The Saturday Play: Payback
Saturday 22nd January, 2.30pm
Writer Jonathan Myerson’s play explores the Yom Kippur War in 1973. It was a time when Richard Nixon was soon to be ousted from power as a result of the Watergate scandal. How did this affect US diplomatic efforts as Syrian and Egyptian troops massed to attack Israel?
Pick of the Week
Saturday 22nd January, 9.45pm
The glossy American drama returns for its final season. Once again, Henry has a new wife, number five, the flighty Katherine Howard. No, there’s not a lot of historical realism here – Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry, for example, shows few signs of heading towards corpulence – but The Tudors is hugely entertaining.
Sunday Feature: The Shadow Of The Emperor
Sunday 23rd January, 9.30pm
It’s a century since the fall of the Qing Dynasty with the forced abdication of the last emperor, Puyi. Isabel Hilton looks at how China coped with this momentous change, if indeed it really did, and searches for traces of the old imperial system.
Writing The Century
Monday 24th January, 10.45am
The series exploring the 20th century through letters and journals returns. This time around, we see the century through the eyes of three politically engaged middle-class women, different generations of the same family. Dramatised by Vanessa Rosenthal. Continues all week. Also at 7.45pm.
Great British Railway Journeys
Monday 24th January, 6.30pm
Back on the tracks for another train journey, politico-turned-broadcaster Michael Portillo travels from London to Hastings. He begins in the east of the capital, where he visits the Royal Observatory in Greenwich and the dockyards at Chatham. Continues each weeknight.
True Stories: Contact In The Outback
Tuesday 25th January, 10.00pm
In 1964, a native welfare patrol officer working in the Great Sandy Desert stumbled across 20 nomads, all women and children. This was the last aboriginal group in Australia still living traditionally, people who knew nothing of the outside world. A documentary exploring what happened next.
Great White Silence With James Cracknell
Wednesday 26th January, 9.00pm
Herbert Ponting’s famous film of Robert Falcon Scott’s doomed 1910-12 Antarctic expedition has lately been restored by the BFI. James Cracknell, who took part in a charity race to the South Pole in 2009, compares and contrasts his own experiences with those of explorers from an earlier era.
Britain’s Secret Schindler: Revealed
Thursday 27th January, 8.00pm
In 1939, as war clouds gathered over Europe, a London stockbroker organised the rescue of hundreds of Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. A documentary that salutes the efforts of Sir Nicholas Winton, still alive today at 101 and interviewed here.
Men Of Rock
Thursday 27th January, 9.00pm
Iain Stewart concludes his series on those who shaped the field of geology. His first subject, Louis Agassiz, was the first to propose that Earth was once gripped by an ice age. Caretaker James Croll was a key figure in building our understanding of how Earth’s climate works.
Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day
Thursday 27th January, 9.00pm
The builders constructing a Roman villa using tools and materials available at the time turn their attention to the bathhouse, complete with under-floor heating, a plunge pool and a steam room. Seeing as it’s one of the hottest Junes on record, it proves to be tough work.