TV & radio: what to tune into next week (23–29 July 2016)

Can't decide which programmes to watch or listen to next week? Here are 10 you won't want to miss...

Full Steam Ahead. (BBC/Lion TV/Georgina Stewart)
Archive on 4: The Norma Percy Tapes 
Radio 4
Saturday 23 July, 8.00pm
 
The documentary filmmaker looks back on a 30-year career that’s involved talking to world leaders about such key events as the disintegration of the Soviet Union and Northern Ireland’s peace process. Amongst those Percy recalls meeting are Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev.
 
 
Keith Richards – The Origin of the Species 
BBC Two 
Saturday 23 July, 9.00pm
 
As part of the BBC’s ongoing ‘My Generation’ season, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards looks back at his formative years in Dartmouth, Kent. Acclaimed director Julian Temple’s film looks at cultural developments in Britain in the 1940s and 1950s, and traces Richard’s story up to the formation of the Stones in 1962.
 
 
Saddam Goes to Hollywood 
Channel 4
Sunday 24 July, 8.00pm
 
In the 1980s, Saddam Hussein bankrolled a film to tell the story of the birth of modern Iraq. As this documentary recounts, what with drunken star Oliver Reed running amok and the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war, things didn’t go too well. 
 
 
The Secret Agent 
BBC One
Sunday 24 July, 9.00pm
 
The second episode of Tony Marchant’s terrific Joseph Conrad adaptation sees a suspicious Verloc’s plans for a bomb attack begin to unravel. Meanwhile, Inspector Heat squares up to the downright dangerous 'Professor'. A drama that consistently finds striking parallels with our own time.
 
 

The Secret Agent. (BBC/World Productions/Des Willie)
 

Pick of the week

 
Arena: 1966 – 50 Years Ago Today 
BBC Four
Sunday 24 July, 10.00pm
 
Jon Savage scripts a documentary based on his book 1966: The Year The Decade Exploded, which argues this was a crucial year in British culture. A film rich in archive footage, it offers a portrait of 12 months when, although TV was in black and white, the wider world was starting to burst into vivid psychedelic colour.
 
 

Arena: 1966 – 50 Years Ago Today. (BBC)
 
The Somme: From Both Sides of the Wire
BBC Two 
Monday 25 July, 9.00pm
 
Historian Peter Barton looks at the second phase of the battle of the Somme – the months from July to September 1916. This was a period when British tactics rarely varied, but the Germans were far more adept at adapting to conditions on the ground and successfully slowed the Allied advance.
 
 
Masters of the Pacific Coast: The Tribes of the American Northwest 
BBC Four 
Wednesday 27 July, 9.00pm
 
The 1,400 miles of rugged coastline that extend from the Alaskan panhandle through British Columbia and Washington State have been occupied for 10,000 years. In a two-part documentary, the British Museum’s Jago Cooper charts the history of the longest continuing culture to be found anywhere in the Americas, revealing a complex society that developed without agriculture.
 
 
An Obsessive Type: The Tale of the Doves Typeface 
Radio 4
Thursday 28 July, 11.30am
 
In 1916, following an angry row with his business partner, artist and bookbinder TJ Cobden-Sanderson threw his distinctive Doves typeface into the Thames near Hammersmith Bridge. The Arts & Crafts font was thought lost forever. A century later, graphic designer Robert Green goes in search of the lost metal letters. 
 
 
Full Steam Ahead 
BBC Two 
Thursday 28 July, 8.00pm
 
Ruth Goodman, Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn head for Beamish living museum in Durham. Here, they trace the story of how those who owned railways realised there was money to be made by transporting people, not just commodities. Plus, the lives of navvies and the impact of the railways on cottage industries. 
 
 
Roger Bannister: Everest on the Track 
BBC Four
Thursday 28 July, 9.00pm
 
On 6 May 1954, Roger Bannister became the first man to run a mile in less than four minutes. The former athlete himself, a spry octogenarian, is amongst those looking back on an achievement that brightened postwar Britain and redefined what humans were capable of achieving. 
 
 
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