Archive On 4

A look back at programmes and recordings from the BBC archives.

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
2006123020150725 (BBC7)
20150726 (BBC7)

Adam Fowler tracks down the survivors of the 1957 Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

The Poles and the Planet

It is a story of courage, sacrifice, rivalries and friendships, but 50 years after the first triumphant crossing of Antarctica, the story of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition is nearly forgotten.

Set against the scientific frenzy of the International Geophysical Year of 1957 which saw the launch of the space age, Adam Fowler tracks down the survivors of the last great journey on Earth and asks what legacy they have left.

20101113

Archive on Four marks the 70th anniversary of a broadcasting phenomenon - the story of how Yorkshire man J.B.

Priestley became the voice of the nation during the darkest days of the Second World War.

Using original broadcasts, information stored in BBC files and interviews with his son Tom Priestley and step son Nicolas Hawkes, Archive on Four revisits these extraordinary broadcasts and asks why, in spite of their astonishing popularity, Priestley was taken off air.

Presented by Martin Wainwright.

Producers: Catherine Plane and Phil Pegum.

Archive on Four explores the hugely popular World War Two radio broadcasts of JB Priestley

Archive on Four marks the 70th anniversary of a broadcasting phenomenon - the story of how Yorkshire man J.B. Priestley became the voice of the nation during the darkest days of the Second World War.

2011061820110620

Although many Radio 4 listeners grew up tuning in to light orchestral music, it's now largely been forgotten.

Most of us will be still be familiar with at least one very famous piece of light music: 'By The Sleepy Lagoon' - better known as the theme tune to 'Desert Island Discs' and composed by Eric Coates.

When BBC Radio was much slimmer than it is today - made up of just the Home Service, the Light Programme and the Third Programme - listeners tuned in to hear a live concert for the Festival of Light Music.

it began in 1953 and was broadcast every June.

With the disappearance of the Light Programme in 1967 when it split into Radios 1 and 2, light music began to disappear from the airwaves.

Eventually its only home was a single slot 'Friday Night is Music Night'.

So why did such a popular style of music fade away?

The music journalist and broadcaster Paul Morley uses BBC archive to explore light music at its peak, including interviews with some of the major composers of British light music - Eric Coates, Ronald Binge and Ernest Tomlinson.

He traces its decline, and looks at its possible resurgence in 2011, with events like the 'Light Fantastic Festival'.

Paul travels to Preston to meet Ernest Tomlinson and takes a tour around the Light Music Society's remarkable archive of thousands of pieces of light music - all rescued by Tomlinson and his daughter Hilary after the BBC and music publishers threw it away.

Paul also meets Christopher Austin at the Royal Academy of Music and the young conductor John Wilson, who is passionate about light music: for him, this music is not about nostalgia but beautifully written miniatures of orchestral music.

Paul Morley explores the rise and mysterious fall of light orchestral music.

Although many Radio 4 listeners grew up tuning in to light orchestral music, it's now largely been forgotten. Most of us will be still be familiar with at least one very famous piece of light music: 'By The Sleepy Lagoon' - better known as the theme tune to 'Desert Island Discs' and composed by Eric Coates.

When BBC Radio was much slimmer than it is today - made up of just the Home Service, the Light Programme and the Third Programme - listeners tuned in to hear a live concert for the Festival of Light Music. it began in 1953 and was broadcast every June.

With the disappearance of the Light Programme in 1967 when it split into Radios 1 and 2, light music began to disappear from the airwaves. Eventually its only home was a single slot 'Friday Night is Music Night'. So why did such a popular style of music fade away?

The music journalist and broadcaster Paul Morley uses BBC archive to explore light music at its peak, including interviews with some of the major composers of British light music - Eric Coates, Ronald Binge and Ernest Tomlinson. He traces its decline, and looks at its possible resurgence in 2011, with events like the 'Light Fantastic Festival'.

20130907

Stephen Evans, the BBC's Berlin correspondent, tells the story of Wynford Vaughan-Thomas's report recorded aboard a Lancaster Bomber during a raid on Berlin.

In 1943 the RAF contacted the BBC with a dramatic offer: they were willing to send a two-man radio crew on a bombing raid over Berlin. The BBC chose Wynford Vaughan-Thomas for the mission. He accepted, knowing he might never return.

So on the night of 3rd September 1943, Vaughan-Thomas recorded for the BBC live from a Lancaster Bomber during a bombing raid over Berlin.

Wynford Vaughan-Thomas's experiences as a wartime reporter were remarkable; he was at Belsen and at the Normandy landings, reporting as it happened. The recording over Berlin shows his remarkable courage, literally under fire, and his description of the bombing and the views from the plane are rich indeed.

Vaughan-Thomas went on to become one of post-war Britain's most prominent media-intellectuals, a regular commentator and journalist, but those hours aboard the plane clearly remained a defining time in his life. Forty years later, interviewed by Parkinson, he called it "the most terrifying eight hours of my life. Berlin burning was like watching somebody throwing jewellery on black velvet - winking rubies, sparkling diamonds all coming up at you."

Stephen Evans puts Wynford Vaughan-Thomas's recordings in context. He looks at the experience on the ground in Berlin that night, reflects on the place of the broadcast in journalistic history, and dips into a lifetime of reflections from Vaughan-Thomas on a night which changed his life for ever.

20130914

Stephen Evans, the BBC's Berlin correspondent, tells the story of Wynford Vaughan-Thomas's report recorded aboard a Lancaster Bomber during a raid on Berlin.

In 1943 the RAF contacted the BBC with a dramatic offer: they were willing to send a two-man radio crew on a bombing raid over Berlin. The BBC chose Wynford Vaughan-Thomas for the mission. He accepted, knowing he might never return.

So on the night of 3rd September 1943, Vaughan-Thomas recorded for the BBC live from a Lancaster Bomber during a bombing raid over Berlin.

Wynford Vaughan-Thomas's experiences as a wartime reporter were remarkable; he was at Belsen and at the Normandy landings, reporting as it happened. The recording over Berlin shows his remarkable courage, literally under fire, and his description of the bombing and the views from the plane are rich indeed.

Vaughan-Thomas went on to become one of post-war Britain's most prominent media-intellectuals, a regular commentator and journalist, but those hours aboard the plane clearly remained a defining time in his life. Forty years later, interviewed by Parkinson, he called it "the most terrifying eight hours of my life. Berlin burning was like watching somebody throwing jewellery on black velvet - winking rubies, sparkling diamonds all coming up at you."

Stephen Evans puts Wynford Vaughan-Thomas's recordings in context. He looks at the experience on the ground in Berlin that night, reflects on the place of the broadcast in journalistic history, and dips into a lifetime of reflections from Vaughan-Thomas on a night which changed his life for ever.

Featuring Karin Finell, Max Hastings, Roger Moorhouse, Harold Panton, Jean Seaton, Dietmar Seuss and David Vaughan-Thomas.

Producer: Martin Williams.