Walking Through History
Saturday 22 November, 8.00pm
With the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta approaching, Tony Robinson hikes through Sherwood Forest and the Peak District in a bid to find out more about the king who signed the document, John. On Sunday 23rd November, Tony Robinson’s World War One (8.00pm, Discovery) focuses on new technologies that increased the carnage in 1914–18.
Tomorrow’s Worlds: The Unearthly History Of Science Fiction
Saturday 22 November, 9.45pm
Over four episodes, Dominic Sandbrook explores the story of science fiction. He begins with space, looking at the tales behind movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars and Avatar, plus novels such as Ursula K Le Guin’s Left Hand Of Darkness, which dealt with sexual politics, and Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy, a colonisation saga.
Terror Through Time
Monday 24 November, 1.45pm
Fergal Keane’s excellent series returns with another 10 weekday episodes. Subjects under consideration this week include state involvement in terrorism in the 1970s and 1980s, and how Islamic fundamentalist violence can be linked to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Dancing Cheek To Cheek: An Intimate History Of Dance
BBC Four Monday 24 November, 9.00pm
More double bubble as the irrepressible Len Goodman and Lucy Worsley look at the story of dance through the 19th century. Highlights include Len learning how clog dancing followed the rhythms of mill machinery and the duo performing an energetic polka.
WW2 Air Crash Detectives
Monday 24 November, 9.00pm
Garth Barnard, a man with a passion for researching air accidents, hosts a new series looking at the circumstances behind non-combat crashes. He begins in February 1943 with a training accident in Virginia that left five crewmembers dead after a B-25 Mitchell bomber slammed into a mountain.
Spin The Globe
Tuesday 25 November, 4.00pm
Michael Scott focuses on events in 323 BC, best known as the year Alexander the Great died. What impact did this have? And what else occurred that year? For a start, the geographer Pytheas of Massalia was busy exploring remote territory on the edge of the Atlantic – the British Isles.
Secrets Of The Castle With Ruth, Peter And Tom
Tuesday 25 November, 9.00pm
Episode two and the ever-intrepid trio focus on the methods employed by medieval builders to make castles better able to withstand attacks. Plus we see a trebuchet (essentially a big catapult) in action and Ruth learns about making nails, something regarded largely as women’s work it turns out.
The Real Tom Thumb: History’s Smallest Superstar
Tuesday 25 November, 9.00pm
Michael Grade profiles Charles Sherwood Stratton (1838–83), better known as General Tom Thumb thanks to the efforts of showman PT Barnum. Should we see the diminutive performer as someone who was exploited, or should we regard him as a success?
Dan Jones presents a four-part series chronicling the Plantagenet dynasty. He begins with Henry II, a warrior monarch whose name has forever been tarnished by the murder in the cathedral. At a guess, an attempt to reach a younger audience than might usually watch history shows, a laudable aim.
Nigel Slater’s Icing On The Cake
Thursday 27 November, 9.00pm
Who ate all the doughy goods? Nigel of course, sometimes washed down with a nice cup of tea, as the food writer traces the history of cake. Among other revelations, we discover that buns were once banned as being too risqué for common folk.