From stories of great human (or animal) endeavour to personal tragedies and moments of joy, we can’t get enough of documentaries and factual programmes.
So, prepare to engage your heart, head, and funny bone and enjoy the very best in factual TV, with our pick of new shows on Freeview.
Britain’s Most Historic Towns
Saturday 14 April at 8pm
Professor Alice Roberts takes us back in time to Viking England by visiting York (it turns out the Vikings settled in York for about 100 years). Here, she learns the Viking ways through taking part in a Viking battle, meeting the metal detectorists behind one of the UK’s greatest archaeological finds, and gets up close and personal with 1,000-year-old poo! Future episodes will visit Winchester, Norwich, Cheltenham and Belfast.
Britain’s Biggest Warship
Sunday 15 April at 8pm
This new series invites us aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth, heralded as Britain’s largest and most advanced warship, as it undergoes a series of vital sea trials. In this first episode, we meet Captain Jerry Kyd and his 700 sailors as they prepare to board – but not before they’re thoroughly put through their paces with fire and flood training. Wouldn’t want to sink that £3bn warship!
Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends
Sunday 16 April at 11:20pm
Louis travels to America’s South West to investigate the strange world of UFO seekers. Along the way he meets the self-titled “Lord Commander of the Earth Protectorate”, who claims to have killed more than twenty aliens. Louis better tread carefully, otherwise his next series might be from Mars!
Travel Man: 48hrs in Madeira
Monday 16 April at 8:30pm
Richard Ayoade and Peep Show star Robert Webb head off to the Portuguese island of Madeira, birthplace of footballing icon Cristiano Ronaldo and Madeira cake. Trying to prove the city is more than just baked goods, the duo sample black scabbard fish at a local restaurant and partake in an embroidery lesson in Fuchal. Although Madeira’s tourist board might not be happy, their sarcastic review of the island is not to be missed.
World’s Toughest Prisons
Monday 16 April at 11:05pm
Possibly the best advert for behaving yourself whilst backpacking, this new series provides an in-depth look at the world’s toughest prisons. In episode one, we visit San Pedro Prison in La Paz, Bolivia, where the inmates run the prison and violence is an everyday occurrence.
Stephen: The Murder That Changed a Nation
Tuesday 17 April at 9pm
Stephen Lawrence’s murder at the hands of a gang of white youths caused outrage in 1993. However, the impact of this tragedy is still felt today – particularly as it’s still being investigated. This new documentary examines the case, looking at the follow-up police investigation, as well as focusing on Stephen’s mother Doreen Lawrence, as she fights for justice for her son. The concluding parts of this series will be shown on the following Wednesday and Thursday night at 9pm.
Tuesday 17 April at 9pm
An intense documentary following the team at the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. This unit cares for the country’s sickest children, including four-year-old Esme, whose life-threatening condition could result in her losing her fingers and toes.
At times heart-breaking, this series shows how doctors and medical staff fight to save lives, whilst coping with the local and national shortage of intensive care beds.
The Yorkshire Vet
Tuesday 17 April at 8pm
Vet Peter Wright heads to Monk Park Visitor Centre, where Wendy the wallaby is feeling under the weather. However, catching a wallaby is no easy job. And colleague Julian Norton is called out to pregnancy test a herd of cattle. There’s never a dull moment with these guys.
999: What’s Your Emergency?
Thursday 19 April at 9pm
Now into its sixth series, we follow the emergency services in Wiltshire as they attend to crisis situations. Although portraying sad events, the show finds the humanity in every story, including a difficult decision for a mother whose 15-year old son has smashed up her house and assaulted her friend. And introducing us to 54-year old Kerry and her son Julian, both of whom are heroin addicts, but who are always there for each other no matter what.
The Bombing of Wall Street
Thursday 19 April at 9pm
A fascinating documentary which tells the largely forgotten story of how a horse-drawn cart packed with dynamite exploded in front of Morgan Bank. The bombing was significant for America, sparking a national debate and striking fear into fellow banks. It even launched the career of a young J. Edgar Hoover. Thrilling and insightful, this is factual television at its best.
And showing on catch-up…..
Big Cats about the House
Get ready for cuteness overload. This wonderful series follows conservationist Giles Clark’s life at his Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent. From hand rearing baby jaguars to helping jaguars in Costa Rica, Giles invites you into his unique life and introduces you to the delightful animals he cares for. Be prepared to lose an afternoon with this purr-fect documentary.
Have you ever wondered what former Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt’s favourite dish is? Well, there’s no need to keep guessing. Be Tasty lets you inside the kitchen of a host of celebs, who, alongside some culinary masters, cook up a range of great recipes. The show also showcases the cooking talents of Lisa Snowdon, Ampika Pickston, and Melanie Sykes.