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ERA’s Top TV Picks 4th – 10th May 2019

Welcome back to our TV Picks of the Week, where you’ll find the best TV for teaching and learning coming your way! Ancient history and engineering educators are in for a treat this week, though there’s plenty available for everyone!

Saturday 4th May

  • The Golden Compass
    ITV2, 4:55pm – Recommended for… English and Religious Studies
    This adaptation of Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials stars Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra, who sets off to save her kidnapped best friend. This is an obvious choice if you’re teaching about the text, but Pullman’s strong atheist views are very apparent in the story, so it could also be an intriguing theme for religious studies students.
  • Women’s FA Cup Final 
    BBC1, 5:10pm – Recommended for… P.E.
    This is a must for anyone interested in ladies’ football, as Manchester City and West Ham compete in the final.
  • Jutland: Draining the Battle Site 
    Channel 5, 6:55pm – Recommended for…
    This programme explores the story of the 1916 battle between the British and German navies which had no clear winner.
  • Bowie at the BBC 
    BBC4, 11pm – Recommended for… Music
    This series of clips from the BBC archives charts the life and career of the legendary David Bowie, including clips of his many performances over the years.

Sunday 5th May

  • War Horse 
    BBC1, 3:35pm – Recommended for… History and English
    Another useful film adaptation here, this time for Michael Mopurgo’s heartbreaking tale. Albert (Jeremy Irvine) enlists in the army for World War I when his horse is taken to be part of the cavalry. If you’re looking for our thoughts on why adaptations can be helpful in teaching, check out our article here.
  • D-Day: the King Who Fooled Hitler
    Channel 4, 8pm – Recommended for… History
    When you think of Britain during World War II, the chances are that you don’t immediately think of King George VI. It seemed that he had nothing to do with the war effort, though a recent discovery seems to imply that he was actively involved in Operation Overlord. This intriguing discovery is the topic at hand here.
  • Lost Treasures of the Maya 
    National Geographic, 8pm – Recommended for… Ancient History, Geography, and Archaeology
    Albert Lin travels to Guatemala, where he meets a team of archaeologists who are using the latest technological advancements alongside classic techniques to uncover more about the Mayan civilization and the wonders that it may have left behind.
  • The Lancaster: Britain’s Flying Past
    BBC4, 9pm – Recommended for… History and Engineering
    The Lancaster bomber is a classic symbol of victory in the Second World War, but for its pilots, the experience was nothing like the images that we picture. A few of the surviving members talk to the team in this documentary, first filmed in 2014, which also explains some the the planes’ most famous attacks.

Monday 6th May

  • Banged Up: Teens Behind Bars
    Channel 4, 9pm – Recommended for… Policing and PSHE
    The second series of this programme follows Lieutenant Robbie Stokes as he tries to rehabilitate young people in prison. This could be an interesting one for those looking into becoming a prison officer or just act as a message to young people that it’s never too late to turn your life around.
  • Cleopatra: a Timewatch Guide / Cleopatra and Me: In Search of a Lost Queen
    BBC4, 9pm and 10pm – Recommended for… Ancient History and Sociology
    In this double bill tonight, Vanessa Collingridge and Dr Islam Issa find out more about how depictions of the famous Egyptian queen have changed over the years due to the introduction of various mediums and which interpretations contain the most amount of truth.
  • Swallowed by the Sea: Ancient Egypt’s Greatest Lost City 
    BBC4, 10:30pm – Recommended for… Ancient History
    Following on from the exploration of the queen of Ancient Egypt, this documentary investigates the drowning of Heracleion, one of Egypt’s most beautiful cities, as archaeologists dig it up and discover more about what life was like there.

Tuesday 7th May

  • Wild Amazon
    More4, 9pm – Recommended for… Geography, Biology, and Zoology
    The team visit Isla de Monos, where they encounter some young monkeys, among other animals, who are struggling to survive. Perfect for those studying the rainforest and/or its wildlife.
  • Little Ships: the Miracle of Dunkirk 
    BBC4, 9pm – Recommended for… History
    This one-off documentary with Dan Snow puts focus on the 700 “Little Ships” such as trawlers that saved thousands of lives at Dunkirk.
  • Wellington: the Iron Duke Unmasked
    BBC4, 11pm – Recommended for… History
    Richard E Grant appears in short dramatised reenactments of the Duke of Wellington’s life, which are weaved into this documentary exploring the man behind the iron mask.

Wednesday 8th May

  • GPs: Why Can’t I Get an Appointment? – Panorama
    BBC1, 7:30pm – Recommended for… PSHE, Medicine, and Politics
    It’s something that we’ve all complained about at some point or another. Yet it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to get a doctor’s appointment when needed – but why is that? Here, Panorama looks into why many GP surgeries are struggling to survive, with many forced to close and their patients sent to other, already overloaded, practices.
  • Saving Britain’s Hedgehogs 
    Channel 5, 8pm – Recommended for… Zoology, Veterinary Science
    Everyone loves hedgehogs (the new, live-action Sonic aside) – but there’s a real possibility that they could be extinct in the UK by 2025. Here, Steve Backshall follows a group of people dedicated to saving Britain’s hedgehogs, including caring for and nursing the animals back to health.
  • Horizon: How Small Is the Universe?
    BBC4, 11pm – Recommended for… Physics and Astronomy
    Despite the odd title, this programme actually explores the work of scientists trying to uncover more about black holes and theorising the potential of parallel universes and different dimensions. What sort of impact would these have on our understanding of science? That’s what we’re trying to find out here.

Thursday 9th May

  • Superstructures: Engineering Marvels 
    National Geographic, 8pm – Recommended for… Engineering
    The International Space Station is the topic of this week’s episode, where its structure is taken apart and put back together using CGI. Perfect for those interested in this field!
  • Supersized Earth: The Way We Move
    BBC4, 8pm – Recommended for… Engineering and Physics
    If you don’t fancy the idea of someone walking cautiously across one of the longest suspension bridges in the world, then this one might not be for you. There are plenty of other great features in the programme though, which talks about the role of engineering and physics in our ability to move faster and further around the world.

Friday 10th May

  • Pop Charts Britannia: 60 Years of the Top Ten 
    BBC4, 9pm – Recommended for… Music and Business Studies
    Ah, the singles charts. They seem to have existed forever, but it’s actually only been 60 years since their establishment. Here, a handful of those involved in the entertainment industry talk about its shift in popularity over the years.
  • Girl in a Band: Tales from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Front Line
    BBC4, 11:30pm – Recommended for… Music and Sociology
    In this thought-provoking documentary, Kate Mossman talks to guests such as Miki Berenyi and Elkie Brooks about the experiences of female band members and how they are portrayed in the media.