TV & Radio
TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
Social historian Dr Pamela Cox looks back at the lives of servants during the Edwardian era. This was a time when those who worked in service began to question Victorian ideas around knowing your place, and when new opportunities in factories and shops opened up.
In 1967, The Beatles recorded a TV special. As this documentary recalls, the surreal Magical Mystery Tour (showing at 10.45pm) simply confused many viewers. Plus it’s 50 years this month since the release of the Fab Four’s debut single, as explored by Stuart Maconie in Love Me Do: The Beatles ’62 (BBC Four, Sunday 7th October, 10.00pm).
Another week, another adventure in world history as Andrew Marr focuses on the spiritual revolutions that shaped the world between 300BC and 700AD. Over at Downton Abbey (ITV1, 9.00pm), Branson’s political views land him in hot water and the recruitment process for a new footman commences.
From where did the Mini spring? As Andy Kershaw here relates, for a brief time in the wake of the Second World War, family-run British motor manufacturers specialised in making austerity-appropriate micro-cars. Over on BBC Four, Time Shift: Magnificent Machines – The Golden Age of the British Sports Car (9.00pm) considers rather higher-powered motors, such as the Jaguar E-Type.
Beginning with Ptolemy’s atlas, Simon Garfield explores how cartographers have mapped the development of civilisations. In another weekday series, China: As History is my Witness (Radio 4, 1.45pm) finds Carrie Gracie looking at how stories of China’s past help explain the country today.
The south London criminals who took down the Glasgow-London mail train on 8 August 1963 have gone down as folk heroes. Is that really how we should see them? Dominic Sandbrook is among those looking back at a violent crime that yielded Ronnie Biggs and co £2.6 million.
Shown over three successive evenings, Huw Edwards continues and concludes his history of Wales. He begins with the industrial revolution, in great part powered by coal mined in the Valleys. Also this week, the great depression and the founding of devolved government.
The Private Eye editor’s series on the British and their emotions considers the 19th century, when repressing the emotions was at its zenith. The characters we meet include Captain Matthew Webb, the first person to swim the Channel. But the imperial swagger underpinning British stoicism wouldn’t survive the first world war.
Peter Ginn, Ruth Goodman and Alex Langlands revisit 1943, when Britain’s farmers came under huge pressure to increase production still further. Over on Channel 5, Heroes Of The Skies (8.00pm) tells the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, African-American pilots who fought in the Second World War.
In a new series, Dan Snow charts the history of siege warfare. He begins in (pre-recent conflict) Syria with the imposing Crac des Chevaliers, which was built by crusaders. In 1271, it was attacked by Sultan Baybars and his Mamluk army and captured after a campaign that lasted 36 days.
During the First World War, as men went off to fight, women filled their roles. Having had a taste of different kinds of work, many of these women were reluctant to return to a starch-and-servitude life. As Dr Pamela Cox relates, the era of the live-in servant class was coming to an end.