Archive On 4: A Brief History Of Strangers

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Radio 4

Saturday 13th July, 8pm

Satirist Joe Queenan considers the experiences both of being a stranger and encountering a stranger. His guests include comedian Alexei Sayle, presenter of radio series Strangers On A Train, in which the comedian talks to strangers while riding the rails, and Professor Edith Hall, who discusses the Greek word xeno – which can mean friend, alien and guest.

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Jay Blades: The West End Through Time

Channel 5

Saturday 13th July, 9pm

Repair Shop host Jay Blades has lately expanded his broadcasting repertoire to include social history series. Here, having previously explored London’s East End, he heads up west, where he learns about the origins of the West End, visits Fortum and Mason, and hears about the birth of theatre-land during the reign of Charles II.

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Sunday Feature: Music Of The Vikings

Radio 3

Sunday 14th July, 7.15pm

What did Viking tunes sound like? Enlisting the assistance of Norwegian composer, musician and instrument maker Einar Selvik, historian Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough attempts to craft a Norse song setting. Along the way, Barraclough draws on clues such as a fragment of musical notation that lets her sing a Viking lullaby.

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Ibiza Narcos

Sky Documentaries

Sunday 14th July, 10pm

The series tracing the history of Ibiza’s club and drug culture reaches the 1990s. It was a decade when the island’s reputation as a party hub steadily grew and ecstasy use was endemic. As we also learn, the scene’s hedonism led to tragedies and, because dealing was a lucrative trade, attracted organised crime.

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The Human Subject – pick of the week

Radio 4

Sunday 14th July, 11pm

Doctors Adam Rutherford and Julia Shaw present a 10-part series that links modern medicine back to its sometimes brutal origins. We begin with the grisly tale of Alexis St Martin (1802–80), whose unhealed stomach wound helped surgeon William Beaumont (1785–1853) to build a better understanding of gastric juices and digestion.

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Escape From The Maze

Radio 4

Monday 15th July, 1.45pm

In 1983, 38 IRA men escaped from the Maze Prison, supposedly a high-security facility, a huge propaganda coup for the paramilitaries. How could this ever have happened? Over 10 weekday episodes, writer Carlo Gebler traces the story of the biggest jailbreak in British history.

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The Great

Channel 4

Monday 15th July, 10pm & 11.10pm

Another double bill of the excellent comedy-drama begins with Catherine seeking to outlaw murder in Russia. Not too controversial you might think, except that Peter has a plan to take action against an enemy. In the second of the evening’s episode, the duo clash over childcare.

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Drama: Almond And Raisins

Radio 4

Tuesday 16th July, 2.15pm

Adapted by Adam Usden from Maisie Mosco’s novel, this three-part drama tells the story of the Sandbergs, Jewish refugees who have fled Russia to escape persecution. We begin in Strangeways, Manchester in 1905. While Avraham, a cobbler from Dvinsk, hunts for work, his wife, Sarah, dreams of her own home. Continues Wednesday and Thursday.

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Daley: Olympic Superstar

BBC Two

Tuesday 16th July, 9pm

Daley Thompson was once an international star, a double Olympic gold medalist whose name even now evokes the early 1980s. In more recent years, we have rarely heard from him, in great part because, as this profile made with Thompson’s cooperation paradoxically reveals, he is reluctant to play the media game.

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David Olusoga Remembers… Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners

BBC Four

Tuesday 16th July, 9pm

The historian looks back at his 2015 documentary, which shone a light on Britain’s central role in the slave trade. Followed by the first part Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners (9.15pm), which explores how the wealth of those who ‘owned’ other human beings shaped Britain.

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