BBC Two's blog

9:00pm Friday 21 December on BBC TWO

At Westminster Abbey, the great church at the heart of national life, it’s the autumn term and the cycle of life continues. Six eight-year-old trainee choristers join the Choir School and talk about what it’s like to be thrust into life at an iconic institution.

We follow the Abbey staff as they prepare for the first big service of the new term: Battle of Britain Day. We hear how they provide security for the many dignitaries who attend. The last remaining veterans of the Battle of Britain describe what the Abbey means to them and give their moving reaction to the service.

Meanwhile, the Abbey prepares to celebrate one of the busiest times in the Christian calendar, Christmas. We see the arrival of the Abbey’s Christmas trees and the annual Carol Concert attended by hundreds of members of the public keen to hear the choir sing some of the nation’s favourite carols.

Finally, the Abbey looks to the future both materially and spiritually. The Surveyor of the Fabric, architect, Ptolemy Dean, works out how to display the recently restored 700-year-old Coronation Chair on which Kings and Queens are crowned. The Dean and his clerical colleagues talk about the vision for the Abbey in the 21st century.

10:00pm Wednesday 19 December on BBC TWO

Comedian Rhod Gilbert’s final outing of this series sees him pounding the beat as he takes on duties as a policeman.

The training alone is terrifying for Rhod, as he squares up to a police dog trained to bring down a criminal with its mouth, rides an unruly police horse and learns to rely on his riot shield for protection.

As he prepares for a big day policing the Wales v Italy Six Nations clash in Cardiff, Rhod tries out his police manner in a close encounter with those breaching traffic laws.

He feels the training has tweaked his criminal antenna enough to catch people in the act. But can he retain his police officer credibility when all around him are asking for autographs?

Ep 4/4

9:00pm Tuesday 18 December on BBC TWO

Ruth Goodman and Peter Ginn are returning to Manor Farm in Hampshire to recreate the conditions of Christmas 1944, the sixth of the war.

Britain’s cities were in the grip of the worst German attacks since the Blitz of 1940, as unmanned flying bombs rained down, stretching morale to breaking point.

In addition to maintaining food production, it fell to Britain’s farmers to come to the aid of the nation’s urban dispossessed.

Ruth discovers how the one million-strong Women’s Voluntary Service lifted the nation’s spirits – from running the government’s National Pie Scheme to making festive decorations from scraps.

Peter and Ruth take a wartime steam train and see how the overloaded railway postal system saved space by miniaturising thousands of Airgrams onto film to help those serving abroad keep in touch with home.

Finally they arrive at one of London’s biggest air raid shelters, Chislehurst Caves, just 10 miles from the city centre. They discover what life was like for some of the 15,000 people who sheltered there on Christmas Day 1944.

Wartime Farm Christmas is produced by Lion Television for the BBC in partnership with The Open University.

8:00pm Friday 7 December on BBC TWO

This landmark three-part series for BBC Two takes a behind-the-scenes look at one of Britain’s most historic institutions, Westminster Abbey.

Each episode explores the inner workings of this unique institution, following the rhythm of the liturgical calendar.

Featuring interviews with members of the 250 staff who oversee the Abbey’s spiritual mission, to ensure the upkeep of a World Heritage site and coordinate 1,500 services a year. These services range from regular daily worship to high-profile events like the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, revealing the Abbey’s iconic role at the heart of national life.

The first programme features the Dean of the Abbey, The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, who describes its thousand-year history, its intimate relationship with the monarchy, and its status as a Royal Peculiar – and offers an insight into its spiritual life.

The programme follows architect Ptolemy Dean as he is installed as the latest Surveyor of the Fabric, treading in the footsteps of Sir Christopher Wren. Ptolemy describes the daunting task facing him looking after this precious national monument.

We meet some of well-known faces that attend the Abbey’s services, including Rufus Wainwright and Hugh Masekela, and hear the Abbey’s world-famous choir singing at Downing Street in front of the Prime Minister, David Cameron.

We gain an insight into the often unusual daily life of the 30 boy choristers who attend the Abbey’s choir school, as they rehearse and perform in moving musical events.

10:00pm Thursday 6 December on BBC TWO

Comedian Rhod Gilbert ignores the advice of never to work with children and animals in order to learn the ropes as a zoo keeper in his next instalment of Rhod Gilbert’s Work Experience.

He travels to the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay to find that talking to the animals isn’t the problem – it’s getting them to talk back that was Doctor Dolittle’s forte.

Armed with a foolproof escape plan if he encounters the most dangerous creatures, and the technology of a whistle to raise any alarm, Rhod sets about his duties.

In between the mucking out, feeding a tiger and setting a food treasure hunt for bears, he’s roped into staging some shows with sea lion Cousteau, 11 lookalike chimps and a posse of penguins. But can Rhod pep-talk the penguins into heeding the showbiz mantra that the show must go on?

Ep 2/4

9:00pm Wednesday 5 December on BBC TWO

Bel and Freddie argue fervently to expose Cilenti’s vice network and the police collusion over the anti-nuclear policy story planned for tomorrow’s show.

Randall sees the scoop’s potential, but challenges them to find sources to prove their story’s ready. Heeding this, Bel arranges a meeting with showgirl Rosa Maria who puts herself in mortal danger by revealing the way Cilenti exerts a hold over London’s most influential men.

Bel’s relationship with Bill deepens, much to the chagrin of Freddie, whose home life with Camille suffers as a result of his dedication to the story. Meanwhile, Hector’s marriage is given new hope by a surprising moment of honesty and Randall and Lix’s bond reignites over new information regarding their long-lost secret…

Bel Rowley is played by Romola Garai, Freddie Lyon by Ben Whishaw, Hector Madden by Dominic West, Cilenti by Vincent Riotta, Randall Brown by Peter Capaldi, Rosa Maria by Hannah John-Kamen, Bill Kendall by Tom Burke, Camille by Lizzie Brocher�, and Lix Storm by Anna Chancellor.

Ep 4/6

9:00pm Tuesday 4 December on BBC TWO

In the fifth episode of this new six-part science series, Dara O Briain and his crack team of experts take a weird and wonderful look at the brain.

Dara traces the brain’s journey from a useless organ once ditched by Egyptian embalmers to the centre of everything that makes us human. Science journalist Alok Jha asks whether smart drugs really make you brainier, oceanographer Helen Czerski explores cutting-edge therapies allowing the brain to control limbs remotely, and materials scientist Mark Miodownik takes apart a smartphone.

Combining lively and in-depth studio discussion, with exploratory films and on-the-spot reports, Dara O Briain’s Science Club takes a single subject each week and examines it from lots of different and unexpected angles – from sex to extinction, Einstein to space exploration and brain chemistry to music. It brings some of the world’s foremost thinkers together to share their ideas on everything, from how to avoid asteroid impact to whether or not we are still evolving.

Ep 5/6

8:00pm Sunday 2 December on BBC TWO

BBC Foreign correspondent Fergal Keane revisits the acclaimed documentary series Forgotten Britain, in which he took a journey to see how some of Britain’s most hard-pressed communities were coping at the turn of the millennium.

Now, with Britain battling to get out of recession, Fergal is retracing his steps to find out what happened to the inspiring families and individuals he met then and how they are managing today.

In episode two, Fergal returns to the cities of Glasgow and Leeds.

In Govan, Fergal is reunited with welder John Brown who, with his workmates, fought to save the shipyard from closure 12 years ago. With the yard’s future again in doubt, Fergal finds John determined to battle adversity once more.

Fergal also goes back to the Lincoln Green housing estate in Leeds, where he discovers that Liz Craig, a champion of the estate has died, but catches up with her family. While the area has benefited from extensive regeneration, have the fortunes of her grandson Shane, a 22-year-old father of four, changed with it?

Ep 2/2

1:30pm Sunday 2 December on BBC TWO

Last year, Judd Trump won a thrilling UK Championship final against Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen.

Since then, he’s moved up the rankings and has established himself at the top of the game. This afternoon, the number one seed starts the defence of his title against one of the qualifiers. Hazel Irvine introduces live coverage from the Barbican Centre in York.

Hazel Irvine then introduces highlights 00.00-00:50 BBC Two and Snooker Extra 00.50-02.50 BBC Two.

Coverage then continues daily though the week.

An IMG Media Scotland production for BBC Sport

10:00pm Friday 30 November on BBC TWO

Comedian Rhod Gilbert returns to tackle some of the toughest jobs around in series three of Rhod Gilbert’s Work Experience.

Rhod breaches the school dress code when he turns up for his first day as a teacher at Monnow Primary School in Bettws, Newport, to find himself in a whole new world, an “educational Milton Keynes!”, where maths lessons are held in a forest, and learning literacy involves addressing sounds to the tables and the windows.

Despite struggling with this concept at first, Rhod is soon overwhelmed by the inspirational attitude of the teachers, and describing the school as “one hell of a place”. But will he ever completely come to terms with living on Planet Thunk?

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