TV & Radio
TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
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.
With Oscar time approaching, Paul Gambaccini explores the stories of four movies that took the Best Picture gong. He begins with On The Waterfront, a dark tale of life on the New Jersey docks directed by Ella Kazan and starring Marlon “I coulda been a contender” Brando.
The composer turns his attention to the years between 1650 and 1750, a time of huge innovations in music: the orchestra, the overture, the piano and even modern tuning, which allowed composers to move easily from key to key. The work of Corelli, Vivaldi, Bach and Handel features, which can’t be bad.
The team heads for the Lake District. Here, Tony Robinson and co have to battle rain, wind and unstable trackways as they seek to excavate Elizabethan-era mines. Tudor miners we learn, were after copper deposits, although surprisingly little is known about the methods they employed.
Carrying a copy of Bradshaw’s Handbook for Tourists in Great Britain and Ireland, Michael Portillo heads to Eire. Over five weekday episodes, he travels from County Kerry to Galway on the Atlantic coast. First up, he samples foodie delicacies that would have appealed to 19th-century tourists.
Acclaimed writer and director Stephen Poliakoff returns with a new five-part drama. It’s set in London in the 1930s, when the arrival of an Afro-American jazz band in the capital shakes up the lives of a group of young aristocrats. Continues on Tuesday 5 February at 9.00pm.
The excellent series on ancient civilisations concludes with the story of the first South American empire. Searching for traces of the kingdom of Chimor, Dr Jago Cooper sees the vast ruins of an abandoned city in the desert on Peru’s coast.
In September 2012, a skeleton was discovered beneath a Leicester car park. Nothing too exceptional there, except there were also reports the remains were of Richard III, whose body had been lost for 500 years. A Time Team special follows the work of a team carrying out scientific tests designed to confirm or deny the body’s identity.
The series tracing the stories behind specific songs returns with an in-depth look at ‘Is That All There Is?’ by Leiber and Stoller, a huge hit for Peggy Lee in 1969. Also listen out for The People’s Songs (Radio 2, Wednesday 6 February, 10.00pm), which this week focuses on the cultural significance of ‘My Boy Lollipop’.
Chris Ledgard looks back at the founding of the London International Financial Futures and Financial Exchange in 1982. If that sounds a little dry, it’s perhaps worth noting the establishment of LIFFE helped transform the City and secure its position as a world finance centre – with all the good and ill that’s followed.
Michael Moseley, Professor Mark Miodownik and Dr Cassie Newland turn their attention to mass communication. The three key innovations under consideration are the electric telegraph, the telephone and wireless communications. The show is hosted from the BT National Network Control Centre, somewhat incongruously located in Shropshire.