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TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
Radio historian Sean Street pays a visit to the British Library’s Sound Conservation Centre in King’s Cross, London. It’s here that historically important recordings, including James Joyce reading from Ulysses in 1924 and Nelson Mandela’s 1964 trial, are restored, catalogued and digitised.
We’re firmly in Henry, the rotund years, as the entertaining historical romp reaches its penultimate episode with the monarch’s health declining, his military campaigns going badly and Queen Catherine (Joely Richardson) accused of heresy. Drama-wise, look out for the concluding part of Women In Love (BBC Four, Thursday 31st March, 9.00pm).
Rock’n’roll may have originated in the USA, but the release of the movie Blackboard Jungle, featuring Bill Haley’s Rock Around the Clock, inspired a clutch of British lads to try their hands at the new-fangled music. The likes of singer Marty Wilde and Bruce Welch of The Shadows remember their mid-1950s heydays with Sue MacGregor.
Tony Robinson and co head for Jersey to explore the Mont Orgueil Castle. The massive structure we see today dates from the Tudor era. However, its foundations date from an earlier time and the team wants to know more about the fort built at the same site by King John.
Niall Ferguson’s fourth ‘killer app’ is medicine, which made it possible for European powers to colonise Africa in the 19th century. It’s a starting point for the historian to explore different nations’ attitudes to the peoples they encountered as they built empires.
Alan Yentob traces the remarkable life and career of arguably Russia’s greatest novelist, Leo Tolstoy. Over two episodes, Yentob reveals a restless, troubled and brilliant man whose idealism and pacifism, the latter born of his experiences in the Crimean War, even now make him a difficult figure for many in authority in his homeland.
In a series shown over five successive weekdays to mark the 2011 census, Michael Aspel and guests look at how Britain has changed over a century. There’s also a five-part weekday drama to look out for this week: 32 Brinkburn Street (BBC One, 2.15pm) tells the stories of two generations of the same family, one living in 1931 and one today.
Did Eamon de Valera’s Fianna Fáil government secretly co-operate with British government efforts to crush the IRA in the 1930s? Concluding the series that draws on hitherto secret papers, Mike Thomson looks back at an era when paramilitaries targeted England.
Concluding her series challenging widely accepted interpretations of Bible stories, Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou turns her attention to the story of Adam and Eve. This isn’t a creation myth, she argues, but a story about a king set in a specific time and place.
In a series worth checking out on BBC iPlayer if you’ve missed earlier episodes, Michael Blastland considers the work of John Maynard Keynes. Along the way Blastland visits Cambridge, where the great economist developed his ideas about economics and “animal spirits”.