TV & Radio
TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
Paul Martin and his team of celeb reporters go in search of more forgotten places and objects that shed light on Britain’s history. This week, Martin visits Cragside House in Northumberland, home to Lord William Armstrong, a Victorian entrepreneur who pioneered the use of electricity in the home.
In 1931, a young and idealistic lawyer, Hans Litten, called Hitler as a witness in a case that centred on a vicious attack by the SA. This gripping dramatisation of the courtroom encounter stars Ed Stoppard as Litten and Ian Hart as the Nazi leader.
The series remembering debates from the past revisits 1974, when Sunday Times journalist Harold Evans and Conservative peer Lord Windlesham argued about press freedom. The series continues tomorrow with psychologist BF Skinner and academic Donald Mackay’s 1971 discussion of free will. Also today, Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On 40th Anniversary (10.00pm, Radio 2) revisits a classic soul album.
The history series returns for a new, 12-part series, with Tom Holland, Helen Castor (pictured) and Fiona Watson set to answer listeners’ questions. Also today, Great Lives (Radio 4, 4.30pm) finds restaurateur Antonio Carluccio speaking up for Edinburgh-born artist Eduardo Paolozzi.
In 1974, the Portsmouth Sinfonia Orchestra, whose members included Brian Eno, Michael Nyman and composer Gavin Bryars, sold out the Albert Hall. The big selling point was this was an orchestra where the members weren’t allowed to play an instrument they were familiar with. An elaborate joke or was there a serious point to the exercise? Jolyon Jenkins investigates.
Dan Snow and Sian Williams head for Stratford-upon-Avon, where they report on an archaeological dig at the house where William Shakespeare died. Plus Ruby Wax reports on Victorian asylums. Also today on BBC One, Sebastian Coe uncovers his family history in Who Do You Think You Are? (9.00pm).
Bettany Hughes travels around Asia and California to see sites, both ancient and modern, associated with Buddhism, including the crumbling yet magnificent Angkor Wat in Cambodia. In an ambitious documentary, she also explores the history of the religion and tries to tease out its central ideas.
Edward VII’s wife has never emerged well from history. This documentary, hosted by biographer Anne Sebba and which draws on newly discovered letters written by the socialite to her second husband, Ernest, isn’t likely to change that. However, the letters certainly offer insights into Simpson’s state of mind as the abdication crisis approached.
Dr Stephen Baxter explores the lives of children in the medieval era. It was a time when, with half the population under the age of 18, people had to grow up quickly. Nevertheless, Baxter says, it wasn’t necessarily all work and adult responsibilities.
The series drawing on newsreel footage turns its attention to the ‘Voice of Pathé’, which in the Second World War meant the even now instantly familiar, Cholmondley-Warner-esque tones of Bob Danvers-Walker. Also today, Secrets Of Stonehenge (Yesterday, 9.00pm) explores current ideas about the purpose of the great stones.