TV and Radio highlights: 27 February – 5 March 2015

By Jon Bauckham, 26 February 2015 - 5:28pm

Banished BBC Russell Tovey Julian Rhind-Tutt Australia Convicts

Banished tells the story of the first British convicts shipped out to Australia at the end of the 18th century (Credit: BBC/RSJ Films/Mark Rogers)

Pick of the week

Thursday 5 March, 9pm, BBC Two

New period drama alert! Next Thursday the BBC is screening the first instalment of Banished, which follows the lives of felons deported to the first British penal colony in Australia. Showcasing the difficult relationship between the convicts and their superiors (who seem to enjoy delivering brutal punishments at every opportunity), Downton Abbey this certainly ain’t. Featuring Russell Tovey (Being Human) and Julian Rhind-Tutt (The Hour), the stellar cast alone should keep us entertained for the rest of the series, which includes six further episodes.

Also this week

The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway
Sunday 1 March, 7pm, BBC Two

Regardless of your views on its politics, I’m yet to find someone that hasn’t been impressed by the engineering behind the Crossrail project. Due for completion in 2019, the final result will be an 85-mile underground line running from the eastern and western extremes of London, hopefully speeding up daily commutes and easing congestion. As well as following the efforts of the staff fighting to keep the project on track, this documentary also explores some of the history that the work has uncovered – including a tunnel first built by Brunel under the Royal Docks.

Indian Summers
Sunday 1 March, 8pm, Channel 4

Julie Walters and her co-stars are in a flurry this week as the annual Sipi Fair comes to Simla – the only time of the year that the Indian community is allowed in the grounds of the Royal Club. However, beneath all the fanfare is a growing feeling of discontent, with support for Home Rule gaining traction and secrets about certain individuals slowly spilling out.

Promises, Promises: A History of Debt
Monday 2 March, 1.45pm, BBC Radio 4

Debt is not the sort of topic you want to hear about on a Monday afternoon, but don’t worry – David Graeber’s documentary series certainly promises to be interesting. Looking at society over the past 5,000 years, the anthropologist explores the role of debt in the lives of our ancestors, and how 'modern' trends, such as the purchasing of goods on credit, actually have ancient origins. To find out more about the series, which will be broadcast on weekdays until Friday 6 March, click here.

Tales from Northumberland with Robson Green
Monday 2 March, 8pm, ITV

Northumberland-born actor Robson Green continues to celebrate his home county, with an episode that sees him travel up the Coquet River to Warkworth Castle – thought to have been built upon the orders of Prince Henry of Scotland in the 12th century. Ambling along to Amble (sorry), Robson discovers the town’s maritime history, and the story behind a seal that went surfing last summer.

Suffragettes Forever! The Story of Women and Power
Wednesday 4 March, 8pm, BBC Two

Amanda Vickery’s series continues with an episode focusing on the reign of Queen Victoria, revealing how the spurned mistress of a Prime Minister helped pave the way for child custody rights – the first piece of feminist legislation. The historian also looks at the campaign to raise the age of consent (a story included in our February 2015 issue), plus the story of the Bryant May match girls who marched for better working conditions.

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