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ERA’s Top TV Picks 12th – 18th January 2019

Welcome back! It’s the new year, so that means that there’s a whole now host of great TV for teaching and learning coming your way! We’ve picked a few of our favourites for this week, covering everything from sociology to Spanish.

Saturday 12th January

  • Evan Almighty
    ITV, 2:10pm – Recommended for… Religious Studies
    This lighthearted comedy sees news presenter Evan (Steve Carell) becoming a modern day Noah, thanks to the intervention of God (Morgan Freeman). It’s not quite as entertaining as its predecessor, but it could be a good way to introduce students to this Bible story.
  • Henry VIII’s Lost Palace: Digging Up Britain
    Channel 5, 7pm – Recommended for… History
    Elsyng Palace in North London is the setting for this documentary, as presenters Helen Skelton and Alex Langlands attempt to find out more about the infamous king and his life.
  • Anne Boleyn: Queen for a Thousand Days
    Channel 5, 8pm – Recommended for… History
    Sticking with the topic of Henry VIII, historian Suzannah Lipscomb explores the life of Anne Boleyn and the complexities of her relationship with the king. Why, after seven years of courtship and three years of marriage, did he decide to have her executed?
  • Hidden Britain by Drone
    Channel 4, 8pm – Recommended for… Geography and Technology
    A slightly unsettling but interesting concept, this documentary follows around a drone that flies to various parts of Britain that are inaccessible by any other means, uncovering a whole host of hidden wonders.

Sunday 13th January

  • The Eyes of Orson Welles
    BBC 4, 9pm – Recommended for… Film Studies
    Often regarded as one of the greatest directors of the 20th century, this film-documentary about Orson Welles includes an imagined conversation between director Mark Cousins and himself. Also featured is a collection of previously unseen storyboards and sketches made by Welles.
  • Chocolate Dreams: Inside Chocolat 
    Channel 5, 8pm – Recommended for… Catering
    Chocolate is one of the base ingredients when it comes to making desserts, so this look into one of the most renowned chocolatiers in the UK is a must for any aspiring chef.

Monday 14th January

  • The Hound of the Baskervilles 
    Film4, 11am – Recommended for… English Literature
    This film adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic stars Peter Cushing as the famous detective – an ideal companion for any student studying the text.
  • Weird Nature: Fantastic Feeding
    BBC 4, 7:30pm – Recommended for… Biology and Zoology
    Arachnophobes, beware! This documentary investigates the bolas spider, and its unusual method of trapping its prey.
  • Icons 
    BBC 2, 9pm – Recommended for… History, Sociology, and Science
    This week’s episode argues as to why certain scientists should definitely be considered to earn the title of the greatest person of the 20th century. Notable metions include Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Alan Turing and Tu Youyou, as their work and achievements are presented and examined.
  • Russia’s Lost Princesses
    BBC 4, 10pm – Recommended for… History and Russian
    Tsar Nicholas II had four daughters who were once adored by the press. However, when their brother was born with a life-threatening illness, their mother did all she could to keep it a secret, causing them to become more and more isolated from the rest of the world. This intriguing documentary tries to uncover more about their lives and how this changed over time.

Tuesday 15th January

  • The Humpback Whale: Birth of a Giant
    Channel 5, 7pm – Recommended for… Biology and Zoology
    This documentary captures the first few months in the life of a humpback whale, which is sure to be stunning.
  • Pothole Wars
    ITV, 9pm – Recommended for… Construction
    Potholes can appear on roads at any given time, and it seems like an endless task for councils to sent repairers out to fix them. However, there are some who don’t think that the council works hard enough, with groups known as ‘pothole vigilantes’ popping up to solve the problems sooner. This documentary follows one such ‘vigilante’ as he talks about the risks presented by potholes on Devon’s windy roads.
  • The Plantagenets 
    England’s longest reigning dynasty is the focus on this programme with Professor Robert Bartlett. As they came from an age that cultivated a sense of nationhood and formed a England’s first proper parliaments, there is plenty to explore.

Wednesday 16th January

  • Revolution in Ruins: the Hugo Chávez Story
    BBC 2, 9pm – Recommended for… Spanish, History, and Politics
    Venezuelan ex-president Hugo Chávez was elected as the people’s president. However, twenty years after his election, the vast majority of Venezuelans do not have enough to eat, and people are leaving the country whenever possible, and so this documentary explores where exactly things might have gone wrong.
  • Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain
    BBC 4, 9pm – Recommended for… History
    Popular historian Andrew Marr returns with a new series following the evolution of Britain since the Second World War. This first episode focuses on the immediate post-war period, and how Churchill’s popularity dropped during this time.
  • Life on Air: David Attenborough’s 50 Years in Television 
    BBC 4, 10pm – Recommended for… Geography, Biology, anthropology, and Zoology
    Michael Palin embarks on an adventure to document the on-screen life of everyone’s favourite nature documentary presenter, Sir David Attenborough. Perfect for those interested in biology or anthropology, or just have a keen interest in nature themselves.

Thurday 17th January

  • Mary, Queen of Scots
    Film4, 4:05pm – Recommended for… History
    With a new film about the famous queen, starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, about to hit the big screen, now might be the time to introduce students to an earlier cinematic adaption of Mary’s life.
  • American History’s Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley
    BBC 4, 9pm – Recommended for… History and Politics
    America: Land of the Free. But how much of what we know of the US is fact, and how much of it has been manipulated by politicians and writers? This is what Lucy Worsley aims to find out in this three-part series, starting with the American Revolution.
  • Light and Dark
    BBC 4, 10pm – Recommended for… Physics
    The second and final part of this series sees Professor Jim Al-Khalili travel to the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy, where a series of experiments surrounding dark matter are underway. He also discusses the theory of dark energy, and what it means for our universe.

Friday 18th January

  • Forever Young: How Rock ‘n’ Roll Grew Up 
    BBC 4, 10pm – Recommended for… Music
    This insightful documentary looks into the lives of ageing rock ‘n’ roll stars, examining how things have changed over the years and why they have made a comeback in the 21st century.
  • Freddie Mercury: A Bohemian Rhapsody
    Channel 5, 10:15pm – Recommended for… Music
    With Rami Malek’s on-screen performance of the legendary singer cleaning up at all the film awards this year, now is a better time than any to bring more attention to Mercury himself. Exploring his life between 1985 at the Live Aid concert and his HIV diagnosis in 1987, this focused documentary should have plenty of information to offer.
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