TV & Radio
TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
Prior to going on hiatus until later in the summer, Michael Wood’s excellent series charts events in the 14th and 15th centuries. The Black Death arrives in England, bringing great hardship, yet in the aftermath of death and disease a new middle class begins to emerge.
In 1978, punk’s DIY spirit unleashed a new generation of bands. The likes of Gang of Four, Scritti Politti and the Pop Group made spiky, radical music, as the final part of Punk Britannia explores. Also listen out for A Punk Tale Of Two Cities (6Music, Sunday 17 June, 8.00pm), which considers punk’s roots in London and New York.
The latest omnibus edition of the series exploring the tension between doubt and faith down the centuries covers such subjects as the romantic poets and the work of Darwin. The series continues to its conclusion next week (weekdays, 1.45pm). Also on Radio 4, The New Elizabethans (weekdays, 12.45pm) continues, with profiles of Francis Crick and Doris Lessing.
In May 1937, 4,000 children were evacuated from Bilbao because of the Spanish Civil War. Many never returned home because no relatives living could be found. Also today, listen out for the last episode in the current series of Things We Forgot To Remember (8.00pm, Radio 4), which tells how the Allies gained crucial information on German night fighters.
Part of a season of shows on the capital, here’s a three-part documentary series that gathers together archive material. First up, scenes from the West End. Also this week on BBC Four, Joely Richardson On Shakespeare’s Women: Shakespeare Uncovered (Tuesday 19th June, 8.30pm) finds the actor discussing female characters in Twelfth Night and As You Like It.
Niall Ferguson gives the first of four lectures on the different institutions that shape our lives. In The Human Hive, the economic historian considers constitutions, a talk keyed off by a less-than-snappy piece of graffito in Libya: “We want a constitutional role and for the president to have less authority and the four-year presidential term should not be extended.”
Another week, another traipse. This time around the comedian follows the pilgrimage route from Holywell to St Davids. Expect foraging, walking barefoot and crossing fast-flowing rivers as Griff Rhys Jones and fellow travellers try to get in a medieval penitence mindset.
Back in the Victorian era, philanthropist Charles Booth thought North London’s Caledonian Road to be a grim place. Despite such ominous local landmarks as Pentonville Prison, residents think somewhat differently and have fought to hold their community together down the years.
In an excellent new series, barrister and former prison chaplain Harry Potter traces the history of the English justice system. The first of three episodes begins in the Anglo-Saxon era and ends with the beginning of the jury system in the wake of Magna Carta.
Brendan Walker looks back at the invention of the teenager as we now know him/her. The 1950s was a crucial time here, he argues, because such delights as transistor radios, 45rpm singles and hairspray enabled the young to turn their bedrooms into havens for adult-unfriendly rebellion.
To understand the work of William Shakespeare, argues Simon Schama, you need to understand the times through which the playwright lived and the way he dramatised his own world. An excellent two-part series begins with the Bard and ideas of Englishness, as seen through the history plays and, in particular, the rotund figure of Sir John Falstaff.
It’s 40 years since David Bowie unleashed his glam rock masterpiece on the world. Narrated by Jarvis Cocker, this documentary charts the recording of the album and considers its continuing influence on our wider culture. Interviewees include Marc Almond and Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet fame.
The series about life behind the scenes at some of the world’s great museums returns. First up, it’s off to the Imperial War Museum. Also on Yesterday this week, Who Betrayed The Bomber Boys? (Thursday 28 June, 9.00pm) explores the experiences of those who served with RAF Bomber Command in the Second World War.