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Dr Ian Mortimer’s series on life in the 16th century concludes with the story of a new section within English society: the middle classes. It’s in great part a tale of urbanisation and education, told with plenty of references to one William Shakespeare.
Another week of visits to buildings important to British history, with destinations ranging from a Liverpool semi central to the story of music through to a castle that was the scene for a battle of the sexes. Hosted by Michael Buerk and Bettany Hughes. Celebrity contributors include Ricky Tomlinson, Twiggy and Ann Widdecombe.
Michael Portillo presents an omnibus edition of the show about Britain in the era before the outbreak of the First World War. The series continues on weekdays from Monday 17 June (1.45pm) with an episode that focuses on industrial unrest.
Professor Steven Fielding considers visions of the future that display an unease with the British political system. Drawing on the archives, it’s a documentary that encompasses George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Alan Moore’s V For Vendetta comic and TV series such as Edge Of Darkness.
Charles Babbage (1791–1871) is credited with inventing the first mechanical computers. As David Pownall’s new play relates, he endured the bitter frustration of losing crucial government funding for his work developing an ‘analytical engine’, but persevered nonetheless. The play also explores his working relationship and friendship with Lord Byron’s daughter, mathematician Ada Lovelace.
How would the Wars of the Roses have played out from the perspective of women who were at the centre of events? It’s a question that’s central to a lavish new adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s historical novels. In the first episode, young widow Elizabeth Woodville meets Edward IV, an encounter that will have a profound effect on England’s future.
It’s not quite a history series, but there’s plenty on genealogy in a series that aims to reunite people with relatives they haven’t seen for years. In the first of nine episodes, 69-year-old Sue seeks the daughter she gave up for adoption when she was just 19. Hosted by Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell.
Ros Savill, former director of the Wallace Collection, offers an appreciation of Sèvres porcelain. The pieces she views will strike many as too opulent and ostentatious. Nevertheless, they have much to say about 18th-century France and an unequal society heading for revolution.
Professor Jerry White looks at the history of HMP Brixton in the 1850s. With the transportation of prisoners to Australia being phased out, the authorities needed new accommodation for thousands of offenders. Brixton became a prison that housed only women inmates.
The Samurai have a reputation as honourable and aristocratic. But, suggests this drama-documentary, which tells the story of a peasant farmer who is forced to join a warlord’s army and rises through the ranks, there was a darker side to this warrior caste.