Armed with his 1930s Bradshaw’s Guide, Michael travels from Aberystwyth into the Cambrian Mountains at Devil’s Bridge and finishes in Newtown, Powys.
In the elegant coastal town of Aberystwyth, Michael visits the National Library of Wales, set high on a hill with views over Cardigan Bay. Michael hears how the idea of a repository for works in the Welsh language and an institution in which to preserve Welsh culture took shape and culminated, in 1937, in this prestigious institution. Michael is fascinated to see William Morgan’s Welsh translation of the Bible, published in 1588.
An unforgettable excursion on the Vale of Rheidol Railway takes Michael on a steep climb to Devil’s Bridge, past spectacular waterfalls and wooded hillsides.
Close by, in the Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest, Michael heads for a lake, where magnificent birds of prey come to feed. At the time of his Bradshaw’s Guide, the red kite was close to extinction. But Wales’s favourite bird now thrives, and in order to keep it that way, astonishing numbers are fed here daily. Michael dares to lend a hand.
High above Aberystwyth, Michael heads for a hilltop, where during the 1930s, amazing discoveries were made. At Pen Dinas, a young professor from Aberystwyth University dug deep below Roman remains and found an iron age settlement. Michael learns how archaeological methods have changed today.
Michael’s 250-mile tour of north Wales draws to a close in style at the birthplace of the nation’s first classical music festival, Gregynog Hall, near Newtown. Michael is intrigued to discover that its founders, sisters Gwendoline and Margaret Davies, used the fortune they inherited from their grandfather, a noted Welsh railway builder, to establish the country estate as a centre for art and music from 1933. In the glorious music room, a Welsh harpist helps to evoke the spirit of festivals past and present.
Fred takes a look at the 11th-century building programme undertaken by the Normans which resulted in mighty fortress cathedrals like Ely and Peterborough.
At Peterborough Cathedral, Fred reveals the secret weapon the Norman builders had at their disposal - the stone arch - and demonstrates just how the early stonemasons constructed them. At Ely, Fred climbs high up inside the building to examine the alterations and additions made by later builders. Inspecting this construction masterpiece sees Fred scaling rooftop ladders to examine the incredible octagonal lantern built in the 14th century, an amazing feat of early engineering. Fred also has the lowdown on exactly how this feat was accomplished.
Fred's final destination is Rochester, this time to examine a Norman castle rather than a cathedral. Here, he demonstrates how the tactics used all those centuries ago by attackers to try and destroy tall towers bear a startling resemblance to the way he used to pull down tall buildings.
New Zealand was one of the last land masses to be found and settled by people. Lush and fertile, almost everything brought here flourishes, often with surprising consequences.
Told through the experiences of its native species - in particular, a charismatic and peculiar giant, flightless parrot - this is the moving story of the changing fortunes of New Zealand's wildlife since humans first arrived.
The Man Who Saw Too Much tells the story of 106-year-old Boris Pahor, believed to be the oldest known survivor of the Nazi concentration camps. He was sent to Dachau, Dora, Harzungen, Bergen-Belsen and Natzweiler – one of the Nazis' least known but most deadly camps. Twenty years after the war, Pahor wrote an extraordinary book about his experiences called Necropolis - City of the Dead.
Alan Yentob visits Boris Pahor at his home in Trieste, where he talks about his fight against fascism and the Nazis. Boris, a Slovenian, was born in the tolerant, cosmopolitan city of Trieste in 1913. After World War I, when it became part of Italy and Mussolini rose to power, fascists burned down the Slovene cultural centre, closed their schools and the speaking of Slovene in public was banned. During World War II, Boris fought with the Italian army until its surrender in 1943, when he returned to Trieste just before the Nazis took over the city. He joined the Slovene resistance but was betrayed and handed over to the Gestapo, and sent on to the camps. Natzweiler, where he was to stay the longest, is hidden in the mountains of Alsace. Nearly half of its 52,000 prisoners died through the effects of forced labour, malnutrition, illness and execution. The Nazis conducted medical experiments on prisoners and, on one occasion, 86 Jews were brought to the camp and executed to provide skeletons for a Nazi professor of anatomy’s collection. Natzweiler was the first concentration camp in western Europe to be discovered by the Allies – but the camp was empty, its prisoners has been taken to Dachau.
Pahor’s harrowing descriptions are illustrated with remarkable drawings by fellow prisoners, creating a unique record of conditions in the Nazi death camps. His testimony, along with details from a shocking report into the camp by British intelligence officer Captain Yurka Galitzine and the chilling testimony by SS commandant Josef Kramer, infamous as the Beast of Belsen, combine to tell an extraordinary story.
A portrait of the last living generation of everyday people to participate in the Third Reich. Men and women ranging from former SS officers to children who grew up in Hitler’s Germany speak for the first time about their memories and perceptions of some of the greatest crimes in human history.
THURSDAY 27 JANUARY 2022
THU 19:00 Railways: The Making of a Nation (b07x4f3t)
The Age of Leisure
The very idea of an excursion to distant places became popular from the 1840s onwards. People were taking day trips and seeing parts of the country they had never seen before. However, it wasn't all seaside and sand. Some excursion trains were set up to satisfy the public's demand to witness public executions. Other lines transported people to enjoy horse racing and sporting events. Thousands visited resorts, spa towns and the coast. A new wave of Victorian tourists spent their cash on holidays and visited hotels at stations and beyond. The ultimate experience was often to head to the hills and sample clean air, far away from industrial grime and pollution. Working-class northerners now had access to the Lake District. However, one particular Lakeland resident, William Wordsworth, was initially not so happy about the influx of this new type of visitor.
THU 19:30 Fred Dibnah's Building of Britain (b0074n9j)
The Art of Castle Building
Fred Dibnah's Building of Britain continues with the famous steeplejack investigating one of the greatest feats of royal engineering - the constuction of the great chain of castles on the coast of north Wales. Travelling to Harlech, Caernarfon and Beaumaris, Fred reveals the building techniques and revolutionary defensive features that helped Edward I subdue the rebellious Welsh. Fred also charts the achievements of the king's architect Master James of St Georges, a Frenchman who revolutionised castle design in England.
THU 20:00 Rancho Notorious (b0074mgn)
Unusual western about a young man hunting for the brutal killers of his fiancee. The only clue he has is the mysterious word 'Chuck-a-Luck' whispered by a dying victim. A rare foray into the genre for director Fritz Lang.
THU 21:25 Young Guns (m000rqbb)
Outlaw William H Bonney joins a group of young ranch hands working for the kindly Englishman John Tunstall, who has rehabilitated them all from a life of crime. When Tunstall is brutally murdered by a rival, the young friends set out to avenge him, becoming deputies to issue warrants for the arrest of his killers. But Bonney has other plans and leads them on a rampage of revenge until they are the hunted ones.
THU 23:10 How the Wild West Was Won with Ray Mears (b045nz9q)
Ray Mears looks at how the landscapes of America's five great deserts challenged the westward push of the early pioneers.
As Ray travels through the cold high mountain Great Basin desert and the hot Sonoran desert of southern Arizona, he discovers how their hostile geography and rich geology shaped the stories of fortune hunting and lawlessness in the Wild West, and were the setting for the last wars between the US Army and the Apache warrior tribes.
Ray's journey begins in Monument Valley, whose dramatic desert landscape has become synonymous with the Wild West years. He explores how plants and animals survive in this waterless climate and how the Navajo Indian people adapted to the conditions. In Tucson, he meets up with desert coroners Bruce Anderson and Robin Reineke, who show him how the desert still kills people today.
He explores how the Apache adapted their warfare methods to the desert and how the US cavalry struggled in the hot arid landscape. In Tombstone, he gets to grips with the myths around lawmakers and lawlessness and how it flourished in the remote desert regions of the Old West. He discovers how this forbidding landscape was the perfect refuge for bandits and pursues the outlaw trail to Butch Cassidy's hideout at Robber's Roost. His journey ends with the story of Geronimo's surrender which marked the end of the Indian Wars, and of the Old West.
THU 00:10 Inside Cinema (m000f8xm)
Meet the Family
Meet the Family, voiced by Kathy Burke (Nil by Mouth, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), puts cinematic families on the analyst's couch for a deep dive into what makes some of the most dysfunctional dynasties in cinema tick.
How do film-makers go about dramatising the one thing we all have in life - family? Maybe it's about drawing directly from your own life, like Christina Crawford's account of being raised by a nightmare mother, A-list star Joan Crawford, in the infamous Hollywood scandal magnet, Mommie Dearest. Or maybe dramatising the furthest extremes that families will go to needs to involve fantasy, as in magical Oscar-winning fairy tale, Pan's Labyrinth, where a little girl escapes from her wicked stepfather into a dreamlike but dangerous underworld.
Even when film-makers have their familial inspiration sorted out, families on the big screen still pose unique challenges, even to the greatest directors in cinema. How can you possibly make every single family member in a massive cinematic ensemble like Gosford Park memorable, when even people in real life have trouble remembering who their second cousins are? How do you know where to start and finish your story about a family, when every family stretches back through infinite generations? Perhaps, like Lars von Trier, you could start with the end of the world. And what about empathy? How do we know who to root for in a film like American Beauty, which only gives us one side of the story?
Through the lens of films as varied as 8 Mile, Do the Right Thing, Tokyo Story, Aliens, Bicycle Thieves, The Hangover III, Dead Ringers, Home Alone, Ratcatcher, Back to the Future and many more, we zoom in on families in film, discovering how film-makers have imagined them on the big screen - and what that tells us about our place in our own families.
THU 01:10 Handmade in Africa (m000m7j4)
Maasai Wedding Necklace
For the Maasai people of the Great Rift Valley, beaded jewellery is of great ceremonial significance. The Maasai are a semi-nomadic tribal group who inhabit much of Kenya and Tanzania. Many Maasai people continue to live traditional, pastoral lives. While the men tend to their cattle, Maasai women care for children, maintain the village buildings, and craft intricate, colourful beaded items. Necklaces, bracelets and headpieces are used in Maasai weddings and coming-of-age ceremonies, but they are also enormously popular with non-Maasai Kenyans and tourists. Over the past few decades, tourist interest in Maasai beads has allowed Maasai women to earn their own money for the first time.
This episode follows Jane Semanto, a master bead maker, as she crafts a traditional Maasai wedding necklace. Like many Maasai, Jane lives a modern life in Nairobi but retains a deep knowledge and reverence for her tribal heritage. The Maasai use beads to signify social and marital status. Colours also hold special importance, signifying elements of the Rift Valley landscape, as well as valued Maasai character traits such as bravery and friendship. During the film, Jane leaves her Nairobi studio to visit her Maasai friends who live a more traditional rural existence. We discover how, for them, bead making not only gives them an income and independence from their husbands, it also fosters a sense of female solidarity.
THU 01:40 Railways: The Making of a Nation (b07x4f3t)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
THU 02:10 Fred Dibnah's Building of Britain (b0074n9j)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
THU 02:40 Turner: The Man Who Painted Britain (m000xnyh)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Monday
FRIDAY 28 JANUARY 2022
FRI 19:00 Sounds of the Seventies (b0074t1m)
LIST OF THIS WEEK'S PROGRAMMES
Sweet, Slade and Mud
More fizzy nuggets of seventies pop from the BBC archive. Three giants of the seven-inch single perform Blockbuster, Mama Weer All Crazee Now and Tiger Feet.
FRI 19:10 The Shirley Bassey Show (m0013vgb)
Shirley Bassey presents another show in her musical series, with guests Clive Westlake and Mel Tormé, and The Shirley Bassey Dancers, choreographed by Nigel Lythgoe.
FRI 20:00 Top of the Pops (m0013vgd)
Tony Dortie and Claudia Simon present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 12 March 1992 and featuring Gun, The Wedding Present, Toxic Two, Nirvana, Clivillés and Cole, Eric Clapton, Annie Lennox, Mr. Big, U2 and Shakespears Sister.
FRI 20:30 Top of the Pops (m0013vgg)
Mark Franklin and Claudia Simon present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 26 March 1992 and featuring Erasure, Annie Lennox, Vanessa Williams and Soul II Soul, Right Said Fred, Def Leppard, Shakespears Sister, The Cure, Hammer, Wet Wet Wet and Manic Street Preachers.
FRI 21:00 Mystify: Michael Hutchence (m000crsv)
A journey into the heart and soul of Michael Hutchence, internationally renowned lead-singer of INXS, a complex and shy man who spent the bulk of his life in the public eye, rarely revealing his true self to anyone except his very close friends.
Rare archive footage and intimate insights from friends, lovers, family, colleagues and Michael Hutchence himself, portray his life from the beginning of his fractured family background to the peaks of rock stardom and down into the depths after a freak accident in Copenhagen removed his sense of taste and smell and seriously affected his ability to deal with his unravelling personal and professional life.
A feature-length theatrical documentary written and directed by Richard Lowenstein, director of the majority of both INXS and Michael’s music videos and the 1986 feature film, Dogs in Space, in which Michael played the lead.
FRI 22:35 INXS: Live Baby Live (m000crsx)
Eagle Rock Films has fully restored INXS's classic concert film to present Live Baby Live in HD and 4K for the first time ever.
On 13 July 1991, INXS were filmed in concert at Wembley Stadium, London, performing one of the most stunning concerts ever by one of the world’s greatest rock and roll bands to a sold-out, heaving mass of 72,000 fans. The Wembley concert was the last of a 12-month worldwide run of dates on the band's record-breaking X-Factor Tour, and those there on the day witnessed a band at the absolute peak of their powers. This electrifying concert was directed by David Mallet (AC/DC, U2, Madonna), and it featured classic anthems New Sensation, Mystify and Need You Tonight.
FRI 23:35 Australian Hits at the BBC (m000mts7)
A look back at a wide-ranging selection of the top songs performed by the music acts that came here from the Land Down Under, and the appearances on a selection of BBC shows that saw them get a grip on the UK charts.
Over the decades, those bringing a bit of Australian sunshine and spirit to British screens have included Aussie pop pioneers The Easybeats, rock legends AC/DC, and the new sensations who became one of the nation’s most successful acts of all time, INXS.
Also featured are groundbreaking Aborigine band Yothu Yindi and a true giant of the Australian music scene, John Farnham, whose hit You’re the Voice has achieved almost national anthem status. A selection of songs from the 80s, 90s and noughties will have you singing along to Love Is in the Air, blushing to ‘I Touch Myself’ and stepping back in time with Kylie and Jason, Kylie and Nick Cave and, of course, some classic solo Kylie too.
FRI 00:35 Top of the Pops (m000kxky)
A compilation of classic Kylie performances from the Top of the Pops studio.
FRI 01:05 Top of the Pops (m0013vgd)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
FRI 01:35 Top of the Pops (m0013vgg)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 today
FRI 02:05 The Shirley Bassey Show (m0013vgb)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:10 today
FRI 02:55 Sounds of the Seventies (b0074t1m)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
(Note: the times link back to the details; the pids link to the BBC page, including iPlayer)
Africa's Great Civilisations 23:45 SAT (b0b6tp5l)
Africa's Great Civilisations 00:35 SAT (b0b873nn)
Around the World in 80 Days 20:10 SAT (b007894l)
Around the World in 80 Days 01:30 SAT (b007894l)
Around the World in 80 Treasures 19:00 SAT (b00qg8jb)
Art on the BBC 21:00 MON (m0013vd0)
Art on the BBC 02:25 MON (m0013vd0)
Art on the BBC 23:30 WED (m0013vd0)
Australian Hits at the BBC 23:35 FRI (m000mts7)
Ballrooms and Ballerinas: Dance at the BBC 20:00 SUN (b06sg7zj)
Ballrooms and Ballerinas: Dance at the BBC 02:10 SUN (b06sg7zj)
Betroffenheit from Sadler's Wells 22:50 SUN (b08q8dv1)
Britain's Outlaws: Highwaymen, Pirates and Rogues 19:10 SAT (b06rfl46)
Britain's Outlaws: Highwaymen, Pirates and Rogues 02:20 SAT (b06rfl46)
Danceworks 19:00 SUN (m000jjjn)
Dancing Nation 00:40 SUN (m000w06v)
Fred Dibnah's Building of Britain 19:30 WED (b0074n9f)
Fred Dibnah's Building of Britain 01:00 WED (b0074n9f)
Fred Dibnah's Building of Britain 19:30 THU (b0074n9j)
Fred Dibnah's Building of Britain 02:10 THU (b0074n9j)
Fred Dibnah's Magnificent Monuments 19:30 MON (b0074mcv)
Fred Dibnah's Magnificent Monuments 00:55 MON (b0074mcv)
Fred Dibnah's Magnificent Monuments 19:30 TUE (b0074md3)
Fred Dibnah's Magnificent Monuments 02:20 TUE (b0074md3)
Great British Railway Journeys 19:00 MON (m000w21r)
Great British Railway Journeys 00:25 MON (m000w21r)
Great British Railway Journeys 19:00 TUE (m000w22r)
Great British Railway Journeys 01:50 TUE (m000w22r)
Great British Railway Journeys 19:00 WED (m000w24q)
Great British Railway Journeys 00:30 WED (m000w24q)
Handmade in Africa 01:10 THU (m000m7j4)
Hidden Assets 21:00 SAT (p0b9ns6c)
Hidden Assets 21:55 SAT (p0b9nslc)
How the Wild West Was Won with Ray Mears 23:10 THU (b045nz9q)
INXS: Live Baby Live 22:35 FRI (m000crsx)
India's Frontier Railways 22:50 TUE (b0555xgw)
India: Nature's Wonderland 23:50 TUE (p02z83jc)
India: Nature's Wonderland 00:50 TUE (b06b3klq)
Inside Cinema 00:10 THU (m000f8xm)
Inside the Mind of Robert Burns 21:50 TUE (m000dnsf)
Keeping Up Appearances 20:00 TUE (b007b7ty)
Maya Angelou on Robert Burns 21:00 TUE (m0013vcs)
Maya Angelou on Robert Burns 02:50 TUE (m0013vcs)
Mystify: Michael Hutchence 21:00 FRI (m000crsv)
New Zealand: Earth's Mythical Islands 20:00 WED (b07n2hmt)
New Zealand: Earth's Mythical Islands 01:30 WED (b07n2hmt)
Parkinson 22:45 SAT (m0013xz5)
Railways: The Making of a Nation 19:00 THU (b07x4f3t)
Railways: The Making of a Nation 01:40 THU (b07x4f3t)
Rancho Notorious 20:00 THU (b0074mgn)
Sounds of the Seventies 19:00 FRI (b0074t1m)
Sounds of the Seventies 02:55 FRI (b0074t1m)
Storyville 23:00 MON (b0b9zrhb)
Storyville 22:00 WED (m0013vf3)
The Impressionists: Painting and Revolution 20:00 MON (b012xqyp)
The Impressionists: Painting and Revolution 01:25 MON (b012xqyp)
The Man Who Saw Too Much 21:00 WED (m000bqt9)
The Man Who Saw Too Much 02:30 WED (m000bqt9)
The Royal Ballet: The Dante Project 21:00 SUN (m0013v98)
The Shirley Bassey Show 19:10 FRI (m0013vgb)
The Shirley Bassey Show 02:05 FRI (m0013vgb)
This Cultural Life 19:30 SUN (m0013v96)
This Cultural Life 01:40 SUN (m0013v96)
Top of the Pops 20:00 FRI (m0013vgd)
Top of the Pops 20:30 FRI (m0013vgg)
Top of the Pops 00:35 FRI (m000kxky)
Top of the Pops 01:05 FRI (m0013vgd)
Top of the Pops 01:35 FRI (m0013vgg)
Turner: The Man Who Painted Britain 22:00 MON (m000xnyh)
Turner: The Man Who Painted Britain 02:40 THU (m000xnyh)
Yes, Prime Minister 20:30 TUE (b03sblbn)
Young Guns 21:25 THU (m000rqbb)