Henry VIII And His Six Wives
Friday 15th April, 8.00pm
In a new four-part series, Suzannah Lipscomb and Dan Jones look back at the story of Henry VIII and, inevitably, his marriages. Followed on Channel 5 by a trio of programmes about our current monarch, beginning with Inside Buckingham Palace: The Queen’s Worst Year (9.00pm), which focuses on 1992, Elizabeth II’s ‘annus horribilis’.
Read ‘Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn: Suzannah Lipscomb dispels myths about the lovers who changed history’ here.
People’s History Of Pop
Friday 15th April, 9.00pm
Beginning an occasional series, Twiggy celebrates the years when pop music was born, 1955-65: an excuse to play a tape of John Lennon’s Quarrymen performing on the day the future Beatle first met Paul McCartney. Also look out for Tom Jones’s 1950s: The Decade That Made Me (BBC Two, Saturday 16th April, 9.00pm), which celebrates rock ‘n’ roll reaching Britain.
Archive On 4: Working Class Heroes And Poverty Porn
Saturday 16th April, 8.00pm
Enlisting the assistance of cultural historian Matthew Sweet, actor Maxine Peake and Our Friends In The North creator Peter Flannery, Stuart Maconie traces depictions of working-class people within British culture. Among the questions Maconie considers: how have we got to a point where today’s stars are posher than in the 1950s and 1960s?
Sunday 17th April, 11.15am
In 1996, the England football team came agonisingly close to reaching the European Championship final at Wembley. It was a summer fondly remembered by English fans for Gazza bamboozling Scotland’s defence and a stylish 4-1 defeat of Holland. Sue MacGregor chats with some of those at the centre of events at the tournament, including England midfielder Darren Anderton.
Pick of the week
Scenes From Student Life
Monday 18th April, 1.45pm
Recent history graduate (and BBC History Magazine web assistant) Ellie Cawthorne explores student life as it’s played out over the past 900 years. In the first of 10 weekday episodes, she heads for St Andrews University, and its sometimes riotous Raisin Weekend, where freshers exchange their natural families for academic ones.
Scenes from Student Life. (BBC/Nick Baker)
The Hairy Bikers’ Pubs That Built Britain
Monday 18th April, 6.30pm
Si King and Dave Myers host a five-part weekday series tracing the history of Britain’s public houses. They begin with a hostelry in Yorkshire that’s said to have been drunk dry prior to the Civil War battle of Martson Moor. Wonder how Auntie persuaded the duo to host this…?
The Hairy Bikers’ Pubs That Built Britain. (BBC)
Shakespeare And The American Dream
Tuesday 19th April, 9.00am
As part of a season of programmes to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, writer Robert McCrum presents a two-part documentary about how the Bard has influenced American culture. Also today, and likely to be rather less serious, Horrible Histories: Sensational Shakespeare (CBBC, 4.30pm) features a guest appearance from Miles Jupp.
Europe: Them Or Us
Tuesday 19th April, 9.00pm
Nick Robinson concludes his history of Britain’s relationship with the European Union. His subjects include the 1975 referendum on membership of the Common Market, and the voices we hear include those of four British prime ministers: Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair and David Cameron.
The Documentary: A Global Queen
BBC World Service
Wednesday 20th April, 7.32pm
Professor David Cannadine of Princeton University looks at three British monarchs and considers their influence on British history: George III, Victoria and Elizabeth II. In the case of the current monarch, Cannadine’s main theme is her role as head of the Commonwealth.
Elizabeth At 90: A Family Tribute
Thursday 21st April, 9.00pm
While Elizabeth II has often been the focus of the world’s cameras, some images of the queen are less familiar than others. Marking her 90th birthday, here’s a documentary that draws on family cine films, including those shot by the monarch herself, the Duke of Edinburgh and King George VI.
Elizabeth at 90: A Family Tribute. (BBC/HM The Queen/Crux Productions)