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.

Radio-Lists Home Now on BBC 4 Contact

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 Ray Mears's Northern Wilderness (b00nnltl)
The Forgotten Forest

Ray Mears goes on an epic adventure into Canada's unforgiving, yet stunning wilderness.

His journey begins in the vast boreal forest at the heart of Canada. This is a place where knowledge and experience are still far more important than the equipment you carry, a place left alone for centuries before Europeans arrived.

Ray explores the wonder of this special forest, learns about the people who called it home and unlocks the secrets of this forgotten world. This is a land where knowledge of bushcraft is not just desirable, it is essential.

SAT 21:00 DNA (p0g6mq12)
Series 2


Rolf tries to build a relationship with his daughter in Paris but is warned to stay away.

SAT 21:45 DNA (p0g6mr9f)
Series 2


Mario is sold into hard labour but plans an escape.

SAT 22:25 Parkinson (m001q7h0)
Parkinson Meets George Michael

First transmitted in 1998. A candid interview in which pop megastar George Michael opens up to Michael Parkinson on topics such as his childhood, his early musical career as half of Wham! and his arrest in Hollywood in April 1997.

SAT 23:20 Parkinson: The Interviews (m000mmjp)
Series 2

Ingrid Bergman

Michael Parkinson looks back on his meeting with Ingrid Bergman - an actress he confesses to falling in love with the first time he saw her on screen at his local cinema.

SAT 23:50 Oppenheimer (p0g3jfzb)
Series 1

Episode 5

May 1945: The war in Europe is over, but the fight against Japan continues. Oppenheimer is called to discuss with the secretary of war the use of the nearly completed atomic bomb. But does he share his colleagues' misgivings?

SAT 00:50 Oppenheimer (p0g3jkkm)
Series 1

Episode 6

1949: Following his success as father of the atom bomb, Oppenheimer is now a top government adviser with the Atomic Energy Commission. But the McCarthy witch-hunts have begun, and the Oppenheimer family, with their left-wing connections, number among the first targets.

SAT 01:50 Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em (b0077srf)
Series 1

Have a Break, Take a Husband

Classic comedy series with one-man disaster area Frank Spencer. Frank and Betty go away for a second honeymoon. Can it be as disastrous as their first?

SAT 02:20 Yes, Minister (b00783yw)
Series 1

The Economy Drive

Sitcom about a British government minister and the advisers who surround him. Jim Hacker wants to implement some cost-cutting initiatives - but Sir Humphrey does not approve.

SAT 02:50 Our Coast (m000f1v5)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]


SUN 19:00 BBC Proms (b00y2w0v)

Mozart at the Proms

Two memorable performances of Mozart concertos from the Proms in 2006, the year which marked the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth, played by two outstanding soloists.

A teenage Julian Bliss deftly delivers a virtuoso display in the Clarinet Concerto, and American pianist Richard Goode gives an insightful performance of Mozart's dramatic Piano Concerto No 23. Accompanying both soloists is the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jiri Belohlavek.

SUN 20:00 BBC Proms (m001q1zq)

Mindful Mix at the Proms

Mindful Mix at the Proms offers an evening of exquisite harmonies, tranquil tones and soothing soundscapes from a gloriously lit Royal Albert Hall.

The perfectly blended vocals of VOCES8, one of Britain’s leading a cappella groups, seamlessly bring together music from Radiohead, American composers Eric Whitacre and Philip Glass, and 450-year-old English choral music by William Byrd, in a concert designed to nourish the soul - also featuring the world premiere of Roxanna Panufnik’s Floral Tribute in memory of the late Queen Elizabeth II. The Carducci String Quartet, harpist Ruby Aspinall and Norwegian pianist and composer Ola Gjeilo complete the line-up of artists bringing their magic to an evening of restful musical meditation. Switch on and relax.

SUN 21:15 The Great Mountain Sheep Gather (m000hb4r)
Scafell Pike is England’s tallest mountain and home to a flock of native Herdwick sheep. Every summer, their shepherd must gather these notoriously hardy sheep and bring them down to the farm for shearing.

The Great Mountain Sheep Gather charts this journey across the fells with epic bird’s-eye view photography descending into the valley below. This timeless event has taken place in the Lake District for over a thousand years. Opening at dawn with the shepherd blindly navigating the foggy peaks and crags, this film reveals the skill, knowledge and bravery needed to care for a flock in this rugged land.

As the fog lifts to expose the breathtaking landscape, and the small pockets of sheep merge into one big group, the voice of Lakeland shepherd Andrew Harrison allows us to see this unique world through his eyes – the knowledge of the dogs, farmers and sheep passed down from generation to generation for centuries, the challenges of life in the fells, and the conflict posed by visitors and the 21st century.

Specially commissioned poetry written by Mark Pajak and read by Maxine Peake provides a counterpoint to the shepherd’s insights throughout this film. The programme’s unique visual perspective includes riding along on a dog, a sheep and with the shepherd himself. The bleats, barks and birdsong echoing down the valley create an evocative natural soundtrack.

Once the flock has assembled as one, this immersive chronicle follows the group as they descend and are greeted by sunshine and a sense of relief once they arrive at the farm. Five hundred sheep must now be sheared - the tale of a shepherd’s life.

SUN 22:55 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 23:50 The Ascent of Man (p0g1kmrl)
Knowledge or Certainty?

Dr Jacob Bronowski considers how the great achievement of physics in the 20th century has been to show that absolute certainty, in science or outside of it, is beyond our grasp.

SUN 00:40 The Ascent of Man (p0g1knv4)
Generation upon Generation

Dr Jacob Bronowski follows the history of genetics, from the lonely experiments of Gregor Mendel to the discovery of the structure of DNA. Should we see human sexuality as a gift?

SUN 01:30 Arena (m001px5t)
The Many Lives of Richard Attenborough: Part 1

Two-part Arena special celebrating the life and distinguished career of one of Britain's best-loved public figures. Lord Attenborough's film CV as actor stretches from Brighton Rock to Jurassic Park, while as director he has been responsible for Oh! What a Lovely War, Shadowlands and Gandhi. He has also been integral to the work of many charities, while his support for minority groups has led to the building of a Centre for Disability and the Arts. Part one examines his early career and follows Attenborough as he visits his childhood home, travels to Brighton and Hove, and reminisces with brothers John and Sir David.

SUN 02:30 Arena (m001px64)
The Many Lives of Richard Attenborough: Part 2

The conclusion to this two-part profile looks at Attenborough's career as Britain's most distinguished film director, whose biopic Ghandi won eight Oscars in 1982, including best director. It also explores his other lives as chancellor of Sussex University and vice-president of Chelsea FC, and examines the political commitment behind films such as Cry Freedom and 10 Rillington Place.


MON 19:00 Great Coastal Railway Journeys (m0014bjb)
Series 1

Tynemouth to Bardon Mill

The stunning coastline of Northumberland is the setting for Michael Portillo’s rail adventure from the city of Newcastle to England’s northernmost town, Berwick-upon-Tweed. Travelling aboard the metro, the East Coast Main Line and the Tyne Valley line, Michael marvels at the scenery and admires the architectural and engineering legacy of the railways in the region where they were invented.

His route takes in the River Tyne, Hadrian’s Wall, a former mining village and the fishing port of Amble. Along the way, Michael visits Bamburgh Castle and the holy island of Lindisfarne.

In Tynemouth, Michael discovers one of the most treacherous coastlines in Britain and hears of a 19th-century tragedy at sea that inspired 140 local men to set up a coastal rescue service. The Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade trained rescuers to operate an ingenious apparatus called a breeches buoy from the shore. Michael finds out how it works and enjoys a pint and a sea shanty with long-serving volunteers.

At Long Sands beach, Michael rolls up his sleeves to help volunteers caring for sick and injured seals at the Tynemouth Aquarium Seal Hospital. A young pup called Gandalf needs to have his temperature taken.

From Newcastle Central, Michael boards The Passage to India train service, a curry express, which takes him 20 miles along the Tyne Valley line to the station house at Corbridge, now an Indian restaurant.

Back on the Tyne Valley line, Michael's train traces the course of the mighty Hadrian’s Wall. At Bardon Mill, he discovers some of the richest Roman archaeological sites in Britain at Vindolanda. Michael joins volunteer excavators to hear about some of their intriguing finds.

MON 19:30 Climbing Great Buildings (b00tr6k2)
Lincoln Cathedral

Dr Jonathan Foyle, architectural historian and novice climber, scales Britain's most iconic structures, from the Normans to the present day, to reveal the buildings' secrets and tell the story of how our architecture and construction has developed over 1,000 years.

The next step of Jonathan's journey takes him to Lincoln Cathedral, built in 1183. Once the tallest building in Britain, Lincoln Cathedral is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the country.

With unprecedented access, Jonathan - aided by top climber Lucy Creamer - scales the cathedral to reveal the skill and innovation of the medieval Gothic builders and craftsmen. On his climbs, Jonathan is suspended 100ft above the nave to get a unique cinematic view of the immense Dean's Eye stained-glass window; meets an evil imp and a riot of monsters; and faces his biggest climbing challenge yet as he scales the exterior walls of the cathedral's central tower - all 272 feet of it.

MON 20:00 Digging for Britain (m0013fc4)
Series 9

Episode 6

The north of England is so rich in archaeological finds that Alice Roberts is travelling back there once again to reveal more of its fascinating history.

She starts this journey at that most spectacular of Roman monuments, Hadrian’s Wall. Alice is on site to witness a new dig at the famous Birdoswald Fort, once home to around 800 Roman infantrymen. She joins a team from Newcastle University as they uncover a completely new building, alluded to in the 1930s but never fully excavated until now.

Next, we travel further north to learn more about the so-called barbarians that the Romans were so worried about. The dig is on the shores of the Moray Firth, where archaeologists are uncovering a fort which once belonged to the Picts. A wealth of new evidence suggests that far from being barbaric savages, they were a sophisticated people who were perhaps far more educated than anyone has given them credit for.

Alice also visits the town of Rochdale in Lancashire, just ten miles outside Manchester, where a huge community dig is altering our understanding of the Industrial Revolution. Alice meets local families who are digging beneath the spectacular Gothic town hall to uncover the remains of terraces and tenement blocks that housed the working men and women of Rochdale, shedding new light on the way industrialisation changed our towns and cities.

In Northern Ireland, another community dig highlights a particularly dark period of recent history, the Great Famine of the mid-19th century. For the first time in Northern Ireland, a team are excavating one of the island of Ireland’s many famine roads. These were roads built by the starving population. Often going nowhere, they were part of a misguided attempt by the British government to boost Irish infrastructure and support the hungry by forcing them to build roads in exchange for money to buy food. Historian Onyeka Nubia travels to London to search for evidence that might explain the British government’s reasoning for what turned out to be a futile relief effort.

Back in Scotland, a new tramline being built from Edinburgh to Leith gives archaeologists the opportunity to study and preserve hundreds of skeletons unearthed at a graveyard dating back to 1300. This dig throws new light on the residents of Leith as they lived through 500 years of Scotland’s history. In the Digging for Britain tent, archaeologist John Lawson brings in one skeleton with a unique set of injuries, and an incredible facial reconstruction brings her vividly to life.

Finally, a once-in-a-lifetime find under a golf course sets archaeological pulses racing as a Bronze Age wooden coffin is remarkably preserved in the waterlogged soil 3,000 years after it was buried.

MON 21:00 Oceans Apart: Art and the Pacific with James Fox (b0bkytn4)
Series 1


Continuing his exploration of the collision of the West and Pacific culture, James Fox explores how, ever since Captain Cook's voyages 250 years ago, the West has created a myth of Polynesia as paradise and, in doing so, destroyed the riches of indigenous culture.

He travels across the Pacific to uncover the sites and masterpieces of pre-contact Polynesian art, from the religious complex Taputapuatea on the island of Raiatea to the feathered 'Ku' heads from Hawaii, testament to the rich and sophisticated societies that once lived there. Yet, when Europeans encountered these cultures, waves of explorers, missionaries and colonisers destroyed what they didn't understand and appropriated what was left.

James Fox shows how, from Captain Cook's time onward, these islands were re-imagined as a paradise with women available to be exploited. It's an idea he traces from the Arcadian landscapes depicted by Cook's on-board artist, William Hodges, through the art of Paul Gauguin and on to the tacky holiday idyll of modern Hawaii. And yet, James Fox finds, some indigenous artists are fighting back, reviving the traditional cultures of Polynesia and using art to protest against the objectification of its women.

MON 22:00 Royal History’s Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley (m000fj9c)
Series 1

The Reformation

Lucy Worsley discovers how the history of the English Reformation has been manipulated and mythologised by generations of politicians and writers. It’s usually portrayed as a lusty royal soap opera. But Lucy reveals that it was about far more than just a randy king in pursuit of a younger wife and a long-awaited male heir.

Henry’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon, a Catholic, created a religious and political schism between England and Europe that can be still be felt in Britain today. It also laid the foundations for our modern constitution and economic power as an empire.

But this fundamental shift in our cultural, political and economic fortunes wasn’t driven by Henry VIII’s Protestant zeal. Lucy begins by demolishing one of the founding myths about the English Reformation: far from being a ready ally of Martin Luther’s Protestant revolution, Henry remained a Catholic to his death. It was his wife Anne Boleyn and his fixer Thomas Cromwell who championed the Protestant cause.

MON 23:00 Victorian Sensations (m0005pr9)
Series 1

Seeing and Believing

In the final episode of this series, psychotherapist Philippa Perry time-travels back to the 1890s to explore how the late Victorian passion for science co-existed with a deeply held belief in the paranormal. Using a collection of rare and restored Victorian films from the BFI National Archive, she shows how the latest media innovations made use of contemporary ideas of ghosts and the afterlife, and how this new media anticipated today’s networked world.

MON 00:00 Berlin 1945 (m000p9tg)
Series 1

Episode 2

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.

MON 00:50 Great Coastal Railway Journeys (m0014bjb)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

MON 01:20 Climbing Great Buildings (b00tr6k2)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

MON 01:50 Digging for Britain (m0013fc4)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

MON 02:50 Royal History’s Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley (m000fj9c)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]


TUE 19:00 Secret Life of Farm Animals (b0btpf6z)
Series 1


It’s springtime on the farm and the focus is on sheep.

We follow the first 12 weeks of a lamb’s life on a Welsh Hill farm. Along the way we find out that sheep are highly social animals with not only a remarkable ability to recognise each other, but to recognise human faces too. We meet a ram that has befriended a shy four-year-old boy and we take a drone’s eye view of some multi-coloured sheep to show that despite being sociable, flocking is actually all about self-preservation. Other animals we meet on the farm include Charlie, a lonely goose looking for company in his own reflection.

TUE 20:00 Great Coastal Railway Journeys (m0014c0q)
Series 1

Newcastle to Lynemouth

Michael Portillo continues his rail journey exploring England’s north east coast. Heading north from Newcastle, Michael discovers one of the city’s trendiest hotspots, Ouseburn, and is intrigued to hear of its part in Newcastle’s early industrial development.

En route, Michael travels through the huge Northumberland coalfield. At Cramlington, he alights to visit an extraordinary work of landform art made from the spoil of a coalmine, the vast Northumberlandia, known as the Lady of the North.

Next stop is the former coal port of Blyth. On the historic quayside Michael enjoys a hearty sea shanty and learns about an intrepid former townsman, Captain William Smith, who in 1819 discovered the Antarctic. Michael meets a group of young people who have been inspired by the captain’s story to restore a Scottish Herring drifter, called a Zulu, with the Blyth Tall Ships Charity.

At Bedlington, Michael hunts down a lost railway, whose services began in 1850 but closed to passengers in 1964 following the Beeching Report. The 18-mile coastal Blyth and Tyne Railway is however rising from the ashes and test trains are already on the track.

Lynemouth Power Station once used coal to produce electricity but today has switched to biomass. Michael boards a half-kilometre long freight train loaded with wood pellets bound for the power station. He hears from the train driver and the fuel manager at Lynemouth how the decline of coal has affected their working lives and the region in which they live, and he learns how rail is playing its part in saving carbon.

TUE 20:30 Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em (b00786d4)
Series 1

The Hospital Visit

Classic comedy featuring one-man disaster area Frank Spencer. Frank causes chaos when he visits Betty in hospital.

TUE 21:00 Yes, Minister (b007832v)
Series 1

Big Brother

Sitcom about a British government minister and the advisers who surround him. Jim tries to implement a privacy safeguard for a new national computer database - but Sir Humphrey, as usual, does not approve.

TUE 21:30 The Thick of It (b00nxmmr)
Series 3

Episode 4

The civil servants at DoSAC are preparing for a visit from the DoSAC shadow minister Peter Mannion. For Mannion and his team, this informal pre-election briefing is a good opportunity to measure up for new curtains. For Terri Coverley, this principally means putting on a bit more make-up. For Nicola Murray, it is simply another distraction on a day when nothing seems to be going right. All she really wants to do is get Glenn and Olly to kick-start the Fourth Sector Pathfinder Initiative. And then she gets a call.

TUE 22:00 Storyville (m001q1zl)

A Storyville documentary. Artificial intelligence now permeates every aspect of our lives, but only a handful of people have any control over its influence on our world.

With unique access to some of the most powerful pioneers of the AI revolution, iHuman asks whether we know the limits of what artificial intelligence is capable of and its true impact.

TUE 23:35 The Horizon Guide to AI (b0bhwhw3)
The BBC's Horizon programme began in 1964, and since then has produced films looking at computer technology and the emergence of 'artificial intelligence'.

Our dreams always begin with ideology and optimism, only for this optimism to be replaced with suspicion that AI machines will take over. However, as the Horizon archive shows, throughout each decade once we have learnt to live with the new emerging technology of the time, the pattern begins again. We become once more optimistic, before becoming fearful of it. The dream for decades had been for a computer with AI to be embedded within a humanoid robot, but just as scientists began to perfect machines with these qualities, something happened nobody expected.

Today, AI systems power our daily lives through smart technology. We are currently experiencing a level of fear about the power of AI, but will we enter the next decade optimistic about all that AI can deliver - or fearful of its ability to control vast areas of our lives?

TUE 00:35 Horizon (b08wwnwk)

Dawn of the Driverless Car

The car has shrunk our world, increased personal freedom and expanded our horizons. However, there is a flip side. Fumes from car exhausts have harmed the quality of the air we breathe, all the while presenting far more conventional implications for road safety.

Horizon explores a world where cars can drive themselves safely and looks into the artificial intelligence required to make it possible. Peering into the implications of a future driverless world, Horizon also investigates the ethics of driverless car crashes and the impact of the technology on jobs.

TUE 01:35 Berlin 1945 (m000p9tw)
Series 1

Episode 3

The British, French and Americans are waiting to enter Berlin. In the meantime, the Soviets appoint mayors, organise the food supply and go on the hunt for war criminals. The Jewish community, among whom there are few survivors, regroup.

The fate of the city is determined at the Potsdam Conference. Life returns to the ruins, theatres reopen and orchestras play in the open air. By the end of 1945, the bond that held the Allies together is torn apart - and the Cold War begins.

TUE 02:30 Great Coastal Railway Journeys (m0014c0q)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

TUE 03:00 Oceans Apart: Art and the Pacific with James Fox (b0bkytn4)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 on Monday]


WED 19:00 Great Coastal Railway Journeys (m0014bx4)
Series 1

Morpeth to Amble

Michael Portillo explores the wild and rugged coastline of Northumberland by rail. He begins today in Morpeth, where he finds a historic collection of Northumbrian bagpipes and discovers how difficult they are to play.

The East Coast Main Line delivers Michael to Widdrington and its long sandy bay, where a beachcombing blacksmith finds treasures to inspire artwork in steel. Michael helps to put the finishing touches on a metal seaweed design.

At Rothbury, Michael visits Britain’s first smart home: a gadget-filled Victorian mansion built by wealthy industrialist and inventor, William Armstrong. Cragside clings to the side of a mountain and is full of such 19th-century mod cons as an early dishwasher, a water-powered roasting spit, central heating and hydroelectricity.

Heading back to the sea, Michael reaches the mouth of the River Coquet and the fishing port of Amble, home to one of the largest fleets of inshore fishing boats on this coast. An innovative scheme to promote ugly fish challenges his taste buds. Can he resist a red gurnard risotto?

WED 19:30 Climbing Great Buildings (b00tr6sr)
Caernarfon Castle

Dr Jonathan Foyle, architectural historian and novice climber, scales Britain's most iconic structures, from the Normans to the present day, to reveal the buildings' secrets and tell the story of how our architecture and construction have developed over 1,000 years.

The next step of Jonathan's journey takes him to Caernarfon Castle, built in 1283 and one of the most magnificent examples of medieval castle building in Britain.

Jonathan, aided by top British climber Lucy Creamer, tests his climbing skills to reveal the secrets of this monster of a castle's construction and what it would have been like for anyone foolhardy enough to attack it. On his climbs, he scales over 100 feet up the majestic Eagle Tower to investigate how the architect behind Caernarfon revolutionised castle building in Britain; he discovers how the castle's design and decoration were inspired by the ancient Roman town of Constantinople; and he tests the limits of his courage zip-wiring high above the castle before abseiling down the King's Gate to investigate the fortified main entrance, which housed an innovation so lethal that it's been dubbed a medieval machine gun.

WED 20:00 Meet the Romans with Mary Beard (b01hcgn1)
Behind Closed Doors

We still live in the shadow of ancient Rome - a city at the heart of a vast empire that stretched from Scotland to Afghanistan, dominating the West for over 700 years. Professor Mary Beard puts aside the stories of emperors and armies, guts and gore, to meet the real Romans living at the heart of it all.

In this final episode, Mary delves even deeper into ordinary Roman life by going behind the closed doors of their homes. She meets an extraordinary cast of characters - drunken housewives, teenage brides, bullied children and runaway slaves - and paints a more dynamic, lusty picture of Roman family life.

Mary uncovers their preserved beds, furniture and cradles, tries on Roman wedding rings and meets some eccentric wives like Glyconis, praised by her husband for liking a drink or two, and Allia Potestas, who lived in a Roman ménage a trois.

Mary explores Roman parenting, childbirth and children, including Sulpicius Maximus, an 11-year-old schoolboy who was worked to death by his pushy parents, and Geminia Mater, a five-year-old tomboy.

Finally, Mary paints a more nuanced picture of Roman slavery and asks why if it was such a brutal institution did many Romans choose to be buried with their servants - living cheek by jowl in death, as in life.

WED 21:00 Colosseum (p0fwh30s)
Series 1

The Martyr

The public execution of criminals is a staple in the Colosseum, but during Trajan’s games, one of these victims is no common prisoner. Bishop Ignatius of Antioch is part of a growing underground religion threatening Roman traditions - Christianity.

WED 21:45 Colosseum (p0fwh55p)
Series 1

The Scientist

One of the most famous scientists of the ancient world, Galen of Pergamon, makes a name for himself as a doctor for gladiators in the arena. Just as the empire reaches the height of its power, a devastating plague sweeps through the city. Only then does Galen catch the attention of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

WED 22:35 I, Claudius (b0074ss8)
Reign of Terror

With Tiberius retired to Capri, Sejanus plans to tighten his grip on Rome and divorces his wife so he can marry Livilla. But he also has powerful enemies, and his attempts to consolidate power set in motion a bloody chain of events.

WED 23:25 I, Claudius (b0074ssc)
Zeus, by Jove!

Claudius has high hopes of a return to a republic when Caligula insanely proclaims himself a god and his sister a goddess... but Rome officially accepts his divinity.

WED 00:20 I, Claudius (b0074ssf)
Hail Who?

Caligula's erratic behaviour continues as he makes his horse a senator and turns the palace into a brothel. Many in the Praetorian Guard come to realise that their ruler is insane. Fearing the collapse of Rome itself, they begin to believe that something needs to be done.

WED 01:15 Great Coastal Railway Journeys (m0014bx4)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

WED 01:45 Victorian Sensations (m0005pr9)
[Repeat of broadcast at 23:00 on Monday]

WED 02:45 Meet the Romans with Mary Beard (b01hcgn1)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


THU 19:00 Great Coastal Railway Journeys (m0014bqn)
Series 1

Alnmouth to Bamburgh

Michael Portillo travels the length of the magnificent Northumbrian coastline with its glorious beaches and grandiose castles.

In the village of Alnmouth, he takes to the waves in a traditional skiff built by dedicated members of the Alnmouth Coastal Rowing Club. They’re training to compete in the World Championships in a boat based on a design from Fair Isle. Michael has to learn fast to stay afloat.

The Aln Valley heritage railway conveys Michael to Alnwick, crossing a 170-year-old viaduct built by Robert Stephenson. From the historic cobbled town with its imposing castle, Michael heads for the beach at Boulmer to hear about threats to this low-lying coastline and efforts to protect it from sea erosion and tidal surges.

Next stop for Michael is Chathill, which serves the 19th-century port of Seahouses, from which boats depart for the Farne Islands. Along this rocky coastline, Michael heads for the Olde Ship Inn to discover a fascinating map which charts the wrecks of many ships.

The mighty Bamburgh Castle, icon of Northumberland, is Michael’s last destination today. Once the seat of Northumbrian kings, the castle building was begun by the Normans, and since the late 19th century, has been in the hands of the Armstrong family. Michael meets the castle’s current keeper to hear about its history and admire its magnificent King’s Hall.

THU 19:30 Climbing Great Buildings (b00tr7gl)
New College, Oxford

Dr Jonathan Foyle, architectural historian and novice climber, scales Britain's most iconic structures, from the Normans to the present day, to reveal the buildings' secrets and tell the story of how our architecture and construction has developed over 1,000 years.

Jonathan's journey takes him to New College in Oxford. Built in 1379, this college set the blueprint for universities all over the world for the next 600 years.

Jonathan climbs the dreaming spires to investigate how the devastation of the Black Death led to an architectural innovation. He tests his newly-acquired climbing skills by scaling almost 100 feet to reveal how the enduring symbol of university life - the quadrangle - originated here. On his climbs, he discovers the bishop whose vision it was and sees how he literally left his mark all over the college in a medieval PR stunt; discovers carvings of English folk tales in the chapel; and traverses a sheer drop of 80 feet to explore how a new glazing technique, known as 'yellow stain', allowed New College to create some of the most magnificent medieval stained glass in the country.

THU 20:00 Dog Tales and Cat Tales (m000mmk3)
Series 1

Cat Tales: In from the Wild

In this episode, we take a close-up look at the world’s most popular furry pet, the cat. Detailed real-time brain scans reveal a possible explanation for why owners are besotted with their cats. A cat’s meow plugs straight into the emotional centres of our brains in exactly the same way as a baby’s cry. And adult cats only meow to humans. So they may not intend to manipulate us, but they do. It turns out owners literally can’t help loving their cats.

Can we tell what a cat is thinking and feeling? In a way, we can. Dr Lauren Finka has been studying cats’ enigmatic faces to try and read their thoughts and emotions. ‘Whilst cats definitely change their expressions, it's very, very subtle. For the average cat owner trying to look at the cat's face, it remains problematic.' So, unless you’re a scientist, cats remain hard to read.

By contrast, according to new research, it turns out that cats can read our emotions like a book.

We discover that the gap between our lovable pets and wildcats is paper-thin. So how did we end up with a wild animal living in our homes?

We meet vet Dr Ashlie Randal, who is working with domestic cats that have turned wild – feral cats. 'Feral cats are very different from domestic cats. They typically will fight or resort to flight when people come into play.' And yet, genetically, they are identical to your furry pet.

So what’s the origin of our nearly wild pets? Geneticist Carlos Driscoll explains how his research found their wildcat ancestors are Felix Silvestris Lybica, the North African wildcat. 'People have been speculating about it for hundreds of years. Now with the advent of molecular genetic techniques, we can really drill down and say definitively where domestic cats come from.'

Archaeology has pinpointed one of the earliest ever pet cats - the moment when human met cat 9,500 years ago. It was found in an ancient Cypriot burial by archaeologist Jean-Denis Vigne. 'They were facing each other in death. In the afterlife. And this is a scene that has been arranged by people.'

Using graphics and interviews, we reveal that what drew cats and humans together was a change in human behaviour - the beginning of agriculture. It attracted cats out of the wild and into human settlements.

The story of the pet cat takes an unexpected twist, one thousand miles and several thousand years away in Egypt. Things seemed to look up for cats as the ancient Egyptians turned them into gods. But Egyptologist Salima Ikram uncovers a trove of cat mummies to reveal the unpleasant downside of the Egyptian obsession with cats. 'Pilgrims would buy these cats to give a blood sacrifice.'

Things didn’t improve for Egyptian cats in Europe during the Middle Ages. It was all the fault of Pope Gregory IX, who said that cats were in league with Satan. Medieval expert Ronald Hutton paints a ghastly picture. 'In late medieval Europe, there were festivals formed around the torturing and killing of cats, regarding cats as essentially, nosy, menacing, intrusive, potentially satanic beings.'

But in the 21st century, the life of a cat has really turned around. They are now the most popular furry pet in the world. We visit Las Vegas’s largest cat show to see just how far the cat has come.

We also find out if it’s really true that you can’t train a cat. According to Samantha Martin of Acro-Cats, you actually can: 'Cats are brilliant. People really underestimate the brilliance of cats. By training them, they get to use their brain.'

So what’s next for the cat? We meet owners who are cross breeding other wildcats with domestic cats to create completely new species. Ironically, they’re trying to make domestic cats look wild, which under the skin of course, they still are.

What do cats make of all this? As usual, they’re not saying.

THU 21:00 In the Heat of the Night (b0077qg6)
Oscar-winning thriller about a bigoted sheriff in a small Mississippi cotton town who finds himself forced into working with a black homicide expert from Philadelphia.

THU 22:45 Scene by Scene (m001q1zb)
Rod Steiger

Rob Steiger talks to Mark Cousins about his celebrated roles in On the Waterfront, Dr Zhivago and In the Heat of the Night, and shares anecdotes about James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor.

THU 23:35 For a Few Dollars More (m0005hnk)
Classic spaghetti western. When two bounty hunters find themselves after the same notorious bandit, they make an uneasy alliance to collect the $10,000 reward.

THU 01:45 Secret Life of Farm Animals (b0btpf6z)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 on Tuesday]

THU 02:45 Dog Tales and Cat Tales (m000mmk3)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


FRI 19:00 Top of the Pops (m0015nq0)
Femi Oke and Mark Franklin present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 3 September 1992 and featuring Bananarama, The Shamen, Sonia, Dr. Alban, Lionel Richie, U96, Sinéad O'Connor and Snap!

FRI 19:30 Top of the Pops (b0brk4hs)
Gary Davies presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 4 September 1986. Featuring The Communards, MC Miker G & DJ Sven, Bruce Hornsby and The Range, Bon Jovi, Farley 'Jackmaster' Funk, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Boris Gardiner.

FRI 20:00 BBC Proms (m001q1zh)

Chineke! at the Proms

A treat for the senses as Chineke! Orchestra makes its hotly anticipated annual Proms outing, this year conducted by Anthony Parnther. Europe’s first majority Black and ethnically diverse orchestra presents a concert of music from across four centuries and two continents, culminating in Beethoven’s sunny and genial Fourth Symphony.

Before the Beethoven, novelty is the uniting factor, with four pieces enjoying their Proms debuts, including the lyrical Four Noveletten by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. Trumpeter-on-the-rise Aaron Azunda Akugbo takes centre stage to perform Haydn’s joyful Trumpet Concerto, with its famous third movement.

Clara Amfo presents with special guests Hannah French and Ayanna Witter-Johnson.

FRI 22:00 Bon Jovi in Concert (b03qlqr2)
Stadium gods Bon Jovi rock London's tiny BBC Radio Theatre. The band perform classics from six albums across their 30-year reign: Slippery When Wet, Crush, Have a Nice Day, Lost Highway, The Circle and the first ever performance of material from 2013's What About Now.

FRI 23:00 The Proclaimers: Live at Stirling Castle (b03k5g7t)
Recorded live at Hogmanay 2012 on the esplanade of historical Stirling Castle, the Proclaimers deliver a set of their best-loved tracks in front of an audience of new year revellers.

One of Scotland's favourite bands, playing their classic tracks at one of the most iconic locations in Scotland - it was a great way to see in 2013.

FRI 23:55 Deacon Blue: Live at Stirling Castle (b04vrcbn)
Another chance to see Deacon Blue's performance at the iconic Stirling Castle, recorded in the final minutes of 2013 and the start of 2014 during the Hogmanay celebrations. With hits including Chocolate Girl, Fergus Sings the Blues and Dignity.

FRI 00:50 The Pretenders: 6 Music Live (b07z3vgx)
Catch highlights from The Pretenders, who perform at this year's 6 Music Live at Maida Vale.

With a career spanning over 30 years, Chrissie Hynde and her band return with a new album Alone, the first in eight years, with Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys on producing duties.

This show is part of the 6 Music Live series that has been coming to Maida Vale since 2012, with the likes of Primal Scream, Underworld, De La Soul and Paul McCartney.

FRI 01:20 Top of the Pops (m0015nq0)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

FRI 01:50 Top of the Pops (b0brk4hs)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

FRI 02:20 Bon Jovi in Concert (b03qlqr2)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]

FRI 03:20 The Pretenders: 6 Music Live (b07z3vgx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 00:50 today]

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

Arena 01:30 SUN (m001px5t)

Arena 02:30 SUN (m001px64)

BBC Proms 19:00 SUN (b00y2w0v)

BBC Proms 20:00 SUN (m001q1zq)

BBC Proms 20:00 FRI (m001q1zh)

Berlin 1945 22:55 SUN (m000p9t9)

Berlin 1945 00:00 MON (m000p9tg)

Berlin 1945 01:35 TUE (m000p9tw)

Bon Jovi in Concert 22:00 FRI (b03qlqr2)

Bon Jovi in Concert 02:20 FRI (b03qlqr2)

Climbing Great Buildings 19:30 MON (b00tr6k2)

Climbing Great Buildings 01:20 MON (b00tr6k2)

Climbing Great Buildings 19:30 WED (b00tr6sr)

Climbing Great Buildings 19:30 THU (b00tr7gl)

Colosseum 21:00 WED (p0fwh30s)

Colosseum 21:45 WED (p0fwh55p)

DNA 21:00 SAT (p0g6mq12)

DNA 21:45 SAT (p0g6mr9f)

Deacon Blue: Live at Stirling Castle 23:55 FRI (b04vrcbn)

Digging for Britain 20:00 MON (m0013fc4)

Digging for Britain 01:50 MON (m0013fc4)

Dog Tales and Cat Tales 20:00 THU (m000mmk3)

Dog Tales and Cat Tales 02:45 THU (m000mmk3)

For a Few Dollars More 23:35 THU (m0005hnk)

Great Coastal Railway Journeys 19:00 MON (m0014bjb)

Great Coastal Railway Journeys 00:50 MON (m0014bjb)

Great Coastal Railway Journeys 20:00 TUE (m0014c0q)

Great Coastal Railway Journeys 02:30 TUE (m0014c0q)

Great Coastal Railway Journeys 19:00 WED (m0014bx4)

Great Coastal Railway Journeys 01:15 WED (m0014bx4)

Great Coastal Railway Journeys 19:00 THU (m0014bqn)

Horizon 00:35 TUE (b08wwnwk)

I, Claudius 22:35 WED (b0074ss8)

I, Claudius 23:25 WED (b0074ssc)

I, Claudius 00:20 WED (b0074ssf)

In the Heat of the Night 21:00 THU (b0077qg6)

Meet the Romans with Mary Beard 20:00 WED (b01hcgn1)

Meet the Romans with Mary Beard 02:45 WED (b01hcgn1)

Oceans Apart: Art and the Pacific with James Fox 21:00 MON (b0bkytn4)

Oceans Apart: Art and the Pacific with James Fox 03:00 TUE (b0bkytn4)

Oppenheimer 23:50 SAT (p0g3jfzb)

Oppenheimer 00:50 SAT (p0g3jkkm)

Our Coast 19:00 SAT (m000f1v5)

Our Coast 02:50 SAT (m000f1v5)

Parkinson: The Interviews 23:20 SAT (m000mmjp)

Parkinson 22:25 SAT (m001q7h0)

Ray Mears's Northern Wilderness 20:00 SAT (b00nnltl)

Royal History’s Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley 22:00 MON (m000fj9c)

Royal History’s Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley 02:50 MON (m000fj9c)

Scene by Scene 22:45 THU (m001q1zb)

Secret Life of Farm Animals 19:00 TUE (b0btpf6z)

Secret Life of Farm Animals 01:45 THU (b0btpf6z)

Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em 01:50 SAT (b0077srf)

Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em 20:30 TUE (b00786d4)

Storyville 22:00 TUE (m001q1zl)

The Ascent of Man 23:50 SUN (p0g1kmrl)

The Ascent of Man 00:40 SUN (p0g1knv4)

The Great Mountain Sheep Gather 21:15 SUN (m000hb4r)

The Horizon Guide to AI 23:35 TUE (b0bhwhw3)

The Pretenders: 6 Music Live 00:50 FRI (b07z3vgx)

The Pretenders: 6 Music Live 03:20 FRI (b07z3vgx)

The Proclaimers: Live at Stirling Castle 23:00 FRI (b03k5g7t)

The Thick of It 21:30 TUE (b00nxmmr)

Top of the Pops 19:00 FRI (m0015nq0)

Top of the Pops 19:30 FRI (b0brk4hs)

Top of the Pops 01:20 FRI (m0015nq0)

Top of the Pops 01:50 FRI (b0brk4hs)

Victorian Sensations 23:00 MON (m0005pr9)

Victorian Sensations 01:45 WED (m0005pr9)

Yes, Minister 02:20 SAT (b00783yw)

Yes, Minister 21:00 TUE (b007832v)