Farewell Doctor Finlay
Friday 8 July, 11.00am
The title here riffs off a TV series set in the 1920s, Dr Finlay’s Casebook (1962–71), created by a former GP, AJ Cronin. Many of Cronin’s storylines were about a profession that needed reforming and conflict is a recurring theme in the first installment of this two-part documentary about the history of general practice. Dr Margaret McCartney presents.
Cold War: Stories from the Big Freeze
Friday 8 July, 1.45pm
The weekday series focusing on key moments during the early years of the Cold War reaches 1949 and the fall of Shanghai. You can catch all this week’s episodes in an omnibus edition at 9pm. Next week’s shows cover the Korean War, McCarthyism, the development of the hydrogen bomb, the 1953 East German uprising and the fall of Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran.
Drama – Defoe: Merchant, Writer, Convict, Spy
Friday 8 July, 2.15pm
Kicking off a season of shows about Daniel Defoe, Philip Palmer’s biographical drama traces the novelist’s eventful life. Also this week on Radio 4, listen out for Defoe: Moll Flanders
(first instalment Saturday 9 July, 2.30pm) and Defoe: the Facts and the Fictions
(Thursday 14 July, 9.00am), a documentary presented by Mark Lawson.
Friday 8 July, 11pm
The V&A has been named 2016 Museum of the Year, it was announced earlier this week. Maria Balshaw, director of last year’s winner, the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester, visits the five shortlisted institutions – which include Bethlem’s Museum of the Mind and the York Art Gallery – to see what makes them special.
Archive on 4: The Heath Enigma
Saturday 9 July, 8.00pm
Shaun Ley looks back at the life and times of former Conservative prime minister Edward Heath, the man who took Britain into what was then the European Economic Community. There’s also rather more recent political history in The Corbyn Story
(Monday 11 July, 8.00pm), which sees Steve Richards telling the story of Jeremy Corbyn’s ascension to Labour leader.
The Hairy Builder
Monday 11 July, 6.30pm
In a rather jolly weekday series, Dave Myers of Hairy Bikers fame follows the work of construction firm William Anelay, which specialises in restoring historic buildings. First up, Myers gets a close look at efforts to spruce up Doncaster’s 18th-century Mansion House.
The Hairy Builder. (BBC/CPL Productions/Tom Mossford)
Monday 11 July, 8.00pm
Peter Snow, Dr Hannah Fry and engineer Dick Strawbridge celebrate those who love nothing better than looking at locomotives – and why not? In the first of three programmes on successive evenings, Ian McMillan takes up a challenge to write a poem about the Flying Scotsman.
The Secret Life of Children’s Books
Monday 11 July, 10.00pm
Reverend Richard Coles tells the story behind Charles Kingsley’s 1863 novel, The Water Babies, a book that was important in ending the practice of children being sent up chimneys. Coles also considers the contradictions in the author’s character. Kingsley was a freethinking Victorian clergyman who also admired his friend Charles Darwin’s then revolutionary work on evolution.
Pick of the week
Tuesday 12 July, 4.00pm
In the 1980s, Anne McElvoy met the East German economist Jurgen Kuczynski. Even then, she was aware he was reputed to be connected to Soviet spies operating in the UK in the years leading up to the Second World War. Drawing on recently released MI5 documents, McElvoy gets a fuller picture of the activities of Kuczynski and his family.
Black Panthers: Vanguard Of The Revolution
Wednesday 13 July, 9.00pm
Shown over two successive nights, filmmaker Stanley Nelson’s documentary tells the story of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. Founded in October 1966 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, the Panthers advocated militant action to challenge racism in the USA, and the organisation’s influence on the wider culture still resonates today.