FRIDAY December 29
Brendel in Performance (12.05 BBC2). Alfred Brendel playing Schubert, Haydn and Mozart.
» Royal Institution Christmas Lectures (12.05 C4). Fourth of Kevin Warwick’s five lectures on robotics.
Mozart in Turkey (2.40 BBC2). Directed by Elijah Moshinsky, a version of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail , filmed in Isanbul’s Topkapi Palace and with documentary inserts about the background to the production.
The Message (4.30 R4). Do the media value curiosity more than academics? Richard Howells, communications lecturer at Leeds University, thinks so. Also involved in discussion are novelist Val McDermid, Gerald Hammond (Manchester University) and Paula Betteridge (Salford University).
Mysteries of Easter Island (6.00 History Channel). Those statues – see also the re-run of David Attenborough’s programme on the subject next Thursday .
Belief (7.00 R3). Joan Bakewell interviews physicist Paul Davies.
» Life Story (8.05 World Service, repeated Sat 2.05 am). Martin Redfern on new fossil finds of feathered dinosaurs in China. (Last in series.) Listen to » Life Story online.
Looking for Richard (11.20 BBC2). Al Pacino’s documentary on what to make of Richard III .
SATURDAY December 30
Theodore Roosevelt (8.55 am BBC2, also Sunday 8.10 am). Two-part documentary of US president.
Private Passions (12 noon R3). Robert Skidelsky, politic is academic (and Lord) chooses music.
Longitude (6.10 C4, also Sunday 7.00). Repeat of much praised version of Dava Sobel’s bestseller, first shown a year ago, with Michael Gambon as John Harrison.
Talking to Gotham (7.05 R3). Interval feature about George Plimpton.
The Secret Life of Japan: Snow in Japan (8.00 C4). Season on Japan begins with Jon Snow travelling from Osaka to Tokyo to ask about the current economic situation, talking to farmers, local politicians, the homeless and others … His interpreter, journalist Mayu Kamide, knows so much more than Snow that she could just as well have presented the programme herself. Also tonight: Teenage Japanese Killers (10.00 C4) and various late-night programmes featuring Japanese erotica etc.
» Castaway 2000 (10.00 BBC1). Live update from Taransay.
Great Exhibitions (4.10 am C4). Repeat of Jonathan Glancey’s excellent exhibition survey from last year, featuring 1851’s Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, the expositions in Paris (1889 and 1900) and those at Shepherd’s Bush (1908), Wembley (1924-5) and the South Bank (1951).
SUNDAY December 31
5 Live Report (12 noon R5). "No Room at the Infirmary". Can the NHS cope this winter?
Sounds American (12.15 R3). What makes (North) American music sound American?
Two Thousand Years (12.30 ITV). The fourth century AD.
Locations (1.30 BBC2). Sarah Miles returns to the Irish locations of Ryan's Daughter , which seems to have had a lasting impact on the area.
2001: Heaven and HAL (4.00 R4). Is HAL, the murderous but oddly lovable computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey , likely to become reality? Nick Baker investigates, with the help of Kevin Warwick and others. (NB: from Monday,10.45, R4’s Book at Bedtime is 2001: A Space Odyssey ).
» Bach Year (4.45 R3) In Leipzig and Dresden, Joshua Rifkin describes JSB’s final years.
» Sunday Feature : Art Isn’t Easy (5.45 R3). Stephen Sondheim (also in Desert Island Discs, 11.15 am R4) talks to Jeremy Sams about what’s important to him.
David Copperfield (6.45 and 8.30 BBC1). Re-run Dickens adaptation, from last Christmas.
» Sunday Play : Shakespeare's Fools (7.30 R3). Extracts from the plays, with the Nimmo Twins, Joss Ackland, Sylvester McCoy, Sylvestra Le Touzel et al ., in front of an audience at Wilton’s Music Hall, London.
» Castaway 2000 (10.35 BBC1). Possibly the final appearance of the Taransay videotapers?
MONDAY January 1
Composer of the Week (9.00 am, R3 and rest of week) is Vivaldi.
Start the Year (9.00 am R4). Recorded at the Royal Society of Arts, a balloon debate with geneticist Steve Jones, Shakespearean scholar Jonathan Bate, theatre director Jude Kelly and Ann Widdecombe nominating the hero/heroine they consider most suitable for 2001. (Never mind Start the Year – isn’t anyone celebrating the fact that this is the proper first day of the twenty-first century?)
Work in Progress (10.00 am R3 and rest of week). Daniel Libeskind, architect.
Endurance (12 noon C4). Leslie Woodhead and Bud Greenspan’s 1998 film about long-distance runner Haile Gebrsellasie.
Music Around the World (from 12.40 R3). Radio 3 does its duty to the music of the rest of the world, with live broadcasts from Australia, Japan, Java, Tibet, Georgia, Armenia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Portugal, Cuba, Brazil and the US, and a finale (after a performance of Bernstein’s On the Town (7.00) in London.
The Real Macbeth (4.55 C4). Historical investigation conducted by Tony Robinson. Followed by the RSC production of Shakespeare’s play (6.05 C4), starring Anthony Sher and Harriet Walter.
UK Confidential (5.20 BBC2). What the latest declassified information from the Public Records Office (about 1970) reveals. Brian Walden, Peter Snow and Edwina Currie look back at the last days of a Wilson government and the early day’s of Heath’s, with "exclusive" access to the once secret files.
Making Animal Babies (6.25 BBC1). On breeding animals in captivity.
Tourists of the Revolution (10.00 am BBC Knowledge, also 1.00, 4.00, 7.00). Repeats of Daniel Wolf’s excellent series from last winter begin with the Brits who thought fascism in Italy and Germany was a good thing in the 1920s and 1930s.
Victorian Week: The Victorian Roadshow (7.30 BBC2). The upcoming centenary of Queen Victoria’s death celebrated in a BBC2 season starting with a programme about Victorian inventions (featuring, of course, Adam Hart-Davis). This is followed by Victoria and the Jubilee (8.30 BBC2), which looks at the pomp and pageantry of 100 years ago (which apparently Victoria herself wasn’t too keen on). More programmes on Tuesday and Thursday.
Nick’s Quest: In Search of the Polar Bear (8.00 C5). Wildlife documentary from the western shores of Hudson Bay, and towards the north Pole.
Nature (9.00 R4) New series starts by examining the urban deer.
Destination Space (9.00 National Geographic). Astronauts, scientists and entrepreneurs on the possibilities of living extraterrestrially.
TUESDAY January 2
Adventures in Science (9.30 am R4). Ben Silburn on volcanoes.
Sweet Charities (3.45 R4 and for rest of week). Ray Gosling on some lesser known charities, beginning with the Bee Research Association. Others are the Northumbrian Language Society (Wed), the Bakers’ Benevolent Society (Thurs) and the Polite Society (Fri).
Belief (7.00 R3). Joan Bakewell series continues. Tonight, James Macmillan, composer.
The Secret Life of Japan: Virtual Japan (7.05 C4). Waldemar Januszczak looks at Japanese technological innovation.
Great Expectations (7.30 BBC2, also Wed 7.30). Tony Marchant’s adaptation, revived for BBC2’s Victorian week.
The Consultants (8.00 R4). The life and work of hospital consultants. First of two programmes.
Servants of Evil (8.00 UK Horizons). World War Two from a German perspective. First of a series begins with the fighting on the Russian front.
Driving Mum Crazy (8.30 C5). Last in series that seems to be an extended commercial for the beneficial effects of Ritalin.
Islam: Revolution and Reform (8.30 World Service, repeated Wed 2.30 am). Four-part series by Jane Little begins in Iran, where the winds of reform are detected.
The 1940s House (8.30 C4, also Thurs 9.00). A new series, a new "living experiment" – in this one, a Yorkshire family experience domestic life as it was lived in wartime Britain.
Case Notes (9.00 R4). How to give up smoking.
Sword of Honour (9.00 C4, also Wednesday 9.00). New dramatisation of Evelyn Waugh’s trilogy (his best work?), adapted by William Boyd.
Fred Dibnah’s Victorian Heroes (9.05 BBC2). They are three engineers: Robert Stephenson, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and William Armstrong.
The Mayfair Set (9.50 am BBC Knowledge, also 12.50, 3.50, 6.50). Re-runs of Adam Curtis’s award-winning series from 1999, interpreting recent history via four key members of the Clermont Club, Mayfair. First up is mercenary leader (and SAS founder) David Stirling and his influence on British foreign policy.
WEDNESDAY January 3
Stealing the Glory: The Conquest of the North Pole (11.00 am R4). About the Black explorer Matthew Henson.
Call My Bluff (12.30 BBC2). What’s Susan Greenfield doing here?
Animal Sanctuary (7.30 BBC1). Conservationists on Mauritius, with John Craven.
The Countryside Debates (8.00 R4). First of three programmes on the decline of the countryside comes from the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester.
History of Britain (8.00 UK Horizons). Repeats of Simon Schama’s series begin here. (The second part of the history, going beyond Elizabeth I, is not likely before March at the earliest, I’m told.)
Raising the Dead (8.00 C5, also Thurs same time). Persistent vegetative states (PVS), and some of the people who have recovered from it.
Victorian Week: Scandalous Women (9.00 BBC2). The stories of (among others) Lady Harriett Mordaunt, one of the Prince of Wales’s lovers, prostitution campaigner Josephine Butler, and Caroline Norton, who fought for property rights for divorcing women.
Reel Victorians (9.50 BBC2, also Thurs and Fri). First-hand accounts of Victorian life.
Signs of Life (9.00 R4). First in new series of docudramas is about Alzheimer’s Disease and features expert Richard Harvey and carers.
Sound of the City (9.00 R2). Charlie Gillett begins a series on the musical styles of different cities, beginning with New Orleans.
Clive Anderson’s Conspiracies (12 midnight BBC Choice). New series exploring great conspiracy theories of the twentieth century.
Superhuman (1.45 am BBC1). Three more episodes from Robert Winston’s series.
THURSDAY January 4
The X File (11.30 am R4). Alex Cox on film censorship’s history and the first "X certificates" in 1951.
Belief (7.00 R3). Joan Bakewell interviews John Bowker, theology professor.
Gold Domes, Black Earth (8.00 R4). Series about Russia (first broadcast on the World Service)
Lost Gods of Easter Island (8.00 BBC2). David Attenborough documentary repeat (first shown last April) in which he attempted to trace the provenance of an Easter Island carving he bought at a New York auction. This involves visits to museums in London, St Petersburg and Australia as well as Easter Island itself. A useful guide to the facts rather than the myths of the mysterious Pacific island.
Analysis (8.30 R4). "Tales of the Unexpected". Andrew Dilnot on economic forecasting.
Costing the Earth (9.00 R4). Is enough done to protect us from contaminated food imports?
Music Masters: Peter Maxwell Davies (9.00 BBC Knowledge). Composer profiled.
Victorian week: The Victorian Way of Death (9.00 BBC2). Dan Cruickshank on the circumstances and rituals surrounding death in "Victorian England" – does that mean things were different in Scotland and Wales?
Storyville: Black and White and in Colour (11.20 BBC2). Absorbing portrait of Prague-based Romany singer Vera Bila and her fellow musicians, made by Czech filmmaker Mira Erdevicki-Charap.