What to Watch
What to Watch - China
Blowing Up History: Secrets of the Forbidden City
Discovery History, 8pm, Mon 4 Feb 2019, Series 3 – Episode 11
Archaeologists examine what lies beneath China’s Forbidden City, and explore the dark secrets that have been buried for nearly 600 years.
Impossible Engineering: Qinghai – Tibet Railway
Yesterday, 8pm, Tues 5 Feb 2019, Series 4 – Episode 10 & 10:05pm, Sun 10 Feb 2019
A look at the Qinghai-Tibet line, the highest railway in the world, providing an insight into the engineering challenges faced at high altitude and in bitterly cold temperatures.
China: One Million Artists
Sky Arts, 9pm, Tues 5 Feb 2019 & 12am Fri 8 Feb 2019
Documentary charting the rise of Chinese art following the death of Mao, and how some artists embraced Western styles while other critiqued it by hijacking communist propaganda.
Blowing Up History: Great Wall of China
Quest, 10pm, Fri 8 Feb 2019, Series 1 – Episode 6 & 12am, Sun 10 Feb 2019
The documentary turns attention to the Great Wall of China, exploring the secrets of a great empire via the biggest man-made structure on Earth.
Secret of China’s Forbidden City
More4, 8pm, Sat 9 Feb 2019
Documentary exploring the Beijing palace that housed Chinese emperors for 600 years. The programme reveals the current conservation work being carried out and uncovers new details about past rulers, including trade with Europe and how a marble staircase was transported along an ice road. A scale model is used to demonstrate how the structure was built to withstand earthquakes.
The Great Wall of China: The Hidden Story – Secret History
More4, 9pm, Sat 9 Feb 2019
With access to the first nationwide survey and state-of-the-art drones mapping the Great Wall of China, this documentary offers new evidence that reveals its extraordinary magnitude, rewrites its millennia-long history and decodes its complex signals system. Using cutting-edge chemistry, the programme also finds out what has kept the wall standing for so long – a simple cooking ingredient found in kitchens across the world.
China: Treasures of the Jade Empire
More4, 10pm, Sat 9 Feb 2019
A look at the relics found in the tombs of China’s Han Dynasty. The era is generally considered the golden age of ancient China, rivalling the Roman empire for international power, and has been a defining influence on the country’s cultural identity ever since. The programme examines how the emperors arranged to have their dead bodies mummified in the search for immortality and looks at a newly discovered version of the famous terracotta army.
What to watch and Listen to - Japan
Shine Like Tokyo: Northern Soul Goes East
BBC Radio 4 Extra, 8:30pm, Mon 4 Feb 2019
Annie Nightingale sets out to discover why Northern Soul, a musical movement that emerged from the British mod scene in Manchester, Blackpool and Wigan in the 1970s, has found a new home in parts of metropolitan Japan. Annie explores the sub-genre’s origins at Wigan Casino, where DJ Russ Winstanley’s all-night raves raised the club’s profile enough for it to rival New York’s Studio 54, and whether there are any other parallels between the north of England in the 1970s and the Japan of 2013.
Monty Don’s Japanese Gardens
BBC Two, 9pm, Fri 15 Feb 2019, Series1 – Episode 1
The first of two programmes in which Monty travels to Japan in spring to explore different aspects of the nation’s gardens. Amidst the cherry blossoms, he begins his journey by visiting the earliest surviving boating garden of the Heian period. He also looks at the rolling green moss of a Buddhist garden and learns the secrets of creating a Zen landscape before visiting an unconventional garden created by a modern design legend. The presenter also learns about the art of Japanese stonemasonry, the famous tea ceremonies and receives a lesson in the delicate art of traditional flower arranging.