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BBC Documentaries

Season 2011 2011

  • 2011-01-03T21:00:00Z on BBC
  • 60 mins
  • 12 days, 20 hours, 0 mins (308 episodes)
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • Documentary, Special Interest

Documentaries produced by or for the BBC.

319 episodes

2011x01 Pixar: 25 Magic Moments

  • Season Premiere

    2011-01-03T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Through 25 key moments, this programme takes a look at the highs and lows of the multi award-winning animation studio Pixar as it celebrates its 25th birthday, and discovers the secrets of how to make a Pixar movie. With unique access to Pixar HQ and the creative team, it features memorable moments from hits such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc, as well as exclusive interviews with Billy Crystal, Tim Allen, Holly Hunter, Kelsey Grammer, Michael Keaton, George Lucas and others.

Nel Hedayat investigates the controversial world of music videos and meets the girls who dream of dancing in them. Nel spends time with girls who are on the path to success, but also learns about the dark side of an industry where dancers chasing fame can leave themselves open to financial and sexual exploitation.

The life and times of the much-loved comedienne, from vaudeville showgirl to star of the Ulster stage.

The extraordinary story of comedian Bob Monkhouse's life and career, told for the first time through the vast private archive of films, TV shows, letters and memorabilia that he left behind.

2011x05 Shooting the Hollywood Stars

  • 2011-01-08T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Rankin, the UK's leading fashion photographer, reveals the rich history of Hollywood photography and how its most influential and enduring images were created. From Hollywood's golden age, epitomised by gorgeous images of screen goddesses Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich to brooding shots of Marlon Brando; from the unparalleled allure of pictures of Marilyn Monroe to iconic black and white stills of Charlie Chaplin, Rankin immerses himself in the art of the Hollywood portrait and explores the vital role it has played in both the movie business and our continuing love affair with movie stars.

To understand how the image makers of Hollywood created these iconic photographs, Rankin recruits a cast of leading Hollywood actors to help him recreate some of the most important - including Leslie Mann (Knocked Up, 40 Year Old Virgin); Selma Blair (Legally Blonde, Cruel Intentions), British actor Matthew Rhys (Brothers & Sisters, Dylan Thomas's biopic The Edge of Love); actor extraordinaire Michael Sheen (The Damned United, Frost/Nixon), and living Hollywood legend Jane Russell.

Johnny Beattie leads this celebration of one of Scotland's finest singers, the tenor Kenneth McKellar, who died early last year. McKellar's career spanned 50 years and saw him become a household name in Scotland and beyond, but behind the public persona was a quiet man who regularly spurned personal honours and accolades and shied away from the trappings of showbusiness. The programme features contributions from McKellar's friends and colleagues including Sir Jackie Stewart, the singers Eddi Reader and Jean Redpath and his daughter Jane McKellar.

Drawing from Eric and Ernie, the BBC's new film, this celebratory documentary charts the duo's early years and the hurdles they faced, whilst showing why Eric and Ernie still remain Britain's best loved double act. Featuring specially shot, behind-the-scenes footage from the film, treasured Morecambe and Wise archive and celebrity interviews, the documentary visits important landmarks in their journey and uncovers the hard work and secrets of their phenomenal success.

Featuring contributions from the people who knew Eric and Ernie best: their family, peers, greatest fans and fellow comics of stage and screen. Contributors include Cilla Black, Michael Grade, Eddie Braben, Joan and Gary Morecambe, Doreen Wise, Miranda Hart, Lee Mack, Reece Shearsmith, Penelope Keith and Andrew Marr. Narrated by Victoria Wood.

2011x08 Pre-Teen Proms

  • 2011-01-05T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Proms to mark the end of primary school are the latest pre-teen craze. And they're growing, not just in numbers, but in glitz. Pre-teen Proms tells the story of the children at two schools in the three months running up to this latest, inescapable, rite of passage. At Riverside Primary in Livingston, the teachers love the fun and glamour of the prom, while at well-heeled Mearns Primary just outside Glasgow, they're fighting to keep the 40-year-old Scottish tradition of their leavers dance alive. But as the kids demands mount - pamper parties, horse drawn carriages, limos, maseratis, red carpets and non-alcoholic cocktails, not to mention prizes for prom king, prom queen and couple most likely to get married - the parents have little choice but to stump up the cash. So once the kids have had their say, how different will the dances really be? Who wins - the adults or the 11-year-old kids?

2011x09 A Boy In Harris - An-Diugh

  • 2011-01-04T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Donnie Macsween was a schoolboy when the BBC made 'A Boy in Harris' in the 1960s. This programme looks at his life since then. An opportunity to see the original, acclaimed documentary once more.

Scottish Gaelic with English subtitles.

2011x10 Is Oral Sex Safe?

  • 2011-01-10T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Darren was diagnosed with orophyrangeal cancer, a rare form of mouth cancer, at the age of only 31. But that wasn't the only shocking news that he had to deal with. Most oral cancers are caused by smoking or drinking, but Darren's was caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is sexually transmitted. Darren had caught it through having oral sex. New research shows that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of HPV-related oral cancers amongst young people.
Jaime Winstone sets out to discover why the statistics are rising and whether anything can be done to stop this trend. Sadly, she has an intimate relationship with cancer - as filming began, her close friend Paul died from pancreatic cancer aged only 26. Whilst his cancer wasn't preventable, Darren's was.
HPV is recognised as the cause of cervical cancer in women and so, two years ago, the government introduced a national vaccination programme for teenage girls. But if a vaccine exists, why isn't it also given to boys to protect them from developing HPV-related cancers? Although this oral cancer is still relatively rare, the HP virus is common, with an estimated 80 per cent of adults having it, without any symptoms, during their lives.
Jaime's journey takes her to meet Dr Margaret Stanley, an expert on HPV and Professor Hisham Mehanna, a head and neck specialist at University Hospital, Coventry whose research has shown an increase in HPV-related oral cancers. Jaime talks to teenage boys about what they know of HPV and to teenage girls about why they are reluctant to get the freely available vaccine, before confronting the Department of Health over why they currently don't vaccinate boys as well as girls on the NHS.

2011x11 Ready, Steady, Drink

  • 2011-01-17T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

In Ready, Steady, Drink Emily Atack, who plays Charlotte Hinchcliffe in The Inbetweeners, looks at the UK's culture of drinking games and whether they should be banned. Travelling the length and breadth of the country Emily investigates why young Brits like to find new and more risky ways of drinking and she asks if there is anything the government can do to stop them.

The story of Charles Byrne the famous Irish Giant and some possible modern-day relatives.

2011x13 Pete Postlethwaite: A Tribute

  • 2011-01-15T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

A tribute to the Oscar-nominated British actor Pete Postlethwaite, who died on 2 January following a lengthy illness. Includes interviews and clips with fellow actors and directors.

2011x14 Triuir (Triplets)

  • 2011-01-14T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

The Campbell sisters are the best known triplets in the Hebrides. But behind the incredible story of their dramatic birth lies a tale of loss and separation, hardship and poverty, amid much laughter and tears.

Scottish Gaelic with English subtitles.

It's more than two years since the giant banks were bailed out with billions of pounds of tax-payers' money, yet little has been done to reform or regulate these vast institutions. The BBC's business editor Robert Peston looks at how the international regulators, a little-known and secretive committee that sits in the Swiss city of Basel, have consistently failed to curb the excesses of the giant banks and how new proposals fall short of the root-and-branch reform promised after the crash.

With the fate of Ireland, brought to its knees by the excesses of its banking industry, fresh in our minds, Peston asks whether Britain would be in any position to bail out our huge banks should there be another crisis. Are the banks, once thought to be too big to fail, now actually too big to save?

The film contains the first interviews with the government's new Banking Commission, as well as contributions from Business Secretary Vince Cable, new RBS chairman Sir Philip Hampton and the Bank of England.

From the Royal Institution in London, Harvard professor Michael Sandel hosts a discussion to explore fairness in public policy and the Big Society. An audience of politicians, opinion-formers and the general public should ensure a lively and topical debate.

A specially-commissioned documentary in which renowned Harvard professor Michael Sandel looks at the philosophy of justice.

Is it acceptable to torture a terrorist in order to discover where a bomb has been hidden? Should wearing the burka in public be banned in Europe, if the majority of citizens disapprove? Should beggars be cleared off the streets of London?

Sandel goes in search of Jeremy Bentham, Immanuel Kant and Aristotle, three philosophers whose ideas inform much contemporary thinking on justice, and tests their theories against a range of contemporary problems.

Filmed in Berlin, Boston, Athens and London, this thought-provoking film includes interviews with the world's great philosophers, modern day politicians and thinkers from all around the globe.

In April 2010, Laura Hall from Bromsgrove hit the headlines for being barred from buying or drinking alcohol anywhere in England and Wales. After being expelled from school at 15, she has no qualifications and has been arrested over 40 times. Now she is determined to change. This documentary follows Laura into rehab, capturing her highs and lows as she attempts to turn her back on six years of binge drinking.

2011x19 Abortion Wars

  • 2011-01-18T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

This programme follows two women who on the front line of Northern Ireland's continuing abortion battle. Audrey Simpson is the director of the Family Planning Association, the only agency in NI that provides women with information on how to arrange an abortion. And every day, Bernie Smyth and fellow activists from the Precious Life pressure group are literally standing in the way of the women entering the FPA's Belfast offices. She says her mission is simple: to save the lives of the unborn.

2011x20 The Guga Hunters of Ness

  • 2011-01-20T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Ness is the last place in the UK where young gannets, known in Gaelic as guga, are hunted for their meat. The hunting of sea birds was outlawed in 1954 in the UK, but the community of Ness on the Isle of Lewis continues to be granted the only exemption under UK and EU law allowing them to hold the annual hunt.

Every August, ten men from Ness set sail for Sula Sgeir, a desolate island far out in the Atlantic. Following in the footsteps of countless generations, they leave their families behind to journey through wild storms and high seas to reach the remote hunting ground.

The men live on the island for two exhausting weeks, sleeping amongst ruins left behind by monks over a thousand years ago. They work ceaselessly, catching, killing and processing 2000 birds using traditional methods unique to the hunt.

Today the future of the hunt is uncertain. Island life has changed dramatically in recent years. The population of Ness has halved in the last 50 years as the young head south. Distinctive Hebridean traditions such as crofting and peat cutting, which have long since disappeared elsewhere in Scotland, are finally vanishing in Ness.

2011x21 Harris - Hebridean Heartland

  • 2011-01-18T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Set in the heart of the Outer Hebrides, the Isle of Harris is a landscape rich in culture, history and the Gaelic language. Home to some of Britain's most important wildlife, it's a naturalist's paradise. In this special programme Dougie Vipond celebrates the people who live and work on the edge of western Europe - from traditional crofters and craftspeople to those developing new skills for the future.

During the 40s, 50s and 60s Sister Rosetta Tharpe played a highly significant role in the creation of rock & roll, inspiring musicians like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Little Richard and Chuck Berry. She may not be a household name, but this flamboyant African-American gospel singing superstar, with her spectacular virtuosity on the newly-electrified guitar, was one of the most influential popular musicians of the 20th century.

Tharpe was born in 1915, close to the Mississippi in Cotton Plant, Arkansas. At the age of six she was taken by her evangelist mother Katie Bell to Chicago to join Roberts Temple, Church of God in Christ, where she developed her distinctive style of singing and guitar playing. At the age of 23 she left the church and went to New York to join the world of show business, signing with Decca Records. For the following 30 years she performed extensively to packed houses in the USA and subsequently Europe, before her death in 1973.

In 2008 the state governor of Pennsylvania declared that henceforth January 11th will be Sister Rosetta Tharpe Day in recognition of her remarkable musical legacy.

2011x23 Outside the Court

  • 2011-01-31T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

They arrive, they smoke, they wait - armed robbers seeking redemption, life-long thieves, addicts and anxious fathers of wayward children. Hard exteriors hide soft centres, old lives exist in young bodies - ordinary people awaiting judgement on an unlovely stretch of pavement outside a London magistrates' court.
Whilst waiting for their cases to be heard they reveal their lives, and the complexities of the human soul are laid bare. Tense and intimate conversations with the filmmaker illuminate stories that the magistrates hear daily.
Director Marc Isaacs spent three months outside Highbury Magistrates Court and, in doing so, demonstrates how the eye of the camera has the ability to delve much deeper into character and motivation than the eye of the law. Consequently, the more we get to know the characters in this film, the harder it is to make easy judgements. Whilst the court must judge, the filmmaker need not.

They are the UK's most powerful arbiters of justice and now, for the first time, four of the Justices of the Supreme Court talk frankly and openly about the nature of justice and how they make their decisions. The film offers a revealing glimpse of the human characters behind the judgments and explores why the Supreme Court and its members are fundamental to our democracy.
The eleven men and one woman who make up the UK Supreme Court have the last say on the most controversial and difficult cases in the land. What they decide binds every citizen. But are their rulings always fair, do their feelings ever get in the way of their judgments and are they always right?
In the first fourteen months of the court they have ruled on MPs' expenses, which led to David Chaytor's prosecution, changed the status of pre-nuptial agreements and battled with the government over control orders and the Human Rights Act.
They explain what happens when they cannot agree and there is a divided judgement, and how they avoid letting their personal feelings effect their interpretation of the law. And they face up to the difficult issue of diversity - there is only one woman on the court, and she is the only justice who went to a non-fee-paying school.

2011x25 Scenes from a Teenage Killing

  • 2011-01-25T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Bafta-winning director Morgan Matthews's landmark film exploring the impact of teenage killings on families and communities across Britain, an emotional journey that chronicles every teenager who died as a result of violence in 2009 in the UK. Harrowing actuality filmed in the immediate aftermath combines with moving testimony from the spectrum of people affected in the wake of violent death. Filmed over eighteen months, this epic documentary is the BBC's most ambitious film to date about youth violence.
The film questions society's attitudes towards young people whilst probing the meaning behind terminology such as 'gang violence' or 'gang-related' often used in connection with teenage killings. It reveals the reality of the teenage murder toll across one year, connecting the viewer with the people behind the headlines and the emotional consequences of violent death. Differing perspectives from families, friends, passers-by and the police are explored with intimacy and depth. Together they reflect the collective impact of a teenage killing on an entire community.
Travelling the length and breadth of Britain, the film meets people of different religion, race and class. It tells the story of Shevon Wilson, whose misreported murder divided a community; the teenage girl who discovered she was pregnant to her boyfriend shortly after he was stabbed to death; the nurse who fought to save a dying teenager who was stabbed outside her home; and the outspoken East End twins who lost a mother and daughter in the same attack.
The documentary names every teenager to die as a result of violence in 2009. Haunting footage of shrines is a reminder of the countless families who continue to suffer as a result of violence. Powerful and compelling, Scenes from a Teenage Killing is a poignant and brutal reminder of the needless waste of young potential.

Pleasure is vital for our survival - without it we wouldn't eat or have sex, and would soon die out as a species. But how does pleasure work and what gives us the most pleasure in life?
In an attempt to find out, Michael Mosley learns how the hottest chilli in the world creates euphoria in the brain, why parents have an overwhelming surge of love for their newborn child and what happens if you turn your own wedding into a chemistry experiment.
We all know that where there is pleasure, pain can't be far behind, and Michael gamely exposes himself to some painful experiments to show why the two are so interlinked. Why is pain so important and how can we measure it? How much pain are we prepared to put up with if the reward is right and what would happen if we couldn't feel pain at all? And how far is Michael prepared to go in the name of pleasure? Will he be able to overcome enormous pain and stress in order to experience one of the biggest pleasure kicks in the world?

David Cameron and Nick Clegg seem made for each other: Eton and Oxford meets Westminster School and Cambridge. But does the return of public school boys to the top of our politics say something worrying about the decline of social mobility in Britain?
Andrew Neil goes on a journey from the Scottish council house he grew up in to the corridors of power to ask if we will ever again see a prime minister emerge from an ordinary background like his.
In this provocative film Andrew seeks to find out why politicians from all parties appear to be drawn from an ever smaller social pool - and why it matters to us all.

2011x28 From Haiti's Ashes

  • 2011-01-29T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

A story of hope in a country that has none, and one that has uncomfortable lessons for the governments of the West.

On 12 January 2010, Haiti was hit by a terrible quake. Hundreds of thousands dead and wounded; thousands of buildings crushed; the capital, Port au Prince, wiped out; death and disease everywhere. The disaster left Haiti and its government in ruins.

Three weeks post quake, Haiti's fate depends in large part on one man: Bill Clinton's guy on the ground, Irish telecoms billionaire Denis O'Brien. O'Brien flies straight in, taking with him on his jet a party of nuns, builders, and British architect John McAslan.

The assessment is that if Haiti is going to pull back from the brink, it needs two things fast: houses for the millions left homeless by the quake, and a beacon rebuilding project that the country can reunite around, and thus reboot its shattered economy. This is the Iron Market, Haiti's equivalent of the Eiffel Tower at the heart of Port au Prince. O'Brien makes a promise to the people of Haiti and sets an ambitious completion date of 15 December 2010 - the race is on.

It quickly becomes apparent that although international aid is promised in its billions, very little is actually appearing on the ground. O'Brien's building project is the only real game in town. What's more, over the next 12 months they are hit by hurricanes, cholera, an unhappy government election and subsequent rioting - the challenge and the deadline seem impossible.

On 11 January 2011, the eve of the anniversary of the tragic event, all eyes turn to the Iron Market - have they done it? Clinton, O'Brien and the world's media arrive. Will this be one promise to Haiti that is kept?

2011x29 Grey FM

  • 2011-01-31T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Once a week pensioners Jimmy, Colette, Sean and friends blast the airwaves with their own feisty, funny and issue-driven radio show 'Afternoon Delight'. Observationally shot, this moving film takes us into the homes and hearts of a generation who struggle in an entertaining and inspiring way with issues that face many of our pensioners.

2011x30 Do We Really Need the Moon?

  • 2011-02-01T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

The Moon is such a familiar presence in the sky that most of us take it for granted. But what if it wasn't where it is now? How would that affect life on Earth?

Space scientist and lunar fanatic Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock explores our intimate relationship with the Moon. Besides orchestrating the tides, the moon dictates the length of a day, the rhythm of the seasons and the very stability of our planet.

Yet the Moon is always on the move. In the past it was closer to Earth and in the future it'll be farther away. That it is now perfectly placed to sustain life is pure luck, a cosmic coincidence. Using computer graphics to summon up great tides and set the Earth spinning on its side, Maggie Aderin-Pocock implores us to look at the Moon afresh: to see it not as an inert rock, but as a key player in the story of our planet, past, present and future.

2011x31 The Secret Life of Waves

  • 2011-02-02T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary-maker David Malone delves into the secrets of ocean waves. In an elegant and original film he finds that waves are not made of water, that some waves travel sideways and that the sound of the ocean comes not from water but from bubbles. Waves are not only beautiful but also profoundly important, and there is a surprising connection between the life cycle of waves and the life of human beings.

2011x32 Who Gets the Best Jobs?

  • 2011-02-02T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Britain is a less equal society than at any time since World War One. In Who Gets the Best Jobs, Richard Bilton investigates access to the professions - and finds that the best jobs are being snapped up by an increasingly small gene pool of privileged, well-connected families.

Getting a good degree matters more than ever - and those from low income families can no longer easily work their way up from the bottom without the qualifications, contacts and social skills that their more fortunate counterparts make full use of.

The catalyst to Britain's Industrial Revolution was the slave labour of orphans and destitute children. In this shocking and moving account of their exploitation and eventual emancipation, Professor Jane Humphries uses the actual words of these child workers (recorded in diaries, interviews and letters) to let them tell their own story. She also uses groundbreaking animation to bring to life a world where 12-year-olds went to war at Trafalgar and six-year-olds worked the fields as human scarecrows.

To most Americans Abraham Lincoln is the nation's greatest president - a political genius who won the Civil War and ended slavery. Today the cult of Lincoln has become a multi-million dollar industry, with millions of Americans visiting his memorials and thousands of books published that present him as a saint more than a politician.

But does Lincoln really deserve all this adulation? 150 years after the war his reputation is being re-assessed, as historians begin to uncover the dark side of his life and politics. They have revealed that the president who ended slavery secretly planned to deport the freed black people out of America. Others are asking if Lincoln should be remembered as a war hero who saved the nation or as a war criminal who launched attacks on innocent southern civilians.

Sir Peter Tapsell MP delivers a lecture on F E Smith in the State Apartments of the Palace of Westminster, from Tuesday 1 February.

It can be tough working together for one goal, but the rewards more than make up for it. Set in the South Wales valleys, the drama Baker Boys follows the highs and lows of a group of bakery workers who, against all odds, manage to buy their own factory and run it as a co-operative. In this documentary, we take a journey into the past with Mark Lewis Jones, who stars in the drama, to reveal the incredible vision of the co-operative movement's Welsh founder Robert Owen. And Steven Meo uncovers how his radical thinking is impacting on Welsh communities even today. Robert Owen is a man of our times. Big Society is not a new phenomenon. It may be over 200 years since his death, but it seems this visionary Welshman was always way ahead of his time.

2011x37 Indian Stories

  • 2011-02-06T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Three groups use dance, food and music to explore modern India and Indian life. The films were made by the Scottish-Indian groups themselves, supported by the LAB team.

LAB, or Learn At BBC Scotland, is part of the Learning Department doing workshops to pass on skills and stimulate creativity.

2011x38 Birth of the British Novel

  • 2011-02-07T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Author Henry Hitchings explores the lives and works of Britain's radical and pioneering 18th century novelists who, in just 80 years, established all the literary genres we recognise today. It was a golden age of creativity led by Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Fanny Burney and William Godwin, amongst others. Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver's Travels, Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy are novels that still sparkle with audacity and innovation. On his journey through 18th century fiction, Hitchings reveals how the novel was more than mere entertainment, it was also a subversive hand grenade that would change British society for the better. He travels from the homes of Britain's great and good to its lowliest prisons, meeting contemporary writers like Martin Amis, Will Self, Tom McCarthy and Jenny Uglow on the way.

Although 18th century novels are woefully neglected today compared to those of the following two centuries, Hitchings shows how the best of them can offer as much pleasure to the reader as any modern classic.

2011x39 Child of the Dead End

  • 2011-02-06T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

A programme exploring the life and writing of navvy poet Patrick MacGill. Drawing upon a rich vein of early cinema archive and live action re-enactment shot in Ireland, Scotland and England, the film retraces MacGill's journey from itinerant labourer to man of letters. Born in 1889 into crushing poverty in Donegal in the west of Ireland, MacGill went on to become one of Ireland's most successful authors, widely recognised as the voice of the migrant Irish in Scotland at the turn of the last century.

His autobiographical novels, penned in Scotland and hugely popular at the time, paint a vibrant picture of the life of the navvy, the labourer and the prostitute, 'the outcasts of a mighty industrial society'.

MacGill lived the life of a navvy in the Scottish highlands, and in his writing fact and fiction, social report and love story mingle. Later he finds himself working as a scribe in Windsor Castle and mixing with the aristocracy.

MacGill was to fight in the First World war and write of the horror of the trenches. We follow his rags to riches story as he fashions a career as a writer against the backdrop of a society in turmoil.

2011x40 Robinson

  • 2011-02-07T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

In 2008, after 25-years as Ian Paisley's deputy, Peter Robinson finally got his hands on power, becoming leader of the DUP and Northern Ireland's First Minister. Less than two years later, he was facing personal and political ruin after he was alleged to have failed to alert the authorities to his wife's financial dealings with two property developers and her 19-year-old lover. Yet today, the First Minister appears stronger than ever. With interviews from enemies and colleagues, past and present, this documentary examines the political life of Peter Robinson, a journey that has taken him from street protests to power sharing

As Wales prepare to take on England at the Millennium Stadium on Friday night, Chris Corcoran takes a sideways look at this famous fixture which has generated so much passion over the years. From the games of the 80s with stripey bobble hats, Bill McLaren's commentary and supporters running on the pitch, to the professional era of today, Chris presents his personal take on growing up with the Five - now Six - Nations rugby championship.

Tough times have hit Britain and for young people it is the hardest time to find a job since the 1980s. Greg James finds out what it's like to be young, unemployed and living with your parents when he follows graduates and school leavers chasing jobs in the worst job market in decades.

Writer and broadcaster Stephen Smith uncovers the secret history of the humble fig leaf, opening a window onto 2,000 years of Western art and ethics.

He tells how the work of Michelangelo, known to his contemporaries as 'the maker of pork things', fuelled the infamous 'fig leaf campaign', the greatest cover-up in art history; how Bernini turned censorship into a new form of erotica by replacing the fig leaf with the slipping gauze; and how the ingenious machinations of Rodin brought nudity back to the public eye.

In telling this story, Smith turns many of our deepest prejudices upside down, showing how the Victorians had a far more sophisticated and mature attitude to sexuality than we do today. He ends with an impassioned plea for the widespread return of the fig leaf to redeem modern art from cheap sensation and innuendo.

The rocksteady era of Jamaican music in the mid-to-late 1960s is considered a golden age because rocksteady's sweet, soulful vocals, romantic but often socially conscious lyrics and prominent basslines gave birth to reggae, which went on to capture the world.

This documentary chronicles the coming together of rocksteady's surviving vocal stars - artists like the Tamlins, U-Roy, Ken Boothe, Leroy Sibbles from the Heptones, Judy Mowatt, Dawn Penn, Rita Marley and Marcia Griffiths - and some of the island's greatest players, to celebrate their greatest 60s hits, perform a reunion concert and celebrate that golden era. Think of it as a kind of Buena Vista Social Club for the great 60s architects of Jamaican music. It is also a beautiful portrait of Jamaica.

In 1962, Jamaica gained its independence from Great Britain. There was celebration, optimism, economic growth and opportunity. Recording studios popped up all over Kingston and a generation of great singers and players emerged playing the tuneful, mellow music that became known as rocksteady - tunes like The Tide Is High, Rivers of Babylon and You Don't Love Me Anymore, No No No, which were so successfully celebrated by UB40 on their Labour of Love albums. By 1968, Jamaica's economic bubble had burst and social unrest took to the streets. As poverty, violence and political upheaval spread, rocksteady became politicised, upped its tempo and began to evolve into the music they call reggae.

2011x45 Reggae Britannia

  • 2011-02-11T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

The acclaimed BBC4 Britannia series moves into the world of British reggae. Showing how it came from Jamaica in the 1960s to influence, over the next twenty years, both British music and society, the programme includes major artists and performances from that era, including Big Youth, Max Romeo, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Jerry Dammers and the Specials, the Police, UB40, Dennis Bovell, lovers rock performers Carroll Thompson and Janet Kay, bands like Aswad and Steel Pulse and reggae admirers such as Boy George and Paul Weller.

The programme celebrates the impact of reggae, the changes it brought about and its lasting musical legacy.

Scott Mills travels to Uganda where the death penalty could soon be introduced for being gay. The gay Radio 1 DJ finds out what it's like to live in a society which persecutes people like him and meets those who are leading the hate campaign.

2011x47 As Others See Us

  • 2011-02-14T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Veteran television reporters Kate Adie, Martin Bell, Peter Taylor and Bill Neely return to Northern Ireland to revisit their coverage of the Troubles and meet with some of the people whose stories they told.

2011x48 Nuns Aloud

  • 2011-02-15T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

In 2008, Decca Records had a worldwide smash hit with a group of Austrian monks singing Gregorian chant. Now the company is hoping to repeat their success, this time with an order of nuns.

Record executives Oliver Harrop and Tom Lewis travel the world in search of the finest singing nuns, with the aim of signing them up and taking them to number one in the charts. From Ireland to the USA via France and Spain, no stone is unturned in the quest to find the world's most heavenly voices.

But there is a problem; many orders of nuns live in communities hidden from the modern world. Will Tom and Olly be able to persuade any to swap their solitude for the media attention and fame that could result from recording a hit album?

2011x49 For Crying Out Loud

  • 2011-02-14T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Jo Brand is outraged and appalled by the latest outburst of public crying. It is happening on X Factor, Who Do You Think You Are and even the politicans are at it. It would appear we are awash with tears. Jo is particularly baffled by this outpouring of weepiness as crying is something she rarely does.

In this documentary, Jo decides it's time to get to the bottom of crying: why we do it, who does it and whether we have always done it. And once she discovers crying is in fact good for you, she has no choice but to see if she can actually make a handkerchief soggy too.

To find out more about crying she talks to friends Phill Jupitus, Shappi Khorsandi and Richard E Grant; interviews crying historians, psychologists and biochemists; and, in her quest to discover her own tears, visits Moorfields Eye Hospital to check her tear ducts are in good working order. She subjects herself to joining a class of crying drama students, discovers the world's weirdest crybabies at the Loss Club and finally opens up to Princess Diana's psychotherapist, Susie Orbach.

Having unpicked the watery world of crying, can Jo bring herself to actually shed a tear?

David Nash is one of Britain's most original and internationally recognised sculptors. In a career spanning 40 years he has created over 2,000 sculptures out of wood, many of then monumental in scale. In this film Nash gives an intimate insight into his unique collaboration with his material. From sawing and gouging to charring and planting, it reveals how he has used his profound knowledge of trees and the forces of nature to inform his work.

Using extensive archive it traces Nash's artistic journey from art school to the rugged mining landscape of Blaenau Ffestiniog in north Wales via the many exhibitions he has had around the world, culminating in the most significant to date at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2010.

2011x51 Ice Emigrants

  • 2011-02-21T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

On a remarkable journey of discovery, one Armagh family trace their roots to the Great Famine, experiencing the realities of life 150 years ago and discovering two very different paths their ancestors took - one half choosing to remain behind, while the other half abandoned Armagh for a new life across the Atlantic. Through fire and ice, their struggle to survive is revealed to be a microcosm of courage and endurance.

Wales's great artist Sir Kyffin Williams talks about four seminal turning points in the course of his life.

Sir Kyffin's Welsh upbringing, viewing a 15th-century Italian fresco by Piero Della Francesca, and a 1947 realization he might be able to earn his living as a painter - these are the first three. The fourth moment was an agonizing choice between Patagonia and Venice. He had spent two exciting months on a Winston Churchill Scholarship in Patagonia, and first visited Venice in 1955. The extraordinary Italian city's magnificence and lack of inhibition had cast a spell during each of his subsequent visits.

Investigation into how two brothers set up a failed Christmas theme park in Dorset. Lapland New Forest opened for just six days and took over 1.2 million pounds.

Documentary telling the unexpected story of how arguably the greatest work of English prose ever written, the King James Bible, came into being.

Author Adam Nicolson reveals why the making of this powerful book shares much in common with his experience of a very different national project - the Millennium Dome. The programme also delves into recently discovered 17th century manuscripts, from the actual translation process itself, to show in rich detail what makes this Bible so good.

In a turbulent and often violent age, the King hoped this Bible would unite a country torn by religious factions. Today it is dismissed by some as old-fashioned and impenetrable, but the film shows why, in the 21st century, the King James Bible remains so great.

The untold story of one of the most influential artists ever to come out of Jamaica, Toots Hibbert, featuring intimate new performances and interviews with Toots, rare archive from throughout his career and interviews with contemporaries and admirers including Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Jimmy Cliff, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Marcia Griffiths and Paolo Nutini.

From his beginnings as a singer in a Jamaican church to the universally-praised, Grammy award-winning artist of today, the film tells the story of one of the true greats of music. Toots was the first to use the word reggae on tape in his 1968 song Do the Reggay and his music has defined, popularised and refined it across six decades, with hit after hit including Pressure Drop, Sweet and Dandy, Monkey Man, Funky Kingston, Bam Bam, True Love Is Hard To Find and Reggae Got Soul.

As Island records founder Chris Blackwell says, 'The Maytals were unlike anything else... sensational, raw and dynamic'. Always instantly recognisable is Toots's powerful, soulful voice which seems to speak viscerally to the listener - 'one of the great musical gifts of our time'. His songs are at the same time stories of everyday life in Jamaica and postcards from another world.

The Shetland Folk Festival is one of the world's most exotic events with a hard earned reputation as the festival where nobody sleeps.

Celebrating its 30th birthday, a hundred folk-musicians from as far afield as New York, Mumbai and Stockholm descend on the islands for four days and 200 performances, aided by 700 volunteers. With non-stop music from before the ferry leaves Aberdeen until the moment the visiting musicians return.

2011x57 Verdi: The Director's Cut

  • 2011-02-19T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary following Graham Vick, one of the leading opera directors of our times, through six months of intensive rehearsals for two radically different productions of operas by Giuseppe Verdi. From a spectacular outdoor Aida, staged on an Austrian lake, to a raw and emotionally charged version of Othello presented in a derelict Birmingham factory with the participation of more than two hundred enthusiastic local singers, dancers and actors.

As Caster Semenya achieved her dream of winning the 800m World Championship in 2009, rumours of a failed gender test spread. A vicious and voyeuristic media storm erupted and Caster's triumph was turned into public humiliation. With exclusive access, this film follows the shy teenager from a remote South African village as she struggles to come to terms with what has happened and fights to return to competition. With the support of her family and a top legal team, Caster takes the fight to the IAAF, the world's leading body for the sport of athletics. As international lawyers and eminent scientists thrash out what it means to be a woman, the 19-year-old at the centre of the storm wants only to run. A heart-rending and uplifting story of a young woman who overcame incredible odds to become the world's best, only to find that her biggest challenges still lay ahead.

Watercolours have always been the poor relation of oil painting. And yet the immediacy and freedom of painting in watercolours have made them the art of adventure and action - even war. It has been an art form the British have pioneered, at first celebrating the greatest landscapes of Europe and then recording the exotic beauty of the British Empire.

Sheila Hancock - an ardent fan of watercolours since her childhood, and whose father was an amateur watercolourist - sets out on a journey - from the glories of the Alps and the city of Venice to deepest India - as she traces the extraordinary story of professional and amateur watercolourists, and reveals some of the most beautiful and yet little-known pictures.

21-year-old Dean Whitney was born in Sheffield to a British dad and Yemeni mum. He has always dreamt of travelling to Yemen to meet his extended family and get in touch with his Muslim and Yemeni identity. But will his life-changing journey become a nightmare in the country now better known for international terrorism and for officially being one of the most dangerous places on earth?

2011x61 Who Needs Trident?

  • 2011-02-23T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

It's been 50 years since nuclear submarines first came to Scotland, and more than 40 since Britain's nuclear missile fleet was stationed on the Clyde lochs. But the Trident fleet is ageing, and the decision to start work on its replacement has been delayed until 2016. With public spending under unprecedented pressure, there's a very real debate over whether we can afford the 20 billion-pound bill. Partly filmed on board one of Britain's nuclear bomber submarines, 'Who Needs Trident?' asks whether a Cold War weapon, designed to deter the Soviet Union from attacking Britain and its NATO allies, is still relevant in the 21st century, and whether Britain, and Scotland, gain anything from it being replaced. Presented by Sally Magnusson.

Murder in the Mearns, in 1968. A young farmer is shot in his sleep - but who pulled the trigger?

Scottish Gaelic with English subtitles

The story of Live at Treorchy, the best-selling album that turned an unknown comedian and singer called Max Boyce into an international star, launching a career spanning 40 years and two million record sales. The album that changed Max Boyce's life also captured how Wales was changing in the early 1970s and still stands as an icon of Welsh identity four decades later. Among those describing the impact Live at Treorchy had on them are broadcaster Huw Edwards, comedian Jasper Carrott and rugby legend Gareth Edwards.

In the late 50s and early 60s Arthur Haynes was ITV's highest paid comic, as popular as Tony Hancock. Paul Merton and Nicholas Parsons rediscover the genius of this forgotten comedy great.

David Attenborough returns to the island of Madagascar on a very personal quest.
In 1960 he visited the island to film one of his first ever wildlife series, Zoo Quest. Whilst he was there, he acquired a giant egg. It was the egg of an extinct bird known as the 'elephant bird' - the largest bird that ever lived. It has been one of his most treasured possessions ever since.
Fifty years older, he now returns to the island to find out more about this amazing creature and to see how the island has changed. Could the elephant bird's fate provide lessons that may help protect Madagascar's remaining wildlife?
Using Zoo Quest archive and specially shot location footage, this film follows David as he revisits scenes from his youth and meets people at the front line of wildlife protection. On his return, scientists at Oxford University are able to reveal for the first time how old David's egg actually is - and what that might tell us about the legendary elephant bird.

Documentary presented by Melvyn Bragg to mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.

Melvyn Bragg sets out to persuade us that the King James Version has driven the making of the English speaking world over the last 400 years, often in the most unanticipated ways.

He travels to historic locations in the UK and USA where the King James Bible has had a deep impact, including Gettysburg and the American Civil War and Washington's Lincoln Memorial, site of Martin Luther King's famous speech.

He argues that while many think our modern world is founded on secular ideals, it is the King James Version which had a greater legacy. The King James Bible not only influenced the English language and its literature more than any other book, it was also the seedbed of western democracy, the activator of radical shifts in society such as the abolition of the slave trade, the debating dynamite for brutal civil wars in Britain and America and a critical spark in the genesis of modern science.

2011x69 Leaving Amish Paradise

  • 2011-03-16T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary following the lives of two Amish families leaving the only world they've ever known and trying to get to grips with the modern world. The Amish travel by horse and buggy, and dress exactly as their forebears did when they first arrived in America almost 300 years ago. They have countless rules which keep them separate from the modern world, with electric lights, mobile phones, television and radio all forbidden. For those born into this culture, leaving is the biggest decision they'll ever make.

A unique journey around the weird and wonderful planet that we call home.

When Yuri Gagarin was blasted into space he became the first human to get a proper look at where we live. 'The Earth is blue,' he exclaimed, 'how amazing!'. Suddenly our perspective on the world had changed forever. We thought we were going to explore the universe, yet the most extraordinary thing we discovered was our own home planet, the Earth.

So what would you see during just one orbit of the Earth? Starting 200 miles above the planet, this film whisks you around the planet to show what changes in the time it takes to circumnavigate the Earth just once. We hear from British-born astronaut Piers Sellers on what it's like to live and work in space, and also to gaze down and see how we are altering and reshaping our world.

We marvel at the incredible forces of nature that brings hundred-mile wide storms and reshapes continents, and also discover how we humans are draining seas and building cities in the middle of the desert. We also visit the wettest place on Earth, as well as the most volcanic.

Narrated by David Morrissey, this inspirational trip around the planet will make you view our home as you've never seen it before.

2011x71 Grand Prix: The Killer Years

  • 2011-03-27T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

In the 60s and early 70s it was common for Grand Prix drivers to be killed while racing, often televised for millions to see. Mechanical failure, lethal track design, fire and incompetence snuffed out dozens of young drivers. They had become almost expendable as eager young wannabes queued up at the top teams' gates waiting to take their place.
This is the story of when Grand Prix was out of control.

Featuring many famous drivers including three times world champion Sir Jackie Stewart OBE, twice world champion Emerson Fittipaldi and John Surtees OBE, this exciting but shocking film explores how Grand Prix drivers grew sick of their closest friends being killed and finally took control of their destiny.
After much waste of life, the prestigious Belgian and German Grands Prix would be boycotted, with drivers insisting that safety be put first. But it would be a long and painful time before anything would change, and a lot of talented young men would be cut down in their prime.

This is their story.

2011x74 My Brother the Islamist

  • 2011-04-04T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Tree surgeon-turned-filmmaker Robb Leech is an ordinary white middle-class boy from the Dorset seaside town of Weymouth. So too is his stepbrother Rich, but a little over a year ago Rich became a radical Islamist who now goes by the name of Salahuddin. He associates with jihadist fundamentalists and believes the UK should be ruled by Sharia law.

In a film that took over twelve months to shoot, Robb sets out to reconnect with his extremist stepbrother and find clues to what led Rich to become Salahuddin. It charts the brothers' relationship and Robb's attempt to understand why the person he'd once looked up to as a teenage role model could so strongly reject all that his family and the Western world believe in. As Robb spends time with Salahuddin, he witnesses a very particular phenomenon - the embrace of radical Islamism by young men, many of them white.

Robb first heard of Rich's conversion in a national newspaper in the summer of 2009. The article said Rich had converted under Anjem Choudary, leader of the radical Muslim group Islam4UK (later banned under Britain's anti-terror laws). Robb was horrified by the things his stepbrother was telling him - that under Sharia law, women should be stoned to death for committing adultery, that he was prepared to die for Islam and that as a non-believer, Robb was going to hell. Just the previous summer the two brothers had shared a room on holiday in Cyprus and been practically inseparable. Robb began filming what was happening to Rich to try to understand why it had happened and what the world was like that Rich had chosen.

Journalist and author Michael Collins presents a hard-hitting and heartwarming history of one of Britain's greatest social revolutions - council housing.

At its height in the mid-1970s, council housing provided homes for over a third of the British population. From the 'homes for heroes' cottages that were built in the wake of the First World War to the much-maligned, monolithic high rises of the 60s and 70s, Collins embarks on a grand tour of Britain's council estates.

He visits Britain's first council estate, built as an antidote to London's disease and crime-ridden Victorian slums, the groundbreaking flats that made inter-war Liverpool the envy of Europe, the high rise estate in Sheffield that has become the largest listed building in the world, and the estate built on the banks of the Thames that was billed as 'the town of the 21st century'.

Along the way he meets the people whose lives were shaped by an extraordinary social experiment that began with a bang at the start of the 20th century and ended with a whimper 80 years later.

2011x76 Destination Titan

  • 2011-04-10T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

It's a voyage of exploration like no other - to Titan, Saturn's largest moon and thought to resemble our own early Earth. For a small team of British scientists this would be the culmination of a lifetime's endeavour - the flight alone, some 2 billion miles, would take a full seven years. This is the story of the space probe they built, the sacrifices they made and their hopes for the landing. Would their ambitions survive the descent into the unknown on Titan's surface?

London won the bid to stage the Olympics on the basis of an extraordinary promise of a lasting legacy. With the Games less than 500 days away, leading political journalist Jon Sopel scrutinises the original pledges and asks if the legacy of the Games can really be delivered.

In 2008 Stacey Dooley emerged as one of the stars of the hit BBC Three series, Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts, and has since spent the three years lifting the lid on shocking stories from the developing world.

In 2010 she travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo where she examined the plight of child soldiers and journeyed to Cambodia to investigate the shocking world of underage sex trafficking.

This time Stacey is travelling to one of our favourite holiday destinations, Thailand, to explore the darker side of tourism that the average holiday maker doesn't see. Hundreds of thousands of us flock to Thailand every year, where for just a few hundred pounds you can enjoy beautiful beaches, top hotels and unbeatable service. A trip to Thailand has become a rite of passage for many young Brits, but why is it possible to enjoy such luxury at such bargain prices?

Stacey begins her trip in Phuket, where she stays as a tourist before swapping roles and becoming a hotel worker. She works as a chambermaid and struggles with the hard work and incredibly high standards, having to clean 14 rooms a day for just four pounds. She also discovers what it's like to live on such low wages and the sacrifices that some hotel workers have to make. Many live in slum conditions or in hotel dormitories, separated from their children for months at a time.

Steven Hydes was abandoned in the ladies toilet at Gatwick Airport when he was just ten days old, wrapped in a blanket and with a spare babygro by his side. Dubbed 'Gatwick Gary' by the newspapers at the time, his family never came back to claim him. With no birth certificate or clue to where he had come from, Steven has spent his life not knowing a thing about his identity.

Steven was adopted at six months old and now 24 years later, with the support of his adoptive parents, he wants to find his birth mum - 'even though I've had this amazing upbringing I don't think I will ever stop searching until I get my answers.'

He is about to embark on a life-defining journey, a detective story that might answer the most important questions of all - who am I and where do I come from? Being found in an airport means it's a worldwide search. He uses science in his desperate search for answers; can DNA testing pinpoint his racial make-up and will that narrow the search for his mum?

Being a doting father himself it's a question that dogs him: what made his mother leave him to the mercy of strangers? 'It does make me wonder why things didn't work out with me. What happened to make them able to abandon me like that? I couldn't imagine my daughter being abandoned, so it makes me want to find out'.

In this touching documentary, Steven also meets other foundlings, the term given to babies who have been found abandoned. What have they done to search for answers? How do they cope with knowing nothing about their origins? As Steven shares his experiences, the bond between these individuals, who have such unusual stories, is clearly visible.

His journey ends with a heart-rending appeal to his birth mum via a national newspaper. But will he ever find the answers he is searching for?

2011x80 The Secrets of Scott's Hut

  • 2011-04-17T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Ben Fogle joins an expedition across Antarctica to find Captain Scott's Hut, frozen in time for a century. The hut was built to support Scott's 1911 attempt to be first to the South Pole, and was later abandoned together with ten thousand personal, everyday and scientific items.

Ben uncovers the hut and its contents, finding new information about his hero Scott and his famously tragic expedition. Scott's diaries are read by Kenneth Branagh.

Anka Bergman gave birth to her baby daughter Eva in a Nazi concentration camp.

During her pregnancy, Anka witnessed the horrors of Auschwitz and endured six months of forced labour. If the Nazis found a woman was pregnant, she could be sent straight to the gas chambers. Amazingly, Anka's pregnancy went unnoticed for months.

Anka eventually gave birth - on the day she arrived at an extermination camp. Anka weighed just five stone and was on the brink of starvation; baby Eva weighed just three pounds.

Remarkably, both mother and daughter survived, and are living in Cambridge. Now they tell their story.

What should we do with children who commit serious crime? Following the recall of Jon Venables who, along with his friend Robert Thompson, murdered two-year-old James Bulger in Liverpool aged just ten, it's a question that many experts are asking.

Retired detective Albert Kirby, the man who brought Venables and Thompson to justice, goes on a journey to find out what happened to Jon, the system that was designed to rehabilitate him, and what led to him being returned to jail.

Featuring experts, practitioners, and people who knew Venables, this thought-provoking, challenging documentary lifts the lid on the system of secure children's homes, and asks if more should be done for the next generation of serious child criminals.

2011x84 Secrets of the Arabian Nights

  • 2011-04-21T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

The Arabian Nights first arrived in the West 300 years ago, and ever since then its stories have entranced generations of children and seduced adults with a vision of an exotic, magical Middle East. Actor and director Richard E Grant wants to know why the book he loved as a child still has such a hold on our imagination.

He travels to Paris to discover how the stories of Sinbad, Ali Baba and Aladdin were first brought to the West by the pioneering Arabist Antoine Galland in the early 18th century. The Nights quickly became an overnight literary sensation and were quickly translated into all the major European languages. Richard then travels to Cairo to explore the medieval Islamic world which first created them.

He quickly finds that some of the stories can still be deeply controversial, because of their sexually-explicit content. Richard meets the Egyptian writer and publisher Gamal al Ghitani, who received death threats when he published a new edition of the book.

He also finds that the ribald and riotous stories in the Nights represent a very different view of Islam than fundamentalism. Can the Nights still enrich and change the West's distorted image of the Arab world?

2011x87 Holst: In the Bleak Midwinter

  • 2011-04-24T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

The first ever full-length film about Gustav Holst, composer and revolutionary - a man who taught himself Sanskrit; lived in a street of brothels in Algiers; cycled into the Sahara Desert; allied himself during the First World War with a 'red priest' who pinned on the door of his church 'prayers at noon for the victims of Imperial Aggression'; hated the words used to his most famous tune, I Vow to Thee My Country, because it was the opposite of what he believed; and distributed a newspaper called the Socialist Worker. Holst's music - especially the Planets - owed little or nothing to anyone, least of all the English folk song tradition, but he was a great composer who died of cancer, broken and disillusioned, before he was 60

Kirsten O'Brien investigates the boom in cosmetic injections. She looks at the growing phenomenon of the young using botox and fillers, and finds out what can go wrong with the procedures. Finally, she decides whether she is ready for the needle in a bid to go wrinkle free.

2011x89 Giles and Sue's Royal Wedding

  • 2011-04-27T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

They have dined together through two series of Supersizers and attempted to live The Good Life. Now Giles Coren and Sue Perkins take their relationship to the next level as they prepare for their very own royal wedding.

This iconic American story was written in 1900 by L Frank Baum, a Chicago businessman, journalist, chicken breeder, actor, boutique owner, Hollywood movie director and lifelong fan of all things innovative and technological. His life spanned an era of remarkable invention and achievement in America and many of these developments helped to fuel this great storyteller's imagination.

His ambition was to create the first genuine American fairytale and the story continues to fascinate, inspire and engage millions of fans of all ages from all over the world. This documentary explores how The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has come to symbolise the American Dream and includes previously unseen footage from the Baum family archives, still photographs and clips from the early Oz films, as well as interviews with family members, literary experts and American historians as it tells the story of one

2011x91 Opera's Fallen Women

  • 2011-03-25T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Bizet's Carmen, Puccini's Madame Butterfly, Verdi's Violetta - some of the most famous and powerful roles in opera and they are all, in different ways, fallen women.

And now there's a newcomer to their ranks - Anna Nicole. The Royal Opera's latest smash hit is an operatic version of the life of former Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith. Antonio Pappano, music director of the Royal Opera House and conductor of Anna Nicole, delves into the world of opera's fallen women and discovers how for centuries composers and librettists have used female characters in opera to explore and challenge society's attitudes and prejudices.

2011x92 Fast Food Baby

  • 2011-05-03T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Our junk food addiction is dropping alarmingly down the age ladder, and we are now rearing a generation of fast food babies. This arresting documentary reveals babies and toddlers eating a diet of chips, burgers and kebabs, all washed down with bottles of fizzy cola. It explores the deep-seated reasons why parents resort to junk food feeding and follows three families as they desperately try and get back on the right nutritional track. From gentle food play to dramatic shocks, the parents team up with real experts who mentor them through the latest techniques as they try to wean their children off fast food.

2011x93 The Viking Sagas

  • 2011-05-10T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Hundreds of years ago in faraway Iceland the Vikings began to write down dozens of stories called sagas - sweeping narratives based on real people and real events. But as Oxford University's Janina Ramirez discovers, these sagas are not just great works of art, they are also priceless historical documents which bring to life the Viking world. Dr. Ramirez travels across glaciers and through the lava fields of Iceland to the far north-west of the country to find out about one of the most compelling of these stories - the Laxdœla Saga.

2011x94 Operation Crossbow

  • 2011-05-15T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

The heroic tales of World War II are legendary, but Operation Crossbow is a little known story that deserves to join the hall of fame: how the Allies used 3D photos to thwart the Nazis' weapons of mass destruction before they could obliterate Britain.

This film brings together the heroic Spitfire pilots who took the photographs and the brilliant minds of RAF Medmenham that made sense of the jigsaw of clues hidden in the photos. Hitler was pumping a fortune into his new-fangled V weapons in the hope they could win him the war. But Medmenham had a secret weapon of its own, a simple stereoscope which brought to life every contour of the enemy landscape in perfect 3D.

The devil was truly in the detail and, together with extraordinary personal testimonies, the film uses modern computer graphics on the original wartime photographs to show just how the photo interpreters were able to uncover Hitler's nastiest secrets.

2011x95 The Golden Age of Canals

  • 2011-05-16T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Most people thought that when the working traffic on canals faded away after the war, it would be the end of their story. But they were wrong. A few diehard enthusiasts and boat owners campaigned, lobbied and dug, sometimes with their bare hands, to keep the network of narrow canals open.

Some of these enthusiasts filmed their campaigns and their home movies tell the story of how, in the teeth of much political opposition, they saved the inland waterways for the nation and, more than 200 years after they were first built, created a second golden age of the canals.
Stan Offley, an IWA activist from Ellesmere Port, filmed his boating trips around the wide canals in the 40s, 50s and 60s in 16mm colour. But equally charming is the film made by Ed Frangleton, help from Harry Arnold, of a hostel boat holiday on the Llangollen Canal in 1961. There are the films shot by ex-working boatmen Ike Argent from his home in Nottinghamshire and looked after by his son Barry.

There is astonishing film of the last days of working boats, some shot by John Pyper when he spent time with the Beechey's in the 60s, film taken by Keith Christie of the last days of the cut around the BCN, and the films made by Keith and his mate Tony Gregory of their attempts to keep working the canals through their carrying company, Midland Canal Transport.

There is film of key restorations, the Stourbridge 16 being talked about with great wit and affection by one of the leading activists in that watershed of restorations in the mid-60s, David Tomlinson, and John Maynard's beautiful films of the restoration of the Huddersfield, 'the impossible restoration', shot over two decades.

All these and more are in the programme alongside the people who made the films and some of the stars of them. Together they tell the story of how, in the years after 1945, a few people fought the government like David fought Goliath to keep canals open and restore ones that had become defunct, and won against all the odds.

The behind-the-scenes story of the town of Wootton Bassett, whose tributes to fallen soldiers have earned the community the first royal title awarded in over 100 years.

2011x97 Egypt's Lost Cities

  • 2011-05-30T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

It is possible that only one percent of the wonders of Ancient Egypt have been discovered, but now, thanks to a pioneering approach to archaeology, that is about to change.

Dr Sarah Parcak uses satellites to probe beneath the sands, where she has found cities, temples and pyramids. Now, with Dallas Campbell and Liz Bonnin, she heads to Egypt to discover if these magnificent buildings are really there.

Harold Wilson and Edward Heath are two very different men equally overlooked by history, but they were the political titans of the era in which Britain changed for ever. For ten years they faced each other in the House of Commons, and swapped in and out of Number Ten. They fought four general elections, three of which were amongst the most exciting of the century.

They were deliciously different and scorned one another, yet they were cast from the same mould. Both promised a revolution of meritocracy and dynamism in the British economy and society. Both utterly failed, but together they presided over a decade that redefined the nation: Britain ceased to be a world power and entered Europe; the postwar consensus in which they both believed was destroyed; Thatcherism and New Labour were born. The country they left behind was unrecognisable from the one they had inherited - and the one they had promised.

This documentary tells the story of their highly personal and political duel in the words of those who watched it blow by blow - their colleagues in the cabinet and government, and the journalists at the ringside. Set against a scintillating backdrop of the music and style of the 1960s and 70s (which was of no interest to either man) it brings the era, and its forgotten figureheads, vividly to life.

Documentary about the painters Augustus John and James Dickson Innes who, in 1911, left London for the wild Arenig Valley in North Wales. Over three years, they created a body of work to rival the visionary landscapes of Matisse.

2011x100 The Joy of Easy Listening

  • 2011-05-27T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

In-depth documentary investigation into the story of a popular music that is often said to be made to be heard, but not listened to. The film looks at easy listening's architects and practitioners, its dangers and delights, and the mark it has left on modern life.

From its emergence in the 50s to its heyday in the 60s, through its survival in the 70s and 80s and its revival in the 90s and beyond, the film traces the hidden history of a music that has reflected society every bit as much as pop and rock - just in a more relaxed way.
Invented at the dawn of rock 'n' roll, easy listening has shadowed pop music and the emerging teenage market since the mid-50s. It is a genre that equally soundtracks our modern age, but perhaps for a rather more 'mature' generation and therefore with its own distinct purpose and aesthetic.

Contributors include Richard Carpenter, Herb Alpert, Richard Clayderman, Engelbert Humperdinck, Jimmy Webb, Mike Flowers, James Last and others.

Documentary looking at the extraordinary changes and crazes that have happened to British gardening since the Second World War, from garden gnomes and crazy paving to Leylandii and decking.

As recently as the 1960s, garden centres didn't exist and gardening was strictly for old boys in sheds, yet today it has become the height of cool.

Contributors include Penelope Keith, Laurence Llewellyn Bowen, Germaine Greer and Carol Klein.

It's over 40 years since Annie Nightingale's very first show on Radio 1 - she was the station's first female DJ and is its longest-serving broadcaster. A lifelong champion of new music, first with punk, then new wave, acid house and dubstep, Annie is still at the cutting edge in her current incarnation as the 'Queen of the Breaks'.

In this film Annie takes us on a counter-cultural journey through the events, people and sounds that have inspired her career. Full of insightful anecdotes about her sonic adventures and the numerous pop-cultural shifts that have helped shape her idiosyncratic outlook and tastes, the film features exclusive contributions from some of the many artists Annie has worked with and admired, including Sir Paul McCartney and Mick Jones of the Clash. We also hear from the new generation of artists who confirm that she's an icon of the British music scene.

2011x103 The Lighthouse Stevensons

  • 2011-02-01T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

The story of the remarkable family who tamed the wild Scottish coastline - told 200 years after the building of their first iconic lighthouse, the Bell Rock.

2011x104 Poor Kids

  • 2011-06-07T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary telling the stories of some of the 3.5 million children living in poverty in the UK. It is one of the worst child poverty rates in the industrialised world, and successive governments continue to struggle to bring it into line. So who are these children, and where are they living? Under-represented, under-nourished and often under the radar, 3.5 million children should be given a voice. And this powerful film does just that.

Eight-year-old Courtney, 10-year-old Paige and 11-year-old Sam live in different parts of the UK. Breathtakingly honest and eloquent, they give testament to how having no money affects their lives: lack of food, being bullied and having nowhere to play. The children might be indignant about their situation now, but this may not be enough to help them. Their thoughts on their futures are sobering.

Sam's 16-year-old sister Kayleigh puts it all into context, as she tells how the effects of poverty led her to take extreme measures to try and escape it all.

Poor Kids puts the children on centre stage, and they command it with honesty and directness. It's time for everyone to listen.

2011x105 The Duke at 90

  • 2011-06-09T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

As the Duke of Edinburgh marks his ninetieth birthday, Fiona Bruce explores the apparent contradictions in the life of Prince Philip.

The longest-serving consort in British royal history began life as a prince of Greece, yet he is not actually Greek. He is regarded by many today as a crusty pillar of the establishment, yet early in the Queen's reign he was seen as a moderniser.

"Get him on a bad day, and it's quite hard work", says one of his close friends; "get him on a good day, and you really don't want to be with anyone else".

Many say his proudest achievement is his Duke of Edinburgh's award scheme, which has stretched the capabilities of thousands of young people. Yet, in his interview with Fiona Bruce, he rejects the idea that it makes him proud.

The man who the Queen has said is her strength and stay says he wants to start winding down before his 'sell-by date'. But, as Joanna Lumley tells the programme, he is like "a bird of prey, a hawk or an eagle, with something absolutely penetrating about the eyes... You feel like you're being scanned."

The Duke may be ninety, but he's very definitely not out.

Commentator Murray Walker's dramatic, excitable voice defined a golden era of Formula One and enthralled viewers across the globe. This is an intimate portrait of one the nation's treasures, and the inspiring tale of a man who, at the age of nearly 90, continues to break the mould.

The documentary accompanies the indefatigable Walker as he travels to Australia for the opening F1 of the season, relives his tank commander past and rides classic scramble bikes. The programme also delves deep into the archive to bring back to life some of Murray's most sensational moments in motorsport and beyond.

With contributions from Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and Jenson Button.

In a frank and personal documentary, author Sir Terry Pratchett considers how he might choose to end his life. Diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2008, Terry wants to know whether he might be able to end his life before his disease takes over.

Travelling to the Dignitas Clinic in Switzerland, Terry witnesses first hand the procedures set out for assisted death, and confronts the point at which he would have to take the lethal drug.

400 years of art history in 90 minutes? This film takes an eclectic group of people from all walks of life, including artists, critics and academics, out into the countryside to take a look at how we have depicted our landscape in art, discovering how the genre carried British painting to its highest eminence and won a place in the nation's heart.

2011x109 Apples: British to the Core

  • 2011-06-15T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Horticulturalist Chris Beardshaw uncovers the British contribution to the history of our most iconic fruit. He reveals the passion and dedication of Victorian gardeners who in an apples ‘golden age’ gave us more varieties than anywhere else in the world; and the remarkable ingenuity of a small group of 20th century British scientists who made one of the most significant contributions to the apple industry the world has ever seen.
The apple has a more complex genetic make up than any other fruit. If you plant the pips from the apple in your lunchbox they almost certainly won’t turn into trees bearing identical fruit. Every single pip is potentially a new variety which could fall anywhere in the spectrum of small and sour to big and juicy. Some of the world’s best-loved apples like Braeburn and Bramley were discovered growing as chance seedlings - Granny Smith was found growing out of a rubbish tip by Mrs Smith of New South Wales. So while the apple seeks only to multiply rather than reproduce the same delicious apples, man fathomed how to clone it with an ancient process that remains the same to this day.
Chris’s journey takes him from Britain’s most famous and time honoured apple tree - the original Bramley from which all Bramley apples are descended; to a new contender discovered growing in a hedgerow on the A4260. He meets the Head Gardener at Audley End House in Cambridge, a man bent on preserving the spirit of the Victorian nurserymen who toiled away in the kitchen gardens of the nation’s stately homes creating thousands of new varieties; and goes underground in Kent to explore the remarkable contribution made by scientists at East Malling Research Station in the early 20th century. Their work is captured on fascinating film archive, showing the extraordinary lengths they went to give tired British orchards a facelift. The Malling series of rootstocks became the foundation of the global apple industry as we know it, allowing the most successful varieties to be mass-produced on the vast scale that we see today. And finally Chris employs cutting edge DNA analysis to identify the apple he most prized as a boy scrumping in the orchards of Worcestershire.

2011x110 Kennedy Home Movies

  • 2011-06-18T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

For generations, the Kennedy family held America and the whole world in thrall. The entire clan - grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren - were part of a dynasty JFK's father had planned would last forever.
But as tragedy struck again and again, the children would have to cope with death and disaster.

Based on private home movies and the memoirs of the nannies who looked after them, this is the inside story of growing up in one of the twentieth century's most powerful families.

Documentary which celebrates 125 years of Wimbledon history, featuring archive of the tournament's most memorable moments and illuminating interviews with the key players and famous fans. The memories are plentiful: the champions, the fierce rivalries, the tantrums, the British expectation, the weather, the fashions. Wimbledon is the place gladiators like Borg and McEnroe, Federer and Nadal went head to head, where Mahut and Isner played for days and Novotna cried on Centre Court. It's where traditions are challenged but never forgotten, where the greats have been crowned and where even Sir Cliff Richard has entertained the crowds during the rain. Featuring contributions from John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Andre Agassi, Steffi Graff, Roger Federer, Boris Becker, Bille Jean King, the Williams sisters, Rafa Nadal, plus celebrity fans like Sir Cliff Richard and Stephen Fry.

Marking the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, historian Professor David Reynolds re-assesses Stalin's role in the life and death struggle between Germany and Russia in World War Two, which, he argues, was ultimately more critical for British survival than 'Our Finest Hour' in the Battle of Britain itself.

2011x113 Treasures of Heaven

  • 2011-06-20T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Andrew Graham-Dixon explores the ancient Christian practice of preserving holy relics and the largely forgotten art form that went with it, the reliquary. Fragments of bone or fabric placed inside a bejewelled shrine, a sculpted golden head or even a life-sized silver hand were, and still are, objects of religious devotion believed to have the power to work miracles. Most precious of all, though, are relics of Jesus Christ and the programme also features three reliquaries containing the holiest of all relics - those associated with the Crucifixion.

The story of relics and reliquaries is a 2,000-year history of faith, persecution and hope, reflected in some of the most beautiful and little known works of art ever made. Featuring interviews with art historian Sister Wendy Beckett and Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum.

2011x114 Abused: Breaking the Silence

  • 2011-06-21T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

In 2009, over a hundred former pupils from two Catholic prep schools in England and Tanzania were reunited via the internet. Chatting in cyberspace, they discovered they had all suffered terrible abuse at school: mental, physical and, in some cases, sexual. As young children they were frightened into silence by their abusers.

Now, as men in their fifties and sixties, and strengthened by the group, they want the truth to come out. Twenty two men have started legal proceedings against the Rosminian Order for compensation. They want justice. But half a century has passed, and their abusers are now elderly. What will it take to repair the damage and for the victims to feel able to move on?

The teenage search for sophistication is recalled in this bittersweet film about the people we were and the luxury items we thought would give us the keys to the kingdom.

In the first of three programmes to mark ten years since the invasion of Afghanistan, key decision makers reveal the inside story of how the West was drawn ever deeper into the Afghan war. Reporter John Ware charts the history of a decade of fighting and looks at when the conflict may end.

Mark Urban tells the inside story of Britain's fight for Helmand, told with unique access to the generals and frontline troops who were there.

A journey through the parts of Afghanistan that don't normally feature in news coverage to meet some amazing people and see fascinating places. Lyse Doucet uses her many years experience in Afghanistan to show a different side of a country which has been at war for 30 years.

Morgan Neville's full-length documentary is James Taylor and Carole King's first-hand account of the genesis and blossoming of the 1970s singer-songwriter culture in LA, focusing on the backgrounds and emerging collaboration between Taylor, King and the Troubadour, the famed West Hollywood club that nurtured a community of gifted young artists and singer-songwriters.

Taylor and King first performed together at the Troubadour in November 1970, and the film explores their coming together and the growth of a new, personal voice in songwriting pioneered by a small group of fledgling artists around the club. Contributors include Taylor, King, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Kris Krist

Art critic Alastair Sooke tracks down the ten most expensive paintings to sell at auction, and investigates the stories behind the astronomic prices art can reach. Gaining access to the glittering world of the super-rich, Sooke discovers why the planet's richest people want to spend their millions on art.

Featuring works by Picasso, Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Klimt and Rubens, Sooke enters a world of secrecy and rivalry, passion and power. Highlights include a visit to the art-crammed home of millionaire author Lord Archer; a rare interview with the man at the heart of the sale of the most expensive old master of all time; privileged access to auctioneers Christie's; and a glimpse of the world of the Russian oligarchs.

These revelatory journeys allow Sooke to present an eye-opening view of the super wealthy, and their motivations as collectors of the world's great art treasures.

Julia Bradbury heads for Iceland to embark on the toughest walk of her life. Her challenge is to walk the 60 kilometres of Iceland's most famous hiking route, a trail that just happens to end at the unpronounceable volcano that brought air traffic across Europe to a standstill in 2010 . With the help of Icelandic mountain guide Hanna, Julia faces daunting mountain climbs, red hot lava fields, freezing river crossings, deadly clouds of sulphuric gas, swirling ash deserts and sinister Nordic ghost stories as she attempts to reach the huge volcanic crater at the centre of the Eyjafjallajökull glacier.

2011x124 Seve: The Legend

  • 2011-07-10T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Only the most charismatic are known by just one name. Known to his adoring public simply as 'Seve', Severiano Ballesteros took the world of golf by storm and transcended the sport, with his magnetic personality and sublime skill.

Presented by Gary Lineker, this heart-warming tribute celebrates Seve's life and features exclusive footage of the man himself.

Handsome, flamboyant and passionate, Seve strode the fairways for 30 years. He won the greatest honours in the game including three Open Championships and two Masters titles, often playing miraculous escape shots that held galleries in awe, from St Andrews to Augusta.

He became a European talisman in the Ryder Cup, on the winning side four times as a player, and memorably, once as a captain on the Spanish course of Valderrama.

Tragically at the age of just 54, Seve lost his painful battle with brain cancer earlier this year. His foundation had already raised millions for cancer charities, ensuring his legacy will live on.

Featuring contributions from Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Rafa Nadal, Jose Maria Olazabal, Sir Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Greg Norman, HRH Prince Andrew , Sir Bruce Forsyth, Des Lynam and Peter Alliss.

2011x125 The Wonder of Weeds

  • 2011-06-22T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins celebrates the humble and sometimes hated plants we call weeds. He discovers that there is no such thing as a weed, botanically speaking, and that in fact what we call a weed has changed again and again over the last three hundred years. Chris uncovers the story of our changing relationship with weeds - in reality, the story of the battle between wilderness and civilisation. He finds out how weeds have been seen as beautiful and useful in the past, and sees how their secrets are being unlocked today in order to transform our crops.
Finally, Chris asks whether, in our quest to eliminate Japanese Knotweed or Rhododendron Ponticum, we are really engaged in an arms race we can never win. We remove weeds from our fields and gardens at our peril.

Sir Hubert Parry is simultaneously one of Britain's best-known and least-known composers. Jerusalem is almost a national song, regularly performed at rugby grounds, schools, Women's Institute meetings and the Last Night of the Proms, while Dear Lord and Father of Mankind is one of Britain's best-loved hymns. Everyone knows the tunes, yet hardly anyone knows much about the man who wrote them. In this film, HRH The Prince of Wales, a long-standing enthusiast of Parry's work, sets out to discover more about the complex character behind it, with the help of members of Parry's family, scholars and performers. This feature-length documentary by the award-winning director John Bridcut offers fresh insight into the life and work of Hubert Parry through the unique perspective of HRH The Prince of Wales.

2011x127 Super Size Ambulance

  • 2011-05-23T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Supersize Ambulance is narrated by Liz Tarbuck and follows the work of the Thames Ambulance Service's bariatric service.The use a much bigger vehicle to take obese people weighing up to 70st to hospital.

2011x128 Botham: The Legend of '81

  • 2011-07-20T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

It is the most remarkable comeback story in English sporting history, and it all began 30 years ago this summer.

It's the story of a team, so abject they had been written off completely, led by a man so distrusted and ridiculed that he was forced to resign his post for the sake of his family.

Days later that man, Ian Botham, produced a 'boys own' performance to inspire that team, England, to beat Australia against 500-1 odds. It was just the start of Botham's Ashes.

Botham: The Legend of '81 tells the simply incredible story of how Ian Botham went from national zero to hero, not once but twice.

As well as the story of that almost unbelievable summer of '81, we hear how the success that followed changed Botham's life, making him, but breaking him at the same time.

Having been reduced to zero once more we see how the anti-establishment Botham unwittingly became a national hero once again, this time through his tireless work to help children suffering with leukaemia.

Featuring contributions from his family, colleagues and eyewitnesses such as Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Viv Richards, Bob Willis, David Gower, Sir Elton John, Stephen Fry and Sir John Major, Botham: The Legend of '81 charts one of English Sports most colourful and controversial careers and tells surely its most enduring comeback story.

In the last month of the space shuttle programme, Kevin Fong is granted extraordinary access to the astronauts and ground crew as they prepare for their final mission. He is in mission control as the astronauts go through their final launch simulation, and he flies with the last shuttle commander as he undertakes his last practice landing flight. Kevin also gains privileged access to the shuttle itself, visiting the lauchpad in the company of the astronaut who will guide the final flight from mission control.

Kevin's journey takes him to the heart of NASA, when after 30 years of shuttle missions, they finally draw the curtain. As well as meeting the final astronauts, Kevin follows the specialist teams of men and women whose job it is to make sure the shuttle and its crew are as safe as they can possibly be.

After experiencing the launch and being in mission control during the final mission, Kevin will be there on the tarmac at the Kennedy Space Centre when Atlantis returns from space for the last time, marking the end of an era in manned space flight.

A unique journey around the weird and wonderful planet that we call home.

When Yuri Gagarin was blasted into space he became the first human to get a proper look at where we live. 'The Earth is blue,' he exclaimed, 'how amazing!'. Suddenly our perspective on the world had changed forever. We thought we were going to explore the universe, yet the most extraordinary thing we discovered was our own home planet, the Earth.

So what would you see during just one orbit of the Earth? Starting 200 miles above the planet, this film whisks you around the planet to show what changes in the time it takes to circumnavigate the Earth just once. We hear from British-born astronaut Piers Sellers on what it's like to live and work in space, and also to gaze down and see how we are altering and reshaping our world.

We marvel at the incredible forces of nature that brings hundred-mile wide storms and reshapes continents, and also discover how we humans are draining seas and building cities in the middle of the desert. We also visit the wettest place on Earth, as well as the most volcanic.

Narrated by David Morrissey, this inspirational trip around the planet will make you view our home as you've never seen it before.

2011x131 Roger: Genocide Baby

  • 2011-07-13T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

At 16, Roger Nsengiyumva has already made a name for himself as the star of the football movie Africa United. But there's something else about Roger; he was born in the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and only survived thanks to the raw courage of his mother. She spent 100 days hiding her newborn baby from the murderous gangs, and then bravely escaped to Britain after seeing her husband, Roger's father, shot dead. This is the story of Roger's return to his homeland to discover the harrowing truths of his family history and to find out whether he can share his mother's remarkable willingness to forgive those who destroyed both their lives.

Part of Extraordinary Me, a season of programmes for BBC Three which focuses on young people with amazing stories to tell.

2011x132 The Perfect Suit

  • 2011-07-07T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

A witty exploration of the evolution of the gentleman's suit. Alastair Sooke only owns one suit, but he is fascinated by how the matching jacket and trousers has become a uniform for men. Over the last 100 years the suit has evolved from working man's Sunday best to the casual wear of royalty.
For many 'the suit' is synonymous with all that is dull. But tailor Charlie Allen, Top Man chief designer Gordon Richardson and Sir Paul Smith show Alastair that the suit can be a cutting-edge fashion item and 'armour' to face the world.

2011x133 Alex: A Life Fast Forward

  • 2011-07-21T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Alex Lewis knows he does not have much longer to live. Aged 21 he finds himself falling hopelessly in love and can't quite believe what's happening.

Alex was first diagnosed with bone cancer shortly before his 18th birthday. After over three years of intensive treatment, he realises he is running out of options. He decides to cram as much life as possible into the time he has left. His remarkable zest for life is contagious.

On the first day of filming in June, 2010 his only sadness is not being able to commit to a long-term relationship. That evening he goes to a party in Swansea, kisses a girl, falls in love and within weeks they are inseparable. In September Alex and Ali become engaged to be married. This is a story of the power of love, as a young man confronts his mortality in the most emotionally charged circumstances imaginable.

Part of Extraordinary Me, a season of programmes for BBC Three which focuses on young people with amazing stories to tell.

2011x134 Jamie: Drag Queen at 16

  • 2011-07-20T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary following the story of teenager Jamie Campbell, who wants to be a drag queen.

Growing up in an ex-mining village in County Durham, Jamie has already faced his fair share of difficulties after coming out as gay at 14. However, with the majority of his family and friends being supportive, he has decided that he is ready to share his passion with the world.

He plans to embrace who he really is by attending his end of school prom in drag, but he doesn't get the reaction he'd hoped for from both his school and, heart-breakingly, his own father. So Jamie has to make some difficult decisions.

Jamie spends time with an established drag artist and battles his demons, performing as his alter ego, Fifi La True, for the very first time in front of a large audience.

As Jamie has some frank and intimate family moments, and finds out just how strong he really is, the film explores his hopes and fears for the future. Will he get the acceptance he craves from his peers and the confidence to be who he really is?

Part of Extraordinary Me, a season of programmes for BBC Three which focuses on young people with amazing stories to tell.

The unlikely story of how, between 1929 and 1945, a group of tweed-wearing radicals and pin-striped bureaucrats created the most influential movement in the history of British film. They were the British Documentary Movement and they gave Britons a taste for watching films about real life.

They were an odd bunch, as one wit among them later admitted. "A documentary director must be a gentleman... and a socialist." They were inspired by a big idea - that films about real life would change the world. That, if people of all backgrounds saw each other on screen - as they really were - they would get to know and respect each other more. As John Grierson, the former street preacher who founded the Movement said: "Documentary outlines the patterns of interdependence".

The Documentary Film Mob assembles a collection of captivating film portraits of Britain, during the economic crisis of the 1930s and the Second World War. Featuring classic documentaries about slums and coal mines, about potters and posties, about the bombers and the Blitz, the programme reveals the fascinating story of what was also going on behind the camera. Of how the documentary was born and became part of British culture.

The summer of 1960 was a critical moment in the history of film, when the fly-on-the-wall documentary was born. The Camera that Changed the World tells the story of the filmmakers and ingenious engineers who led this revolution by building the first hand-held cameras that followed real life as it happened. By amazing co-incidence, there were two separate groups of them - one on each side of the Atlantic.

In the US, the pioneers used their new camera to make Primary, a compelling portrait of American politics. They followed a then little known John F Kennedy as he began his long campaign for the presidency. Meanwhile, in France, another new camera was inspiring an influential experiment in documentary filmmaking. Chronique d'un Ete captures the real lives of ordinary Parisians across the summer of 1960. Both these extraordinary films smashed existing conventions as handheld cameras followed the action across public spheres into intimate and previously hidden worlds.

In The Camera that Changed the World this remarkable story is told by the pioneers themselves, some of whom, such as DA Pennebaker and Al Maysles are now filmmaking legends. Back in 1960, they were determined young revolutionaries.

Benedict Cumberbatch, one of the country's leading actors, explores the life and work of enigmatic playwright Terence Rattigan.

Rattigan was the master of the 'well crafted play' of upper class manners and repressed sexuality and he dominated the West End theatre scene throughout the 40s and early 50s. But then, in the mid fifties 'the angry young men arrived'; a wave of young playwrights and directors who introduced a new, radical style of theatre. Rattigan's work faced a critical onslaught and he fell completely out of fashion. But now, in his centenary year his plays are enjoying a huge revival.

But Rattigan himself remains an enigmatic figure - a troubled homosexual whose polite, restrained dramas confronted the very issues - sexual frustration, failed relationships, adultery and even suicide - that he found so difficult to deal with in his own life. He had a gift for commercial theatre but yearned to be taken seriously as a playwright.

In this film Benedict re-visits his old school Harrow where Rattigan was also educated and was first inspired to write plays. He takes a trip down memory lane with one of Rattigan's closest friends (Princess Jean Galizine) and he talks to playwrights, critics and directors about what it is about Rattigan's work which we find so appealing today.

In 1728, 12-year-old James Annesley was snatched from the streets of Dublin and sold into slavery in America - the victim of a wicked uncle hell-bent on stealing his massive inheritance. Dan Cruickshank traces James's astonishing journey from the top table of 18th century society to its murky depths. The story, which helped inspire Robert Louis Stevenson's book Kidnapped, reveals some disturbing home truths that cast a shadow over the century of the Enlightenment.

The Emmy Award-winning story of a young woman grappling with the terrible legacy left by her Nazi father. Amon Goeth was a prominent Nazi leader and commandant of the Plaszow concentration camp. Utterly ruthless and sadistic, he murdered thousands of Jews and others during WWII. After seeing Ralph Fiennes's portrayal of him in Schindler's List, Goeth's daughter Monika began a quest to come to terms with his evil legacy. Together with Helen Jonas, a survivor of the Holocaust and Goeth's slave, the two women unearth the personal cost of crimes that consumed millions and question whether a parent's actions can ever be truly laid to rest.

A Jewish teenager and an injured soldier join a doomed plot to kill Hitler. They face almost certain death, yet luck and love shine upon them as they outwit Nazi terror and become the first couple married in post-war Berlin. Narrated by the former teenager herself and featuring the original footage shot by her sweetheart, their story would sound like a pitch for a Hollywood blockbuster were it not all true. A harrowing tale of war, resistance, love and survival - and, miraculously, a happy ending.

2011x141 The Pendle Witch Child

  • 2011-08-17T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Simon Armitage presents the extraordinary story of the most disturbing witch trial in British history and the key role played in it by one nine-year-old girl. Jennet Device, a beggar-girl from Pendle in Lancashire, was the star witness in the trial in 1612 of her own mother, her brother, her sister and many of her neighbours and, thanks to her chilling testimony, they were all hanged.

George Mallory was obsessed with becoming the first person to conquer the untouched Mount Everest.

He was last seen 800 feet below the summit in 1924 as the clouds rolled in and he disappeared into legend. His death stunned the world.

This documentary uses astonishing visuals to tell the intersecting stories of George Mallory, the first man to attempt a summit of Mount Everest, and Conrad Anker, the mountaineer who finds Mallory's frozen remains 75 years later.

In this fascinating documentary, historian Bettany Hughes travels to the seven wonders of the Buddhist world and offers a unique insight into one of the most ancient belief systems still practised today.

Buddhism began 2,500 years ago when one man had an amazing internal revelation underneath a peepul tree in India. Today it is practised by over 350 million people worldwide, with numbers continuing to grow year on year.

In an attempt to gain a better understanding of the different beliefs and practices that form the core of the Buddhist philosophy and investigate how Buddhism started and where it travelled to, Hughes visits some of the most spectacular monuments built by Buddhists across the globe.

Her journey begins at the Mahabodhi Temple in India, where Buddhism was born; here Hughes examines the foundations of the belief system - the three jewels.

At Nepal's Boudhanath Stupa, she looks deeper into the concept of dharma - the teaching of Buddha, and at the Temple of the Tooth in Sri Lanka, Bettany explores karma, the idea that our intentional acts will be mirrored in the future.

At Wat Pho Temple in Thailand, Hughes explores samsara, the endless cycle of birth and death that Buddhists seek to end by achieving enlightenment, before travelling to Angkor Wat in Cambodia to learn more about the practice of meditation.

In Hong Kong, Hughes visits the Giant Buddha and looks more closely at Zen, before arriving at the final wonder, the Hsi Lai temple in Los Angeles, to discover more about the ultimate goal for all Buddhists - nirvana.

Documentary which reveals the story of German lawyer Hans Litten's public attempt to challenge Adolf Hitler. It examines Litten's life and work, the circumstances which prompted him to take such an extraordinary risk with his own safety, and the fate that awaited him after his historic confrontation with Hitler in a Berlin courtroom.

This study of courage, politics and humanity combines original archive material and interviews with Litten's friends and family, survivors from the street-fighting political landscape of 1930s Berlin, and historians and lawyers to illuminate Litten's tactics and choices. The documentary also explores Litten's story after the trial, his arrest and torture by the Nazis, and his courage in the concentration camps as Hitler's first political prisoner.

So what drove a 29-year-old lawyer with his whole career ahead of him to challenge fascism so directly, pursuing the man at the top and forcing Hitler to account for the violence of his massive private army?

Legendary Texan outlaw comic Bill Hicks was and still is an inspiration to millions. A true product of the American dream, his rebellious and exhilarating comedy left no stone unturned and his profound observations on American life were a life-changing experience for many who saw him.
The story of a son, a brother and a friend, this funny and critically-acclaimed film is told 'in the round' by the family and peers who knew Hicks best. With captivating photographs animating the scenes of his rollercoaster life - from precocious teenager through the dark years of addiction to his spectacular recovery - Hicks found international fame before his life was tragically cut short by cancer at the age of just 32.
This intimate and emotional portrait is both a revelation for fans, and the perfect introduction for newcomers, to an iconic comedy hero whose timeless material seems to resonate more strongly by the year.

When the 33 Chilean miners emerged from underground before a worldwide audience of over a billion, they made a pact not to speak about what had happened underground. Now six of them remember the untold story of the first 17 days - when no-one outside knew if they were alive.

Filming down a Chilean mine, the programme explores the nightmare of living in the dark tunnels half a mile underground, eating a spoonful of tuna every two days and not knowing if you would ever be found.

2011x147 Sex, Lies and Gagging Orders

  • 2011-08-30T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

After a summer dominated by shocking revelations about phone hacking and celebrity superinjunctions, former Heat editor Sam Delaney investigates how much we're entitled to know about the private lives of the famous - and how much they have a right to keep hidden. Do celebs deserve to have their sex lives exposed just because they are famous? And could the rest of us really be jailed for passing on their secrets? As he meets victims of phone hacking and tabloid exposés, and goes out with the paps hunting the latest juicy shots, Sam asks how the gossip he has always considered harmless has suddenly become so serious - and even dangerous.

Award-winning filmaker Sue Bourne goes behind the normally closed doors of the world of competitive Irish dance in a documentary telling the story of the 40th Irish Dancing World Championships. Thousands of dancers, their families and teachers from around the world descend on Glasgow for seven drama-filled days.

2011x149 The Big Gypsy Eviction

  • 2011-07-21T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary telling the story of the long dispute between fifty Traveller families living on Dale Farm in Essex and the local council, as the bitter campaign to evict the families reaches its climax. Having spent six years filming all sides in this conflict, film-maker Richard Parry speaks to the extended clan of matriarchs Marianne McCarthy and Mimi Sheridan, who vow they will not leave Dale Farm without a fight. He also meets Len Gridley, the unofficial leader of the residents' campaign against the Travellers, who claims that they are a menacing, destructive presence.

In the first of this two-part series, Mishal Husain charts the tumultuous events earlier this year in Tunisia and Egypt as people power toppled the governing regimes. She meets some of those who led the uprisings and finds out about the role played by the internet and social media in the organisation and mobilisation of resistance movements.

For more than four years the town of Wootton Bassett has quietly marked the return of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. We look at what repatriations have meant to bereaved families and the town.

Emily Maitlis tells the incredible story of Donald Trump, the world's most famous developer, who changed the New York skyline with his glitzy towers and made himself a multi-billionaire. With unprecedented access to Trump and his family Maitlis finds out how he did it. Trump's own lifestyle, with the glamorous wives and the private jet, is all marketing for his luxurious brand.
Now the all-American tycoon is over here. Maitlis asks why he wants to build a huge golf resort on the sand-dunes near Aberdeen, and watches him presiding over his own beauty pageant in Las Vegas. She finds out how it was a Brit who made Trump the star of the original Apprentice series, bringing the media-loving mogul with the amazing hair to an even bigger public.

At just two years old, Kellie O'Farrell suffered horrendous burns to her face and hands in a car fire. Now, at 22, she's leaving the security of her family and the small community in Ireland where she grew up to start a new life on her own in London. How will she cope as she tries to make new friends and live an independent life in this big beauty-obsessed city?

2011x154 The Prison Restaurant

  • 2011-04-26T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

The Clink is a restaurant with a difference. The menu may sound mouthwatering, but the paying customers at this classy establishment tuck into their crab, lobster and coq au vin knowing that most of the staff are convicted criminals.

This unique and controversial rehabilitation scheme, set within the walls of HMP High Down Prison, aims to transform prisoners into fully trained chefs and waiters.
The film follows fiery head chef Al as he employs three new inmates who are struggling to change their lives and turn their backs on crime.

2011x155 The Twins of the Twin Towers

  • 2011-09-06T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, The Twins of the Twin Towers tells the previously untold story of the twins who lost their 'other half' on the day of the terrorist attacks. It features the accounts of some of the 46 twins including Zachary Fletcher, a New York City Fire Fighter who lost his fellow fire fighter and twin brother, Andre in the south tower; Gregory Hoffman, who was on the phone to his twin, Stephen, as the second plane hit and former NYPD undercover cop, Lisa DeRienzo who lost her brother, Michael. As a broker, Michael believed he was the one with the safe job.

These and other compelling testimonies make for a profound and powerful tale, which strikes at the heart of what it is to be, not only a twin, but also a human being and reminds us why, as the tenth anniversary approaches, the world can never forget the events of September 11 2001.

The story of how the Arab world erupted in revolution, as a new generation used the internet and social media to try to overthrow their hated leaders.

In the last of this two part series, Mishal Husain meets those who spread the revolt to Libya and Bahrain, and those who are still fighting the Syrian regime.

2011x157 9/11: Conspiracy Road Trip

  • 2011-09-08T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

This September marks the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, one of the biggest terrorist atrocities of the 21st Century. Nineteen hijackers, all members of Al Qaeda, crashed four planes on American soil, leading to the deaths of 2,973 innocent people.

This horrific event has generated a multitude of conspiracy theories that contradict the official findings of the US government's investigation into the events of that day.

Andrew Maxwell, a comedian, believes in the findings of the official investigation, which claim the responsibility for the attack lies with Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. He thinks the conspiracies theories are unsubstantiated nonsense. So in this film he offers to take five young Brits, who believe some of these conspiracy theories, on a road-trip from New York to Washington. They visit Ground Zero where two planes hit the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, home of vast American defence HQ and Shanksville in Pennsylvania where United 93 crashed.

Each of them believes different elements of the conspiracy theories. Charlotte, a North London nanny who witnessed the attacks, thinks the American government is responsible. She can't believe the hijackers, barely out of flying school, could have steered jetliners into the Twin Towers with such deadly accuracy. Rodney a health worker who studied biochemistry suspects the collapse of the towers was not caused by the planes that went in to them and he wants to get to the bottom of the science. Student Emily, an active member of the 9/11 Truth Movement, thinks the US government was forewarned of the attacks and yet ignored the intelligence allowing it to happen. Shazin, a qualified surveyor, wants to find out how the passengers on United 93 could have made phone calls to loved ones from a plane. And Charlie, an ex-banker thinks 9/11 was an excuse for the US Government to go to war with Iraq.

Andrew Maxwell thinks all five of them are wrong and wants to change their minds by confronting them with the facts. So as the bus criss-crosses the east coast of America he tries to convert them to his point of view. He wants to prove to them that 9/11 was no conspiracy and that sometimes the truth, whilst not easy to accept, is staring you right in the face. In order to do so, he takes them to meet experts, the chief air traffic controller on the day, demolition specialists, voice morphing engineers and he gets them to conduct scientific experiments and even fly an aeroplane.

Finally they meet a mother who tragically lost her son, to listen to her account of what it was like to live through this monumental tragedy. Andrew believes it is easy to judge world events from the safe distance of a computer screen in your bedroom but not easy when you are brought face to face with the real human stories behind them

Andrew Maxwell fights an exhausting battle for the truth and in his mission to convert his fellow travellers there are rows, falling-outs and tears. But there are also moments of tenderness, empathy and warmth.

2011x158 The Lions - New Zealand 1971

  • 2011-04-11T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

In the year of the Rugby World Cup to be played on All Black territory, Eddie Butler tells the story and reassesses the impact of the victorious Lions tour in 1971, taking a journey through a rugby-mad country with staggering scenery.

2011x159 Wogan on Wodehouse

  • 2011-09-02T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Terry Wogan looks at the life of writer PG Wodehouse. In exploring the extraordinarily long career of his literary hero, Terry employs rarely seen archive material and is joined by Stephen Fry, Griff Rhys Jones, Joanna Lumley and a series of expert contributors in a documentary which addresses Wodehouse's longstanding appeal.

2011x160 The Elgin Marbles

  • 2011-09-12T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Drama-documentary in which art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon tells the story of the greatest cultural controversy of the last 200 years. He explores the history of the Elgin Marbles, tells the dramatic story of their removal from Athens and cites the arguments for and against their return to Greece

From dinosaurs to mammoths, when our ancient ancestors encountered the fossil bones of extinct prehistoric creatures, what did they think they were? Just like us, ancient peoples were fascinated by the giant bones they found in the ground.

In an epic story that takes us from Ancient Greece to the American Wild West, historian Tom Holland goes on a journey of discovery to explore the fascinating ways in which our ancestors sought to explain the remains of dinosaurs and other giant prehistoric creatures, and how bones and fossils have shaped and affected human culture. In Classical Greece, petrified bones were exhibited in temples as the remains of a long lost race of colossal Heroes. Chinese tales of dragons may well have had their origins in the great fossil beds of the Gobi desert. In the Middle Ages, Christians believed that mysterious bones found in rock were the remains of giants drowned in Noah's Flood.

But far from always being wrong, Tom learns that ancient explanations and myths about large fossilsed bones often contained remarkable paleontological insights long before modern science explained the truth about dinosaurs. Tom encounters a medieval sculpture that is the first known reconstruction of a monster from a fossil, and learns about the Native Americans stories, told for generations, which contained clues that led bone hunters to some of the greatest dinosaur finds of the nineteenth century.

This documentary is an alternative history of dinosaurs - the neglected story of how mythic imagination and scientific inquiry have met over millennia to give meaning to the dry bones of prehistory. Today, as our interest in dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures continues unabated, it turns out we are not so far away from the awe and curiosity of our ancient ancestors.

2011x162 When TV Goes To War

  • 2011-09-19T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Documentary looking at how war has been dramatised on British television from the Second World War through the Falklands campaign to contemporary conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, examining the challenges - both financial and dramatic - in bringing war to the small screen.

2011x163 How to Build a Dinosaur

  • 2011-09-21T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago and we have hardly ever found a complete skeleton. So how do we turn a pile of broken bones into a dinosaur exhibit? Dr Alice Roberts finds out how the experts put skeletons back together, with muscles, accurate postures, and even - in some cases - the correct skin colour.


  • no air date — 60 mins

2011x165 My Forced Unwanted Wedding

  • 2011-09-19T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Born and bred in Lancashire, 17-year-old Alia was coerced into marrying a stranger in Pakistan and only allowed home once pregnant. Meanwhile, Jessie is marooned in rural Bangladesh, promised to a cousin twice her age.

These young women are terrified of marrying a stranger, and even more terrified of shaming their families should they dare to refuse; and if they flee they face a lifetime ostracised from family and community. Itís heartbreaking, especially when, a year after escaping, Alia finally gives in to parental pressure and agrees to return to Pakistan.

Documentary offering an insight into arranged marriages, a practice that involves 8,000 British people every year. Following one married woman and another facing nuptials in Bangladesh, the film observes how they cope with pressure from families expecting them to wed out of honour and not love.

The Scots have a reputation as brave, ferocious warriors. Despite a troubled history with England, history shows that more of Scotland's young men sign up to fight for the crown than anywhere else in Britain.

Rory Bremner, whose own father and great grandfather were distinguished Scottish soldiers, sets out to discover why rebel clansmen became loyal servants of the military establishment.

His story takes him to Culloden, Crimea and northern France. As the sound of the pipes floats over Scottish military camps in Afghanistan he asks if, after 250 years, the Scottish soldier's loyalty to Queen and country is running out?

Set against the post war period of debt, austerity and rationing, the 1951 Festival of Britain showed how to carve out a bright new future through design and ingenuity, while still having fun. Told by the people who made it happen and making use of some previously unseen colour footage, this is the story of how an extraordinary event changed Britain forever.

Has one of Britain's greatest artists been unfairly forgotten? Waldemar Januszczak thinks so. In this documentary, Januszczak argues that the little known 17th-century portrait painter William Dobson was the first English painter of genius.

Dobson's life and times are embedded in one of the most turbulent and significant epochs of British history - the English Civil War. As official court painter to Charles I, the tragic British king later beheaded by parliament, Dobson had a ringside seat to an period of intense drama and conflict. Based in Oxford, where the court was transferred after parliament took control of London, Dobson produced an astonishing number of high quality portraits of royalist supporters, heroes and cavaliers which Januszczak believes are the first true examples of British art. As he puts it in the film: 'Dobson's face should be on our banknotes. His name should be on all our lips.'

The film investigates the few known facts about William Dobson and seeks out the personal stories he left behind as it follows him through his tragically short career. When he died in 1646 - penniless, unemployed and a drunk - Dobson was just 36.

Among the Dobson fans interviewed in the film is Earl Spencer, brother of Princess Diana, who agrees wholeheartedly that William Dobson was the first great British painter.

2011x169 Buddha in Suburbia

  • 2011-09-19T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Buddha in Suburbia tracks the extraordinary journey of 40 year old Lelung Rinpoche, one of Tibetan Buddhism's three principal reincarnations, as he sets out to gather the lost teachings of his faith and to attempt a return to his homeland.

For the past seven years, Lelung Rinpoche has been living in Ruislip North London, in the garden shed of one of his students. He runs a dharma or teaching centre locally, attended by British followers. Now a British passport holder, he embarks on a mission to find previous Lelungs' teachings, and the teachers who hold the key to unlocking their secrets. His odyssey takes him to India, Mongolia and China as he tries to find a way of getting back home to Tibet. He meets some of Tibetan Buddhism's most senior teachers, including the Tibetan Prime Minister in exile.

Lelung is a young, modern lama, with relationships with many across the globe from teenagers in Rusilip to the Dalai Lama. The film includes an interview with Tibetan Buddhist expert Professor Robert Thurman, father of Uma Thurman. Lelung Rinpoche has a daunting task to complete on his quest to recover lost teachings before they disappear, and to try to take the right steps on his own path towards enlightenment.

2011x170 Hedge Wars

  • 2011-09-27T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

It's the tree which ate suburbia. Fifty-five million leylandii are growing in Britain, with another 300,000 planted each year. Nobody knows how high they will grow, and some botanists believe the trees have the potential to grow to the size of a giant redwood.

This film meets lovers and loathers of leylandii hedges, including the naturist who loves the privacy it affords his back garden in Keighley, and the residents of a sheltered housing project in South Shields who live in the perpetual shadow of the massive hedge owned by their local church.

We meet the biggest hedge in Britain, standing at 130 feet and rising, and we meet householders for whom mere mention of the word leylandii is enough to induce gnashing of teeth.

The so-called High Hedges Act of 2005 was meant to put an end to this sort of conflict, but we meet hedge victims who bemoan the impotence, bureaucracy and expense of the law.

In the midst of it all, we meet reasonable and kind people forking out thousands of pounds to cull the monstrous hedges they inherited when they bought new homes.

2011x171 My Resignation

  • 2011-08-03T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Through personal testimony, this programme follows the process of resigning: from the initial crisis to taking the decision to resign and handling the timing, to the costs, consequences and legacy of the resignation.

It shows that the honourable resignation is not dead. In all walks of life people grappling with moral issues still take that decision to resign. Consultant anaesthetist Stephen Bolsin felt he could only go public after he had resigned and left the country. Former home secretary Jacqui Smith was determined to do the honourable thing and resign immediately over her expenses, but she was thwarted by a prime minister with any eye on political timing. The honourable resignations of Lord Carrington and Richard Luce were put back on track by a hostile parliament and press.

The programme charts how resignation can act as a social barometer - affairs that were once a fast route to leaving are no longer a career fullstop. Max Mosley talks frankly about how determined he was not to bow to pressure to go after revelations over his extra-marital sex.

Interviewees talk about their experiences and what they have learned. Alastair Campbell describes almost 'lamping' demonstrators outside his house. Greg Dyke can't sleep after his resignation 'deal' with the BBC governors goes wrong. Daily Star journalist Richard Peppiatt is plunged into depression after his plan to publish his resignation letter in the Guardian falls apart.

My Resignation shows that however society changes, resigning remains a personal and often traumatic journey.

2011x172 Calendar Girls: 10 Years On

  • 2009-04-29T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

A decade on, and after an emotional split tore the original team in half, six of the Calendar Girls are reuniting to strip for the cameras one final time, baring all for charity once more. They joke that they'll need bigger props to pose behind, but little else has changed for the ladies of Rylstone and District WI. This is the story of how a group of normal middle aged women from the Yorkshire Dales united in the face of grief, inspired the world and changed the reputation of the WI forever.

Sophie Dahl explores the extraordinary life and times of her food heroine, Mrs Beeton - the creator of the original domestic bible Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management. Through cooking original recipes from her book, investigating her childcare advice and home remedies and even throwing a full Victorian dinner party, Sophie finds out how one young woman shaped our idea of what a home really is and reveals the personal tragedies behind Mrs Beeton's starchy public persona.

2011x174 Transplant

  • 2011-10-04T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

For the first time on UK television, Transplant shows the extraordinary reality of multiple organ donation, following the organs from a single donor to the different recipients. The film shows the surgeries and the human stories on both sides, as both donor and recipients have agreed to waive the normal anonymity that exists between them.

Transplant follows the complex process of donation coordinated by the organ donor organisation, NHS Blood and Transplant, from the very beginning when a potential donor is declared brain dead and their organs are retrieved through to the transplant surgeries and recovery of the patients who've benefited from the donor's organs.

2011x175 Rex Appeal

  • 2011-09-28T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

From the beginnings of film-making to the triumph of Jurassic Park - the dinosaur has always been a movie star. Over 60 minutes, BBC4's Rex Appeal takes a bite out of the Cretaceous cinema and reveals the truth about T-Rex.

It's a story that stretches from the charming cartoon apatosaurus Gertie (1914), to the vicious and cunning velociraptors of Spielbrerg's imagination.

But it's not all teeth and trashing city centres - as our critics explain, dinosaur movies are always about more than just dinosaurs. The 'nature finds a way' DNA argument in Jurassic Park directly mirrored the arguements about GM crops in the early 90s. Godzilla - the radioactive-breathed dinosaur emerged from the seas of Japan just nine years after the nuclear attack on Hiroshima. King Kong and his dinosaur pals on Skull Island have sparked a million film school theories.

Of course, not all dino dramas are so high minded - in the Hammer film One Million Years BC, the audience were just as fascinated with Racquel Welsh's fur tops as they were with the Triceratops. Despite Hammer's claim that 'This is the way it was', the science was a little dubious- the last dinosaur died 64 million years before the first modern human appeared.

Whatever cultural anxieties dinosaurs represent, they've always been a cinematic spectacle that has thrilled audiences on a instinctual level - with each new breakthrough in special effects giving us ever more real Rex's.

Willis O'Brien gave us the legendary Kong v Rex fight that taught us to love Kong, Ray Harryhausen invented 'dinomation' and put dinosaurs and cowboys together in The Valley of Gwangi. And since the 90s - CGI has banished the man in the dino suit, and made prehistoric protagonists are more real than ever.

Contributors include film critics James King and Kim Newman, science broadcaster Adam Rutherford, comedian Susan Calman and broadcaster and film historian Matthew Sweet.

No-one has done more for the cello than Mstislav Rostropovich, or Slava as he was widely known. As well as being arguably the greatest cellist of the twentieth century, he expanded and enriched the cello repertoire by the sheer force of his artistry and his personality and composers lined up to write works for him.

In this film by John Bridcut, friends, family and former pupils explore the unique talents of this great Russian artist, and listen to and watch him making music. Contributors include his widow Galina Vishnevskaya and their daughters Olga and Elena; the eminent conductors Seiji Ozawa and Gennadi Rozhdestvensky; and cellists who attended his famous classes in Moscow, including Natalya Gutman, Mischa Maisky, Moray Welsh, Elizabeth Wilson and Karine Georgian.

The film traces the development of Rostropovich's international career amid the political tensions of the final years of the Soviet Union.

Just off the southern coast of mainland Greece lies the oldest submerged city in the world. A city that thrived for 2000 years during the time that saw the birth of Western civilisation. An international team of experts uses the latest technology to investigate the site and digitally raise it from the seabed, to reveal the secrets of Pavlopetri.

Led by underwater archaeologist Dr Jon Henderson, the team use the latest in cutting-edge science and technology to prise age-old secrets from the complex of streets and stone buildings that lie less than five metres below the surface. State-of-the-art CGI helps to raise the city from the seabed revealing, for the first time in 3,500 years, how Pavlopetri would once have looked and operated.

Jon Henderson is leading this ground-breaking project in collaboration with a team from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, and Nic Flemming, the man whose hunch led to the intriguing discovery of Pavlopetri in 1967. Also working alongside the archaeologists are a team from the Australian Centre for Field Robotics, who aim to take underwater archaeology into the 21st century.

The team scour the sea floor for any artefacts that have eroded from the sands. The site is littered with thousands of fragments, each providing valuable clues to the everyday lives of the people of Pavlopetri. From the buildings to the trade goods to the everyday tableware, every artefact provides a window into a long-forgotten world.

Together these precious relics provide us with a window on a time when Pavlopetri would have been at its height, showing us what life was like in this distant age, and revealing how this city marks the start of Western civilisation.

2011x178 Twincredibles

  • 2011-10-10T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

There's only a slim chance that black and white parents will have twins of different skin colour, but as one in ten children born in the UK is now mixed race, this genetic quirk is going to become increasingly common. Twincredibles follows five sets of twins, from toddlers through to adults, to create a surprising and compelling story about the journey of mixed-race Britain.

The stories of all these twins throw a new and fascinating light on how brothers and sisters who are similar in so many other ways lead different lives because of their skin colour. The experiences don't always match the stereotype. For teenage boys James and Daniel, growing up in Eltham South East London, it was the whiter-looking twin Daniel who suffered racial abuse, whilst darker twin James was left alone.

Travelling through the experiences of each set of twins, the film unpeels the impact this accident of their birth has on how they see themselves and how the outside world views them. Living in diverse locations across England to Scotland, the twins tell their stories in their own words, to paint an honest and sometimes hard-hitting picture of race in modern Britain.

17-year-old Sam and 20-year-old Evan are a gay male couple - but underneath their clothes they have female bodies. What makes this story so exceptional is that they are both in the process of changing their bodies from female to male, at the same time. This film follows their gender journey and the prejudice they encounter along the way - including the humiliation and fear they suffer of having eggs thrown at them as they walk to the bus stop. The documentary tells the story of how Sam and Evan met, fell in love and embarked on a remarkable transgender journey together to transform their bodies from Girls to Men.

2011x180 Me, My Sex and I

  • 2011-10-11T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

What is the truth about the sexes? It is a deeply-held assumption that every person is either male or female; but many people are now questioning whether this belief is correct.

This compelling and sensitive documentary unlocks the stories of people born neither entirely male nor female. Conditions like these have been known as 'intersex' and shrouded in unnecessary shame and secrecy for decades. It's estimated that DSDs (Disorders of Sexual Development) are, in fact, as common as twins or red hair - nearly one in 50 of us.

The programme features powerful insights from people living with these conditions, and the medical teams at the forefront of the field, including clinical psychologist Tiger Devore, whose own sex when born was ambiguous.

In November 2010, a Chinese vase unearthed in a suburban semi in Pinner sold at auction for £43 million - a new record for a Chinese work of art. Why are Chinese vases so famous and so expensive? The answer lies in the European obsession with Chinese porcelain that began in the 16th century and by the 18th century was a full-blown craze that swept up kings, princes and the emerging middle classes alike.

In this documentary Lars Tharp, the Antiques Roadshow expert and Chinese ceramics specialist, sets out to explore why Chinese porcelain was so valuable then - and still is now. He goes on a journey to parts of China closed to Western eyes until relatively recently. Lars travels to the mountainside from which virtually every single Chinese export vase, plate and cup began life in the 18th century - a mountain known as Mount Gaolin, from whose name we get the word kaolin, or china clay. He sees how the china clay was fused with another substance, mica, that would turn it into porcelain - a secret process concealed from envious Western eyes. For a time porcelain became more valuable than gold - it was a substance so fine, so resonant and so strong that it drove Europeans mad trying to copy it.

Carrying his own newly-acquired vase, Lars uncovers the secrets of China's porcelain capital, Jingdezhen, before embarking on the arduous 400-mile journey to the coast that every piece of export porcelain would once have travelled. He sees how the trade between China and Europe not only changed our idea of what was beautiful - by introducing us to the idea of works of art we could eat off - but also began to affect the whole tradition of Chinese aesthetics too, as the ceramicists of Jingdezhen sought to meet the European demand for porcelain decorated with family coats of arms, battle scenes or even erotica.

The porcelain fever that gripped Britain drove conspicuous consumption and fuelled the Georgian craze for tea parties. Today the new emperors - China's rising millionaire class - are buying back the export wares once shipped to Europe. The vase sold in Pinner shows that the lure of Chinese porcelain is as compelling as ever.

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 filmmaker 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.

In September 2011, an international group of scientists has made an astonishing claim - they have detected particles that seemed to travel faster than the speed of light. It was a claim that contradicted more than a hundred years of scientific orthodoxy. Suddenly there was talk of all kinds of bizarre concepts, from time travel to parallel universes.

So what is going on? Has Einstein's famous theory of relativity finally met its match? Will we one day be able to travel into the past or even into another universe?

In this film, Professor Marcus du Sautoy explores one of the most dramatic scientific announcements for a generation. In clear, simple language he tells the story of the science we thought we knew, how it is being challenged, and why it matters.

Documentary that reveals the secret story behind one of the greatest intellectual feats of World War II, a feat that gave birth to the digital age. In 1943, a 24-year-old maths student and a GPO engineer combined to hack into Hitler's personal super-code machine - not Enigma but an even tougher system, which he called his 'secrets writer'. Their break turned the Battle of Kursk, powered the D-day landings and orchestrated the end of the conflict in Europe. But it was also to be used during the Cold War - which meant both men's achievements were hushed up and never officially recognised

2011x185 The Secret Life of Ice

  • 2011-10-27T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Ice is one of the strangest, most beguiling and mesmerising substances in the world. Full of contradictions, it is transparent yet it can glow with colour, it is powerful enough to shatter rock but it can melt in the blink of an eye. It takes many shapes, from the fleeting beauty of a snowflake to the multi-million tonne vastness of a glacier and the eeriness of the ice fountains of far-flung moons.

Science writer Dr Gabrielle Walker has been obsessed with ice ever since she first set foot on Arctic sea ice. In this programme she searches out some of the secrets hidden deep within the ice crystal to try to discover how something so ephemeral has the power to sculpt landscapes, to preserve our past and inform our future

2011x186 Operation Jericho

  • 2011-10-29T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Actor and aviator Martin Shaw takes to the skies to rediscover one of the most audacious and daring raids of World War II.

On the morning of 18 February 1944, a squadron of RAF Mosquito bombers, flying as low as three metres over occupied France, demolished the walls of Amiens Jail in what became known as Operation Jericho. The reasons behind the controversial raid remain a mystery to this day.

This dramatic documentary investigates the missing pieces of the story, with interviews from survivors and aircrew, and tries to find out why the raid was ordered and by whom.

In May this year, US Special Forces shot and killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. Publicly Pakistan is one of America's closest allies - yet every step of the operation was kept secret from it.

Filmed largely in Pakistan and Afghanistan, this two-part documentary series explores how a supposed ally stands accused by top CIA officers and Western diplomats of causing the deaths of thousands of coalition soldiers in Afghanistan. It is a charge denied by Pakistan's military establishment, but the documentary makers meet serving Taliban commanders who describe the support they get from Pakistan in terms of weapons, training and a place to hide.

This first episode investigates signs of duplicity that emerged after 9/11 and disturbing intelligence reports after Britain's forces entered Helmand in 2006.

Historian Dr Janina Ramirez unlocks the secrets of a centuries-old masterpiece in glass. At 78 feet in height, the famous East Window at York Minster is the largest medieval stained-glass window in the country, and it was the creative vision of a single artist - a mysterious master craftsman called John Thornton, one of the earliest named English artists.

2011x189 The Future State of Welfare

  • 2011-10-26T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Humphrys is of a generation and a background for whom stigma acted as a break on behaviour that others might consider anti-social or even immoral. He was brought up in a working-class area of Cardiff where there were few single mothers and the only man in his street who refused to work was treated with contempt, and the veteran broadcaster’s evident bafflement over the way the post-war welfare state has nurtured a dependency culture made for compelling viewing.

This was a serious programme about an important subject with a fundamental question at its heart: how did the great ambitions of William Beveridge to banish the Five Evils of Want, Ignorance, Squalor, Disease and Idleness produce a society in which hundreds of thousands of people, maybe millions, choose to live off their fellow taxpayers and consider that they are entitled to do so?

2011x190 Da Vinci: The Lost Treasure

  • 2011-10-30T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Leonardo da Vinci is considered by many to be one of the greatest artists who ever lived. Yet his reputation rests on only a handful of pictures - including the world's most famous painting, the Mona Lisa.
As the National Gallery in London prepares to open its doors on a remarkable exhibition of Leonardo's work, Fiona Bruce travels to Florence, Milan, Paris and Warsaw to uncover the story of this enigmatic genius - and to New York, where she is given an exclusive preview of a sensational discovery: a new Leonardo.

Just how did the Devil get inside our heads? And who put him there? For Halloween, award-winning comedy writer and performer Andy Hamilton (creator and star of Radio 4's acclaimed infernal comedy Old Harry's Game) explores just who the devil Satan is, where he comes from and what he's been up to all this time.

Journalist Frank Gardner sets out to trace the first adventure of Tintin, the childhood hero that inspired him to travel and report from the world's hot spots. Frank follows Tintin to Moscow and discovers the influences that created the successful cartoon strip.

The second film in this timely and enthralling two-part documentary series reveals how Britain and America discovered compelling evidence that Pakistan was secretly helping the Taliban and concluded they had been double-crossed.

It tells the story of how under President Obama the US has waged a secret war against Pakistan. Taliban commanders tell the film makers that to this day Pakistan shelters and arms them, and helps them kill Western troops - indeed one recently captured suicide bomber alleges he was trained by Pakistani intelligence.

Chillingly, the film also reveals that, based on some evidence, Pakistani intelligence stands accused of sabotaging possible peace talks. Pakistan denies these charges, but relations between Pakistan and America now verge on hostility.

Documentary which follows tornado researcher and weather fanatic Sam Hall on an epic road trip across the US in search of some of the planet's most violent storms. This would be a gruelling trip for the toughest of individuals, but there's an added challenge for Sam as she has a skin condition known as Epidermolysis Bullosa or EB. The layers of her skin don't stick together and so even the slightest knock can tear or blister her skin. Once out in the States, Sam is intoxicated by the brutal tempests she encounters, but her excitement soon turns to trepidation as she heads right into the middle of America's worst ever tornados.

What do you do when your child is gifted and their academic ability has overtaken yours? In a lot of ways 13-year-old Cameron Thompson is a normal teenage boy - obsessed with computer games, sporting the first hints of a moustache and a newfound interest in girls. But he is also a maths genius who is currently doing an Open University degree in applied mathematics and it is this ability that has singled him out. That, and an intense social awkwardness his parents put down to his Asperger's Syndrome. Can Cameron balance the need to remain the genius he has always been - and therefore different - with the classic teenage longing to be accepted?

It is only ten years since the mixed race category was added to the census in Britain and only 40 years since laws against miscegenation were in force in 16 states of America. Yet interracial relationships have been a feature of society throughout modern history.

This film, shown as part of the Mixed Race Britain season, tells the stories of prominent relationships that created huge controversy at the time and examines the historical and contemporary social, sexual and political attitudes towards race mixing. Among those contributing are Tony Benn and Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah.

About this programme
Throughout history, interracial sex has been one of society's great taboos, but despite the social and legal constraints placed on mixed-race couples, such relationships have been an ever-present feature of modern society. Through the stories of relationships that created scandals in their own time, this documentary examines the complex history of interracial relationships and chronicles the shifts in attitudes that for centuries have created controversy and anxiety all around the world.

Ian Hislop presents an entertaining and provocative film about the colourful Victorian financiers whose spectacular philanthropy shows that banking wasn't always associated with greed or self-serving financial recklessness.

Victorian bankers achieved wealth on a scale never envisaged by previous generations, but many of them were far from comfortable about their new-found riches, which caused them intense soul-searching amidst furious national debate about the moral purpose of money and its potential to corrupt.

Like so many other Victorian bankers, Samuel Gurney was a Quaker. Banking and its rewards seemed at odds with a faith that valued modest simplicity, but Gurney's wealth helped the work of his sister, prison reformer Elizabeth Fry, who is immortalised on today's five-pound note.

Self-made millionaire George Peabody was a merchant banker who made an enormous donation to London housing. 150 years on, his housing estates still provide accommodation to 50,000 Londoners.

Angela Burdett-Coutts became an overnight celebrity after she inherited the enormous Coutts fortune. With her love of small dogs and her vast stash, she could have been the Paris Hilton of her day. Instead, she went on to become a great philanthropist.
Perhaps the richest of them all was Natty Rothschild, who tried not just to ensure that his personal wealth did good, but that his bank's did too.

Deploying his customary mix of light touch and big ideas, Ian champions these extraordinary and generous individuals. Along the way, he meets Dr Giles Fraser, until his recent, dramatic resignation canon chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral, chairman of the FSA Lord Turner, philanthropic financier the current Lord Rothschild, historian A N Wilson and chief rabbi Lord Sacks.

2011x199 The Boarding School Bomber

  • 2011-11-21T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Compelling drama-documentary which tells the story of how, three years after the 7/7 attacks on London, a busy shopping centre in Bristol was the intended target of a devastating terrorist attack. However, the young man planning this attack was not your typical terrorist. Born to a middle-class, loving, Christian family, Andrew Ibrahim had a privileged upbringing and attended prestigious public schools. So how did this bright teenager turn into a would-be suicide bomber?

This film starring Adam Deacon (Adulthood, Kidulthood) sets out to answer this very question. It plays alongside sensitive interviews with Andrew's friends, classmates and his mother. Police testimony of the race to find the plotter is cut against unprecedented CCTV footage that tracks his every move through the city. Most sinister, however, is the film's portrayal of the world of online extremism which turned Andrew into a terrorist, and the actual footage he viewed online is woven through the film in stark uncut form, surely leaving every mother wondering what her son is up to behind closed doors.

This one hour documentary, produced by Mentorn Media for BBC Four, follows Melvyn Bragg as he travels from Oklahoma to California to examine the enduring legacy of the Nobel Prize-winning author, John Steinbeck.

In novels such as The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, and Cannery Row, Steinbeck gave voices to ordinary people who were battling poverty, drought and homelessness. Melvyn Bragg assesses why the work of one his favourite authors remains relevant in today's America, taking a fresh approach to John Steinbeck, his work and in particular Pulitzer Prize-winning The Grapes of Wrath, one of the epic American novels of the 20th century.

Bragg visits the site of the Thirties dust bowl in Oklahoma; the California orchards where bloody political battles were fought between migrant labourers and growers; and the Monterey coastline where Steinbeck developed his ideas on ecology, and makes a case for Steinbeck as one of the great voices of American literature.

2011x202 A303: Highway to the Sun

  • 2011-05-19T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

The A303 is the road that passes Stonehenge on the way to the beaches of Devon and Cornwall. On the way, it whisks drivers through 5,000 years of remarkable moments in English history. And it's the star of this film made for armchair travellers and history lovers.

Writer Tom Fort drives its 92-mile length in a lovingly-restored Morris Traveller. Along the way he has many adventures - he digs up the 1960s master plan for the A303's dreams of superhighway status; meets up with a Neolithic traveller who knew the road like the back of his hand; gets to know a section of the Roman 303; uncovers a medieval murder mystery; and discovers what lies at the end of the Highway to the Sun.

Comedian Rich Hall hits the road as he takes us on his personal journey through the road movie, which, from the earliest days of American cinema has been synonymous with American culture. With his customary wit and intelligence, Rich takes us through films such as Bonnie and Clyde, The Grapes of Wrath, Thelma and Louise, Vanishing Point, Five Easy Pieces and even The Wizard of Oz. He explores what makes a road movie and how the American social, economic and political landscape has defined the genre.

Filmed on location in South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana, the film incorporates interviews, archive footage and clips of some of cinemas best-loved films as it gives us another of Rich Hall's unique insights into American culture.

2011x204 Will it Snow?

  • 2011-11-06T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

This topical programme taps into the nation's obsession with the weather and asks whether we are heading for another 'snowmageddon' as experienced in the previous two years.

Can forecasters give us warning this time around? How does the 'olde' weather lore compare with the supercomputers? And what are we doing across Britain to prepare ourselves as we head into winter?

'Will It Snow?' predicts what another extreme cold snap would spell for Britain's economy as it puts the science of weather forecasting to the test and asks the experts what we are in store for between now and spring.

Playing the ukulele and performing songs that keep the George Formby legend alive, Frank Skinner follows the music hall star's rise to fame and explores his continuing popularity

An intriguing investigation into the extraordinary life of Gershwin's classic composition, Summertime. One of the most covered songs in the world, it has been recorded in almost every style of music - from jazz to opera, rock to reggae, soul to samba. Its musical adaptability is breathtaking, but Summertime also resonates on a deep emotional level too. This visually and sonically engaging film explores the composition's magical properties, examining how this song has, with stealth, captured the imagination of the world.

From its complex birth in 1935 as a lullaby in Gershwin's all-black opera Porgy and Bess, this film traces the hidden history of Summertime, focusing on key recordings, including those by Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, Mahalia Jackson, Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald. It reveals how musicians have projected their own dreams and desires onto the song, re-imagining Summertime throughout the 20th century as a civil rights prayer, a hippie lullaby, an ode to seduction and a modern freedom song.

Back in the 1930s, Gershwin never dreamt of the global impact Summertime would have. But as this film shows, it has magically tapped into something deep inside us all - nostalgia and innocence, sadness and joy, and our intrinsic desire for freedom. Full of evocative archive footage as well as a myriad versions of Summertime - from the celebrated to the obscure - Searching For Summertime tells the surprising and illuminating tale behind this world-famous song.

Documentary telling the story of how Pan American World Airways kickstarted the Jet Age and shrank the globe. Real-life 'Pan Am girls' recall a high-life of luxury and glamour; rubbing shoulders with celebrity passengers, international romances and having to wear the now infamous girdle. Stars of the Jet Age such as Robert Vaughn and Mary Quant remember the food, fashion and girls that made them regular Pan Am passengers.

Pan Am's success was largely due to its visionary founder Juan Trippe, who transformed a small mail carrier into a global airline, pioneered flights for the masses and helped create the Boeing 747 jumbo jet. Honor Blackman narrates the story of how Pan Am conquered the skies and left a legacy of affordable travel and a much smaller world.

2011x209 Roy Lichtenstein - Pop Idol

  • 2004-01-25T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Paul Morley investigates the lasting appeal of art's very own Pop Idol. From failed Abstract Expressionist to pioneering Pop Art hero, Roy Lichtenstein revolutionised the art world with his big, bold, brash cartoon images of American culture. Even before Andy Warhol had picked up his can of Campbell's soup, Lichtenstein was making merchandise into art and cultivating his own durable brand, turning out work that was highly consumable and tirelessly reproduced.

2011x211 Love on the Transplant List

  • 2011-11-28T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

An amazing story of a remarkable couple whose love is tested to the very edge of life. Kirstie is 21 years old, born with cystic fibrosis and has always known that her life would be short. In March 2011 she was put onto the transplant waiting list, having been told that she had end-stage lung disease and could be dead within six months.

This film follows Kirstie's extraordinary experience of living on the transplant list, the fear and uncertainty, the realities of having constant pain, taking endless medications, relying on oxygen machines 24 hours a day to breathe and doing all of this whilst planning for her wedding.

It follows Kirstie being rushed to hospital three days before the wedding before bravely making it down the aisle through sheer willpower and determination. As her condition becomes more critical and the chance of a lifesaving lung transplant seems more remote, we follow Kirstie's husband Stuart facing the very real possibility of his new wife dying - they had only been married for three weeks. Despite all the setbacks Kirstie continues to fight for her second chance at life till the very end.

2011x212 American Nomads

  • 2011-11-28T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Beneath the America we think we know lies a nation hidden from view - a nomadic nation, living on the roads, the rails and in the wild open spaces. In its deserts, forests, mountain ranges and on the plains, a huge population of modern nomads pursues its version of the American dream - to live free from the world of careers, mortgages and the white picket fence.

When British writer Richard Grant moved to the USA more than 20 years ago it wasn't just a change of country. He soon found himself in a world of travellers and the culture of roadside America - existing alongside, but separate from, conventional society. In this film he takes to the road again, on a journey without destination.

In a series of encounters and unplanned meetings, Richard is guided by his own instincts and experiences - and the serendipity of the road. Travelling with loners and groups, he encounters the different 'tribes' of nomads as he journeys across the deserts of America's south west.

2011x213 Rick Stein Tastes the Blues

  • 2011-11-15T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Ever since the early 1960s, Rick Stein has been in love with the blues and years later he is fascinated by the dishes ingrained in its lyrics - fried chicken and turnip greens, catfish and black-eyed peas, and the rest. In this film, Rick pays homage to the musicians who created this music and to the great dishes of the Mississippi Delta that go hand in hand with the blues.

Writer and broadcaster Stephen Smith re-envisions the story of 20th century American culture through its most iconic institution - the diner. Whether Edward Hopper's Nighthawks or the infamous encounter between Pacino and de Niro in Heat, these gleaming, gawdy shacks are at the absolute heart of the American vision.

Stephen embarks on a girth-busting road journey that takes him to some of America's most iconic diners. He meets the film-makers and singers who have immortalised them, and looks at the role diners have played not only in America's greatest paintings and movies, but also in the fight against racial oppression and the chain restaurants' global takeover.

For Stephen, it is because the diner is the last vestige of a vital part of the American psyche - the frontier. Like the Dodge City saloon it is a place where strangers are thrown together, where normal rules are suspended and anything can happen. And it is this crackle of potentially violent and sexual energy that have drawn so many artists to the diner, and made it not a convenient setting but an engine room of 20th century American culture.

Life was an iconic weekly magazine that specialised in extraordinarily vivid photojournalism. Through its most dynamic decades, - the 40s, 50s and 60s - Life caught the spirit of America as it blossomed into a world superpower. Read by over half the country, its influence on American people was unparalleled. No other magazine in the world held the photograph in such high esteem. At Life the pictures, not the words, did the talking. As a result, the Life photographer was king.

In this film, leading UK fashion photographer Rankin celebrates the work of Life's legendary photographers including Alfred Eisenstaedt and Margaret Bourke-White, who went to outrageous lengths to get the best picture - moving armies, naval fleets and even the population of entire towns. He travels across the USA to meet photographers Bill Eppridge, John Shearer, John Loengard, Burk Uzzle and Harry Benson who, between them, have shot the big moments in American history - from the assassination of Robert F Kennedy, the Civil Rights struggle and Vietnam to behind the scenes at the Playboy mansion and the greatest names in Hollywood.

These photographers pioneered new forms of photojournalism, living with and photographing their subjects for weeks, enabling them to capture compelling yet ordinary aspects of American life too. Rankin discovers that Life told the story of America in photographs, and also taught America how to be American.

In just seven years, Mark Zuckerberg has gone from his Harvard college dorm to running a business with 800 million users, and a possible value of $100 billion. His idea to 'make the world more open and connected' has sparked a revolution in communication, and now looks set to have a huge impact on business too.

Emily Maitlis reports on life inside Facebook. Featuring a rare interview with Zuckerberg himself, the film tells the story of Facebook's creation, looks at the accuracy of The Social Network movie, and examines Facebook's plans to use the personal information it has collected to power a new kind of online advertising.

The Royal Bank of Scotland was once a famous Scottish institution; a bank with a reputation for prudence. But in October 2008, less than a decade after Fred Goodwin took over as chief executive, it came within hours of collapsing. RBS later posted the biggest loss in UK corporate history - 24 billion pounds - which damaged the bank's reputation for financial prudence and Scotland's image as a global financial centre. Using previously unbroadcast footage of the bank's top executives and interviews with bank insiders, this documentary tells the compelling story of a national catastrophe.

Documentary telling the story of Hidcote, the most influential English garden of the 20th century and Lawrence Johnston, the enigmatic genius behind it. Hidcote was the first garden ever taken on by the National Trust, who have spent 3.5 million pounds in a major programme of restoration. As part of this facelift, the garden team have been researching Johnston's original vision and in doing so have uncovered a compelling story that reveals how he created such an iconic garden.

Yet until recently, little has been known about its secretive creator and self-taught gardener, Johnston. He kept few, if any, records on Hidcote's construction, but the head gardener at Hidcote, Glyn Jones, has embarked on a personal mission to discover as much about the man as possible to find out how, in the early 20th century, Johnston set about creating a garden regarded as the model of inspiration for designers all over the world.

2011x219 Exposed: Groomed for Sex

  • 2011-12-05T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Adil Ray investigates the controversial subject of on-street grooming of young girls for sex by Pakistani men in the UK. He speaks to members of his own community, the police and victims of abuse. For Adil, it is a 'deeply personal journey' and he is shocked by what he discovers.

Ever wondered what would happen in your own home if you were taken away, and everything inside was left to rot? The answer is revealed in this fascinating programme, which explores the strange and surprising science of decay.

For two months in summer 2011, a glass box containing a typical kitchen and garden was left to rot in full public view within Edinburgh Zoo. In this resulting documentary, presenter Dr George McGavin and his team use time-lapse cameras and specialist photography to capture the extraordinary way in which moulds, microbes and insects are able to break down our everyday things and allow new life to emerge from old.

Decay is something that many of us are repulsed by. But as the programme shows, it's a process that's vital in nature. And seen in close up, it has an unexpected and sometimes mesmerising beauty.

For over 1,200 years church bells have called the faithful to worship, helping people celebrate triumph and commemorate tragedy. But the fact that they are one of the largest and loudest musical instruments in the world is often overlooked.

This is something musical innovator Charles Hazlewood wants to change - he wants to see if church bells can be used to make original music in their own right.

Choosing Cambridge for his musical experiment, Charles immerses himself in the world of bells and bell ringing. He tries his hand at ringing church bells, handbells and even a carillon - an instrument which resembles an organ made out of bells. He discovers why church bell ringing sounds the way it does and tries out some radical techniques - pushing the boundaries, he re-rigs a whole church tower so it can play a tune.

At the culmination of his investigations Charles devises and performs an extraordinary piece of music which involves three separate church towers and 30 handbell ringers gathered from across the eastern counties.

2011x222 Scrapheap Orchestra

  • 2011-12-11T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Is it possible for professional musicians from the BBC Concert Orchestra to make beautiful sounds out of garbage? This documentary aims to find out. For the first time ever an entire orchestra of 44 instruments will be built from just scrap. The quest to build an orchestra of instruments out of rubbish is more than just a musical spectacle - in the construction of these instruments we delve into the history of instrument making and the science of music, why different instruments are made the way they are, why some designs have not changed for hundreds of years and why, when played together, the sound of an orchestra is unlike anything else on earth.

Inspirational conductor Charles Hazlewood leads the challenge and charges a group of the UK's top instrument makers with the mission of transforming junk, broken furniture and the contents of roadside skips into an orchestra of instruments.

The BBC Concert Orchestra - a team of virtuoso performers - will put their reputations on the line by using these instruments to stage what they hope will be a flawless performance of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture at the 2011 Proms. But will the scrapheap orchestra pass muster at the mother of all classical musical festivals?

Broadly considered a brand that inspires fervour and defines cool consumerism, Apple has become one of the biggest corporations in the world, fuelled by game-changing products that tap into modern desires. Its leader, Steve Jobs, was a long-haired college dropout with infinite ambition, and an inspirational perfectionist with a bully's temper. A man of contradictions, he fused a Californian counterculture attitude and a mastery of the art of hype with explosive advances in computer technology.

Insiders including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, the chairman who ousted Jobs from the company he founded, and Jobs' chief of software, tell extraordinary stories of the rise, fall and rise again of Apple with Steve Jobs at its helm.

With Stephen Fry, world wide web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee and branding guru Rita Clifton, Evan Davis decodes the formula that took Apple from suburban garage to global supremacy.

Professor Brian Cox takes an audience of famous faces, scientists and members of the public on a journey through some of the most challenging concepts in physics.

At 25, Ruth Ojadi had an amazing singing voice and a place to study music at university. She should have been on her way to the top. Instead, Ruth was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome and her life fell apart. The blinks and twitches her GP had put down to nerves became worse and before long she started swearing and blurting out inappropriate comments, eventually dropping out of university and locking herself away. Now, three years on, Ruth has decided to take her life back and once again step up to the mic, but when a trip to the supermarket is such a struggle how will she cope with getting up on stage?

2011x226 The Road to Nowhere

  • 2011-10-29T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

As the M25 celebrates its 25th birthday, Sally Boazman takes a road trip to see how the motorway has changed our economy, environment and living habits.

The 117-mile orbital road took more than 11 years to build. It cost £1bn, and used more than 2m tons of concrete and 3.5m tons of asphalt.

The final section was opened by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in October 1986 to a huge fanfare.

Sally Boazman charts the M25's history, follows the team that keeps it moving, and meets a couple who even got married on it.

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 twelve 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.

James Holland presents a fresh analysis of the legendary 1943 Dam Busters raid, a low-level night mission that took 19 Lancaster bombers deep into the heart of enemy territory to destroy German dams with a brand new weapon - the bouncing bomb. Of the many extraordinary things about the Dams raid, the biggest is that it almost never happened. When finally green lit, it set off an incredible race against time to form and train a new squadron. Their mission was to deliver a weapon that did not yet exist. Unprecedented by any scale, and even more remarkable because the crews were not the experienced elite that legend sometimes suggests, Holland believes this truly is the greatest raid of all time. Yet, whilst arguing that the true impact of the successful raid has been underestimated, he also sets out to investigate whether the results should have been even greater.

2011x231 The Roasts of Christmas Past

  • 2011-12-18T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Roasts of Christmas Past explores television's changing relationship with the British Christmas dinner, looking at how TV cooks like Fanny Craddock, Gary Rhodes, Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson have each put their stamp on our annual feast.

How hard is it to give the same old ingredients a new twist every year? Why do so many of us turn to Delia at this special time of year? And why does it have to be turkey?

The documentary looks at the pre-TV history of the meal, the pioneering work of post-war cook Marguerite Patten and the subsequent changes in the style of these shows, which began as lessons and have ended up as entertainment. Do we still follow the recipes - or just envy the lifestyle?

After his furniture store went up in flames during the London riots, 80-year-old Maurice Reeve came out of retirement to lead his family business through the crisis, and he also set out to find out how a town he had always thought so safe, could descend into arson and looting.

2011x233 The Toys That Made Christmas

  • 2011-12-25T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Spirograph, Fuzzy Felt, Barbie, Meccano - Robert Webb tells the story of our Christmases through the toys we played with and loved.

2011x234 Drawing Blood

  • 2011-12-10T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Rosalyn Ball reports on the art of political cartooning.

As a historian and unashamed fan, Professor Amanda Vickery is fascinated by how Jane Austen, an anonymous minor novelist in her lifetime, is 200 years later recognised as a unique British literary genius whose fame rivals Dickens and Shakespeare.

From a convention centre in Texas to Princess Diana's family home, and from the trenches of World War I to the silver screen of Hollywood, Vickery explores how and why generations of readers have been won over by just six classic novels.

Darcey Bussell steps into the shoes of her Hollywood heroes to celebrate the enduring legacy of classic dance musicals.

In the age of Strictly Come Dancing and Streetdance 3D, Darcey, one of Britain's greatest living dancers and Hollywood musical superfan, discovers that the key to understanding where this dance-mad culture comes from lies in classic movie musicals. She takes famous dance routines from her favourite Hollywood musicals and reveals how they cast their spell, paying tribute to the legends of the art form and discovering the legacy they left.

Darcey pays homage to Fred Astaire in an interpretation of Puttin' on the Ritz; plays Ginger Rogers in a rendition of Cheek to Cheek; pays tribute to the exuberant Good Morning from Singin' in the Rain; and stars in a new routine inspired by Girl Hunt Ballet from The Band Wagon.

Darcey works with leading choreographer Kim Gavin and expert conductor John Wilson, who has painstakingly reconstructed the original scores, as she discovers how dance in the movies reached a pinnacle of perfection and reveals how the legacy of the golden age lives on.

Jane Austen is one of the most celebrated writers of all time but apart from a rough sketch by her sister Cassandra, we have very little idea what she looked like. Biographer Dr Paula Byrne thinks that is about to change. She believes she has come across a possible portrait of the author, lost to the world for nearly two centuries. Can the picture stand up to forensic analysis and scrutiny by art historians and world leading Austen experts? How might it change our image of the author? And what might the portrait reveal about Jane Austen and her world? Martha Kearney seeks answers as she follows Dr Byrne on her quest.

2011x238 Shrek: Once upon a Time

  • 2011-12-23T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

David Tennant narrates a celebratory look at how an ogre with a Scottish accent single-handedly changed the face of animation. It features exclusive interviews with the creative geniuses behind the award-winning animation and the voices that brought the story to life, including Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Jennifer Saunders and Shrek himself, Mike Myers.

Looking at the marriage of Charles Dickens through the eyes of his wife Catherine, Sue Perkins exposes the lesser known reality of the Dickens family Christmas - very different from the heart-warming versions he presented in A Christmas Carol.

In this 60-minute film for BBC Two, Sue turns her attention to the woman behind the man, revealing parallels between the female characters he created and his changing affections for his wife, namely, in Dickens's mind, her transition from innocent virgin to middle-aged frump.

Scrutinising Dickens's public defence in a national newspaper of his treatment toward Catherine, Sue seeks to set the record straight, promulgating her unconditional love for Dickens and support for his career.

Along the way, she has plenty of laughs, evokes the realities of Victorian marriage, interviews many of today's leading biographers of Mr and Mrs Dickens, explores Charles's role in creating Christmas as we know it - and gets to make a twelfth night cake.

2011x240 The Animal Magic Zoo

  • 2011-07-21T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

Terry Nutkins celebrates the 175th anniversary of Bristol Zoo. In this whistle-stop tour through the zoo's fascinating history, Terry reflects on his time presenting the BBC TV series 'Animal Magic' with Johnny Morris. The programme gave voices to the animals, turning Dotty the ringtailed lemur into a household name.

Over the years, the zoo has been home to some notable residents including Alfred the gorilla who became a wartime symbol of resistance, and Rosie the elephant who used to give rides to children.

Contributors to the programme include the Hollywood actor John Cleese who went to school nearby and Creature Comforts creator Nick Park who drew inspiration from the polar bears.

The programme examines how the role of the zoo has evolved over the decades to reflect changing public attitudes. From an initial focus on amusement and entertainment, the modern zoo places more importance on education and conservation.

Tess Daly takes a nostalgic look back at TV classics that have come out of the BBC in the North West over the last 50 years. She is joined by a host of stars as they recall their favourite TV moments and celebrate the distinctly northern flavour.

In his last BBC TV interview before his death, Sir Jimmy Savile talks about the magical beginnings of Top of the Pops, while Stuart Hall recalls his favourite memories of It's A Knockout.

Debbie McGee explains why she enjoyed her famous appearance on the Mrs Merton Show when Caroline Aherne famously asked her 'what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?'.

John Simm and Philip Glenister, alias Gene Hunt, reveal the secrets of Life On Mars, and Dragon Peter Jones lifts the lid on the famous Den.

2011x242 Frost on Nixon

  • 2011-11-13T21:00:00Z — 60 mins

Joan Bakewell talks to Sir David Frost about his landmark interviews with former United States president Richard Nixon. The Nixon Interviews, first broadcast in 1977, gained record audiences and the high drama which surrounded them later became the subject of both a West End play and an Oscar-nominated film, Frost/Nixon.

Sir David tells Joan Bakewell about the fight to secure the interview and the struggle to raise the money to make it. He also recalls the negotiations with Hollywood super-agent Swifty Lazar, whom Nixon had retained to represent him, the intense discussions with Nixon's own team of advisers, and trying to come to terms with the hugely complicated personality of Richard Nixon himself.

At times the contest between the two men verged on gladiatorial, at others Frost almost seemed to be Nixon's confessor. It ended with Nixon's momentous apology to the American people.

Medievalist Dr Stephen Baxter takes a fresh look at the Middle Ages through the eyes of children. At a time when half the population was under 18, he argues that although they had to grow up quickly and take on adult responsibility early, the experience of childhood could also be richly rewarding. Focusing on the three pillars of medieval society - religion, war and work - Baxter reveals how children played a vital role in creating the medieval world.

The Camorra, the Naples mafia, is Italy's bloodiest organised crime syndicate. It has killed thousands and despite suffering many setbacks is as strong as ever. It is into drug trafficking, racketeering, business, politics, toxic waste and even the garbage disposal industry. Naples's recent waste crisis was in part blamed on the crime syndicate. Its grip on the city is far reaching.

Millions of sales on both sides of the Atlantic, near bankruptcy, pills, thrills, spats, prats, successes, excesses, pick-me-ups and breakdowns - all spiralled together to create some of the most defining music of the 20th century.

This is the definitive and fully-authorised documentary of the highs and lows of the UK's most inspired and dissolute independent record label - Creation Records. Over 25 years after Creation's first records, it follows the story from the days of the Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Primal Scream and Teenage Fanclub to the Boo Radleys, the Super Furry Animals and of course Oasis, among many, many more.

The label's enigmatic founder Alan McGee talks candidly of the trail which led from humble beginnings in Glasgow, via drink and drug dependency to being wined and dined at No 10 Downing Street by Tony Blair.

2011x248 Sex and the Sitcom

  • 2011-03-29T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

How has the sitcom responded to the sexual revolution?

From Hancock's Half Hour in the 50s, through 70s sitcoms like Up Pompeii! and Reggie Perrin to contemporary comedies like Him & Her, this documentary explores sexual frustration as an enduring sitcom theme, the changing role of women and the British love of innuendo.

Why did Butterflies cause such a stir in the 80s? Did Men Behaving Badly really capture the sexual politics of the 90s? And how did the permissive society affect Terry and June?

The film looks at the changing language of sitcom, contrasts British comedy with its more liberal American counterpart, and asks whether the modern sitcom recognises any taboos at all.

Contributors include sitcom stars Leslie Phillips, Leslie Joseph, Wendy Craig, and writers David Nobbs, Simon Nye and Jonathan Harvey

A special tribute to Sir Jimmy Savile, the eccentric DJ who hosted the legendary Top of the Pops and Jim'll Fix It. The film includes classic footage of the man in action and interviews with close family and friends from the world of showbiz and his home city of Leeds, as well as representatives from the many charitable organisations for which he raised millions of pounds.

2011x251 When Rock Goes Acoustic

  • 2011-09-02T20:00:00Z — 60 mins

The cliché of classic rock guitar is one of riffs, solos and noise. But write a list of great guitarists and their finest moments and a quieter, more intense playing comes to the fore. The acoustic guitar is the secret weapon in the armoury of the guitar hero, when paradoxically they get more attention by playing quietly than being loud.

This documentary takes an insightful and occasionally irreverent look at the love affair between rock and the humble acoustic guitar. Exploring a much less celebrated, yet crucial part of the rock musician's arsenal, contributors including Johnny Marr, Keith Richards, Ray Davies, James Dean Bradfield, Biffy Clyro, Joan Armatrading, Donovan and Roger McGuinn discuss why an instrument favoured by medieval minstrels and singing nuns is as important to rock 'n' roll as the drums, bass and its noisy sister, the electric guitar