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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Unofficial Weekly Listings for BBC 4 — supported by


SAT 19:00 Raiders of the Lost Past with Janina Ramirez (m0008c5c)
Series 1

The Lion Man

The Lion Man takes Nina deep into the dark heart of Nazi Germany, where in a remote cave in late August 1939, archaeologist Robert Wetzel came across the 40,000-year-old artwork now known as the Lion Man.

Just a week later, WWII broke out, the excavation came to halt and, in one of the great mysteries of archaeology, Wetzel never mentioned his incredible find again.

As Janina discovers, the Lion Man represents a revolution in the human story. Half-man and half-animal, it is the first artwork created from the human imagination, revealing the very origins of human art, religion and culture.

But, in fact, Janina learns that it is almost a miracle the Lion Man came to light at all, because it was not pulled out of the cave as a single artwork but as hundreds of tiny ivory shards, found in numerous chance discoveries across eight decades.

This incredible tale of exploration takes Janina from caves in southern Germany to Arctic Norway, as she finds out how the Lion Man gave us our first understanding of the birth of civilisation.

She also explores how the artwork gives us a disturbing insight into one of the most troubled periods in our recent history, asking how a pioneering archaeologist like Robert Wetzel could also believe that an ice-age artwork like the Lion Man could support the ideology of Nazi Germany.

SAT 20:00 Write Around the World with Richard E. Grant (p09nlfbk)
Series 1

Episode 2

Book and travel lover Richard E. Grant journeys to southern France, visiting the Cévennes mountains, Marseille, Juan-les-Pins on the French Riviera and Grasse in the hills north of Cannes, in the footsteps of writers inspired by the country, its culture and history.

Reading key passages from their books as he goes along, including works by Robert Louis Stevenson, Alexandre Dumas, F Scott Fitzgerald, Elizabeth David and Patrick Süskind, Richard not only learns about the lives of these great authors, but also experiences many of the places immortalised in the literary classics they created.

SAT 21:00 Señorita 89 (p0d6rtqv)
Series 1


Raúl López Morton threatens Elena. Dolores returns to the house and tells the girls what the authorities know. Meanwhile, Elena is not allowed to see visitors or leave.

SAT 21:45 Señorita 89 (p0d6rw9p)
Series 1

The Final

The contestants compete in the final to win the title of Miss Mexico, but will they make it out of the competition alive?

SAT 22:25 What We Were Watching (m000qpgh)
Christmas 1995

Grace Dent embarks on a televisual trip back in time by setting the remote control for December 1995 and serving up an irreverent look back at the festive viewing options that faced the nation in the past.

Exploring how much what is shown on our screens has changed involves some deep diving into EastEnders’ annual festival of gloom to find that Arthur Fowler is behind bars and Pat Butcher is being lusted after by Roy and Frank. Grace also discovers that TV schedulers of the time appeared to have sex on the brain, with a surprisingly high number of seasonal shows featuring subjects and scenes that would make a family audience in 2020 blush with embarrassment.

There is also an in-depth look at infidelity in the morally questionable sitcom Goodnight Sweetheart, we join Hetty Wainthropp on her very first BBC investigation and go trapezing on a hot-air balloon with a truly spectacular Record Breakers challenge. And we remind ourselves of the genius of the late, great Rik Mayall – here reading Jack and the Beanstalk on Jackanory for an audience of real Young Ones as only he could.

SAT 23:25 To the Manor Born (b00787k2)
Series 3

The New Scout Hut

Stately sitcom. Audrey upbraids Richard for not sponsoring a charity event in aid of a new scout hut.

SAT 23:55 Sykes (p00h0pxj)
Series 4

Christmas Party

Eric and Hattie decide to spend Christmas at Corky's with his friends and relatives.

SAT 00:25 The Young Ones (p00bfqqv)
Series 1


A spell of bad weather means the friends must find ways to amuse themselves inside the house.

SAT 00:55 Comedy Playhouse: Where It All Began (b042m95q)
A trip through the Comedy Playhouse archive in the company of the people who made some of the most loved episodes from the original series.

From Steptoe and Son to Last of the Summer Wine, a series of one-off comedy ideas produced some of the most watched comedy series of the last 50 years. With commentary and insider knowledge from June Whitfield, Paul Merton, Hugh Dennis and top writing team Ray Galton and Alan Simpson.

SAT 01:25 Some People with Jokes (b037c5yn)
Series 1

Some Boffins with Jokes

Some of the nation's sharpest scientific minds and keenest brains tell their favourite jokes. Do boffins find the same things funny as us regular citizens? Let the nation decide.

SAT 01:55 This Cultural Life (m001fy17)
Series 2

Tim Minchin

Comedian, actor and composer Tim Minchin, the songwriter behind Matilda the Musical, chooses his creative influences and discusses his career.

SAT 02:25 Raiders of the Lost Past with Janina Ramirez (m0008c5c)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]


SUN 19:00 Jackanory (p031d211)
Treasure Island

Episode 1

In the first part of the story, we are introduced to Jim Hawkins and ‘Billy’ Bones and the tale of 'buccaneers and buried gold' begins.

SUN 19:15 ChuckleVision (m001g4nz)
No Pets Allowed

Paul and Barry take up residency at Mrs Hepplewhite's hotel, but when they learn that she is allergic to animals, they take steps to remove one of their magical assistants!

SUN 19:35 Why Don't You? (m001g4p1)
An episode of the classic BBC TV children's activities series. The gang bake banana brownies, show you how to make a board game, and find out about indoor karting.

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 Dame Fanny Waterman: A Lifetime in Music (b01nlms7)
As a renowned teacher and founder and chair of the Leeds International Piano Competition, Dame Fanny Waterman is one of the most influential figures in British music. At the tender age of 92, she remains as energetic as ever, teaching children as young as six and in demand all over the world as a mentor and jury member.

In this candid conversation with Petroc Trelawney, Waterman sheds light on her humble beginnings in Leeds as the daughter of a Russian emigre jeweller. Her life was transformed when she heard Rachmaninov perform at Leeds Town Hall in the 1920s - and her love affair with the piano has lasted eight decades. As a concert pianist, highlights included a Proms performance during the Second World War with Sir Henry Wood at the Royal Albert Hall, before returning to her home city of Leeds with husband Geoffrey de Kaiser to become a piano teacher. However, being known as the 'local piano teacher' was never enough and with the help of her lifelong friend, local aristocrat Marion Harewood, they set up the first Leeds International Piano Competition in 1963.

Fifty years on Dame Fanny remains the mastermind behind 'The Leeds', a competition regarded as the most coveted prize in the piano world and having first showcased such talents as Radu Lupu, Murray Perahia, Andras Schiff and Noriko Ogawa. Outspoken, passionate and still full of vitality, Waterman shares her views on teaching, the great pianists of the past and present, music and love. When asked if she would ever retire from her hectic schedule this remarkable nonagenarian simply replies 'No, never!'.

SUN 22:00 Simon Schama Meets (p0dcxclx)
Series 1

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is arguably the world’s most famous dissident artist, celebrated for his prolific and profound output of sculpture, installation, architecture, photography and film-making, which is never afraid to take on systems of power and oppression.

What is less well known, however, is his extraordinary backstory. His father was distinguished poet Ai Qing, who was a key cultural figure during the Communist rise to power but was one of over half a million intellectuals who fell afoul of the state during the Cultural Revolution. He lost everything and was exiled alongside his young son to ‘Little Siberia’ in northernmost China. For the first 20 years of his life, Ai Weiwei’s experience of his father was not as a writer but as an ‘enemy of the state’. Ai Weiwei tells Simon the harrowing story of his childhood, and his memories of his father’s stoicism in the face of decades of persecution. He reflects on the lessons he took from his father, above all that ‘freedom of expression is the foundation for humanity.’

Ai Weiwei also describes his own journey towards becoming a dissident artist and a voice for the downtrodden, and how he – like his father – continuously pays a heavy price for speaking truth to power. Ai Weiwei has carried this sense of duty with him throughout his career and recalls how he took on the Chinese state in the early days of the internet and social media, and the life-threatening consequences he faced, including 81 days in state detention, an experience he recounts in chilling detail.

In the years since, he has continued to use his work and notoriety to stand up for the oppressed in the face of authoritarianism, and he speaks candidly to Simon about the vital role that truth and the preservation of memory can have in the battle for democratic freedom all over the world. Ai Weiwei reflects powerfully on the need to ‘fight’ for ‘all those values’ that are ‘meaningful for life itself’.

SUN 22:30 Simon Schama Meets (p0dcxdhz)
Series 1

Nadya Tolokonnikova

Nadya Tolokonnikova is one of the founding members of Pussy Riot, a Russian activist punk group who gained international notoriety for staging a guerrilla performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in 2012, resulting in two years in prison. Speaking to Simon not long after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, when the price of speaking the truth has grown higher still, Nadya explains that she is working harder than ever to fight for what she believes in.

Being a radical protest artist has never been easy in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and Nadya discusses with Simon how she sees herself and her fellow activists as part of a long tradition of radical, counterculture rebels in Russia. From the Bolshevik Revolution to now, there has always been a seam of Russian free thinkers who have dared to rebel against the norm in the face of overwhelming state oppression.

Nadya reflects on the key moments in her life and career, from the early days of her guerrilla performance art, to the global notoriety of Pussy Riot, and to her brutal imprisonment and years of trauma and persecution in her homeland. Throughout it all, she has clung on to her agency, her motivation and her belief that art can save people’s lives. At a time when ‘we are facing depression on a global scale’, Nadya wants to show ‘that there is always hope. My name is Hope. My name literally means hope in Russian’.

SUN 23:00 Simon Schama Meets (p0dcxjby)
Series 1

Margaret Atwood

Canadian writer Margaret Atwood is one of the world’s most renowned and prolific writers of fiction, poetry and essays. She is best known for a series of darkly visionary novels - The Handmaid’s Tale, The Robber Bride, The Blind Assassin, and The MaddAddam Trilogy - which tunnel into the darkest possibilities of what humans can do.

Simon meets Margaret in Toronto at a time when the rights of women and the fate of the planet, ever-present concerns in her work, are at the forefront of many of our minds. Atwood gives her take on the seismic ruling of the United States Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade, and the consequences it will have on women’s rights in America.

She reflects on how, in her view, the ruling was a long time coming, with the rise over decades of the evangelical Christian right wing, the very same movement that inspired her to write her iconic novel The Handmaid’s Tale, a book that has taken on even more relevance in our fractured times. Atwood explains the inspiration behind her most famous novel, and how her rule when writing was ‘I will not just make stuff up. So, everything I put into it had to have a precedent somewhere in time or space on this planet’.

Atwood goes on to explain her unconventional childhood, and how it has inspired her cautionary tales about the state of mankind and the planet. She grew up surrounded by wilderness and nature in the vast Canadian forest and learned much from her parents – both scientists – about the responsibility of humans to care for the planet and to apply a scientific rigour to her research and writing.

Simon and Margaret also talk about their shared admiration for writer Rachel Carson, who played a pivotal role in stirring public consciousness about our fragile relationship with the earth, and how we need to remember her voice now more than ever. For Atwood, Carson’s work is an example of the power of great writing. By combining scientific accuracy with poetic prose, she captured readers’ imaginations and helped kick-start the modern environmental movement. For Atwood, even with all the darkness and desperation in the world, Carson is a reminder that, as long as we have great art, there is always hope.

SUN 23:30 The Capture (m00085sv)
Series 1

What Happens in Helmand

When soldier Shaun Emery’s conviction for a murder in Afghanistan is overturned due to flawed video evidence, he returns to life as a free man with his young daughter. But when damning CCTV footage from a night out in London comes to light, Shaun’s life takes a shocking turn and he must soon fight for his freedom once again. Newly promoted DI Rachel Carey is drafted in to investigate Shaun’s case, and she quickly learns that the truth can sometimes be a matter of perspective. Should she trust Shaun Emery?

SUN 00:25 The Capture (m0008cq8)
Series 1

Toy Soldier

The truth about Shaun Emery's crime isn’t as clear as it first appeared to DI Carey, as crucial CCTV evidence is redacted by a mysterious MI5 officer. This surprise development forces Carey, Flynn and Latif to scramble for more evidence. But with forensics drawing a blank on Shaun's car, Commander Hart offering little support, and weak witness statements, Carey is forced to release Shaun. After a run-in with his ex-partner Karen, who is enraged by his failure to pick up their daughter from school, Shaun is determined to prove his innocence and enlists best mate Mat to help him break into Hannah’s apartment in search of clues. Closely followed by a suspicious Carey on CCTV, and Flynn and Latif on foot, Shaun somehow manages to evade Carey’s watch, forcing her to question an even more problematic issue – the surveillance network itself.

SUN 01:25 The Capture (m0008kgv)
Series 1

Truffle Hog

The stakes intensify for Shaun as he is interrogated by inscrutable US agent Frank Napier at a covert CIA outpost in a Belgravia safe house. While Napier is trying to discover Hannah's whereabouts, Carey is simultaneously attempting and failing to locate Shaun in the Belgravia house she saw him enter on her CCTV watch.

SUN 02:25 Write Around the World with Richard E. Grant (p09nlfbk)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 on Saturday]


MON 19:00 Wild (b00jd9yx)

Otters, Puffins and Seals

Wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan explores his native Mull and some of the nearby islands, filming otters, deer, puffins, seals and a minke whale.

MON 19:15 University Challenge (m0012ygx)
Christmas 2021

Birkbeck, London v Portsmouth

It’s the penultimate match of the first round in the Christmas quiz for grown-ups, with both teams doing battle for a place in the semi-finals.

The team of alumni from Birkbeck, London features Jolyon Maugham, founder of the Good Law Project, and writer and activist Shabnam Nasimi. They compete against four Portsmouth alumni, including mathematician Nira Chamberlain and TV property expert Tayo Oguntonade.

Jeremy Paxman asks the questions.

MON 19:45 Great Continental Railway Journeys (m000x2pj)
Series 7 (Shortened Versions)

Episode 1

Michael Portillo sports a strikingly modern edition of his Bradshaw’s Continental Handbook, dated 1936. His destination lies close to his heart: the ancient kingdom of Spain and land of his father, recommended in Michael’s guidebook for its exceptional climate and glorious history.

But 1936 was a turbulent time in Spain, with political upheaval descending into a brutal civil war. Michael begins an emotional rail journey that takes him deep into his family’s past and reveals the tentacles of the regime which forced his father into exile.

He starts in the beautiful golden city of Salamanca, where his father was happy as a young left-wing professor. Michael visits the University to hear of opposition to the fascist takeover of Spain by General Francisco Franco and gains access to the general’s archive of enemies of the state.

Heading east to Avila, Michael overnights in a historic parador and learns how 1930s Spain positioned herself as a tourist destination. In Spain’s beautiful capital city, Madrid, Michael visits the 1930s art deco Telefonica Building and discovers what happened there during the civil war.

MON 20:15 June Brown: A Walford Legend (b08f49dq)
Celebrate a milestone birthday and all things Dot Cotton as EastEnders actress June Brown chats about her life and career. Featuring famous Walford faces and one or two surprises.

MON 20:45 EastEnders: Iconic Episodes (b008vrpw)
Alone with her thoughts and memories, Dot makes a tough decision about Jim and their future together.

MON 21:15 Quentin Blake: The Drawing of My Life (m0012xpw)
In this celebration of one of Britain’s best-loved artists, the illustrator and author Sir Quentin Blake tells the story of his 70-year-long career in his own words and with his own pictures. Specially for this documentary, he has been filmed creating an extraordinary new work: a canvas 30 feet long and seven feet high, on which self-portraits and classic characters emerge in the instantly recognisable, energetic and ebullient style that has taken root in the imaginations of successive generations of children and parents.

Quentin Blake turns 89 in December 2021. His first book was published 61 years ago, and over 500 volumes later, he is still hard at work, drawing every day and determined to break down the barriers between illustration and ‘fine arts’. As he looks back for the first documentary to be dedicated to his life, Blake shares his pleasure in the blank page, the scratch of a quill, and the enjoyable mischief and chaos of childhood.

Some of his closest collaborators and biggest admirers pay tribute – among them David Walliams, Michael Rosen, Lauren Child, Chris Riddell, Steven Appleby, Dapo Adeola, Josie Long and Emma Chichester Clark. There are also readings of works Blake has illustrated, performed by Joanna Lumley, Peter Capaldi and Ore Oduba.

MON 22:15 James May: My Sisters' Top Toys (b008l2vq)
James May celebrates the toys that made his childhood hell, as he opens the lid on his sisters' toy box. Sandwiched between elder sister Jane and younger one Sarah, many of their favourites he couldn't understand, or stand the sight of, or see the point of. This is both a tale of brotherly revenge, and the story from the other side of the toy room.

Each toy prompts a story - a history told via archive, anecdote and the occasional obsessive collector or inventor. Dolls, dolls' houses, dolls' prams, Tiny Tears, Girls' World, Look and Learn, Major Morgan the electronic organ get the May inspection... and sisters Jane and Sarah dish the dirt on their brother and their toy memories.

James blows up the Tree House Family, races in a converted Silver Cross pram, tries out his hair and make-up skills on Girls World, projects Spirograph on the side of the Royal Festival Hall, and appears in a Fuzzy Felt animated film... all jolly good clean fun.

MON 23:15 The Capture (m0008s7m)
Series 1

Blind Spots

Surveillance thriller. Carey develops a theory as answers begin to reveal themselves, and Shaun finds himself trusting an enigmatic stranger who promises to lead him to the truth.

MON 00:10 The Capture (m0008zv5)
Series 1

A Pilgrim of Justice

Surrounded by the architects of his downfall, the truth behind what happened to Shaun is revealed to him in precise detail. Meanwhile, having seen the footage of Hannah entering the bus, and wholly convinced now that Shaun has been set up, Carey seeks for answers of her own and uncovers the complex conspiracy that is Correction.

MON 01:10 The Capture (m000969y)
Series 1


Carey teams up with Shaun Emery to try and expose Correction, but Napier is one step ahead. Shaun’s future, and that of the nation’s system of justice, lie with one person. Carey has a decision to make.

MON 02:10 Great Continental Railway Journeys (m000x2pj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:45 today]

MON 02:40 What We Were Watching (m0012tv1)
Christmas 1991

Writer and broadcaster Grace Dent takes a televisual trip back in time to Christmas 1991, as she immerses herself in the sights, sounds and TV schedules of the past.

Among Grace’s festive findings are the discovery that this was a time when the BBC schedules were still ruled by TV’s big beasts. Edmonds was the first Noel of broadcasting, Brucie was loved by all generations, and fresh-faced young whippersnappers Jeremy Clarkson, Phillip Schofield and Rob Brydon were starting to establish themselves as the stars of the future.

As well as checking out the year's music and fashion themes, the season’s most popular sitcoms and Barry Norman’s countdown of the year’s movie turkeys, Grace explores some of 1991's greatest Christmas controversies, including Mark Fowler’s HIV revelation on the EastEnders seasonal double bill, a retrospective of the comedy of Benny Hill, and most surprising of all, a Songs of Praise Christmas special that had the nation’s Grinches complaining in their droves to Anne Robinson’s Points of View.


TUE 19:00 University Challenge (m0012yj1)
Christmas 2021

Kent v Goldsmiths, London

It’s the last first-round match in the Christmas series for university alumni, with two teams up against each other for a place in the semi-finals.

Musician YolanDa Brown and radio broadcaster Peter White play on behalf of the University of Kent. They're up against a team from Goldsmiths, London alumni that includes artist Mark Wallinger and campaigner Laura Coryton. Jeremy Paxman asks the questions.

TUE 19:30 Great Continental Railway Journeys (m000x2kl)
Series 7 (Shortened Versions)

Episode 2

Michael continues his rail journey through Spain with his 1930s Bradshaw’s guide. At the Museo Reina Sofia, Michael hears how the bombing of a small town in the Basque region in 1937 inspired one of the 20th century’s most shocking works of art.

Zaragoza’s modern tram network takes Michael to a factory where he is invited to test-drive new rolling stock destined for Britain. In the shadow of the city’s splendid cathedral, Michael learns to dance the Jota. In the northern town of Huesca, Michael meets the son of author George Orwell, who fought against Franco on what was the front line between Nationalist and Republican forces. Together, they visit the preserved trenches, and Michael finds out how Orwell’s experiences shaped his novels.

Michael’s final stop is on the border with France, at Canfranc Station. At the time of his guidebook it was a magnificent terminus, but today it stands ruined and derelict. Michael learns of the role it played during the Second World War and hears about its forthcoming new lease of life.

TUE 20:00 Yes, Minister (b0074qsm)
Series 3

Party Games

Sitcom about a British government minister and the advisers who surround him. The seasonal festivities at the Department of Administrative Affairs are overshadowed by rumours of a cabinet reshuffle. But a leadership election and the Eurosausage affair could lead to great things for Jim Hacker.

TUE 21:00 Lucy Worsley's Christmas Carol Odyssey (m000c5y4)
In this festive treat featuring the Kingdom Choir and Hampton Court Choir, Lucy Worsley reveals that there’s much more to our best-loved carols than meets the eye. She reveals how their stories add up to a special kind of history of Christmas itself. In the ancient past, the wassail, a pagan fertility ritual, gave us door-to-door carol singing. Wassailing was also an integral part of an older midwinter festival that was adopted by Christianity when it came to Britain, and was rebranded as ‘Christmas’.

Religion, however, soon turned its back on carols. They were far too frivolous for the Puritans, who wanted to ban Christmas altogether. French Catholics on the other hand didn’t mind fun and frolics, and Lucy crosses the channel to learn a French renaissance jig, written by a dancing priest in the 16th century. The tune she dances to went on to become the carol Ding Dong Merrily on High in the 19th century.

In strict Protestant Britain, the carol survived outside the Church and new ones turned up in some surprising places. Lucy visits the British Library, where she discovers an 18th-century children’s book that contains a little memory game called The Twelve Days of Christmas. Christmas carols could also be politically dangerous and subversive. British Catholics were oppressed for generations after the Reformation, but one Catholic scribe, John Francis Wade, hid a coded message of support for a Jacobite rebellion in the carol O Come All Ye Faithful.

Eventually, the Church of England couldn’t resist the power of the carol, and finally opened its doors to all of them, thanks to a chance pairing of words and music in Hark the Herald Angels Sing, performed in the programme by the renowned gospel ensemble, The Kingdom Choir. In the 20th century, Ralph Vaughan Williams’s passion for English folk music took him to the villages of Surrey. Here, Lucy meets a folk singer who tells the tale of an elderly farm labourer, Henry Garman, who sang a tune for Vaughan Williams, which became O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Finally, in the snowy Austrian Alps, Lucy discovers the simple story of a young parish priest with a poem in search of a tune. When he found one, the result was Silent Night. During the First World War, this simple carol would become a hymn for peace during the famous Christmas truce of 1914. Silent Night also reminds us that carols are, and have always been, ‘popular music’, music for the people, fulfilling an enduring need to celebrate and sing together at Christmas.

TUE 22:00 Storyville (m001g4rn)
A Bunch of Amateurs

A bunch of amateur film-makers, with nothing left to lose, tackle one of Hollywood's greatest musicals in order to save their beloved Bradford Film Club.

As its members grow old amid flickering memories and hardships, a handful of diehard members desperately cling to their dreams, and to each other, in this warm and funny look at shared artistic folly that speaks to the delusional dreamer in us all.

TUE 23:35 Tomorrow's Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction (p026cd65)

Dominic Sandbrook concludes his exploration of the most innovative and imaginative of all genres by considering science fiction's most alluring theme - time travel.

Having the power to change the past or see the future is a deep-seated human fantasy, and writers and film-makers have embraced its possibilities. From HG Wells's pioneering scientist in The Time Machine to Back to the Future's Marty McFly and Doctor Who's titular Time Lord, we've been presented with a host of colourful time travellers and their time machines. But is there always a price to be paid for meddling with the timeline?

Among the contributors are David Tennant, Karen Gillan and Steven Moffat (Doctor Who), actor Christopher Lloyd and screenwriter Bob Gale (Back to the Future), actor Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap) and novelist Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler's Wife).

TUE 00:35 Great Continental Railway Journeys (m000x2kl)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

TUE 01:05 Lucy Worsley's Christmas Carol Odyssey (m000c5y4)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]

TUE 02:05 Quentin Blake: The Drawing of My Life (m0012xpw)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:15 on Monday]


WED 19:00 University Challenge (m0012xv9)
Christmas 2021

Semi-Final 1

It’s the first of the semi-finals in the University Challenge quiz for grown-ups. Two of the four highest-scoring winners from the first round of matches play each other for a place in the series final. Jeremy Paxman asks the questions.

WED 19:30 Great Continental Railway Journeys (m000x2tc)
Series 7 (Shortened Versions)

Episode 3

Michael Portillo travels from the chateaux of the Loire Valley to the heart of the Champagne region at Reims.

Beginning in historic Orleans, Michael follows his Bradshaw’s guide to the magnificent stained-glass windows of the Cathedral of Sainte-Croix, which tell the story of the heroine of France, Joan of Arc. The image of the teenage warrior endures as a symbol of resistance, and her life is celebrated in an annual parade. Michael meets her modern-day incarnation.

Among the spectacular Renaissance palaces and fortresses of the River Loire, Michael is intrigued to discover a castle much modernized during the 1930s, which became a refuge for a British royal couple embroiled in scandal. The wedding of the former king, Edward VIII, and the American divorcee, Wallis Simpson, at Chateau de Cande in the summer of 1937 was shunned by the British establishment.

Michael takes a spin around the track at Le Mans in a French-built car, which won two endurance races during the 1920s.

In Versailles, Michael visits the opulent palace and neighbouring Trianon Palace hotel, where his Bradshaw’s describes the signing of the Peace Treaty at the end of the First World War.

WED 20:00 Charles Dickens and the Invention of Christmas (b008lykb)
Griff Rhys Jones reveals how Dickens created the idea of a traditional family Christmas through one of his best-known books, A Christmas Carol. From the moment it was published in 1843, the story of miserly Ebeneezer Scrooge captured the imagination of Victorian Britain. Santa Claus, Christmas cards and crackers were invented around the same time, but it was Dickens's book that boosted the craze for Christmas, above all promoting the idea that Christmas is best celebrated with the family.

Interviewees include former on-screen Scrooge, Patrick Stewart, and writer Lucinda Hawksley, great-great-great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens himself.

WED 21:00 One Foot in the Grave (m000qpgk)
The Wisdom of the Witch

The Meldrews have a tarot reading that prophesies disaster for Victor. Patrick and Pippa sell their home, but a house clearance crew are mistaken for their removal men. Patrick and Victor get snowed in at an old house with a jealous boyfriend and a huge spider.

WED 22:00 Joe McFadden Remembers... The Crow Road (m001g4s3)
Considered one of the finest TV adaptations of a novel ever made for television, BBC Scotland’s The Crow Road was first broadcast in 1996, four years after the publication of Iain Banks’s acclaimed bestseller. Here, actor Joe McFadden, who played the central role of Prentice McHoan, looks back on the series that had 90s audiences hooked, and discusses his work alongside an impressive cast that included Bill Paterson, Dougray Scott and Peter Capaldi as Prentice’s mysterious missing Uncle Rory.

WED 22:10 The Crow Road (b038s2lq)


Student Prentice McHoan carries out his recently deceased grandmother's request to find out what happened to his uncle Rory, who disappeared seven years before. After meeting Rory's girlfriend Janice, Prentice discovers he had been working on a murder mystery novel called The Crow Road. Janice gives Prentice the computer discs containing the novel. Prentice starts to search for Rory with the help of his friend Ashley.

Prentice uses his uncle's unfinished novel to put together a picture of his extraordinary family. He also continues to pursue the gorgeous Verity, but makes a devastating discovery about the object of his affections.

WED 00:05 Tales of Winter: The Art of Snow and Ice (b01q6qj6)
Winter was not always beautiful. Until Pieter Bruegel painted Hunters in the Snow, the long bitter months had never been transformed into a thing of beauty. This documentary charts how mankind's ever changing struggle with winter has been reflected in western art throughout the ages, resulting in images that are now amongst the greatest paintings of all time. With contributions from Grayson Perry, Will Self, Don McCullin and many others, the film takes an eclectic group of people from all walks of life out into the cold to reflect on the paintings that have come to define the art of snow and ice.

WED 01:35 Great Continental Railway Journeys (m000x2tc)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

WED 02:05 Charles Dickens and the Invention of Christmas (b008lykb)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


THU 19:00 University Challenge (m0012y9b)
Christmas 2021

Semi-Final 2

It’s the second of the semi-finals in the University Challenge quiz for grown-ups. The remaining two highest-scoring winners from the heats compete for a spot in the final. Jeremy Paxman asks the questions.

THU 19:30 Great Continental Railway Journeys (m000x2lf)
Series 7 (Shortened Versions)

Episode 4

Arriving in Paris at the Champs de Mars station, Michael takes in an epic view of the city from the top of the Arc de Triomphe before heading for Montparnasse, where wildly creative artists and writers of the 1920s and 1930s spawned new art movements. In one of the area’s elegant cafes, Michael learns about dada and the avant garde during the Crazy Years after the First World War.

Backstage at the legendary Folies Bergere, Michael asks the 'enfant terrible' of fashion, Jean Paul Gaultier, about his homage to the black American dancer, Josephine Baker, and goes backstage to meet the stars of the show.

East of Paris, in Champagne country, Michael finishes his journey in style with a tour of the cellars at Domaine Pommery and a glass of fizz with the owner.

THU 20:00 The Real Marigold on Tour (b09l982h)
Series 2


Marigold on Tour favourite Rosemary Shrager is joined by new cast members Sheila Ferguson, Paul Nicholas and Dennis Taylor, as they head off to the retirement mecca of Thailand. The group travel to the northern city of Chiang Mai, the cultural heart of the country, famous for its historic temples and laid-back way of life. Once they've settled into their homestay, the group venture out into the steamy 35C heat. After a grisly but enlightening shopping experience at the daily market, they tackle their first spicy Thai dish over dinner.

Their second day in Chiang Mai starts with one of Thailand's most popular activities - t'ai-chi. Surprisingly for Sheila, who normally thrives on a fast-paced lifestyle, she loves this gentle form of exercise. In Thailand, local retirees all over the country can attend free schools once a week, so the four famous faces head back to class. The group must tackle some unusual lessons but realise you're never too old to learn new skills.

Their first meal dining out is also an eye-opener. Paul struggles with the spicy food but opens up about his youth. Sheila and Rosemary are keen to explore Buddhist meditation, but the two chatterboxes must cope with a silent retreat. Paul and Dennis try some traditional Thai medicine. One treatment, known locally as the hot pot, involves burning herbs on the stomach. Dennis, Paul and Sheila look into buying an apartment, whilst Rosemary takes advantage of some cheap dental work - teeth whitening.

To mark the end of their time in the city, the group decide to take in a show. Thailand's ladyboys are amongst the country's most popular entertainers, and are joined on stage by Paul and Dennis.

THU 21:00 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (m0016dk8)
Enticed to India, assorted ageing Brits seek to stretch finite finances, get swifter treatment or find independence. However, their hotel home, run by over-eager optimist Sonny, is not quite as advertised, and the unfamiliar world proves challenging.

THU 22:55 The Crow Road (b0074t2q)


Ashley takes another step forward in solving the mystery of Rory. The last pieces of the jigsaw are falling into place as Prentice discovers Rory's final, unbelievable secret about the McHoan family. The main characters gather for the final showdown.

THU 01:00 Great Continental Railway Journeys (m000x2lf)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

THU 01:30 The Real Marigold on Tour (b09l982h)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

THU 02:30 Tomorrow's Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction (p026cd65)
[Repeat of broadcast at 23:35 on Tuesday]


FRI 19:00 University Challenge (m0012xz1)
Christmas 2021

Grand Final

It’s the grand final of this seasonal competition for alumni from some of the UK’s top universities, with the last two teams standing doing battle for the series title. Jeremy Paxman asks the questions.

FRI 19:30 Top of the Pops (m001g4xh)
Mark Franklin presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 23 December 1993 and featuring Bee Gees, K7, Saint Etienne, Shabba Ranks, Dina Carroll, E.Y.C. and Mr Blobby.

FRI 20:00 Top of the Pops (m001g4xm)
Mark Franklin and Tony Dortie present a Christmas Special of the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 25 December 1993 and featuring 2 Unlimited, Snow, The Bluebells, Ace of Base, Gabrielle, Take That with Lulu, Meat Loaf and Mr Blobby.

FRI 21:00 Fleetwood Mac: Don't Stop (b00nq7q9)
Fleetwood Mac are one of the biggest-selling bands of all time and still on the road. Their story, told in their own words, is an epic tale of love and confrontation, of success and loss.

Few bands have undergone such radical musical and personal change. The band evolved from the 60s British blues boom to perfect a US West Coast sound that saw them sell 40 million copies of the album Rumours.

However, behind-the-scenes relationships were turbulent. The band went through multiple line-ups with six different lead guitarists. While working on Rumours, the two couples at the heart of the band separated, yet this heartache inspired the perfect pop record.

FRI 22:00 Fleetwood Mac: The Dance (m0014bg7)
Twenty years after the release of the Rumours album, Fleetwood Mac reunite to perform hits such as Rhiannon and Don't Stop. First broadcast in 1998.

FRI 23:45 Fleetwood Mac: A Musical History (m0001kz2)
Fellow musicians, journalists and fans celebrate Fleetwood Mac with a selection of their best-loved songs.

Fleetwood Mac are the great survivors of British and American rock music. For more than fifty years they’ve overcome break-ups and breakdowns to become one of the most successful bands of all time. They have sold over 100 million records worldwide, with their 1977 smash Rumours accounting for nearly half of those sales.

They have endured, like all great bands, because of the complimentary talents of its members. From Peter Green to Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham, it has contained some extraordinary songwriters. With brilliant musicians on all instruments, the band has been able to turn the songs into commercial gold. Above all the tough determination of the two men who gave the band their name has seen Fleetwood Mac through thick and thin.

Fleetwood fan Edith Bowman provides a narrative overview alongside other celebrity fans, who all pay tribute to the band in this hit-filled hour. Contributors include KT Tunstall, Travis’s frontman Fran Healy, Toyah Willcox, Sian Pattenden and Emma Dabiri.

FRI 00:45 Country Music by Ken Burns (m000bypr)
Series 1

The Sons and Daughters of America (1964-1968)

The mid to late 60s were a time of cultural upheaval and country, as much as other genres of music, reflected the profound changes in American society.

Loretta Lynn wrote and performed songs that spoke to women everywhere, Charley Pride rose to stardom, when people responded to his voice instead of the colour of his skin, and Merle Haggard left prison to become the ‘Poet of the Common Man’.

Johnny Cash’s life and career descended into the chaos of addiction, but he found salvation thanks to the intervention of June Carter and a landmark album.

FRI 01:40 Country Music by Ken Burns (m000bypt)
Series 1

Will the Circle Be Unbroken (1968-1972)

As the Vietnam War intensified, America became more and more divided and country music was not immune. Kris Kristofferson, a former Rhodes scholar and army captain, reinvented himself as a writer whose lyricism set a new standard for country songs. And a hippie band from California, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, arrived in Nashville to create a landmark album that bridged the gap between generations.

In 1969, Johnny Cash made a triumphant return to the Ryman Auditorium, a venue that had kicked him out years earlier for breaking the footlights. To celebrate, he brought an eclectic range of guests with him from folk, pop, and jazz as well as country music.

Also profiled, the tormented early lives but uplifting careers of George Jones and Tammy Wynette, later known as 'Mr and Mrs Country Music'.

FRI 02:30 Fleetwood Mac: Don't Stop (b00nq7q9)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]

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

Charles Dickens and the Invention of Christmas 20:00 WED (b008lykb)

Charles Dickens and the Invention of Christmas 02:05 WED (b008lykb)

ChuckleVision 19:15 SUN (m001g4nz)

Comedy Playhouse: Where It All Began 00:55 SAT (b042m95q)

Country Music by Ken Burns 00:45 FRI (m000bypr)

Country Music by Ken Burns 01:40 FRI (m000bypt)

Dame Fanny Waterman: A Lifetime in Music 21:30 SUN (b01nlms7)

EastEnders: Iconic Episodes 20:45 MON (b008vrpw)

Fleetwood Mac: A Musical History 23:45 FRI (m0001kz2)

Fleetwood Mac: Don't Stop 21:00 FRI (b00nq7q9)

Fleetwood Mac: Don't Stop 02:30 FRI (b00nq7q9)

Fleetwood Mac: The Dance 22:00 FRI (m0014bg7)

Great Continental Railway Journeys 19:45 MON (m000x2pj)

Great Continental Railway Journeys 02:10 MON (m000x2pj)

Great Continental Railway Journeys 19:30 TUE (m000x2kl)

Great Continental Railway Journeys 00:35 TUE (m000x2kl)

Great Continental Railway Journeys 19:30 WED (m000x2tc)

Great Continental Railway Journeys 01:35 WED (m000x2tc)

Great Continental Railway Journeys 19:30 THU (m000x2lf)

Great Continental Railway Journeys 01:00 THU (m000x2lf)

Jackanory 19:00 SUN (p031d211)

James May: My Sisters' Top Toys 22:15 MON (b008l2vq)

Joe McFadden Remembers... The Crow Road 22:00 WED (m001g4s3)

June Brown: A Walford Legend 20:15 MON (b08f49dq)

Lucy Worsley's Christmas Carol Odyssey 21:00 TUE (m000c5y4)

Lucy Worsley's Christmas Carol Odyssey 01:05 TUE (m000c5y4)

One Foot in the Grave 21:00 WED (m000qpgk)

Quentin Blake: The Drawing of My Life 21:15 MON (m0012xpw)

Quentin Blake: The Drawing of My Life 02:05 TUE (m0012xpw)

Raiders of the Lost Past with Janina Ramirez 19:00 SAT (m0008c5c)

Raiders of the Lost Past with Janina Ramirez 02:25 SAT (m0008c5c)

Señorita 89 21:00 SAT (p0d6rtqv)

Señorita 89 21:45 SAT (p0d6rw9p)

Simon Schama Meets 22:00 SUN (p0dcxclx)

Simon Schama Meets 22:30 SUN (p0dcxdhz)

Simon Schama Meets 23:00 SUN (p0dcxjby)

Some People with Jokes 01:25 SAT (b037c5yn)

Storyville 22:00 TUE (m001g4rn)

Sykes 23:55 SAT (p00h0pxj)

Tales of Winter: The Art of Snow and Ice 00:05 WED (b01q6qj6)

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 21:00 THU (m0016dk8)

The Capture 23:30 SUN (m00085sv)

The Capture 00:25 SUN (m0008cq8)

The Capture 01:25 SUN (m0008kgv)

The Capture 23:15 MON (m0008s7m)

The Capture 00:10 MON (m0008zv5)

The Capture 01:10 MON (m000969y)

The Crow Road 22:10 WED (b038s2lq)

The Crow Road 22:55 THU (b0074t2q)

The Real Marigold on Tour 20:00 THU (b09l982h)

The Real Marigold on Tour 01:30 THU (b09l982h)

The Young Ones 00:25 SAT (p00bfqqv)

This Cultural Life 01:55 SAT (m001fy17)

To the Manor Born 23:25 SAT (b00787k2)

Tomorrow's Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction 23:35 TUE (p026cd65)

Tomorrow's Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction 02:30 THU (p026cd65)

Top of the Pops 19:30 FRI (m001g4xh)

Top of the Pops 20:00 FRI (m001g4xm)

University Challenge 19:15 MON (m0012ygx)

University Challenge 19:00 TUE (m0012yj1)

University Challenge 19:00 WED (m0012xv9)

University Challenge 19:00 THU (m0012y9b)

University Challenge 19:00 FRI (m0012xz1)

What We Were Watching 22:25 SAT (m000qpgh)

What We Were Watching 02:40 MON (m0012tv1)

Why Don't You? 19:35 SUN (m001g4p1)

Wild 19:00 MON (b00jd9yx)

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

Write Around the World with Richard E. Grant 20:00 SAT (p09nlfbk)

Write Around the World with Richard E. Grant 02:25 SUN (p09nlfbk)

Yes, Minister 20:00 TUE (b0074qsm)