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 Our Coast (m000f1v5)
Series 1


With the UK’s identity as an island nation more important today than for the last 50 years, Adrian Chiles, Mehreen Baig and a team of experts explore four spectacular coastlines linked by the Irish Sea and meet the people who call them home.

In the first episode, they visit the Merseyside coast, stretching from Sefton Sands in the North to the Wirral in the South, via the great port city of Liverpool.

Adrian goes onboard to explore the nooks and crannies of what is the largest ocean-crossing liner in the world, the Queen Mary 2. Mehreen meanwhile is off to board a slightly smaller craft, run by one of the oldest lifeboat stations anywhere in the country, the Hoylake Hovercraft.

Other highlights of the show include historian Emma Dabiri on the hunt for a Viking ship that might just be buried under a Wirral pub car park, environmental scientist Tara Shine finding out how the people of Formby are protecting one of the country’s last thriving colonies of red squirrels, and engineer Danielle George visiting the Birkenhead Hydraulic Tower, a local titan of Victorian industry which was bombed in the Blitz and is now about to become the centrepiece of an industrial renaissance.

SAT 20:00 How the Wild West Was Won with Ray Mears (b044z1k0)
Great Plains

Ray Mears explores how 500,000 square miles of flat, treeless grassland was the setting for some of the Wild West's most dramatic stories of Plains Indians, wagon trains, homesteaders and cattle drives.

Ray joins the Blackfeet Indian Nation as they demonstrate bareback riding skills before a ritual buffalo hunt and sacrifice, and learns how their ancestors were dependent upon the buffalo for their survival. He follows in the wagon ruts of the early pioneers along the Oregon Trail and hitches a ride on a prairie schooner with wagon master Kim Merchant. He discovers the stories of the early homesteaders who lived in sod-houses and farmed the wild grassland around them.

At a cattle auction in Dodge City he explores the story of the railways, cow-towns and the buffalo massacre. His journey across the Great Plains ends at Moore Ranch where he joins a long-horn cattle drive and learns about the life and myth of one of the Wild West's most iconic figures, the cowboy.

SAT 21:00 Beck (p0fqlz6c)

The Beck group are called out to investigate a man who was brutally murdered in his own home.

SAT 22:30 Blankety Blank Classic (m001p8hz)
Wogan's Best of Blankety Blank

Episode 9

Terry Wogan introduces a classic edition of the celebrity word game, featuring guest panellists Lorraine Chase, Val Doonican, David Hamilton, Dickie Henderson, Karen Kay and Elaine Stritch.

SAT 23:00 Parkinson: The Interviews (b01f7x12)
Series 1

Tommy Cooper and Frankie Howerd

Michael Parkinson introduces a recut of two interviews he did with Frankie Howerd during the Parkinson show series and a Christmas interview with Tommy Cooper.

Frankie Howerd wanted everything scripted, resulting in an unprompted and unrehearsed interview, whilst Tommy Cooper managed to run rings around a delighted Parkinson. Includes clips from Up Pompeii, The Main Attraction and The Bob Monkhouse Show.

SAT 23:40 Arena (b009w2yc)
Oooh Er Missus! The Frankie Howerd Story

Documentary about the life of Frankie Howerd, with help from friends and colleagues and including highlights from his TV and film career.

SAT 00:35 Hancock's Half Hour (m001nwyj)
There’s an Airfield at the Bottom of My House

Hancock buys a house from estate agent Sid, who has failed to point out there’s an airfield at the bottom of the garden.

SAT 01:05 Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? (b0077kmd)
Series 1

Boys' Night In

Terry is horrified when Bob refuses to go on a stag night and insists on a quiet night in instead. But pre-wedding nerves mean Bob's plan to celebrate his nuptials sober goes awry.

SAT 01:40 Blankety Blank Classic (m001p8hz)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:30 today]

SAT 02:10 Parkinson: The Interviews (b01f7x12)
[Repeat of broadcast at 23:00 today]

SAT 02:45 Our Coast (m000f1v5)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]


SUN 19:00 Being Beethoven (m000kqq2)
Series 1

Episode 1

‘…this strange deafness…’

Unfolding chronologically, Being Beethoven grapples with the living, breathing human being often lost behind the myth of the Romantic genius. Beethoven emerges as a man of contrasts and extremes — driven by love, anguish, fury and joy — qualities woven through both his life and his music.

By returning the composer to the context of his own time and place, telling his life story in the present tense, Being Beethoven reveals how the composer’s life frequently appears to follow an entirely different trajectory to his art. What emerges is a complex and often contradictory individual living a life marked by isolation, ill-health and deafness. A man who, despite the frequent wretchedness of his personal circumstances, manages to create musical masterpieces that have enthralled and uplifted the world for 250 years.

Episode 1 explores Beethoven's childhood, the crucible in which the man and his music are formed, and his subsequent rise to fame as a piano virtuoso, then composer, in late 18th-century Vienna. Groomed as a prodigy by a demanding and often violent father, Beethoven’s psyche is also marked by the death of his mother when he is 16 years old. Beethoven emerges as a great but troubled talent, an unstoppable force of nature until the onset of deafness tears his world apart.

The realisation that Beethoven is losing his hearing — the sense upon which not only his career is built, but his very sense of self — leads to a devastating psychological collapse and a letter, written to his brothers Carl and Johann, known as the Heiligenstadt Testament. In it, Beethoven not only contemplates suicide but also looks at his future and accepts that he will have to create his art under extraordinary circumstances.

As well as interviews with Beethoven biographers and scholars such as Jan Swafford and Barry Cooper, the series features contributions and performances from musicians including Iván Fischer, Marin Alsop, the Takács Quartet, Evelyn Glennie, Paul Lewis, Mark Padmore and Chi-chi Nwanoku.

SUN 20:00 BBC Proms (m001p2ys)

Beethoven’s Ninth at the Proms

Beethoven’s monumental Choral Symphony, with its famous Ode to Joy finale, takes centre stage at the Royal Albert Hall.

Ryan Wigglesworth is at the helm of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra alongside the BBC Symphony Chorus and an all-star team of Scottish soloists - Eleanor Dennis, Karen Cargill, Nicky Spence and Michael Mofidian - for this mighty tour-de-force of musical revolution, a symphonic journey from darkness to light and of triumph over adversity.

SUN 21:20 The Ascent of Man (m001p2xc)
Lower than the Angels

Jacob Bronowski opens the first programme at man's birthplace, the Great Rift Valley of East Africa, and traces the evolution of man's unique gifts - foresight and imagination. He follows man from Africa through desert and Ice Age.

SUN 22:10 The Ascent of Man (b0074sdz)
The Harvest of the Seasons

Dr Jacob Bronowski's classic account of the social and intellectual evolution of the human race looks at the move mankind made from nomadic pasturage to settled agriculture, with the domestication of the horse and the cultivation of wheat.

SUN 23:00 Being Beethoven (m000kxl2)
Series 1

Episode 2

Unfolding chronologically, Being Beethoven grapples with the living, breathing, human being often lost behind the myth of the romantic genius. Beethoven emerges as a man of contrasts and extremes - driven by love, anguish, fury and joy - qualities woven through both his life and his music.

By returning the composer to the context of his own time and place, the man who emerges is a complex and often contradictory individual - living a life marked by isolation, ill health and deafness. One who, despite the frequent wretchedness of his personal circumstances, manages to create musical masterpieces that have enthralled and uplifted the world for 250 years.

This episode sees Beethoven return to the town of Heiligenstadt, where the year before, devastated by the loss of his hearing, he had written the Heiligenstadt Testament; a document in which he contemplates suicide before finally resolving to embark on a new creative path. The works that he produces during this period — from the earth-shattering Eroica through to his Seventh Symphony — amount to one of the most extraordinary outpourings of creativity in the history of music.

However, as is so often the case, Beethoven’s life follows a very different trajectory to his art. The composer’s repeated attempts to find love with the same type of woman - young, beautiful and aristocratic - will result in his letter to the ‘Immortal Beloved’, a woman whose identity remains mysterious to this day.

Highlights include Martin Haselböck conducting a period performance of the Third Symphony in the hall in which it was premiered, and the Takács Quartet performing the electrifying finale to the Third Rasumovsky Quartet. As well as interviews with Beethoven biographers and scholars such as Jan Swafford and Barry Cooper, the series features contributions and performances from musicians including Iván Fischer, Marin Alsop, the Takács Quartet, Evelyn Glennie, Paul Lewis, Mark Padmore, and Chi-chi Nwanoku.

SUN 00:00 Storyville (m000nwrq)
Pepe the Frog: Feels Good Man

Pepe the Frog started life in 2005 as a cute cartoon character in Boy’s Club, an American indie comic on Myspace. Today, he is known as an international hate symbol after being hijacked by the alt-right. This film follows Pepe’s creator, artist Matt Furie, as he fights to bring back his lovable comic-book character from the dark forces who stole him.

As the internet exploded, memes of the benign and chill frog-dude started sweeping the internet with lightning speed. Once his image found its way into controversial online community 4chan – the anonymous, anything-goes forum rife with misogyny and racism - there was no turning back. Pepe re-emerged from the darkest corner of the internet decorated with swastikas and spewing racist slurs. He was even caught up in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Exactly how that happened is a wild journey into the heart of online life today and an exploration of how a character meant to bring joy and fun slowly morphed into something else. Maybe, just maybe, he can change again.

SUN 01:30 How the Wild West Was Won with Ray Mears (b044z1k0)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 on Saturday]

SUN 02:30 Being Beethoven (m000kqq2)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]


MON 19:00 Great Coastal Railway Journeys (m0013x98)
Series 1

Dunbar to Edinburgh

An epic stretch of Scottish coastline is the first stop for Michael Portillo as he begins a series of coastal railway journeys around the British Isles.

Siccar Point, close to Dunbar on the Firth of Forth, was the site of an extraordinary 18th-century discovery and is today a place of pilgrimage for earth scientists from across the world. Michael finds out how James Hutton’s Unconformity upended biblical teaching about the age of the earth.

From North Berwick, Michael takes a boat a mile out into the Firth to visit one of the wildlife wonders of the world, a volcanic island known as Bass Rock. Long since abandoned by humans, it is now a breeding ground for 150,000 northern gannets. Standing with his seabird centre guide and with the white-and-yellow birds nesting and courting only feet away, Michael has to pinch himself to believe the scene.

Next stop is the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. Arriving at Britain’s second largest station, Waverley, Michael walks out into the Old Town with its castle and palace linked by the Royal Mile. He climbs to the city’s highest point, Arthur’s Seat, for a paleontologist’s story of settlement in the region from 7,000 years ago. Neither she nor Michael will forget the name of her favourite fossil, which is tattooed on her fingers.

At Holyrood House, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland, Michael visits the scene of a grisly 16th-century murder, which was the stuff of myth in his childhood. Mary Queen of Scots’ secretary, David Rizzio, was murdered by her husband and fellow lords in front of Mary in her private apartments. The palace building, its location and the historical events that took place within its walls help Michael to understand how royal power continues to be asserted in Scotland.

MON 19:30 Secrets of Bones (b03yfqj6)
Food for Thought

Ben Garrod uncovers the secrets of how vertebrates capture and devour their food using extreme jaws, bizarre teeth and specialised bony tools. He takes a cherry picker up a sperm whale's jaw and finds out which animal has teeth weighing five kilos each and which uses its skull as a suction pump. Ben gets his own skull scanned and 3D-printed to discover how diet in humans isn't just affecting our waistlines but is also changing the shape of our bones.

MON 20:00 Treasures of the Indus (p02qvb6j)
Pakistan Unveiled

This is the story of the Indian subcontinent told through the treasures of three very different people, places and dynasties that have shaped the modern Indian world.

All too often, Pakistan is portrayed as a country of bombs, beards and burkhas. The view of it as a monolithic Muslim state is even embodied in the name of the country, 'the Islamic Republic of Pakistan'.

Yet, as Sona Datta shows, it used to be the meeting point for many different faiths from around the world and has an intriguing multicultural past - a past about which it is to some extent in denial. It also produced some extraordinary and little-known works of art which Sona, from her work as a curator at the British Museum, explores and explains.

MON 21:00 Murder on the Victorian Railway (b01pjt19)
London 1864. On a Hackney bound train, a guard discovers blood in a first-class carriage - and a body on the railway embankment. For the first time, a murder has taken place on Britain's railways. Over a hundred years later, this single documentary for BBC Two uses the first-hand testimony of the people involved at the time to explore this unique event and how it provoked a huge public outcry and debate.

The story quickly became a news sensation as the dangers of the brave new world of the train were laid bare. Over a hundred years later, the witnesses to this story may be long dead but their words survive in court transcripts, memoirs, letters and vivid journalism. These testimonies are now used to tell the story, taking the documentary deep into the 19th century to meet an extraordinary cross section of real-life Victorian London - from the engine driver who found the body to the detective in charge of the investigation. Who killed Mr Briggs?

MON 22:00 Naples '44 (b09gvjc2)
In late 1943, Norman Lewis was posted by the British Intelligence Corps to newly liberated Naples. He arrived to witness a city devastated by fascism, bombings, Nazi occupation and the Allied invasion. Written 30 years later, his remarkable memoir evocatively captures the resilience and resourcefulness of the city in the desperate months following the Nazis' withdrawal.

Director Francesco Patierno combines extracts from this account, read by Benedict Cumberbatch, with powerful archival footage and clips from films set in Naples in the 50s and 60s, to portray a war-torn and once-dynamic city returning to life.

MON 23:20 Colouring Light: Brian Clarke - An Artist Apart (b0162yc0)
Brian Clarke is one of Britain's hidden treasures. A painter of striking large canvases and the designer of some of the most exciting stained glass in the world today, he is better known abroad - especially in Germany and Switzerland - than in his own country and more widely recognised among critics, collectors and gallery owners than he is by the general public.

In this visually striking documentary portrait made by award-winning film-maker Mark Kidel, Clarke returns to Lancashire where he grew up as a prodigy in a working class family and charts his meteoric rise during the punk years and eventual success as a stained glass artist working with some of the world's great architects, including Norman Foster and Arata Isozaki - and producing spectacular work in Japan, Brazil, the USA and Europe.

Contributors include his close friend and architect Zaha Hadid, architect Peter Cook and art historian Martin Harrison.

MON 00:20 The Ascent of Man (m001p2xc)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:20 on Sunday]

MON 01:10 The Ascent of Man (b0074sdz)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:10 on Sunday]

MON 02:00 Great Coastal Railway Journeys (m0013x98)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

MON 02:30 Secrets of Bones (b03yfqj6)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

MON 03:00 Treasures of the Indus (p02qvb6j)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


TUE 19:00 Great Coastal Railway Journeys (m0013xc9)
Series 1

Leith to Culross

Michael Portillo continues his 300-mile Scottish coastal journey along the Firth of Forth at the railway engineering icon for which it is famous throughout the world – the Forth Bridge. A highlight for rail travellers, Michael remembers his delight in the crossing as a child visiting his Scottish grandparents.

On the firth’s southern bank, Michael stops in the port of Leith to tour the Royal Yacht Britannia. Now decommissioned, she is moored as an attraction. Michael is fascinated to hear how guests were entertained on board and is happy to recall an experience of his own concerning the fate of the world-famous vessel.

Heading west along the coast to Bo’ness, Michael savours the smuts puffing from the chimney of the Caledonian Blue locomotive belonging to the heritage Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway. The enthusiasm of the volunteers who run the line is infectious.

The next stop is in the Forth Valley close to Falkirk, where the Forth and Clyde Canal meets the River Carron and two 300-tonne steel sculptures tower over a vast eco-park. Michael is introduced to the Kelpies, Duke and Baron, by their creator, sculptor Andy Scott, who joins him on a video call from the United States.

Michael crosses the River Forth at Stirling, heading east to Alloa on the northern bank. One of Scotland’s oldest industries continues here today – glass manufacture. Michael tours a vast bottle-making plant staffed by generation upon generation of glass workers in a 270-year-old factory.

Travelling downstream to Culross, Michael discovers the railway - now freight only - runs along the waterfront because coastal strips of land such as this were flat and therefore relatively cheap. It cut the village from its foreshore. In Culross, Michael discovers a wonderfully preserved palace and recreated 16th-century garden.

TUE 19:30 Secrets of Bones (b03z05zx)

Ben Garrod seeks out the big part that bones can play in reproduction. Through sexual selection, the skeleton has adapted to aid courtship, competition and even copulation. On his travels, Ben meets baseball players, drops a 10kg weight on a sheep's skull and finds out that by not having a penis bone humans are very much in the minority.

TUE 20:00 Hancock's Half Hour (p032khzr)
The Cruise

Hancock and Sid decide to go on a relaxing cruise in search of romance. Hancock becomes convinced the ship is sinking, and the captain has to take drastic measures.

TUE 20:30 Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? (b0077kqp)
Series 1

End of an Era

The day of the wedding dawns, and the women are racing around getting ready for the big event. Meanwhile, Terry has his hands full looking after a nervous Bob.

TUE 21:00 John Le Mesurier: It's All Been Rather Lovely (b01gybpn)
Michael Palin, Clive Dunn and Ian Lavender are among those who contribute to this candid portrait of actor John Le Mesurier, from his turbulent marriage to Hattie Jacques to his life-changing role as Sergeant Wilson in Dad's Army.

TUE 22:00 Timeshift (b06jnzjx)
Series 15

The People's Liners - Britain's Lost Pleasure Fleets

Timeshift casts off for a colourful voyage of 'high teas on the high seas' in the company of passengers and crew of the vintage steamers which were once a common sight on the rivers and coastal waters around Britain.

Far more than a means of transport, these steamers attracted a devoted following, treating their passengers, whatever their pocket, to the adventure and trappings of an ocean voyage whilst actually rarely venturing out of sight of land. A highlight of the great British seaside holiday from the 1820s until the early 1960s - and open to all - they were 'the people's liners'.

TUE 23:00 Origins of Us (p00jjjyz)

Dr Alice Roberts explores how our species, Homo sapiens, developed its large brain and asks why humans are the only ape of its kind left on the planet today.

The evolution of the human mind is one of the greatest mysteries. It is the basis of religion, philosophy and science. We are special because of our extraordinary brains, and to understand why we think and act the way we do, we need to look at where and why our brains evolved.

The Rift Valley in Kenya is thought to be the crucible of human evolution, and here Alice examines the fossils in our family tree which reveal our brains have more than quadrupled in size since our ancestors split from chimpanzees. Research investigating sediments and rocks laid down during the period of greatest brain growth suggests a fluctuating environment may have played a part. Drawing on research on social politics in chimpanzees, the cognitive development of children and the tools that have been found littered across the Rift Valley, Alice explores how and why our ancestors brains became so big.

Successive species of increasingly large-brained humans migrated around the world - from Homo erectus to heidelbergensis, the Neanderthals to us. It has always been assumed the reason that Homo sapiens succeeded where others failed is to do with our large brains. Comparing skulls it's clear Neanderthals had just as big a brain as us, so why is there only us left? Alice goes to meet Svante Paabo, who is decoding the Neanderthal and human genome, and Clive Finlayson, who is unearthing the Neanderthals' final settlement, to try to find out.

TUE 00:00 Colouring Light: Brian Clarke - An Artist Apart (b0162yc0)
[Repeat of broadcast at 23:20 on Monday]

TUE 01:00 Great Coastal Railway Journeys (m0013xc9)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

TUE 01:30 Secrets of Bones (b03z05zx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

TUE 02:00 Timeshift (b06jnzjx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]


WED 19:00 Great Coastal Railway Journeys (m0013wzf)
Series 1

Stirling to East Neuk

Michael Portillo begins this leg of his Scottish railway journey in the beautiful medieval city of Stirling. Michael learns it was a strategic city, situated where the Lowlands meet the Highlands at the lowest bridging point of the River Forth. At a towering monument overlooking the river, Michael hears how, in 1297, William Wallace inflicted a shocking defeat on the English army at Stirling Bridge, and he learns of Edward I’s brutal revenge in 1305. Michael is struck by the emotional power these events retain seven centuries later.

Travelling across country to the River Tay, Michael discovers the fair city of Perth, the historic crowning place of the kings of Scotland. At Scone Palace, now the seat of the Earls of Mansfield, Michael meets William Murray, Viscount Stormont, who is the eldest son of the current Earl, to learn about the Stone of Scone, its seizure and return – ultimately – by the English.

As evening draws in, Michael heads for the banks of the Tay for a magical sunset canoe trip to spot beavers, who are now thriving here once again.

Kirkcaldy is Michael’s next stop, a station he knows well, having travelled here often to visit his Scottish grandparents in the town. Revisiting the beach where he played with his brothers, Michael meets a photographer who kindly takes a snap for the family album.

Tracking along the northern shores of the Firth of Forth, Michael admires the picturesque fishing villages. At St Monan’s, he discovers the old industry o salt-making is being revived, and it tastes good!

WED 19:30 Secrets of Skin (m000cdzl)
Series 1


Skin is an incredible, multi-function organ that science is still learning so much about. It has adapted to allow animals to conquer virtually every habitat on the planet.

In this episode, Professor Ben Garrod reveals some ground-breaking new science and amazing, specialist, factual insight as he discovers how human skin is an ecosystem in its own right, playing host to demodex mites, that might redefine our understanding of human ancestry. He explores the new science that could pave the way for re-engineering human skin on amputations to make it more robust. And he reveals how keratin, a protein that is a key component of skin and that makes up our hair and nails, has been taken to the extreme by some animals including pangolins and horses.

Skin is the body’s largest organ and all vertebrates share the same basic blue print. Adaptations in the three main layers, the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutaneous fat layers have allowed vertebrates to thrive in virtually every habitat on earth.

WED 20:00 Patagonia: Earth's Secret Paradise (b06dpmyr)
Fire and Ice

Patagonia invites you into a rarely seen South American wilderness, home to surprising creatures who survive in environments that range from the mighty Andes Mountains to Cape Horn.

Discover the secret lives of pumas and hummingbirds. Soar with condors over glacial peaks and explore monkey puzzle forests from the time of dinosaurs. Ride with extreme kayakers over raging waterfalls, and with Patagonia's cowboys - the gauchos - as they round up wild horses.

WED 21:00 Immortal Egypt with Joann Fletcher (b06yjrgg)

In the third episode, Joann explores the magnificent Colossi of Memnon, built under Egypt's greatest pharaoh - Amenhotep III.

Joann explores the dizzying heights of Egypt's civilisation and the lives of the workers and artisans caught up in Egypt's most ambitious building project: the Valley of the Kings. But this golden age is threatened by the growing power of Karnak's priests. When Amenhotep's successors Akhenaten and Nefertiti strike back at the priests with a religious rebellion, it is their son Tutankhamen who tries to rectify it.

By finding clues in Tutankhamen's treasure, Joann reveals how his early death was a chance for Egypt to start afresh and rewrite history. With the country restored to its former glory, Egypt's fate lay in the hands of Theban priest kings. Joann retraces their final act of desecration - decades of state-sanctioned looting of the Valley of the Kings. This lays Egypt bare, making way for a new era of foreign invaders.

WED 22:00 imagine... (b01rt50j)
David Bowie: Cracked Actor

To mark David Bowie's comeback album and a new exhibition at the V&A, Alan Yentob looks back at his legendary 1975 documentary, Cracked Actor. The film follows Bowie during the Diamond Dogs tour of 1974.

Alan Yentob says, 'I'd caught him at what was an intensely creative time, but it was also physically and emotionally gruelling. Our encounters tended to take place in hotel rooms in the early hours of the morning or in snatched conversations in the back of limousines. He was fragile and exhausted, but also prepared to open up and talk in a way he had never really done before.'

Cracked Actor has become one of the classic rock documentaries of all time, remaining an enduring influence on generations of Bowie fans.

WED 22:55 Zoë Wanamaker Remembers... Bowie and Baal (m001p2z8)
Zoë Wanamaker remembers the 1982 BBC adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s first play, Baal, in which she appeared with David Bowie.

WED 23:05 Baal with David Bowie (m001p2zc)
Bertolt Brecht's first play, set in pre-World War I Germany, depicts scenes from the life of an amoral poet-singer ruthlessly devoted to his own talent. He loves nature and the universe passionately but is coldly indifferent to all ordinary human feeling, with devastating results.

WED 00:10 Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist (m0009v35)
Dame Vivienne Westwood is punk rock’s grande dame. This one-time agent provocateur became the doyenne of British fashion, an eco-conscious Boudicca and one of the most influential originators in recent history.

This film reflects on her extraordinary career from her early uphill struggle to success, and looks closely at her artistry, her activism and her cultural significance. Blending iconic archive and newly shot observational footage, this era-defining yet intimate origins story is told in Vivienne’s own words, and through touching interviews with her inner circle of family, friends and collaborators.

This is the first film to encompass the remarkable story of one of the icons of our time, as she fights to maintain her brand’s integrity, her principles - and her legacy.

WED 01:30 Great Coastal Railway Journeys (m0013wzf)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

WED 02:00 Secrets of Skin (m000cdzl)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

WED 02:30 Immortal Egypt with Joann Fletcher (b06yjrgg)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


THU 19:00 Great Coastal Railway Journeys (m0013xhv)
Series 1

St Andrews to Stonehaven

Michael Portillo reaches Leuchars, known today on the railways as Leuchars for St Andrews. Scotland’s oldest university, St Andrews is located on a beautiful beachfront. Michael joins scientists from the Sea Mammal Research Unit on the sandbanks to see how tagging technology allows them to track seals when they are out at sea. Surprising results reveal how seals are learning that rich pickings can be found at the base of wind turbines. And next-generation gadgets are being developed that will monitor a seal’s vital signs much like a smart watch.

Heading north to Dundee, Michael crosses the Firth of Tay on the spectacular Tay Railway Bridge. He finds a city buzzing with enterprise, where the new industry transforming Dundee is video games. At a former jute transit shed, Michael discovers one of the best-selling video games of all time was developed here, and more are in the pipeline.

Fifty miles north, Michael stops next at the harbour town of Stonehaven, which has found a place on the culinary map. Michael meets the owner of a fish and chip shop which has earned around 80 awards and finds he has encountered the former naval engineer once before.

A mile from Stonehaven Bay, Michael braves the windswept coastline by the Dunnicaer Sea Stack to find out about the Picts, or painted people, of north and east Scotland, whose kingdom was the largest in Scotland during the Dark Ages.

THU 19:30 Secrets of Skin (m000cdzr)
Series 1


What makes sharks built for speed? How do snakes move without limbs? How do sugar gliders fly without feathers? The answer all lies in their skin.

Professor Ben Garrod uncovers the secrets of how skin has evolved to enable animals to solve some of the most remarkable challenges on Earth. To do this, Ben heads to the specialist flight centre at the Royal Veterinary College to analyse the way a sugar glider uses its skin flaps to stay aloft. He goes diving with sharks at the Blue Planet Aquarium and discovers that, far from being smooth, sharkskin is incredibly rough. It is covered with thousands of tiny teeth that make a shark hydrodynamic.

Ben also finds out how the keratinised scales on snakes' bellies are the perfect configuration to allow them to move over virtually any surface they encounter.

THU 20:00 Shipwrecks: Britain's Sunken History (b03lytyp)
Civilising the Sea

Shipwrecks are the nightmare we have forgotten - the price Britain paid for ruling the waves from an island surrounded by treacherous rocks. The result is a coastline that is home to the world's highest concentration of sunken ships. But shipwrecks also changed the course of British history, helped shape our national character and drove innovations in seafaring technology, as well as gripping our imagination.

The terrible toll taken by shipwrecks was such that in the winter of 1820 some 20,000 seaman lost their lives in the North Sea alone. That's 20 jumbo jets. But in the final part of his series, maritime historian Sam Willis tells the stirring story of how the Victorians were finally driven into action, finding various ingenious solutions - from rockets that could fire rescue lines aboard stricken vessels to lifejackets, lifeboats and the Plimsoll Line, which outlawed overloading.

In Africa, he traces the legend of the Birkenhead Drill - the origin of 'women and children first'. Decorum even in disaster was the new Victorian way and it was conspicuously on hand to turn history's most iconic shipwreck - Titanic - into a tragic monument to British restraint.

THU 21:00 Braveheart (m0015yt8)
In the 14th century, Scotland is choking under the iron rule of England's tyrannical king, Edward Longshanks. Only one man is prepared to risk everything to stem the English tide: William Wallace, fiery rebel and hero of the common man, driven by a passionate grief for his murdered wife and the undying belief in the freedom of his beloved country.

THU 23:45 Murder on the Victorian Railway (b01pjt19)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Monday]

THU 00:45 Great Coastal Railway Journeys (m0013xhv)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

THU 01:15 Secrets of Skin (m000cdzr)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

THU 01:45 Patagonia: Earth's Secret Paradise (b06dpmyr)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 on Wednesday]

THU 02:45 Shipwrecks: Britain's Sunken History (b03lytyp)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


FRI 19:00 Top of the Pops (b09x5z3q)
Gary Davies and Dixie Peach present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 25 July 1985. Featuring Madonna, Feargal Sharkey, The Cure, Dire Straits and Eurythmics.

FRI 19:30 Top of the Pops (b01mfhr1)
Noel Edmonds presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 28 July 1977 and featuring Steve Gibbons Band, Showaddywaddy, Dana, Thin Lizzy, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Boney M, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Rita Coolidge and a Legs & Co dance sequence.

FRI 20:00 BBC Proms (m001p2y3)

Bollywood at the Proms

Celebrating the musical legacy of Bollywood, the Proms pays tribute to Lata Mangeshkar, the voice behind the hit songs that defined Indian cinema’s greatest films.

Superstar singers Palak and Palash Muchhal, plus Indian classical musicians and Bollywood dancers, join forces with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in a glorious musical fusion that commemorates more than five decades of the late playback singer’s stellar career.

On a night when the Royal Albert Hall takes on the spirit of Mumbai, presenter Nikki Bedi and special guests honour Lata’s impact across generations, cultures and continents.

FRI 22:00 David Bowie at the BBC (b01k0y0t)
David Bowie in concert at the BBC Radio Theatre. Songs include Wild Is the Wind, Ashes to Ashes, Absolute Beginners, The Man Who Sold the World and Fame.

FRI 23:00 Radio 2 Live (m0008k88)
Hyde Park Headliners

Pet Shop Boys: Live in Hyde Park

Live coverage of Pet Shop Boys’ headline set at Radio 2 Live In Hyde Park. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe are the most successful duo in UK music history. Having achieved 42 top 30 singles in the UK since 1985, there is no shortage of hits for them to choose from as they play their only UK gig of the year in front of more than 40,000 festivalgoers. Keep an eye out for a mystery guest artist.

FRI 00:30 Radio 2 In Concert (m000b8jt)
Jeff Lynne's ELO

Jo Whiley introduces an intimate performance filmed in early November at the BBC Radio Theatre in London as part of 2019’s Radio 2 In Concerts.

Jeff Lynne’s ELO recently celebrated their first No 1 studio album in 38 years with From Out Of Nowhere, an album described as ‘creamy harmonies and good-natured pop, firmly in the lineage of classic ELO’. Expect a handful of tracks from it in this very special show as well as many of those classic songs from their much loved back catalogue including Evil Woman, Livin’ Thing and, of course, Mr Blue Sky.

FRI 01:30 Top of the Pops (b09x5z3q)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

FRI 02:00 Top of the Pops (b01mfhr1)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

FRI 02:30 David Bowie at the BBC (b01k0y0t)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]

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

Arena 23:40 SAT (b009w2yc)

BBC Proms 20:00 SUN (m001p2ys)

BBC Proms 20:00 FRI (m001p2y3)

Baal with David Bowie 23:05 WED (m001p2zc)

Beck 21:00 SAT (p0fqlz6c)

Being Beethoven 19:00 SUN (m000kqq2)

Being Beethoven 23:00 SUN (m000kxl2)

Being Beethoven 02:30 SUN (m000kqq2)

Blankety Blank Classic 22:30 SAT (m001p8hz)

Blankety Blank Classic 01:40 SAT (m001p8hz)

Braveheart 21:00 THU (m0015yt8)

Colouring Light: Brian Clarke - An Artist Apart 23:20 MON (b0162yc0)

Colouring Light: Brian Clarke - An Artist Apart 00:00 TUE (b0162yc0)

David Bowie at the BBC 22:00 FRI (b01k0y0t)

David Bowie at the BBC 02:30 FRI (b01k0y0t)

Great Coastal Railway Journeys 19:00 MON (m0013x98)

Great Coastal Railway Journeys 02:00 MON (m0013x98)

Great Coastal Railway Journeys 19:00 TUE (m0013xc9)

Great Coastal Railway Journeys 01:00 TUE (m0013xc9)

Great Coastal Railway Journeys 19:00 WED (m0013wzf)

Great Coastal Railway Journeys 01:30 WED (m0013wzf)

Great Coastal Railway Journeys 19:00 THU (m0013xhv)

Great Coastal Railway Journeys 00:45 THU (m0013xhv)

Hancock's Half Hour 00:35 SAT (m001nwyj)

Hancock's Half Hour 20:00 TUE (p032khzr)

How the Wild West Was Won with Ray Mears 20:00 SAT (b044z1k0)

How the Wild West Was Won with Ray Mears 01:30 SUN (b044z1k0)

Immortal Egypt with Joann Fletcher 21:00 WED (b06yjrgg)

Immortal Egypt with Joann Fletcher 02:30 WED (b06yjrgg)

John Le Mesurier: It's All Been Rather Lovely 21:00 TUE (b01gybpn)

Murder on the Victorian Railway 21:00 MON (b01pjt19)

Murder on the Victorian Railway 23:45 THU (b01pjt19)

Naples '44 22:00 MON (b09gvjc2)

Origins of Us 23:00 TUE (p00jjjyz)

Our Coast 19:00 SAT (m000f1v5)

Our Coast 02:45 SAT (m000f1v5)

Parkinson: The Interviews 23:00 SAT (b01f7x12)

Parkinson: The Interviews 02:10 SAT (b01f7x12)

Patagonia: Earth's Secret Paradise 20:00 WED (b06dpmyr)

Patagonia: Earth's Secret Paradise 01:45 THU (b06dpmyr)

Radio 2 In Concert 00:30 FRI (m000b8jt)

Radio 2 Live 23:00 FRI (m0008k88)

Secrets of Bones 19:30 MON (b03yfqj6)

Secrets of Bones 02:30 MON (b03yfqj6)

Secrets of Bones 19:30 TUE (b03z05zx)

Secrets of Bones 01:30 TUE (b03z05zx)

Secrets of Skin 19:30 WED (m000cdzl)

Secrets of Skin 02:00 WED (m000cdzl)

Secrets of Skin 19:30 THU (m000cdzr)

Secrets of Skin 01:15 THU (m000cdzr)

Shipwrecks: Britain's Sunken History 20:00 THU (b03lytyp)

Shipwrecks: Britain's Sunken History 02:45 THU (b03lytyp)

Storyville 00:00 SUN (m000nwrq)

The Ascent of Man 21:20 SUN (m001p2xc)

The Ascent of Man 22:10 SUN (b0074sdz)

The Ascent of Man 00:20 MON (m001p2xc)

The Ascent of Man 01:10 MON (b0074sdz)

Timeshift 22:00 TUE (b06jnzjx)

Timeshift 02:00 TUE (b06jnzjx)

Top of the Pops 19:00 FRI (b09x5z3q)

Top of the Pops 19:30 FRI (b01mfhr1)

Top of the Pops 01:30 FRI (b09x5z3q)

Top of the Pops 02:00 FRI (b01mfhr1)

Treasures of the Indus 20:00 MON (p02qvb6j)

Treasures of the Indus 03:00 MON (p02qvb6j)

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist 00:10 WED (m0009v35)

Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? 01:05 SAT (b0077kmd)

Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? 20:30 TUE (b0077kqp)

Zoë Wanamaker Remembers... Bowie and Baal 22:55 WED (m001p2z8)

imagine... 22:00 WED (b01rt50j)