Thursday 19 Dec 2013
In April 2011, cities across the UK will play host to huge, colourful and joyous parades celebrating the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi. BBC One explores the significance of this festival, the most important day of the year for the Sikh community, and discovers how its sacred teachings lay down the blueprint for Sikhs' distinctive and unique visual identity.
The Story Of Vaisakhi features a visual retelling of the Vaisakhi story and an examination of the rituals through which the festival is celebrated today. The film also explores how Vaisakhi's themes – tolerance, equality, humility, dignity and an active concern for others – impact the daily lives of Sikhs and the challenges that come with interpreting its moral codes and values in modern-day Britain.
With contributions from a number of eminent Sikh historians and religious experts, including Dr Rema Kaur, Ramandeep Singh Sohal and Guru Kaur, this film provides an entertaining, informative and highly accessible introduction to the Sikh religion's annual festival.
Retailers are always on the lookout for the next big thing and, in this new series, the buying teams of high street giants Boots, Habitat and Liberty are prepared to take an enormous gamble by asking members of the public to supply them with their next best-selling products. By staging three unique open days, Britain's Next Big Thing offers unknown designers and producers the chance of a lifetime: to pitch directly to the retail industry's power brokers in an attempt to get their products stocked in these prestigious stores.
Over six months, retail entrepreneur and "Dragon" Theo Paphitis follows both buyers and suppliers as they experience the highs and lows of bringing a product to market, from initial pitch to shop shelf. Many won't make the grade but, for a lucky few, it will be a life-changing experience.
Theo explains: "The open days held by Liberty, Boots and Habitat are a fantastic opportunity for the untried, hopeful suppliers to meet the buyers. It really is an opportunity of a lifetime. This is a real fast track into retail."
As the series begins, iconic department store Liberty throws open its doors to the public at 6am for an exclusive open day. Six hundred people get up early to queue around the block for the opportunity to pitch their products to the buying team, led by buying director Ed Burstell. The commercially inexperienced artisans are given just three minutes to pitch their wares to the team and only a handful makes it through to a second round with Burstell, whose decision is final.
Among the fledgling suppliers are: former carpenter Tom Hopkins-Gibson, who has travelled down from Scotland with his porcelain and wooden bowls; professor of architecture, Richard Weston who dazzles the buyers with his unique silk scarves; and glass-blower Charlotte Sale.
Meanwhile, at Boots HQ in Nottingham, the buying team gets ready for its open day, vetting hundreds of applications to shortlist just 10 potential suppliers to fill the gaps in the £26bn health and beauty market.
To kick off BBC Three's Bringing Up Britain season, Cherry Healey (Cherry Goes Dating, Cherry Gets Married) presents a revealing and compelling documentary that explores both sides of the breastfeeding debate.
Breastfeeding is, for some, a taboo subject and it often provokes controversy. The World Health Organisation advises that all mothers breastfeed their children for at least the first six months, but it is not for everyone. Cherry herself found the experience painful and traumatic and eventually gave up. Over a year later, she is still plagued by feelings of guilt for "not trying harder" and is now on a mission to find out how other new mums really feel about breastfeeding.
In Cherry Healey Investigates – Is Breast Best?, she meets a diverse group of mums on the vanguard of both sides of the debate. From a group of "lactivists", who strongly believe that breastfeeding is the only option for a new mum, to pro-bottle advocates and teen mum Jess, who has formula fed all the way, Cherry hears personal stories from women from all walks of life.
The presenter also confronts her own demons when she meets 19-year-old Emma who, like Cherry, finds breastfeeding painful and is struggling to feed baby Olivia. Through Emma's "night cam" filming, viewers witness the gruelling four-hourly feeds, the sleep deprivation and anguish of this young mum, who only wants to do the best for her baby. With Cherry's guidance and practical advice from experts, Emma soon turns the painful task into a successful bonding experience with her daughter.
During her investigation, Cherry also meets one of the country's leading paediatricians; asks why the UK has such low breastfeeding rates; and finds out what happens when breastfeeding mums go back to work.
Cherry Healey Investigates – Is Breast Best? is part of BBC Three's Bringing Up Britain Season, on TV and online. Other programmes in the season include: Misbehaving Mums To Be, Gatwick Baby – Abandoned At Birth, Fast Food Baby, Meet The Multiples and What If My Baby Is Born Like Me?
Part of BBC Three's Bringing Up Britain season, this warm and uplifting series follows a team of midwives as they take pregnant women who binge drink, chain smoke and overeat and help them get back into shape before they give birth.
Being pregnant can be one of the most exciting times in a woman's life, but some put their babies at risk before they are even born. Twenty per cent of women smoke during pregnancy, 35 per cent continue to drink alcohol and 20 per cent of pregnant women are worryingly obese.
Each week, three soon-to-be mums work with the specialist midwives, who use their extensive experience and cutting-edge technology to help them transform their bad habits and reverse the dangers currently posed to their babies' health. Together, they create a personalised plan to get these misbehaving mums back in shape for one of the most important events of their lives.
In this first episode, specialist midwife Lisa Fendall meets 22-year-old Heather, who smoked her way through her first pregnancy and now, 26 weeks pregnant with her second child, has still not kicked the habit.
Midwife Alison Williams works with 35-year-old Juliet, a self-confessed wine-drinking workaholic who's finding it difficult to cope with the sudden change in lifestyle needed when pregnant.
Finally, midwife Carol Hemmings meets 22-year-old Kayley who, at three months pregnant, is living off a diet of chips and gravy. Already classed as morbidly obese, Kayley needs to abandon the junk food and start looking after both herself and her baby.
The series follows the midwives as they try to convince these unhealthy women to quit their damaging ways for the sake of themselves and their unborn children.
Misbehaving Mums To Be is part of the Bringing Up Britain Season, on TV and online. Other programmes include: Cherry Healey Investigates: Is Breast Best?, Gatwick Baby – Abandoned At Birth, Fast Food Baby, Meet The Multiples and What If My Baby Is Born Like Me?
Dr Lucy Worsley, chief curator for the Royal Historic Palaces, presents a new series exploring how Britain's homes have evolved into what they are today and how people's relationship with them has changed over time.
Telling the story of British domestic life from the Middle Ages to the present day through four rooms – the kitchen, the bedroom, the bathroom and the living room – Lucy examines the shifting attitudes towards privacy, class, cleanliness and technology.
She recreates a range of domestic experiences, from attempting to do the laundry the Tudor way, to cooking and eating a meal in a medieval crofter's cottage. Featuring interviews with a range of specialist historians, curators and history experts, this revealing series could change the way viewers look at their homes for ever.
In the opening episode, Lucy explores the room that has had more names and been through more changes than any other in the house: the living room. She tries out a communal medieval great hall, holds a candle-lit tea party in a Georgian drawing room and explores the development of taste in a grand country house. She also discovers the wonders that gas and electric lighting brought to the Victorian parlour and experiences Fifties leisure time.
This spring, BBC Four is exploring the fascinating history of the British home with a collection of revealing documentaries. Also included in the History Of The Home season are Big Spring Clean and The Great Estate.