TV and Radio picks: The Village, Dambusters Special and more...

By Jon Bauckham, 2 May 2013 - 12:49am

This week's
TV & Radio
2 – 9 May 2013

Pick of the week
The Village
Sunday 5 May, 9pm, BBC One
It’s official – The Village has been commissioned for a second series, meaning that six further episodes will be shown next year. It’s reassuring for the team behind this fantastic drama, who hoped from the outset that it would follow the story of one community throughout the 20th century.
 
This series rounds off in 1920 – the Great War may have been over for two years, but the mourning has only really just begun. The Middletons are no different to thousands of other families across Britain in their grief, but matters are somewhat complicated by the presence of conscientious objector, Gerard Eyre, who Bert has invited into the home.
 
Also this week The Secret Life of... 
Thursday 2 May, 9pm, Yesterday
There’s often a whole side to our most famous monarchs that never crosses our minds. Take Henry VIII – do we remember Henry for his love of poetry as much as his bloodthirstiness?
 
Throughout the series, Lucy Worsley and Suzannah Lipscomb delve into the lesser-known aspects of several iconic figures, revealing the surprising stories absent from many of the history books. Beginning with Henry, the next episode (shown immediately afterwards) focuses on Elizabeth I and her secret suitors.
 
The Genius of Marie Curie
Friday 3 May, 9pm, BBC Two
Marie Curie’s pioneering research on radioactivity sent shockwaves through the scientific community, leading her to become the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in 1903.
 
This brand-new docudrama reveals Curie’s life away from lab, laying bare some of the personal events that almost destroyed her career. In particular, it looks at how the loss of her husband led the physicist to embark on a doomed love affair with a married man.
 
Who Do You Think You Are? US
Sunday 5 May, 9pm, Watch
As a star of both Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives, it’s interesting to discover that the stories of Vanessa Williams’ ancestors could probably be adapted into a successful TV drama of the same calibre.
 
After uncovering tales of war and tragedy, Williams is perhaps most satisfied to learn how one of her African American forebears broke down racial barriers and made political history.
 
Who Do You Think You Are?
Monday 6 May, 9am, Blighty
Once again, Blighty is set to screen the first half of Who Do You Think You Are? series 8 on Monday morning. If you tune it at 9am, you can catch five classic episodes in a row – the perfect accompaniment to a Bank Holiday brunch.
 
My personal favourite features Larry Lamb and the hunt for his fairground ancestors. It also contains one of the most emotional endings to a WDYTYA? episode ever – don’t worry, it leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy rather than desperately sad.
 
Dambusters Special
Monday 6 May, 12pm, BBC Radio Lincolnshire / BBC iPlayer
Due to its abundance of airfields, Lincolnshire was nicknamed Bomber County during the Second World War. This name truly took off when the 617 Squadron – perhaps better known as the Dambusters – flew from RAF Scampton to carry out its remarkable attack on the Ruhr Valley.
 
To mark 70 years since the famous raid, BBC Radio Lincolnshire has put together a series of programmes about the county’s aviation heritage, including what is billed as a Dambusters Special on Monday afternoon.
 
You can already listen to a variety of other audio materials on the station’s excellent sub-site, found by clicking here.
 
Nelson's Caribbean Hell-Hole
Monday 6 May, 7.30pm, BBC Four
It’s certainly an intriguing title – and the story behind it is just as horrible as it sounds. As he excavates a series of mass graves, Sam Willis reveals the grim stories of British sailors stationed on the island of Antigua during the 18th century.
 
Rather than being the tropical paradise that some had imagined, the island was rife with disease and copious amounts of poisoned rum.
 
Making History
Tuesday 7 May, 3pm, BBC Radio 4
The radio series exploring ordinary people’s links with the past continues on BBC Radio 4. Presenter Fiona Watson also writes a column in each issue of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine – on page 75 of our May issue you’ll find her discussing one man's efforts to reform mental healthcare at the turn of the 20th century.
 
Words | Jon Bauckham

 

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