Steered by his Edwardian Bradshaw’s Guide, Michael Portillo navigates his way by rail – and ferry - across Northern Ireland and the Scottish Highlands from Newry to Argyll and Bute.
Early 20th-century Britain was reeling from industrial strife and suffragette outrages, but the biggest crisis of all was the conflict in Ireland. Beginning in Newry, Michael finds a specially chartered train would deliver demonstrators campaigning for Irish Home Rule to a rally in the town.
On the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic at Glaslough, Michael is amused to discover a christening robe belonging to Sir Winston Churchill and hears how he and his American mother saved the impressive Castle Leslie.
Michael finds himself in a sticky situation at an Edwardian bakery in Portadown when he attempts to make an Irish staple, soda bread. At Scarva, Michael discovers the importance of Irish linen for aircraft during the First World War, and in the hangars of the Ulster Aviation Society he learns how a replica Ferguson Flyer from 1909 was built.
Guest artist Steve Ross invites you to experience the refreshing beauty of a highland lake and its gentle splashing waterfall.
Wildlife expert Liz Bonnin, actor Freida Pinto and mountaineer Jon Gupta reveal the hidden wonders of India's surprising natural world. This is a land where the tea comes with added elephants, gibbons sing to greet the morning, tigers dance and lions roam.
Samuel L Jackson - with journalists Afua Hirsch and Simcha Jacobovici - examines how, for over 400 years, the transatlantic slave trade became the greatest wealth-generating machine the world had known and the engine that drove the global economy. Afua goes to Brazil, once the world’s greatest supplier of sugar, to discover how Europeans' insatiable appetite for this sweetener drove the explosion of the slave trade in the 17th century, leading to a constant demand for the supply of cheap trans-Atlantic labour to work the plantations. She then visits Bristol, revealing how the enormous profits generated by these enslaved Africans built much of the modern world we live in today.
Jackson reveals how slave owners came up with increasingly inventive ways to turn their losses into profits when trafficked Africans were lost at sea. As the economics of the slave trade began to unravel, one infamous British court case ultimately helped paved the way for abolition. Jackson teams up with Diving with a Purpose (DWP), a group of underwater investigators who view the ocean floor as a graveyard and a crime scene. They dive the Suriname river in South America in search of a Dutch shipwreck called the Leusden, scene of a horrific mass murder and a crime largely forgotten for 300 years.
Taking in visits to the USA, China, Scotland and South Africa, this episode explores the connections within and between ecosystems.
Discover how a single species can influence a landscape, from tiny fireflies to iconic wolves, and how planting trees can reverse the impact of deforestation, help native wildlife to thrive and aid in mitigating the effects of climate change. The programme also examines the complexity within every ecosystem and shows how the wrong species in the wrong place can have catastrophic impacts.
Dr Helen Czerksi explores the extraordinary science of heat. She reveals how heat is the hidden energy contained within matter, with the power to transform it from one state to another. Our ability to harness this fundamental law of science has led to some of humanity's greatest achievements, from the molten metals that enabled us to make tools, to the great engines of the Industrial Revolution powered by steam, to the searing heat of plasmas that offer almost unlimited power.
Right now you're hurtling around the sun at 64,000 miles an hour (100,000 km an hour). In the next year you'll travel 584 million miles, to end up back where you started.
Presenters Kate Humble and Dr Helen Czerski follow the Earth's voyage around the sun for one complete orbit, to witness the astonishing consequences this journey has for us all.
In this final episode we complete our journey, travelling back from the March equinox to the end of June. Kate Humble is in the Arctic at a place where spring arrives with a bang, whilst Helen Czerski chases a tornado to show how the earth's angle of tilt creates the most extreme weather on the planet.
THURSDAY 14 OCTOBER 2021
THU 19:00 Great British Railway Journeys (m0002jrh)
Belfast to Portrush
Michael Portillo continues his rail journey through Northern Ireland steered by his Bradshaw’s Guide. In Belfast’s grand Edwardian City Hall, Michael investigates the scene of a watershed moment in Irish history and hears how thousands of Ulster Protestants were mobilised by train to sign a document pledging opposition to Home Rule for Ireland.
Michael follows Belfast author CS Lewis into the wardrobe to reach the magical world of Narnia and learns how religion influenced Lewis's work. From Antrim, he heads to the shores of Lough Neagh, the biggest lake in the British Isles, where he finds the largest wild eel fishery in Europe and joins a fisherman and his wife for a traditional eel meal.
On the greens of Portrush, Michael visits the Royal Portrush Golf Club to find out how Ireland’s fair sex dominated the fairways at the time of his guide.
THU 19:30 The Joy of Painting (m0010lnc)
Take a stroll with Bob Ross deep into the swamp and breathe in the fragrance of damp earth and moss-filled trees.
THU 20:00 A House Through Time (m00048rf)
In episode two, David Olusoga tracks the lives of the residents of Ravensworth Terrace through the turbulent decades from the 1860s to the 1900s.
In 1861 the house is occupied by elderly widow Mary Colbeck, living here with her 13-year-old grandson James Todd. David is curious about this setup – why is James living with his grandmother? Where are his parents? Peeling back ten years to the 1851 census, David discovers that Mary Colbeck is a well-to-do landowner. She lives on a large estate and owns three other farms. Her grandson James is one of eight children, the son of Mary’s daughter Margaret, who has married local industrialist Frederick Todd. Frederick’s family own a large glass-making factory on the banks of the Tyne.
But David discovers that this apparently respectable and well-matched couple have fallen into financial difficulty. As historian Cathy Ross explains, Newcastle’s glass-making industry is changing rapidly, and the Todds’ business fails to keep pace with the times. David then discovers a series of extraordinary newspaper articles that describe what happened next. Threatened by the forced sale of his factory, Frederick Todd attacks one of his creditors with a knife before trying to take his own life. He is thrown into gaol.
The scandal not only damages the family’s reputation, but forces Mary to sell her estate in the country and downsize to Ravensworth Terrace, in order to free up money to support her family.
David then discovers a death certificate for Frederick Todd, who dies in 1864, aged just 46. Three years later, his wife Margaret also dies in extraordinary circumstances. Reports describe her as an alcoholic who set herself on fire while drunk. This appalling incident is witnessed by her six-year-old daughter Mary Victoria. The death and scandal have devastating effects on all Margaret’s children, now orphaned and dependent on their grandmother Mary. She does her best to support them, but sadly there is no happy ending for her grandson James, who dies of consumption aged 22, nor for little Mary Victoria, who dies in a convalescent home in Torquay, aged just ten. In 1878, Mary Colbeck dies at Ravensworth Terrace.
By now the neighbourhood is moving down the social scale. After a brief spell as lodgings, the house at Ravensworth Terrace is taken over by an organisation called the ‘Diocesan Home for Friendless Girls’. As David discovers from historian Fern Riddell, the role of this organisation is to rescue girls from the street who are at risk of falling into prostitution and trains them up for domestic service. Tracing the young women trainees, most of them orphaned, abandoned or penniless, is a difficult task. But David discovers that one young girl, Alice Coulson, who comes to live at the Home at the age of 15, has a happy ending to her story. Alice finished her training in Ravensworth Terrace, and goes to work for a wealthy family in the seaside town of Filey, where she meets her future husband.
The next resident of Ravensworth Terrace is draper Bevan Harris. David discovers that he is not just a businessman, but an enthusiastic follower of Spiritualism, the belief that the dead can communicate with the living. He even hosts seances at the house in Ravensworth Terrace, as David discovers from experts Roger Luckhurst and Pat Beesley. The reason for his unwavering belief soon becomes clear. David discovers numerous deaths in Bevan’s family, and with infant mortality accounting for around a quarter of all deaths in the 1890s and life expectancy around 46, it is little surprise that people like Bevan Harris sought out the solace of Spiritualism. Harris himself writes ‘oh what a blessing is Spiritualism in these trying circumstances’ after the premature death of his wife from cancer.
In 1894, Bevan Harris moves to Nottingham to continue his Spiritualist mission, and the house sees the arrival of new tenants. Mary Ellen Oram is a draper and her husband William a captain in the merchant navy. To find out more about them David arranges to meet their descendant, Tony Holmes. To his surprise, Tony reveals that in 1900, Mary Ellen is committed to the local lunatic asylum, suffering from ‘melancholia’, what would today be termed depression. Money worries are behind Mary Ellen’s mental health problems. By 1898 her business had failed and her husband loses his job after being found guilty of overloading his ship with coal.
And as Deborah Sugg Ryan explains, Mary Ellen opened her business at exactly the wrong time, when high street drapers were facing stiff competition from new department stores. Mary Ellen is institutionalised for two years, and, David discovers, that she is not the only family member to spend time there. Her husband William was sent to the asylum after suffering from a stroke. Unlike his wife, who was released after two years, the unfortunate William Oram died just eight months after his admission.
THU 21:00 The Conjuring (m0010lf5)
1971. The Perron family’s new life in a dilapidated old house turns into a nightmare, so desperate mother Carolyn seeks helps from paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Based on a real-life experience.
THU 22:45 The Conjuring 2 - The Enfield Case (m0010k0m)
1977. Haunted by a horror in Amityville, paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren unwillingly come to north London to aid a single mother and her children – victims of a possessive poltergeist. Based on documented events.
THU 00:50 Great British Railway Journeys (m0002jrh)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
THU 01:20 India: Nature's Wonderland (p02z83jc)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 on Wednesday
THU 02:20 A House Through Time (m00048rf)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
FRIDAY 15 OCTOBER 2021
FRI 19:00 ... Sings Motown (b05nyyv5)
LIST OF THIS WEEK'S PROGRAMMES
Archive compilation celebrating the incredible body of work by Detroit's finest songwriting teams and artists for perhaps America's greatest ever record label, Motown.
This compilation of Motown covers spans the 1960s to the present day and features: Paul Weller and Amy Winehouse with I Heard It Through the Grapevine on Jools's Hootenanny, Roberta Flack's version of Stevie Wonder's Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer from an early edition of the OGWT, early adopter Dusty Springfield with Nowhere to Run on her 60s BBC TV show and The Flying Lizards with Barrett Strong's Money (That's What I Want) from Top of the Pops in 1979.
Of course, there are quite a few 80s hit covers from the decade that rediscovered Motown as a hitmaking machine, many of them from Top of the Pops including Kim Wilde's You Keep Me Hangin' On and Paul Young's 1983 Number 1 with Marvin Gaye's 1962 B-side, Wherever I Lay My Hat.
Then it's on into the 90s with Mercy Mercy Me from the late lamented Robert Palmer and Mariah Carey's take on The Jackson Five's I'll Be There. Plus of course, Phil Collins but, rightly or wrongly, not with You Can't Hurry Love but with his 21st-century reading of Stevie Wonder's Blame It on the Sun from Later with Jools.
FRI 20:00 Top of the Pops (m0010k2p)
Tony Dortie and Mark Franklin present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 3 October 1991 and featuring Bryan Adams, Erasure, Voice of the Beehive, Kenny Thomas, Belinda Carlisle, Stevie Wonder, Julian Lennon and Status Quo.
FRI 20:30 Top of the Pops (m0010k2r)
Tony Dortie and Mark Franklin present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 10 October 1991 and featuring Queen, Bryan Adams, DJ Carl Cox, Morrissey, Marc Cohn, Cathy Dennis, Simply Red and 2 Unlimited.
FRI 21:00 Billie: In Search of Billie Holiday (m000t8qv)
Billie Holiday, known one of the greatest voices of all time as well as a woman of breathtaking talent and global popularity, was a figure of controversy throughout her short life - a black woman in a white man’s world, a victim and a rebel. Her infamous Strange Fruit, the first protest song of the civil rights movement, earned her powerful enemies. She was also an enigma, her telling of her own life story a mix of half truths and free-form improvisations.
Then, in the late 1960s journalist Linda Lipnack Kuehl set out to write the definitive biography of Billie. Over the next decade, she tracked down and tape-recorded interviews with the extraordinary characters that populated the iconic singer’s short, tumultuous life.
Raw, emotional and brutally honest, these incredible testimonies ranged from musical greats like Charles Mingus, Tony Bennett, Sylvia Syms and Count Basie to her cousin, schoolfriends, lovers, lawyers, pimps and even the FBI agents who arrested her. But Linda’s book was never finished, and the tapes remained unplayed – until now.
With unprecedented and exclusive access to Linda's astonishing 200 hours of never-before-heard interviews, this documentary showcases an American legend, capturing her depths and complexity through the voices of those who knew her best. Painstakingly restored with footage and stills colourised by one of the world's leading colour artists, it is an arresting and powerful tale of one of the greatest singers who ever lived, and of Linda Lipnack Kuehl, the woman who would sacrifice her life in trying to tell it.
FRI 22:30 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 23:30 The Old Grey Whistle Test (m0010k2t)
Fun Boy Three
A special concert recorded at the Royal Theatre, Hitchin. First broadcast on 6 May 1983, the programme features Fun Boy Three performing many of their best-loved songs.
FRI 00:00 Radio 2 In Concert (b0bsrsnp)
Multiple Brit Award-winning singer and songwriter Emeli Sande established herself as one of the UK's most exciting artists in 2012, with the release of her debut album Our Version of Events. The album spent a total of ten weeks at number one and was the bestselling album of 2012 in the UK. Her follow-up Long Live the Angels came in 2016 and featured the singles Hurts and Breathing Underwater. Expect songs from both of her big-selling albums in the intimate setting of the BBC Radio Theatre in London.
FRI 01:00 Top of the Pops (m0010k2p)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
FRI 01:30 Top of the Pops (m0010k2r)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 today
FRI 02:00 Billie: In Search of Billie Holiday (m000t8qv)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
(Note: the times link back to the details; the pids link to the BBC page, including iPlayer)
... Sings Motown 19:00 FRI (b05nyyv5)
A House Through Time 20:00 THU (m00048rf)
A House Through Time 02:20 THU (m00048rf)
A Stitch in Time 01:00 SAT (b09l2rfv)
A Stitch in Time 01:30 SUN (b09ll1fx)
A Stitch in Time 00:30 MON (b09mbb41)
Alexander Pope: Rediscovering a Genius 20:10 SUN (m0010jm5)
Arena 19:10 SUN (m0010jm3)
Arena 03:00 SUN (m0010jm3)
Billie: In Search of Billie Holiday 21:00 FRI (m000t8qv)
Billie: In Search of Billie Holiday 02:00 FRI (m000t8qv)
Carol Ann Duffy: Secular Prayers 19:00 SUN (b00kmt48)
Coast 19:00 SAT (b00xj5s8)
Enslaved with Samuel L Jackson 21:00 WED (m000ngf2)
Enslaved with Samuel L Jackson 01:20 WED (m000ngf2)
From Ice to Fire: The Incredible Science of Temperature 22:50 WED (b09t9txy)
Great British Railway Journeys 19:00 MON (m0002fpx)
Great British Railway Journeys 01:00 MON (m0002fpx)
Great British Railway Journeys 19:00 TUE (m0002fs8)
Great British Railway Journeys 01:35 TUE (m0002fs8)
Great British Railway Journeys 19:00 WED (m0002jn2)
Great British Railway Journeys 00:50 WED (m0002jn2)
Great British Railway Journeys 19:00 THU (m0002jrh)
Great British Railway Journeys 00:50 THU (m0002jrh)
India: Nature's Wonderland 20:00 WED (p02z83jc)
India: Nature's Wonderland 01:20 THU (p02z83jc)
Jazz Divas Gold 22:30 FRI (b01sbxqy)
Motherland 00:30 SAT (m000w753)
Nature and Us: A History through Art 21:00 MON (m0010jn6)
Nature and Us: A History through Art 01:30 MON (m0010jn6)
Nature and Us: A History through Art 02:05 TUE (m0010jn6)
Nothing Like a Dame 22:45 TUE (b0b5y3xn)
One Foot in the Grave 20:30 TUE (b007cg1z)
Orbit: Earth's Extraordinary Journey 23:30 MON (b01d7kd5)
Orbit: Earth's Extraordinary Journey 00:35 TUE (b01djm9b)
Orbit: Earth's Extraordinary Journey 23:50 WED (b01dq1h0)
Paris Police 1900 21:00 SAT (p09tqjbm)
Paris Police 1900 21:55 SAT (p09tqjy6)
Pole to Pole 20:10 SAT (p02gdbml)
Pole to Pole 01:30 SAT (p02gdbml)
Radio 2 In Concert 00:00 FRI (b0bsrsnp)
Restoring the Earth: The Age of Nature 22:00 WED (m0010jp3)
Restoring the Earth: The Age of Nature 02:20 WED (m0010jp3)
Secrets of the Museum 20:00 MON (m000g6sp)
Secrets of the Museum 02:30 MON (m000g6sp)
Storyville 23:50 SUN (m000xw3j)
Sylvia Plath – Inside the Bell Jar 21:00 SUN (b0bg2jgc)
Sylvia Plath – Inside the Bell Jar 02:00 SUN (b0bg2jgc)
The Celts: Blood, Iron and Sacrifice with Alice Roberts and Neil Oliver 19:10 SAT (b06h3ytf)
The Celts: Blood, Iron and Sacrifice with Alice Roberts and Neil Oliver 02:20 SAT (b06h3ytf)
The Conjuring 2 - The Enfield Case 22:45 THU (m0010k0m)
The Conjuring 21:00 THU (m0010lf5)
The Good Life 20:00 TUE (p02r4q90)
The Joy of Painting 19:30 MON (m0010jn4)
The Joy of Painting 19:30 TUE (m0010jns)
The Joy of Painting 19:30 WED (m0010jp0)
The Joy of Painting 19:30 THU (m0010lnc)
The Mother 21:00 TUE (b0078tqd)
The Old Grey Whistle Test 23:30 FRI (m0010k2t)
The Sky at Night 22:00 SUN (m0010jm7)
The Sky at Night 00:05 TUE (m0010jm7)
The Special Relationship 22:00 MON (b00ty79c)
The Trials of Oscar Pistorius 22:55 SAT (p08tfp7d)
Top of the Pops 20:00 FRI (m0010k2p)
Top of the Pops 20:30 FRI (m0010k2r)
Top of the Pops 01:00 FRI (m0010k2p)
Top of the Pops 01:30 FRI (m0010k2r)
Welcome to the World of George the Poet 22:30 SUN (p07sj2d2)