TV & radio: what to tune in to next week (21-27 October 2017)

Can't decide which shows to watch or listen to next week? Here are 10 programmes you won't want to miss...

Pick of the week: Gunpowder. (Image Credit: BBC/Kudos)

Pick of the week: Gunpowder. (Image Credit: BBC/Kudos)

Britain Afloat
Saturday 21 October, 8.00pm
Continuing her series on craft important to the nation’s history, Mary-Ann Ochota considers the punt. It may be associated with university life these days, but the story of the punt dates back to the Bronze Age, as a discovery in the mud of East Anglia proves.

Pick of the week

Saturday 21 October, 9.10pm
Why did Robert Catesby plot to kill King James? This three-part drama, starring Kit Harington of Game Of Thrones fame, takes us back to an era when holding a Catholic mass, even in private, could get you killed. Impressively done, if violent and rather sombre. The full series will be available on iPlayer after this opener has broadcast.
Lucy Worsley’s Nights At The Opera
Saturday 21 October, 9.00pm
The historian continues her exploration of opera by focusing on four works that challenged conventions, including Bizet’s Carmen and Wagner’s Ring Cycle. On Radio 3, listen out for Sunday Feature: A Flapper’s Guide To The Opera (Sunday 22 October, 6.45pm), which finds Alexandra Wilson charting the egalitarian opera culture of London in the 1920s.

Lucy Worsley’s Nights At The Opera. (Image Credit: BBC/Reef Television Limited/Ian Salvage)

The Last Post
Sunday 22 October, 9.00pm
Peter Moffat’s drama of life in the Aden during the emergency in the 1960s continues with the men of the RMP on a desperate search for their commanding officer’s missing son. Elsewhere, Alison confides in Honor about her affair and drinks too much, again.
Living With The Gods
Radio 4
Monday 23 October, 9.45am & 7.45pm
Neil MacGregor’s latest series considers artefacts that shed light on humanity’s quest for meaning. The first of 30 weekday episodes sees him discussing the Lion Man, a 40,000-year old sculpture found in a cave near Ulm in Germany. Preceded by Start The Week (9.00am), when MacGregor is among Andrew Marr’s guests.
Elizabeth I’s Secret Agents
Monday 23 October, 9.00pm
When the Virgin Queen ascended to the throne in 1558, England was a divided and unstable country. Which, suggests this three-part series, goes a long way to explaining why the country had one of the world’s first secret services.

Elizabeth I’s Secret Agents. (Image Credit: BBC/72 Films/Hatfield)

The Vietnam War
BBC Four
Monday 23 October, 10.00pm & 10.55pm
The final double bill in the epic series from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick begins in 1970, the year of a terrible defeat for South Vietnamese forces in Laos. The second episode picks up in 1973, a year when, while the US was fixated on Nixon’s disgrace, the brutal Vietnamese civil war continued to rage.
Savitri Devi: From The Aryans To The Alt-Right
Radio 4
Friday 27 October, 11.00am
Journalist Maria Margaronis assesses the legacy of writer and political activist Savitri Devi. A Hitler devotee, a supporter of the Indian caste system and a believer in Aryan supremacy, Devi’s ideas, we learn, are being taken up and propagated by the contemporary extreme right.
The World’s Greatest Bridges
Channel 5
Friday 27 October, 8.00pm
When San Francisco’s Golden Gate opened in 1937, it was the world’s longest and tallest bridge. But how did it come to be built? Kicking off a new six-part series, Rob Bell charts its construction. Expect both human stories and boggling statistics.
Eight Days That Made Rome
Channel 5
Friday 27 October, 9.00pm
Bettany Hughes presents a new series looking at eight key moments in the history of ancient Rome. She begins in 202 BC, the year Scipio won a decisive victory against Hannibal in the battle of Zama, a victory that did much to establish Roman power.
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