History TV and radio: what’s on next week? (17–23 August 2019)

Can't decide which shows to watch or listen to this week? Here are 8 history radio and TV programmes airing in the UK that you won't want to miss...

Peaky Blinders V. (Image by BBC/Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd 2019/Robert Viglasky)

World War 2: The Economic Battle

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Radio 4

Monday 19 August, 1.45pm

Journalist and former political advisor Duncan Weldon examines the Second World War efforts through an economic lens. The first episode will cover the state of the British economy up to 1940 and how well the country was prepared for war during the rise of fascism throughout Europe. Running at the same time throughout the week, Weldon will also discuss the economic states of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, France, China and Japan.

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Who Do You Think You Are – Katherine Ryan

BBC One

Monday 19 August, 9pm

In this instalment of Who Do You Think You Are, Canadian comedian Katherine Ryan returns to her home country on a genealogical quest. Her investigation takes her from Dorset in England to Canada’s Nova Scotia as she traces her ancestors who range from Methodist ministers to cod traders.

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Katherine Ryan on Who Do You Think You Are? (Image by BBC/Wall to Wall Media Ltd/Stephen Perry)
Katherine Ryan on Who Do You Think You Are? (Image by BBC/Wall to Wall Media Ltd/Stephen Perry)

Great lives

Radio 4

Tuesday 20 August, 4.30pm

Broadcaster Matthew Parris, actor Caroline Quentin and architectural critic Jonathan Glancey gather to discuss the life of Sir John Vanbrugh. Vanbrugh was the architect who designed Blenheim Palace, seat of the Churchill family but was also a dramatist who produced two Restoration comedies over his varied career. The three contributors are likely to discuss Vanbugh’s polarised reputation as both a pioneer of English Baroque architecture and asa controversial writer.

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Inside the Tower of London

Channel 5

Tuesday 20 August, 9pm

Chronicling the history and everyday running of the Tower of London, this documentary follows the staff of the 900-year-old Norman castle. In this first episode of the second series, the documentary will follow the retirement preparations of the tower’s director and the exercise routine of one of the few female Yeomen. The episode will also feature a segment covering the imprisonment in the tower of Princess Elizabeth, later Elizabeth I, under her sister Mary I.

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Anni Albers: A Life in Thread

BBC Four

Wednesday 21 August, 7.30pm

Textile artist Anni Albers was one of the most important figures in the Bauhaus art movement of the early 20th century, and her popularity spans from the 1940s to the present day. This programme documents how her aspirations changed from painting to textiles and print after a spiky encounter with Austrian painter Oskar Kokoschka. Thereafter, she became one of the world’s most prominent graphic designers with her work still being exhibited today.

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Betting with the Prince of Wales

Radio 3

Thursday 22 August, 1pm

In this week’s Composer of the Week on Radio 3, presenter Donald Macleod discusses the 18th-century French composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. As well as a prominent musician of his day, Saint-Georges was also quite the celebrity due to his flamboyant dress sense and status as a champion fencer. Macleod will discuss how the composer’s fondness for royalty jeopardised his safety during the French Revolution, while his celebrity status cemented his popularity in London.

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Poldark

BBC One

Sunday 25 August, 8pm

After much anticipation, the BBC has confirmed that the first part of the Cornish phenomenon’s finale will air on Sunday 25 August. Fans of the brooding character can enjoy the second part of the finale on Monday 26August. Having regularly attracted more than six million viewers since its debut in 2015, the end of the series bids farewell to one of the BBC’s most successful dramas of the last few years.

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Pick of the week

Peaky Blinders

BBC One

Sunday 25 August, 8pm

Immediately following the first half of the Poldark finale will be the first episode of the fifth series of the eagerly anticipated Peaky Blinders. Series four left the Birmingham crime drama at the general strike of 1926 as the Shelby family and supporting characters continued to adjust to life following the First World War.

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