The Art Of Monarchy
Saturday 18th February, 10.30am
Will Gompertz’s theme is warfare as he continues his exploration of the monarchy through objects in the Royal Collection. What, for example, does a photograph of Princess Elizabeth training with the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945 tell us about the relationship between the military and the Windsors?
Pick of the Week
Lucian Freud: Painted Life
Saturday 18th February, 9.00pm
As a major exhibition of Lucian Freud’s work opens at the National Portrait Gallery, filmmaker Randall Wright profiles a painter famously fascinated with the human form in all its fleshy glory. With contributions from family and friends, including David Hockney, it’s an extraordinarily vivid portrait of an extraordinarily vivid man.
Sunday 19th February, 4.05pm
Tony Robinson and co head to the village of Beadnell on the Northumbrian coast. Here, the team explores a promontory where fragments of human bone have been found in recent years, a site where a chapel may once have stood. But what era do the remains date from?
Sunday Feature: An Olympick Vision
Sunday 19th February, 7.45pm
Where should we search for the roots of the modern Olympics? Try a hill above the town of Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds, suggests former England cricketer Ed Smith. This was where, in 1612, Captain Robert Dover staged games inspired by Ancient Greece.
Call The Midwife
Sunday 19th February, 8.30pm
In a period-drama double header, the first series of Call The Midwife concludes with Sister Monica Joan facing jail. Then, at 9.30pm, the new series of Upstairs Downstairs, starring Keeley Hawes and Ed Stoppard, begins. It’s 1938 and war with Germany is on the horizon.
Lost Kingdoms Of Africa
Monday 20th February, 9.00pm
Gus Casely-Hayford concludes his eye-opening series on African history by focusing on Uganda’s Bunyoro and Buganda kingdoms. Followed by Storyville: The Love Of Books – A Sarajevo story (10.00pm), which tells how irreplaceable Islamic manuscripts were saved during the siege of the city in 1992.
Monday 20th February, 10.15pm
Getting its world premiere, here’s a major profile of Bill Clinton. The first of four episodes, shown on successive evenings, charts Clinton’s life from his childhood through to his running for president against George Bush, Sr. It’s a tale of comeback after comeback and a formidable partnership with wife Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The Essay: Men Only – An Informal History Of The Male Nude
Monday 20th February, 10.45pm
In the first episode of a weekday series some might wish was on TV, classicist Edith Hall discusses her fascination with the male nude via a consideration of such masterpieces as a marble statue of Emperor Hadrian’s lover, Antinous. In Tuesday’s episode, historian Partha Mitter considers the male nude in art made on the Indian subcontinent.
The World Against Apartheid: Have You Heard From Johannesburg?
Tuesday 21st February, 10.00pm
Connie Field’s superb series on the struggle to bring down South Africa’s apartheid regime looks at efforts to free Nelson Mandela from jail. It was a campaign that united three generations under the banner of the United Democratic Front. In 1990, Mandela, who would go on to serve as president from 1994-99, was finally released.
In Living Memory
Wednesday 22nd February, 11.00am
Experts in martial arts like to emphasise the discipline and spiritual enlightenment that advanced hand-to-hand combat training brings. Try telling that to the kids who went mad for Enter the Dragon in 1973. Jolyon Jenkins looks back at an era when, in the immortal words of Carl Douglas, “it was a little bit frightening” because “everybody was kung-fu fighting”.
Melvyn Bragg On Class And Culture
Friday 24th February, 9.00pm
Outing himself as a “class mongrel” who hasn’t forgotten his working-class roots, Lord Melvyn Bragg uses the prism of the arts to survey the British obsession with where we stand in society. The first of three excellent documentaries begins in 1911, when it must sometimes have seemed as if a rigid, stratified system would endure permanently.