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TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
It’s easy to forget now, but there was a time when Public Enemy were genuinely feared by sections of the American establishment. As to why, this documentary profile outlines how the band welded leader Chuck D’s radical politics to extraordinary collages of samples, a combination that immediately connected with disaffected youth.
Another week, another alehouse, as Rory McGrath, archaeologist Paul Blinkhorn and the team explore the history of Ye Olde Smugglers Inn in the East Sussex village of Alfriston. Followed by How Beer Saved the World (10.00pm, History), which argues that farmers first grew grain for brewing purposes.
You really didn’t want to get ill back in the olden days. That seems to be the main message of tonight’s episode in the series looking at our forebears’ beliefs. In a particularly visceral moment, host Tony Robinson is plonked in a pit filled with blood and other bits of slaughtered cattle as he recreates a ‘cure’ from yesteryear.
Jonny Dymond looks back to 1971, when East Pakistan (soon to be independent Bangladesh) was in crisis. In the midst of a brutal military crackdown, a brave young diplomat, Archer K Blood, sent a telegram accusing the Nixon government of being “morally bankrupt” in refusing to condemn what was happening.
Dominic Sandbrook continues his weekday series charting the history of the Post Office. He begins this week’s shows in 1840, the year when the Penny Black adhesive stamp was introduced. There’s an omnibus edition of the show on Friday at 9.00pm.
Covering similar ground to Ian Hislop’s recent documentary on Victorian bankers, Professor Hugh Cunningham looks at the history of philanthropy from the 18th century until the present day. Cunningham begins with penal reformer John Howard, the first man to be dubbed a philanthropist.
Titter ye not. Stewart Lee speaks up for those brave men and women who don bells and wield hankies in the name of Morris dancing. It’s a form that proves to have a fascinating history. Moreover, it’s still evolving: consider the Morris/hip-hop collision pioneered by folk band the Demon Barbers for evidence.
On 14 December 1861, Victoria’s consort Albert died. How did the nation react? Marking 150 years since Albert’s demise, Peter Snow hunts for clues in the pages of the London Daily News. The paper carried reports of Albert’s decline, and how news of the death spread, in a pre-radio and telephone age, via the ringing of church bells.
Richard Taylor, who previously hosted Churches: How to Read Them, traces the story of bell-ringing in Britain over the past 1,500 years. It’s a tale that says much about British social history and also answers one of life’s eternal questions: just why is Big Ben’s bong so flat?
The second part of Simon Sebag Montefiore’s history of Jerusalem looks at the part played by Islam in its development. Covering the construction of the Dome of the Rock, plus the struggle between Saladin and Richard the Lionheart, the programme ends in the 13th century with King Frederick II’s attempts to bring peace via a power-sharing deal.