TV & Radio
TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
John Sweeney contrasts the attitudes of journalists Walter Duranty (1884-1957) and Gareth Jones (1905-35) towards famine in Stalin’s Soviet Union during the 1930s. Moscow-based Duranty won a Pulitzer despite denying that anyone was starving, while Jones, who exposed the truth, was vilified.
Dame Diana Rigg explores the perennial popularity of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, written as the clouds of war gathered over Europe in 1914. The programme concludes with a performance of the piece at the Public Hall in Shirehampton, near Bristol, where it was publicly debuted in 1920.
Another week, another retro drama. Based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, this follows the adventures of a newly qualified and rather posh midwife (played by Jessica Raine) as she works alongside an order of nursing nuns in the East End of 1957. Expect street urchins and overcrowding.
Once again getting out on the tracks to explore Britain, Michael Portillo travels from Oxford through the Malvern Hills and ultimately on to Milford Haven in South Wales. In the first of five weekday shows, he samples a brew made by steam power that was a favourite of Victorian navies.
The theme is ‘What a King Should Know’, as Dr Janina Ramirez continues her series on medieval illuminated manuscripts. Her subjects include how the texts that Edward III read as a boy prepared him to lead his troops to triumph against the French at the battle of Crécy in 1346.
In a major new three-part series, Dr Thomas Asbridge re-examines what we think we know about the Crusades. He begins by retracing the 3,000-mile journey of the First Crusaders as they set out for the Holy Land to capture Jerusalem. Starvation, disease and violence – it proved to be an eventful trip.
Bearing in mind this is on BBC Three, we probably shouldn’t expect a self-consciously highbrow approach here. Still, this documentary promises a history of sex in Britain over the last 50 years, a story that encompasses the pill, pornography and scandal. Presented by Jessica-Jane Clement of The Real Hustle fame.
For his latest travelogue, the erudite Jonathan Meades explores our near-neighbour across the English Channel. He begins in Lorraine. Located on the country’s eastern border, it’s nevertheless central to French identity, a place where romantic nationalism is never too far from the surface.
Melvyn Bragg and expert guests discuss 1848. In what’s been dubbed both the Year of Revolution and the Spring of Nations, liberals across Europe rose against conservative governments. Tens of thousands of people lost their lives, but to what end?
Following the recent BBC Two adaptation, crime writer Frances Fyfield investigates Charles Dickens’s last, unfinished novel, looking at the original manuscript along the way. How might the great man have shaped the story had be been granted the time to do so? Can we see evidence of failing health in the text?