Two Men and a Mule
Friday 2 October, 11.00am
Explorers Hugh Thomson and Benedict Allen – and, yes, a mule – head for Peru, where they search for lost cities and traces of the Incas. It all makes for a rather perilous journey and the duo begin by following stone paths from the Andean cloud forest down towards deep jungle.
Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie
Friday 2 October, 10.00pm
Today, the term ‘indie’ is most often used a genre label when applied to music. But back in the 1970s it referred to working outside the conventional music industry; an approach pioneered by Buzzcocks when the punk band scraped together the money to self-release an EP, Spiral Scratch. Mark Radcliffe narrates a three-part series.
Archive On 4 – John Lennon: Verbatim
Saturday 3 October, 8.00pm
On Friday 9 October, John Lennon would have turned 75. Here’s the ex-Beatles’s story from 1962–80, as told via interviews studio outtakes. Also, listen out for John Lennon’s Last Day (Radio 2, Thursday 8 October, 10.00pm), a docudrama focusing on the singer’s final hours. Starring Ian Hart.
The Celts: Blood, Iron and Sacrifice with Alice Roberts and Neil Oliver
Monday 5 October, 9.00pm
Over three episodes, Alice Roberts and Neil Oliver go in search of the Celts. They begin by looking at the roots of this ancient tribal civilisation, in the Alps. For a prelude, listen to Sunday Feature: How Celtic Are We? (Radio 3, Sunday 4 October, 6.45pm), presented by cultural historian Dai Smith.
Alice Roberts explores the past of the Celts in a new BBC series. (Credit: BBC)
The Documentary: Eleanor Roosevelt
BBC World Service
Tuesday 6 October, 4.32pm & 9.32pm
BBC world affairs correspondent Naomi Grimley charts how Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D, transformed the place of women in American politics. It’s the story of a woman who was sometimes insecure and who struggled to cope with the scrutiny of the media, yet ultimately became a canny political operator.
Canals: The Making of a Nation
Tuesday 6 October, 8.00pm
Concluding her excellent series on Britain’s manmade waterways, Liz McIvor traces how they went from being neglected places to be avoided to being spots we love to visit. Expect tales of canal boat holidays as harbingers of change and of urban regeneration in Birmingham.
Alan Johnson: The Post Office and Me
Tuesday 6 October, 9.00pm
The Labour MP, who worked as a postman when he was a teenager, tells the story of the Post Office, an institution that’s closing on its 500th birthday. It’s a tale that encompasses years when sending letters was the preserve of the wealthy, the introduction of the Penny Black and a secret railway under London.
Face of Britain by Simon Schama
Wednesday 7 October, 9.00pm
The art historian turns his attention to those who have eschewed the great and the good to show us the faces of the people. His subjects include Charlie Phillips, a street photographer who documented 1960s Notting Hill, and William Hogarth and Henry Tonks, who painted soldiers disfigured in combat during the first world war.
Pick of the Week…
Thursday 8 October, from 9.00am
Marking National Poetry Day, Radio 4 tells the story of Britain through verse with a series of shows that are sprinkled through the station’s usual scheduling. Things run chronologically, so we begin with some of the earliest surviving poems, while the final programme is a cabaret of contemporary verse and music. Presented by Andrew Marr.
A Very British Romance with Lucy Worlsey
Thursday 8 October, 9.00pm
Lucy Worsley considers how our ideas about romance are affected by social, political and cultural ideas. And by fiction, as she begins a three-part series by looking back at the Georgian era when the works of Samuel Richardson, Fanny Burney and Jane Austen reshaped people’s attitudes towards love and marriage.