Britain’s Greatest Generation
Friday 29th May, 9.00pm
The final episode in the oral history series looks at the post-second world war era. Those offering their perspectives on years of immense social change include writer Diana Athill, Bermuda-born actor Earl Cameron and campaigner Brian Rix, shockingly recalling a doctor’s prejudice against his daughter, who was born with Down’s syndrome.
Archive on 4: The Tokens And The Foundlings
Saturday 30th May, 8.00pm
Caro Howell, director of London’s Foundling Museum, tells the story of the Foundling Hospital. The nation’s first children’s charity has its roots in the 18th century when a former shipbuilder and philanthropist, Thomas Coram, became concerned about the number of babies being abandoned.
Saturday 30th May, 9.00pm & 10.00pm
Episodes five and six of the terrific Danish drama find things not going well at the front as, in the wake of the shaming evacuation of Danevirke, Laust’s division is caught in a snowstorm. In Copenhagen, those in positions of power, caught up in their own delusions of grandeur, refuse to countenance another retreat.
(BBC/Per Arnesen/Miso Film 2013)
Drama: The Last Chronicle of Barset
Sunday 31st May, 3.00pm
Radio 4 completes its adaptations of Anthony Trollope’s Barchester novels with the tale of how the penniless vicar of Hogglestock, Josiah Crawley, is accused of theft. A small drama? Perhaps, but the joy of Trollope is the way he shows us how Victorian society, especially the interface between gentry and clergy, operated. Starring Maggie Steed.
Armada: 12 Days To Save England
Sunday 31st May, 9.00pm
Dan Snow charts how, in 1588, the English and Spanish fleets shadowed each other in the Channel. If the idea the English ships were nimbler than Spanish galleons seems familiar from school lessons, there’s also plenty here that’s less well known, notably in the analysis of the two sides’ tactics.
Pick of the Week…
Rome’s Invisible City
Monday 1st June, 9.00pm
Alexander Armstrong and Dr Michael Scott explore subterranean Rome, a way to learn how what was built beneath the streets helped the world’s first metropolis to function. Expect insights into how the Colosseum functioned and, more prosaically, the sewers too. For our full preview of the show, originally scheduled for broadcast earlier in the year, click here.
Tuesday 2nd June, 11.00am
In a 25-part series, Brett Westwood explores the impact nature has had on culture and society. Taking in King Kong and David Attenborough’s extraordinary encounter with gorillas during the filming of Life On Earth, he begins with the way we see ourselves reflected in primates.
Sons of Liberty
Tuesday 2nd June, 10.00pm
Here’s a three-part mini-series that tells the story of the American revolution. The show takes its name from an organisation formed by colonists to protect their rights, and which was behind the Boston Tea Party. The cast includes Brits Ben Barnes and Rafe Spall.
Shadow of the Sun King
Wednesday 3rd June, 11.00am
Professor Julian Swann reevaluates the life and times of Louis XIV (1638–1715), a man often portrayed as a totalitarian dictator. Not correct, argues Swann, who also looks at how, via foreign policy errors, Louis unwittingly paved the way for Britain to become a global superpower.
In Our Time
Thursday 4th June, 9.00am
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the myth of Prester John, who in the Middle Ages was said to rule a lost Christian nation somewhere in the east. How did this myth come to be so pervasive? And what are we to make of “evidence” of Prester John’s existence, including the stories of travellers who claimed to have met him?