Henry VIII And His Six Wives
Friday 29th April, 8.00pm
Historians Suzannah Lipscomb and Dan Jones tell the story of Henry VIII’s relationship with Jane Seymour, who gave the monarch his longed-for son but died shortly after childbirth. They also consider Henry’s brief marriage to Anne of Cleves – a union that proved costly to Thomas Cromwell.
Look Back In Anger
Saturday 30th April, 2.30pm
David Tennant stars in an adaptation of John Osborne’s hugely influential play, to mark the 60th anniversary of its first production. In addition, Archive On 4: Tennant Looks Back at Osborne (Radio 4, 8.00pm) sees the actor considering the play’s autobiographical elements.
Paul Merton’s Secret Stations
Sunday 1st May, 8.00pm
The comedian travels around Britain to explore some of the railway network’s 152 request stop stations and their histories. He begins with a trip to Attadale in the Highlands, and a visit to 30,000-acre estate. Followed by period drama Indian Summers (9.00pm), which finds Cynthia offering to help Alice and Aafrin flee to Australia.
Pick of the week
The Silk Road
Sunday 1st May, 9.00pm
Over three episodes, Dr Sam Willis takes an epic journey along the ancient trading route that once linked the occidental and oriental worlds. He begins in Venice, to see how the city’s architecture was shaped by eastern influences, before hopping over to Xian in China to begin his travels in earnest.
The Silk Road. (BBC/Alastair McCormick)
Shakespeare: Love Across The Racial Divide
Monday 2nd May, 1.45pm
Programming to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death includes a five-part weekday exploration of plays that cross the racial divide this week. Hosted by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, the series begins by examining Othello. Meanwhile, a three-part weekday adaptation of Julius Caesar begins on Tuesday 3rd May (Radio 4, 2.15pm).
Handmade On The Silk Road
Wednesday 4th May, 7.30pm
As a companion piece to The Silk Road, here’s a three-part series that focuses on traditional crafts associated with the ancient trade route. First up, we head for north-west China, where the Uyghur community has been making atlas silk for thousands of years.
Mary Beard’s Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limit
Wednesday 4th May, 9.00pm
The classicist and historian considers the world the Romans built and finds it surprisingly similar to our own in many key respects. Expect much on roads, bridges and trade, as well as the ways in which the vast Roman infrastructure affected wider culture.
Mary Beard’s Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limit. (BBC/Lion Television Ltd/Caterina Turroni)
In Our Time
Thursday 5th May, 9.00am
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, first serialised in 1891 and published, following revisions, in book form in 1892. Tess was hugely controversial in its day because of its sexual content, with one publisher noting it didn’t accept “stories where the plot involves frequent and detailed reference to immoral situations.”
Thursday 5th May, 9.00pm
Steven Knight’s terrific gangster drama returns for a third season. We rejoin the Shelby family in 1924, where wedding bells are ringing for Tommy (Cillian Murphy) and his new bride. The guest list on the big day reveals just how far Tommy has climbed within society.
Friday 6th May, 9.00am
In 1998, former Chilean leader General Augusto Pinochet was arrested in London after being indicted for human rights violations. Former home secretary Jack Straw and Chilean judge Juan Guzmán Tapia, who investigated the dictator’s crimes, are among those joining Sue MacGregor to look back at what ensued.