Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance
Saturday 7 November, 9.00pm
Andrea Bocelli, Rod Stewart, Gregory Porter and Pixie Lott are among those performing at the annual concert to mark the sacrifice of those who have fallen in conflict. BBC One also carries live coverage of Remembrance Sunday: The Cenotaph (Sunday 8 November, 10.25am; with highlights on BBC Two, 5.30pm).
Tony Robinson’s Wild West
Sunday 8 November, 8.00pm
The former Time Team presenter heads to the USA for a new series that tells the story of iconic events, such as Custer’s last stand and the gunfight at the OK Corral. The series makes much use of atmospheric and rarely seen 3D stereoscopic prints from the era.
Sunday 8 November, 9.00pm
While there’s still a Christmas special to come, the final series of Julian Fellowes’ soapy but hugely enjoyable period drama reaches its conclusion with a feature-length episode. Tonight, Edith has to make a decision, Mary wonders if she’ll forever be at war with her sister and Mrs Patmore needs the Crawleys’ help.
The Invention of France
Monday 9 November, 11.00am
Episode two of Misha Glenny’s superb series examining how France came into being and we’re in the revolutionary era. It’s a period explored via the life of Maximilien Robespierre (1758-94), whose name is forever associated with the reign of terror that followed the overthrow of Louis XVI.
Pick of the Week…
Raising the Bar: 100 Years of Black British Theatre and Screen
Monday 9 November, 1.45pm
Over 10 weekday episodes, Lenny Henry charts the history of black British involvement in theatre, cinema and television. He begins with Elmina’s Kitchen, Kwame Kwei-Armah’s tragedy set on Hackney’s “murder mile”, which was first staged in 2003. Subsequent shows deal with such subjects as TV sitcoms, Othello and how Caribbean migration has been portrayed on stage.
The Secret Life of Books: Cider with Rosie
Monday 9 November, 8.00pm
Novelist Joanne Trollope explores how Laurie Lee blended fact and fiction as he crafted Cider with Rosie, his chronicle of Cotswold life, first published in 1959. Followed by The Quizeum (8.30pm), which this week finds Griff Rhys Jones and guests at the Jewish Museum London.
Joanna Trollope at Laurie Lee’s childhood home. (BBC/John O’Rourke)
The Free Thinking Essay: New Generation Thinkers
Monday 9 November, 10.45pm
With plenty of history in the mix, the weekday series offers up 10 talks from rising academics. First up, Catherine Fletcher from Swansea University explores the claims that the first Medici Duke of Florence was part African. Is this true or does it say more about the history of racism and anti-racism than about the man himself?
The Last Post
Wednesday 11 November, 11.04am
How did an 18th-century British Army bugle call come to be associated with death and remembrance? Writer Alwyn Turner tells a surprising story. Also today on Radio 4, listen out for Drama: Tommies (2.15pm), which follows Second Lieutenant Mickey Bliss through a day that changes his life forever.
Restoring Britain’s Landmarks
Wednesday 11 November, 8.00pm
The series charting the work of the Landmark Trust continues with an episode that charts work on the restoration of St Edward’s Presbytery, designed by Augustus Pugin. Elsewhere, a small army of craftspeople is toiling at Belmont House in Lyme Regis.
Dominic Sandbrook: Let Us Entertain You
Wednesday 11 November, 9.00pm
Dominic Sandbrook continues his exploration of post-second world war British culture. Musing on how Johnny Rotten ended up advertising butter, he explores the fates of artists who claim to be revolutionaries, as well as looking more widely at the themes of class, history and breeding.