TV & radio: what to tune in to next week (6–11 June 2015)

Can't decide what programmes to watch or listen to? Here are 10 you won't want to miss...

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Archive On 4: The War Game Files
Radio 4
Saturday 6th June, 8.00pm

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In 1965, Peter Watkins’ The War Game was pulled from the BBC schedules. Officially, this docu-dramatisation of the aftermath of a Soviet nuclear strike was deemed “too horrifying” to show. But as Michael Apted here explores with the help of previously secret Cabinet Office files, there was considerable political pressure to ban the film.

Find out more here. 

1864
BBC Four
Saturday 6th June, 9.00pm & 10.00pm

The big-budget historical drama concludes with a double bill that finds the Danish army under bombardment. Expect a visceral portrayal of battle when the attack begins. In the final episode, as Denmark is forced to make peace with the German Federation, the cost of conflict, both personal and political, is revealed. 

Find out more here. 

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(BBC/Per Arnesen/Miso Film 2013)

Armada: 12 Days To Save England
BBC Two
Sunday 7th June, 9.00pm

As Dan Snow concludes his account of 1588, the Armada lies at anchor off Calais. There’s just one problem: it’s uncertain how the fleet and a huge Spanish invasion army are supposed to link up prior to crossing the Channel. The scene is set for a famous English victory.

Find out more here. 

To read about Elizabeth I’s war with England’s Catholics, click here. 

To read 10 things you (probably) didn’t know about the Spanish Armada, click here. 

Every Case Tells A Story
Radio 4
Monday 8th June, 8.00pm

In a series looking at historically significant court cases, Clive Anderson and guests focus on the Somersett Case of 1722, which revolved around an attempt to transport an escaped slave back to the Caribbean from London. The first episode, about the 1945 trial of William Joyce, aka Lord Haw-Haw, for high treason is well worth a listen.

Find out more here. 

How To Be A Bohemian With Victoria Coren Mitchell
BBC Four
Monday 8th June, 9.00pm

The broadcaster traces the stories of those who have chosen unconventional and arty lives. She begins in post-revolutionary Paris with tales of garret-dwelling artists and writers, and their wild parties. Thus was the archetype of the bohemian born. Less expected is the revelation that Arthur Ransome of Swallows and Amazons fame wrote a guide to bohemian London.

Find out more here. 

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(BBC/Wingspan Productions/Richard Ranken)

Natural Histories
Radio 4
Tuesday 9th June, 11.00am

The series about the interplay between the natural world and human culture explores our fascination with sharks. Inevitably, Jaws, with its portrayal of a great white ruthlessly targeting humankind, looms large here. However, presenter Brett Eastwood also highlights other representations of sharks: in Hawaiian culture, sharks are often seen as protectors and brave fighters.

Find out more here. 

To read our interview with the series producer, click here. 

Shadow Of The Sun King
Radio 4
Wednesday 10th June, 11.00am

Professor Julian Swann concludes his reassessment of Louis XIV of France (1638–1715). This time around, his focus is on the way that resistance to the Sun King’s military adventures played a key role in shaping Britain’s parliamentary system and economy.

Find out more here. 

Pick of the Week…

Napoleon
BBC Two
Wednesday 10th June, 9.30pm

Historian Andrew Roberts reassesses the life and career of Napoleon Bonaparte. Drawing on an archive of personal letters, he begins with Napoleon’s rise to power in the late 1790s, a tale rooted in military triumphs. Roberts also considers Napoleon’s marriage to Josephine Beauharnais.

Find out more here. 

In Our Time
Radio 4
Thursday 11th June, 9.00am

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Utilitarianism, the moral theory that acts should be assessed on the basis of their tendency to increase pleasure in the world, and to decrease pain. Expect the philosophers Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806–73) to feature heavily.

Find out more here. 

Tales Of Irish Castles
Yesterday
Thursday 11th June, 9.00pm

Actor and director Simon Delaney charts how the Normans expanded their castle-building programme in Ireland throughout the 13th and 14th centuries. This was an era when noblemen such as William Marshall built fortifications in order to consolidate their power over vast estates.

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Find out more here. 

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