The management of the BBC is now reconsidering the future of the BBC Singers.
The petition has now closed, with 150,494 signatures, and is here.
A response from the BBC to musicians (28/03/2023) is on a Twitter feed here.
The threat to reduce the staff of the three English orchestras by 20% is now being reconsidered: see a Guardian article here.

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SAT 19:00 Lost Cities of the Ancients (b00792v2)
The Cursed Valley of the Pyramids

In the Lambeyeque valley in northern Peru lies a strange lost world - the forgotten ruins of 250 mysterious pyramids, including some of the biggest on the planet, colossal structures made out of mud bricks. Long ago, the Lambeyeque people were haunted by a terrible fear and believed that building pyramids was essential to their survival. Their obsession reached its height at a city called Tucume, an eerie place of 26 pyramids standing side by side, the last pyramids this civilisation created before they vanished forever.

What was the fear that drove these people to build so many pyramids, what were they for and why did the whole civilisation suddenly vanish? This film captures the moments when archaeologists at the site uncovered a mass of bodies of human sacrifice victims, following a trail of clues into the dark story of Tucume. It recreates the strange rituals of the people of the valley, revealing a civilisation whose obsession to build pyramids eventually turned to horror, until Tucume finally vanished in a bloody frenzy of human sacrifice.

SAT 20:00 Arctic with Bruce Parry (b00x9b82)

It's summer solstice in Siberia, a time of endless daylight and extraordinary festivals.

Bruce Parry journeys to meet the Sakha horse people and a remote encampment of Eveny reindeer herders in the wild Verkhoyansk Mountains, where he finds out how they are embracing the challenges of a post-Soviet Arctic.

For Bruce, it's also a journey of personal discovery as he goes in search of the ancient shamanic religion of these wild northern lands.

SAT 21:00 The Promise (p0bfyr4m)
Series 1

Episode 5

Following yet another infraction, Sarah is pulled off the case. Frozen out by her colleagues, she continues to investigate behind their backs. In French with English subtitles.

SAT 21:55 The Promise (p0bfyrnw)
Series 1

Episode 6

The DNA found on Charlotte's boots proves to be a vital piece of evidence. But a resolution of the case is still a long way off. In French with English subtitles.

SAT 22:55 Wogan: The Best Of (b05n909m)
Oscar Winners

Sir Terry Wogan takes a nostalgic look back at some of the biggest stars and best moments from his long-running chat show. The interviewees in this episode are all Oscar winners, and the line-up features Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, James Stewart, Cher, Gene Hackman, Mel Brooks and a very nervous Anne Bancroft.

SAT 23:40 Yes, Prime Minister (b0074qxj)
Series 1

A Victory for Democracy

Classic sitcom about a beleaguered PM. Jim Hacker begins to wonder whether the government runs the Foreign Office, or vice versa.

SAT 00:10 Keeping Up Appearances (b007bg0k)
Series 2

Onslow's Birthday

Hyacinth is dreading being invited to Onslow's birthday party almost as much as he dreads her agreeing to come. However, she changes her mind when she learns that Rose's new boyfriend, a well-to-do Greek businessman, will be picking her and Richard up from their home in his limousine.

In true Hyacinth fashion, she decides to hold a cocktails and canapes party starting an hour before the limousine's planned arrival time so that the invited crowd will see the prestigious form of transport being used. Sadly, things do not go quite as she expected...

SAT 00:45 A Garden in Snowdonia (b00kn777)
Bodnant Rising

The story of a year in the life of Bodnant Garden in north Wales. With visitor numbers in decline, those who live and work at the National Trust property are on a mission to transform this spectacular garden. Head gardener Troy Scott Smith and his manager Michael McLaren are spending two million pounds on a revamp, with the aim of creating one of the top ten gardens in the world.

SAT 01:15 Arctic with Bruce Parry (b00x9b82)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

SAT 02:15 Lost Cities of the Ancients (b00792v2)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]


SUN 19:00 The Birth of British Music (b00kntl1)
Handel - The Conquering Hero

In the second of four programmes, conductor Charles Hazlewood explores the glorious music of Handel, who made his home in Britain and became a celebrity and national icon in the process.

Millions across the world heard Handel's 'Zadok the Priest' when Elizabeth II was crowned Queen at Westminster Abbey in 1953, but he was immensely popular in his own lifetime too, as his memorial in Westminster Abbey shows. World-renowed soloists Danielle de Niese and Ian Bostridge join Charles Hazlewood's ensemble, Army of Generals, in some of the best-loved music in our history.

Also included in this programme is an unusual take on John Gay's 'The Beggar's Opera', the 18th-century smash hit that poked fun at Handel's world. Charles invites comedian Phill Jupitus to take a new approach to the music along with acclaimed folk singers Rachel and Becky Unthank, guitarist Adrian Utley from Portishead, and distinguished jazz drummer Martin France.

The Foundling Hospital Museum and Handel's birthplace in Halle are two of the many places Charles visits to explore the stories behind this fascinating composer who has had such a profound influence on our cultural heritage.

SUN 20:00 Winter Journey: Schubert's Winterreise (m0012twd)
Franz Schubert's masterpiece, his song cycle Winterreise, bewildered his friends when he first played it to them. Two centuries on, it still challenges musicians of every generation.

In this beautiful film, baritone Benjamin Appl and pianist James Baillieu make their own winter journey, reimagining Schubert's songs at the top of a mountain pass in Switzerland in a setting that emphasises the timelessness of the composer's music.

SUN 21:30 Jonas Kaufmann: Tenor for the Ages (b099tpby)
The German tenor Jonas Kaufmann is one of the hottest properties in the opera world. He captivates audiences with the power, emotion and beauty of his singing, the intelligence of his acting, his matinee-idol delivery, and his extraordinary range - from the heroic stage roles in Wagner to the intimate songs of Schubert on the concert platform.

For this documentary for the BBC's Opera Season, the film-maker John Bridcut has been given unique and often surprising access to Kaufmann across the last two years, observing him in rehearsal, backstage during performances, and in his off-duty moments. It is by far the most intimate and extensive portrait yet made of Kaufmann, now at the peak of his career. He was filmed behind the scenes at the Last Night of the Proms, when he was the first German to sing Rule, Britannia. His schedule was later interrupted for five months because of a vocal injury, but recently he made a triumphant return, notably in the production of Verdi's late opera, Otello, at Covent Garden.

Kaufmann is filmed working with the Royal Opera's music director, Sir Antonio Pappano, and the stage director, Keith Warner - and is involved in every aspect of the preparations. He talks freely about his earlier cancellations, about what keeps him going during a run of performances, and about the problems of being a star.

John Bridcut has previously made documentary portraits of Herbert von Karajan, Rudolf Nureyev, Mstislav Rostropovich and Sir Colin Davis (which was named Best Arts Documentary at the Grierson Awards). His clutch of composer-portraits began with the award-winning Britten's Children and continued with films on Elgar, Delius, Parry and Vaughan Williams. Last year he made the BBC One documentary for the Queen's 90th birthday, Elizabeth at 90 - A Family Tribute.

SUN 23:00 Crossing England in a Punt: River of Dreams (p00y6r6q)
From the Staffordshire hills to the Humber estuary, spirited explorer Tom Fort embarks on a 170-mile journey down Britain's third-longest river, the Trent. Beginning on foot, he soon transfers to his own custom-built punt, the Trent Otter, and rows many miles downstream. Along the way he encounters the power stations that generate much of the nation's electricity, veterans of the catastrophic floods of 1947, the 19th-century brewers of Burton and a Bronze Age boatman who once made a life along the river.

SUN 00:00 Inside America's Treasure House: The Met (m00103dc)
Series 1

Episode 3

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.

SUN 01:00 The Birth of British Music (b00kntl1)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

SUN 02:00 Winter Journey: Schubert's Winterreise (m0012twd)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


MON 19:00 Fred Dibnah's Made in Britain (b0078wjp)
Engines at Work

Fred meets up with a few old friends at the North Staffs and Cheshire Traction Engine Club. All the engines are in steam so Fred is in his element, chatting to his mates and enjoying a pint or two. The next day Fred goes to see Len Crane at Bratch Pumping Station, where Len has spent the last six years restoring a great triple expansion engine that was used to pump the water.

They call in at the Severn Valley Railway at Bridgenorth for a chat about the locos and a tour round the workshops. Unfortunately Fred does so much chatting he misses his chance to have a ride on the footplate.

Moving on from Bridgenorth Fred, Alf and Jimmy visit the Black Country Living Museum to learn about the rich mining history of the area.

MON 19:30 Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure (m00111zt)
Series 2

Episode 1

Rugby legend Gareth Edwards and wife Maureen are more than ready for a new adventure. Their first saw the childhood sweethearts causing chaos on the canals of Wales. Despite endless barge bashing and bickering, they loved it.

The pandemic hit and, like the rest of us, they were locked down for months. Thankful to see restrictions lift, Gareth and Maureen are determined to make the most of their new freedom and visit some of Wales’ most beautiful places. Their new adventures will include just that – trying things they’ve never experienced in 70-plus years.

Sir Gareth was once voted the greatest rugby player of all time. But, on their first adventure in Machynlleth, he fulfils a boyhood dream of driving a steam train. Maureen’s keen too and takes charge as they wind through the stunning Dyfi Valley. She’s less eager as they visit a centre for endangered birds of prey. She has to tackle her phobia when they meet some magnificent new feathered friends.

Maureen’s packed the schedule so as well as glamping and massaging some of Wales’ most pampered cows, they squeeze in rally car driving in a local forest, a first for them both. After tips from one of Wales’s top rally drivers Jade Paveley, the duo compete in a race. Both ‘steady Eddie’ Gareth and ‘need for speed’ Maureen are convinced they’re the better driver. The proof will be in the lap times.

As for so many, lockdown was a difficult time in which Gareth and Maureen lost friends and desperately missed family, especially the grandchildren. Back exploring their beloved Wales, they reflect on how precious life is, including the opportunity to once again enjoy such wonderful places.

MON 20:00 Cornwall's Red River (m0014zrj)
Poet John Wedgwood Clarke explores the Red River in Cornwall, a watercourse barely more than a stream that has been heavily polluted by centuries of tin mining. Now, this powerful symbol of Cornish identity, home to some very rare, beautiful and resilient species, is slowly showing signs of coming back to life.

Extracts from John's poem, Red River at the A30 Culvert, reveal his mixed thoughts about the river's toxic legacy, but as he meets both those with a connection with the river's industrial past and who care for it today, he finds new hope for its future.

MON 20:30 Secret Knowledge (b05z5hc0)
Thomas Chatterton: The Myth of the Doomed Poet

Poet Michael Symmons Roberts explores the mythic afterlife of the 18th-century poet Thomas Chatterton. With access to rare documents and artefacts, and featuring a surprising interview with Queen guitarist Brian May, Michael explains how Chatterton's tragic early death in his London garret aged just 17 was immortalised by a succession of poets and painters and photographers - most notably by the pre-Raphaelite Henry Wallis in his masterpiece known as The Death of Chatterton - and how these successive images of the young Chatterton have saddled poets ever since with the notion of the doomed young artist suffering and ultimately dying in service to the muse.

MON 21:00 The Romantics and Us with Simon Schama (m000mv1h)
Series 1


Simon Schama explores the genesis of modern nationalism - its romantic roots in a new idea of nature and homeland, the 'discovery' of native folklore and above all the part played by music – especially Frederic Chopin’s mazurkas – in generating the emotion of national belonging.

But where did this feverish passion for homeland begin? For many romantics, it began in 17th-century Switzerland with the diagnosis of a familiar, all-too-human emotion by the Swiss doctor Johannes Hofer - nostalgia. Hofer believed that it was a lethal malady that was triggered by anything that reminded Swiss soldiers serving abroad of home.

In Scotland, Simon looks at the work of Robert Burns, who grew up in Ayrshire in the 1770s. Speaking to singer-songwriter Eddi Reader, who performs A Red, Red Rose, Simon explores how Burns created authentically Scottish poetry and music that could hold its own against the oncoming tide of English culture.

Simon then travels to Germany to explore how Napoleon’s invasion of the German lands in the early 1800s also kickstarted a group of German romantics to begin their own ‘campaign of national belonging’ – with dark consequences.

In the last section of the film, Simon travels to Poland and Paris to look at how Polish romantic artists and musicians, in particular Frederic Chopin, created a ‘Poland of the imagination’ in their art after Poland had not just been defeated but been completely wiped off the map.

When the Nazis invaded Poland once again during the Second World War, Chopin’s music was banned, his statues (and scores) across the country were destroyed, and an extraordinary battle was waged over the relic of his actual heart, and so, visiting the Last Night of the Proms in London to hear our own national anthems, Simon asks some profound questions about the resurgence of populist, nationalist movements across the world.

MON 22:00 Desperate Romantics (b00mb15m)
Episode 5

Rossetti and Lizzie revel in their new-found status and wealth, acquired courtesy of Ruskin's generous patronage. Swept up in a whirlwind of late-night partying and debauchery, they forget about their art, including the commissions they've promised to complete.

Ruskin is less than impressed. He threatens to end his support unless they calm down and focus. He instructs Lizzie to report to his house every day, in order to paint in his studio. He also instructs her, to Rossetti's annoyance, to stay at her parents' house each night, in order to avoid further temptation to stray from her art. Lizzie responds swiftly and obediently to Ruskin's orders, leaving a disgruntled Rossetti to get back to the church mural he's been commissioned to paint.

Rossetti, as usual, struggles to knuckle down and instead goes out on the town again, commencing a raunchy affair with the street girl Fanny Cornforth. Fanny's beauty, unlike Lizzie's, is large, fleshy and voluptuous, and it inspires in Rossetti a new, richer and more sensual style of painting. Indeed, Fanny's unbridled hedonism, as opposed to Lizzie's tendency towards neurosis, inspires in Rossetti a new lease of life. He receives further creative succour from his new young students, William Morris and Ned Burne-Jones, who offer their unadulterated worship and also their much-needed assistance with the dreaded church mural.

While Rossetti enjoys himself, Lizzie, worried about losing him to another woman, struggles to obey Ruskin's orders to keep away. It's only a matter of time before she returns to find him in Fanny's arms.

MON 23:00 Desperate Romantics (b00mg1pm)
Episode 6

Drama series set in 19th-century London, following the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

Rossetti and Lizzie return from their honeymoon ready to settle into conventional married life. However, when Millais proposes the idea of an artistic colony for the Brotherhood and their wives, Rossetti is immediately attracted by the bohemian notion of group living. Lizzie, on the other hand, can't bear to think of Rossetti living under the same roof as other women. Unfortunately for her, it doesn't take an artistic colony for Rossetti's eye to wander, and within days of their return he starts up an affair with William Morris's wife, Jane Burden. When Ruskin also forsakes Lizzie, withdrawing his support for her art now that she is a married woman, it begins to look as if laudanum has become her only remaining refuge.

Hunt sets out to win back Annie Miller, hoping to persuade her to move into the colony with him. He sends Fred to deliver his latest offer of marriage. Annie, unsurprisingly, has had enough of Hunt's indecision and tells Fred that she has no intention of accepting Hunt's proposal. Fred sees this as the perfect moment to seize his own chance of happiness, and he proposes to her himself. Annie bursts out laughing at the idea of marriage to Fred. Humiliated, Fred vows to himself to protect no one's feelings in future, and to always tell the truth, no matter how brutal. However, when he chooses the fragile Lizzie as a recipient of one of his home truths, little can he imagine the devastating consequences.

MON 00:00 The Secret History of Writing (m000mtmj)
Series 1

From Pictures to Words

We take it for granted, but every time we pick up a pen, we are employing the most powerful technology ever invented: the technology of writing. The invention of writing about 5,000 years ago made civilisation itself possible, and every innovation of the modern world is based on the foundation of the written word. But how and where did writing begin, and who began it? In From Pictures to Words, the first of three films about the history of writing, we uncover the hidden links between all the diverse writing systems in use today and trace the origin of our own alphabet to a turquoise mine in the Sinai Desert and a man riding a donkey whose name was Khebded.

Writing is a recent innovation. Our species has existed for about 300,000 years, and for all but the last 5,000 of them, people had to record and transmit vital knowledge without the aid of writing. At the Moon Dreaming site in the Northern Territory of Australia, Yidumduma Bill Harney, an elder of the Aboriginal Wardaman people, explains how Aboriginal culture has been transmitted down the generations orally, without the need to write anything down. So, why did people eventually feel the need to make permanent records in visual form?

According to Irving Finkel, an Assyriologist from the British Museum, it was in Mesopotamia, modern-day Iraq, where the need for record-keeping was first felt. Here, about 5,000 years ago, the Sumerians developed the first city states. The city dwellers depended for their sustenance on taxing the surrounding countryside, and Irving produces a clay tablet from this period that is the distant ancestor of today’s spreadsheet: a grid of boxes ruled into the clay, with symbols that represent numbers, and small stylised pictures that represent commodities, such as an ear of barley. These so-called pictograms would be the basis for the first writing systems, and so we owe writing to the first accountants and tax inspectors.

But the language of accountancy is limited. To represent the full vocabulary of the Sumerian people would require a key conceptual leap, a way to use pictures to represent not things but sounds. This is what Irving dubs the giant leap for mankind, something called the Rebus Principle: the idea is that a picture of an ear of barley can represent barley, but it can also be used to represent the sound of the word barley in Sumerian, which is pronounced ‘sheh’. Thus, the word ‘sheh-ga’, which means ‘beautiful’, can be represented by the pictogram of an ear of barley, followed by the stylised picture of a cow’s udder, which stands for milk, pronounced ‘ga’ in Sumerian.

The Rebus Principle is the key that unlocked writing for all the peoples of the ancient near east. Egyptian hieroglyphs, which developed in the same period, are also based on the same principle. The earliest known complete Egyptian text is found beneath a pyramid near Cairo, inscribed on the walls of the tomb of Pharaoh Teti. The Pyramid Texts are a series of elaborate magic spells, designed to raise Teti to eternal life. Hieroglyphs are indeed magic, because like all writing, while they may not be able raise the dead, they do allow them to speak.

In fact, the Rebus lies behind all the ancient writing systems of the world. The earliest known Chinese writing is found inscribed on bones and turtle shells from 3,500 years ago. Chinese is a picture-based script that uses the Rebus Principle to represent sounds with stylised pictures. The same is true of Mayan glyphs, a writing system that developed in Central America about 2,600 years ago. The similarities between these scripts is striking. Is this evidence of a common root for all writing?

In essence, the Rebus Principle is simply a sort of pun, something that could have occurred to a child. Irving Finkel believes that it was invented many times, as a natural expression of a common human sense of humour! The similarities between ancient writing systems are simply due to the fact that we all share the same human mind.

But today, most people write using alphabets – simple scripts with just a few dozen symbols that seem to have no connection to pictures. Here the story is different, because the alphabet was only invented once. In the company of archaeologist Pierre Tallet, we travel to the Sinai to an ancient Egyptian temple perched high above the desert. This is the place where the cultural exchange between Egyptian scribes and illiterate Canaanite migrant workers created a new kind of script. This script also used the Rebus Principle, but in a radically simpler way, adapting hieroglyphic pictograms to represent the sounds of the Canaanite tongue.

Almost every alphabet in use today, from Arabic to the Latin alphabet, can trace its origins to this script. Our letters do not look like pictures, but in fact in almost every word we write lie hidden the ghosts of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.

MON 01:05 Fred Dibnah's Made in Britain (b0078wjp)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

MON 01:35 Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure (m00111zt)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

MON 02:05 Secret Knowledge (b05z5hc0)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 today]

MON 02:35 The Romantics and Us with Simon Schama (m000mv1h)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


TUE 19:00 Fred Dibnah's Made in Britain (b0078wmp)
Chains and Copper

Fred, Alf and Jimmy continue their investigation of the Black Country by watching the skills of an authentic chain maker, producing chains in the same way as they would have been in 1910. After all that hard work they sit down to enjoy fish and chips washed down with a pint of local ale.

They have a long journey ahead, travelling all the way from Dudley to Anglesey to visit Parys Mountain, a vast copper mine that was once the largest in the world.

The copper from Parys Mountain would be made into sheets and taken to a copper spinner just like the one Fred goes to visit in the East Midlands. The spinning process may look easy but, as Fred discovers, there is a lot of skill involved.

After leaving Anglesey they travel further down into Wales making an overnight stop at Ffestiniog railway, originally built to transport slate from Ffestiniog to Porthmadog. While the others look after the traction engine, Fred enjoys a ride and drive on the footplate of an 1891 slate shunting engine. He also takes a look around the maintenance yard where he sees Prince - possibly the oldest working steam engine in the world, dating back to 1863.

TUE 19:30 Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure (p09z3hwn)
Series 2

Episode 2

Gareth Edwards and wife Maureen are in the stunning coastal town of Tenby for the second of their new adventures across Wales. After so long in lockdown, the pair are determined to get out and enjoy all life has to offer. On this particular weekend, they’ve got something special to celebrate. The former Wales and Lions captain and his childhood sweetheart are marking of 49 years of marriage. Maureen has found the perfect place for her and Sir Gareth to stay nearby – Manorbier Castle. The pair get the whole place to themselves once the last visitors leave, and being 'king of the castle' definitely scores highly with history buff Gareth as a place to spend a special anniversary.

By day, they get competitive over a game of golf and take a boat trip to photograph seals and sea birds off the Pembrokeshire coast. Gareth is concerned when Maureen takes over the controls to see how fast the boat can go. The animal theme continues as Gareth and Maureen try a zoo-keeping experience at a local wildlife park. After being put in charge of the rhinos, they brave serving breakfast to a tiger. The duo end the day by walking and feeding the New Zealand pigs before they get to enjoy a feast themselves, cooked fresh on the beach.

TUE 20:00 Hidden Wales: Last Chance to Save (m0014zsh)
Writer and adventurer Will Millard returns with more of Wales’s hidden wonders as he explores some of the country’s forgotten historic buildings.

In Wales, we are in danger of losing vital pieces of history that tell us who we once were. Beautiful buildings that are architectural gems but also some of the most endangered in the UK. These extraordinary structures, which can give us vital insights into how we once used to live, are in danger of disappearing forever.

From extravagant mansions to a 500-year-old farmhouse, crumbling chapels to a massive military fort, and from spectacular industrial sites to a stunning 19th-century theatre, Will travels the length and breadth of Wales to find some of our most vulnerable old buildings, telling their incredible histories and meeting the passionate individuals who are trying to rescue them before it is too late.

TUE 21:00 Patagonia with Huw Edwards (b05xd52f)
Huw Edwards fulfils a lifelong dream to explore Patagonia, and the unique attempt to preserve Welsh culture by isolating a Welsh community in one of the most remote and inhospitable places on earth. A hundred and fifty years after the pioneers arrived, Huw meets their descendants and asks what remains of the culture the forefathers wanted to safeguard.

TUE 22:00 Timeshift (b0803m60)
Series 16

Bridging the Gap: How the Severn Bridge Was Built

2016 saw the 50th anniversary of the Severn Bridge, which completed the motorway link between England and Wales. Timeshift tells the inside story of the design and construction of 'the most perfect suspension bridge in the world', and how its unique slimline structure arose by accident.

TUE 23:00 Cornwall's Red River (m0014zrj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 on Monday]

TUE 23:30 The Secret History of Writing (m000n18t)
Series 1

Words on a Page

In 1448, in Mainz, Germany, a goldsmith named Johannes Gutenberg was experimenting with a lead alloy and a hand-held mould. His aim was to speed up the process of putting ink on paper. But what he did was speed up history. Gutenberg’s printing press spelled the end of the Middle Ages and ushered in the modern world of science and industry. Every innovation since has been built on this foundation.

Yet behind Gutenberg’s invention lay centuries of development and change in the way words were written, without which he could never have succeeded. In this film, presenter Lydia Wilson and calligrapher Brody Neuenschwander set out to explore history’s most important technology - the technology of putting words on a page.

Writing itself is 5,000 years old, and for most of that time words were written by hand using a variety of tools. As a calligrapher, Brody can still use those tools in a form of experimental historical research. The insights gained in this way reveal how the changing methods people used to create written texts helped to change the course of history.

Arguably, the history of writing begins in Egypt. The ancient Egyptians created the world’s first nation state, and they ran it with the help of one of the very earliest writing systems: hieroglyphs. Today, hieroglyphs can still be read in monumental inscriptions carved in stone. But, the Egyptians also had a portable, everyday medium on which to write: papyrus.

Papyrus is a type of sedge that grows all along the banks of the Nile. Readily available and easily harvested, this unassuming plant was turned by the Egyptians into one of the foundations of civilisation: the papyrus scroll. And as civilisation spread from Egypt across the Mediterranean world, so did papyrus. The Romans were able to run an empire thanks to documents written on papyrus, and when they conquered Egypt in 30 BC, one of the biggest prizes of conquest was domination of the Mediterranean papyrus trade.

Brody’s experiments with a reed pen and a papyrus scroll reveal just what an efficient combination they are for the rapid production of written text. That meant that scroll books could be made quite cheaply, and Roman bookshops could sell one for as little as one denarius, a soldier’s daily wage. As a result, ancient Rome had a thriving literary culture.

But, by the end of the third century, Rome’s control over the Mediterranean had begun to slip. Papyrus became more and more difficult to obtain, and Roman book production plummeted. Europeans were forced to turn to a much more expensive surface on which to write: parchment. From being a relatively affordable and available commodity, books would become rare and costly. The fall of the Roman Empire and the onset of the European Middle Ages coincides with this shift from papyrus to parchment.

Medieval handwritten books, with their sumptuous illuminations, represent a pinnacle of medieval art, but since a large book could cost as much as a house, they also represent a limitation on literacy and scholarship.

No such limitations were felt in China, where paper had been invented in the second century. Paper was the foundation of Chinese culture and power, and for centuries how to make it was kept secret. But, in 751 AD, the westward expansion of the Tang Dynasty was checked by Arab forces at the River Talas. It was a defeat which ensured that, to this day, central Asia would be part of the Muslim world. And in the captured baggage train of the Chinese army there were paper-makers. The secret was out, and paper mills soon sprang up across central Asia.

The result was an intellectual flourishing known as the Islamic Golden Age. Muslim scholars made discoveries in biology, geology, astronomy and especially mathematics. By contrast, Europe was an intellectual backwater.

That changed with Gutenberg’s development of movable type printing. The secret of Gutenberg’s printing press was his ability to mass-produce multiple copies in metal of each individual letter. And in this he had a hidden advantage: the letters of the Latin alphabet are very simple block-like shapes, which made it relatively simple to turn them into type pieces.

On the other hand, when printers tried to use movable type to print Arabic texts, they found themselves hampered by the cursive nature of Arabic writing, where the letters of a word often join together to form one single flowing shape. It was more than two hundred years before the first Arabic print shop was established in the Muslim world, in 1727 in Istanbul.

The success of movable type printing in Europe led to a thousand-fold increase in the availability of information, an explosion of ideas that led directly to the European Scientific Revolution and the Industrial Revolution that followed. That these developments began in Europe is one of the most important facts that shapes the world we live in today, and it is down in part to the simple accident of the shape of the Latin alphabet.

TUE 00:30 Fred Dibnah's Made in Britain (b0078wmp)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

TUE 01:00 Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure (p09z3hwn)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

TUE 01:30 Hidden Wales: Last Chance to Save (m0014zsh)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

TUE 02:30 Patagonia with Huw Edwards (b05xd52f)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


WED 19:00 Fred Dibnah's Made in Britain (b030qgzv)
A Lifetime's Achievement (Part 1)

Fred Dibnah reaches the final stage of his monumental journey around Britain on his traction engine.

This episode begins in the mountains of Snowdonia, where Fred is on his way to Wales's National Slate Museum. However, to get there he must first get over the Llanberis Pass - a big test for the engine. At the slate museum, Fred and Alf take a look in the workshop, where all the machinery is driven by a line shaft an eighth of a mile long. In the pub, they meet up with a couple of the ex-quarry workers and have a chat over a pint.

On their way back home to Bolton, the duo stop in to have a look at the world's first boat lift in Cheshire. The Anderton boat lift was built in 1875 as an alternative to a series of locks. Whilst here, Fred takes a trip on the lift to learn a bit more about its history. Before arriving home, Fred visits a couple of local works that over the years have supplied him with his pressure gauges and lots of nuts and bolts.

After a bit of tinkering at home, Fred and Alf begin their journey to Buckingham Palace, where Fred is due to receive his MBE. They stop off in Loughborough at the Great Central Railway for a ride on a 1912, 04 class engine, before making one final detour to the Crossness Pumping Station in London, where a group of volunteers have been working for 18 years to restore four of the largest beam engines in the world.

WED 19:30 Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure (p09z3jl3)
Series 2

Episode 3

Rugby legend Gareth Edwards and wife Maureen head to one of Wales’s most popular holiday destinations. They arrive just as a heatwave hits, turning Llandudno into a resort to rival the best sunny seaside locations. Llandudno is known for its seafront hotels and B&Bs and the pair check in to a room with a sea view before going in search of the pier and ice cream.

Once, people flocked here for a traditional seaside experience, but today the area is a magnet for adrenaline seekers. Not wanting to miss out, Maureen arranges for the two of them to abseil from the Great Orme. It’s a nerve-wracking prospect, but one both are keen to try.

For 700 years the area has boasted some of the best honey in Britain, and Gareth and Maureen meet a local bee keeper and his bees before trying honey fresh from the hive. The pair travel up the Great Orme by tram, in search of the famous goats. The goats were a gift given to Queen Victoria, but found a new level of fame when they took advantage of lockdown to leave the mountain and explore the town.

Finally, they spend a day with hill farmer Gareth Wyn Jones, who tests how they measure up as traditional Welsh hill farmers, giving them tasks including working with a sheep dog and shearing. They’re rewarded with a trip to the top of a mountain and a breathtaking view out across the Menai Straits.

WED 20:00 Great Barrier Reef (b019hd78)
Reef to Rainforest

Three-part series exploring Australia's Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world and the largest living structure on our planet.

Monty Halls explores its full 2,000-kilometre length, from the wild outer reefs of the Coral Sea to the tangled mangrove and steaming rainforest on the shoreline; from large mountainous islands to tiny coral cays barely above sea level; from the dark depths of the abyss beyond the reef to colourful coral gardens of the shallows.

Along the way, he experiences the reef at its most dangerous and its most intriguing, and visits areas that have rarely been filmed, from the greatest wildlife shipwreck on earth to the mysterious seafloor of the lagoon, where freakish animals lurk under every rock.

The Great Barrier Reef as a whole covers an area larger than Great Britain, but amazingly only seven per cent of it is coral reef. The rest is a variety of interconnected habitats including the world's oldest jungle, hundreds of islands, mangrove swamps, mysterious deep-water gardens, vast sand flats and meadows of sea grass - all full of amazing wildlife. A giant deep-water lagoon connects all of these, and many of the creatures that live in it are almost impossibly weird - from giant hammerhead sharks to the bizarre 'pearl fish' that lives its life up a sea cucumber's bottom.

Marine life here also exists in spectacular profusion, as on the 100-year-old shipwreck of the SS Yongala, considered to be the greatest wildlife wreck on earth. The connections between all these environments mean that not only do they depend on each other, but without them the coral reef itself would not survive.

WED 21:00 Digging for Britain (m000bpm4)
Series 8


The remains of a Tudor house in Leicestershire were thought to be the childhood home of England’s forgotten queen, Lady Jane Grey. But when archaeologists excavate, they find more than they bargained for. In Northern Ireland, the graveyard of a Victorian workhouse sheds new light on one of the most traumatic periods of modern Irish history, the Great Famine of 1845.

A team from Sheffield University want to understand the lives of people who occupied a village near the famous caves at Creswell Crags in Nottinghamshire. But could the clues - tales of superstition, witches, and the occult - be hidden in plain sight?

Near Lincoln, a return to an Anglo-Saxon site proves rewarding with the discovery of a spectacularly well-preserved bronze and enamel Roman bowl, carefully laid into a grave. And, on Rousay in the Orkneys there’s tantalising evidence of an undiscovered Viking longhouse.

WED 22:00 Storyville (m0014zvj)
Writing with Fire

In a cluttered news landscape dominated by men, a group of women set up India’s only newspaper run entirely by women. All of them are from the lowest caste, Dalit, and are expected to fail, but instead they stir a revolution.

This Oscar-nominated film follows chief reporter Meera and her team of journalists as they break with tradition to work on the frontlines of India’s biggest issues.

WED 23:30 The Secret History of Writing (m000n7fk)
Series 1

Changing the Script

The written word is so important in everyday life that there can be few more radical acts than forcing an entire nation to learn a new script. Yet that is what happened in Turkey in 1928 when the founder of the modern Turkish nation, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, decreed that the Arabic script, which had been used to write the Turkish language for more than six centuries, would be replaced by the letters of the Latin alphabet.

His motivation lay in events that happened in Europe in the 15th century, at the beginning of the modern age, when society was transformed by the invention of the printing press. Because the shape of the letters of the Latin alphabet made them easier to print than other scripts, printing took off in Europe in a way it did not elsewhere. The resulting explosion in information led to scientific and industrial revolutions that, by the early 20th century, had taken Europe to unprecedented levels of wealth and power, giving European nations the means to dominate the globe.

This link between the Latin alphabet and the rise of western industrial society resulted in leaders in other parts of the world seeing the western script as the key to modernity. Could adopting the Latin alphabet be a shortcut to mass literacy and a modern society? Certainly, by switching from Arabic to Latin letters, it was possible to write Turkish phonetically, making it easier to learn to read and write, and so tackle the disastrously low levels of literacy in the country.

But alongside the practical motivation for the change, Mustafa Kemal also had a political one. Arabic was the script of the Koran, and when he banned the use of the Arabic alphabet, it was an attempt to alter the trajectory of Turkish history away from its Islamic past towards the kind of secular, technological society that was being created in Europe.

Indeed, in the 1920s, the Latin alphabet, with its promise of modernity, was on the march into central Asia, where most of the Islamic states had been absorbed by the expanding Russian Empire. Under the tsars, the languages of the region continued, however, to be written in the Arabic script.

But in 1917, the Russian Empire collapsed, and power was seized by the Communist Party. Its leader, Lenin, was determined to modernise and secularise the new Soviet Union. So, in 1929, the Soviet Union decreed the change to Latin letters in central Asia. But Lenin’s successor, Joseph Stalin, was determined to strengthen Moscow’s control and he did so by means of another script reform. In 1940, he replaced the Latin alphabet with the Russian Cyrillic alphabet.

Cyrillic remained the script of central Asia for five decades. But in 1991, the Soviet Union fell apart and central Asian states like Uzbekistan became independent nations. Uzbeks now had a new political identity, and there was no stronger way to signal this change than to change the script yet again. Out went Cyrillic and back came the Latin alphabet.

No country has changed its script more often in such a relatively short period as Uzbekistan. But through all these dizzying changes there has been one constant: the pull of the Latin alphabet as a means of connecting with the wider world and as a symbol of a nation that embraces modernity.

In China too, the Communist Party under Chairman Mao made a determined effort to replace the ancient Chinese pictographic script with a phonetic system based on Latin letters. But, since so much of Chinese culture and history is embodied in the characters of the Chinese writing system, this attempt ultimately failed. However, today’s technology threatens to do what even Chairman Mao could not: persuade the Chinese people to embrace the use of Latin letters.

The native script of computers is a simple binary code of ones and zeros, but in order to facilitate human interaction with computers, American computer scientists developed Ascii, the American Standard Code for Information Interchange, which allows communication with computers using human language, written in Latin letters.

This universal standard meant, for many decades, that using a computer demanded that you use the Latin alphabet, and this is how most Chinese people interact with their computers and smart phones, using a Latin-based phonetic script called Pinyin. As a result, even highly educated Chinese are losing the ability to write using Chinese characters.

Could what is happening in China be the future of writing everywhere? With new ways of creating text becoming ever more popular, will there soon be any need to learn to write by hand at all? That said, there has always been more to script than language. For 5,000 years, scripts themselves have been repositories of cultural and religious identities that cannot easily be put into words. This is the hidden power, and value, of script. For, each time we pick up a pen, we express who we are in every letter we write.

WED 00:30 Fred Dibnah's Made in Britain (b030qgzv)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

WED 01:00 Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure (p09z3jl3)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

WED 01:30 Digging for Britain (m000bpm4)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]

WED 02:30 Great Barrier Reef (b019hd78)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


THU 19:00 Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure (p09z3klx)
Series 2

Episode 4

Gareth and Maureen Edwards head to St Davids, a place which holds half a lifetime of special memories for them. After making 53 appearances for Wales, Gareth retired from rugby in 1978. After years in the public eye, he and Maureen booked a holiday in St Davids for them and their young boys. The holiday was such a hit, they returned every summer for more than 40 years.

Gareth and Maureen begin with a visit to a shire horse farm. A century ago there were more than a million shire horses in the UK, but today there are under 3,000 and the farm is working to safeguard the species. Gareth and Maureen meet the horses before finding out who can master driving a shire horse-drawn carriage.

Later, watching the St Davids rugby team train on the beach brings back memories for Gareth who, as a young player, did the same with the Welsh team at Aberavon beach. The couple are delighted to catch up with old friend, Dai Chant, the medal-winning former coxswain of the St Davids’ lifeboat. The old lifeboat station he worked from has been abandoned in favour of a state-of-the-art station next door. They see the new lifeboat launch as the crew go out on exercise.

Catching a boat to Ramsey Island, Gareth and Maureen visit the remote bird sanctuary and discover the colony of razorbills – or ‘razorblades’ as Maureen call them - on the precipitous wild cliffs on the far side of the island.

THU 19:30 Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure (p09z3lpb)
Series 2

Episode 5

For the last of their new adventures, Maureen has arranged a trip to the spectacular Brecon Beacons. But it’s not the usual walks amid epic mountain scenery on the agenda. In a first for both, the childhood sweethearts enlist in tank school. After donning cam cream and military gear, the couple get a lesson in controlling a full-sized tank. Maureen’s keen to see if the new vehicle can pick up speed.

Their accommodation is another new experience – a shepherd’s hut complete with lush rolling hills for a view and sheep for neighbours. Gareth is a keen clay pigeon shooter and wants Maureen to try her hand at the sport. After getting some tips from farmer and Welsh champion clay shooter Rhys Lewis, the competitive pair are both determined not to be the one to miss.

Meanwhile, Gareth and Maureen’s inability to take one in-focus photograph of their adventures continues. Photographer Rhian Mai meets them at a spectacular natural cave to help hone their skills. The weekend ends where the original adventure began – on one of Wales’s most beautiful canals. Hopes start high as, with a little help, they manage to stay on course and not crash. But it isn’t long before the barge runs aground and the battle resumes to determine who was responsible.

THU 20:00 Michael Wood's Story of England (b00tw231)
Romans to Normans

Groundbreaking series in which Michael Wood tells the story of one place throughout the whole of English history. The village is Kibworth in Leicestershire in the heart of England - a place that lived through the Black Death, the Civil War and the Industrial Revolution and was even bombed in World War Two.

With the help of the local people and using archaeology, landscape, language and DNA, Michael uncovers the lost history of the first 1,000 years of the village, featuring a Roman villa, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings and graphic evidence of life on the eve of the Norman Conquest.

THU 21:00 The King's Speech (b0bc5spx)
Following the scandalous abdication of his brother King Edward VIII, Bertie, who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life, is suddenly crowned King George VI of the United Kingdom. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife Elizabeth seeks out the help of eccentric speech therapist Lionel Logue.

Based on the true story of King George VI, The King's Speech is the inspirational tale of one man's quest to find his voice.

THU 22:50 Brief Encounter (m00041p7)
Classic love story. A chance meeting in a suburban railway station brings together Laura Jesson, a happily married woman, and Dr Alec Harvey - who is also married. They fall in love, but their secret happiness is marred by the furtive way they must carry on the affair and the realisation that eventually a choice must be made.

THU 00:20 Big Screen Britain: Brief Encounter (m000pr02)
Ben Fogle visits Carnforth station in Lancashire, which was made famous by the classic 1945 film, Brief Encounter.

THU 00:35 Talking Pictures (b05569z0)
Noel Coward

A retrospective look at television appearances made over the years by award-winning actor Noel Coward, with interviews from the archive and classic clips capturing the milestones and highlights of his life and career. Narrated by Sylvia Syms.

THU 01:05 A Garden in Snowdonia (b00kt718)
Bodnant Blooming

A year in the life of the spectacular Bodnant Garden in north Wales. Head Gardener Troy Scott Smith and his team give Bodnant a facelift. Supervisor Adam Salvin brings a beautiful Italianate terrace back to its former glory, Dave Larter shares his passion for giant lilies and the world famous Laburnum Arch is in full bloom.

THU 01:35 Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure (p09z3klx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

THU 02:05 Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure (p09z3lpb)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

THU 02:35 Michael Wood's Story of England (b00tw231)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


FRI 19:00 Cilla at the BBC (b067543w)
Much-mourned national treasure Cilla Black commenced her eminent career as a TV host in 1968 on the BBC. Her career as perhaps the nation's favourite female pop singer of the decade had already been established after landing her first Number 1 with Anyone Who Had a Heart, the biggest-selling hit by a female singer in the 1960s.

This tribute compilation celebrates the BBC's coverage of Cilla's 60s pop star years on programmes like Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's Not Only...But Also, The Ken Dodd Show, Top of the Pops and The Royal Variety Performance, before selecting just some of the golden moments from the long-running self-titled series she hosted for the BBC between 1968 and 1976 including the Paul McCartney-penned theme song Step Inside Love and that 1973 famous duet with Marc Bolan on Life's A Gas.

FRI 20:00 Top of the Pops (m0014zvn)
Tony Dortie presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 2 July 1992 and featuring Arrested Development, Altern 8, Def Leppard, Electronic, Carter USM, Snap!, Richard Marx and Jimmy Nail.

FRI 20:30 Top of the Pops (m0014zvq)
Mark Franklin presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 16 July 1992 and featuring Wet Wet Wet, Madonna, The Wedding Present, Jason Donovan, Billy Ray Cyrus, The Shamen, Sophie B. Hawkins and Jimmy Nail.

FRI 21:00 Queens of Song at the BBC (m000ypjv)
A collection of the some of the finest female voices and performances ever broadcast, showcasing those special superstars who, thanks to a combination of tonsils, talent and temperament, are so much more than just singers.

Featuring the likes of Whitney, Beyonce, Mariah, Grace, Cher, Aretha, Tina, Diana and Adele: it’s a list of leading ladies all music fans are on first name terms with - and all crazy in love with too.

FRI 22:00 Viva La Diva: The Queens of Pop (m000ypjs)
The word 'diva' is used to describe otherworldly talent - a term bestowed upon the best of the best in the world of opera. But somewhere along the line, the meaning got polluted by the male-dominated world of showbiz. In this programme, Ana Matronic reclaims the word by presenting five legendary artists.

FRI 23:00 Girls in Bands at the BBC (b06mxpjc)
Compilation celebrating some guitar band performances at the BBC that feature some of the best female musicians in rock. Beginning with the oft-forgotten American group Fanny performing You're the One, it's a journey along rock's spectrum from the 1970s to now.

The selection includes the powerful vocals of Elkie Brooks on Vinegar Joe's Proud to Be a Honky Woman, the mesmerising poetry of Patti Smith's Horses and the upbeat energy of The Go-Go's on We Got the Beat.

Mighty basslines come courtesy of Tina Weymouth on Psycho Killer and Kim Gordon on Sugar Kane, whilst we trace the line of indie rock from the Au Pairs through Lush, Elastica and Garbage to current band Savages.

FRI 00:00 Gospel According to Mica – The Story of Gospel Music in Six Songs (m000l9tk)
British soul singer Mica Paris was brought up on gospel music and sang in church from an early age. In her teens, she became an international star, singing pop and soul and having worldwide hits. Now though, Mica is curious about the origins of the songs she sang so easily as a child, why some of her contemporaries have returned to their gospel roots as well as thinking about her own faith and her own big teenage decision to leave the church and sing secular music.

Mica revisits her childhood church in Lewisham to start exploring the meaning and origins of these famous gospel songs. She examines songs such as Amazing Grace and discovers the complex reasoning behind the words. She sings with The Kingdom Choir, made famous by the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan, and travels to the cotton fields of America, where gospel was used to make the work of enslaved Africans more bearable.

She meets the choir at Fisk University in Tennessee, who formed just after slavery was abolished and sang for Queen Victoria, and finds herself overwhelmed by her emotions when she finds out how the slavery freedom fighters used gospel to communicate.

Mica also delves into the history of Sam Cooke and Thomas A Dorsey, who both encountered tragedy in and out of the church, and she sings with bluesman Jools Holland to contemporise a favourite gospel tune.

Finally, Mica comes right up to date with the music of current artists, such as Stormzy, who have no fear of church versus secular music, are open about their faith and are combining the two with great success.

FRI 01:00 Top of the Pops (m0014zvn)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

FRI 01:35 Top of the Pops (m0014zvq)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 today]

FRI 02:05 Cilla at the BBC (b067543w)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

(Note: the times link back to the details; the pids link to the BBC page, including iPlayer)

A Garden in Snowdonia 00:45 SAT (b00kn777)

A Garden in Snowdonia 01:05 THU (b00kt718)

Arctic with Bruce Parry 20:00 SAT (b00x9b82)

Arctic with Bruce Parry 01:15 SAT (b00x9b82)

Big Screen Britain: Brief Encounter 00:20 THU (m000pr02)

Brief Encounter 22:50 THU (m00041p7)

Cilla at the BBC 19:00 FRI (b067543w)

Cilla at the BBC 02:05 FRI (b067543w)

Cornwall's Red River 20:00 MON (m0014zrj)

Cornwall's Red River 23:00 TUE (m0014zrj)

Crossing England in a Punt: River of Dreams 23:00 SUN (p00y6r6q)

Desperate Romantics 22:00 MON (b00mb15m)

Desperate Romantics 23:00 MON (b00mg1pm)

Digging for Britain 21:00 WED (m000bpm4)

Digging for Britain 01:30 WED (m000bpm4)

Fred Dibnah's Made in Britain 19:00 MON (b0078wjp)

Fred Dibnah's Made in Britain 01:05 MON (b0078wjp)

Fred Dibnah's Made in Britain 19:00 TUE (b0078wmp)

Fred Dibnah's Made in Britain 00:30 TUE (b0078wmp)

Fred Dibnah's Made in Britain 19:00 WED (b030qgzv)

Fred Dibnah's Made in Britain 00:30 WED (b030qgzv)

Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure 19:30 MON (m00111zt)

Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure 01:35 MON (m00111zt)

Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure 19:30 TUE (p09z3hwn)

Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure 01:00 TUE (p09z3hwn)

Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure 19:30 WED (p09z3jl3)

Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure 01:00 WED (p09z3jl3)

Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure 19:00 THU (p09z3klx)

Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure 19:30 THU (p09z3lpb)

Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure 01:35 THU (p09z3klx)

Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure 02:05 THU (p09z3lpb)

Girls in Bands at the BBC 23:00 FRI (b06mxpjc)

Gospel According to Mica – The Story of Gospel Music in Six Songs 00:00 FRI (m000l9tk)

Great Barrier Reef 20:00 WED (b019hd78)

Great Barrier Reef 02:30 WED (b019hd78)

Hidden Wales: Last Chance to Save 20:00 TUE (m0014zsh)

Hidden Wales: Last Chance to Save 01:30 TUE (m0014zsh)

Inside America's Treasure House: The Met 00:00 SUN (m00103dc)

Jonas Kaufmann: Tenor for the Ages 21:30 SUN (b099tpby)

Keeping Up Appearances 00:10 SAT (b007bg0k)

Lost Cities of the Ancients 19:00 SAT (b00792v2)

Lost Cities of the Ancients 02:15 SAT (b00792v2)

Michael Wood's Story of England 20:00 THU (b00tw231)

Michael Wood's Story of England 02:35 THU (b00tw231)

Patagonia with Huw Edwards 21:00 TUE (b05xd52f)

Patagonia with Huw Edwards 02:30 TUE (b05xd52f)

Queens of Song at the BBC 21:00 FRI (m000ypjv)

Secret Knowledge 20:30 MON (b05z5hc0)

Secret Knowledge 02:05 MON (b05z5hc0)

Storyville 22:00 WED (m0014zvj)

Talking Pictures 00:35 THU (b05569z0)

The Birth of British Music 19:00 SUN (b00kntl1)

The Birth of British Music 01:00 SUN (b00kntl1)

The King's Speech 21:00 THU (b0bc5spx)

The Promise 21:00 SAT (p0bfyr4m)

The Promise 21:55 SAT (p0bfyrnw)

The Romantics and Us with Simon Schama 21:00 MON (m000mv1h)

The Romantics and Us with Simon Schama 02:35 MON (m000mv1h)

The Secret History of Writing 00:00 MON (m000mtmj)

The Secret History of Writing 23:30 TUE (m000n18t)

The Secret History of Writing 23:30 WED (m000n7fk)

Timeshift 22:00 TUE (b0803m60)

Top of the Pops 20:00 FRI (m0014zvn)

Top of the Pops 20:30 FRI (m0014zvq)

Top of the Pops 01:00 FRI (m0014zvn)

Top of the Pops 01:35 FRI (m0014zvq)

Viva La Diva: The Queens of Pop 22:00 FRI (m000ypjs)

Winter Journey: Schubert's Winterreise 20:00 SUN (m0012twd)

Winter Journey: Schubert's Winterreise 02:00 SUN (m0012twd)

Wogan: The Best Of 22:55 SAT (b05n909m)

Yes, Prime Minister 23:40 SAT (b0074qxj)