Jutland: WWI’s Greatest Sea Battle
Saturday 21st May, 8.00pm
A century ago, events at the battle of Jutland destroyed the reputation of Admiral John Jellicoe. But should the deaths of thousands of British sailors really be blamed on his leadership, which was widely said to have been too cautious? In this documentary, the admiral’s grandson reappraises what happened.
The Hollow Crown: Richard III
Saturday 21st May, 9.00pm
“I am determined to prove a villain…” Benedict Cumberbatch takes on one of Shakespeare’s most memorable roles, as the usurping royal who seized the throne, only to lose it again in a time of civil war. A starry supporting cast includes Judi Dench and Sophie Okonedo.
The Hollow Crown: Richard III. (BBC/Carnival Film & Television Ltd/Robert Viglasky)
Jutland: The Battle That Won The War
Sunday 22nd May, 1.30pm
Lord West offers this week’s second revisionist take on the battle of Jutland. The former first sea lord argues that it was the most important battle of the First World War, crucial to the eventual victory of Britain and her allies. He also outlines how blockading Germany was a key strategy during 1914–18.
The Documentary: Iraq’s Kurds, From Flight To Freedom
BBC World Service
Sunday 22nd May, 2.06pm
Drawing on material he recorded at the time, BBC Middle East correspondent Jim Muir looks back at events 25 years ago, when thousands of Iraqi Kurds fled from the forces of Saddam Hussein.
World Cup 1966 – Alfie’s Boys
Sunday 22nd May, 8.00pm
In what’s sure to be the first of many documentaries devoted to recalling the events leading up to Bobby Moore lifting the Jules Rimet trophy, David Jason looks back at 1966. Interviewees include Franz Beckenbauer, Bobby Charlton and Geoff Hurst. There’s also rarely seen archive footage of Sir Alf Ramsey and his team.
England: Made In The Middle
Monday 23rd May, 1.45pm
Helen Castor presents a five-part weekday series that tells the story of the Midlands. She begins with the role of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia in the creation of England. Subsequent shows cover such subjects as the industrial revolution, radical political ideas and battles fought in the region – a surprising number of which feature in Shakespeare’s plays.
Storm Troupers: The Fight To Forecast The Weather
Monday 23rd May, 9.00pm
Over three episodes, science journalist Alok Jha charts the history of predicting whether it will be rainy or sunny. He begins with the work of Vice-Admiral Robert FitzRoy (1805–65), who put barometers around Britain’s ports so that fishermen and other sailors could check whether bad weather was imminent.
Storm Troupers: The Fight To Forecast The Weather. (BBC/KEO/James Sandy)
Europeans: The Roots Of Identity
Tuesday 24th May, 9.00am/ 9.30pm
Concluding an excellent series on different facets of European identity, Margaret MacMillan visits the trading city of Amsterdam. Also this week in Radio 4’s 9.00am slot, Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Lincoln’s Gettysburg address for In Our Time (Thursday 26th May).
Hidden Killers Of The Postwar Home
Wednesday 25th May, 8.00pm
Historian Suzannah Lipscomb outlines how the homes of the 1950s were filled with perils for the unwary. Even chicken, it seems, could prove dangerous for post-austerity people not used to buying fresh poultry.
Going Going Gone: Nick Broomfield’s Disappearing Britain
Wednesday 25th May, 9.00pm
The documentary maker tells the stories of two 19th-century buildings – Liverpool’s Wellington Rooms and Cardiff’s Coal Exchange. They are both locally revered yet face demolition. But why? Also this week, Dan Cruickshank: At Home With The British (BBC Four, Thursday 26th May, 9.00pm) finds the architectural historian telling the story of the terrace.