Part 1 "Fragments of an Arbitrary Encyclopaedia" was on last Wednesday (and is available on the iPlayer until 9:59PM Wed, 8 Feb 2012:
"Jonathan Meades travels through Lorraine and explains why, although close to its eastern border, it has become the symbolic, or even mystical, heart of France and a stronghold of a romantic nationalism that is also expressed by such diverse means as typography, music, engineering, exquisite urbanism and, above all, a sensitivity to Germany's proximity."[choice references include the Mistral typeface, Le Corbusier, Pascal Haüsermann's bulle dwellings (see below), and I give bonus points for some tasty incidental music including France Gall's 'Le temps de la Rentrée']
Part 2 "A Biased Anthology of Parisian Peripheries" airs on BBC4 this Wednesday at 9pm:
"France granted independence to its colonies in the 1960s. That, anyway, is the official line. In fact, through such agencies as Francophonie which notionally promotes the French language and the secretive Francafrique which wields influence throughout much of Africa, the French state is in reality still a colonial power. Jonathan inspects the Parisian palaces of tyrannical dynasties, the sites of political murders and the village where the Ayatollah Khomeini lived in exile."There is no info about Part 3 yet, but it follows the week after, same day, same time.