Sunday 10th April, 5.30pm
Tony Robinson and co investigate Buck Mill, an 18th-century water mill in Somerset. Research by owner Stephanie Fry suggests flour may have been milled at the site since Domesday. Look out, too, for The Somme’s Secret Weapon: A Time Team Special (Channel 4, Thursday, 9.00pm), a hunt for the remains of a First World War weapon that fired burning oil.
Civilization: Is The West History?
Sunday 10th April, 8.00pm
Niall Ferguson looks at how the Protestant work ethic contributed to the rise of the West. We’ve lately lost faith in the idea as well as faith more generally, he argues (blame Freud), which may pose problems in the years ahead. Last in the series.
Storyville: Knocking On Heaven’s Door
Sunday 10th April, 9.00pm
Showing as part of a Space Night (from 8.00pm) to mark the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin reaching orbit, filmmaker George Carey explores the deep roots of the Soviet programme. Expect 19th-century mysticism. Also listen out for a Random Edition special (Radio 4, Monday 11 April, 11.00am), in which Peter Snow looks back at the Telegraph’s reporting of Gagarin’s flight.
Sunday Feature: The American Civil War
Sunday 10th April, 9.30pm
Marking 150 years since the American Civil War broke out, historian Adam Smith plots the course of an infamously bloody conflict. The first documentary finds Smith focusing on the South: why did it take up arms and what are we to make of the mythologising that’s subsequently surrounded its defeat?
The Great Estate: The Rise And Fall Of The Council Estate
Monday 11th April, 9.00pm
In the middle of the 1970s, more than a third of the population lived in social housing. Not today, but why exactly? Writer Michael Collins traces the history of council houses, first introduced in the early 20th century, an era when many lived in slums.
The Prime Ministers
Tuesday 12th April, 9.30am
BBC political editor Nick Robinson’s series on British PMs returns. His first subject is William Pitt the Younger, who first ascended to the top job when he was just 24 years old. The series will also consider the careers of Earl Grey, William Gladstone, Herbert Asquith, Ramsay MacDonald, Harold Macmillan, Harold Wilson and Edward Heath.
Tuesday 12th April, 9.00pm
Once again sniffing out the past only to find it makes him gag, Dan Snow focuses on life in 18th-century Paris. The French capital, we learn, was overcrowded, diseased and stinking. The tanning of leather proves to be a particularly unpleasant task for Snow, involving as it does dog faeces and urine.
Pick of the Week
If Walls Could Talk
Wednesday 13th April, 9.00pm
Dr Lucy Worsley looks at the evolution of the British home via the development of four rooms down the years: the kitchen, the bedroom, the bathroom and, in this opening episode, the living room. Preceded by Petworth House: The Big Spring Clean (8.30pm), in which Andrew Graham-Dixon helps out with scrubbing up a 17th-century mansion.
A History Of Celtic Britain
Thursday 14th April, 9.00pm
Neil Oliver investigates ‘The Age of Warriors’, when British Celtic culture was at its peak. Expect the historian to be suitably impressed by treasures such as the British Museum’s Snettisham treasure hoard, dating from 75BC. Plus a duffer’s guide to druids and Oliver takes a DNA test to see how Celtic he is.
Shackleton’s South With James Cracknell
Thursday 14th April, 9.00pm
James Cracknell introduces footage taken by Frank Hurley, who recorded the struggles of Ernest Shackleton and his men after the explorer’s expedition ran into problems in Antarctica in 1915. For those who have access to satellite channels, historical drama The Kennedys (9.00pm, History) continues tonight too.
Monty Don's Italian Gardens
Friday 15th April, 9.00pm
The Gardeners' World presenter turns horticultural historian in a series that finds him touring Italy's gardens. He begins with Renaissance gardens in Rome. These are short on flower beds, but big on architectural statements and Don, ever the enthusiast once he gets warmed up, is a knowledgeable and engaging guide.