VE Day 70: The Cenotaph
Friday 8th May, 2.30pm
The BBC is giving extensive coverage to events marking the 70th anniversary of VE Day, beginning with the service of remembrance in Whitehall. There’s also a highlights programme (BBC Two, 7.30pm). VE Day 70: A Party To Remember (BBC One, Saturday 9th May, 8.30pm) is a concert aiming to capture some of the euphoria of that day.
Pick of the Week…
Britain’s Greatest Generation
Friday 8th May, 9.00pm
Those who fought or worked on the home front in the second world war are now in their 90s and 100s. What do they remember of 1939-45? Produced by Testimony Films, which did so much to trace great war veterans, a four-part series begins with memories of years when it looked all too likely Nazi Germany might defeat Britain.
Sunday Feature: In The Shadow Of Kafka: Prophet Of Prague
Sunday 10th May, 6.45pm
As part of a Kafka season, Misha Glenny visits Prague to explore how the city affected the writer’s work. Also listen out for The Essay: In The Shadow Of Kafka (Radio 3, weekdays from Monday 11th May, 10.45pm), in which different writers, beginning with Margaret Atwood, offer their perspectives on the Czech author’s work.
Wellington: The Iron Duke Unmasked
Sunday 10th May, 9.00pm
Richard E Grant plays the Duke of Wellington in a docu-drama that draws extensively on letters, memoirs and diaries. What emerges is a picture of a consummate soldier and an incorruptible public figure, yet a man too whose marriage was deeply troubled and who was distant with his children.
Horizon: 70 Million Animal Mummies – Egypt’s Dark Secret
Monday 11th May, 9.00pm
Scientists use the latest imaging techniques to produce 3D images of some of the millions of animals the ancient Egyptians mummified and buried. As to why the Egyptians did this, it seems they believed certain animals could speak to the gods and take messages to the afterlife.
24 Hours In The Past
Tuesday 12th May, 9.00pm
Another week, another slice of Victorian working-class life for the celebs to live through. This week, the six recreate life in a 19th-century Staffordshire pottery. It’s tough work, so tough that a spirit of rebellion is soon in the air.
(BBC/dsp, part of Endemol Shine Group/Endemol Shine UK)
Wednesday 13th May, 8.30pm
The final episode of the panel show finds Griff Rhys Jones in the National Museum of Wales. This has rather a fine collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art for Lars Tharp, Kate Williams, Jacky Klein and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen to cast their eyes on.
Fighting For King And Empire: Britain’s Caribbean Heroes
Wednesday 13th May, 9.00pm
During the Second World War, thousands of men and women from the Caribbean came to Britain to join the fight against Nazi Germany. They made brave sacrifices, yet were often not treated as equals by the British authorities and ordinary Britons. In a moving documentary, veterans recall their experiences.
In Our Time
Thursday 14th May, 9.00am
Melvyn Bragg and guests consider the Lancashire cotton famine of 1862. This followed the blockade of Southern ports during the American Civil War, which in turn prevented cotton reaching the mills. But how much of the suffering that occurred was the result of the conflict and how much should we ascribe to other factors?
World War II: 1945 And The Wheelchair President
Thursday 14th May, 9.00pm
Professor David Reynolds profiles Franklin Roosevelt, the US president who led his nation through most of the Second World War. It’s a documentary that explores how FDR kept his paralysis secret from the US public, and examines why the president stood for a fourth term in office even as his health failed.