Television choices: From a squeak to a roar - the story of sound and its growth


TV pick of the week: Howard Goodall's Story of Music

Saturday 9.30pm BBC2

What did Stone Age music sound like? We know that our prehistoric ancestors played tunes thanks to bone whistle and flute relics, but since musical notation only began in the 10th century (take a bow, Guido of Arezzo), there's no way to tell, for example, what Nero's fiddling might have sounded like as Rome burned. All this comes courtesy of the composer Howard Goodall, dressed in priestly black and looming somewhat oppressively over the camera, in a new six-part "landmark series" (we'll see; BBC publicity are a bit loose with that epithet these days), which begins with Danish lurs (horns shaped like a striking cobra) from 800BC, Spartan talent contests, Gregorian chants and the medieval troubadours – "the Bob Dylans of their day".

Britain's Holocaust Survivors

Sunday 8pm & 1.15am More 4

"Imagine this was 1944," says Zigi Shipper surveying the windfall apples in his garden. A teenager in Auschwitz, Shipper is one of three British survivors in Daisy Asquith's film for Holocaust Memorial Day. Gena Turgel married the British soldier who liberated her from Belsen, keeping up appearances today as looking fit, she learned, kept you out of the ovens.

Winter Viruses and How to Beat Them

Monday 9pm BBC2

Can you beat a virus? Personally, this comes a bit late (a flu-like cold, since you asked), but for those still wishing that sneezing colleagues had stayed at home, Alice Roberts and Michael Mosley report on the latest outbreaks, and, helped by leading virologists, find out what those microscopic nasties do to our bodies and how they spread.

Jonathan Meades: the Joy of Essex

Tuesday 9pm & 3am BBC4

"Contrary to the caricature as a bling-filled land of breast- enhanced footballers' wives..." He's off – the "inimitable" Meades (ripe for parody, in fact; where's Rory Bremner when we need him?) is "unleashed" on Essex, revealing a rich history of utopian cults and modernist experiments, all shaped by the county's proximity to London. Great stuff.


Wednesday 10pm Channel 4

Ricky Gervais's naive and unclassified (does he have "learning difficulties"?) care-home worker is again joined by Karl Pilkington as sour caretaker Dougie and Kerry Godliman as manager Hannah, as his sitcom begins a full series. The council visits this week, and despite Gervais's best efforts my sympathies were with the cost-cutting bureaucrats.

The Secret Life of Dogs

Thursday 9pm ITV1

Cat-lovers might like to make their excuses as this paean to "man's best friend", narrated by Martin Clunes follows a growing puppy to show how dogs see the world, and meets special pooches such as Jess, a springer spaniel who feeds orphaned lambs from a bottle clenched in her mouth, and Max, a search-and-rescue dog who traced a 79-year-old lost in the woods.

Monty Don's French Gardens

Friday 9pm BBC2

In this follow-up to his Italian horticultural tour, guess what car Monty Don uses to visit France – a Renault 2CV of course, beginning with the gardens of the powerful, Versailles and the Tuileries in Paris. After aristocratic heads tumbled in the Revolution a new style of gardening took root, known as Jardin a l'anglaise. Napoleon's Josephine was a serious botanist, according to Don.

Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’


Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'


Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from


Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
Owen said he finds films boring but Tom Hanks managed to hold his attention in Forrest Gump
Arts and Entertainment
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
Music Album is set to enter UK top 40 at lowest chart position in 30 years
Arts and Entertainment
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show airs its first episode on Monday 10 March 2014
Arts and Entertainment


These heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
books'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' sees the writer become the third Australian to win the accolade
Arts and Entertainment
New diva of drama: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra
Arts and Entertainment
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