History TV and radio: what’s on next week (19-25 May 2018)

Can't decide which shows to watch or listen to next week? Here are 10 programmes you won't want to miss...

A Very English Scandal. (BBCBlueprint Television Ltd)

Archive On 4: Commuterville

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BBC Radio 4

Saturday 19 May, 8.00pm

It is, apparently, 175 years since the word ‘commuter’ was first used, derived from regular train travellers into Manhattan being given the opportunity to ‘commute’ individual tickets into a season pass. Matthew Sweet travels into the archives to contrast the reality of the daily trudge to and from suburbia with an imagined, sci-fi-tinged world of fantasy journeys.

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Queen Victoria And Her Tragic Family

Channel 5

Saturday 19 May, 9.20pm

The first episode in a new three-part series about Victoria and co focuses on the years after the death of Albert, here told as the story of how – one after the other – her children rebelled against their mother. Plus did Princess Louise, Victoria and Albert’s sixth child, have an illegitimate baby with her brother’s tutor?

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A Very English Scandal

BBC One

Sunday 20 May, 9.00pm

Adapted from John Preston’s book of the same name, Russell T Davies’ new drama focuses on the former Liberal leader, Jeremy Thorpe, and the fallout from his 1960s affair with a young stable hand, Norman Scott. As Thorpe’s political stock rises, the relationship becomes a secret Thorpe is desperate to keep. A post-romcom Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw add star power.

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Pick of the week

The Invention Of The Netherlands

BBC Radio 4

Monday 21 May, 8.00pm

In a new three-part series, Misha Glenny charts the story of the Netherlands, exploring not just Holland but the Benelux area that encompasses such centres of trade as Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels and Bruges. First up, should we see this region as a country? And if so, when did it begin?

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Classified Britain

BBC Radio 4

Wednesday 23 May, 9.30am

In the latest instalment of the series looking at history via newspaper small ads, James Naughtie peruses the South London Press of 19 June 1897. Ahead of Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, he finds ads for a sea trip to witness the review of the fleet at Spithead and, reflecting a housing boom, columns of ‘buy-to-let’ opportunities.

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Thinking Allowed

BBC Radio 4

Wednesday 23rd May, 4.00pm

It’s 40 years since the then hugely controversial drama Law And Order, which depicted a corrupt criminal justice system, was first broadcast by the BBC. In the sociological discussion series, Laurie Taylor and guests, including scriptwriter GF Newman, discuss the show’s impact and legacy.

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Secrets Of The Third Reich

Yesterday

Wednesday 23 May, 8.00pm

There have long been rumours that, hidden somewhere in the mountains of south-west Poland, there lies hidden a train loaded with treasure looted by the Nazis. Could this be true? This first episode in a two-parter exploring the “last secrets” of the Third Reich aims to find out.

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Big Sky, Big Dreams, Big Art: Made In The USA

BBC Four

Wednesday 23 May, 9.00pm

As expansive as his subject, Waldemar Januszczak tells the story of art in the US. In the first of three episodes, he discusses the impact of the country’s vast landscapes on American artists, a discussion that takes in the Hudson river school, Jackson Pollock and work by native Americans.

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In Our Time

Radio 4

Thursday 24 May, 9.00am

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Margaret Of Anjou (1430–82). Married to Henry VI, she was twice queen of England and – not least because she hoped her son, Edward, would one day sit on the throne – a key figure in the Wars of the Roses.

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Nicholas And Alexandra

Yesterday

Thursday 24 May, 8.00pm

Dr Suzannah Lipscomb presents a two-part profile of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, and his wife. It’s the story of a devoted marriage, but also of a couple too remote from the lives of their subjects to understand the forces that would eventually engulf and overwhelm them.

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