Professor Alice Roberts heads for Winchester to explore the Norman history of the city that William the Conqueror made the heart of his kingdom. This involves storming a castle while dressed in chain mail, learning about the history of surgery and tucking in to eel pie.
It’s three decades since work began on One Canada Square, the skyscraper colloquially known as Canary Wharf. Journalist Jane Martinson, who grew up in east London herself, looks back at its construction, and considers how the development of the Isle of Dogs has impacted on the area and its residents.
Imagine… Habaneros: You Say You Want A Revolution?
Saturday 21 April, 9.00pm
Julien Temple’s portrait of Cuba mixes archive material with footage shot over the past three years to explore the island’s history, and to gauge the mood of the people of Havana as Raúl Castro steps down as president. Concludes on Sunday on BBC Four (9.00pm).
In the 1970s, the Baader-Meinhof gang terrorised West Germany with a series of bombings, assassinations and hijackings. Those joining Sue MacGregor to look back at the gang’s story are ex-member Peter Jurgen Boock, former counter-terrorism chief Rainer Hofmeyer, radical lawyer Kurt Groenewold and journalist Stephan Aust.
The BBC’s latest classic serial is an elegant five-part adaptation of Wilkie Collins’ mystery, a tale of duplicity, madness, the pursuit of money and the unfair treatment of women within Victorian society. As proto-feminist Marian Halcombe, Jessie Buckley gets most of the best lines.
In the wake of the London Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, Jonny Dymond, BBC radio’s royal correspondent, considers the institution’s history. It’s a tale that goes back to the Victorian era of empire, and Dymond also considers current efforts to redefine the role of the Commonwealth.
Things get tougher for the nine remaining students as the living history series about Special Operations Executive training continues. This week they’re dropped in middle of the Highlands, where they’re schooled in techniques employed by the agents who were sent to thwart Nazi nuclear ambitions in Norway.
Janina Ramirez and Alastair Sooke head for Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. It’s a trading city where east and west meet – and the ancient and modern too. On the shores of the Caspian Sea, we’re shown architecture that recalls 19th-century Paris, prehistoric rock art and a museum devoted to rugs.
What should we do about buildings with controversial histories – repair them or let them deteriorate? It’s a question considered by Jonathan Glancey as he visits the Germany, where he sees the crumbling Nuremburg rally ground, and, closer to home, Clandon Park House in Surrey, built on the proceeds of slavery.
The art history series concludes with an episode that finds Simon Schama revisiting his central argument, that “societies become civilised to the extent that they take culture as seriously as the prosecution of power or the accumulation of wealth”. Should art be a place of escape or a way to grapple with a machine-driven and profit-hungry world?