energy of their sound by recording the songs live in only six days.
New star of British soul Celeste topped the charts with her shortlisted debut Not Your Muse on its January release. Each of the songs pinpoint a specific moment in her life, delivered in her unique enrapturing voice.
Promises is the unique collaborative album that brings together British electronic musician Sam Shepherd aka Floating Points, American jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and the legendary LSO to create a sweeping and beautiful nine-movement record
The sixth shortlisted album is Ghett’s Conflict of Interest, which sees the pioneer of grime make his major label debut, demonstrating his growth over almost two decades of making music with an earnest and honest offering, featuring collaborations with the likes of Stormzy and Ed Sheeran.
Northern Irish composer, producer and broadcaster, Hannah Peel, gets her first Mercury nod for her album Fir Wave, which reflects the natural world through electronic music.
Previously shortlisted artist Laura Mvula’s third album Pink Noise gains her a third nod and sees her draw heavily on sounds from the 80s, reconnecting with the music she was raised on and loves.
Glasgow based post-rock band Mogwai’s tenth studio album As the Love Continues was released on their own label Rock Action Records and scored them a number one, their first top spot in a career that has spanned a quarter of a century.
Nubya Garcia’s Source is the debut by the much-revered contemporary jazz saxophonist. It’s a deeply personal offering in which Garcia maps cartographies around the coordinate points of her identity: her family histories, grief, Afro-diasporic connections and collectivism.
The penultimate of this year’s set comes from the mysterious and elusive collective Sault, whose fourth critically acclaimed studio album Untitled (Rise) was released in September last year with little more being known about the group, aside from the involvement of producer Inflo.
Completing the 12 is Blue Weekend, the third album from 2018 Mercury Prize-winning rockers Wolf Alice, which sees the London four-piece deliver a confident progression from their previous two, scoring them a number one and undoubtedly cementing them in the next generation of festival headliners.
THU 22:15 The Heroes of Telemark (b00b6vc6)
Occupied Norway, 1942. A team of resistance fighters undertake the vital and dangerous mission to destroy the Norsk heavy water plant to prevent the Nazis producing an atomic bomb. Based on a true story.
THU 00:20 Sword, Musket & Machine Gun: Britain's Armed History (b088sznj)
In the concluding episode, Dr Sam Willis charts the evolution of weaponry in Britain from 1800 to the First World War, looking at the drive to develop ever more precise weapons, from artillery shells to rifles to the Maxim machine gun.
The pace of technological change in the 19th century was phenomenal. Sam test-fires a 'Brown Bess' musket, the infantry weapon of choice at Waterloo in 1815 and discovers that a well-trained soldier could fire up to three shots a minute. He also looks at efforts to make artillery more effective on the battlefield with the invention of spherical case shot, a new type of shell that was named after its inventor - Henry Shrapnel.
Sam finds out how accessible firearms were to the public in the early 19th century and tells the little-known story of Spencer Percival, the only British prime minister ever to be assassinated, shot at point blank range in the lobby of the House of Commons in 1812.
By the turn of the 20th century, several inventors believed that they could banish war if they invented the ultimate weapon, an instrument so horrific that no-one would dare use it. In the 1880s, Hiram Maxim, an American inventor, devised the first 'Maxim' machine guns in his workshop in Hatton Garden, London. The first rapid-fire weapon to harness the energy of its own recoil, the Maxim gun, and its successor the Vickers machine gun, could fire 600 rounds a minute and were used to devastating effect on the battlefields of the First World War.
Automatic weapons were also sought by criminal gangs, as Sam discovers when he looks back at one of the most infamous sieges of the 20th century - the Siege of Sidney Street in 1911.
The series culminates in a remarkable experiment to find out whether a bulletproof vest made of silk might have stopped a bullet fired at Archduke Franz Ferdinand. With the aid of the Royal Armouries, Sam conducts a unique experiment with assistant firearms curator Lisa Traynor to prove that a bulletproof vest owned by the archduke would have stopped a bullet fired by his assassin, Gavrilo Princip. The killing of the archduke on June 28 1914 set in motion a chain of events that led to the outbreak of the First World War.
World War I was the deadliest war of its age, with the most technologically advanced firearms and weapons of almost medieval brutality used to wage a devastating conflict. When the firing finally stopped on November 11, 1918, an estimated 17 million people had died and 20 million had been wounded. In the aftermath of World War I, we now put increasing faith in treaties, international conventions and diplomacy. Surely we could never allow such carnage to happen again?
THU 01:20 Swimming through the Seasons: The Hampstead Ponds (m000599z)
In a world of constant flux and chaos, it is almost a shock to discover some experiences remain unchanged, natural, primitive even. In the middle of London lies Hampstead Heath, 320 hectares of forest, parkland and wildlife, plus three swimming ponds.
People take their waters all year round, just as they did in the time of Constable and Keats. Capturing all the beauty of the English seasons, the film follows the swimmers over 12 months as they shiver, laugh, complain, ruminate, philosophise or simply seek respite from all that life threw at them.
Swimming Through the Seasons is a heartwarming celebration of eccentricity and sheer bloody-mindedness as these unusual people, united by a shared passion, meet to take on the weather, the water and life.
THU 02:20 The Art of Japanese Life (b08v8gxj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Monday
FRIDAY 10 SEPTEMBER 2021
FRI 19:00 BBC Proms (m000zgg3)
LIST OF THIS WEEK'S PROGRAMMES
Bach’s St Matthew Passion
Bach’s profound choral masterpiece, the St Matthew Passion, transcends eras and faiths with its exploration of courage, compassion, sacrifice and redemption. Here, it crowns the BBC Proms season in a performance by period instrument ensemble Arcangelo, directed from the harpsichord by Jonathan Cohen. They are joined by a double choir and a stellar line-up of soloists, including Iestyn Davies, Roderick Williams and rising star Stuart Jackson.
Anna Lapwood presents from the Royal Albert Hall, with musician and broadcaster Hannah French as her guest.
FRI 22:00 The Everly Brothers: Harmonies from Heaven (b077x1fh)
Documentary which celebrates, over the period covering the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 60s, the phenomenon of The Everly Brothers, arguably the greatest harmony duo the world has witnessed, who directly influenced the greatest and most successful bands of the 60s and 70s - The Beatles, The Stones, The Beach Boys and Simon & Garfunkel to name but a few.
Don and Phil Everly's love of music began as children, encouraged by their father Ike. Little Donnie and Baby Boy Phil sang on Ike's early morning radio shows in Iowa.
After leaving school, the brothers moved to Nashville where, under the wing of Ike Everly's friend, the highly talented musician Chet Atkins, Don and Phil signed with Cadence Records. They exploded onto the music scene in 1957 with Bye Bye Love, written by Boudleaux and Felice Bryant.
After Bye Bye Love came other hits, notably Wake Up Little Susie, followed by the worldwide smash hit All I Have to Do Is Dream and a long string of other great songs which also became hits.
By 1960, however, the brothers were lured away from Cadence to Warner Bros with a $1,000,000 contract. Their biggest hit followed, the self-penned Cathy's Clown, which sold 8 million copies. Remaining at Warner Bros for most of the 60s, they had further success with Walk Right Back, So Sad and the King/Greenfield-penned track Crying in the Rain.
FRI 23:00 Arena (b03tx91g)
The Everly Brothers: Songs of Innocence and Experience
The Everly Brothers were among the most successful and revered of all the giants of early rock 'n' roll. A determining influence on the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel and the Beach Boys, they brought the ethereal harmonies of the Appalachian Mountains to the wild mix of rock 'n' roll.
First broadcast in 1984 as part of their reunion after ten bitter years apart, Arena traces their fabulous career, their split and triumphant reunion. Most of all, Don and Phil wanted to revisit their roots in the coal mining area of Kentucky where their father Ike, a miner, had been a local guitar star. He too had played with his coal mining brothers, in the 30s. In the moody atmosphere of Muhlenberg County, they have an emotional reunion with three generations of Everlys.
With contributions from master musician and producer Chet Atkins, songwriters Felice and Boudleaux Bryant and the legendary guitar singer and ex-coal miner, Ike's close friend Mose Rager.
FRI 00:35 Arena (b03txrsz)
The Everly Brothers Reunion Concert
In the autumn of 1983, the Everly Brothers played their legendary reunion concerts in London. Of all the venues in the world, they chose the Royal Albert Hall because they had treasured memories of playing there with their father Ike, a guitar virtuoso in his own right.
All London was there and it was such an event that the filming was fed live into the BBC 9 O'Clock News. After their acrimonious split, which had lasted ten years, Arena's cameras proved that they and their unique, beautiful sound were as magical as ever.
First broadcast at Christmas 1983.
FRI 01:50 Motherland (m000w753)
The mums (and dad) join the merry-go-round of secondary school open days as they face the choice of where to send their kids at 11. Julia panics about which catchment area she lives in and even considers a fake religious conversion to beat the system. As Kevin’s divorce progresses, Liz helps him navigate the shark pool of lawyers and makes a worrying discovery about her own situation along the way. Meanwhile, queen bee Amanda struggles with playing second fiddle to Meg’s illness.
FRI 02:20 The Everly Brothers: Harmonies from Heaven (b077x1fh)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today
(Note: the times link back to the details; the pids link to the BBC page, including iPlayer)
Arena 23:00 FRI (b03tx91g)
Arena 00:35 FRI (b03txrsz)
BBC Proms 19:00 SUN (m000zgdw)
BBC Proms 00:50 SUN (b07rkvp4)
BBC Proms 19:00 THU (m000zgfd)
BBC Proms 19:00 FRI (m000zgg3)
Earth's Great Rivers 02:30 SAT (b0bwqng8)
Earth's Great Rivers 20:00 WED (b0bwqpbj)
Earth's Great Rivers 02:00 WED (b0bwqpbj)
Garage People 21:55 WED (m000zgdc)
Great British Railway Journeys 19:00 MON (b09l5kf0)
Great British Railway Journeys 01:00 MON (b09l5kf0)
Great British Railway Journeys 19:00 TUE (b09l5lfr)
Great British Railway Journeys 00:45 TUE (b09l5lfr)
Great British Railway Journeys 19:00 WED (b09l5mn5)
Great British Railway Journeys 01:30 WED (b09l5mn5)
H2O: The Molecule That Made Us 21:00 WED (m000zgd9)
H2O: The Molecule That Made Us 03:00 WED (m000zgd9)
Maggi Hambling: Making Love with the Paint 21:00 MON (m000nx23)
Maggi Hambling: Making Love with the Paint 01:30 MON (m000nx23)
Mercury Prize 00:30 WED (b06q693n)
Mercury Prize 21:00 THU (m000zgfg)
Motherland 01:50 FRI (m000w753)
Our Coast 20:00 SAT (m000frj7)
Our Coast 01:30 SAT (m000frj7)
Parkinson 21:30 TUE (m000zgcj)
Pompeii: The Mystery of the People Frozen in Time 22:00 SUN (b01rn6c2)
Pompeii: The Mystery of the People Frozen in Time 02:05 SUN (b01rn6c2)
Porridge 20:30 TUE (b00786yd)
Secret Knowledge 00:20 SUN (b03jryyp)
Secrets of the Museum 20:00 MON (m000f1xp)
Secrets of the Museum 02:30 MON (m000f1xp)
Storyville 22:30 SAT (b084fs2p)
Swimming through the Seasons: The Hampstead Ponds 01:20 THU (m000599z)
Sword, Musket & Machine Gun: Britain's Armed History 00:00 MON (b087llsj)
Sword, Musket & Machine Gun: Britain's Armed History 23:45 TUE (b0888mjv)
Sword, Musket & Machine Gun: Britain's Armed History 00:20 THU (b088sznj)
The Art of Japanese Life 22:00 MON (b08v8gxj)
The Art of Japanese Life 22:45 TUE (p054md5m)
The Art of Japanese Life 23:30 WED (p054mdmy)
The Art of Japanese Life 02:20 THU (b08v8gxj)
The Everly Brothers: Harmonies from Heaven 22:00 FRI (b077x1fh)
The Everly Brothers: Harmonies from Heaven 02:20 FRI (b077x1fh)
The Good Life 20:00 TUE (p00bzc88)
The Heroes of Telemark 22:15 THU (b00b6vc6)
The Hunt for a Killer 21:00 SAT (p09lx0k6)
The Hunt for a Killer 21:45 SAT (p09lx0mb)
The Joy of Painting 19:30 MON (m000zgc9)
The Joy of Painting 19:30 TUE (m000zgcg)
The Joy of Painting 19:30 WED (m000zgd7)
Treasures of Ancient Egypt 19:00 SAT (p01mv1cv)
Treasures of Ancient Egypt 00:30 SAT (p01mv1cv)
Twin Sisters: A World Apart 23:30 SAT (b053pxdt)
Unlocking Nature's Secrets: The Serengeti Rules 23:00 SUN (m000b8p4)
Unlocking Nature's Secrets: The Serengeti Rules 01:45 TUE (m000b8p4)
Vivaldi Unmasked 21:00 SUN (m000zgdy)
Vivaldi Unmasked 01:05 SUN (m000zgdy)
Welsh Greats 21:00 TUE (b00j092z)
Welsh Greats 01:15 TUE (b00j092z)
Wild Swimming with Alice Roberts 23:00 MON (b00t9r28)