TV & Radio
TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
Dr Ian Mortimer considers the lives of the rich and famous during the 16th century. It was a time when money in itself was not enough to be accepted at the royal court. Etiquette matters loomed large for those who wanted to penetrate the highest echelons of society.
In a new five-part series, celebrities visit buildings important within wider British history. First up, Anthony Horowitz sees a gothic house of horror that helped to inspire Arthur Conan Doyle, while Michael Portillo sees a railway carriage hidden inside a seemingly ordinary bungalow. Presented by Michael Buerk and Bettany Hughes.
Writer Tarek Osman traces how cafés have helped to shape politics and culture in the Middle East. Visiting vandalised yet still open coffee houses on the outskirts of Tahrir Square, Osman explores how these seemingly conservative local establishments often function as local centres for the free exchange of sometimes revolutionary ideas.
With the help of 3D aerial photographs from the archives, Dan Snow looks at the meticulous planning and preparation that went into the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944. The two-part documentary on Operation Overlord concludes on Monday 10 June (9.00pm), when, among other highlights, the historian meets British soldiers who landed on Sword beach.
According to one version of history, the outbreak of war in 1914 brutally swept away a harmonious, ‘green and pleasant’ Britain. Really? In a 10-part weekday series, Michael Portillo shows us a nation where many of the changes in society attributed to the Great War were already underway.
The geographer concludes his series on British towns by visiting Enniskillen, Fermanagh. It’s a place all too often solely associated with the Remembrance Day atrocity of 1987, but Crane discovers a vibrant town where there are thriving independent shops and forward-looking entrepreneurs aplenty.
Professor Jerry White presents a two-part documentary looking at the 19th-century history of HMP Brixton. In its earliest days, he discovers, the prison pioneered the use of the treadmill, introduced in part as a response to public fears that inmates weren’t being punished sufficiently by being locked up.
Professor Catharine Edwards concludes her series on women who wielded power in ancient Rome. This week’s subjects, who lived in the first three centuries AD, include a slave who became an imperial consort, Caenis, the Syrian empress Julia Domna and Emperor Constantine’s mother, Helena.
Bristol University’s Professor Ronald Hutton takes a tour of some of Britain’s more unusual museums. He begins with Dennis Severs’ House in Spitalfields, a Georgian terraced house where the rooms are ‘still-lives’ that recreate the living conditions of Londoners from previous eras.
Clare Balding joins writer Robert Macfarlane on a hike along the Ickenield Way in Cambridgeshire. It’s a walk that illuminates many of the themes in Macfarlane’s superb travel book, The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot, about the ancient routes that criss-cross Britain.
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.