TV & Radio
TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
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.
First shown in 2009, this drama-documentary shows life as it might have been in the vast palace during the era of Louis XIV. On Wednesday at 9.00pm, there’s a new episode of Versailles, this time focusing on the often scandalous rein of Louis XV, who fathered at least 30 illegitimate children.
Neil Oliver explores the life of John Muir. Born in Scotland, Muir was a naturalist and adventurer with a deep connection to the natural world. Today, he’s honoured as the father of conservationism and one of the founders of the USA’s National Parks movement.
Brothers Colin and Ewan McGregor pay tribute to the men who flew in Bomber Command during the Second World War. As well as featuring the first-hand accounts of veterans who flew over occupied Europe and Germany, the documentary sees ex-RAF pilot Colin preparing to fly Britain’s last airworthy Lancaster.
The weekday series charting the history of sport in Britain continues. This week’s subjects include the sense of freedom that Victorian public schoolgirls found on the playing field, the creation of the Football Association in 1863 and how sports spread through the empire. Presented by Clare Balding. Don’t forget there’s an omnibus edition on Fridays (9.00pm).
In a new weekday series, John Craven and Jules Hudson take a trio of journeys in search of those dedicated to saving Britain’s oldest buildings, monuments, landscapes, crafts and even foods. The duo’s first journey takes them down the Pennines and highlights include a visit to a Halifax mill that’s taken on a new lease of life.
It’s Diamond Jubilee year. Accordingly, Andrew Marr presents a three-part series that profiles Queen Elizabeth II. In the first episode, the journalist considers the early years of a woman who never expected to ascend to the throne as a girl – until the abdication crisis intervened.
Gus Casely-Hayford traces the history of South Africa’s Zulu kingdom. The documentary is in great part a consideration of King Shaka, a notorious warrior-royal who greatly expanded Zulu territory. The historian also looks back at Zulu clashes with the Boers and the British.
On 16 June 1976, South African police fired on students in Soweto. A peaceful protest turned into a bloodbath. The excellent series on the struggle against apartheid look at how a new generation of leaders, notably Steve Biko, took up the fight in the 1970s.
Continuing his series on military logistics, Saul David looks at the business of moving fighting men around. It’s often the detail here that’s telling: in 1812, Napoleon hit problems because of the wrong type of horseshoe. Closer to the present day, there are stories of D-Day and the Falklands.