TV & Radio
TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
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)
Barely a week goes by without a development in the ongoing Eurozone crisis. In a three-part series, Alan Little looks at key moments from the past that brought us to this current situation. First up, the transformation of Europe following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the 1992 collapse of the Exchange Rate Mechanism.
Neil Oliver profiles Scottish pioneer William Speirs Bruce. The explorer did crucial scientific work in Antarctica, including setting up a weather station that still operates today, yet he’s now little remembered. Over on Channel 4, the Time Team (6.00pm) searches for remains of lost buildings in a Shropshire village.
The impressive adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’ novel concludes with Stephen Wraysford recovering from his injuries and still haunted by memories of his affair with Isabelle Azaire. At the front, the British are gearing up for a major offensive at the Somme.
Clare Balding hosts a 30-part weekday series looking at the role of sport in British life. The first episode charts the birth of the modern Olympics movement, while other programmes this week deal with cricket, bare-knuckle boxing, gambling and Rugby School. There’s an omnibus edition on Friday (9.00pm).
Art historian Dr Gus Casely-Hayford returns with more stories of Africa’s pre-colonial past. In the first of four episodes, he travels to Ghana to learn more about the sophisticated Asante kingdom. Built on gold and slaves, it once dominated West Africa.
The sports boycott against South Africa was a crucial weapon in bringing about the end of the apartheid system. As director Connie Field’s meticulously researched series recalls, it began with fellow African nations refusing to compete against all-white teams. Featuring rarely seen footage and interviews with major figures.
The series dealing with events from recent history returns. In the first episode, Jolyon Jenkins looks back at Operation Julie, a 1977 police crackdown on LSD manufacturing that resulted in the courts handing down stiff sentences. It was, argues the documentary, the beginning of the end for the British underground.
Dr Thomas Asbridge looks at the final chapters in the Crusades era. It’s a story he traces Louis IX’s efforts to break Islam’s hold on the Holy Land by invading Egypt. Asbridge also argues that we shouldn’t see the Crusades as somehow having sparked an ongoing clash of civilisations.
A three-part series on the history of military logistics may not sound too entertaining, but Saul David’s series promises to be excellent. In essence, the premise is that if you can’t keep troops fed, watered and as comfortable as local conditions allow, you’re not likely to triumph in too many conflicts.
In 2006, shortly after an extensive renovation programme had begun, the Cutty Sark caught fire. Happily, the damage was less extensive than first feared. Ahead of the Queen officially reopening the ship to the public in the spring, a look behind the scenes at work to restore the clipper to her former glory.