John Davies anatomises the broadcasting week (all times pm unless stated.) Pick of the week Simon Schama's epic History of Britain series starts on BBC2 with two one-hour episodes (Saturday 8.05 (repeated BBC1, Sunday 11.35) and Wednesday 9.30). Programme one, Beginnings, travels from Stone Age Skara Brae in the Orkneys to the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings, but concentrates on the Romano-British period; number two, Conquest, has a narrower focus, on the Norman invasion.
SATURDAY September 30 The Irish Empire (5.55 BBC2). Religion, for instance the Orange Order's 19th-century past in Canada, is the theme of Keeping the Faith, part four of this interesting series.
Correspondent: Thirsting for War (6.50 BBC2). How Turkey's plans to build 22 dams to harness the Tigris and Euphrates threaten neighbours Syria and Iraq.
History of Britain (8.05 BBC2). See pick of the week.
Storyville: Mobutu (11.00 BBC2). Thierry Michel's documentary on the Congolese ruler's CIA-aided rise to power and subsequent misdeeds includes newly discovered footage.
SunDAY October 1 Sunday Feature: The John Tusa Interview (5.45 R3). Historian Norman Davies talks.
Australia - Beyond the Fatal Shore (8.00 BBC2). Last of Robert Hughes's series focuses on the unsuccessful republic referendum and the significance of Australian troops' involvement in the first world war.
Just William - and Ffion (8.00 C4). Profile of Mr and Mrs Hague.
Innocents (9.00 C4). Documentary drama by Peter Kosminsky on the Bristol paediatric cardiac surgery scandal. Linked with this is the series Why Doctors Make Mistakes (Monday and Tuesday 9.00 C4).
Cuba, Cuba (10.45 R4, repeated 8.45 Wednesday). Second of three talks by Frank Canosa, whose ancestors helped found Havana in 1519.
The South Bank Show (10.45 ITV). Returning with the collaboration of Ben Elton and Andrew Lloyd-Webber in a new musical.
monDAY October 2 Start the Week (9.00am R4). With Simon Singh on cryptography (see Thursday C4) and philosopher Ted Honderich. Conversations with Napoleon (11am R4). First of two. Cambridge University's Andy Martin evokes the French emperor.
The Paddington Rail Disaster (Thursday 8.00 C5). First of two anniversary programmes. The other is Disaster - Surviving Paddington (Tuesday 10.50 BBC1).
Derail (8.00 C4). Third of four-part train disasters series focuses on speed.
TuesDAY October 3 File on 4 (8.00 R4). Are doctors misusing the "Do Not Resuscitate" label?
WednesDAY October 4 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Future (11.00am R4). Douglas Adams on the digital future: part one, the impact of the internet on music.
Frontiers (9.00 R4). The latest research on prions and their role in BSE and CJD.
History of Britain (9.00 BBC2). See pick of the week.
ThURsDAY October 5 Melvyn Bragg: In Our Time (9.00am R4). Ian Kershaw and others on Hitler.
Scientific American Frontiers: Natural Born Robots (9.00 National Geographic). How robot engineers learn from creatures such as cockroaches.
The Science of Secrecy (9.30 C4). Simon Singh presents a history of encryption, beginning with Walsingham's decoding of a cipher used by Mary Queen of Scots.