This month’s round-up of TV and ra­dio*

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - TV&RADIO -

The Se­cret Life Of Books


BBC FOUR The se­ries that takes a look at clas­sic books, so of­ten a great source of in­for­ma­tion about how our fore­bears lived, con­tin­ues through Novem­ber. Among the fea­tured tomes is Ge­orge Eliot’s The Mill On The Floss (1860), which tells of a young woman’s strug­gle with her fam­ily and for in­tel­lec­tual ful­fil­ment and per­sonal hap­pi­ness.

As ac­tor and di­rec­tor Fiona Shaw dis­cov­ers, it was a deeply per­sonal book for Eliot, whose own brother, Isaac, found it dif­fi­cult to ac­cept her re­la­tion­ship with (mar­ried) critic and philoso­pher Ge­orge Henry Lewes.

Look out, too, for a show on Cider With Rosie, in which writer Joanna Trol­lope meets fam­ily friends and lo­cal his­to­ri­ans as she ex­plores Lau­rie Lee’s au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal ac­count of life in the Cotswolds in the wake of the First World War. Lee, it seems, may have bent the truth on oc­ca­sion.

The Story Of China Wed­nes­day 4 Novem­ber

BBC TWO Over six episodes, Michael Wood tells the story of how the world’s old­est civil­i­sa­tion de­vel­oped over three mil­len­nia to be­come its most pop­u­lous na­tion and new­est su­per­power.

When Wood reaches the 19th cen­tury, ex­pect there to be much about im­pe­rial Bri­tain’s morally ques­tion­able role in shap­ing Chi­nese his­tory through un­equal treaties, gun­boat diplo­macy and the opium trade.

Rais­ing The Bar: 100 Years Of Black Bri­tish Theatre and Screen

Mon­day 9 Novem­ber

RA­DIO 4 In 1833, Ira Aldridge starred as Othello, ‘the Moor of Venice’, at Covent Gar­den. Lit­er­ary mag­a­zine The Athenaeum com­plained about Ellen Tree’s Des­de­mona be­ing “pawed about” on the stage by a Black man. Even a cen­tury later, mem­bers of the press still asked Peggy Ashcroft if she ob­jected to kiss­ing Paul Robe­son when the duo starred in the same tragedy. Hap­pily, we’ve come a long way since th­ese days of overt racism, but not with­out bat­tles along the way, some of them on­go­ing. Over 10 episodes, Lenny Henry tells the story of how Black artists and writ­ers have es­tab­lished them­selves on the Bri­tish stage and in the TV and film in­dus­tries.

The Water­loo Dead Mon­day 16 Novem­ber

YES­TER­DAY The Me­dieval Dead team turns its at­ten­tion to events 200 years ago, when Bri­tain and her al­lies de­feated Napoleon Bon­a­parte. This was a hor­rific bat­tle, with huge losses on both sides. The team em­ploy cut­ting-edge tech­niques in their cus­tom­ary “CSI meets Time Team fash­ion” to dis­cover what hap­pened.

Joanna Trol­lope learns the se­crets of Cider With Rosie

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