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

Can't decide what programmes to watch or listen to? Check out our history TV and radio listings, packed full of shows you won't want to miss

Dan Jones

Walking Through History
Channel 4
Saturday 22 November, 8.00pm

Advertisement

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.

Find out more here.

Tomorrow’s Worlds: The Unearthly History Of Science Fiction
BBC Two
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.

Find out more here.

Terror Through Time
Radio 4
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.

Find out more here.

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.

Find out more here.

7384205-low_res-_0-3804d5a

WW2 Air Crash Detectives
Yesterday
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. 

Find out more here.

Spin The Globe
Radio 4
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.

Find out more here.

To read a behind-the-scenes interview with Michael Scott, click here.

Secrets Of The Castle With Ruth, Peter And Tom
BBC Two
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.

Find out more here.

The Real Tom Thumb: History’s Smallest Superstar
BBC Four
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?

Find out more here.

7004512-low_res-the-real-tom-thumb-historys-smallest-superstar_0-b91923c

Pick of the Week…

Britain’s Bloodiest Dynasty
Channel 5
Thursday 27 November, 9.00pm

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.

Find out more here.

Nigel Slater’s Icing On The Cake
BBC Four
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.

Advertisement

Find out more here.