The Impressionists: Painting And Revolution
Saturday 6th August, 8.00pm
Waldemar Januszczak concludes his series on the Impressionists by focusing largely on Georges Seurat, whose works included A Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte. The art critic also considers Vincent van Gough’s time in Paris, and looks at Claude Monet’s later career and the painter’s famed water lily paintings.
Sunday 7th August, 11.15am
Here’s a cautionary tale that played out long before the world’s current financial woes. In 1995, Barings Bank collapsed after trader Nick Leeson lost £830 million. Those who were there, including Leeson and his boss, Peter Norris, remember turbulent days. Presented by Sue MacGregor.
Russia: The Wild East
Monday 8th August, 3.45pm
The last five weekday episodes in Martin Sixsmith’s epic series centre on the Gorbachev, Yeltsin and Putin years. There’s an omnibus show on Friday (9.00pm). Also listen out today for Document (Radio 4, 8.00pm), in which Mike Thomson looks at how Jews were secretly baptised in Vienna’s Anglican church in 1938, a way to help them get transit visas.
Great Thinkers: In Their Own Words
Monday 8th August, 9.00pm
How do you create a better society? The series that draws on archive footage traces the influence of such intellectuals as Bertrand Russell, JM Keynes and William Beveridge, and looks at efforts to create a New Jerusalem in the wake of the Second World War.
Timeshift: When The Circus Comes To Town
Tuesday 9th August, 9.00pm
Roll up! Roll up! Here’s a documentary that uses the University of Sheffield’s National Fairground Archive to tell the story of Britain’s circuses. Another documentary drawing on material from the vaults is Carrot Or Stick? A Horizon Guide To Raising Kids (BBC Four, Thursday 11 August, 8.00pm), which explores how science has impacted on parenting and education down the years.
Voices From The Old Bailey
Wednesday 10th August, 9.00am
With the help of court records, Amanda Vickery focuses on the lives of servants in the 18th century. Later on the same day, In Living Memory (Radio 4, 11.00am) finds Chris Ledgard revisiting the story of the Thetford Treasure, a fourth-century hoard discovered by metal detectorist Arthur Brooks in 1979.
Pick of the Week
National Treasures Live
Wednesday 10th August, 7.30pm
Are they nervous yet? Dan Snow and Sian Williams go on location to host a new weekly magazine show devoted to historical matters. This week the duo are at Dover Castle, HQ for the Dunkirk rescue. Plus guest reporter Lenny Henry looks at the role of West Indian servicemen and servicewomen in the Second World War.
Who Do You Think You Are?
Wednesday 10th August, 9.00pm
The genealogy series returns for a new series. First up, actor June Brown (better known to many as Dot in EastEnders) traces her East End and Jewish roots. Turns out she has a famous forebear in Isaac Bitton, a bare-knuckle fighter.
Kidnapped: A Georgian Adventure
Wednesday 10th August, 9.00pm
Dan Cruickshank traces the story that partly inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s adventure novel, Kidnapped. In 1728, 12-year-old James Annesley was snatched from the streets of Dublin and sent to the New World. Blame a wicked uncle who wanted the lad’s fortune.
The Forgotten Blitz
Thursday 11th August, 9.00pm
Nick Knowles heads for Bath, which was bombed by the Luftwaffe in 1942 as part of the so-called Baedeker Raids against historic British cities. Knowles explores why the Germans launched what were essentially revenge attacks and hears stories of those who were there.
The Path To 9/11
Friday 12th August, 9.00pm
Two new historical dramas arrive on satellite this week. Be warned though, The Path To 9/11, which begins with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and stars Harvey Keitel, was criticised for inaccuracies when it aired Stateside in 2006. As for The Borgias (Sky Atlantic, Saturday 13 August, 9.00pm), starring Jeremy Irons, let’s just say it promises much rumpy-pumpy.