During Wind And Rain: A British History In Weather
Friday 13th May, 1.45pm
Alexandra Harris’s evocative weekday series, which looks at how the weather has shaped the nation’s cultural life, continues with an episode that asks whether we deserve the weather we get. Other subjects tackled over the coming week include icy holidays, rain and storms.
The Hollow Crown: The Wars Of The Roses – Henry VI Part 2
Saturday 14th May, 9.00pm
It’s time to welcome Benedict Cumberbatch, playing the future Richard III, to the cast of Auntie’s latest Shakespeare history play adaptations. He’s not centre stage until next week however. For now, the emphasis is on the futile attempts of Henry VI (Tom Sturridge) to control his feuding nobles.
The Hollow Crown. (BBC/Carnival Film and Television Ltd/Robert Viglasky)
Burma’s Secret Jungle War With Joe Simpson
Sunday 15th May, 8.00pm
Continuing his journey to retrace his father’s Second World War footsteps, mountaineer Joe Simpson is forced to take a detour thanks to unrest linked to Burma’s first free elections since 1990. Back on track, he meets villagers who still remember the Chindit special forces and visits the spot where his father’s commanding officer was beheaded during a battle.
The Silk Road
Sunday 15th May, 9.15pm
Sam Willis concludes his journey along the ancient trading route in Venice, where he drops by Marco Polo’s house. He also visits Persepolis in Iran, the city that once lay at the heart of the Persian empire, and explores Istanbul.
You can read our interview with Sam Willis about the series here.
Europeans: The Roots Of Identity
Tuesday 17th May, 9.00am
Historian Margaret MacMillan continues her series on the factors shaping Europeans’ identity in Estonia. Here, she tells the story of how the nation, often conquered, has dramatised the question of where Europe ends in the east. MacMillan also considers how ancient Germanic and trans-Baltic cultural links are reasserting themselves in modern Estonia.
Handmade On The Silk Road
Wednesday 18th May, 7.30pm
The final episode of the series accompanying The Silk Road focuses on the craft of potter Abdol Reza Aghaei and his father. The duo live in southern Iran, and cameras look on as they make a decorated water jug from local clay. But their way of life, we learn, is at risk because of cheap Chinese imports.
Mary Beard’s Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limit
Wednesday 18th May, 8.00pm
The historian and classicist concludes her series by looking at how and why the Roman empire fell. It’s not just a tale of Barbarian invasions. Instead, Beard argues the empire faced challenges from within. She also explores the idea that the Roman empire was transformed rather than destroyed, and still lives on all around us.
You can read our interview with Mary Beard about the series here.
Wednesday 18th May, 9.00pm
Forget the ‘lady with the lamp’ mopping the brows of wounded soldiers, Florence Nightingale was a rubbish nurse but a great statistician. So argues this documentary, presented by Naomi Alderman, which considers how Nightingale crunched the numbers to work out that poor hospital conditions caused high mortality rates.
Thursday 19th May, 9.00pm
The interwar gangster epic continues with Tommy Shelby preparing to take on the Italians in an act of vengeance. But not before he’s taken a break in Wales with his son Charlie, travelling by gypsy caravan – a move that rather baffles his nearest and dearest.
You can read our interview with Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight here.
Peaky Blinders. (BBC/Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd/Tiger Aspect/Robert Viglasky)
Pick of the week
Dan Cruickshank: At Home With The British
Thursday 19th May, 9.00pm
The amiable architectural historian presents a three-part series focusing on the history of the homes in which we live. He begins with the beautifully preserved cottages of Stoneleigh in Warwickshire, tracing how these buildings have changed (not much in some cases) with the help of the village’s unusually well-preserved records.
Dan Cruickshank: At Home With The British. (BBC/Oxford Film and Television/Lorian Reed-Drake)