TV & radio: what to tune in to next week (22–27 May 2015)

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

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Eurovision At 60
BBC Four
Friday 22nd May, 9.00pm

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Six decades of boom-bang-ding-a-dong tunes and not a hope these days, it seems, of Britain winning, but still we tune in every year. Why? There may be some clues in a documentary that tells the story of what is, after all, a great cultural institution. Longtime BBC host Terry Wogan is among those sharing his memories.

Find out more here. 

Britain’s Greatest Generation
BBC Two
Friday 22nd May, 9.30pm

Between 1942 and 1945, Britain’s young men and women served and fought across the world. The series gathering the testimony of the last survivors hears tales of El Alamein, the Dambusters raid, the war in Asia and the invasion at Normandy.

Find out more here.

1864
BBC Four
Saturday 23rd May, 9.00pm & 10.00pm

The historical drama continues with Denmark on the cusp of going to war against Prussia. It’s a conflict depicted as arising from a kind of jingoistic over-confidence amongst parts of Denmark’s elite. For young men such as Laust and Peter, who join up, the effects will be devastating.

Find out more here. 

Pick of the Week…

Armada: 12 Days To Save England
BBC Two
Sunday 24th May, 9.00pm

A series that mixes up CGI, expert analysis, dramatic reconstructions starring Anita Dobson as Elizabeth I, and host Dan Snow aboard a yacht in the Channel explores how England came to best Spain in 1588. The first of three episodes looks at the reasons for the armada being sent and charts the first meeting between the two fleets.

Find out more here. 

To read about Elizabeth I’s war with England’s Catholics, click here. 

To read 10 things you (probably) didn’t know about the Spanish Armada, click here. 

1945: The Savage Peace
BBC Two
Sunday 24th May, 10.00pm

For German speakers living in Czechoslovakia and Poland, the end of the war in Europe was a catastrophe as they all too often found themselves under brutal attack from those seeking vengeance for Nazi crimes. Featuring the testimony of eyewitnesses and victims, and rarely seen archive footage.

Find out more here. 

Home Front
Radio 4
Monday 25th May, 12.04pm

The drama of life in Blighty exactly 100 years ago returns with a new batch of weekday episodes, this time set in Folkestone. Also today, listen out for Drama: Tommies (Radio 4, 2.15pm), which sees central character Mickey Bliss in London, taking time out from his signals training.

Find out more here. 

Churchill: When Britain Said No
BBC Two
Monday 25th May, 9.00pm

A few weeks after VE Day, Britain held a general election. The result was a humiliating defeat for Winston Churchill as Clement Attlee and the Labour Party took power. Why did the nation reject the man who led the country to victory? Max Hastings, Juliet Gardiner and Antony Beevor are among those offering their perspectives.

Find out more here. 

(BBC/Oxford Film & Television)

Joan of Arc: God’s Warrior
BBC Two
Tuesday 26th May, 9.00pm

How did a French peasant girl come first to rescue France and then, at the age of just 19, be burned at the stake as a heretic? Dr Helen Castor charts the life of the Maid Of Orleans, along the way drawing on an extraordinary manuscript that enables us to hear Joan’s own words at her trial.

Find out more here. 

Fats Waller And Al Capone
Radio 2
Tuesday 26th May, 10.00pm

In 1926, or at least so it’s said, pianist Fats Waller found himself taken at gunpoint to play for Al Capone. It was the gangster’s birthday and he was a present from Capone’s cronies. Jazz vocalist Kurt Elling looks for the truth among differing accounts of what happened.

Find out more here. 

Britain’s Underground Army
Radio 4
Wednesday 27th May, 11.00am

One in 10 of the young men called up during 1939-45 didn’t go to fight. Instead, they were sent down the mines to hack out the coal essential to powering the nation. Three of the so-called Bevin boys (after Ernest Bevin) recall their experiences, and how being denied the chance to go on active service affected their lives.

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Find out more here.