BBC1 Friday, July 12, 9-10.30pm
The Gathering Storm tells the story of Winston Churchill's life and political struggles in the inter-war years, in particular his attempts to alert the government to the dangers of German rearmament. This is a BBC drama that provides all the pleasures you expect: terrific performances by Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave; splendid cameos (especially by Ronnie Barker as Churchill's butler); a well-judged blend of private and public affairs; a literate script (by Hugh Whitemore). And the pleasures can be enjoyed with impunity: this is documentary drama you can recommend to GCSE or A-level history students. At least tape it for them to watch at the end of term.