Arts and culture

TV programmes to give you wanderlust this week

Galapagos stars in a new BBC documentary, which hits our screens this week
Galapagos stars in a new BBC documentary, which hits our screens this week Credit: AP

Saturday March 25

Grand Tours of the Scottish Islands (BBC Two, 8.00pm)

Paul Murton crosses the great natural harbour of Scapa Flow to the island of Flotta, before heading round the main Island of Orkney to Stronsay and onto the stunning beaches of Sanday. Along the way, he hears stories of the First World War, a mysterious beast and Orkney's selkies.

A rainbow forms above the rugged Island of Orkney Credit: ALAMY

Sunday Match 26

Rivers with Jeremy Paxman (Channel 4, 8.00pm)

The presenter travels along the Thames from its source in Gloucestershire to the Kent and Essex marshes, and delves into its history as a working river going back to the time of the Domesday Book. He meets people who maintain the river's locks and bridges, and work to manage flooding and deal with sewage.

Turkey with Simon Reeve (BBC Two, 9.00pm)

The first of two programmes in which the presenter explores a country which is undergoing dramatic change. The first leg of his journey begins in Istanbul, from which he travels along the Aegean coast to the border with Syria. He meets refugees trying to start a new life and a billionaire taking advantage of a property boom. He moves on into the Taurus Mountains and the Black Sea Coast, and visits a community trying to keep an ancient language alive.

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Monday March 27

Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby (BBC Two, 9.00pm)

Giles Coren and Monica Galetti join the staff working in some of the most extraordinary hotels around the world, beginning with Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, which employs 9,500 people and caters for a million guests a year. Their duties include acting as attendants at the world's largest infinity pool, working as a butler under a former special forces officer, and joining a catering team that provides Brazilian, Chinese, French and Japanese cuisine for 60 restaurants.

Travel Man: 48 Hours in Tenerife (Channel 4, 8.30pm)

Richard Ayoade heads to the Canary Islands for a packed mini-break with actress and writer Lena Dunham, the star and creator of American comedy drama ‘Girls’. In the north of the island, they visit a guachinche pop-up restaurant, where they have goat stew before exploring the barren lunar-like landscape around the volcanic Mount Teide and spend the evening stargazing. There is also a sculpture tour, including works by Henry Moore and Joan Miro, as well as layered coffee, a spot of golf and a search for whales.

Tuesday March 28

Yorkshire: A Year in the Wild (Five, 9.00pm)

Unseasonably cold summer weather causes difficulties for several animals in the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors, including an injured roe deer and her twins. High up in Malham Cove, two 40-day-old peregrines must learn how to fly, while south of the North York Moors National Park, a pair of grebes carry their youngsters around on their backs.

The show shines a spotlight on Yorkshire's hardy wildlife Credit: ALAMY

Wednesday March 29

Great Continental Railway Journeys (BBC Two, 7.00pm)

Michael Portillo travels from the Italian Riviera to the Austrian Alps, starting in Genoa, where he learns how an Edwardian Briton introduced football to the port. He takes the train as it clings to the cliffs along the Riviera Di Levante to reach the picturesque and remote villages of the Cinque Terre, now a Unesco World Heritage Site, before ending his journey in the famous Brenner Pass, the scene of a ground-breaking engineering project to build one of the world's longest rail tunnels. Repeat

Hidden Restaurants with Michel Roux Jr (Channel 4, 8.00pm)

Michel Roux’s journey searching for secret eateries and hidden restaurants comes to a close as he travels around the south east of England. First, he explores a homeware shop hiding a secret bistro inside, and a restaurant in a concrete military fort at sea, before visiting a bizarre establishment made entirely of scaffolding and plastic sheeting. Elsewhere, chef Freddy Bird comes across a unique and minute restaurant in the back of an old Citroen van.

Thursday March 30

Great Continental Railway Journeys (BBC Two, 7.00pm)

Michael Portillo braves the freezing temperatures of the Baltic Sea and finds peace paddling a canoe on the Lakes of Finland. On his journey from the Latvian capital Riga to Tampere in Finland, he encounters medieval knights in Tallinn, grills sausages in Helsinki and samples cloudberry liqueur in a hot tub. He later arrives in Estonia, where in the setting of a ruined 13th-century cathedral he learns how the Baltic countries demonstrated their desire for independence from the Soviet Union with a `singing revolution'. Repeat

Walks with My Dog (Channel 4, 8.00pm)

Phil Spencer takes his cocker spaniels out in Windsor Great Park, Clive Anderson is on the Isle of Mull with his terrier and Katy Brand is in Constable country with her dog.

Galapagos (BBC One, 9.00pm)

Liz Bonnin joins a research expedition across the Galapagos Islands, the vast archipelago where evolution has proceeded at an extraordinary pace. The journey begins on the west side, home to a richly diverse wildlife scene, where Bonnin and the scientists journey into the clouds above the islands' tallest volcano on a hunt for the endangered pink iguana. Liz also travels to one of the most remote locations in the Galapagos in search of giant tortoises, and boards a submersible to dive for a new species.

Liz Bonnin goes in search of giant tortoises in Galapagos Credit: ALAMY

Friday March 31

Tony Robinson: Coast to Coast (Five, 8.00pm)

The presenter visits Eden Valley, Cumbria, where he makes a dramatic ascent to the limestone-paved Great Asby Scar, the last evidence of a 300 million-year-old tropical sea. Smardale Gill viaduct has Robinson marvelling at its engineering genius, before he investigates the 21st-century technology driving a traditional dairy. The actor and history buff gets a masterclass working with border collie sheepdogs before heading to Nine Standards Rigg, a summit high on the backbone of Britain, where he contemplates the origins of the huge drystone cairns that dominate the skyline.

Tony Robinson stops off at Nine Standards Rigg in the Pennine Hills Credit: ALAMY

Spectacular Spain with Alex Polizzi (Five, 9.00pm)

The hotelier and presenter shares her passion for Spain's culture and people, and makes some new discoveries along the way. She begins in the north east, a region often overlooked by Brits, where she enjoys a luxurious cabernet grape body scrub, and is shown around an astonishing cellar full of ancient wines. Polizzi experiences the craziness of the San Fermin fiesta, including the legendary running of the bulls through the streets of Pamplona, before heading to Barcelona – Spain's second largest city – famous for its vibrant, cosmopolitan character, and abundance of art and architecture.