TV & Radio
TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
Taking Paul Gaugin’s painting Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? As his starting point, Richard Holloway, the former Bishop of Edinburgh, considers the relationship between faith and doubt over the past 3,000 years. Friday’s evening show is the omnibus edition of a series that runs to 20 episodes (1.45pm, weekdays).
The second episode of Michael Wood’s chronicle deals with the aftermath of the Dark Ages. It was a time when Britain’s national identities began to form. It was also an era when raiders who would later become colonists, the Vikings, threatened these isles.
Thirty-five years after the Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen was banned, the latest Britannia offering revisits the filth and the fury. The first of three documentaries covers the early part of the 1970s when, a necessary precursor to punk, pub rockers such as the magnificent Dr Feelgood stripped rock’n’roll back to its basics.
Lest it’s escaped your attention, the diamond jubilee weekend is upon us. Check the schedules for coverage of the pageantry. Meantime, art critic Alastair Sooke’s spin on the event involves looking at depictions of different monarchs, including Mary Tudor, Elizabeth I and Victoria, and exploring what they reveal about attitudes to women and power.
Nigel Havers, who played Lord Andrew Lindsay in Hugh Hudson’s Oscar-winning drama, looks back at the true-life stories of athletes Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell. Also tonight, 7/7: One Day In London (BBC Two, 9.00pm) remembers the terrible events on the morning after the capital won the race to host this year’s Olympics.
The Marshall Plan, which poured American money into Europe in part to create a bulwark against communism, helped rebuild the continent in the wake of the Second World War. Michael Portillo explores how different things might have been had the Morgenthau Plan, which aimed to turn Germany into a 'pastoral' region, been adopted.
Part of the Storyville strand, here’s a documentary that builds on historian Ronald Wright’s book A Short History of Progress. Wright’s central idea is that ‘progress’ is often a prelude to societal collapse, particularly dangerous at a time when we’re all essentially part of a huge global society.
Dr Lucy Worsley’s series concludes with a consideration of women at work and play during the Restoration era. This was a time when new opportunities opened up, particularly in the theatre where women were at last allowed to tread the boards. Enter Nell Gwyn.
How have London’s streets changed since 19th-century philanthropist Charles Booth charted their social conditions? Filmmaker Joseph Bullman’s new series focuses on six streets that tell wider stories. He begins with Deptford High Street, now rather shabby but once a prosperous shopping area. Much of this decline, the film contends, is down to slum clearances that destroyed long-established communities.
The comedian signs on as a deckhand aboard a traditional Thames sailing barge as it travels from Essex to London’s docks. It’s a way to explore how these boats once helped supply the capital by bringing in vital supplies. Root vegetables, we learn, were used as ballast.