TV & Radio
TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
In 1969, Desmond Dekker hit the top of the charts with Israelites, the first ska number one in the UK. From here, as a superb documentary that traces the history of reggae in the UK explores, there was no going back. BBC Four’s reggae season continues with Rocksteady: The Roots Of Reggae (Sunday 13 February, 9.00pm).
Where do Nefertiti and her husband, the pharaoh Akhenaten, lie? Archaeologist Dr Zahi Hawass leads a team searching the Valley of the Kings for the remains of a couple who, more than 3,000 years ago, tore their country apart before abruptly disappearing from history.
Tony Robinson and co head for Leicestershire, where they dig at what appears to be the site of an Anglo-Saxon burial ground. The results of the first day’s excavations are disappointing, but on the second day things start to look up considerably.
The series on books as works of art continues with two volumes from, respectively, the 14th and 15th centuries. The Luttrell Psalter is a volume of psalms embellished with extraordinary pictures of seriously scary beasties. A Caxton-produced copy of The Canterbury Tales is one of the earliest printed books.
It can’t have escaped your notice that a heated discussion has opened up over the ownership of Britain’s forests. It’s not a wholly new debate. Jonathan Freedland and guests look back in the series that takes the historical perspective on current issues.
Edward Stourton continues his exploration of the channel that divides Europe and Asia. The waterway’s importance means that Istanbul was at the heart of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, giving rise to a cosmopolitan outlook among the city’s citizens. Yet is this beginning to change?
The series that considers recent history returns. In the first show, Chris Ledgard remembers 1980, when Brighton became the first major resort in Britain to set aside an area for naturists, a 200-yard stretch of shingle. This, to quote one harrumphing councilor, “flagrant exhibition of mammary glands” caused considerable controversy.
Neil Oliver reaches 4000BC, when the first farmers arrived on these shores from Europe and the Neolithic Era began. Agriculture, he argues, didn’t just change people’s day-to-day lives as they left hunter-gathering behind, it profoundly altered their relationships to the land and to each other, and their spiritual ideas too.
A new generation of metal detectors offers the chance for enthusiasts to survey deeper underground than ever. But what does this mean for archaeology? Finds that otherwise wouldn’t come to light? Or amateurs bumbling around at sites that should be excavated by professionals? Dr Alice Roberts reports.
Kate Humble’s three-part travelogue focusing on the origins of spices looks potentially intriguing. She begins in India and Sri Lanka with pepper and cinnamon. Pepper, she learns, was once so valuable that it was known as ‘black gold’.