TV & Radio
TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
Three brothers embark on a bicycle journey to follow in the footsteps of Carthaginian military commander Hannibal Barca, who marched from Spain to Rome at the head of an invading army that included war elephants.
In 1979, dissident writer Vaclav Havel was among those subjected to a show trial in the former Czechoslovakia. A drama mixing in reconstructions, expert comment and personal testimonies as it revisits a case that reveals much about the future president’s role in helping to bring down the Iron Curtain.
In a series first shown in Scotland, Neil Oliver traces the lives of four Scottish explorers who planted ideas rather than flags. His first subject is anti-slavery campaigner David Livingstone. Also at 6.00pm today, Time Team returns over on Channel 4 with a visit to Gateholm Island, Pembrokeshire. It was once inhabited, but who lived there?
Sebastian Faulks’s epic love story get a big-budget, two-part adaptation with a script by Abi Morgan (The Hour, Shame, The Iron Lady). Eddie Redmayne stars as Stephen Wraysford, an Englishman who’s haunted by memories of a secret love affair as he serves as an infantry officer on the Western Front.
Jonathan Charles follows the work of forensic archaeologists attempting to locate the remains of Holocaust victims at Treblinka death camp in Poland, where more than 800,000 people were murdered. It’s a delicate and tricky operation: not only did the Nazis destroy evidence of the camp, but Jewish custom forbids disturbing the remains of the dead.
Dr Janina Ramirez concludes her series on illuminated manuscripts with the Tudor era. The texts she views include Henry VII’s elaborately decorated will, and a prayer book that hides love notes between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Plus a visit to Bruges, where many of the greatest manuscripts were created.
With HS2 looking likely to get the go-ahead, Jonathan Freedland looks to the past to explore what it might tells us about projects to improve the nation’s infrastructure. Also today on Radio 4, Great Lives (4.30pm) finds Shirley Williams speaking up for her mother, the writer Vera Brittain.
In a series that was a decade in the making, director/producer Connie Field tells the story of the struggle to end segregation in South Africa. The first episode covers the horror of the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, when the police opened fire on a crowd of protestors, Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment and Oliver Tambo’s escape into exile.
Dr Thomas Asbridge focuses on the Third Crusade when the armies of Richard the Lionheart and Saladin squared up to each other. Both men were fine strategists who nonetheless were prepared to commit atrocities as they fought to control Jerusalem. Their campaigning against each other, argues Asbridge, broke both men.
In a show first broadcast on BBC One West Midlands, Dan Snow takes a close-up look at the Staffordshire Hoard, which was found by an amateur metal detecting enthusiast in 2009. There’s more archaeology today in the returning Mud Men, which finds Johnny Vaughan and Steve Brooker searching for artefacts on the banks of the Thames (History, 10.00pm).
In 1962, rebellious snapper David Bailey and gamine model Jean Shrimpton headed for New York, and a photoshoot for Vogue that would help define the Swinging Sixties. Aneurin Barnard stars as Bailey and Karen Gillan of Doctor Who fame plays Shrimpton in a drama imagining what might have passed between the two.
Andrew Graham-Dixon looks at the allure of imperial artefacts to China’s new rich. Meanwhile, over on BBC Four, a new series about British bands’ efforts to make it big in the USA kicks off with the 1960s, when beat combos enjoyed huge success in the wake of the Beatles (How The Brits Rocked America: Go West, 9.00pm)