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 Sahara with Michael Palin (b0074p58)
Absolute Desert

Michael reaches Timbuktu along with a camel train carrying the giant salt blocks that made the city one of the greatest centres of Islamic learning up until the 16th century. He wanders through the rubble that is 21st-century Timbuktu to find the Imam, who shows him original astronomical textbooks that predate Galileo's discoveries by 200 years.

Leaving one of Timbuktu's most famous addresses, the house of Alexander Laing, the Scottish explorer who had his throat slit for not converting to Islam, Michael heads east to the land of the Wodaabe. These nomadic herders are some of the last true pastoralists of the African continent - famous as much for their male beauty pageant as their stylish cattle. Living in the bush with them, Michael watches the complex rituals surrounding this extraordinary annual pageant, the Gerewol, where the girls get to choose the prettiest boy.

It is the season after the rains, a time of relative plenty for the nomads, and Michael's Wodaabe family, led by the English-speaking Doulla, travel to Ingall for the Cure Salee - a gathering of clans that takes place every year. Amidst the chaos of camel races, shopping and general mayhem, Michael meets up with a group of Tuareg for the next leg of his journey, a camel train across the Tenere desert to Algeria.

Omar introduces him to the delights and vicissitudes of life on the move in the most desolate landscape on the planet. Walking 12 hours a day, eating the odd sheep and learning the rudiments of Tamashek, the language of the Tuareg, Michael finally gets to grips with the heart and soul of the desert. The going is tough, but the sense of comradeship with both the other cameleers and the camels, who are their lifeline, is palpable.

SAT 20:00 Himalaya with Michael Palin (b0074qx6)
A Passage to India

Michael Palin continues his Himalayan trek by travelling from K2 in Pakistan to Ladakh in India - a short distance as the crow flies but, due to politics, a huge loop. He passes through the Sikh city of Amritsar, with its Golden Temple, and through Shimla, with its Vice Regal Lodge, Gaiety Theatre and cosy half-timbered teahouses. He then meets the fourteenth Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, where the Tibetan government is in exile.

SAT 21:00 Homeward (m001lsq9)
Mustafa, a Crimean Tatar, and his son Alim transport the body of Mustafa's other son, a soldier killed in combat, from Kyiv to Crimea to give him a proper burial.

SAT 22:30 Ripping Yarns (b0074s9h)
Series 2

Golden Gordon

A torrid tale of football fanaticism in the 1930s. Super-fan Gordon Ottershaw supports Barnstoneworth United, a team that hasn't won a match for six years. But worse is to come, and Gordon and his bicycle clips are re-united in a last desperate bid for glory and Bovril.

SAT 23:05 Ripping Yarns (b0074sb4)
Series 2

Roger of the Raj

A tale of social guilt and sexual awakening in dramatic, all-action living colour. Pubescent Roger Bartlesham comes of age in the turbulent climate of colonial India, when circumstances beyond his control drive him towards the most deplorable act known to the British army.

SAT 23:35 As Time Goes By (p0479tfw)
Series 2


As the book launch draws near, Lionel gets more and more pessimistic about its success and begins to question Alistair’s constant enthusiasm.

SAT 00:05 Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? (b0077j3b)
Series 1

Cold Feet

Bob is deeply involved in preparations for his forthcoming wedding to Thelma, completing a period of courtship that started in form 4B at Park Junior School. But Terry's return has caused Bob to have doubts, especially when Terry teases him that his fate was sealed long before their 11-plus.

SAT 00:35 Colour: The Spectrum of Science (b06pm7t8)
Beyond the Rainbow

We live in a world ablaze with colour. Rainbows and rainforests, oceans and humanity, earth is the most colourful place we know of. But the colours we see are far more complex and fascinating than they appear. In this series, Dr Helen Czerski uncovers what colour is, how it works and how it has written the story of our planet.

The colours that we see are only a fraction of what's out there. Beyond the rainbow there are colours invisible to our eyes. In this episode, Helen tells the story of scientific discovery. To see the universe in a whole new light, she takes to the skies in a Nasa jumbo jet equipped with a 17-tonne infrared telescope.

We can't see in ultraviolet, but many animals can. Helen explores what the world looks like to the birds and the bees. With the discovery of x-rays, we could look inside ourselves in ways that previously had only been possible after death. Today, those same x-rays allow us to examine life at the atomic level, helping to develop new drugs and better materials. Ultimately, by harnessing all the colours there are, researchers are beginning to image the human body as never before, revealing new ways to treat disease.

SAT 01:35 Sahara with Michael Palin (b0074p5v)
Dire Straits

Series charting Michael Palin's trek across the Sahara Desert. Michael arrives at the border of Niger and Algeria, the most desolate crossing, and then turning north Michael passes through the mountains of the Hoggar massif before pausing in the oil and gas fields of central Algeria. Then onto Libya to attend the very last reunion of the Desert Rats of Tobruk, before turning west along the north coast past deserted classical sites at Apollonia, Cyrene and Leptis Magna.

Crossing into Tunis, Michael relives the filming of The Life of Brian in Monastir, before taking the Maghreb Express to the dangerous city of Algiers, and then west to Algeria's second city, Oran.

Just along the coast is Ceuta, a Spanish enclave on Morocco's coast, where Michael talks to would-be immigrants before returning to Gibraltar. En route he learns of the terrible fate that has engulfed many Saharan people who attempt the eight-mile crossing.

SAT 02:35 Himalaya with Michael Palin (b0074qx6)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

SUNDAY 07 MAY 2023

SUN 19:00 The Queen's Realm (m001lsnf)

lain Cuthbertson invites viewers to take a helicopter seat and share with him an aerial grand tour of Scotland, from the Solway, north to Shetland and south to the Tweed.

SUN 20:15 Cheltenham Jazz (m001lsnj)

Spring Soul and Jazz from Cheltenham

Guy Barker’s Big Band and the BBC Concert Orchestra join forces at the Cheltenham Jazz festival, bringing together the very best in jazz and soul.

Joining the band on stage are some very special guests: Kurt Elling, Mica Paris, Madeline Bell, Mica Millar, Ashton Jones, Vanessa Haynes, Tommy Blaize and Ian Shaw.

Hosted by Marcus Brigstocke, the show features music celebrating the jazz and soul explosion that started in the late 1950s, and with over 80 musicians on stage and some great guests, it promises to be an extraordinary night of music.

SUN 22:00 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 23:00 imagine... (m0014rz7)

Wayne McGregor: Dancing on the Edge

imagine... profiles arguably Britain’s most groundbreaking dance choreographer. Resident at the Royal Ballet and director of his own hugely adventurous dance company, Wayne McGregor’s achievements know no bounds both at home and internationally.

Alan Yentob follows Wayne as he serves as director at the Venice Dance Biennale, creating a new production with his own company of dancers, and rehearses and opens The Dante Project, a new full-length ballet at the Royal Opera House in London. Wayne was brought up on John Travolta and rave music before encountering the work of Diaghilev and Merce Cunningham, so look out for a little ABBA along the way.

The film explores McGregor’s ascent from his childhood in 1970s Stockport, from disco fan to champion of contemporary dance. Ever questioning the possibilities of dance, he is also a child of the computer age and fascinated by the power of technology when it lies at the crossroads of human potential.

SUN 00:20 Berlin 1945 (m000p9t9)
Series 1

Episode 1

At the beginning of 1945, Berlin remains under the spell of the Nazi promise of salvation, an illusion at odds with the city’s daily reality. Every day there are bombing attacks, fires to be extinguished and corpses to be buried. Life goes on as the front lines of the war close in each day. Death comes for men, women, the old, the young, the National Socialists and the forced labourers.

In April, the Red Army stands ready outside the city. In a time of uncertainty on the front lines, nobody has a clear view of what will happen. Civilians hiding, SS soldiers shooting deserters, and Red Army soldiers hoping to survive the final days of the war. As the war comes closer and closer to the metropolis, it returns everything to its roots, showing no mercy.

SUN 01:15 The Queen's Realm (m001lsnf)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

SUN 02:30 Victoria & Albert: The Royal Wedding (b0bvxj28)
Lucy Worsley restages the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Each detail is brought back to life in a spectacular ceremony as Lucy reveals how this event saved the monarchy and invented modern marriage.

Aided by a team of experts, Lucy recreates the most important elements of the ceremony and the celebrations, scouring history books, archives, newspapers and Queen Victoria's diaries for the details. She reveals how every moment was brilliantly stage-managed for maximum effect. Like every good marriage celebration, the film is a heady mix of fine food, fabulous clothes, music, emotion, gossip and intrigue. From the white dress to the massive tiered white cake, from the music sung by the choir to the moment rings were exchanged, each element has been carefully researched and remade for a grand staging of the big day itself.

The experts include food historian Annie Gray, clothing expert Harriet Waterhouse and military historian Jasdeep Singh. Woven into the recreation of the wedding day is the story of Victoria and Albert's courtship and engagement, and its political importance. Lucy unpacks and explores the hidden iconography and symbolism of this hugely significant wedding, and reveals new insights into Victoria and Albert's relationship; both public and private.

The film sheds new light on the wider implications of the wedding and reveals how this one extraordinary event helped to invent modern marriage.

MONDAY 08 MAY 2023

MON 19:00 Great Asian Railway Journeys (m000fjsd)
Series 1

Kuala Lumpur to Melaka

Michael Portillo continues his 2,500-mile rail tour of south east Asia. On this leg, he explores the phenomenal growth of Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, from muddy swamp to seat of British colonial power to the financial and economic tiger of today.

Michael discovers Kuala Lumpur’s 19th-century origins as a tin mine and tries his hand crafting jewellery at the Royal Selangor pewter factory.

In a traditional quarter of the city, untouched by modern development, Michael tastes the Malaysian national dish nasi lemak before investigating the scandalous behaviour of the Britain’s resident general at the turn of the 20th century.

MON 19:30 Fred Dibnah's Age of Steam (b0078kym)
The Early Pioneers

Fred Dibnah traces the development of steam power from the earliest experiments in the ancient world to the modern nuclear power station. Fred visits Cornwall to look at the early history of the steam engine, first developed to pump water from tin mines.

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 David Attenborough's Zoo Quest in Colour (p03qxfsg)
Thanks to a remarkable discovery in the BBC's film vaults, the best of David Attenborough's early Zoo Quest adventures can now be seen as never before, in colour, and with it the remarkable story of how this pioneering television series was made.

First broadcast in December 1954, Zoo Quest was one of the most popular television series of its time and launched the career of the young David Attenborough as a wildlife presenter. It completely changed how viewers saw the world, revealing wildlife and tribal communities that had never been filmed or even seen before.

Broadcast ten years before colour television was seen in the UK, Zoo Quest was thought to have been filmed in black and white, until now. Using this extraordinary new-found colour film, together with new behind-the-scenes stories from David Attenborough and cameraman Charles Lagus, this special showcases the very best of Zoo Quest to West Africa, Zoo Quest to Guiana and Zoo Quest for a Dragon in stunning HD colour for the very first time.

MON 22:00 David Attenborough: A Life on Air (p031d2k6)
Michael Palin presents a profile of the television career of David Attenborough, from controller of BBC Two to his wildlife programmes such as Life on Earth and The Blue Planet.

MON 23:00 imagine... (b08hylsv)
Winter 2017

Alice Neel: Dr Jekyll and Mrs Hyde

A portrait of a remarkable artist. American Alice Neel was an extraordinary and prolific figurative painter, and yet she spent most of her life working in obscurity, struggling as a single mother to survive. Born in 1900, Neel portrayed the 20th century until her death in 1984. She painted the people around her, on the margins of society, as well as her own hard, complicated and sometimes broken life. So many of her own traumas were compounded by her uncompromising need to paint: 'I had to paint', she said, and always at great personal cost.

Made by Alice's grandson Andrew Neel, imagine reveals a complex and captivating woman, weaving home movie footage and candid interviews with family and friends. It is honest, at times upsetting and yet ultimately inspiring.

MON 00:15 H2O: The Molecule That Made Us (m000z2ct)
Series 1


Pulse investigates the inseparable bond between water and life. It reveals how a few drops of rain can cause deserts to bloom through a time-lapse sequence that took a decade to make, follows the journey of a molecule of water through trees in the Amazon to create giant rivers in the air and maps how the great animal migrations follow water around the planet.

But the world is changing. Drought-chasing scientists examine what happens when the pulse falters, showing how the flow of water is driven by its relationship with life.

MON 01:05 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?

MON 02:05 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.

MON 03:00 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.


TUE 19:00 Great Asian Railway Journeys (m000fjrb)
Series 1

Melaka to Johor Bahru

Michael Portillo is in Malaysia on a 2,500-mile tour of south east Asia. His 1913 Bradshaw’s Guide takes him to Melaka, for centuries one of the greatest trading ports in the world. He tastes the spicy cuisine of the Kristang community, descendants of early 16th-century Portuguese settlers who mixed with local Malays.

Continuing to Kluang amid fertile farmland, Michael joins in the pineapple harvest and discovers how Malaysia’s resources of tin and tropical fruit created a global market in food.

Arriving at the tip of the Malaysian peninsula in Johor Bahru, Michael visits the palace of Sultan Abu Bakar, a canny and well-travelled monarch who became friends with Queen Victoria and used what he learned in Britain to modernise his realm. Michael learns how Malaysia’s first ever railway fell prey to an implacable foe.

TUE 19:30 Fred Dibnah's Age of Steam (b03lzh78)
The Age of the Steam Locomotive

Fred Dibnah traces the development of steam power, from early colliery railways to the end of steam travel in Britain in the 1960s.

TUE 20:00 Sykes (b00xxq4t)
Series 1


Classic comedy. Eric and Hattie are visited by a mysterious stranger who claims that he has returned to honour a childhood promise.

TUE 20:30 Sykes (p03rdqsf)
Series 2

Spy Ring

Eric and Hattie suspect their new neighbours are up to no good - they drink large vodkas and pay for them with crisp fivers. Could they be spies?

TUE 21:00 Eric Sykes: One of the Great Troupers (m001lspg)
Eric Sykes gives a tongue-in-cheek account of his follies and fortunes as an actor, gag writer and comedian in a long and successful career in the theatre, on radio and television. He pays tribute to his friends in showbusiness and in particular to Hattie Jacques, Richard Wattis and the team of his long-running Sykes series. With special guests Eddie Lester, John Evans and Tony Hayes.

TUE 21:45 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.

TUE 22:00 Storyville (m001lspj)
Blue Bag Life

Storyville documentary in which UK artist and film-maker Lisa Selby turns the camera on herself as she tries to understand her relationships with her late mother and her partner, both heroin addicts.

The film won the audience award at the 2022 London International Film Festival.

TUE 23:30 Great Asian Railway Journeys (m000fjrb)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

TUE 00:00 Fred Dibnah's Age of Steam (b03lzh78)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

TUE 00:30 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.

TUE 01:25 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.

TUE 02:25 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.


WED 19:00 Great Asian Railway Journeys (m000fjg2)
Series 1

Raffles Place to Botanic Gardens

Michael Portillo’s south east Asian railway tour reaches its final stop - the phenomenally successful island city state of Singapore.

In the historic centre, Michael discovers Singapore’s maritime origins and the vision of the 19th-century Englishman who put it on the map. In the Long Bar at the iconic Raffles Hotel, Michael treats himself to a Singapore sling, now a world-famous cocktail. A boat trip along the Singapore River reveals how trade flourished under British colonial rule. And Michael marvels the scale of shipping today on a visit to a vast construction site, where a new mega port will strengthen Singapore’s position as a global trading hub.

In Chinatown, Michael dines with an artist and his family and learns about the history of the Chinese community. At the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Michael helps to keep the orchids blooming, and later, he enjoys an extraordinary spectacle at gardens of a very different kind down by the bay.

WED 19:30 Fred Dibnah's Age of Steam (b0078l4s)
Driving the Wheels of Industry

Fred looks at the key role that was played by steam power in the extraordinary expansion of industrial Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries, and at the continued use of huge stationary steam engines in mills, collieries and steelworks until well into the 20th century.

WED 20:00 Chris Packham's Animal Einsteins (m000tqg3)
Series 1


Chris Packham discovers the clever methods that animals use to travel from A to B and how they find their way. Whether it is a local trip to find food or an epic journey to reach a safe place to breed, every traveller must work out where to go and the most energy-efficient way to get there.

Now, the latest scientific research is helping uncover just how they do it, from creating mental maps of their environment to planning their route with precision. We are only starting to understand how these intelligent travellers get around successfully, but by studying their movements we may also learn valuable insights that could help us, like ways to manage crowd safety and to how to tackle cancer more effectively.

Chris begins by meeting Bertie and Baxter, two beautiful Bactrian camels that demonstrate how they are perfectly adapted to trekking across harsh deserts. With long eyelashes and special eyelids to keep out sand, broad feet so they do not sink, and the ability to go without water for up to a week, these camels can cover 25 miles a day, and helped humans travel and trade for thousands of years.

In America, Rhiannon Jakopak from the University of Wyoming is part of a research team collaring and tracking mule deer across the state. They are finding that mule deer are constantly collecting details about the environment and their position within it, allowing them to learn migration routes passed down the generations, and even occasionally learning their own new routes.

Some ocean migrants are also showing impressive brainpower, as Dr Briana Abhrams from the University of Washington has discovered. Her research has shown blue whales use their memories to migrate, letting them predict where and when there will be a steady supply of food all along the west coast of North America, as they undertake their epic 4,000-mile-long migration.

Elephants have a reputation for never forgetting, and it seems their memory can help them find valuable resources. Sophie Sadera is a safari guide in the Maasai Mara National Reserve and she knows first-hand how elephants use the same pathways every year as they travel to find water. During times of drought matriarchs can use their memory of water sources they have visited in the past to ensure their herd’s survival.

But you do not need to have a big brain to find your way around. The green and black poison dart frog lives in the rainforests of South America and is a master of mental maps. Brand new science has shown this tiny amphibian has got the mind to remember the structure of a rainforest, which is constantly changing, enabling them to transport their tadpoles to water sources within this dynamic environment.

Exciting new research by Rickesh Patel, from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, has revealed an excellent underwater navigator. By constantly monitoring the turns they take and the distance they travel, mantis shrimp can find their way back to their home. This suggests they use a navigational strategy called path integration. They are currently the only underwater animal that we know of that is able to do this.

Professor Marie Dacke, from Lund University in Sweden, has been studying dung beetles in South Africa for over 20 years, and her research has discovered that these insects have the remarkable ability to navigate at night using the light of the Milky Way.

Some animal travellers use the most surprising ways to get around, and new science by the University of Bristol has shown how spiders can fly. By detecting static electricity in the air, they float along on silk lines. They have been found an impressive 1,000 miles out at sea, and up to two-and-a-half miles high in the air.

But they are not the only surprising flyer, the Paradise Tree Snake can cover almost 100 metres in a single glide. Now, thanks to motion-capture technology, new research has revealed the science behind how they can glide and land safely.

Some of the most exciting discoveries are coming from studying how animals travel en masse. Dr Iain Couzin, from the Max Planck Institute in Germany, is showing that bird flocks and fish shoals tap into a 'group mind' influencing how they travel. Their behaviour may hold answers to some human problems, like how to manage crowd safety and even new ways to treat cancer.

Chris takes us on a trip into the remarkable world of animal travel. By getting up close and personal with some of the nature’s best travellers, Chris reveals the remarkable intelligence these Animal Einsteins use to journey around our planet.

WED 21:00 A History of Ancient Britain (b01971gm)
Orkney's Stone Age Temple

Neil Oliver investigates the discovery of a 5,000-year-old temple in Orkney. Built 500 years before Stonehenge, the temple has triggered new thoughts about the beliefs of Neolithic people, turning the map of ancient Britain upside down.

The vast site lies undisturbed until now, set within one of the most important ancient landscapes in the world. There have been some incredible finds, including the first ever discovery of Neolithic painted wall decorations, and even the pigments and paint pots used by Stone Age artists.

Special effects have been used to bring this archaeological evidence to life, creating a 3D model of the entire temple, allowing Neil to walk inside in a bid to understand just how it might have been used.

WED 22:00 Screen Two (p032kkxg)
Series 8

The Lost Language of Cranes

When his son confesses he is gay, Owen realises that he too can no longer live a lie. Starring Brian Cox.

WED 23:30 Britain and the Sea (p01k4zs9)
Adventure and Exploration

David Dimbleby sails the south west coast of England - along the coast of Devon and Cornwall - in his own sailing boat, Rocket, exploring maritime history, art and architecture as he goes. Caught up in stormy weather, he makes it to safety in the nick of time, to tell the story of Sir Francis Drake and a fantastic array of adventurers, explorers, pirates and smugglers.

It's also a chance for David to enjoy some of Britain's most beautiful coastline and turn his hand to a bit of art himself. David also gingerly submits himself to one of the oldest maritime art forms of all - the art of the tattoo.

WED 00:30 Great Asian Railway Journeys (m000fjg2)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

WED 01:00 Fred Dibnah's Age of Steam (b0078l4s)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

WED 01:30 H2O: The Molecule That Made Us (m000z2ct)
[Repeat of broadcast at 00:15 on Monday]

WED 02:25 Crossing England in a Punt: River of Dreams (p00y6r6q)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Sunday]


THU 19:00 London to Brighton: Side by Side (b00f2zxt)
In 1953, the BBC made a point-of-view film from the London to Brighton train. In 1983, they did the same again. This is a film made of both runs at once, with every bridge, siding, tunnel and station running side by side in unlikely synchronisation.

THU 19:05 Great Asian Railway Journeys (m000fjd6)
Series 1

Chinatown to Gardens by the Bay

Michael Portillo is in the island city state of Singapore on the last leg of his 2,500-mile exploration of south east Asia. In Tai Seng, Michael goes underground to marvel at the world’s largest subterranean rail depot, where self-driving MRT trains are maintained. He takes a cable car to Fort Siloso on the island of Sentosa, where he learns about one of Britain’s worst military defeats and the brutal Japanese occupation which followed.

Downtown, over coffee with the regulator of the Singapore Stock Exchange, Michael marvels at the island’s astonishing success as a financial centre and, in the residential district of Ang Mo Kio, he visits an urban farm for the future - on a car park roof.

At Boat Quay, Michael finds out about Lee Kwan Yew, Singapore’s prime minister for 31 years, who was responsible for Singapore’s extraordinary 20th-century growth.

THU 19:35 Ken Dodd's Liverpool Walkabout (m001lstt)
A tour of Liverpool with comedian Ken Dodd, lifelong resident of Knotty Ash.

THU 19:45 Ken Dodd: How Tickled We Were (b0bwdjxg)
For over six decades, Sir Ken Dodd was one of Britain's favourite entertainers - a comedian whose surreal world of tickling sticks, jam butty mines and Diddymen kept generations of audiences entertained, from his professional debut in 1954 to his final curtain call in December 2017. In Sir Ken's own words and with testimony from friends, family and colleagues who knew him best, this revealing documentary film tells the story of his incredible life and long career, which included a record-breaking run at The London Palladium in the 1960s, numerous television series and specials, countless summer seasons and variety shows, a string of hit records and a touring one-man show that continued right into his ninetieth year.

Sir Ken's wife Lady Anne talks about his love of being on stage and their life spent together in Knotty Ash, and his friends and peers discuss his unique and enduring relationship with the British public. In addition to rarely seen archive of Sir Ken's work on stage and television, the programme features home movies and family photography from his own personal archive. Featured interviewees include Dara O Briain, Ricky Tomlinson, Alex Horne, Jimmy Tarbuck, Stephanie Cole, Roy Hudd, Joe Pasquale, Ian St John, Roger McGough, Bishop James Jones and Claire Sweeney. Craig Charles narrates.

THU 21:00 The Shawshank Redemption (m001gn6f)
Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

THU 23:15 Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (m000gp3s)
Story of the real-life romance between ageing Hollywood star Gloria Grahame and young Liverpudlian actor Peter Turner, whose family looked after Grahame when she became ill.

THU 00:55 Deep Ocean: Giants of the Antarctic Deep (m000jy3h)
The team behind the world's first footage of a live giant squid in its natural habitat follows three marine biologists as they venture into the deep sea of the Antarctic. Equipped with custom 4K UHD cameras, the team embarks on the world’s first scientific research by a submersible in the Antarctic.

The dive in the Southern Ocean reveals a surprising world of bountiful marine life, where many creatures are gigantic forms of their shallow-water-dwelling relatives. A hostile and previously inaccessible, world, locked away under ice and snow, finally permits us the first vivid glimpse of its long-concealed secrets.

THU 01:50 Great Asian Railway Journeys (m000fjd6)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:05 today]

THU 02:20 Ken Dodd's Liverpool Walkabout (m001lstt)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:35 today]

THU 02:25 Britain and the Sea (p01k4zs9)
[Repeat of broadcast at 23:30 on Wednesday]

FRIDAY 12 MAY 2023

FRI 19:00 Top of the Pops (m001lst4)
Brian Harvey and Tony Mortimer present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 8 September 1994 and featuring Blondie, Corona, The Wonder Stuff, Cyndi Lauper, Oasis, Pet Shop Boys, Kylie Minogue, Bon Jovi and Wet Wet Wet.

FRI 19:30 Top of the Pops (m001lst6)
Simon Mayo presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 15 September 1994 and featuring Sophie B Hawkins, The Grid, Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories, M-Beat featuring General Levy, REM, Sinead O’Connor, Elvis Presley, Luther Vandross & Mariah Carey and Whigfield.

FRI 20:00 Top of the Pops (b0blhsnc)
Janice Long and John Peel present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 8 May 1986 and featuring Patti La Belle and Michael McDonald, Spitting Image, Billy Ocean, Falco and Whitney Houston.

FRI 20:30 Top of the Pops (m0014j5t)
Mark Franklin and Claudia Simon present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 14 May 1992, featuring Shakespears Sister, The Wedding Present, Del Amitri, Kris Kross, En Vogue, Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson, CeCe Peniston and KWS.

FRI 21:00 Paul McCartney at the BBC (m0011wsd)
A compilation of TV appearances from the post-Beatles career of Britain’s most successful singer-songwriter. This playlist shows how the Fab Four’s split didn’t stop the hits and features some of Paul McCartney’s most popular songs and iconic performances on some of the biggest BBC shows of the past five decades, from Top of the Pops to the Electric Proms. Alongside tracks like Band on the Run, Jet, Coming Up and Live and Let Die, there is rarely seen backstage footage, interviews and a range of familiar faces, including a recent encounter with die-hard Beatles fan Bob Mortimer.

FRI 22:30 Rock Family Trees (b0077lt6)
Series 2

The Mersey Sound

Programme tracing the rapid rise and fall of the Mersey Beat scene in the early and mid-1960s, an era synonymous with the emergence of The Beatles and the popularity of groups such as The Searchers, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Billy J Kramer, The Swinging Blue Jeans and The Merseybeats.

FRI 23:20 Everything - The Real Thing Story (m000lj5v)
The Real Thing were four working-class boys from one of Liverpool’s toughest neighbourhoods, who became Britain’s most enduring soul and funk act ever. With a string of hits, they dominated the international charts throughout the 1970s with iconic songs like You to Me Are Everything, Can’t Get By Without You and Can You Feel the Force.

But the group’s meteoric success was also tempered with personal tragedy, drug addiction and racial prejudice. They were – and still are – The Real Thing – and this is their incredible true story.

FRI 00:50 Top of the Pops (m001lst4)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

FRI 01:20 Top of the Pops (m001lst6)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

FRI 01:50 Top of the Pops (b0blhsnc)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

FRI 02:20 Top of the Pops (m0014j5t)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 today]

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

A History of Ancient Britain 21:00 WED (b01971gm)

As Time Goes By 23:35 SAT (p0479tfw)

Berlin 1945 00:20 SUN (m000p9t9)

Britain and the Sea 23:30 WED (p01k4zs9)

Britain and the Sea 02:25 THU (p01k4zs9)

Cheltenham Jazz 20:15 SUN (m001lsnj)

Chris Packham's Animal Einsteins 20:00 WED (m000tqg3)

Colour: The Spectrum of Science 00:35 SAT (b06pm7t8)

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

Crossing England in a Punt: River of Dreams 22:00 SUN (p00y6r6q)

Crossing England in a Punt: River of Dreams 02:25 WED (p00y6r6q)

David Attenborough's Zoo Quest in Colour 20:30 MON (p03qxfsg)

David Attenborough: A Life on Air 22:00 MON (p031d2k6)

Deep Ocean: Giants of the Antarctic Deep 00:55 THU (m000jy3h)

Eric Sykes: One of the Great Troupers 21:00 TUE (m001lspg)

Everything - The Real Thing Story 23:20 FRI (m000lj5v)

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool 23:15 THU (m000gp3s)

Fred Dibnah's Age of Steam 19:30 MON (b0078kym)

Fred Dibnah's Age of Steam 19:30 TUE (b03lzh78)

Fred Dibnah's Age of Steam 00:00 TUE (b03lzh78)

Fred Dibnah's Age of Steam 19:30 WED (b0078l4s)

Fred Dibnah's Age of Steam 01:00 WED (b0078l4s)

Great Asian Railway Journeys 19:00 MON (m000fjsd)

Great Asian Railway Journeys 19:00 TUE (m000fjrb)

Great Asian Railway Journeys 23:30 TUE (m000fjrb)

Great Asian Railway Journeys 19:00 WED (m000fjg2)

Great Asian Railway Journeys 00:30 WED (m000fjg2)

Great Asian Railway Journeys 19:05 THU (m000fjd6)

Great Asian Railway Journeys 01:50 THU (m000fjd6)

H2O: The Molecule That Made Us 00:15 MON (m000z2ct)

H2O: The Molecule That Made Us 01:30 WED (m000z2ct)

Himalaya with Michael Palin 20:00 SAT (b0074qx6)

Himalaya with Michael Palin 02:35 SAT (b0074qx6)

Homeward 21:00 SAT (m001lsq9)

Ken Dodd's Liverpool Walkabout 19:35 THU (m001lstt)

Ken Dodd's Liverpool Walkabout 02:20 THU (m001lstt)

Ken Dodd: How Tickled We Were 19:45 THU (b0bwdjxg)

London to Brighton: Side by Side 19:00 THU (b00f2zxt)

Paul McCartney at the BBC 21:00 FRI (m0011wsd)

Ripping Yarns 22:30 SAT (b0074s9h)

Ripping Yarns 23:05 SAT (b0074sb4)

Rock Family Trees 22:30 FRI (b0077lt6)

Sahara with Michael Palin 19:00 SAT (b0074p58)

Sahara with Michael Palin 01:35 SAT (b0074p5v)

Screen Two 22:00 WED (p032kkxg)

Storyville 22:00 TUE (m001lspj)

Sykes 20:00 TUE (b00xxq4t)

Sykes 20:30 TUE (p03rdqsf)

The Capture 01:05 MON (m00085sv)

The Capture 02:05 MON (m0008cq8)

The Capture 03:00 MON (m0008kgv)

The Capture 00:30 TUE (m0008s7m)

The Capture 01:25 TUE (m0008zv5)

The Capture 02:25 TUE (m000969y)

The Queen's Realm 19:00 SUN (m001lsnf)

The Queen's Realm 01:15 SUN (m001lsnf)

The Shawshank Redemption 21:00 THU (m001gn6f)

Top of the Pops 19:00 FRI (m001lst4)

Top of the Pops 19:30 FRI (m001lst6)

Top of the Pops 20:00 FRI (b0blhsnc)

Top of the Pops 20:30 FRI (m0014j5t)

Top of the Pops 00:50 FRI (m001lst4)

Top of the Pops 01:20 FRI (m001lst6)

Top of the Pops 01:50 FRI (b0blhsnc)

Top of the Pops 02:20 FRI (m0014j5t)

Victoria & Albert: The Royal Wedding 02:30 SUN (b0bvxj28)

Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? 00:05 SAT (b0077j3b)

Wild 21:45 TUE (b00jd9yx)

imagine... 23:00 SUN (m0014rz7)

imagine... 23:00 MON (b08hylsv)