Showing results for your search filters

Order by: Relevance | First broadcast | Most recent broadcast | Availability ending soon
BBC World Service
BBC World Service logo
18 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

The new Spitfires need to be flown to RAF bases desperate for reinforcements

The new Spitfires need to be flown to RAF bases desperate for reinforcements. That’s the job of the ATA Girls - the female flyers of World War Two.

The new Spitfires need to be flown to RAF bases desperate for reinforcements. That’s the job of the ATA Girls - the female flyers of World War Two, some of the first women in Britain to receive the same wages as their male counterparts.

Presenter: Tuppence Middleton

Producers: Alasdair Cross and Emily Knight

Editors: Chris Ledgard and Kirsten Lass

BBC World Service
BBC World Service logo
18 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

Spitfire production is getting back on track, but the search for locations continues

Spitfire production is getting back on track, but the search for locations continues.

Spitfire production is getting back on track, but the search for locations continues. Out into the surrounding countryside, from brickworks to country manors to empty fields, the dispersal continues.

Presenter: Tuppence Middleton

Producers: Alasdair Cross and Emily Knight

Editors: Chris Ledgard and Kirsten Lass

BBC World Service
BBC World Service logo
17 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

Amid the smouldering ruins of the Spitfire factory, a new strategy emerges

Amid the smouldering ruins of the Spitfire factory, a new strategy emerges.

Amid the smouldering ruins of the Spitfire factory, a new strategy emerges: instead of building the plane in one factory, it will be built piece by piece in garages, workshops and laundries.

Presenter: Tuppence Middleton

Producers: Alasdair Cross and Emily Knight

Editors: Chris Ledgard and Kirsten Lass

3 minutes Available for 17 days First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

History short looking at winter sports.

Audio Described
58 minutes Available for 5 months First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

How working-class Victorians made Birmingham one of the most important industrial cities.

How working-class Victorians made Birmingham one of the most important industrial cities on the planet, why some skeletons have mysterious cut marks on them, and the rise of the real Peaky Blinders.

In this final programme, anthropologist Professor Alice Roberts and historian Dr Yasmin Khan reveal how working-class Victorians made Birmingham one of the most important industrial cities on the planet. The discoveries range from why several mysterious skeletons have strange cut marks on them to the rise of the real Peaky Blinders.

Next to Park Street stands the last glorious remnant of Curzon Street station, the oldest surviving railway terminus in the world and a neoclassical gem, opened in 1838. The archaeologists are uncovering much more of this historic station, including a turntable locomotive shed.

Metres away at the cemetery excavation, Alice explores how this great industrial city that grew from a few thousand to 700,000 residents in just over a century literally left a physical mark on thousands of the skeletons buried at Park Street. She discovers evidence of amputations and bones that have mended, but, in an era when the poor couldn’t afford health care, ten per cent of the skeletons have evidence of poorly healed bone trauma.

Finally, Yasmin discovers what happened to the burial ground after it was full. Remarkably it became a haunt of the real Peaky Blinders, who inspired the successful drama series. But the real Blinders weren’t just one gang - they were a phenomenon.

Credits

Presenter
Yasmin Khan
Presenter
Alice Roberts
Composer
Douglas Black Heaton
Composer
Ty Unwin
Editor
Jane Harris
Producer
Izzy Charman
Executive Producer
Bill Locke
Series Producer
Harvey Lilley
Production Company
Lion Television
Line Producer
Victoria Kelly
Audio Described
BBC Two
BBC Two logo
1 hour Available for 4 days First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

How Britain's V Force became the platform for delivering nuclear Armageddon.

As an 'Iron Curtain' fell across Europe, the jet bomber came to define how the Cold War was fought. Britain's V Force became the platform for delivering nuclear Armageddon.

As an 'Iron Curtain' fell across Europe, the jet bomber came to define how the Cold War was fought. Able to fly faster, higher and further than ever before, and armed with a devastating new weapon, Britain's V Force became the platform for delivering nuclear Armageddon.

Credits

Presenter
James Holland
Series Producer
Jeremy Hall
Executive Producer
Eamon Hardy
Director
Jeremy Hall
Audio Described
59 minutes Available for 5 months First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

The hunt is on for the lost explorer who extended Britain’s empire across the globe.

Professor Alice Roberts and Dr Yasmin Khan dig deeper through the excavations at St James’s burial ground on the hunt for the lost explorer who extended Britain’s empire across the globe.

Anthropologist Professor Alice Roberts and historian Dr Yasmin Khan explore the tale of two of Britain’s greatest cities - how one became the capital of a global empire and the other the workshop of the world - through the giant excavations being undertaken at either end of the first stage of the HS2 rail project.

They begin by digging deeper into the fortunes of rich and poor in Georgian London through the excavations at St James’s burial ground next to Euston station that will make way for the new HS2 terminus. They are on the hunt for the lost explorer who extended Britain’s empire across the globe.

Several Georgian celebrities were known to have been buried in St James’s, but many of the graves may have been lost to Nazi air raids and the extension of Euston Station in the late 19th century. One such celebrity was black champion boxer Bill Richmond. Born into slavery in colonial America, Richmond gained his freedom fighting for the British in the American War of Independence. His remains may have been lost to the Euston extension, but there are higher hopes for another celebrity – one of the most illustrious explorers of the day, now largely forgotten in the country of his birth.

The episode reveals how many of the poor Londoners buried in the cemetery suffered brutally in its workhouses. Yasmin examines the remarkable workhouse records for St James’s Parish. Within the records, she follows the remarkable story of one family.

After more than two years, the gigantic dig reaches its conclusion, with the 50,000 or so skeletons being prepared to be reburied in the cemetery in Surrey that actually took over from St James’s Gardens when it was closed in 1854.

Up the line at another mammoth dig, the team uncover how Victorian Birmingham grew into a boom town of the Industrial Revolution. On Park Street, archaeologists are excavating a 19th-century burial ground. In Birmingham, 98 per cent of the thousands buried within the cemetery have no markers. For Alice, this represents an opportunity to examine the bones in order to tell the stories of the city of a thousand trades.

Yasmin explores the high infant mortality when she is shown the skeleton of an infant with rickets. It inspires her to explore conditions for children and their families in this crucible of the industrial revolution.

Back at the excavation, Alice explores how skeletons are being discovered with mysterious cut marks and with hands, feet and spinal columns missing. It is a mystery that Alice solves in the final episode of the series.

Credits

Presenter
Yasmin Khan
Presenter
Alice Roberts
Composer
Douglas Black Heaton
Composer
Ty Unwin
Editor
Jane Harris
Producer
Izzy Charman
Director
Tom McCarthy
Producer
Tom McCarthy
Executive Producer
Bill Locke
Series Producer
Harvey Lilley
Production Company
Lion Television
Audio Described
59 minutes Available for 5 months First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

An excavation of 50,000 burials uncovers stories of rich and poor in Georgian London.

In advance of the construction of HS2, the biggest ever cemetery excavation in Britain reveals the forgotten stories of rich and poor in Georgian London.

Anthropologist Professor Alice Roberts and historian Dr Yasmin Khan dig deep into the huge excavations at Saint James’s in London, using their respective skills to reveal the stories of the forgotten fortunes of both rich and poor in Georgian London and of a city that was becoming the centre of a global empire.

Yasmin uses the historical records to explore the fascinating lives of the extraordinary and ordinary people buried at St James’s - from rapacious empire builders to the astonishing story of a tiny child who was about to be buried in the cemetery, only for it to be discovered that she was still alive.

The archaeologists also reveal the story of James Christie, founder of the world-renowned Christie’s auction house. Yasmin explores how a Scot of humble origins rose to the very top of class-conscious Georgian society.

Alice examines the skeletons of individuals and the contents of their graves to explore how the city shaped the lives of the citizens of Georgian London and how those citizens were obsessed with saving themselves from the grisly scourge that was sweeping London at the time – body snatchers were disgorging fresh bodies from London's cemeteries and selling them to the growing schools of anatomy in the city.

More than half of those buried in the cemetery are children. The archaeologists discover one incredibly poignant child’s grave good – extremely rare in cemeteries of this era. It is a Queen Anne doll that was clearly the child’s most treasured possession.

And they begin the search for lost Georgian celebrities - from champion boxers to global explorers. It is the first astonishing phase of the story of an excavation that discovers the real-life secrets of a city that changed the world.

Credits

Presenter
Yasmin Khan
Presenter
Alice Roberts
Composer
Douglas Black Heaton
Composer
Ty Unwin
Editor
Simon Beeley
Editor
Andy Richards
Producer
Izzy Charman
Director
Tom McCarthy
Producer
Tom McCarthy
Executive Producer
Bill Locke
Series Producer
Harvey Lilley
Production Company
Lion Television
BBC World Service
BBC World Service logo
19 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

Communities across Britain are enlisted to raise funds for Spitfires

The struggle against the Nazis has to be fought by ordinary people as much as by the army and air force. Communities across Britain are enlisted to raise funds for Spitfires.

The struggle against the Nazis has to be fought by ordinary people as much as by the army and air force. Communities across Britain are enlisted to raise funds for Spitfires. Villages, sports clubs, trades unions and churches devise money-making stunts and give their names to individual planes and whole squadrons.

Presenter: Tuppence Middleton

Producers: Alasdair Cross and Emily Knight

Editors: Chris Ledgard and Kirsten Lass

28 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

A fresh look at the ancient world. How to be a notorious woman in ancient Greece.

Natalie Haynes takes a fresh look at the ancient world. The rule-breaking women of Ancient Greece. With Cherie Booth. From 2014.

A fresh look at the ancient world.

Natalie Haynes, critic, writer and reformed stand-up comedian, brings the ancient world entertainingly up to date. In each of the four programmes she profiles a figure from ancient Greece or Rome and creates a stand-up routine around them. She then goes in search of the links which make the ancient world still very relevant in the 21st century.

Aspasia. Women in ancient Greece were supposedly not seen, not heard and not talked about. Meet the woman who broke all the rules – all the more remarkably for the fact that she was the partner of one of the most powerful men in Greece at the time, Pericles. Natalie explores how writers and comedians used Aspasia’s reputation as a way of attacking the statesman – a practice which hasn’t changed much over 2,500 years. With classicist Sarah B. Pomeroy, Dr Ian Jenkins of the British Museum and Cate Haste, co-author with Cherie Booth of a book on the lot of the statesman’s spouse.

Producer: Christine Hall

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in April 2014.

Audio Described
Signed
58 minutes Available for 4 months First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

Afua Hirsch traces Ethiopia's 3,000-year history through its art and culture.

Documentary series. Afua Hirsch traces Ethiopia's proud 3,000-year history through its art and culture, exploring a civilisation as significant as any in the west.

In Ethiopia, Afua Hirsch traces a proud 3,000-year history as significant as any civilisation in the west. A beacon for the black diaspora, Ethiopia’s story is one of defiant independence, of kings and communists, of a country that has survived catastrophe but bounced back, underpinned by a culture inspired by an ancient faith and devotion.

At the heart of recent Ethiopian history is the complex reign of Emperor Haile Selassie. One of the most influential world figures of the 20th century, he was the midwife to African liberation and the generator of a global culture in Rastafarianism. Yet ultimately, Haile Selassie was a tragic figure.

With renowned artist Eshetu Tiruneh, Afua explores the impact of the 1974 famine that led to the emperor’s downfall, and she talks to photographer Aida Muluneh about her return from exile to the dynamic new Ethiopia of the 21st century responding to the dark days of the past.

Credits

Presenter
Afua Hirsch
Interviewed Guest
Aida Muluneh
Interviewed Guest
Eshetu Tiruneh
Interviewed Guest
Mekale Genet Adhana
Interviewed Guest
Hiwot Emishaw
Interviewed Guest
Mimi Genetu
Interviewed Guest
Wendwesen Kebede
Interviewed Guest
Abel Tesfaye
Producer
Alex Brisland
Director
Russell Barnes
45 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

He’s "mad, bad and dangerous to know". He is the scandalous Lord Byron.

Who was Lord Byron and why did he drive the girls (and many boys) so wild? Find out about this scandalous early celebrity.

Who was Lord Byron and why did he drive the girls (and many boys) so wild? Find out about this scandalous early celebrity who was described as, "mad, bad and dangerous to know". Greg Jenner is joined by comedian Ed Gamble and historian Dr Corin Throsby.

This episode was produced by Dan Morelle and scripted and researched by Emma Nagouse.

Audio Described
28 minutes Available for 13 days First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

Michael Portillo strikes out on another series of railway journeys, starting in Oxford.

Michael Portillo strikes out on another series of railway journeys, starting with a tour of the Home Counties and beyond in the city of dreaming spires, Oxford.

Michael Portillo strikes out on another series of railway journeys, this time through Britain between the world wars, armed with his 1930s Bradshaw’s guide.

He begins with a tour of the Home Counties and beyond, starting in the city of dreaming spires, Oxford, where in 1921 women were awarded degrees for the first time. At Somerville College, Michael finds out about a pioneering crystallographer, Dorothy Hodgkin, the only British woman to win a Nobel prize for chemistry.

Soaking up the glorious sights of the city, Michael is tempted by a fashion trend that reached its height during the interwar period: Oxford bags. At Walters & Co, founded in 1925, he finds just the ticket.

At Garsington Manor, on the outskirts of the city, Michael discovers the risqué activities of a social set centred on the house's owner, Lady Ottoline Morrell, and famous artists and writers of the Bloomsbury Group. Tales of bohemian behaviour, nude frolicking and revelry in the beautiful manorial gardens turned heads as Britain buckled down in the face of impending war with Germany.

Next stop is Culham, en route for Abingdon, where from 1929 the iconic British sports car, the MG, was built. Michael hears about the origins of one of the nation’s best-loved marques and joins the proud owner of a 1938 MG VA for a spin.

Credits

Presenter
Michael Portillo
Director
Tom Richardson
Series Editor
Alison Kreps
Executive Producer
John Comerford
Production Company
Fremantle
Audio Described
58 minutes Available for years First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

An HIV+ activist and a man shot in Belfast search for the strangers who gave them hope.

An activist diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s searches for the therapist who gave him hope for the future, and a man shot during the Troubles looks for the nurse who was his ‘angel'.

Marc is a public health worker who was diagnosed with HIV aged just 17 in the late 1980s, when the stigma surrounding the disease was at its peak and a diagnosis was considered a death sentence. Struggling to cope, Marc found support at the Landmark Centre in Brixton where he had regular counselling sessions with a volunteer called John, opening up about his fears and hopes for the future ahead. Nearly 30 years later, Marc is desperate to find and thank John for helping him through his darkest hour and encouraging him to live life to the fullest.

Peter was a young father of three children living in Belfast in 1979 when he was shot in his own home during a heightened period of violence in the Troubles. The attack was a tragic case of mistaken identity that left Peter fighting for his life and unable to walk again. He spent almost a year recovering at Musgrave Park Hospital, confined for hours at a time and strapped in a painful rotating bed with only his own thoughts for company. During this time, a rehabilitation nurse called Betsy would sit by Peter’s side, mop his brow and chat with him, making him feel valued at a time when he was at his lowest ebb. Today, Peter is searching for his ‘angel’ Betsy, whose kindness and care he has never forgotten.

Credits

Presenter
Anita Rani
Director
Toby Trackman
Producer
Georgia Braham
Executive Producer
Justine Kershaw
Actor
Blink Entertainment
3 minutes Available for 3 days First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

History short looking at the art of golf.

Audio Described
59 minutes Available for 12 months First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

Make-up artist Lisa Eldridge explores the peacocks of British history: the Georgians.

Lisa Eldridge explores the peacocks of British history: the Georgians. This was a period of extreme ostentation, but the glamour of the look stemmed from the turbulence of the age.

Professional make-up artist Lisa Eldridge explores the peacocks of British history: the Georgians. Wealthy Georgians used their look to show off just how rich they were - it took time, skill and money. The sheer glamour of the high Georgians was no accident; it is a style that owes its origins to the turbulent history of the age. The 18th century was a period of massive ostentation, matched by staggering inequality – ending in parts of Europe with bloodshed and revolution.

Lisa goes to Chatsworth House in Derbyshire in search of one of the beauty icons of the day, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and learns how she employed a full-time hairdresser who travelled everywhere with her and earned the equivalent of £100,000 a year plus expenses. She discovers how in this period of extreme wealth in Britain, the rich entered an arms race of beauty – competing to go more and more extreme to show they belonged. With the help of pharmacist Szu Shen Wong, Lisa recreates the era's famous toxic white face paint, which in some cases proved fatal. She enjoys the homespun recipes for rouge and eyebrow pencils, and marvels at the elaborate hair styles. Gathering all this together, she recreates an authentic Georgian look on a 21st-century model.

But a look can go too far. By the end of the 18th century, the excesses of this aristocratic look came to represent all that was wrong with the upper classes, and when Marie Antoinette lost her head at the guillotine, such an ostentatious look became not just unfashionable but downright dangerous. There wouldn’t be another look like it for over a century.

Credits

Presenter
Lisa Eldridge
Executive Producer
Kate Beetham
Series Producer
Lucy Swingler
Production Company
Plimsoll Productions
59 minutes Available for 4 days First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

How the jet engine gave hope to Britain as the country recovered from World War II.

How the invention of the jet engine gave hope to Britain as the country recovered from the Second World War, becoming a lucrative export and a powerful piece of military hardware.

Britain emerged from the Second World War in financial crisis, but one technological innovation provided hope for the future - a world-leading jet aviation industry. During the Cold War, the jet engine became a lucrative export and a powerful piece of military hardware, but selling to the wrong buyer could alter the balance of power.

Credits

Presenter
James Holland
Producer
Simon Winchcombe
Director
Simon Winchcombe
Series Producer
Jeremy Hall
Executive Producer
Eamon Hardy
59 minutes Available for 12 months First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

Ten pictures, from iconic shots to private snaps, reveal the life of Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad Ali is one of the most photographed men in history. But just a handful of iconic shots and private snaps reveal a new story: an extraordinary life through a unique lens.

Muhammad Ali is one of the most photographed men in history. But can just a handful of photos uncover new truths about someone we think we know? This film throws a unique lens onto an extraordinary life, focusing on ten defining pictures, from iconic shots to private snaps, with their secrets revealed by those who were there and those who knew Ali best.

Credits

Director
Colin Murray
Production Manager
Jenni Shaw
Series Producer
Chris Wilson
Executive Producer
Julia Harrington
BBC World Service
BBC World Service logo
18 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

The story of the people who built the plane that won a war

The Spitfire factory was a priority target for German bombers. If vital aircraft are going to continue to be built, then a plan is desperately needed.

The Spitfire factory was a priority target for German bombers. The workers endured raid after raid. If vital Spitfires are going to continue to be built, then a plan is desperately needed.

Presenter: Tuppence Middleton

Producers: Alasdair Cross and Emily Knight

Editors: Chris Ledgard and Kirsten Lass

BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 logo
23 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

Episode 3: Virgil gives tips on bee-keeping and creates Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Natalie Haynes takes a fresh look at the ancient world: Virgil’s link to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. With Edith Hall. From 2014.

A fresh look at the ancient world.

Natalie Haynes, critic, writer and reformed stand-up comedian, brings the ancient world entertainingly up to date. In each of the four programmes she profiles a figure from ancient Greece or Rome and creates a stand-up routine around them. She then goes in search of the links which make the ancient world still very relevant in the 21st century.

Natalie considers the work of the Roman poet Virgil, ranging from his hints on bee-keeping to his great work The Aeneid. Dido is the classic wronged woman and the Aeneid contains the best ding-dong between a man and a woman in all Latin literature, culminating in Dido’s memorable promise “If you go I’m going to kill myself and then I will pursue you from beyond death with black fires!” Natalie is joined by Pamela Helen Stephen who has sung Dido in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, bee-keeper Gordon Cutting and Dr Llewelyn Morgan to talk about the greatest poet in the Roman world.

Producer: Christine Hall.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in April 2014.

Search Help.

To find all currently available programmes, do a completely empty search.

To find something specific, add your search term and hit enter. Optionally, combine your query with a variety of filters to narrow your results. You can also search by using just the filters and an empty search box.

Using Search Filters.

Media Type filter:
Limit your search to either TV or radio using the radio buttons. Results will show both by default.
Genre Accessibility and Availability filters:
Add or exclude search terms using the add and exclude filter icons.

When you've chosen your filters, hit enter or use the 'Apply Filters' button.

Once a search is returned, add or exclude further terms from the results page and search again. Search results can be reordered by:

  • first or last brodcast dates,
  • availability ending soon,
  • relevance.

Find out more about BBC Programme Explorer