Ray’s History Radio & TV Picks.      No.13.          30 April 2015.


BBC Radio 4 Extra, Thu 30 April, 15.00 -14.00, rptd Fri 03.00 – 04.00.

David Robb stars in this 2010 adaption of John Buchan’s 1916 spy story.

Episode 1 – November 1915:  Richard Hannay is summoned to the War Office to foil German plans to create holy war in the East. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00tkllp

BBC Radio 4 Extra, Fri 1 April 10.00 – 11.00. rptd 15.00 -14.00, Sat 03.00 – 04.00.

Episode 2 – January 1916: Hannay reaches Constantinople, but is he in time to defeat the German plans?



The Buchan Tradition

The writer Nicholas Rankin examines Buchan’s literary legacy. It includes a discussion on the BBC decision to delay the above broadcast of Greenmantle. Originally planned for 2005, but dealing with the topic of Jihad, broadcast was quietly postponed in the light of the 7/7 bombings in London.

Broadcast Thu 16 Apr 2015. Now on iPlayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05qjq6h


The Vietnam War

Discovery Channel, Thu 30 April 2015, 21.00 – 22.00. New three-part series, 1/3

The story goes from Vietnam’s early history – its people, dynastic struggles and invasions, and the rise of communism in 1941, explaining the impact of Christian missionaries & French colonialism, to Japan’s invasion during WWII, and the rise of Ho Chi Minh. http://www.discoveryuk.com/web/the-vietnam-war/



BBC 4: Thu 30 April 2015, 22.00 – 00.25.

Oscar nominated film drama that re-creates the final days of the Third Reich in 1945. Hitler’s decline is seen through the eyes of Traudl Junge, his innocent and deluded young secretary. German + subtitles:



The Plantagenets

BBC 4: Thu 30 April 2015, 00.25 – 01.25. Repeat series. The Death of Kings, 3/3.

In the last century of their rule, four Plantagenet kings are violently deposed and murdered. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03zrdw3    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b042yyhx/episodes/guide


Secrets of Great British Castles

Channel 5: Fri 1 May 2015, 20.00 – 21.00. 5/6. Stirling Castle, with historian Dan Jones




Anzac Girls

More 4, Fri 1 May 2015, 21.00 – 22.00. 1/6

This new Australian World War I period drama is based on real letters and diaries of five young women from Australia and New Zealand in the First World War. In the first episode the antipodean nurses arrive in Egypt in 1915 to care for convoys of injured men from the Gallipoli campaign. http://www.channel4.com/programmes/anzac-girls

Further programme information: http://www.channel4.com/info/press/news/more4-enlists-the-anzac-girls

1914-1918: The Cultural Front

BBC Radio 4: Sat 2 May 2015, 10.30-11.00. 3/3. War on the Mind:

In the last in the series covering 1915, Francine Stock looks at how the harrowing effects of World War I began to make themselves apparent in art, music and poetry. For the first time, the condition which would become known as ‘shellshock’ was becoming apparent. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05spjym


Tommies: Mon 4 May 1915

BBC Radio 4: Mon 4 May 2015, 14.15 – 15.00. 2/5

Based on unit war diaries and eye-witness accounts, each drama traces one real day at war, exactly 100 years ago. A day of rest behind the lines is not easy for Mickey Bliss and his Signals colleagues from the Lahore Division of the British Indian Army. Writer Nick Warburton. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05sst61

Previous episode from 1914 (2014)  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04l902x/broadcasts/2015/04


Book at Bedtime: The History of the Peloponnesian War

BBC Radio 4 Extra: Sun 3 May 2015, 14.30 – 15.45. Previous week’s Radio4 five episodes combined.

Ancient Greek historian Thucydides’ spellbinding first-hand account chronicles the devastating 27-year-long war between Athens and Sparta during the 5th century BC. Abridge and translated by Tom Holland. Read by David Horovitch. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05s2pbm


VE Day 70: Remembering Victory

BBC1:  Mon 4 May 2015, 20.30 – 22.00.

On 8 May 1945, Churchill broadcast the long-awaited announcement that the war in Europe was over. To celebrate, Britain threw the biggest street party the country had ever seen. Members  of the “Victory Generation” recall memories with the help of archive footage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05tr0py


24 Hours in the Past

BBC1:  Tue 5 May 2015, 21.00 – 22.00. 2/ 4

New series where six celebrities travel back in time to Victorian Britain, spending four days in four different 19th-century workplaces. Their second 24 hours finds them in a 19th century rural coaching inn.



Rude Britannia: Presents Bawdy Songs and Lewd Photographs

BBC4:  Tue 5 May 2015, 00.00 – 01.00. A popular culture of rudeness managed to survive and even thrive in the long era of Victorian values, from the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837 until the 1950s.