Friday 1st May, 9.00pm
In an Antipodean version of The Crimson Field, five nurses find themselves in Egypt treating casualties from Gallipoli. Also with a Great War theme this week, 1914-18: The Cultural Front (Radio 4, Saturday 3rd May, 10.30am) concludes its latest run; while Drama: Tommies (Radio 4, Monday 4th May, 2.15pm) continues to chart life and death on the Western Front.
Archive On 4: The Language Of Pain
Saturday 2nd May, 8.00pm
With the help of the archives, Professor Joanna Bourke explores the troubles people have describing pain. It’s a documentary inspired in great part by Virginia Woolf, who remarked that England had a rich vocabulary for love and tragedy, but not physical ailments.
Walt Whitman’s War
Sunday 3rd May, 4.30pm
In 1862, Walt Whitman went to serve as an army nurse in the American civil war. This documentary explores the impact of the conflict on the poet’s worldview. Also listen out for the Alastair Cooke Memorial Lecture (Radio 4, Tuesday 5th May, 9.00am), which finds historian David Blight discussing how the civil war affected race relations in the US.
Sunday 3rd May, 9.00pm
A new six-part drama follows the lives of a group of women involved with the Women’s Institute in rural Cheshire during the second world war. We begin in 1939, with local bigwig Joyce Cameron (Francesca Annis) deciding to wind up the WI for the duration of hostilities. Frances Barden (Samantha Bond) leads those who disagree with this idea.
Pick of the Week…
VE Day: Remembering Victory
Monday 4th May, 8.30pm
On 8 May 1945, Winston Churchill announced the end of the war in Europe. Street parties broke out spontaneously all over Britain. National treasures, including David Attenborough, Honor Blackman, Michael Parkinson and Cleo Laine, share their memories of the day.
Monday 4th May, 9.00pm
A new series finds experts looking anew at some of the world’s best-preserved mummies. We begin with a 2,300-year-old body discovered in a central Irish bog in 2003, when it was accidentally exhumed in the claws of a peat digger.
24 Hours In The Past
Tuesday 5th May, 9.00pm
The celebrities’ second challenge is to work in a Victorian coaching inn. Once upon a time, such establishments, the motorway services of their day, would have been dotted along main routes across the country. Grooming horses, cleaning coaches and emptying chamber pots all turn out to be hard work.
Wednesday 6th May, 8.30pm
Griff Rhys Jones and guests head for the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, where the collections include antiquities, illuminated manuscripts, and paintings by the likes of Constable, Hogarth and Gainsborough. Plus more obscure items, to be perused by Marcus du Sautoy, Lars Tharp, Janina Ramirez and Ayla Lepine.
Sappho: Love And Life On Lesbos With Margaret Mountford
Wednesday 6th May, 9.00pm
The former Apprentice advisor, it turns out, has a PhD in papyrology. Which makes her a surprisingly apt choice to go beyond the legend of Sappho and, with the aid of a newly discovered papyrus, learn more about “the first authentic woman’s voice in western history”.
The Folk Of The Pennines
Thursday 7th May, 11.30am
Mark Radcliffe celebrates 50 years of the Pennine Way by travelling from Derbyshire to Scotland via the route, and meeting up with musicians and poets along the way. In the first of three episodes, he hooks up with Simon Armitage to discuss the final resting of Sylvia Plath.