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 Steve Backshall's Extreme Mountain Challenge (b073h9h8)
Episode 1

Adventurer and naturalist Steve Backshall embarks on one of the most dramatic and dangerous expeditions ever filmed by a BBC crew. His mission is to explore Venezuela's tepuis - ancient, sheer-sided mountains, lost worlds cut off from the jungle below.

With an elite team of rock climbers, Steve attempts the first ascent of an unclimbed wall on a remote tepui to search for wildlife on the summit. But nobody could have predicted what would happen, nor the kinds of decisions they'd be forced to make. A white-knuckle ride from the start, the team encounter river rapids and hazardous wildlife, and survive a close shave with a rickety biplane. Yet nothing can prepare them for their climb to the island in the sky.

SAT 20:00 Britain's Outlaws: Highwaymen, Pirates and Rogues (b06qgh3w)
Knights of the Road: The Highwayman's Story

Few figures in British history have captured the popular imagination as much as the outlaw. From gentleman highwaymen, via swashbuckling pirates to elusive urban thieves and rogues, the brazen escapades and the flamboyance of the outlaw made them the antihero of their time - feared by the rich, admired by the poor and celebrated by writers and artists.

In this three-part series, historian Dr Sam Willis travels the open roads, the high seas and urban alleyways to explore Britain's 17th- and 18th-century underworld of highwaymen, pirates and rogues, bringing the great age of the British outlaw vividly to life.

Sam shows that, far from being 'outsiders', outlaws were very much a product of their time, shaped by powerful national events. In each episode, he focuses not just on a particular type of outlaw, but a particular era - the series as a whole offers a chronological portrait of the changing face of crime in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Sam begins with the arrival of a new breed of gentleman criminal out of the ashes of the English Civil War - the highwayman. Heavily romanticised in literature, these glamorous gangsters became a social menace on the roads and a political thorn in the side of the creaking British state - threatening to steal our wallets and our hearts. But underneath the dashing image of stylish robbers on horseback lay a far darker reality.

SAT 21:00 Dark Hearts (p0ggk72x)
Series 1

High Value Target

On the mission to locate Salwa, Martin admits to Sab that he has been hard on her and apologises. Adele visits the hospital in Erbil, but she receives shocking news.

SAT 21:50 Dark Hearts (p0ggk7z2)
Series 1


Sab has been captured by Isis soldiers, but she cannot be found, despite the assistance of the US army. Zaid promises to help them by reaching a deal with the captors.

SAT 22:35 The Hollow Crown (b07bgnf9)
The Wars of the Roses

Henry VI - Part 1

Against the backdrop of wars in France, the English nobility quarrel. News of the English defeat at Orleans reaches the duke of Gloucester and other nobles. After the funeral of Henry V, his son, the infant Henry VI, is proclaimed king.

Seventeen years later, Henry sits on the throne whilst the rivalries at court continue - Plantagenet has learned of his own strong claim to the crown. After Rouen falls to the French, Plantagenet, Exeter and Talbot pledge to recapture the city from the Dauphin, but the French, led by Joan of Arc, defeat the English. The valiant English commander Talbot and his son John are killed.

Warwick and Somerset arrive too late for the battle but join forces with the survivors and retake Rouen. Somerset captures and woos Margaret of Anjou as a potential bride for Henry VI. Plantagenet takes Joan of Arc prisoner and orders for her to be burnt at the stake.

Despite Gloucester's protests, Margaret is introduced to the court as Henry's queen. Margaret complains that Eleanor, Gloucester's wife, behaves like an empress. Eleanor is banished and warns Gloucester that he is in great danger.

Gloucester is accused of high treason and is murdered at the Tower of London on the orders of Somerset while he and Margaret make love in the palace.

Henry banishes Somerset and Suffolk after Gloucester is found dead. Plantagenet is incensed when Margaret is able to bully Henry into reversing the sentence. Plantagenet makes his claim for the throne and sets the Houses of York and Lancaster in open opposition.

SAT 00:30 Simon Schama's Shakespeare (b01kczrd)
Hollow Crowns

Simon Schama argues that it is impossible to understand how Shakespeare came to belong 'to all time' without understanding just how much he was of his time.

Schama explores Shakespeare's attitude to the other great subject of his day - kingship. He will look at the ways in which Shakespeare's most profound tragedies - Richard II, Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear - may have been inspired by his own experiences writing for the courts of Elizabeth and James I.

Elizabeth - the consummate royal actress in decline - was to prove a powerful muse, while James's own obsessions and inviolable sense of his own grandeur, inspired Shakespeare to probe deeper into the royal mind than anyone before or since. It was as if seeing their frailty, vanity and folly first-hand fired his imagination - inspiring him to explore the great themes of power and ambition, in plays which show kings murdering their way to the throne and going mad.

Shakespeare dared to strip away the mask of royalty to reveal the flawed men underneath. Somehow, he got away with it - and revealed profound truths not just about kings but about the rest of us too.

Aswell as this an extraordinary cast of actors deliver some of Shakespeare's most moving and profound soliloquies.

SAT 01:30 Yes, Minister (b0074rh7)
Series 2

The Quality of Life

Political sitcom. Jim Hacker makes a rash promise to save a popular city farm from closure but he needs Sir Humphrey's help.

SAT 02:00 Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em (b0077wwx)
Series 3

Moving House

Classic sitcom about the one-man disaster area, Frank Spencer. Frank finds it hard to believe that the council has condemned their old house - especially after all the DIY improvements he made.

SAT 02:35 Britain's Outlaws: Highwaymen, Pirates and Rogues (b06qgh3w)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]


SUN 19:00 This Cultural Life (m001s715)
Series 2

Judi Dench: Shakespeare Special

Dame Judi Dench talks to John Wilson about her biggest cultural influence: William Shakespeare.

SUN 19:30 Talking Shakespeare (m001s71d)
Celia Imrie takes a trip through the BBC’s archive for a celebration of the works of Shakespeare, and an exploration into how the Bard’s biggest plays have been brought to cinema and television screens over the years. It’s a story that’s told through a selection of interviews with stars from the 1950s right up to the present day, with anecdotes and insights revealing how Shakespeare’s plays have been continuously adapted to suit each new generation, capturing changing attitudes to race and gender.

Amongst those featured are the established acting knights Olivier and Gielgud, dames Helen Mirren, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, and the latest wave of big names, including David Tennant, David Harewood and Maxine Peake.

SUN 20:30 Hamlet from Bristol Old Vic (m001s71k)
Billy Howle stars in a bold adaptation of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy. This star-studded production also features Niamh Cusack as Gertrude and Mirren Mack as Ophelia, captured on stage at the Bristol Old Vic.

SUN 23:00 Steven Berkoff Remembers... Hamlet at Elsinore (m001s71s)
In 1964, a young Steven Berkoff was cast in one of his earliest screen roles, as a junior player in Hamlet in Elsinore, a BBC co-production with Danish television. Shot in Denmark by director Philip Saville, it starred Christopher Plummer as Hamlet and Michael Caine, in his only Shakespeare role, as Horatio. Here, Berkoff shares his memories of the production and how he got involved, gives his verdict on how the film stands up today, and describes - as only he can - the excitement and inspiration he felt from watching Plummer and Caine at work.

SUN 23:15 Hamlet at Elsinore (m001s720)
1964 production of Shakespeare's famous play. Filmed in Elsinore, Denmark.

SUN 02:05 Steve Backshall's Extreme Mountain Challenge (b073h9h8)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 on Saturday]

SUN 03:05 Talking Shakespeare (m001s71d)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]


MON 19:00 Great British Railway Journeys (m000vsxt)
Series 12

Potters Bar to Cardington

Michael Portillo’s Bradshaw travels resume in leafy Hertfordshire, where he attempts a canoe slalom course at the Lee Valley White Water Centre, built for the London Olympics in 2012. Former competitive canoeist Sue Hornby tells Michael how British canoeists first competed at the politically-charged Berlin Games in 1936. Britain won a gold and a silver medal here at the London Olympics, and Michael’s hopes are high as he takes to the paddling lake.

Travelling north, Michael reaches Hatfield and the country estate of the queen of romance and author of 723 books, Dame Barbara Cartland. The novelist’s eldest son welcomes Michael to Camfield Place with a gift for his onward journey, 'A Train to Love'.

In Stevenage, Michael learns how, in 1935, a new enterprise boosted production of the nation’s daily loaf with a factory in the town. Allied Bakeries now produces 1.8 million loaves a week, and Michael marvels at the scale of the operation while enjoying the smell of freshly baked bread.

Crossing into Bedfordshire, Michael reaches Sandy, from which he heads for Cardington, where the level countryside is dominated by two breathtakingly vast sheds. In Hangar No 2, Michael hears the shocking story of the 'Titanic of the skies', the R101 airship, which crashed on its first long haul voyage, killing all aboard.

MON 19:30 Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure (m000b4kx)
Series 1

Episode 4

Rugby legend Gareth Edwards and his wife, and childhood sweetheart, Maureen reach the final leg of their round-Wales adventure by canal. And the conclusion of their beautiful but bumpy journey through the most spectacular scenery Wales has to offer has a personal connection for them both. This pair of narrowboat novices grew up at opposite ends of the same street in the village of Gwaun-cae-Gurwen, a few miles from Neath. As children, they would play in the areas by the derelict canals but knew very little of them and their history. Today, though the canals are virtually impassable, they have been cleaned up. Gareth and Maureen discover no fewer than three canals on their doorstep: the Swansea Canal and the Neath and Tennant Canals. The canals reveal a story of industry that once dominated the area, canals being constructed to get coal and iron to the docks. But now there is a plan afoot to give them a new lease of life. Teams of dedicated volunteers are working on the old canals, hoping to restore and reopen them. Gareth and Maureen can’t help but be impressed when they take to the water by motorboat and even canoe to get a sense of what the canals will be like when they reopen.

MON 20:00 Simon Schama's Power of Art (b00793xk)

Simon Schama recounts moments of drama in the making of great works of art. How Britain's greatest painter, JMW Turner, created one his most powerful paintings, The Slave Ship.

MON 21:00 Art That Made Us (p0bvgz00)
Series 1

Queens, Feuds and Faith

In the 16th century, the British Isles experienced a religious revolution, as the kingdoms of England and then Scotland turned Protestant. Artists and experts today reveal how, during the reign of Elizabeth I, Protestants and Catholics used art, language and new technology to wage a battle for power in the Isles, creating surprising and often radical works.

Author Stephanie Merritt reassesses John Foxe’s grisly Book of Martyrs as a work of history and nationalist propaganda, with passages performed by actress Morfydd Clark, and we meet the indefatigable William Morgan, who undertook the ten-year task of translating and publishing the Bible in Welsh in 1588.

We discover how England’s emblem was the queen herself, with textiles artist James Merry exploring the mysterious Bacton Altar Cloth, now believed to be a fragment of one of Elizabeth’s power dresses seen in one of her many portraits. Elizabeth’s court swirls with religious intrigue, and the Ora Singers perform the daring, subversive Mass for Four Voices, a Catholic work created by William Byrd, a composer of the Royal Chapel and favourite of Elizabeth.

The queen also had a dangerous rival in Mary Queen of Scots. Jewellery designer Shaun Leane examines how Mary promoted her brand through jewels and fine Scottish gold work, while artist Alice Kettle assesses Mary’s embroideries and the coded messages in them that would contribute to her downfall. As Elizabeth expands exploration and empire in the 1590s, theatre, an explosive entertainment for the people, fed off the stories of distant lands coming back to the Isles. Artist Phoebe Boswell analyses Shakespeare’s attitude to race in his play Othello, supported by performances from actor Martins Imhangbe.

MON 22:00 Leonardo (b0078rw5)
The Secret Life of the Mona Lisa

She has her own bodyguards and lives in Paris in a humidified, air-conditioned box protected by triplex bullet proof glass. Despite this, she is visited by six million tourists every year. She is Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Alan Yentob tells the story of how the Mona Lisa came to be the most famous work of art in the world. It's a tale full of notoriety, glamour and intrigue as the Mona Lisa is abducted, vandalised and exploited across the centuries.

With the help of leading scholars and original research, Alan also finally solves the central mystery of the Mona Lisa - who she is and why she's smiling.

MON 23:00 Arena (m001s76n)
Have You Seen the Mona Lisa...?

Arena looks behind the Gioconda smile. The Mona Lisa hangs in the Louvre behind plate glass - an unsigned, undated portrait of a smiling woman. She is the most idolised and abused woman in the history of art.

MON 23:45 Two Melons and a Stinking Fish (b0074q13)
Intimate documentary from 1996 about British artist Sarah Lucas. Made by acclaimed director Vanessa Engle, the film shadows Lucas over four months as she makes her witty and provocative sculptures, often using everyday objects. With candid and often hilarious contributions from Angus Fairhurst, Gary Hume, Damien Hirst and Barbara Gladstone.

MON 00:35 Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure (m000b4kx)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

MON 01:05 Great British Railway Journeys (m000vsxt)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

MON 01:35 Simon Schama's Power of Art (b00793xk)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

MON 02:35 Art That Made Us (p0bvgz00)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


TUE 19:00 Great British Railway Journeys (m000vsz2)
Series 12

Sawbridgeworth to Cambridge

Steered by his Bradshaw’s guide, Michael Portillo heads for the Hertfordshire village of Perry Green, where, in 1940, a young couple fleeing the bombing of London chose to make their home. Henry Moore became one of the defining artists of British modernism, and his sculptures were set in wonderful landscaped grounds and gardens created by his wife, Irina. Michael explores the monumental Reclining Figure and finds out about the artist’s life and work.

In Cambridge, Michael revisits his former university to hear about a treacherous time in its past. In Trinity Lane, he learns how during the 1920s and 30s, students of Trinity College were recruited to spy for the Soviet Union. Michael remembers his own reaction while he was working for Margaret Thatcher in 1979, when the fourth man was unmasked.

Across the city, at the Cavendish Laboratory, Michael meets a man with a job like no other. Lab director Andy Parker smashes particles with the world’s largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. He shows Michael the LHC’s forerunner, the accelerator with which John Cockroft and Ernest Walton made the first controlled splitting of the atom in 1932.

In Impington, to the north of Cambridge, Michael investigates the progressive architecture of the village school and finds it was built by the founder of the Bauhaus school, Walter Gropius, in the 1930s.

TUE 19:30 Weatherman Walking (p01w6l7v)
Dylan's Walks

Swansea and Llansteffan

In the first of two special walks celebrating the centenary of Dylan Thomas's birth, Derek Brockway walks in Dylan's footsteps around his home town of Swansea. With his guide, actor Adrian Metcalfe, Derek sets off from Dylan's childhood home on Cwmdonkin Drive. He then walks through the city's beautiful parks and down to the seafront before visiting some of Dylan's haunts in later life. Derek even gets to end his walk with a pint! He then heads west to the Llansteffan Peninsula where his guide, artist Osi Rhys Osmond, leads him through the beautiful countryside which was home to many of Dylan's relatives. They visit his aunt's farm, which would provide the inspiration for Dylan's poem Fernhill, before dropping down to the stunning Three Rivers estuary where the Taf, Tywi and Gwendraeth meet.

TUE 20:00 Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em (b00788s7)
Series 3

Wendy House

Classic sitcom featuring the accident-prone Frank and his long-suffering wife. Frank's attempt at building Jessica a doll's house in woodwork class gets out of hand.

TUE 20:35 Yes, Minister (b0074rjz)
Series 2

A Question of Loyalty

Hacker and Sir Humphrey are called to appear before a select committee looking into government expenditure, and Hacker must choose between toeing the party line and doing what the civil service want him to do.

TUE 21:05 The Australian Wars (p0gjfgjh)
Series 1

Episode 1

Intertribal conflict was a familiar fixture for Australia’s First Nations people, but nothing could prepare them for the conflict with the British and European arrivals over land and livelihood.

In the first part of this authored series, film-maker Rachel Perkins, who has both European and First Nations ancestry, examines these first encounters following the British arrival in 1788.

The British Empire’s presence in Sydney began as a small, contained, fortified venture in Sydney Harbour. New South Wales’s first governor, Arthur Phillip, was tasked with forming friendly alliances with locals. But with the lack of a treaty between occupying forces, a scarcity of resources to feed the growing population and few neighbouring tribes willing to surrender their land, conflict ensued. Successive governors ruled by force. The tactics of terror and intimidation, including some instances of the abuse of children and women, became one of the triggers of war.

TUE 22:05 HMS Brilliant (m001s7wp)
Series 1

A Little Bit of England

A look at life onboard Royal Navy warship HMS Brilliant as it patrols the dangerous waters off the coast of Bosnia. A crew of 250 men and women on active deployment enforce the UN arms embargo on Yugoslavia. First broadcast in 1995.

TUE 22:55 HMS Brilliant (m001s7xb)
Series 1

Watchman Nine Zero

The crew are given the job of boarding and searching ships off the coast of former Yugoslavia to seek out gunrunners. On board, there are domestic dramas, as Captain Rapp is struck down with an eye infection, and the master-at-arms has a mysterious case when a box of chocolate bars goes missing during a replenishment of stores at sea.

TUE 23:45 Timewatch (b016xjwh)
The Most Courageous Raid of World War II

Lord Ashdown, a former special forces commando, tells the story of the Cockleshell Heroes, who led one of the most daring and audacious commando raids of World War II.

In 1942, Britain was struggling to fight back against Nazi Germany. Lacking the resources for a second front, Churchill encouraged innovative and daring new methods of combat. Enter stage left, Blondie Hasler.

With a unit of 12 Royal Marine commandos, Major Blondie Hasler believed his 'cockleshell' canoe could be effectively used in clandestine attacks on the enemy. Their brief was to navigate the most heavily defended estuary in Europe, to dodge searchlights, machine-gun posts and armed river-patrol craft 70 miles downriver, and then to blow up enemy shipping in Bordeaux harbour.

Lord Ashdown recreates parts of the raid and explains how this experience was used in preparing for one of the greatest land invasions in history, D-Day.

TUE 00:45 Leonardo (b0078rw5)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 on Monday]

TUE 01:45 Great British Railway Journeys (m000vsz2)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

TUE 02:15 Weatherman Walking (p01w6l7v)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

TUE 02:45 The Australian Wars (p0gjfgjh)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:05 today]


WED 19:00 Great British Railway Journeys (m000vsrn)
Series 12

Newmarket to Walsingham

Michael Portillo is in Suffolk on the last leg of his 1930s Bradshaw’s-inspired tour of East Anglia. He begins at the home of British horseracing, Newmarket, where he learns of the interwar success of a jockey turned trainer and helps to care for a famous ex-racehorse.

At Ickworth House near Bury St Edmonds, Michael gets a taste of life below stairs during the 1930s and is put to work preparing a 'plum betty'. With a taste for sweetness, Michael takes the train to Downham Market to explore how sugar began to be refined from sugar beet at Wissington in 1925.

Back on the Fen line, Michael is bound for King’s Lynn and Wells-next-the-Sea, where he boards the exceptionally narrow-gauge Wells and Walsingham light railway. Arriving in Walsingham, Michael discover that until Henry VIII’s Reformation, this small village was one of the great Roman Catholic shrines. During the 1920s and 30s, there was a revival in pilgrimage to Walsingham, and a new Anglican shrine to the Virgin Mary was built.

WED 19:30 The Secret Life of Books (b04gv5zy)
Series 1

Shakespeare's First Folio

In Shakespeare's day, original manuscripts of plays were thrown away after use. If it wasn't for one printed volume, The First Folio (1623), many of his greatest works, such as Macbeth and The Tempest, would have been lost forever. Actor Simon Russell Beale has long been obsessed with the collection - and what secrets it might give up about its author.

'What can we learn from this wonderful book?' asks Russell Beale. A surprising amount, it seems. 'We can learn that he collaborated, worked with his fellow playwrights and actors, that those great words were not always his. We can learn that his plays changed during his own lifetime. And, more controversially, I think we can find out something about Shakespeare the man, his biography'.

With privileged access to this rare volume, expert testimony from director Sam Mendes and Nicholas Hytner, director of the National Theatre, plus wonderful solo performances by Russell Beale, the shadowy figure of William Shakespeare comes more into focus.

Produced in partnership with the Open University.

WED 20:00 Australia: Earth's Magical Kingdom (m0003gbh)
Series 1


This episode sets out to understand why marine species are drawn to the coasts of Australia and discovers that the country’s three surrounding oceans – the Southern Sea, the Pacific and The Indian Ocean - create a unique environment for ocean voyagers of all types.

In the clean waters of Pearson Island off South Australia, Australian sealions, once a rare sight are now protected from hunting and are thriving. Meanwhile in the wide shallows of Spencer Gulf, June is the time for a midwinter gathering of spectacularly colourful giant cuttlefish who battle for mates. The cold Southern Ocean also brings humpback whales from Antarctica to give birth and triggers the breathtaking spectacle of thousands of Australian spider crabs, the largest crustaceans in the world, congregating under the piers of Port Philip Bay to moult. It is a grisly time as the first to reveal their soft shells are cannibalised by their neighbours. Still, there is safety in numbers as bigger predators, smooth stingrays, sweep over the congregation sucking them from the seabed.

A hundred miles up the coast from Sydney, Cabbage Tree Island is home to one of only two breeding colonies of Gould’s petrel in the world. Chicks must find their way across rocky ground, scale the vertical trunks of giant cabbage tree palms and overcome their vicious spines in order to capture the breeze to become airborne. They will spend the next five to six years at sea.

Off the west coast the Lacepede Islands are bathed in the warm currents of the Indian Ocean. 18,000 pairs of brown boobies build makeshift nests here whilst further south Shark Bay lives up to its ominous name as tiger sharks sweep in to prey on a whale carcass. It is a sight that brings boatloads of onlookers.

WED 21:00 Brian Cox's Adventures in Space and Time (m000wtdj)
Series 1

Space: How Far Can We Go?

Brian believes we are at the start of a new age of space travel, where space flight is on the verge of becoming routine. In this episode, he explores the latest science and takes a new look at his old films and asks: how far can we go in our exploration of the cosmos?

Brian begins in Russia’s cosmonaut training facility in the outskirts of Moscow, where he dons a spacesuit to discover what 'the right stuff' is and what it might take to carry out maintenance on the International Space Station in low earth orbit. It is an eye-opening experience that reveals just how physically demanding being an astronaut can be.

He then looks at some of the most extraordinary achievements of space exploration to date. Under the clear sky of the Atlas Mountains, he tells the story of how we started to explore the cosmos from earth. Careful observation of 'wandering stars', now known as the planets, initially led our ancestors to believe that Earth, not the sun, was at the centre of our solar system. But as our knowledge of the cosmos grew, so did our appetite to explore; eventually technology made it possible for us to take our first steps towards the stars. In Russia’s Star City, Brian visits the office of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. At Cape Kennedy Space Centre he marvels at the enormous Saturn V rocket that launched the first men to the moon. Brian reflects on the difficulties of filming this giant machine, and on his encounters with the extraordinary men who flew in it to the moon.

Looking to the future, Brian recalls his meeting with aerospace engineer and visionary advocate of Mars exploration Robert Zubrin. He’s credited with inspiring Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to develop rockets with the aim of making the red planet the next frontier of human space exploration.

Professor Cox concludes that Mars will be the limit of human space exploration in our lifetime – our bodies can’t withstand the demands of travelling much deeper into the cosmos. To explore further, we must send robots in our place. Brian reveals some of his favourite probes to have uncovered the wonders of our solar system. This includes Voyager 1, whose iconic image of Earth from deep space taught us the true value of exploration: perspective.

WED 22:00 This Cultural Life (m001s715)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 on Sunday]

WED 22:30 Sir Richard Eyre Remembers... King Lear (m001s8lx)
Award-winning director and screenwriter Sir Richard Eyre looks back on his 2018 production of King Lear, which garnered huge critical acclaim upon its release and drew together a stellar cast that included Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Emily Watson, Jim Broadbent and the then up-and-coming talent of Florence Pugh.

Eyre looks back on the challenges he faced when directing such a multitude of star names and the pressures that a screenwriter takes on when choosing to adapt one of the greatest stage plays of all time to the big screen.

WED 22:45 King Lear (b0b57d0w)
The 80-year-old King Lear divides his kingdom among his daughters, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia, according to their affection for him. Cordelia refuses to flatter him, so he banishes her. Having acquired power, Goneril and Regan expel their father from their homes. At the same time, Lear's prime minister, Gloucester, is betrayed by his son Edmund and his other son, Edgar, is forced to go into hiding. Lear becomes mad, Gloucester is blinded: both the kingdom and the family collapse into chaos and warfare. Lear and Cordelia are reunited; for a brief moment love reigns, then tragedy descends.

WED 00:40 Great British Railway Journeys (m000vsrn)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

WED 01:10 The Secret Life of Books (b04gv5zy)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

WED 01:40 Australia: Earth's Magical Kingdom (m0003gbh)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

WED 02:40 Brian Cox's Adventures in Space and Time (m000wtdj)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


THU 19:00 Great British Railway Journeys (m000w16t)
Series 12

Crewe to Shotton

Michael Portillo is in Crewe, a town steeped in railway history and immortalised in Victorian music hall, to investigate the making of the iconic cinema classic The Night Mail during the 1930s.

Following his Bradshaw’s Guide, Michael takes the train to Chester to discover the interwar origins of Britain’s most popular zoo. Michael learns how the work of Chester Zoo’s enlightened founder continues, and he helps to feed a young greater one-horned rhino.

Across the border in north Wales, Michael reaches the village of Gresford, the scene of one of Britain’s worst mining disasters, where 266 men lost their lives in 1934. Michael hears how it happened and how it is remembered in the community today. The Ifton Colliery Band plays Gresford - The Miners’ Hymn.

Over the River Dee, at Tata Steel in Shotton, Michael discovers a wartime boost to steel production on the site, where John Summers & Sons manufactured up to 50,000 Andersen shelters a week. The steel shelters and others designed by the company for people’s back gardens protected families from aerial bombardment by German planes.

THU 19:30 Weatherman Walking (b042689s)
Dylan's Walks

New Quay and Laugharne

In the second of his two special Dylan's Walks programmes, which celebrate the centenary of Dylan Thomas's birth, Derek Brockway travels to the seaside town of New Quay on Cardigan Bay, where Dylan and his wife Caitlin lived during the war. Derek's hitting the Dylan Thomas trail with his guide Jeff Towns to find out why their time here was so dramatic and how it inspired Dylan to write some of his greatest work.

Derek's final walk takes him to Laugharne to visit some iconic Dylan Thomas sites with Hannah Ellis, Dylan and Caitlin's granddaughter. She tells Derek how important Laugharne was to her grandparents and how much it still means to them as a family. Derek ends his walk in great Dylan fashion with a sing-song and a pint at Brown's Hotel.

THU 20:00 Hidden Wales: Last Chance to Save (m0014zsh)
Writer and adventurer Will Millard returns with more of Wales’s hidden wonders as he explores some of the country’s forgotten historic buildings.

In Wales, we are in danger of losing vital pieces of history that tell us who we once were. Beautiful buildings that are architectural gems but also some of the most endangered in the UK. These extraordinary structures, which can give us vital insights into how we once used to live, are in danger of disappearing forever.

From extravagant mansions to a 500-year-old farmhouse, crumbling chapels to a massive military fort, and from spectacular industrial sites to a stunning 19th-century theatre, Will travels the length and breadth of Wales to find some of our most vulnerable old buildings, telling their incredible histories and meeting the passionate individuals who are trying to rescue them before it is too late.

THU 21:00 Arena (m0010jm3)
Dylan Thomas: From Grave to Cradle

Author and broadcaster Nigel Williams examines the work and the legend of one of the most famous poets of the 20th century, Dylan Thomas.

Born in 1914, Dylan Thomas was an unruly and undisciplined child who was interested only in English at school and was determined from childhood to become a poet. Little did he know that he would eventually become world-renowned.

Cited by Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Van Morrison and other cultural icons as a profound influence, Thomas occupies the space more readily associated with the likes of James Dean and Jack Kerouac, both of whom he preceded.

But it was his death that truly made him a legend. Did Dylan Thomas really die after drinking 18 straight whiskies at The White Horse in New York? Was he a genius or a sponging, womanising drunk?

The film unravels the myth by tracing the poet's biography backwards, from his much-written-about, much-lied-about death, to the heart of the Dylan Thomas story and his beginnings in a quiet street in suburban Swansea.

THU 22:00 Dame Siân Phillips Remembers... Under Milk Wood (m001s79n)
Dame Sian Phillips looks back on Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood and her own experiences with the various adaptions that have brought perhaps the world’s most celebrated ‘play for voices’ to cinema and television audiences.

She recalls the BBC’s 2014 version that brought together a huge range of Welsh talent, including Tom Jones, Matthew Rhys, Charlotte Church, Michael Sheen and Katherine Jenkins. She also looks further back, sharing the story of her encounters with Dylan Thomas and her part in the 1972 film, which saw her working alongside the great Richard Burton, his wife Elizabeth Taylor and her then-husband Peter O’Toole.

THU 22:15 Under Milk Wood (p01x5k4n)
A unique one-off television production of Dylan Thomas's famous 'play for voices' performed by a community of Welsh talent in New York, Los Angeles, London, Cardiff and Laugharne. Michael Sheen opens as First Voice with Sir Tom Jones as Captain Cat, and as each of Thomas's iconic characters joins in, the piece builds up into a collage of famous voices and faces (including Matthew Rhys, Ioan Gruffudd, Siân Phillips, Jonathan Pryce, Bryn Terfel and Katherine Jenkins) intercut with evocative imagery inspired by the play and created as part of a live event by National Theatre Wales.

THU 23:15 The Edge of Love (b00zmc6h)
Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and his flirtatious wife Caitlin bump into Dylan's childhood sweetheart Vera in war-torn London. Despite potential jealousies, the two women become friends, and Vera's feelings for duplicitous Dylan are complicated by her attraction to dashing officer William Killick.

THU 01:00 Dylan Thomas: I Sing to You Strangers (m001s79y)
Rene Cutforth introduces Dylan Thomas's friends, relatives and fellow broadcasters, who give an account of the person he really was.

THU 01:50 Great British Railway Journeys (m000w16t)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:00 today]

THU 02:20 Weatherman Walking (b042689s)
[Repeat of broadcast at 19:30 today]

THU 02:50 Arena (m0010jm3)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]


FRI 19:00 Top of the Pops (m001s8tg)
Lisa L'Anson presents the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 18 May 1995 and featuring Billie Ray Martin, Celine Dion, Ali Campbell, McAlmont & Butler, Perez 'Prez' Prado & His Orchestra, Joshua Kadison, Elton John, Pulp, Robson & Jerome and Bob Marley and The Wailers.

FRI 19:30 Top of the Pops (m001s8tj)
Stewart Lee and Richard Herring present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 25 May 1995 and featuring Incognito, Nightcrawlers featuring John Reid, Montell Jordan, Scatman John, Jimmy Somerville, Bon Jovi, Michelle Gayle, McAlmont & Butler, Robson & Jerome and Future Sound of London.

FRI 20:00 Top of the Pops (m0004vzl)
Peter Powell and Gary Davies present the pop chart programme, first broadcast on 12 November 1987 and featuring The Communards, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, Mirage, Donna Summer, Marillion, Whitney Houston, Alexander O'Neal, T'Pau and Nina Simone.

FRI 20:30 Top of the Pops (b085ykyh)
David Jensen presents the weekly pop chart show, first broadcast on 11 November 1982. Includes appearances from Blue Zoo, A Flock of Seagulls, Clannad, Dionne Warwick, Donna Summer, Marvin Gaye, Eddy Grant and Zoo.

FRI 21:00 Agnetha: ABBA and After (b02x9zwc)
In this documentary, the BBC have exclusive access to Agnetha Faltskog, 'The Girl with the Golden Hair' as the song goes, celebrating her extraordinary singing career, which began in the mid-60s when she was just 15. Within just two years, she was a singing sensation at the top of the charts in Sweden.

Along came husband Bjorn Ulvaeus and the phenomenal band ABBA that engulfed the world in the 70s, featuring Agnetha's touching voice and striking looks. Agnetha lacked confidence on stage as the global demand for the group grew and grew, while being away from her young children caused her great turmoil.

With special behind-the-scenes access to the making of her comeback album, the film follows this reluctant star - the subject of much tabloid speculation since she retreated from the stage post-ABBA - as she returns to recording aged 63. Included in the film is her first meeting with Gary Barlow, who contributes a duet to the new album.

The programme features interviews with Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Gary Barlow, Tony Blackburn, Sir Tim Rice and record producers Peter Nordahl and Jorgen Elofsson.

FRI 22:00 ABBA at the BBC (b03lyzpr)
If you fancy an hour's worth of irresistible guilty pleasures from Anni-Frid, Benny, Bjorn and Agnetha, this is the programme for you. ABBA stormed the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with their winning entry Waterloo, and this programme charts the meteoric rise of the band with some of their greatest performances at the BBC.

It begins in 1974 with their first Top of the Pops appearance, and we even get to see the band entertaining holidaymakers in Torbay in a 1975 Seaside Special. There are many classic ABBA tunes from the 1979 BBC special ABBA in Switzerland, plus their final BBC appearance on the Late Late Breakfast show in 1982.

This compilation is a must for all fans and includes great archive interviews, promos and performances of some of ABBA's classics, including Waterloo, Dancing Queen, Does Your Mother Know, Thank You for the Music, SOS, Fernando, Chiquitita and many more.

FRI 23:00 ABBA in Switzerland (m0011p5h)
ABBA star in their first European TV special, recorded on location in the Swiss Alps. Also featuring special guests Kate Bush and Roxy Music.

FRI 23:55 The Joy of ABBA (b03lyzpp)
Between 1974 and 1982, ABBA plundered the Anglo-Saxon charts but divided critical opinion. This documentary explores how they raised the bar for pop music as a form and made us fall in love with the sound of Swedish melancholy. A saga about the soul of pop.

FRI 00:55 Top of the Pops (m0004vzl)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:00 today]

FRI 01:30 Top of the Pops (b085ykyh)
[Repeat of broadcast at 20:30 today]

FRI 02:00 ABBA at the BBC (b03lyzpr)
[Repeat of broadcast at 22:00 today]

FRI 03:00 Agnetha: ABBA and After (b02x9zwc)
[Repeat of broadcast at 21:00 today]

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

ABBA at the BBC 22:00 FRI (b03lyzpr)

ABBA at the BBC 02:00 FRI (b03lyzpr)

ABBA in Switzerland 23:00 FRI (m0011p5h)

Agnetha: ABBA and After 21:00 FRI (b02x9zwc)

Agnetha: ABBA and After 03:00 FRI (b02x9zwc)

Arena 23:00 MON (m001s76n)

Arena 21:00 THU (m0010jm3)

Arena 02:50 THU (m0010jm3)

Art That Made Us 21:00 MON (p0bvgz00)

Art That Made Us 02:35 MON (p0bvgz00)

Australia: Earth's Magical Kingdom 20:00 WED (m0003gbh)

Australia: Earth's Magical Kingdom 01:40 WED (m0003gbh)

Brian Cox's Adventures in Space and Time 21:00 WED (m000wtdj)

Brian Cox's Adventures in Space and Time 02:40 WED (m000wtdj)

Britain's Outlaws: Highwaymen, Pirates and Rogues 20:00 SAT (b06qgh3w)

Britain's Outlaws: Highwaymen, Pirates and Rogues 02:35 SAT (b06qgh3w)

Dame Siân Phillips Remembers... Under Milk Wood 22:00 THU (m001s79n)

Dark Hearts 21:00 SAT (p0ggk72x)

Dark Hearts 21:50 SAT (p0ggk7z2)

Dylan Thomas: I Sing to You Strangers 01:00 THU (m001s79y)

Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure 19:30 MON (m000b4kx)

Gareth Edwards’s Great Welsh Adventure 00:35 MON (m000b4kx)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:00 MON (m000vsxt)

Great British Railway Journeys 01:05 MON (m000vsxt)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:00 TUE (m000vsz2)

Great British Railway Journeys 01:45 TUE (m000vsz2)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:00 WED (m000vsrn)

Great British Railway Journeys 00:40 WED (m000vsrn)

Great British Railway Journeys 19:00 THU (m000w16t)

Great British Railway Journeys 01:50 THU (m000w16t)

HMS Brilliant 22:05 TUE (m001s7wp)

HMS Brilliant 22:55 TUE (m001s7xb)

Hamlet at Elsinore 23:15 SUN (m001s720)

Hamlet from Bristol Old Vic 20:30 SUN (m001s71k)

Hidden Wales: Last Chance to Save 20:00 THU (m0014zsh)

King Lear 22:45 WED (b0b57d0w)

Leonardo 22:00 MON (b0078rw5)

Leonardo 00:45 TUE (b0078rw5)

Simon Schama's Power of Art 20:00 MON (b00793xk)

Simon Schama's Power of Art 01:35 MON (b00793xk)

Simon Schama's Shakespeare 00:30 SAT (b01kczrd)

Sir Richard Eyre Remembers... King Lear 22:30 WED (m001s8lx)

Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em 02:00 SAT (b0077wwx)

Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em 20:00 TUE (b00788s7)

Steve Backshall's Extreme Mountain Challenge 19:00 SAT (b073h9h8)

Steve Backshall's Extreme Mountain Challenge 02:05 SUN (b073h9h8)

Steven Berkoff Remembers... Hamlet at Elsinore 23:00 SUN (m001s71s)

Talking Shakespeare 19:30 SUN (m001s71d)

Talking Shakespeare 03:05 SUN (m001s71d)

The Australian Wars 21:05 TUE (p0gjfgjh)

The Australian Wars 02:45 TUE (p0gjfgjh)

The Edge of Love 23:15 THU (b00zmc6h)

The Hollow Crown 22:35 SAT (b07bgnf9)

The Joy of ABBA 23:55 FRI (b03lyzpp)

The Secret Life of Books 19:30 WED (b04gv5zy)

The Secret Life of Books 01:10 WED (b04gv5zy)

This Cultural Life 19:00 SUN (m001s715)

This Cultural Life 22:00 WED (m001s715)

Timewatch 23:45 TUE (b016xjwh)

Top of the Pops 19:00 FRI (m001s8tg)

Top of the Pops 19:30 FRI (m001s8tj)

Top of the Pops 20:00 FRI (m0004vzl)

Top of the Pops 20:30 FRI (b085ykyh)

Top of the Pops 00:55 FRI (m0004vzl)

Top of the Pops 01:30 FRI (b085ykyh)

Two Melons and a Stinking Fish 23:45 MON (b0074q13)

Under Milk Wood 22:15 THU (p01x5k4n)

Weatherman Walking 19:30 TUE (p01w6l7v)

Weatherman Walking 02:15 TUE (p01w6l7v)

Weatherman Walking 19:30 THU (b042689s)

Weatherman Walking 02:20 THU (b042689s)

Yes, Minister 01:30 SAT (b0074rh7)

Yes, Minister 20:35 TUE (b0074rjz)