History TV and radio: what’s on next week? (20–26 April 2019)

Can't decide which shows to watch or listen to this week? Here are 10 history radio and TV programmes airing in the UK that you won't want to miss...

The Importance of Being Oscar. (Image by BBC/IWC Media)

Pick of the week

The Importance Of Being Oscar

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BBC Two

Saturday 20 April, 9.00pm

The life of Oscar Wilde has been endlessly revisited. Nonetheless, this fine documentary finds unfamiliar angles by seeking to place Wilde’s career within the context of the times through which he lived, rather than seeing him as an extraordinary one-off figure. Featuring contributions from Stephen Fry and Wilde’s grandson, Merlin Holland, plus scenes from Wilde’s work.

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Britain’s Viking Graveyard

Channel 4

Easter Day, 8.00pm

During the ninth century, thousands of Norsemen stormed ashore in the UK. Yet they left surprisingly few traces, all of which made the location of a mass Viking grave beneath a vicarage garden in Derbyshire especially important. This documentary follows excavations at the site.

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Victoria

ITV

Easter Day, 9.00pm

Victoria (Jenna Coleman) and Albert (Tom Hughes) are concerned about the situation in Ireland and so decides to pay a visit, staying at the estate of Lord Palmerston (Laurence Fox). There, the royal couple are scandalised by the the louche Palmerstons’ marital arrangements.

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A House Through Time. (Image by BBC/Andrew Hayes-Watkins)
A House Through Time. (Image by BBC/Andrew Hayes-Watkins

A House Through Time

BBC Two

Easter Monday, 9.00pm

Newcastle in the early 20th century and the house on Ravensworth Terrace, run by single mother Grace Eagle, has become a spot where theatrical types lodge. With the outbreak of war in 1914, though, Eagle’s family hits problems, thanks to its members being classed as “foreign”. Presented by David Olusoga.

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The Long View

Radio 4

Tuesday 23 April, 9.00am & 9.30pm

The series in which Jonathan Freedland looks for parallels between the past and present returns. His first subject is Brexit. What might tension between King Offa of Mercia and Charlemagne, King of the Franks, in AD 796, have to teach us about our current situation?

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Looking For Rembrandt

BBC Four

Tuesday 23 April, 9.00pm

The account of Rembrandt’s life reaches his final years. It’s the tale of a man desperate for cash after being forced to declare bankruptcy, and forced to take on commissions that his former pupils have rejected. We also see how he came to be an unflinching chronicler of the ageing process.

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In Our Time

Radio 4

Thursday 25 April, 9.00am

The name of Nero has become synonymous with madness and folly. But what do the experts make of the Roman emperor, who ruled between AD 54 and 68? Melvyn Bragg chairs as academic experts look back at Nero’s life and times.

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Drama: My Friend, Marie Antionette

Radio 4

Thursday 25 April, 2.15pm

In 1793, an imprisoned Marie Antionette faces inevitable execution. As she waits, she begins to bond with the maid who attends her, 19-year-old Rosalie Lamorlière. Carine Adler’s drama charts their relationship and draws on a 19th-century account written by historian Lafont d’Aussonne, who is said to have interviewed Lamorlière.

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Happy Birthday OU: 50 years Of The Open University

BBC Four

Thursday 25 April, 9.00pm

Sir Lenny Henry, once an OU student himself, presents a celebration of an institution that has educated more than two million students. Expect plenty on the OU’s history, including of course, footage of late-night lectures given by men and women dressed in the height of 1970s fashion. Suffice to say not all of these outfits have aged well.

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The Looming Tower. (Image by BBC/Hulu/JoJo Whilden)
The Looming Tower. (Image by BBC/Hulu/JoJo Whilden)

The Looming Tower

BBC Two

Friday 26 April, 9.30pm

At the end of the 20th century, the CIA and FBI were aware of the growing threat posed by al-Qaeda. So why wasn’t the catastrophe of 9/11 prevented? This fact-based, 10-part drama tells a story of opportunities missed. A starry cast includes Jeff Daniels and Peter Sarsgaard.

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