War And Peace
Sunday 17th January, 9.00pm
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.
Storyville: The Golden Age Of Circus – The Show Of Shows
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.
(BBC/Sagafilm Crossover National Fairground Archive/University of Sheffield)
Immortal Egypt With Joann Fletcher
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.
The Long View
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.
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.
(BBC/Wall to Wall/Joe Sarah)
Empire Of The Tsars: Romanov Russia With Lucy Worsley
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.
In Our Time
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.
Raising The Dead
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.
Pick of the Week…
The Story Of China
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.