Saturday 6th August, 10.30am
Steve Punt looks anew at the disappearance of reclusive actor Ada Constance Kent in 1939. A decade later, following several earlier searches, a skeleton was found in the bedroom of her rural Essex cottage. Spooky. What happened? And did the remains belong to Kent?
Pick of the Week…
The Mystery Of Van Gogh’s Ear
Saturday 6th August, 9.00pm
Bernadette Murphy, who lives in Provence, has spent years researching events in December 1888, when Vincent Van Gogh took a razor to his ear. What really happened? How much of himself did the artist cut way? And why did he take the severed ear to a brothel worker? Jeremy Paxman reports on Murphy’s remarkable detective work.
Monday 8th August, 12.04pm
The drama of life a century ago returns for a new series of 40 weekday episodes. This time around we’re back in Folkestone, and the themes touched upon include domestic reaction to a propaganda film, The Battle Of The Somme, that showed life and death on the Western Front. There’s an omnibus edition on Friday 12th August (9.00pm).
The Ideas That Make Us
Monday 8th August, 1.45pm
The weekday series in which Bettany Hughes examines ‘word-ideas’ we’ve inherited from the ancient world returns. In the first of five episodes she looks at character, and visits a prison to examine the idea of rehabilitating or reforming character. Subsequent shows tackle harmony, narcissism, technology and hubris.
Tuesday 9th August, 3.00pm
This week’s edition of the history magazine show is typically eclectic, with reports on Neolithic agriculture, a recreation of the battle of Marathon (in Salford) and steel production in, of all places, Clerkenwell. At 4.30pm, Great Lives (Radio 4) finds Alex Salmond speaking up for political reformer Thomas Muir (1765–99).
Phil Spencer’s Stately Homes
Tuesday 9th August, 9.00pm
The presenter of Location, Location, Location takes a tour of some of Britain’s grandest homes. He begins with Burghley House in Lincolnshire, rightly cited as one of the country’s finest examples of Elizabethan architecture. Don’t expect too much historical analysis, but it’s entertaining nonetheless.
Prime Minister’s Props
Wednesday 10th August, 9.30am
Professor Sir David Cannadine presents a three-part series in which he ponders the lives of famous political figures via personal items. He begins with Neville Chamberlain’s umbrella, a brolly that became a symbol of diplomatic failure in the wake of the former prime minister’s efforts to prevent war with Nazi Germany.
Wednesday 10th August, 9.00pm
The glossy drama, which has become far less about sex and far more about power as it’s gone on, reaches a near-operatic conclusion with the traitor changing tactics and striking at those closest to Louis. Followed by Inside Versailles, which puts the focus on 17th-century court fashion.
Thursday 11th August, 3.00pm
Helen Mark meets Will Coleman, creator of the 10m-tall Man Engine, a mechanical puppet that’s been striding across Cornwall to mark 10 years since the county’s mining landscapes were awarded UNESCO world heritage status. Mark also explores what Cornwall’s mining heritage means to those who live in the area today.
Full Steam Ahead
Thursday 11th August, 8.00pm
Ruth Goodman, Peter Ginn and Alex Langlands look at how the railways transformed communications in the UK. This involves a trip on the Flying Scotsman, where they learn there’s an art to serving food aboard a swaying train, and working on a TPO (travelling post office).
The 80s With Dominic Sandbrook
Thursday 11th August, 9.00pm
The social historian charts events in the middle of the decade. In Sandbrook’s reading, these were nervy years. As evidence of why people were worried, he offers the Falklands war, the spectre of Aids and the violence that surrounded the miners’ strike.