History TV and radio in the UK: what's on our screens this week?
Can't decide which shows to watch or listen to this week? Here are the latest history radio and TV programmes airing in the UK that you won't want to miss
Digging For Britain
Sunday 5th February, 8pm
Professor Alice Roberts rounds up some of the most recent and significant archaeological work in eastern England. First up, that means heading for Rutland and a Roman mosaic initially uncovered in 2021. Plus 10,000-year-old hunting tools and fortifications built during the reign of Henry VIII.
The Royals: A History Of Scandals
Monday 6th February, 9pm
Down the years, Britain’s monarchs have often behaved badly. The second episode in a four-part series on royal scandals finds Professor Suzannah Lipscomb explaining why Charles II was dubbed “the merry monarch”. Plus a marriage scandal that put a royal in the witness box, and a story involving a prince and a brothel.
The Essay: Stories To Keep Space For On The Bookshelves
Monday 6th February, 9pm, 10.45pm
Over five weekday episodes, New Generation Thinkers speak up for writers they think are worthy of more attention. Sarah Dillon kicks things off by focusing on American Philip Wylie (1902–71), whose work encompassed science fiction, mysteries and satire. Just why did military intelligence arrest Wylie in 1944?
Tuesday 7th February, 9pm
With the help of forensic pathologist Brett Lockyer, Professor Alice Roberts examines the final days and death of Charles II. Be warned, this isn’t a show for the squeamish, featuring as it does what’s described as an “as real” autopsy. Next week: Elizabeth I.
Drama: 50 Berkeley Square
Wednesday 8th February, 2.15pm
Based on her own acclaimed short play, which had its premiere at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2020, Sami Ibrahim’s spooky drama is a story within a story that jumps between the present day and 1840. Its location is a real-life Mayfair townhouse around which ghost stories have long swirled.
In Our Time
Thursday 9th February, 9am
Melvyn Bragg and learned guests discuss chartism. Talking its name from the People’s Charter of 1838, a document that set out chartism’s main demands, this was a primarily working-class movement that campaigned for political reforms, including secret ballots and payment for MPs, and greater democracy.
Cupid Loves Eros – pick of the week
Thursday 9th February, 11.30am
It’s Valentine’s week, a cue for crime writer Val McDermid to explore the history of queer love poetry. While some of the verse deals with such subjects as hostility to same-sex relationships, there’s also verse that conveys the universal joy at being in love.
Drama: Nazis: The Road To Power
Thursday 9th February, 2.15pm
The series charting how the Nazis took control of Germany continues. Those we meet today include New York Post journalist Dorothy Thompson, who famously called Hitler “the very prototype of the little man”, and Joseph Goebbels, at a time when he was busy fomenting street disturbances in Berlin.
Thursday 9th February, 9pm
Penultimate episode of the historical drama and, at last, the queen is pregnant. This should be a joyous occasion, but a pornographic pamphlet showing Marie in bed with her alleged lover is doing the rounds, leading to Louis distancing himself from his wife.
Thursday 9th February, 9pm
Based on Nick Hornby’s novel, here’s a new comedy-drama that stars Gemma Arterton as Barbara Parker, a Blackpool beauty queen who heads for London in the hope of becoming a star. But down south, showbiz opportunities, at least initially, are hard to come by.