TV & radio: what to tune in to next week (18-24 September)

Can't decide what programmes to watch or listen to? Here are 10 you won't want to miss...

l-r:  Fern Britton, Zoe Smith, Meg Mathews, Kirstie Alley, Louise Minchin

Sunday Feature: You’re Tearing Me Apart – Rebel Without a Cause at 60
Radio 3
Sunday 20 September, 6.45pm

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Marking six decades since the death of James Dean, Alan Dein considers whether the actor’s most famous film, released posthumously, retains its power. Also this week, Dotun and Dean (Radio 4, Thursday 24 September, 11.30am) finds Dotun Adebayo exploring why, as a black teenager growing up in the 1970s, he was obsessed with Dean.

Find out more here.

Time Crashers
Channel 4
Sunday 20 September, 8.00pm

This week, the celebs sample life as oystermen and fishwives circa 1885. As they get a huge order ready for London’s Billingsgate Market, it proves to be a tough gig. We also learn about the Victorian origins of the phrase “red herring”.

Find out more here.

The Go-Between
BBC One
Sunday 20 September, 9.00pm

The BBC’s season of adaptations of literary classics continues with a new version of LP Hartley’s coming-of-age novel, a tale of lost innocence that famously begins with the line: “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” A polished evocation of the world in 1900.

Find out more here.

Downton Abbey
ITV
Sunday 20 September, 9.00pm

Julian Fellowes costume drama-cum-posh soap returns for a final series. We begin in 1925, with Lord Grantham grumbling that it’s getting difficult to live in the style to which he’s become accustomed. Meantime, those below stairs worry about their futures and Mary’s past catches up with her.

Find out more here.

Sovereign
Radio 4
Monday 21 September, 10.45am

Justin Salinger stars in an atmospheric adaptation of the third novel featuring CJ Sansom’s hunchback lawyer and detective, Matthew Shardlake. It’s 1541 and Shardlake arrives in York to undertake a secret mission on behalf of Archbishop Cranmer. The first of 10 weekday episodes.

Find out more here.

The Long View
Radio 4
Tuesday 22 September, 9.00am

As Britain’s politicians argue over what our response should be to the Syrian refugee crisis, Jonathan Freedland hunts for parallels with today’s situation in 1979. This was a year when thousands of Vietnamese refugees came to Britain, and were placed in camps prior to being dispersed around the country.

Find out more here.

Canals: The Making of a Nation
BBC Four
Tuesday 22 September, 8.00pm

Historian Liz McIvor traces the history of the Manchester Ship Canal, hailed as the greatest engineering feat of the Victorian age. Its construction was largely thanks to “navvies”, weather-beaten and, something largely forgotten, dandyish men who needed to consume 8,000 calories a day to get through their work.

Find out more here.

1,000 Days of Fear: The Deadly Race at Los Alamos
PBS America
Tuesday 22 September, 9.00pm

Shown over three successive nights and broadcast here in full for the first time on British television, 1,000 Days tells the story of the Manhattan Project. Featuring first-hand accounts, it adds up to an insiders’ view of what it was like to work at Los Alamos. 

Find out more here.

The Ascent of Woman
BBC Two
Wednesday 23 September, 9.00pm

Dr Amanda Foreman’s final theme in her series on how women have shaped the modern world is revolution. Her subjects include French Republican activist Olympe de Gouges, birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger and, bringing the story up to date, Pussy Riot.

Find out more here.

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Dr Amanda Foreman in Moscow. (Credit: BBC/Silver River)

 

Pick of the Week…

Timeshift: The Engine That Powers the World
BBC Four
Wednesday 23 September, 9.00pm

Mark Evans tells the story of the diesel engine. Too dull a subject to bother with? Don’t be so sure. Over the course of an hour Evans shows how Rudolf Diesel’s invention has come to power our 21st-century, globalised civilisation. Along the way he gets enthusiastic about vintage engines and state-of-the-art machines alike.

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Find out more here.