9:30pm Monday 14 January on BBC TWO

As part of BBC Two’s Genius of Invention season, historian Professor Jeremy Black examines one of the most extraordinary and revolutionary periods in British history, explaining the unique economic, social and political conditions that led to Britain becoming the richest, most powerful nation on earth in the 19th century.

It was a time that transformed the way people think, work and play forever.

Tracing the unprecedented explosion of new ideas and technological inventions that transformed Britain’s agricultural society into an increasingly industrial and urbanised one, Why The Industrial Revolution Happened Here explores two fascinating questions – why the industrial revolution happened when it did, and why it happened in Britain.

In this hour long programme, Professor Black discusses the reasons behind this transformation – from Britain’s coal reserves which gave a seemingly inexhaustible source of power to the ascendency of political liberalism, with engineers and industrialists able to meet and share ideas and inventions. He explains the impact that geniuses like Josiah Wedgwood had on the consumer revolution and travels to Antigua to examine the impact Britain’s empire had on the story.

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.

Thursday, 13 December 2012, 9:00PM – 10:00PM

Made by Wild Pictures, who produced the high-rating and highly acclaimed ITV1 documentaries Strangeways, Wormwood Scrubs and Holloway, Pensioners Behind Bars shows how rather than enjoying a peaceful retirement, this fast-expanding group is committing more crime and being given longer sentences.

This colourful film includes the stories of men and women who have turned to crime only in later years after a lifetime as law-abiding citizens. It features a septuagenarian heroin dealer, a former driving instructor turned brothel keeper and a retired builder convicted of possession of blackmarket cigarettes and cannabis. They explain what drew them into crime, what it’s like to be locked up for the first time at their age, and how they are dealing with the consequences.

It also shows how career criminals such as former Krays associate Freddie Foreman are coping in retirement and asks if they still retain the urge to commit crime.

The number of over-60s in prison has trebled in the last 20 years and the programme begins with Anthony McErlean, 67, serving a five-year sentence at HMP Elmley for an audacious fraud. After faking his own death while abroad, in order to swindle his insurance company out of £500,000, he realised the potential pitfalls of spending his old age overseas.

“I thought if I get sick I can’t go back to the UK as a dead person and get healthcare. I’m up s*** creek without a paddle. I thought how do you un-kill yourself?”

Anthony was caught when police found his fingerprints on his own death certificate. He pleaded guilty to fraud and theft.

He says: “I regret being in here, but I don’t feel that I shouldn’t be in here. I knew what I was doing and I knew the risks.”

But the programme features others who were shocked at being sent to prison.

Grandmother Adele Lubin, 66, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for conspiracy to control prostitution at the age of 62 and began her term in Holloway. She started a legitimate massage therapy business but discovered that it was difficult to make money without offering extra services – and as her business expanded she became a brothel madam.

“The phone used to ring and they would say, ‘What kind of massage is it?’ And I would say, ‘Well it’s very therapeutic, and relaxing and sensual.’ And then some people would say, ‘Well do you do a happy ending?’ And I’d have to say, ‘Yeah, no problem.’

“I never thought if I ever got caught I’d end up in jail… I just didn’t think I was doing anything too terrible.”

Her elder brother Spencer Rolfe, who was also involved, was arrested in a café and given the same sentence. He recalls the moment a police officer caught him.

“He says to me, ‘Now do I need to put the handcuffs on you, or are you going to do a runner?’ I said, ‘I can’t even walk, let alone run.’”

HMP Norwich is one of the few prisons in the country with a specialist wing set up to deal with the increasing numbers of pensioners being given custodial sentences. Footage filmed inside the wing offers an insight into prison life for older inmates and Governor Will Styles explains the changing nature of its population and his work.

“As the prisoner population ages, our job slowly shifts away from how do we deal with rowdy 19-year-olds, to issues like how do we care for people with dementia, healthcare and mobility issues. It’s more about social care and less about order and control.”

Father of five Trevor Cairns, 62, a retired builder, is in prison for the first time in his life, serving a year for possessing thousands of pounds’ worth of cannabis and black market cigarettes. He explains the impact of getting a custodial sentence.

“It was a shock to the system. To be told what to do and locked up and you just can’t go out for a walk around – it was horrendous.”

“I like a little drink now and again and I like to be able to just get in my car and go out for a ride they’re the sort of things I miss now and being with my family and having a laugh and a joke at home. It’s definitely a sentence being here. I think I’ve learned my lesson now.”

Pensioner John Douglas, 77, has served no less than three jail terms after turning to crime in his twilight years. After marrying his home help Rose, he discovered she had a heroin habit. Aiming to wean her off the drug, the former church-goer became her supplier but developed into a drug dealer in his local town of Banff, Scotland. He enjoyed the buzz of dealing and became so successful that he put other local dealers out of business. Yet despite believing he could outsmart the police, he was caught and spent nine months in prison. He now regrets his actions and has resolved never to repeat them.

“People my age don’t do the things I want to do, they want to play bowls and stuff like that.

“I thought I was the smartest of the smart and I still got caught.”

Grandfather John Maurice, 71, was released from prison on licence after serving two years of a four-year sentence. After a lifetime working in his family jewellery business and as an international estate agent, the outwardly respectable semi-retired businessman was working as a professional courier. He was paid to smuggle ‘dirty’ money abroad, where it would surface as ‘clean’ cash. Eventually he was caught and jailed for three counts of money laundering. He reveals the adrenaline rush he felt committing his crimes, his shock at being arrested and explains the significance of a jail sentence at his age.

“The older you get the larger the percentage of the life that you’ve got left is spent, so to me at my age a two-year sentence is probably the same as a five- or six-year sentence.”

Freddie Foreman, a notorious bank robber and gangster in the 1960s last released from prison 17 years ago, says he has been straight ever since. He is seen celebrating his 80th birthday in the film.

“Of course I’m retired. I’m entitled to be retired aren’t I? I can’t even run for the bus anymore, let alone anything else.”

Actress Barbara Windsor, a friend of Freddie’s from her previous marriage to bank robber Ronnie Knight, reflects on criminals who have passed their prime.

“Working class, naughty, naughty men, who aren’t naughty no more, they can’t be. Too old, they are.”

Yet prison remains an occupational hazard if the hunger for a big score is still there, says ageing career criminal Gerry Dennis. Between them, he and brother Roy have served a total of seven prison sentences for offences including burglary, handling stolen goods and grievous bodily harm.

Gerry says: “It [prison] don’t hold no terror for me. That’s a fact. I don’t think it would for him either.”

Yet Roy says: “I would cry into my pillow every night. And I mean it.”

10:00pm Wednesday, December 19 on C4

Indian twins Sohna and Mohna have only one body but two separate heads. They are known as dicephalic parapagus conjoined twins, a rare condition which is thought to affect only one in a million. This remarkable film poses the question: How do you live a fulfilled life when you are two conscious beings in one body? And in Brazil, the programme also profiles Jesus and Emanoel who are fighting for survival, with one twin putting pressure on their shared heart and lungs.

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.

9:00pm Friday 30 November on BBC TWO

In Our Fragile Planet, the third and final episode, David tells the often surprising and deeply personal story of the changes in the environment, the pioneering conservationists whose footsteps he followed, and of the revolution in attitudes towards nature.

David reveals what inspired him to become a conservationist, as well as confessing about the wildlife he has eaten. Early programmes reveal a very different attitude to conservation. In Zooquest he travelled the globe collecting wild animals for London Zoo.

On a tropical beach in Malaysia, David recalls how, in the 50s, after weeks of monotonous travel rations, he dug up turtle eggs to eat. Now he has returned to release newly hatched turtles in to the wild.

Finally he asks whether our changing attitudes and our greater knowledge of the world will be enough to save it for future generations.

During David Attenborough’s filmmaking career spanning 60 years, there have been unparalleled changes in the natural world. He takes a very personal journey in the last of the series through the six decades and the developments he has witnessed.

Ep 3/3

8:00pm Sunday, December 2 on C4

Millions of people around the world, including eminent scientists, now believe in the possibility of extra-terrestrial life. This programme examines four of the most bizarre ‘alien sightings’ from recent years to discover whether these really are visitors from other worlds, including the mysterious ‘baby alien’ in the Mexican town of Metepec, the ‘Montauk Monsters’ found on the south coast of Long Island; the Cusco Mummy found in the Peruvian Andes; and the Panamanian ‘Blue Hill Monster’.

10:00pm Thursday, November 29 on C4

The astounding story of Tanya Kach made international headlines when she revealed she had been living in captivity for ten years, just a stone’s throw from her home. True Stories gains key insight into how a 14-year-old girl vanished without trace, only to resurface a decade later, still living within the same community. Her school security guard, Thomas Hose, a man 24 years her senior, had kept Tanya as his sex slave, occasionally letting her out of the house into town after four years, yet no one in their small community recognised her as the missing girl. Now, with exclusive access, Tanya Kach recounts her 10-year hell and, for the first time, the many sides to this disturbing and tragic story are told.

9:00pm Monday 19 November on BBC THREE

Part of BBC Three’s Body Beautiful season, I Want To Change My Body is a bold, original and ambitious documentary which sees young body-obsessed Brits turn the camera on themselves.

Diving beneath the surface of Britain’s body confidence crisis, I Want To Change My Body follows up to 16 young people aged 16 to 25 who are unhappy with their appearance, as they go on a personal quest to transform their bodies with the hope that the changes will make them happier.

With each of the young people using a handheld camera, the diverse characters from across Britain will personally film their own extraordinary journeys over six months. From extreme weight-loss surgery to hair transplant surgery, they will take us with them on the roller-coaster ride of anxiety, emotion, excitement and pressure they experience on their quest for perfection. This is the real story of body-obsessed Britain, told through their eyes.

9:00pm Monday 19 November on BBC TWO

In the second episode of this three-part series, Laurence Rees looks at the peak of Adolf Hitler’s popularity in Germany throughout the 1930s and his decision to invade France in 1940.

In Nuremburg, hundreds of thousands of people gathered to pay homage to Hitler, filling the streets in celebration of their leader. Yet Hitler had not hypnotised the German people into following him, they supported him willingly and believed what he said. Not least because he had convinced them they were a superior race who would accomplish great things. During this time, Hitler faced the greatest test yet to his charismatic leadership – he wanted to take Germany into a war of racial conquest to gain a vast new empire. But since many of his followers did not want war, Hitler had to persuade his people to maintain their faith in him and embrace conflict.

The series is written and produced by Laurence Rees, who won a Bafta for his 1997 series Nazis: A Warning From History and a Grierson award for his 2005 series Auschwitz: The Nazis And The ‘Final Solution’. The series historical consultant is Professor Sir Ian Kershaw, the world’s leading academic expert on Adolf Hitler.

With the help of testimony from those who lived through these times, film archive – including rarely seen colour home movies – and specially shot documentary footage, The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler reveals how Hitler managed to turn from a peculiar nobody in 1913 into the Chancellor and Fuehrer of the German people.

Ep 2/3

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1