The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz – The True Story
Thursday 28th April, 9.00pm
Author L Frank Baum’s ambition was to write a true American fairy tale. With his Oz stories, as this biographical documentary explores, he succeeded. Also tonight, Sir Bobby Charlton: Football Icon (BBC Two, 9.00pm) profiles the Manchester United and England star, a survivor of the Munich air disaster.
Russia: The Wild East
Friday 29th April, 3.45pm
Martin Sixsmith’s epic history of Russia continues with forthcoming weekday shows devoted to Catherine the Great as both reformer and reactionary, Napoleon’s invasion in 1812 and the Decembrist Revolt. Don’t forget that there’s an omnibus edition every Friday at 9.00pm.
Sunday 1st May, 5.30pm
Tony Robinson turns his attention to geophysics technology, used by archaeologists to identify artefacts and ruins underground. How does it work? Plus, in the hands of expert John Gater and with no digging allowed, can the technology identify 10 objects buried in a field?
The American Civil War
Sunday 1st May, 9.30pm
Officially, Britain was neutral during the American Civil War. However, as Louise Welsh explores, this didn’t stop British companies trying to sell arms to the Confederates. The final documentary in a four-part series also looks at growing racism in the UK in the 1860s.
Book Of The Week: Millions Like Us: Women’s Lives In War And Peace 1939–1949
Monday 2nd May, 9.45am
Fenella Woolgar reads from Virginia Nicholson’s book about women’s experiences during the Second World War. Continues every weekday. Plus Writing The Century (10.45am & 7.45pm) returns this week, with episodes based on the experiences of translator Paula Kirby, who worked in East Germany in the 1980s.
Dambusters: Building The Bouncing Bomb
Monday 2nd May, 8.00pm
Cambridge lecturer Dr Hugh Hunt leads a team trying to re-create Barnes Wallis’s Bouncing Bomb, used in the famous raid against Germany by the Lancasters of 667 Squadron. Will Hunt’s efforts lead to a successful ‘attack’ against a specially constructed dam on a Canadian lake?
Pick of the Week
Julia Bradbury’s Canal Walks
Monday 2nd May, 8.30pm
Julia Bradbury begins another series of hikes, this time journeying along Britain’s manmade waterways. She begins with Thomas Telford’s Caledonian Canal, which opened in 1822 and linked the lochs between Fort William and Inverness. It was an epic project that was almost immediately made obsolete by the railway revolution.
The Random Edition Festival Of Britain Special
Wednesday 4th May, 11.00am
It’s 60 years since the Festival of Britain began. Peter Snow looks back at 1951 with the Daily Mail. On the same theme, A Tonic For The Nation – The 60th Anniversary Of The Festival Of Britain (Radio 2, 10pm) sees Barbara Windsor tell the story of an event that
signalled the end of austerity.
If Walls Could Talk: The History Of The Home
Wednesday 4th May, 9.00pm
Dr Lucy Worsley concludes her series on British domestic life by focusing on the kitchen, once a dirty and dangerous room the rich preferred to keep far away from dining areas. Preceded by Petworth House: The Big Spring Clean (8.30pm), in which Andrew Graham-Dixon takes on cleaning chores below stairs.
The Lighthouse Stevensons
Thursday 5th May, 9.00pm
First shown in Scotland, a documentary that looks at the work of Robert Louis Stevenson’s forebears. As the title suggests, the family specialised in designing and building lighthouses, doing much to make the treacherous seas off Scotland safe for shipping.