TV & radio: what to tune in to next week (9 - 15 December 2017)

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

Attenborough And The Giant Elephant. (BBC/Humble Bee Films/Vik Manchada)
Great Lives – Four Hundred And Counting 
Radio 4 Extra 
Saturday 9 December, 9.00am
Matthew Parris hosts a three-hour celebration of Great Lives, the series where celebrities discuss historical figures they admire. Expect an argument between Parris and Trotsky fan Christopher Hitchens to figure prominently. The regular series continues on Tuesday 12 December (4.30pm, Radio 4), with Cornelia Parker speaking up for fellow artist Marcel Duchamp.
John Osborne’s Luther
Radio 4
Saturday 9 December, 2.30pm
As part of programming to mark five centuries since Martin Luther challenged the Catholic church, here’s a new production of John Osborne’s 1961 play. It’s in great part an attempt to understand Luther’s internal life and stars Harry Lloyd as the theologian who turned the world upside down.
Attenborough And The Giant Elephant 
BBC One 
Sunday 10 December, 9.00pm
David Attenborough goes back to the Victorian era to chart the life of Jumbo, the elephant said to have inspired Dumbo. It’s a sad tale. After arriving at London Zoo in 1865, Jumbo led a double life: apparently pliant in public but subject to rages that resulted in keepers pacifying him with booze.
Home Front 
Radio 4
Monday 11 December, 12.04pm
The weekday drama continues with another five episodes charting life in the northeast in 1917. Also this week on Radio 4, Voices Of The First World War (weekdays, 1.45pm) finds Dan Snow listening to archive footage of those who served at Ypres. 
The Unconscious Life Of Bombs 
Radio 4
Monday 11 December, 8.00pm
Psychoanalyst Daniel Pick explores the impact of being bombed from the air on the human mind. In the 1930s, it was widely thought this would induce hysteria but, as the Blitz proved, people can be surprisingly resilient. Nonetheless, the Second World War also showed how just the fear of being bombed could lead to an increase in aggression. 
The Long View 
Radio 4
Tuesday 12 December, 9.00am
The series looking at a contemporary news story through the prism of the past concludes with Jonathan Freedland considering the recent Catalan bid for independence. What does the English Civil War, when military commander Sir Richard Grenville devised a plan for Cornwall to be a semi-autonomous region, have to teach us here?
Digging For Britain: The Horsemen Of Hadrian’s Wall. (BBC/360Productions)
Invasion! With Sam Willis 
BBC Four
Tuesday 12 December, 9.00pm
Historian Willis turns his attention to the legacy of the Norman invasion, 1066 and all that. Less familiar are the tales he also spins of lesser-known incursions, such as the tale of King Louis the Lion, who arrived on our shores in 1216 but ultimately retreated peacefully. 
Digging For Britain: The Horsemen Of Hadrian’s Wall
BBC Four 
Wednesday 13 December, 9.00pm
In a special edition of the archaeology series, Alice Roberts considers the largely forgotten story of the Romans’ cavalry, a potent force in the context of the era. Followed by the finale of the bittersweet Detectorists (10.00pm), which will be much missed.
Blitz: The Bombs That Changed Britain 
Thursday 14 December, 9.00pm
On 24 November 1940, an incendiary bomb hit Castle Street in the centre of Bristol. St Peter’s Church was engulfed by fire. The series looking at the effects of individual bombs concludes by remembering a night when the city’s firefighters were overwhelmed.

Pick of the week

The Sweet Makers At Christmas. (BBC/Wall to Wall South)
The Sweet Makers At Christmas 
Friday 15 December, 9.00pm
Food historian Annie Gray and social historian Emma Dabiri introduce a one-off special of the series where modern-day expert confectioners recreate the sweet treats of the past. The boar’s head cake promises to be a particular highlight. Plus chocolate apples, sugar mice and the delights of cheap jelly sweets. 


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