TV & Radio

TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday

Archive on Four: From Easy to Cryptic: 100 Years of the Crossword
Archive on Four: From Easy to Cryptic: 100 Years of the Crossword
Radio 4
Saturday 24th November, 8.00pm

Devised by Liverpool-born Arthur Wayne, the first crossword made its appearance close to 100 years ago, in The New York Times. So what’s the appeal of solving clues and putting letters in a grid? Lynne Truss (Eats, Shoots And Leaves) investigates, discovering along the way that code breakers at Bletchley Park were hired on their ability to solve crosswords. 

Find out more at the BBC TV and Radio programming website

Classic Serial: The Count of Monte Cristo
Classic Serial: The Count of Monte Cristo
Radio 4
Sunday 25th November, 3.00pm

The classic adventure novel by Alexandre Dumas gets a four-part adaptation from playwright Sebastian Baczkiewicz. Starring Iain Glen as Edmond. Also listen out for Book Of The Week: The Black Count (Radio 4, weekdays from Monday 26 November, 9.45am), Tom Reiss’s biography of soldier Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, whose extraordinary life helped inspire his son’s writings.

Find out more at the BBC TV and Radio programming website 

Give Us The Money
Give Us The Money
BBC Four
Sunday 25th November, 9.00pm

Part of a Why Poverty? season, this Storyville documentary examines Bob Geldof and Bono’s efforts on behalf of Africa. The film also looks more widely at celebrity activism. Also look out for Poor Us – An Animated History of Poverty (Wednesday 28 November, 10.30pm, BBC Four), which considers how life has changed for the poor over the millennia.

Find out more at the BBC TV and Radio programming website 

The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler
The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler
BBC Two
Monday 26th November, 9.00pm

Laurence Rees’s exemplary series concludes with a study of how Hitler clung onto power even as the Soviet army massed to take Berlin. A documentary that draws on extraordinary archive footage, notably Joseph Goebbels (contender for the world’s worst stand-up ever) trying to raise a crowd of the faithful in 1943 with the cheery promise of “total war”.

Find out more at the BBC TV and Radio programming website 

The State of Welfare
The State of Welfare
Radio 4
Tuesday 27th November, 10.00am

It’s 70 years since the publication of William Beveridge’s Social Insurance And Allied States, a crucial moment in the foundation of the welfare state. Want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness were five “giants” society needed to slay, he argued. How did Beveridge’s vision shape our society and is it sustainable in times of austerity? A three-hour special.

Find out more at the BBC TV and Radio programming website 

The Dark Ages: An Age of Light
Pick of the Week
The Dark Ages: An Age of Light
BBC Four
Tuesday 27th November, 9.00pm

In a new four-part series, Waldemar Januszczak argues the so-called dark ages were a time of huge artistic achievements. First up, he looks at early Christian art. With no description of Jesus in the Bible, how were the faithful to represent the Messiah? The answer lay partly in images of ancient gods.

Find out more at the BBC TV and Radio programming website 

The Goddess of English
The Goddess of English
Radio 4
Wednesday 28th November, 11.00am

Within India’s Dalit communities, the English language is worshipped as a goddess modelled on the Statue of Liberty. Why? Writer Zareer Masani looks at the history of western education in India, introduced by Lord Macaulay and reviled by many nationalists, yet seen by many of the country’s former ‘untouchables’ as a liberating force.

Find out more at the BBC TV and Radio programming website 

The Beat Hotel
The Beat Hotel
Radio 4
Thursday 29th November, 11.30am

Professor Andrew Hussey goes on the road… to Paris, where he visits an address with strong associations with the beat writers, the cheaper-than-pomme-frites and appropriately named Beat Hotel, where many counter-cultural luminaries stayed in the 1950s and 1960s. It was here that William Burroughs completed the text for Naked Lunch.

Find out more at the Radio Times website 

Great Continental Railway Journeys
Great Continental Railway Journeys
BBC Two
Thursday 29th November, 9.00pm

Michael Portillo visits Switzerland, which was a hugely popular destination with Edwardian visitors. You can understand why as the politico-turned-broadcaster takes the Glacier Express through glorious Alpine scenery as its heads for the Reichenbach Falls, famed for its associations with Sherlock Holmes.

Find out more at the BBC TV and Radio programming website 

The Secret Life of Rubbish
The Secret Life of Rubbish
BBC Four
Thursday 29th November, 9.00pm

You can tell a lot about a society by focusing on the way it deals with its garbage. The first instalment in a two-part documentary charts the transition from make-do-and-mend years in the wake of the Second World War, when ashes and cinders made up the bulk of household waste, through the birth of a consumer society.

Find out more at the Radio Times website 

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