TV & Radio
TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
Tony Robinson takes a hike along Dorset’s Jurassic coast, heading from Chesil Beach to Studland Bay. These are quiet places now but, as the presenter discovers, in the Second World War, this was an area in the front line of the war against Hitler.
Between the 1930s and 1970s, we Brits loved a good Western. But why were we so in thrall to cowboy tales? Samira Ahmed draws on the BBC archives as she explores a world of terrible racial stereotypes, where being Mexican is to be a sneaky baddie, and familiar archetypes such as the feisty lady rancher.
In November, the BBC will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first episode of Doctor Who being broadcast. Marking this momentous cultural milestone, Sue MacGregor brings together five people involved in the show’s early days, including Carole Ann Ford who played the Doctor's granddaughter and companion Susan.
The American genealogy series continues with Angela Buchdahl, Rick Warren and Yasir Qadhi tracing how religion helped shape their family histories. Also this week on PBS America, The Abolitionists (Monday–Wednesday, 9.00pm) charts the fight against the slave trade.
Sunday night is again period drama night, with Anthony Horowitz’s Foyle again investigating dark deeds in the immediate post-war era. On BBC One, meantime, The Village (9.00pm) continues, with scriptwriter Peter Moffat offering us some clues as to why a veil of sadness seems to hang over the Middletons.
Dr Lucy Worsley presents a three-part series exploring the physical and mental health of our royals down the centuries. She begins in the Tudor and Stuart eras, where she discusses Henry VIII’s troubles in fathering a male heir, Mary’s phantom pregnancies and sickly Charles I’s orthopaedic boots.
The excellent weeknight series on figures from the pre-Norman world returns. In the first of five talks this week, Barbara Yorke tells the story of Leoba, a pioneering British nun who became an abbess in Germany. Also this week, Michael Wood discusses Wynflaed, who left the earliest surviving woman’s will in British history.
In an episode entitled The Worker’s Coast, the emphasis is on those who have plied trades in coastal areas. Highlights include Nick Crane meeting the last man to work in Grimsby’s ice factory and Neil Oliver offering a retelling of the story of the Clydesdale shipbuilders’ work-in in 1971.
Adam Nicolson presents a new three-part series looking at the importance of writing in the 1600s. It was, he argues, the century when ordinary people began to write about their lives for the first time, in contrast to previous years when scribbling was the preserve of elites.
Ifor ap Glyn concludes his series by looking at religiously significant sites located underground. Followed by The High Art of the Low Countries (BBC Four, 9pm), in which Andrew Graham-Dixon looks at how an economic boom in the 17th century influenced ideas about oil painting. Expect canvasses by Rembrandt and Vermeer.
Jonathan Hyde stars as the scientific genius in an intriguing drama-documentary that focuses not just on Newton’s work in physics, but explores his interest in such arcane subjects as alchemy and heretical theology. Understandably, in his own lifetime, Newton wasn’t too keen for some of this work to be made public. Plus we learn about Newton’s feuds with contemporaries.