RADIO-LISTS: BBC FOUR
Unofficial Weekly Listings for BBC 4 — supported by bbc.co.uk/programmes/
SATURDAY 13 MAY 2023
SAT 19:00 Sahara with Michael Palin (b0074p5v)
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 20:00 Himalaya with Michael Palin (b0074qpt)
Annapurna to Everest
Michael Palin continues his Himalayan trek. During a Gurkha recruitment Palin is disturbed by Maoist insurgents, but survives to suffer as he climbs to 15,000 feet and sees the majesty of Annapurna Sanctuary. In Kathmandu he is blessed by the Nepalese king before meeting some holy men. Crossing into Tibet he meets his first yaks at the highest monastery in the world before heading up the Rongbuk glacier towards the summit of Everest.
SAT 21:00 Inspector Montalbano (m0018znx)
The Catalanotti Method
Montalbano grapples with the murder of Carmelo Catalanotti, the leader of an amateur dramatics company whose devotion to Catalanotti and his peculiar take on theatre borders on fanaticism.
His assailant stabbed him in the chest, but without leaving a trace of blood. Might the key to discovering the identity of the killer be bound up in Catalanotti's disturbing conception of the stage?
The final episode of the Montalbano saga.
In Italian with English subtitles.
SAT 23:00 The Bermuda Triangle: Beneath the Waves (b007c68n)
Professor Bruce Denardo attempts to prove whether there is any truth behind the legend of the Bermuda Triangle, where many ships and planes have disappeared in mysterious circumstances. New investigation techniques reveal the truth behind the infamous disappearance of Flight 19. Graham Hawkes is also able to reveal, by using a state-of-the-art submarine, how five wrecks mysteriously wound up 730 feet down in the heart of the Bermuda Triangle.
SAT 00:00 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.
SAT 01:00 Sykes (b00xxq4t)
Classic comedy. Eric and Hattie are visited by a mysterious stranger who claims that he has returned to honour a childhood promise.
SAT 01:30 Sykes (p03rdqsf)
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?
SAT 02:00 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.
SAT 02:45 Himalaya with Michael Palin (b0074qpt)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
SUNDAY 14 MAY 2023
SUN 19:00 Francesco's Italy: Top to Toe (b0079238)
The Land of My Mother
Francesco da Mosto visits the south and Sicily, home of his mother's family for more than 500 years. Easter celebrations in the south involve the streets running red with celebrants' blood and the locals indulging in frantic dances to ward off the threat of the tarantula.
On Sicily, the brooding majesty of Etna terrifies Francesco as he stares into the volcano, but there's beauty and art at the Villa Bagheria and an explosion of baroque decadence at Noto. Finally for Francesco, there's an emotional reunion with his family, who have come down from Venice.
SUN 20:00 The Tragedy of Macbeth (m001lzzm)
'Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires.'
A little later than now, in the ruins of a theatre, three witches make a prophecy.
A warrior and his wife enter the darkness. A war begins.
Yaël Farber directs James McArdle and Saoirse Ronan in an elemental production about a world in transformation, the shadows in all of us and one couple’s spine-chilling quest for power.
Olivier Award nominee James McArdle plays the title role of Macbeth. His highly acclaimed theatre roles include Louis in the National Theatre and Broadway production of Angels in America, Peter Gynt, Platonov and James I in The James Plays (National Theatre). His screen work includes HBO’s Mare of Easttown, Ammonite, Mary Queen of Scots and Man in an Orange Shirt.
Four-time Academy Award-nominated Saoirse Ronan makes her UK stage debut as Lady Macbeth. She made her Broadway debut as Abigail Williams in The Crucible on Broadway in 2016 to glowing reviews and has been celebrated throughout her career for her performances in films including Atonement, Lady Bird, Brooklyn and Little Women.
Yaël Farber is an internationally acclaimed director and playwright, whose recent work includes Hamlet (St Ann’s Warehouse, New York), Blood Wedding (Young Vic), Knives in Hens (Donmar Warehouse) and Les Blancs (National Theatre).
SUN 22:35 imagine... (b007gt9l)
Gilbert and George: No Surrender
Arts series presented by Alan Yentob. Over the last 40 years, British artists Gilbert and George have fascinated, outraged, delighted and confounded the art establishment. Since their first appearance as 'living sculptures' in the late 1960s, their work has persistently taken a provocative, often uncomfortable look at both their own lives and the life of the city that continues to inspire their art - London.
Alan is invited into their East End home, where the couple have lived together for four decades, for an intimate look at what is the most unique, productive and long-standing partnership in contemporary art.
SUN 23:25 Ian Hislop's Fake News: A True History (m00095hv)
Fake news is never out of today's headlines. But in his latest documentary taking the long view of a hot-button issue, Ian Hislop discovers fake news raking in cash or wreaking havoc long before our own confused, uncertain times. Ian mines history to identify what motivates fake news - from profit, power and politics to prejudice, paranoia and propaganda – as well as to try to figure out what to do about it. In America and back home, Ian meets, amongst others, someone whose fake news stories have reached millions and a victim of fakery alleged to be a mastermind of the spurious paedophile ring ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy. Viewers also get to see Ian doing something that has never been captured on film before – as he gets a taste of what it is like to be 'deepfaked'.
In 1835, New Yorkers were fooled by one of the most entertaining and successful fake news scoops of all time - a tale of flying man-bats spied on the moon through the world’s most powerful telescope. The moon hoax story ran in a cheap, new tabloid - The Sun. Within decades, a circulation war waged between two pioneering press barons - Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst - was seen by many as causing a real war, between America and Spain. Meanwhile, another American conflict, the Civil War of the 1860s, had proved that photography, which initially promised new standards of accuracy, also brought new ways of lying. Ian looks at the battlefield images of pioneering photojournalist Alexander Gardner, who achieved ends by means that would be judged unethical today. He also encounters the spooky 'spirit photography' of William Mumler.
Ian digs into one of the most pernicious conspiracy theories of all time - the protocols of the Elders of Zion. He is disturbed to find this virulently anti-Semitic tract available with one click and rave reviews on Amazon, despite comprehensive factual debunking a century ago. Ian also ponders the consequences of official British fake news-mongering. During WWI, lurid stories were spread about German factories manufacturing soap from corpses. But a consequence of such black propaganda was to undermine the currency of trust in government - rather like, Ian notes, the absence of WMDs in Iraq has more recently.
To understand more about the current crisis, Ian meets James Alefantis, owner of the Washington DC pizzeria who fell victim to the ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy. He also quizzes ex-construction worker Christopher Blair, a controversial figure sometimes dubbed 'the godfather of fake news'. He discusses how frightened we should be about fake news, and what can be done about it, with Damian Collins MP who chaired the parliamentary inquiry into fake news.
Collins argues that today's tech giants – Facebook in particular - should be taking even more active steps to take down disinformation. But that path also has its perils, as Ian finds out when he resurrects the extraordinary story of Victoria Woodhull, a woman who sued the British Museum for libel in the 1890s. This pioneering American feminist - the first woman who ran to be president - was an early victim of what today would be termed 'slut-shaming'. But does combatting lies give anyone the right to censor the historical record and limit free speech?
SUN 00:25 Berlin 1945 (m000p9tg)
The Battle for Berlin has begun. Step by step, the soon-to-be victorious powers advance. On 30 April, the Red Flag flies over the Reichstag and Adolf Hitler takes his own life. Another seven days pass before the Wehrmacht disassembles. National Socialism is finally beaten, along with Germany and Berlin. But for many, the fall of Nazism spells liberation rather than defeat.
SUN 01:20 Francesco's Italy: Top to Toe (b0079238)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
SUN 02:20 Chris Packham's Animal Einsteins (m000tqg3)
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.
MONDAY 15 MAY 2023
MON 19:00 Paul Merson: A Walk Through My Life (m00170xj)
Paul Merson walks through North Yorkshire, reflecting on life, career and faith. Carrying a 360-degree camera, he also describes his struggles with drink and gambling.
MON 20:00 Mindful Escapes: Breathe, Release, Restore (m000mf8j)
How does connecting with the images and sounds of the natural world help us gain a greater sense of ease, perspective and connection?
This first episode is about breathing. By immersing ourselves in images of jellyfish floating, elephants swimming and lemurs swinging through the rainforest, we learn to focus on our breathing and are reminded that we are not separate from the world around us.
What is the relationship between each breath and mindfulness, and why is breathing so important to becoming still and being in the moment?
MON 20:30 Life of a Mountain (m000rpmf)
A Year on Helvellyn
This spectacular film features a year in the life of the Lake District National Park’s most popular peak, Helvellyn. Three years in the making, award-winning film-maker Terry Abraham’s photography captures the beauty of the Lakeland fells and wildlife through the seasons and the insights of those that live by, care for and visit the mountain.
Sharing their wide-ranging expertise and passion for the peak, the film’s contributors create a picture of Helvellyn that combines nature, adventure sports, art, survival and history, and features an exhilarating RAF low-level fighter plane flight through its stunning and much-loved landscape.
This is the final instalment in Terry Abraham’s popular Lake District trilogy. His other two films feature Scafell Pike and Blencathra.
MON 22:00 The Sky at Night (m001m027)
Will an Asteroid Destroy Earth?
The Sky at Night team explores the threat of an asteroid impact on earth. Around 2,300 asteroids have been identified as ‘potentially hazardous’, and it’s thought that a million ‘near-earth objects’ are yet to be accounted for. Detecting these possible threats is now a priority for space scientists. And they’re developing methods of planetary defence that sound like the stuff of science fiction.
Maggie meets Professor Alan Fitzsimmons, expert in asteroid observation, to learn how the latest technology monitors near-earth asteroids. He explains which ones are a current concern and why we missed the dangerous Chelyabinsk meteor – a 9,000-ton fireball that exploded in the sky above Russia. Could it happen again?
Chris meets the Open University’s Professor Simon Green, who has been involved in Nasa’s recent planetary defence mission Dart. In this mission, a spacecraft was flown directly into an asteroid in a successful attempt to change its orbit, and the hope is that this could be repeated if an asteroid was identified as a real threat to earth. Simon demonstrates why smashing into an asteroid is even more complicated than it sounds.
Our inhouse stargazing expert, Pete Lawrence, explains how to get a rare sighting of Jupiter passing behind the moon and why it is that we can see the moon in the daytime.
And exoplaneteer George Dransfield is at Royal Holloway University to meet planetary scientist Dr Queenie Chan. Her recent analysis of the famous Winchcombe meteorite offers new evidence in support of asteroids bringing life – as well as destruction – to earth.
MON 22:30 The 15 Billion Pound Railway (m0002jt4)
Under Pressure, Over Budget
With exclusive access, this returning series follows the construction workers of Crossrail as they battle to finish the final stages of the new Elizabeth Line underground railway beneath the streets of London.
Costing over fifteen billion pounds and stretching 120km across the capital, this extraordinary construction project is one of the biggest in Europe and one of the most ambitious engineering feats in Britain since the time of Brunel.
Our cameras follow the engineers, technicians and train staff who are under pressure to complete their section of the project, including building and fitting out ten brand new stations, learning to drive the new fleet of trains, and testing the 21km twin tunnels beneath London, in a bid to make it safe for the public.
We join Danny O’Connell, Crossrail’s testing manager, as he leads a critical operation to launch the very first train into the new Elizabeth Line tunnels under London. Danny is responsible for trialling and testing all aspects of the railway performance – from communications, CCTV and platform doors, to the trains, tracks and signalling systems. If Danny can’t complete all of the hundreds of tests needed to prove that it's safe and reliable, the railway won’t open on time.
We join charismatic project manager Lih-Ling Highe, who is tasked with finishing construction of the new Tottenham Court Road Station - the largest station on the entire line and future gateway to 200,000 passengers a day. Coming from a long line of engineers, construction is in Lih-Ling’s DNA - in this episode, she must lead a team fitting out the station’s three-tonne platform screen doors to prevent passengers from falling under a train.
In the financial heart of London, the Elizabeth Line’s new Canary Wharf Station looks to welcome up to 100,000 passengers a day. In charge of the station’s mechanical and electrical fit out is young engineer Felix Ahatty, whose biggest task is to transport and install three huge 10-tonne ventilation fans. Hauling them through the city at night, and then getting them down through the station levels, is a complex mission - even with the help of cranes, rail systems, and ‘hover’ pads to push it into position.
We also join new recruit Rochelle as she trains to become a driver of the new 200m-long, 90mph trains that will carry up to 200 million passengers a year. We follow Rochelle through each nail-biting step of the course - from simulator training to getting behind the wheel of a real 265-tonne train.
MON 23:30 Building Britain's Biggest Nuclear Power Station (m000wnn4)
With unique behind-the-scenes access, this series follows the construction workers at Hinkley Point C, Britain’s biggest and newest nuclear power station, which is being built in a remote corner of the Somerset countryside.
With a price tag of over £22 billion and covering an area the size of 250 football pitches, this extraordinary construction site is one of the largest in Europe and the UK’s first new nuclear power station for a generation.
This series follows the engineers, technicians and the behind-the-scenes staff who are under pressure to keep the project on track, including building the mammoth foundations for the two nuclear reactors, excavating 3.5km cooling water tunnels out under the Bristol Channel and constructing the critical airtight inner steel lining, designed to contain any radioactive material in the unlikely event of a meltdown.
MON 00:30 H2O: The Molecule That Made Us (m000z8bd)
Civilisations begins in the jungles of the Congo on the trail of a new theory that puts water at the centre of how humans first stood upright.
In Egypt and China, an investigation shows how civilisations were shaped by their relationship to the great rivers, and in Mexico we reveal how access to underground water changed humanity’s footprint on the planet.
A new current is also explored, and at one of the largest ports on earth we learn how ‘virtual water’ has hidden the consequences of excess water use.
MON 01:25 Novels That Shaped Our World (m000bhgt)
The Empire Writes Back
Robinson Crusoe, the hero of the first ever novel published in English, in 1719, was a slave trader. Right from its inception, as this programme investigates, the English novel was closely bound up with the dynamics of colonialism and marched along, in lock step, to the British Empire’s rise, decline and fall. Slavery, which predated the empire, but was an inescapable part of it, is the subject of two famous American novels more than a century apart - Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Toni Morrison’s Beloved. The legacy of slavery is also at the heart of one of the most famous novels of all, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, and its 'prequel', written a century later - Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea.
The British Empire was often taken as a given – even God-given - and widely celebrated. In the novels of some writers, though, it was questioned more deeply – such as Rudyard Kipling’s famous espionage yarn Kim. Fifty years later, a very different type of spy, James Bond, fought to keep the empire going when it had in truth already gone. By then a new voice had emerged - that of writers from the newly independent former British colonies, like Nigeria’s Chinua Achebe. At the same time, immigrants from the Caribbean were coming to the UK in search of a warm welcome and a better life. Their mixed experiences began to be told in the Trinidadian Samuel Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners, published in 1956. The twin evils of racism and slavery come full circle in recent works like the former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman’s series Noughts and Crosses and the 2016 Man Booker prize winner The Sellout, a savage comedy by Paul Beatty – in which a present-day African-American Los Angeleno keeps a slave.
MON 02:25 The 15 Billion Pound Railway (m0002jt4)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:30 today
TUESDAY 16 MAY 2023
TUE 19:00 Railways: The Making of a Nation (b07x4fg9)
Historian Liz McIvor explores how Britain's expanding rail network was the spark to a social revolution, starting in the 1800s and continuing through to modern times. A fast system of transportation shaped so many areas of our industrial nation - from what we eat to where we live, work and play. The railways generated economic activity but they also changed the nature of business itself. They even changed attitudes to time and how we set our clocks. Our railways may have reflected deep class divisions, but they also brought people together as never before, and helped forge a new sense of national identity.
This episode looks at how you organise a rail network in a country made up of separate local time zones and no recognised timetables. Before the railways, our country was divided and local time was proudly treasured. Clocks in the west of the country were several minutes behind those set in the east. The railways wanted the country to step to a new beat in a world of precise schedules and timetables that recognised Greenwich Mean Time. Not everyone was keen to step in line, and some complained about the new world of one single time zone and precise schedules.
TUE 19:30 Fred Dibnah's Age of Steam (b0078l7l)
Steaming Down the Road
Fred traces the development of steam power. He looks at early experiments in its use for road transport, and at the development of the traction engine.
TUE 20:00 As Time Goes By (p0479v3l)
Jean and Lionel bump into Jean’s sister-in-law and get asked to stay for the weekend. They decide to lie about how long they’ve known each other, but this catches up with them.
TUE 20:30 Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? (b0077j8v)
Appalled by the changes in Newcastle, Terry considers leaving to get a job in Berwick. Meanwhile, his friend's wanderlust sets Bob thinking.
TUE 21:00 Dam Busters Declassified (b00trb2g)
Martin Shaw takes a fresh look at one of the most famous war stories of them all. The actor, himself a pilot, takes to the skies to retrace the route of the 1943 raid by 617 Squadron which used bouncing bombs to destroy German dams. He sheds new light on the story as he separates the fact from the myth behind this tale of courage and ingenuity.
Using the 1955 movie The Dam Busters as a vehicle to deconstruct the raid, he tries to piece together a picture of perhaps the most daring attack in the history of aviation warfare.
Along the way, Shaw hears from the last RAF veteran of the raid, as well as a German survivor of the tsunami which resulted from the Moehne dam's destruction.
TUE 22:00 Storyville (m001m02h)
In the Name of the Father
Extraordinary film based in the Breslov Hasidic community in Yavniel, Israel.
The community was founded in the 1980s and led by charismatic leader Rabbi Schick, also known as Mohorosh, who was based in Brooklyn, New York. A controversial figure, Mohorosh welcomed 'repentant' Jews who were seeking a sense of community in Yavniel. These could be Jewish people who had lost their faith, committed crimes or simply wanted to live a Breslov Hasidic life with Mohorosh as their spiritual leader.
With a school, a kindergarten, a synagogue, a huge kitchen where the community could eat together and houses built by the community themselves, it was funded by selling holy books and fundraising, and led spiritually by Mohorosh, who largely remained in Brooklyn. However, when Mohorosh died, it emerged that he had left two wills – one leaving leadership of the community and a huge fortune to his son Moishi, and the other benefiting a group of self-selected community leaders.
As a huge fight over his inheritance rages and the community is left without their spiritual leader, stories begin to emerge of a hidden criminal organisation which was extorting millions of dollars, as well as violence, sexual abuse and underage marriages.
Moishi and a number of survivors decided to break the silence, to leave the community and to tell this extraordinary story to director Bat-dor Ojalvo, who spent years earning their trust. Uniquely, she also gained access to some of the community who continue to live according to Mohorosh’s teachings.
With incredible archive and home movies from Yavniel, the film was shot in both Yavniel and Brooklyn.
TUE 23:30 Britain and the Sea (b03k2g3r)
Invasion and Defence
David Dimbleby continues his voyage round Britain, sailing his boat Rocket along the south east coast from Hampshire to Kent. This was the front line coast, the edge of Britain essential to its defence and the first point of attack for invasion forces. From the great battleships of Nelson to the sea forts of Henry VIII, this is a story that embraces Britain's darkest and most heroic moments.
TUE 00:30 Railways: The Making of a Nation (b07x4fg9)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
TUE 01:00 Fred Dibnah's Age of Steam (b0078l7l)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
TUE 01:30 Dam Busters Declassified (b00trb2g)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
TUE 02:30 Britain and the Sea (b03k2g3r)
[Repeat of broadcast at 23:30 today
WEDNESDAY 17 MAY 2023
WED 19:00 Great Railway Journeys (b0074rnh)
Crewe to Crewe with Victoria Wood
Victoria Wood makes a round trip to the north of Britain from Crewe, taking in both the east and west coasts.
Along her way, Victoria stops off at Carnforth station, location of the classic film Brief Encounter, where original film extra Elaine Maudsley talks of the film and the demise of the station.
She goes on to the North West Regional Railways service across Morecambe Bay to Barrow, and then up early the next morning for the Cumbrian Coastal line to Carlisle. At Carlisle station, Victoria encounters John Mitton, who teaches her the technique of trainspotting. She then heads over the border to Glasgow and up to Thurso, the most northerly point possible by train.
Heading south, Victoria stops off at Edinburgh, where she takes on the role of 'Vicky, Girl Reporter', examining stories that the Forth Bridge is dangerous and badly in need of repair, and onto Middlesborough, Whitby and York, where the final leg of the journey is broken by a visit to Mel Thorley's home at Adswood, Manchester, to see his collection of trains and station signs on display in the back garden.
Finally, it's back at Crewe where Victoria and the crew are refused permission to film in the station buffet.
WED 19:55 Victoria Wood: A Bafta Tribute (b007c9m3)
Bafta and the BBC join forces to celebrate one of Britain's best loved entertainers with a special gala event. Julie Walters, Lenny Henry, Richard E Grant and Jim Broadbent pay tribute to Victoria Wood, with contributions from Peter Kay and French and Saunders. Featuring a look back over her career with clips of her work. Wood receives the prestigious Bafta Special Award followed by a preview of Acorn Antiques - The Musical.
WED 21:00 Victoria Wood: The Secret List (m000qrym)
The first of two programmes featuring more than 20 sketches handpicked by Victoria Wood from her first solo series, As Seen on TV.
Back in 2009, Victoria wrote a list of her favourite moments from her seminal 80s series, intending to use it as a compilation show of self-selected best bits. The list remained locked away in her personal office until now. It features familiar favourites and often overlooked gems, but as these two programmes explore, the chosen sketches serve as a prediction of what was to come in an unparalleled career that crossed just about every genre of stage and screen.
This first programme includes contributions from Russell T Davies, Ken Loach and playwright Winsome Pinnock, who dissect Victoria’s groundbreaking early work, why it is still regarded as a watershed moment in British television and the impact it has had on writers since. Meanwhile, Jane Wymark and Joan Armatrading provide an insight into the private side of their friend.
Rare and unseen material from Victoria’s personal collection, including an early university project, rehearsal tapes, notebooks and photos, completes this examination into the work of one of Britain’s most prolific artists.
WED 22:00 Duncan Preston Remembers... Pat and Margaret (m001m061)
Actor Duncan Preston introduces Victoria Wood's comedy drama about two ill-matched sisters.
WED 22:10 Screen One (b007b75q)
Pat and Margaret
Comedy drama about a Lancashire-born American soap star who, returning to Britain, is reunited on live television with her long-lost sister - a motorway cafeteria waitress. A bloodhound journalist with a nose for celebrity scandal is soon on the sisters' trail - probing into the past that, try as they might, they cannot escape.
WED 23:35 Victoria Wood: The Secret List (m000qsj1)
An opportunity to see again sketches handpicked by Victoria Wood exclusively from her seminal sketch show As Seen on TV. The list of her favourite sketches was never aired or mentioned, instead sitting among her personal papers, which after her death in 2016 were boxed up and archived.
This tribute continues to unveil Victoria’s favourite moments and is chock-full of indelible sketches, including Shoe Shop, Two Soups and Acorn Antiques, plus matchless comic big belters At the Chippy and, of course, The Ballad of Barry and Freda aka Let’s Do It.
Acclaimed writers Abby Morgan and Winsome Pinnock discuss why Victoria’s comedy subverted outdated preconceptions about women, ageing and other ‘unmentionables’. Ken Loach and Russell T Davies dissect Victoria’s unrivalled use of language. Meanwhile, superfans celebrate a body of work that continues to resonate and inspire.
WED 00:35 Scene (m001m063)
Victoria Wood: A Personal View
On tour and at home with the writer, entertainer and successful working woman.
WED 01:00 Mindful Escapes: Breathe, Release, Restore (m000mf8j)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 on Monday
WED 01:30 Great Railway Journeys (b0074rnh)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
WED 02:25 Victoria Wood: A Bafta Tribute (b007c9m3)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:55 today
THURSDAY 18 MAY 2023
THU 19:00 The Sky at Night (m001m027)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Monday
THU 19:30 Railways: The Making of a Nation (b07x4dyz)
Capitalism and Commerce
The railways stimulated great changes to the nation's economy. They also changed the way we do business, encouraging a new generation of mechanical engineers, skilled workers, managers and accountants. Originally, local railway entrepreneurs viewed trains as vehicles for shifting raw materials, stock and goods. But soon they discovered there was money to be made in transporting people.
Places such as Derby became 'railway towns'. Derby was central to the new network, and home to the engineers who made and maintained locomotives and carriages. But the railway 'boom' of the 1840s also came with a 'bust'. A new age of middle-class shareholders who invested in the railways soon discovered what goes up can also go down.
Alongside this were stories of railway rogues and dodgy dealing. However, railway companies recovered from the crash and continued to develop as complex national business organisations - capable of building great structures such as the Ribblehead Viaduct in Yorkshire and St Pancras Station in London.
THU 20:00 A House Through Time (m000jjn8)
David Olusoga sets out once more to uncover the history of a single house, discovering remarkable stories along the way – of piracy, a foundling baby and a runaway slave.
In this series, the featured property is an 18th-century sea captain’s house situated near Bristol’s docks - Number 10 Guinea Street. Arriving for the first time, David meets the homeowners Karen and David, who show him around the house. Its panelled walls, flagstone floors and substantial cellars are redolent of history, but the owners know little about their home’s previous occupants. David sets out to discover more.
The name Guinea Street is itself a clue about Number 10’s origins. It is named after the Guinea Coast in west Africa, a hub of the international slave trade. And the date the house was built, 1718, was at a time when Bristol was becoming Britain’s premier slaving port. Unsurprisingly perhaps, the man who built the house, Captain Edmund Saunders, was a prolific slave trader himself, trafficking men, women and children from Africa to the sugar plantations of the Caribbean.
Saunders wasn’t the only resident with connections to the slave trade. As David finds out, the same is true of the first full-time resident, Joseph Smith. Smith was another sea captain, and while hunting for more information about his life, David uncovers extraordinary evidence from one of his voyages from 1721. A handwritten account from one of the ship’s crew reveals a story of piracy, peril and revenge which moves from the Caribbean back to Bristol, and eventually ends in London and the gallows.
Having found out about Joseph Smith, David sets out to discover more about Smith’s family. This search leads him to the local church, St Mary Redcliffe, where one remarkable record reveals the existence of a baby girl named Martha, abandoned on the doorstep of 10 Guinea Street. David sets out to discover why she has been left with the Smith family and what her ultimate fate might be in an age where there was little or no support for destitute women, and abandoned children were lucky to live past infancy.
The next resident is John Shebbeare, who arrives at the house in 1750 with his wife Susannah. As David discovers, Shebbeare is a well-known doctor and a prolific political writer. As contemporary satirist Ian Hislop explains, he was also a divisive figure in political circles, who was caricatured by the famous satirical artist William Hogarth. Shebbeare’s mischief-making and appetite for scandal sees him falling foul of the law, before he is immortalised in print by the famous diarist Fanny Burney.
David’s final search is for the Holbrooks, who move into the house in 1751. They are Captain Joseph Holbrook, his wife Hester and their children. Joseph Holbrook is a wealthy trader importing luxury items to Bristol – predominantly sugar, produced on the slave plantations of the Caribbean. But sugar is not the only Caribbean connection in this household. Following the Holbrooks’ trail uncovers the remarkable story of their black servant Thomas, described as a ‘native of Jamaica’. His existence is only known from a newspaper article of 1759, which suggests that he attempted an audacious escape from his master’s house, an astonishingly risky move with potentially devastating consequences.
Joseph Holbrook dies in 1774, leaving the house in Guinea Street to his widow Hester. Although she appears to have been materially provided for by her husband, her comfortable existence is challenged by new ideas. By the later decades of the 18th century, the tide is turning against the trade that made Hester’s family rich and the campaign for the Abolition of Slavery is gaining momentum. As David discovers, the abolitionists of Bristol bring their message, quite literally, to Hester’s doorstep.
THU 21:00 Tea with Mussolini (m000qspy)
Florence 1935. A circle of English ladies settled in the cultured city take an orphan boy, Luca, under their wing. But even a propaganda encounter with Il Duce cannot protect them when war comes, and it falls to Luca and two brash American women they barely tolerate to ease their existence.
Semi-autobiographical drama from Franco Zeffirelli.
THU 22:50 Summer Holiday (m000ng7f)
Don and his friends persuade their employer to lend them a London bus for their summer holiday. En route to the south of France, the boys run into some girls and offer them a lift to Athens. Then, they pick up an American boy who isn't exactly what he seems but who is running away from an exploitative mother.
THU 00:35 Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema (m000rgmw)
Pop Music Movies
Mark looks at a genre that combines his twin passions, music and movies. Pop movies encompass many forms, from drama and comedy to fantasy and documentary, producing some of the most potent and emotive moments in popular culture.
There’s the classic pop star vehicle, where the biggest acts play themselves, or a version of themselves, in exuberant films that promote their brand and help sell their music. Then there are pop biopics, dramatised accounts of the stars’ lives that dazzle us with musical set pieces while playing on our fascination with the darker side of fame. Even rock documentaries, or 'rockumentaries', feature recurring themes and situations, both on and off stage. Mark also sees what happens when actors play musicians, and when musicians take on acting roles, and he celebrates some of the true cinematic oddities that have come from pop stars putting their wildest ideas on screen.
Rebellion, romance, anarchy, excitement. Mark shows how the fusion of pop music and movies has been a double act like no other.
THU 01:35 Paul Merson: A Walk Through My Life (m00170xj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 on Monday
THU 02:35 A House Through Time (m000jjn8)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
FRIDAY 19 MAY 2023
FRI 19:00 Top of the Pops (m001m15w)
LIST OF THIS WEEK'S PROGRAMMES
Bruno Brookes presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 22 September 1994 and featuring Corona, Michelle Gayle, Elton John, Suede, Naomi Campbell, Cyndi Lauper, Bon Jovi, Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories and Whigfield.
FRI 19:30 Top of the Pops (m001m15z)
Claire Sturgess presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 29 September 1994 and featuring 2 Unlimited, The Cranberries, Pato Banton, Reel 2 Real featuring The Mad Stuntman, The Kinks, Snap!, East 17, Shane McGowan & The Popes and Whigfield.
FRI 20:00 Top of the Pops (b08hzrdx)
Simon Bates and Gary Davies present another edition of the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 19 May 1983. Featuring D Train, New Edition, David Grant, Blancmange, The Beat and Wham.
FRI 20:30 Top of the Pops (m0002tc1)
Peter Powell and Simon Bates present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 21 May 1987 and featuring Marillion, Wet Wet Wet, Cameo, Donna Allen, Johnny Logan, Bruce Springsteen, Tottenham Hotspur with Chas & Dave, Whitney Houston, Starship and Fleetwood Mac.
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 Grace Jones - Bloodlight and Bami (m00068py)
Documentary film-maker Sophie Fiennes follows the star Grace Jones behind the scenes - in the recording studio, backstage and at home with her extended family in Jamaica - and intersperses this candid, revealing footage with live performances by Jones. Still an iconic, uncompromising performer, Jones uses all her legendary stagecraft to perform classic hits like Pull Up to the Bumper and Slave to the Rhythm, alongside newer material like Williams Blood. Alongside the intimate scenes of Jones backstage and discussing her past with her family, the film gives a real sense of what made her the artist and performer she is.
FRI 00:55 Queens of Song at the BBC (m000ypjv)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today
FRI 01:55 Top of the Pops (m001m15w)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today
FRI 02:25 Top of the Pops (m001m15z)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today
FRI 02:55 Top of the Pops (b08hzrdx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today
FRI 03:25 Top of the Pops (m0002tc1)
[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 House Through Time 20:00 THU (m000jjn8)
A House Through Time 02:35 THU (m000jjn8)
As Time Goes By 20:00 TUE (p0479v3l)
Berlin 1945 00:25 SUN (m000p9tg)
Britain and the Sea 23:30 TUE (b03k2g3r)
Britain and the Sea 02:30 TUE (b03k2g3r)
Building Britain's Biggest Nuclear Power Station 23:30 MON (m000wnn4)
Chris Packham's Animal Einsteins 02:20 SUN (m000tqg3)
Dam Busters Declassified 21:00 TUE (b00trb2g)
Dam Busters Declassified 01:30 TUE (b00trb2g)
David Attenborough: A Life on Air 00:00 SAT (p031d2k6)
Duncan Preston Remembers... Pat and Margaret 22:00 WED (m001m061)
Eric Sykes: One of the Great Troupers 02:00 SAT (m001lspg)
Francesco's Italy: Top to Toe 19:00 SUN (b0079238)
Francesco's Italy: Top to Toe 01:20 SUN (b0079238)
Fred Dibnah's Age of Steam 19:30 TUE (b0078l7l)
Fred Dibnah's Age of Steam 01:00 TUE (b0078l7l)
Grace Jones - Bloodlight and Bami 23:00 FRI (m00068py)
Great Railway Journeys 19:00 WED (b0074rnh)
Great Railway Journeys 01:30 WED (b0074rnh)
H2O: The Molecule That Made Us 00:30 MON (m000z8bd)
Himalaya with Michael Palin 20:00 SAT (b0074qpt)
Himalaya with Michael Palin 02:45 SAT (b0074qpt)
Ian Hislop's Fake News: A True History 23:25 SUN (m00095hv)
Inspector Montalbano 21:00 SAT (m0018znx)
Life of a Mountain 20:30 MON (m000rpmf)
Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema 00:35 THU (m000rgmw)
Mindful Escapes: Breathe, Release, Restore 20:00 MON (m000mf8j)
Mindful Escapes: Breathe, Release, Restore 01:00 WED (m000mf8j)
Novels That Shaped Our World 01:25 MON (m000bhgt)
Paul Merson: A Walk Through My Life 19:00 MON (m00170xj)
Paul Merson: A Walk Through My Life 01:35 THU (m00170xj)
Queens of Song at the BBC 21:00 FRI (m000ypjv)
Queens of Song at the BBC 00:55 FRI (m000ypjv)
Railways: The Making of a Nation 19:00 TUE (b07x4fg9)
Railways: The Making of a Nation 00:30 TUE (b07x4fg9)
Railways: The Making of a Nation 19:30 THU (b07x4dyz)
Sahara with Michael Palin 19:00 SAT (b0074p5v)
Scene 00:35 WED (m001m063)
Screen One 22:10 WED (b007b75q)
Storyville 22:00 TUE (m001m02h)
Summer Holiday 22:50 THU (m000ng7f)
Sykes 01:00 SAT (b00xxq4t)
Sykes 01:30 SAT (p03rdqsf)
Tea with Mussolini 21:00 THU (m000qspy)
The 15 Billion Pound Railway 22:30 MON (m0002jt4)
The 15 Billion Pound Railway 02:25 MON (m0002jt4)
The Bermuda Triangle: Beneath the Waves 23:00 SAT (b007c68n)
The Sky at Night 22:00 MON (m001m027)
The Sky at Night 19:00 THU (m001m027)
The Tragedy of Macbeth 20:00 SUN (m001lzzm)
Top of the Pops 19:00 FRI (m001m15w)
Top of the Pops 19:30 FRI (m001m15z)
Top of the Pops 20:00 FRI (b08hzrdx)
Top of the Pops 20:30 FRI (m0002tc1)
Top of the Pops 01:55 FRI (m001m15w)
Top of the Pops 02:25 FRI (m001m15z)
Top of the Pops 02:55 FRI (b08hzrdx)
Top of the Pops 03:25 FRI (m0002tc1)
Victoria Wood: A Bafta Tribute 19:55 WED (b007c9m3)
Victoria Wood: A Bafta Tribute 02:25 WED (b007c9m3)
Victoria Wood: The Secret List 21:00 WED (m000qrym)
Victoria Wood: The Secret List 23:35 WED (m000qsj1)
Viva La Diva: The Queens of Pop 22:00 FRI (m000ypjs)
Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? 20:30 TUE (b0077j8v)
imagine... 22:35 SUN (b007gt9l)