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TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
Art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon and chef Giorgio Locatelli begin another gentle amble around Italy. Not surprisingly, the emphasis here is on paintings and food, but these often prove to be gateways to discussions of wider Italian history. First up, the duo explore Bologna.
Comedian Mark Steel takes a light-hearted look at the history of journalistic jaunts around Blighty. Marking 250 years since the birth of William Cobbett, he begins with the social reformer’s Rural Rides, but also takes in work by James Boswell, JB Priestley and George Orwell, and trips undertaken by broadcasters, including Alan Whicker.
Ken Follett’s sequel to The Pillars Of The Earth gets the big-budget TV adaptation treatment. Events begin in England, 1327, with Edward III taking control of the country. Meantime, in the town of Kingsbridge, an injured knight is offered shelter. Over on More4 tonight, look out for a two-part documentary, Ken Follett’s Journey into the Dark Ages (8.00pm).
Tony Robinson and co continue their digging in what’s scheduled to be the final full series of the archaeology show. This week, the team is atop a hill near Cardiff. The sire has long been identified a spot where an Iron Age fort was located, but was it also the ancient capital of south Wales?
Mark Urban concludes the story of six soldiers who fought through the second world war with the Fifth Royal Tank Regiment. In the wake of El Alamein, the men returned to Blighty to prepare for the invasion of Europe. Days spent fighting at close quarters in Normandy would follow.
Michael Portillo’s latest odyssey finds him making his way from Portsmouth to Grimsby. He begins by looking at how the Victorians prepared for a potential French invasion. Also, this week, Portillo visits Kew Gardens, admires 19th-century sewage pumps and visits Lincoln Cathedral.
In a new four-part series, Dr Jago Cooper traces the history of a quartet of ancient South American civilisations. He begins with the Chachapoya, the ‘People of the Clouds’, who lived in the Peruvian Andes and whose elaborate funeral rituals challenge assumptions about how our ancestors lived.
As part of BBC Two’s Genius Of Invention season, which will run throughout year, Jeremy Black explores how Britain came to be an industrialised and urban society. It’s a story that takes in coal reserves, empire, political liberalism and the influence of talented individuals such as Josiah Wedgwood.
The series exploring ordinary people’s links with the past returns with seven new episodes. Highlights to listen out for in the coming weeks include a report on whether the Renaissance began on 26 April 1336, around teatime. Hosted by Tom Holland and Helen Castor.
The saga of how the British railway system came to be built may in many respects be a familiar tale, but that doesn’t make it any less remarkable. In the first of three episodes, Dan Snow traces the origins of today’s vast network to ‘wagon ways’, horse-drawn carts on wooden tracks used to transport coal in the early 18th century.