Pick of the Week…
David Suchet: In The Footsteps Of St Peter
Good Friday, 9.00am
The actor traces the life of the Apostle, trying to discover as much as he can about the real man. He begins with Peter’s early life as a fisherman. The two-part documentary concludes on Easter Sunday (9.00am), with Suchet asking how a figure often portrayed as impetuous and confused could have assumed leadership of the Christian faith.
Secrets Of Great British Castles
Good Friday, 8.00pm
Kicking off a new series, Dan Jones charts the story of Dover Castle, called the “key to England” because of its strategic importance. Also on Channel 5, look out for The Last Days Of Mary Queen Of Scots (Thursday 9 April, 8.00pm), the first episode in a new series considering the downfalls and the legacies of historical figures.
Escape In The Pacific 4-4-43
Saturday 4th April, 9.00pm
The first of a number of Second World War docs on PBS this week looks back at April 1943, when 10 US prisoners-of-war and two Filipino convicts broke out of the Davao Penal Colony in the Philippines. Also this week, Maggie’s War (Easter Monday, 10.00pm) looks back on the remarkable military career of 82nd Airborne veteran James “Maggie” Megellas.
Easter Sunday, 11.15am
The series that gathers together those at the centre of major events returns. The first episode focuses on the Spycatcher affair, when in 1985 Margaret Thatcher’s government tried to prevent the publication of a memoir by former spook Peter Wright. Sue MacGregor’s guests include cabinet secretary Robert Armstrong, ex-MI5 chief Stella Rimington and ghostwriter-turned-film director Paul Greengrass.
Codes That Changed The World
Easter Monday, 1.45pm
A new series tells the story of the languages upon which we’ve come to rely upon in order to “talk” to our computers. The first of five weekday programmes focuses on Fortran, used by scientists making calculation essential to sending humankind into space and the development of nuclear power. Hosted by Aleks Krotoski.
AA: America’s Gift To The World
Easter Monday, 8.00pm
Alcoholics Anonymous is 80. Author AL Kennedy marks this anniversary by looking back at the history of “The Fellowship”, founded by Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob Smith, and an organisation that relies upon its members to sustain itself. In an era of new kinds of scientifically based treatments, does it still offer the best “cure” for addicts?
Back In Time For Dinner
Tuesday 7th April, 8.00pm
The time-travelling Robshaw family arrives in the 1980s. Cue fizzy drinks made with a SodaStream and preparing a roast dinner in the microwave. Plus Giles Coren and food historian Polly Russell chart the rise of nouvelle cuisine and the way foods from around the world began to make their way into supermarkets.
(BBC/Wall to Wall/Duncan Stingemore)
Drama: Beyond Endurance
Wednesday 8th April, 2.15pm
Meredith Hooper’s play looks back Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-17 expedition to the Antarctic, when his ship Endurance became trapped in ice. An epic tale of survival is told in the words of the explorers themselves, through their diaries, accounts and journals. Dominic West stars.
Great Irish Journeys With Martha Kearney
Wednesday 8th April, 8.00pm
Continuing to walk in the footsteps of Irish artist and geologist Georges Victor Du Noyer, Martha Kearney visits “places of power” such as Palladian-inspired stately home Castletown House. Followed by The Quizeum (8.30pm), which this week finds Griff Rhys Jones and guests at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
Treasures Of Ancient Greece
Wednesday 8th April, 9.00pm
A new BBC Four season devoted to Ancient Greece kicks off with Alastair Sooke exploring the story of Greek art in the first episode of a three-part series. Followed by Secret Knowledge: The Body Beautiful – Ancient Greeks, Good Looks And Glamour (10.00pm), in which Natalie Haynes considers how modern glamour has roots in ancient ideas about beauty.