TV & Radio
TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
A month-long celebration of George Orwell begins with a dramatisation of his political fable. Also on Radio 4, listen out for Classic Serial: The Real George Orwell – Homage to Catalonia (Sunday 27 January, 3.00pm) and Book at Bedtime: The Real George Orwell – Down and Out in Paris and London (weeknights from Monday 28 January, 10.45pm).
In a new six-part series, the composer charts the history of music. In ‘The Age of Discovery’, he considers archaeological evidence that music was important to humanity during pre-history, before looking at Gregorian chant and the development of harmony during the medieval era.
The team explores Barrow Clump, a mound on Salisbury Plain that’s now in the middle of an army training ground, but in the Bronze Age was a burial site. Those helping out at the dig include wounded soldiers being trained in archaeology as part of their rehabilitation.
As director of the Centre for the History of Emotions at Queen Mary, University of London, Thomas Dixon is uniquely qualified to explore the story of blubbing. It’s a story that turns out to encompass, among other topics, Greek tragedies, the Bible, Mozart and Oscar Wilde’s writing for children.
Marking Holocaust Memorial Day, here’s a documentary featuring an interview with Henia Bryer, who survived four concentration camps but lost her father, brother and sister along the way. On More4, Britain’s Holocaust Survivors (8.00pm) hears from another trio who ultimately escaped the horrors of internment to bear witness.
Dr Jago Cooper looks for the truth behind the story of the lost city of gold, El Dorado. This turns out to involve taking a journey from Bogota, the capital of Colombia, down to the Caribbean coast, via mountains and thick jungle. Cooper’s on the hunt for evidence of the Muisca and Tairona civilisations, which flourished for centuries before the arrival of the Conquistadors.
The lofty historian concludes his excellent series by looking at how the British exported the notion of rail networks around the world. This had some unplanned for consequences: it was Brit railway workers who took association football to Argentina in the 1860s. Plus Snow looks at the role of railways in conflict.
Ever a contrarian, the writer and cultural commentator challenges preconceptions about Essex, preferring to emphasise the county’s rich history over modern-day bling. Also this week on BBC Four, Eyes Down! The Story of Bingo (Wednesday 30 January, 9.00pm) explores the social history of the gambling game that generated a vast industry.
Jolyon Jenkins looks back to 1982, when South African undercover police bombed the London HQ of the African National Congress. The attack took place because the apartheid-era authorities believed Britain was allowing communist terrorists to operate. As part of the programme, Jenkins talks to two of those involved in the bombing, their first recorded interviews.
Continuing their exploration of Brit ingenuity, Michael Moseley, Professor Mark Miodownik and Dr Cassie Newland turn their attention to the subject of speed. Broadcasting from the Rolls-Royce aero-engine factory in Derby, the trio consider the development of the steam locomotive, internal combustion engine and the jet engine.
In which the Gardeners’ World presenter gets behind the wheel of a 2CV and pootles around French greenspots. While Don takes plenty of time to stop and smell the Gallic flowers, there’s plenty of history here too as he traces the history of formal plots that show off money and power, including the grounds at Versailles.