Henry VIII and His Six Wives
Friday 22 April, 8.00pm
Suzannah Lipscomb and Dan Jones delve into the love life of England’s most infamous king, giving us an insight into the duelling perspectives of Henry and his six queens. This episode charts the legendary downfall of Anne Boleyn and the eventual fulfillment of Henry’s desire for a male heir, with his third wife, Jane Seymour.
World War One: The Cultural Front
Saturday 23 April 10.30am
In the last of three installments, Francine Stock looks at the cultural and artistic legacy of 1916, a year in which the world found itself engulfed in war. She reflects on the writings of Jewish author Sholom Alecheim, the rise Dadaism in Zurich and the composition of Sir Hubert Parry’s Jerusalem.
Shakespeare Live! From The RSC
Saturday 23 April, 8.30pm
The BBC’s season of Shakespeare programming to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death culminates in this live event hosted by Catherine Tate and David Tennant. A star-studded lineup including Benedict Cumberbatch, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren join them to celebrate Shakespeare’s enduring legacy and influence.
The Rest Is History
Sunday 24 April, 7.15pm
Frank Skinner takes a humorous look back at some of history’s most interesting – and often bizarre – moments, with the help of historian Professor Kate Williams. Along with comedians Chris Addison and Alun Cochrane, this week Skinner ponders the three wise men and a timeline of weaponry.
Scenes From Student Life
Monday 25 April, 1.45pm
Graduate historian Ellie Cawthorne’s trip through 900 years of British student life continues this week. We pick up in the 19th century with a look at life in the first women’s colleges. Other episodes this week (also at 1.45pm) examine the impact of the world wars on universities, the history of foreign students and the riotous protests of 1968.
Read Ellie’s article ‘The history of student life: 7 things you didn’t know’ here.
Natalie Haynes Stands Up For The Classics
Monday 25 April, 4.00pm
Natalie Haynes brings us an unlikely combination of comedy and the Classics, with stand-up routines based around figures from the ancient world. The subject this week is Greek philosopher Plato, who turns out to have been less than perfect, but very good at wrestling…
Hairy Bikers Pubs of Britain
Monday 25 April, 6.30pm
On their tour round the nation’s public houses looking at British social history, the Hairy Bikers reach the swinging sixties in Liverpool. Si and Dave meet up with John Lennon’s 1950s drinking buddies and pay a visit one of the Beatles’ earliest gigging venues, the Cavern.
The Hairy Bikers’ Pubs That Built Britain. (BBC)
Shakespeare And The American Dream
Tuesday 26 April, 9.00am
What does Shakespeare mean to modern Americans? Robert McCrum examines the Bard’s enduring influence on popular culture in the States. In the second of two episodes he visits Washington DC to investigate how Shakespeare’s plays are still used to discuss political ideas in Obama’s age.
Costing The Earth: Chernobyl
Tuesday 26 April, 3.30pm
On the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl reactor explosion, Costing the Earth turns its eye to the lasting impact of the worst nuclear disaster in history. Julian Rush examines how radioactive particles landing in Germany’s Black Forest led to a change in the country’s attitude towards nuclear energy.
Pick of the week
Mary Beard’s Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limits
Wednesday 27 April, 9.00pm
Professor Mary Beard returns with a new series that asks some big questions about Rome’s dominance in the ancient world. How did a small Italian town come to conquer such a vast empire? What was responsible for the rise and fall of the Romans? In this first episode, Mary Beard examines how myths and legends can give us an insight into the Roman psyche.
Mary Beard’s Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limit. (BBC/Lion Television Ltd/Caterina Turroni)