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ERA’s Top TV Picks 8th – 14th June 2019

Welcome back to our TV Picks of the Week! Ancient history and archaeology teachers are in for a treat this week with an array of programmes covering different locations and time periods. Elsewhere, there are plenty of broadcasts for everyone from construction to astronomy.

Saturday 8th June

  • Up 
    BBC1, 5pm – Recommended for… Health & Social Care
    Pixar pulls of this strange mixture of tear-jerker and comedy adventure with this uplifting (sorry, I had to) tale about Carl (Edward Asner), an old man who travels to South America in a floating house with a boy scout (Jordan Nagai) and a talking dog (Bob Peterson). Bizarre, yes – but it could be really good for teaching students about grief.
  • Supergiant Animals 
    BBC4, 7pm – Recommended for… Biology and Zoology
    Deadly 60‘s Steve Backshall travels across the world, from California to Botswana, to find out more about some of the world’s biggest and deadliest creatures.

Sunday 9th June

  • Great Canal Journeys 
    Channel 4, 8pm – Recommended for… Geography
    Actors Timothy West and Prunella Scales travel on over to Vietnam, where they start their first canal journey of the series. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the surrounding landscapes and, of course, the functioning of a canal.
  • Dial “B” for Britain: the Story of the Landline 
    BBC4, 8:10pm – Recommended for… History and Science
    The latest episode in this series focuses on the evolution of the telephone in Britain and how it has impacted us as a society. Narrated by Victoria Coren Mitchell.
  • The Handmaid’s Tale 
    Channel 4, 9pm – Recommended for… English Literature
    The third series of the show based on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel kicks off here. Needless to say that it’s probably more geared towards HE students, but the themes could be applicable to subjects such as sociology as well as English. The first two series are available on All4 here.
  • The Sky at Night 
    BBC4, 10pm – Recommended for… Physics and Astronomy
    As the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings approaches, the Sky at Night team look into the future to see the plans that the US, China, India and Israel have planned for future missions to the Moon.

Monday 10th June

  • World’s Fastest Train 
    National Geographic, 4pm – Recommended for… Engineering
    This one does what it say on the tin, really. Take a look if you’re interested in how these high-speed trains work and function on a day-to-day basis.
  • The 1900 Island
    BBC2, 7pm – Recommended for… History
    Now, this one should be interesting. Here, we see four families going off to live on an island just of the coast of Anglesey, which is remote enough as it is. To make it even more strange, however, everything about the island is made to look as if it were the early 20th century.
  • War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita
    BBC1, 9pm – Recommended for… Geography and PSHE
    There’s been a good wealth of programmes on protecting the environment over the last few months, and this one looks to be equally thought-provoking. The duo take a look around the UK to try and find out who the biggest contributors to plastic pollution are and what can be done to stop the threat.
  • Long Lost Family 
    ITV, 9pm – Recommended for… Health & Social Care
    This one might be of particular interest to those interested in social work – it shows the reunion of family members who had previously been kept apart for years, and in some cases, decades.
  • Pompeii: New Secrets Revealed with Mary Beard
    BBC4, 9pm – Recommended for… Ancient History and Archaeology
    Mary’s latest show gets us behind the scenes of the Great Pompeii Project, where hidden storerooms are found and restoration is underway.

Tuesday 11th June

  • Empire of the Tsars: Romanov Russia with Lucy Worsley 
    BBC4, 10pm – Recommended for… History and Russian
    Who knows what outfits she’ll come across this time, but here Lucy Worsley is presenting this insight into the Romanov dynasty and how its rule managed to last over 300 years.
  • Forces of Nature with Brian Cox 
    BBC4, 11pm – Recommended for… Physics and Geography
    How is the Earth so beautiful? Well, that’s a rather complex question, but Professor Brian Cox is here to try and explain a few of the forces that contributed to the natural wonders that we often take for granted. You’ll be in for a visual feast, I’m sure.

Wednesday 12th June

  • DIY SOS: The Big Build 
    BBC1, 9pm – Recommended for… Construction and Health & Social Care
    First aired in 2016, this episode in the programme follows a family whose house was left in disarray after the father, who was doing up the property, died suddenly. As well as being a heart-wrenching yet ultimately uplifting watch, there will undoubtedly be some building problems that will occur, so this might help construction students with those smaller-scale problems.
  • Madagascar 
    BBC4, 10pm – Recommended for… Geography, Geology and Zoology
    No, I don’t mean the Dreamworks animated film. This documentary follows David Attenborough as he travels to the island to find out more about its landscapes and wildlife.

Thursday 13th June

  • Rome’s Invisible City 
    BBC4, 8pm – Recommended for… Ancient History, Archaeology and Geography
    Pointless‘ Alexander Armstrong heads out to Rome as he discovers more about the lost subterranean world of the Colosseum and the people that lived there.
  • Who Should Get To Stay in the UK?
    BBC2, 9pm – Recommended for… Citizenship, Politics and Law
    With immigration being a frequent topic of debate among some politicians, this look into how Britain’s immigration system works could be interesting. Here, we also hear from a number of people who are currently going through the system to either obtain or retain the right to live and work in the UK.
  • Horizon: the Lost Tribes of Humanity 
    BBC4, 11pm – Recommended for… Archaeology and Biology
    Paleoanthropology is a pretty niche area, but it’s what Alice Roberts is working with here as a group of these specialists have identified another four human species that would have co-existed alongside Homo sapiens around 50,000 years ago.

Friday 14th June

  • I Can Go for That: the Smooth World of Yacht Rock 
    BBC4, 9pm – Recommended for… Music
    Again, I’ll grant that this is rather niche. Katie Puckrik presents this documentary that reminisces about the so-called ‘Yacht Rock’ of the 1970s and how artists such as Hall and Oates were more or less dismissed.