TV & radio: what to tune in to next week (2 - 8 December 2017)

Can't decide which shows to watch or listen to next week? Here are 10 programmes you won't want to miss...

Invasion! with Sam Willis. (Image Credit: BBC/Rachel Ramsay)

Invasion! with Sam Willis. (Image Credit: BBC/Rachel Ramsay)

 
Document 
Radio 4
Monday 4 December, 8.00pm
 
Nick Rankin casts his eye over a document discovered in the wartime files of the Iberia Section of the Special Operations Executive. A personal account by Squadron Leader Hugh Mallory Falconer, it tells of a secret wireless network he established in the western Mediterranean. How important was this to Allied successes in North Africa?
 
 
 
The Art That Made Mexico: Paradise, Power And Prayers 
BBC Four 
Monday 4 December, 9.00pm
 
Alinka Echeverría hosts a three-part series charting the development of art in Mexico. She begins by considering how Mexican artists shook off European influences to reconnect with the region’s older traditions. In the early 20th century, this resulted in the flowering of distinctly Mexican take on landscape art.
 
 
 
The Long View 
Radio 4
Tuesday 5 December, 9.00am
 
Jonathan Freedland considers the rise of Uber and, in the near future, driverless cars by charting the fate of London’s watermen. In the middle of the 18th century, these men lost their livelihoods as new construction techniques enabled new bridges to be built over the Thames. Will London’s cabbies find themselves similarly put out of business?
 
 
 

Digging for Britain. (Image Credit: BBC/360Production)
 
 
Balfour’s Promised Land 
Radio 4
Tuesday 5 December, 8.00pm
 
David Reynolds looks back a century to the drafting and issuing of the Balfour Declaration: 67 words that have shaped events in the Middle East ever since. To understand why it was made, says Reynolds, we need to begin by understanding how, in the autumn of 1917, the outcome of the Great War was very much in the balance.
 
 

Pick of the week

Invasion! With Sam Willis 
BBC Four 
Tuesday 5 December, 9.00pm
 
Going beyond the invasions that we all know about 1066 and all that, Sam Willis looks at the wider history of how Britain has so often had to contend with visitors from foreign parts down the years. In the first of three programmes, we hear tales of Vikings, Romans and the Beaker people.
 
 
 
David Jason’s Secret Service 
More4
Tuesday 5 December, 9.00pm
 
Espionage enthusiast David Jason fronts a new series exploring the history of the British Secret Intelligence Service. He begins with its formation in 1909, under the leadership of Mansfield Smith-Cumming. Jason also considers the part spies played during the First World War. 
 
 
 
The First Heart Transplant: Beat By Beat 
Radio 4
Wednesday 6 December, 11.00am
 
It’s 50 years since the first heart transplant was carried out. As part of a week of shows on Radio 4 marking the anniversary, surgeon Stephen Westaby looks at the circumstances surrounding the operation, carried out by Christiaan Barnard. His patient, Louis Washkansky, lived for 18 days.
 
 
 
Digging For Britain 
BBC Four 
Wednesday 6 December, 9.00pm
 
Alice Roberts heads north to hear more tales of recent archaeological work. Among other highlights, expect to hear about writing tablets, swords and domestic items left by Romans at Vindolanda, traces of a long-lost monastery on Iona and a weapons hoard belonging to a wealthy Bronze Age warrior.
 
 
 
Blitz: The Bombs That Changed Britain 
BBC Two 
Thursday 7 December, 9.00pm
 
In March 1941, a bomb destroyed 78 Jellicoe Street, a tenement block in Clydebank. For the Rocks, it was a devastating event as 15 family members perished. Surviving relatives and friends look back at events that night, and at the longer-term effects of the tragedy.
 
 
 
Brunel: The Man Who Built Britain  
Channel 5
Friday 8 December, 8.00pm
 
Over two episodes, Rob Bell profiles Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a man who we’ve come to see as the personification of the heroic Victorian engineer. Followed by the final two episodes of Bettany Hughes’s Eight Days That Made Rome (9.00pm & 10.00pm). Theatre Of Death focuses on the Colosseum, while The Rebirth Of Rome charts Emperor Constantine’s baptism day.
 
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