TV & Radio
TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
Helping to mark the 90th anniversary of the BBC’s first-ever broadcast, Roger Bolton explores the stern values famously promoted by John Reith (1889–1971). Also on the theme of radio history, Music In The Air: A History Of Music Radio (Radio 2, Tuesday 13 November, 10.00pm) finds Paul Gambaccini charting the story of tunes on the airwaves.
Huw Edwards presents coverage of the annual concert, held at the Royal Albert Hall in the presence of the Queen. The BBC also carries coverage of the ceremony at Whitehall in Remembrance Sunday: The Cenotaph (BBC One, Sunday 11 November, 10.25am), presented by David Dimbleby and Sophie Raworth.
In the vein of the BBC’s Land Girls, here’s a six-part ensemble drama that follows the lives of women working at a munitions factory in Canada during the second world war. In the first episode, a rich socialite joins the team working on Blue Shift. Starring Meg Tilly.
Misha Glenny’s excellent series on the history of Spain reaches years of imperial decline when the country’s hold over its territories in the Americas gradually loosened. Much of the documentary focuses on 1898, when Spain suffered an ignominious defeat to the USA in the Spanish-American war.
The team heads for Belton House, a stately pile in Lincolnshire. During the first world war, its grounds were home to the Machine Gun Corps. What traces did the men who passed through here leave? Also today on Channel 4, How Britain Worked (8.00pm) follows the restoration of one of the first piston engines ever built.
The big-canvas history series concludes with the 20th century. Host Andrew Marr celebrates an era of “technological brilliance” but bemoans the “political idiocy” that resulted in the world wars. He concludes with a warning: decisions we make now and in the near future may decide our fate.
The investigative history series concludes with Mike Thomson looking at the role of the BBC Hungarian Service in the second world war. In March 1944, Germany troops occupied Hungary. Within months, more than 400,000 people, mostly Jewish, were deported to death camps. Did the corporation choose not to broadcast information that could have saved thousands of lives?
Acclaimed filmmaker Laurence Rees (Nazis: A Warning From History) once again turns his attention to fascism in 20th-century Germany. More specifically, he focuses on Hitler himself, exploring how a man we now see as ranting and mad was able to hold a nation in his thrall.
Michel Roux Jr profiles one of his heroes, Georges Auguste Escoffier, a chef who transformed French cuisine at the end of the 19th century. Also on a food-and-drink theme, the larky Chateau Chunder: When Australian Wine Changed the World (BBC Four, Tuesday 13 November, 9.00pm) charts how Aussie plonk went from joke to tipple of choice.
Stephen Fry narrates a 12-part series that charts global history. The big idea here is to look at turning points that have ensured our survival. It’s also a series informed by ideas around ‘big history’, David Christian’s notion that we should look for common themes and patterns in the past rather than focus on individual nation’s stories.