TV & Radio
TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
Who were the Ninjas? According to this one-off documentary, they were kind of anti-Samurai, fighters for hire looked down upon to the extent that even now Ninja ancestry is regarded as shameful. It’s a story brought to life in part by focusing on Ninja Tanba, one of the most feared warriors in ancient Japan.
In 1963, aged just 18, Mandy Rice-Davies was at the centre of the Profumo Affair. Scripted by Charlotte Williams, here’s a play that finds Rice-Davies looking back at how she became involved in the scandal, a story that begins with her running away at the age of 16 and becoming a dancer. Aimee Ffion-Edwards plays the younger Rice-Davies.
The composer focuses on the era when modernism arrived in music in a show that encompasses, among others, Satie, Mahler and Stravinsky. Also this week, The Sound and the Fury: A Century of Music (BBC Four, Tuesday 26 February, 9.00pm) concludes by exploring how American composers tried to reintroduce rhythm and harmony in classical music.
The experts dig at the remains of a Norman castle, in Dundrum, Down, an area once controlled by knight John de Courcy. Also today, look out for Beat the Ancestors (Five, 6.10pm), a new series that see engineers rebuilding historical machines, beginning with the curiously named ribauldequin, a kind of medieval gun.
The Rev Richard Coles concludes his series on sin by looking at redemption and purification. It’s a theme he explores by visiting Lincoln Cathedral, scene of many medieval pilgrimages, and through discussions with environmental activists, who find redemption a useful idea when considering our relationship with the natural world.
The de Havilland Comet was the world’s first jet airliner, a triumph for British engineering when it entered service in 1952. Then the planes were involved in a series of fatal crashes. For those with satellite, US genealogy series Finding Your Roots (PBS America, 8.00pm) is well worth a look.
Nick Robinson, the BBC’s political editor, explores the relationship between politicians and broadcasters. For an eight-part weekday series, Robinson begins by looking at the BBC’s earliest years, learning how, despite John Reith’s efforts to safeguard the corporation’s independence, its impartiality was questioned during the 1926 general strike.
There have been moments when Stephen Poliakoff’s 1930s-set drama has been infuriatingly oblique, but it’s never been less than fascinating. Tonight, the story concludes with a feature-length episode. As Stanley devises a plan to get Louis out of the country, Masterson offers a reward for the musician’s capture.
Henry V had ambitions to secure the French throne for his heirs by conquering the country. As Dr Janina Ramirez outlines in the final part of her series on the Hundred Years’ War, things didn’t work out as Henry hoped, in part because of the actions of a peasant girl, Joan of Arc.
John Sergeant, who seems to be developing a sideline in aviation history, charts the story of the Sea King helicopter, which came into service in 1969. It’s a tale that encompasses the Falklands conflict, when Prince Andrew flew a Sea King, and the many thousands who have been saved during helicopter search-and-rescue missions.