Marking 150 episodes of the show that hears first-hand accounts of key moments in recent history, Sue MacGregor reunites five people who survived the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. Sharing their stories are Susan Pollack, Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, Freddie Knoller, Zigi Shipper and Lilly Ebert.
First shown on BBC Two Wales, Suzanne Packer narrates a documentary telling the story of John Patrick Crichton Stuart, the Marquess of Bute. It’s the tale of a Victorian-era blueblood who supported women’s rights and striking miners, and spent much of his fortune on fantastical castles.
Do two sketchbooks found in a shed in France feature the work of a young Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec? Philip Mould and Fiona Bruce follow another artistic detective trail. Also this week, in Britain’s Lost Masterpieces (BBC Four, Wednesday 22 August, 9pm), Dr Bendor Grosvenor explores whether an 18th-century portrait is the work of German painter Johann Zoffany.
The latest series of the celebrity genealogy show concludes with Paralympian Jonnie Peacock researching his family history. Two figures in particular emerge from the past: Peacock’s maternal grandfather, a keen footballer who might have become a professional; and a four-times great-grandmother who was, rather harshly, dubbed “a bad character”.
Artist and journalist Richard Butchins explores depictions of dwarfs through the centuries. Encompassing relics from antiquity, garden gnomes and the masterpieces of Diego Velazquez, it’s a documentary where one of the key themes is how those with dwarfism would like to be seen as just like everybody else.
The latest series of the show where the historian Peter Hennessy asks senior politicians to reflect on their lives and times concludes with Iain Duncan Smith. “The quiet man” discusses his family background as the sun of a celebrated Spitfire pilot, his military service in Northern Ireland, and his two years leading the Conservative Party between 2001 and 2003.
Patricia Greene, the actor who plays Jill Archer, speaks up Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, or Bess of Hardwick (c1527–1608) as she’s more usually known. Bess was, we learn, the richest woman in the country after Elizabeth I, yet she was often portrayed as a cold-hearted shrew. Dr Nigel Wright offers the expert’s perspective, Matthew Parris presents.
Dr Yasmin Khan explores the stories of some of those who came to Britain aboard SS Asturias in 1947. This was one of the first ships to sail from Bombay following independence and Petition, and passengers included the Arathoons, working-class Anglo-Indians worried about their futures.
Historian David Cannadine considers the career of Winston Churchill via his most famous prop, the cigar. Clenched between his jaws, it came to symbolise Churchill’s defiance and resolve. Nazi propaganda, on the other hand, sought to show Churchill’s cigar as a sign of decadence.
The latest series of the military drama set exactly a century ago concludes with an episode exploring the experiences of the black American soldiers who fought in France. When YMCA worker Mrs Adeline Washington discovers a secret about the US 371st Regiment, she has to get to the frontline, fast.
Dr George McGavin and material scientist Dr Zoe Laughlin poke about in one of the UK’s largest landfill sites, in part a way to explore how what we throw away tells us about our lives. There’s a historical element here too, as the duo undertake three ‘archaeological’ digs into historic landfills.