TV & Radio
TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
Once upon a time, many saw 1pm as an opportunity for a hearty three-course meal – accompanied by champagne, port and brandy if you were Churchill and you had a war to win. Matthew Sweet trawls the archives to learn how we arrived at a sad situation where many don’t take lunch at all.
The series on ancient sites focuses on Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Also this week on satellite, History Of The World In Two Hours (History, Sunday 29 April, 9.00pm) tells the story of Earth from the Big Bang onwards (really), while World’s Toughest Expeditions With James Cracknell (Discovery, Sunday 28 April, 9.00pm) finds the rower paddling the Zambezi in Livingstone’s wake.
David Tennant stars as Prince Escalus in a new production of Shakespeare’s tragedy. Plus Shakespeare’s Restless World (Radio 4, weekdays from Monday 30 April, 1.45pm) continues with Neil MacGregor examining objects from the Bard’s time as a way to explore the era the playwright lived through.
Dominic Sandbrook reaches the years 1975-77 as he trawls through a decade where, he contends, modern Britain was forged. It was an era of casual sexism, a national humbling thanks to Denis Healey having to go to the IMF for a loan and, filth and fury time, the rise of punk.
James Shapiro looks at Shakespeare’s work in the aftermath of the 1605 gunpowder plot. These were edgy and brooding times, an atmosphere Shakespeare captured magnificently in Macbeth. As for the tragedy Coriolanus, turns out it was written against a backdrop of food riots in the Midlands.
In a new six-part series, celebrities trace the stories of family members who served in the Second World War. First up, TV presenter Chris Tarrant discovers how his father won the Military Cross and actor Lisa Faulkner learns about her grandfather’s service in the RAF.
In the final episode of what’s been an excellent series, the Cambridge classicist goes behind the closed doors of ancient Roman homes. She discovers a ménage à trios, an 11-year-old possibly worked to an early grave by pushy parents, and reflects again on Romans’ attitudes towards their slaves.
Historian Dr Lucy Worsley, in the company of expert Mark Hill, explores the stories behind antiques. A three-part series begins with the theme of entertainment. Expect tales of how the sofa has changed the way we behave, and even practical hints on how to make porcelain.
In a new series examining the importance of metal in British history, Dan Cruickshank asks why our forebears in the 18th and 19th centuries were so obsessed with silver. Along the way, Cruickshank sees some of the most extraordinary pieces of silverware ever to be made in Britain.
Did Shakespeare visit Italy? It’s a question half-seriously posed by architect and historian Francesco da Mosta as he explores his home country’s influence on the Bard. In Sicily, da Mosta has assistance from Emma Thompson as the duo discuss the court life that features so strongly in Much Ado About Nothing.