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ERA’s Top TV Picks 31st August – 6th September 2019

Welcome back to our TV Picks of the Week! History and archaeology teachers may be especially pleased with this week’s programming, but there is, of course, plenty for everyone here!

Saturday 31st August

  • Mammoth Autopsy: Return of the Ice Giant?
    Channel 4, 7:30pm – Recommended for… Biology and Archaeology
    This should be an interesting programme on a lot of levels. Evolutionary biologist Tori Herridge and genetic engineer Professor George Church travel to northern Siberia to try and track down any frozen remains (and perhaps DNA) belonging to the woolly mammoth. What makes it interesting is that Professor Church has also engineered a mammoth-elephant hybrid that could theoretically be released into the wild. The ethics of creating a herd of these beasts is what is now up for discussion.
  • Wild Shetland: Scotland’s Viking Frontier
    BBC2, 8pm – Recommended for… Geography and Zoology
    A camera crew follow various animals throughout the Shetland Isles, discovering more about both their habits and the landscape around them. We also find out more about the way of life out there for its human inhabitants as well.
  • Pride & Prejudice
    Paramount Network, 9pm – Recommended for… English Literature
    This film adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic stars Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfayden as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy, and could be used as a great accompaniment to the study of the text.

Sunday 1st September

  • Untouchable: the Rise and Fall of Harvey Weinstein 
    BBC2, 9pm – Recommended for… Law, Sociology, and Journalism
    This one-off documentary charts the many cases of sexual assault carried out by Hollywood director and producer Harvey Weinstein. It considers the actual case in terms of law, as well as its media coverage and whether this public fall from grace has made women feel more comfortable in speaking out against their attackers, especially those in positions of power.
  • Ryan Gander: the Idea of Japan
    BBC4, 10:10pm – Recommended for… Japanese, Art & Design, Film Studies, and Media Studies
    Ryan Gander heads out to Japan to find out more about how Japanese culture and our perception of it is influenced by its imagery and symbols. Topics include the potential link between Hiroshima and the creation of Godzilla.
  • 50 Years of the Troubles: a Journey through Film 
    Channel 4, 10:20pm – Recommended for… History and Film Studies
    It’s an event that has been covered quite a bit over the past few weeks, so the anniversary of the Troubles in Ireland has been commemorated from a number of different angles. Here, it’s film-maker Mark Cousins’ turn to explore the Troubles, discussing the fact that a lot of Northern Irish history is often warped and abused in movies.

Monday 2nd September

  • Rome: a History of the Eternal City 
    BBC4, 8pm – Recommended for… Religious Studies, History, and Ancient History
    Simon Sebag Montefiore is back, this time discussing the role of religion in the founding and development of Rome over the centuries, covering topics from building temples to sacrificial ceremonies.
  • Rise of the Nazis 
    BBC2, 9pm – Recommended for… History, Sociology, and Politics
    This one-off documentary recalls the rise of the Nazi party in 1930s Germany and the social and political maneuvers that they made to gain control of the country. There’s a startling number of parallels to our current state of world affairs to be seen here, which makes it a must for students to understand.
  • The Art of WWII: a Culture Show Special 
    BBC4, 10pm – Recommended for… Art & Design and History
    Alastair Sooke meets with Land Girls, factory workers, and Blitz survivors, often the focus of a lot of wartime art, to talk about why this era of art was especially influential and yet often overlooked.
  • Are Our Politicians Up to It?: the Debate 
    Channel 5, 10pm – Recommended for… Politics
    Given very recent events, this programme might feel especially important to discuss, though whether it will live up to expectations is yet to be observed. Either way, Jeremy Vine is the host of this debate, so if you have students interested in current political affairs, then this may be a useful resource.

Tuesday 3rd September

  • The Search for Alfred the Great 
    BBC4, 10pm – Recommended for… History and Archaeology
    Neil Oliver tags along with a team of archaeologists and historians as they travel across the globe in search of the remains of Alfred the Great. How do they not have a solid idea of where they are, you might ask? Well, the 9th-century monarch’s bones have been moved about so many times over the centuries that their current resting place is unknown.
  • Sheila Hancock Brushes Up: the Art of Watercolours
    BBC4, 11pm – Recommended for… Art & Design
    It seems that programmes like this only come by once in a blue moon, and make for great art & design resources. Here, actress Sheila Hancock explores the beauty of watercolour art, travelling across the world to find out more about the stories of famous artists that used them, despite being a less popular medium than oil paints.

Wednesday 4th September

  • Raiders of the Lost Past with Janina Ramirez 
    BBC4, 9pm – Recommended for… Archaeology
    Dr Janina Ramirez returns with another intriguing series about a number of archaeological discoveries that were made just before the start of World War II. She discusses the discoveries, such as an Anglo-Saxon ship-burial from the 7th century, and how they helped to alter our knowledge of British history.
  • The Wonderful World of Blood: with Michael Mosley 
    BBC4, 11pm – Recommended for… Biology and Medicine
    Here’s one for the biologists out there – Michael Mosley journeys into our bloodstream, finding out more about how blood cells work and how they cope with harmful pressures such as snake venom and lack of oxygen.

Thursday 5th September

  • Lost Films of World War Two 
    BBC4, 9pm – Recommended for… History, Film Studies, and Journalism
    To mark the 80th anniversary since the start of World War II, this programme pulls together a series of home videos taken during the war, following members of the Home guard, doctors, and the general public as they react to devastating events that happened at home while our soldiers fought on the front line.

Friday 6th September

  • Activate: the Global Citizen Movement 
    National Geographic, 10pm – Recommended for… PSHE, Geography and Sociology
    This programme follows the work of the Global Citizen Movement, taking a look at how it ustilises various platforms to encourage people to take part and showing how these efforts are put into motion. We’ll have to tune in to find out for sure, but this looks like it could be useful for encouraging students to get involved with volunteering.
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