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ERA’s Top TV Picks 1st – 7th June 2019

Welcome back to our TV Picks of the Week! If you’re a history teacher, then there’s a huge selection of D-Day programmes on later in the week to commemorate its 75th anniversary that may be of interest.

Saturday 1st June

  • Inside the Tower of London
    Channel 5, 7pm – Recommended for… History
    The third part of this series exploring the history of the Tower of London talks about the execution of German spies there during both World Wars and Leonora Cohen, a suffragette who famously threw an iron bar at a glass casing inside the tower.
  • Holst: The Planets with Professor Brian Cox
    BBC2, 9pm – Recommended for… Music and Physics
    With his new programme, The Planets, on earlier in the night, Professor Cox turns his attention to music as he gives contextual analysis to Gustav Holst’s symphonic orchestral work. Also featuring the BBC Symphonic Orchestra and conductor Ben Gernon.

Sunday 2nd June

  • D-Day: Battle for Freedom 
    National Geographic, 7pm – Recommended for… History
    This one-off documentary shows a number of personal accounts regarding the Normandy Landings.
  • Horizon: Oceans of Our Solar System 
    BBC4, 7pm – Recommended for… Geography, Psychics and Biology
    In the past, this wasn’t seen as possible, but research has shown that many of the planets in our solar system have oceans. NASA’s latest project to explore the planets’ oceans may reveal whether or not life exists on them, and this documentary serves to discuss what this ocean discovery could mean for the next phase in space exploration.

Monday 3rd June

  • The $10 Billion Energy Scandal: Panorama 
    BBC1, 8:30pm – Recommended for… Business and Politics
    Mayeni Jones investigates a case in which a businessman could potentially make billions of dollars through a new energy deal. In the process, she discovers that secret payments to a politican have been made, and a major energy company now plans to invest in this venture. What on Earth is going on?
  • Moulin Rouge! 
    Paramount Network, 9pm – Recommended for… Drama, Music, History and French
    Baz Lurhmann’s 2001 musical stars Ewan McGregor as an English poet, who falls in love with Nicole Kidman’s French courtesan, incurring the wrath of a Duke (Richard Roxburgh). For anyone studying musical theatre, this is a must, and it gives a good insight into French society at the time, too.

Tuesday 4th June

  • The Thames: Britain’s Greatest River with Tony Robinson 
    Channel 5, 8pm – Recommended for… Geography
    Another Tony Robinson documentary?! How has he managed to make all of these? Well, we don’t have the answer to that, but what we can tell you that he has most recently set his sights on the Thames, where he explores the role it had (and continues to have) in shaping London and beyond.

Wednesday 5th June

  • D-Day 75: A Tribute to Heroes
    BBC1, 9:15am – Recommended for… History
    Live coverage of the  National Commemorative Event in Portsmouth, the first of a number of commemorations to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
  • Andrew Marr’s Great Scots: the Writers Who Shaped a Nation 
    BBC4, 11:30pm – Recommended for… History and English Literature
    Presenter Andrew Marr talks about a number of Scottish authors whose works helped to shape the Scottish identity in this three-part series. He begins in this episode by presenting James Boswell.

Thursday 6th June

  • D-Day 75: Remembering the Fallen 
    BBC1, 9:15am – Recommended for… History
    In the first of today’s programmes airing on the anniversary of D-Day, you can find here more live coverage of commemorative events taking place across Britain.
  • Dunkirk
    BBC2, 3pm – Recommended for… History and Film Studies
    This film dramatisation of the Normandy Landings (not the most recent one, this version was filmed in 1958) stars John Mills and Richard Attenborough. Perhaps a good option for those trying to ease their students slowly into the topic.
  • Normandy ’44: the Battle Beyond D-Day
    BBC4, 8pm – Recommended for… History
    Historian James Holland takes a look at the events following on from D-Day, specifically focusing on battle tactics and the myths surrounding them.
  • Double Cross: the True Story of the D-Day Spies
    BBC4, 9pm – Recommended for… History
    It’s not all that often that you hear about the spies whose work made D-Day possible. But Ben Macintyre is aiming to change that by highlighting the important work undertaken by five British spies.
  • D-Day to Berlin: Newsnight Special 
    BBC4, 10pm – Recommended for… History
    George Stevens’ film, first aired in 1984, pulls together footage from Allied campaigns, beginning at D-Day and ending at the fall of Berlin.

Friday 7th June

  • Edge of Tomorrow 
    Paramount Network, 9pm – Recommended for… Film Studies and English Literature
    Looking for something fresh to help teach about narrative structure? Then this might just be for you. In this film, soldier Cage (Tom Cruise) and Special Forces agent Vrataski (Emily Blunt) fight aliens and die, only to repeatedly wake up again on that same morning. The Groundhog Day-style narrative is given a sci-fi twist here, which may be of interest to students.
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