Skip Navigation

ERA’s Top TV Picks 9th – 15th November 2019

Welcome back to our TV Picks of the Week! There’s plenty of history programmes on this week for Remembrance Sunday, but there’s also a wide variety of resources for other subjects, too!

Saturday 9th November

  • Jane Eyre
    BBC2, 2:40pm – Recommended for… English Literature
    This 1943 adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s classic stars Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles in the title roles – a perfect accompaniment to the teaching of the text.
  • Novels that Shaped Our World
    BBC2, 9:45pm – Recommended for… English Literature and Sociology
    With the BBc having recently released their top 100 novels that have shaped the world, this accompanying TV programme delves deeper into the larger themes at play behind some of our favourite books. This first episode focuses on women’s voices in fiction (both as authors and characters), with later episodes to discuss empire and social class. This particular episodes features the lives and works of authors such as Mary Shelley, Jane Austen, Zadie Smith, Toni Morrison, Charlotte Brontë, and Margaret Atwood and their importance in influencing literature and society.

Sunday 10th November

  • Remembrance Sunday: the Cenotaph 
    BBC1, 10:20am – Recommended for… History
    Broadcast live from Whitehall, this coverage of the Remembrance ceremony includes a two minute silence at 11am and is a sobering reminder to honour those who lost their lives to war.
  • Dan Cruishanck’s Monuments of Remembrance
    BBC4, 8pm – Recommended for… History and Arcitecture
    Cruishanck discovers more about the creation of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the architects behind it – Edwin Lutyens, Reginald Blomfied, and Herbert Baker.
  • The Unremembered: Britain’s Forgotten War Heroes
    Channel 4, 10pm – Recommended for… History
    MP David Lammy presents this documentary detailing the heroics of fallen World War I soldiers in Africa, who were not granted individual graves after their deaths. This could be an interesting insight into parts of the war not commonly covered in the teaching of the time period.
  • They Shall Not Grow Old 
    BBC2, 10:10pm – Recommended for… History, Art & Design, and Film Studies
    Peter Jackson’s docu-film, first released last year to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, is composed of real clips from the conflict that have been colourised. The effect is a starling reminder that these people were not just figures from history, they were human beings that went to war, often unprepared.

Monday 11th November

  • The Secrets of Amazon
    Channel 4, 8pm – Recommended for… Business Studies
    It’s one of the biggest companies in the world, but how exactly does Amazon function? This fly-on-the-wall series by Dispatches explores how they make their profit and compete with fellow online retailers.
  • Can Flying Go Green?: Panorama
    BBC1, 8:30pm – Recommended for… Geography and Physics
    Flying is a difficult topic in today’s society – it’s fundamental for those who wish to travel long distances (especially within a short time period), but it is indisputably damaging our planet. Here, Justin Rowlatt finds out more about the airline industry that claims to be going green, examining whether this is indeed viable and if so, at what cost?
  • Gary Lineker: My Grandad’s War 
    BBC1, 9pm – Recommended for… History and Italian
    Ex-Footballer Gary Lineker travels to Italy in this documentary as he finds out more about the conflict that took place there during the Second World War. His grandfather was stationed there, but it’s not a section of the war that is often covered in the media or in education, so this could be a rare chance to find out what happened on the other fronts during the conflict.
  • Saving the Orangutan 
    BBC2, 9pm – Recommended for… Geography and Zoology
    Iceland’s Christmas advert starring baby orangutan ‘Rang-tan’ from last year sparked heated debate about the use of palm oil. Here, we find out more about the conditions that threaten the survival of Borneo’s orangutan population on a daily basis, as well as meeting up with International Animal Rescue teams to find out what they’re doing to help stop the extinction of the species.

Tuesday 12th November

  • Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
    Film4, 6:55pm – Recommended for… English
    This adaptation of the first three books in Lemony Snicket’s series about three orphans who find their lives threatened by the villainous Count Olaf could make for a great introduction to what comes next!
  • Queen Elizabeth I: A Timewatch Guide 
    BBC4, 9:15pm – Recommended for… History
    The life and times of this Tudor monarch is one of the most popular subjects on many GCSE specification, so this documentary covering her reign and legacy could be the perfect addition to your class.
  • Scuffles, Swagger and Shakespeare: the Hidden History of English 
    BBC4, 10:15pm – Recommended for… English Literature, English Language, Linguistics, and Drama
    Catchy title aside, this one-off documentary sees Dr John Gallagher explore the roots and development of the English language, in addition discussing how and why it became such an internationally spoken language.
  • Sleuths, Spies and Sorcerers: Andrew Marr’s Paperback Heroes 
    BBC4, 10:45pm – Recommended for… English Literature
    Another title in a similar vein here, but the topic is differs itself slightly in that it leans more towards English literature than English language. In the first of this three-part series, Andrew Marr takes a look at a number of fictional detectives and the novels that they originate from, covering common themes, tropes, and imagery. Later episodes will follow a similar format, but focus on thrillers and fantasy novels.

Wednesday 13th November

  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children 
    Film4, 9pm – Recommended for… English
    Another book adaptation here, this one perhaps appealing more to teenagers than KS2 pupils. Here we see Eva Green step into the shoes of Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine, who runs a school for children with unusual abilities. This could make for a great companion to reading through the text, or alternatively could be used to help spark a creative writing task!
  • Britain’s Child Drug Runners 
    Channel 4, 10pm – Recommended for… PSHE and Policing
    A much more startling subject here – this one-off documentary warns about the rise in the number of children who get pulled into the world of running drugs for gangs. Here, we hear from the police officers, parents, and social workers who have been involved in cases of this, discussing what can be done to protect the children and stop the running.
  • Imagine… Margaret Atwood: You Have Been Warned! 
    BBC4, 11pm – Recommended for… English Literature, Geography, and Sociology
    With her most recent book, The Testaments, having just been released in the past few weeks, this re-run of Alan Yentob’s interview with Atwood seems appropriate. In this documentary, she talks about the things that influenced her writing, which is great if you’re looking to analyse one of her novels.

Thursday 14th November

  • Climategate: Science of a Scandal 
    BBC4, 9pm – Recommended for… Law
    This one-off documentary explores the 2009 case of leaked emails from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia which seemed to suggest that some of their researchers were manipulating data to exaggerate the effects of climate change. What followed was a chaotic mix of accusations, death threats and even a criminal court case that divided the scientific community.
  • Unlocking Nature’s Secrets: the Serengeti Rules 
    BBC4, 10pm – Recommended for… Biology, Ecology, Zoology, and Geography
    We look back here at the work of fives scientists who, in the 1960s, traveled to the world’s most remote locations to discover what they could about nature in these parts. They are interviewed here, and they discuss how their discoveries affected their view of the world forever.
  • Climate Change by Numbers
    BBC4, 11:20pm – Recommended for… Geography and PSHE
    Mathematician Dr Hannah Fry is back, this time meeting up with Professor David Spiegelman and Professor Norman Fenton to break down the facts about climate change and answer some of the most common questions that we have about the crisis that is already underway.

Friday 15th November

  • David Bowie: Finding Fame
    BBC4, 11pm – Recommended for… Music
    The third part of this docu-film series by Francis Whately revisits David Bowie’s rise to fame, including changing his name from his birth name, David Jones, as well as incorporating some previously-unseen footage of him as Ziggy Stardust.