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.

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Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

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Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

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Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
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Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

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Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

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Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

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A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
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Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

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Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

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<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

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Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

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Panic! In The Disco's Brendon Urie performs on stage

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Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

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Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

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Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

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Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

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Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

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Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

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Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

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Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

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MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
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