TV & radio: what to tune in to next week (17–21 January 2016)

Can't decide what programmes to watch or listen to? Here are 9 you won't want to miss...

Programme Name: Story of China - TX: n/a - Episode: The Story of China - generics (No. Generics) - Picture Shows: ...in the Humble Administrator's Garden, Suzhou Michael Wood - (C) Maya Vision International - Photographer: Jeremy Jeffs

War And Peace
BBC One
Sunday 17th January, 9.00pm

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Episode three of the BBC’s lavish Leo Tolstoy adaptation finds cuckolded Pierre challenging Dolokhov to a duel. A meeting in a snowy clearing, where men can be men and shoot at each other, beckons. Elsewhere, Helene decides to re-enter society, while Andrei goes in the opposite direction and shuts himself away in the countryside.

Find out more here.

Storyville: The Golden Age Of Circus – The Show Of Shows
BBC Four
Sunday 17th January, 9.00pm

Drawing on rare footage, filmmaker Benedikt Erlingsson’s documentary gathers together images of circus performers, vaudeville acts and fairground attractions from the 19th and 20th centuries. As we’re taken back to the age of freak shows, not all the images make for comfortable viewing. Icelandic band Sigur Rós provide the soundtrack.

Find out more here.

(BBC/Sagafilm Crossover National Fairground Archive/University of Sheffield)

Immortal Egypt With Joann Fletcher
BBC Two
Monday 18th January, 9.00pm

The Egyptologist reached the age of Amenhotep III, the greatest of pharaohs. But it’s not all about the lives of the great and good as Fletcher also considers the experiences of those who built the Valley of the Kings. We also learn how the years that followed the death of Tutankhamun were a time of decline.

Find out more here.

The Long View
Radio 4
Tuesday 19th January, 9.00am

Jonathan Freedland explores the rise of Donald Trump through the prism of 20th-century Americans who similarly reached huge audiences. Also today, listen out for The Manchester Ballads (Radio 4, 11.30am), in which folk singer Eliza Carthy explores the world of 19th-century broadside ballads and hunts for a song to add to her repertoire.

Find out more here.

Victorian Bakers
BBC Two
Tuesday 19th January, 8.00pm

The living history series about the preparation of our daily bread reaches the end of the Victorian era, and finds the modern-day bakers recreating life in an elegant shop on the high street. Steam ovens and an electric dough mixer make day-to-day working life much less physically demanding.

Find out more here.

(BBC/Wall to Wall/Joe Sarah)

Empire Of The Tsars: Romanov Russia With Lucy Worsley
BBC Four
Wednesday 20th January, 9.00pm

And so to the final years of Romanov rule, which ultimately came to an end amidst the chaos unleashed by Russia’s suffering during the Great War. Charting the dynasty’s demise, Lucy Worsley outlines how the later tsars, aside from assassinated Alexander II, were unable to make the necessary transition from autocrats to constitutional monarchs.

Find out more here.

In Our Time
Radio 4
Thursday 21st January, 9.00am

Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, which put forward the case for US independence from the British Empire, was published in 1776. It’s subsequently earned the political activist and philosopher the informal title of Father of the American Revolution. Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Paine’s hugely influential pamphlet.

Find out more here.

Raising The Dead
Radio 4
Thursday 21st January, 11.30am

For the past three decades, music teacher and pianist Francesco Lotoro has been collecting music written in concentration camps. As composer Adam Gorb discovers, he has found music by figures such as Hans Krasa, Viktor Ullman and Gideon Klein, all Jewish musicians killed by the Nazis.

Find out more here.

Pick of the Week…

The Story Of China
BBC Two
Thursday 21st January, 9.00pm

Michael Wood presents a six-part series tracing the history of the world’s newest superpower. He begins with the veneration of ancestors, a prelude to an investigation of China’s story that goes back to times when, in terms of stories being handed down, mythology and reality are difficult to untangle.

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Find out more here.