Pick of the Week…
The Story Of Funk: One Nation Under A Groove
Friday 5 December, 9.00pm
Four’s regular dad-rock slot comes over all dad-dancing in a documentary telling the story of how funk emerged at a time when political struggle and the possibility of social change were central to the African-American experience. Those interviewed include George Clinton of Parliament-Funkadelic fame. Followed by Genius Of Funk (10pm), a selection of performances from the BBC archives.
Archive On 4: Malcolm X in Oxford
Saturday 6 December, 8.00pm
Pembroke College history professor Stephen Tuck looks back at 1965 when, two months before his assassination, Malcolm X visited the UK and took part in an Oxford Union debate. Why did Malcolm accept this invitation when he turned down so many other opportunities to speak abroad?
Tomorrow’s Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction
Saturday 6 December, 10.00pm
Dominic Sandbrook turns his attention to robots and why we’re so fascinated with the idea of clever machines. It’s a documentary that begins with Mary Shelley’s tale of creating artificial life, Frankenstein, and among other highlights takes in Metropolis, the Cybermen and Star Wars.
Sunday Feature: The Fundamentalist Queen
Sunday 7 December, 6.45pm
Samira Ahmed profiles a figure who’s become rather lost in history, Lady Protectress Elizabeth, wife of Oliver Cromwell. A commoner who became ‘queen’ in the 1650s, she survived her husband to be scorned by the victorious royalists when Charles II was restored to the throne.
The Disappearance of Glenn Miller
Monday 8 December, 9.00pm
On 15 December 1944, Glen Miller boarded a plane at an airfield near Bedford and set off for Paris. But the plane went missing over the English Channel. What happened? This documentary examines different theories. Over on Yesterday, WW2 Air Crash Detectives (9.00pm) looks at the 1943 Bakers Creek air crash in Australia, which claimed 40 lives.
Tuesday 9 December, 4.30pm
The series where celebrities nominate and discuss inspirational historical figures returns. First up, comedian Arthur Smith champions the Czech runner Emil Zátopek, who won gold in the 5,000m, 10,000m and the marathon at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Presented by Matthew Parris.
Secrets of the Castle With Ruth, Peter and Tom
Tuesday 9 December, 9.00pm
The presenters follow the building of a wooden walkway, a way to explore how castle construction required masons, blacksmiths and carpenters to co-ordinate their work. And after Peter and Tom spend a hard day finessing the new water mill, Ruth cooks a medieval-era treat, pike, for supper.
The Secrets of Quantum Physics
Tuesday 9 December, 9.00pm
Jim Al-Khalili, who’s good at explaining arcane scientific notions and needs to be here, explores the strange world of quantum physics. It’s a story that begins in the early 20th century, with scientists trying to figure out how light bulbs work and making some most peculiar discoveries about how things work at a sub-atomic level.
Great Continental Railway Journeys
Wednesday 10 December, 9.00pm
In the final episode of the series, Michael Portillo and his 1913 copy of Bradshaw’s journey from Lyon to Marseille. It’s a trip that takes in the assassination of a French president, lessons in omelette preparation and helping to bring a supertanker to its birth.