Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment

Sunday 10 April 2022

The Re-union – Libel case McDonald’s v critics BBC RADIO4 11am

It was in 1994 that McDonald’s began a libel case against a postman and gardener from London. It took a decade for the case to be resolved, making it the longest-running libel case in English legal history.

In the late 1980s, Helen Steel and Dave Morris, based in London, were active campaigners for Greenpeace and had distributed a leaflet that questioned the fast-food giants’ claims that their burgers were both healthy and good for the environment.

McDonald’s took offence and began a case against them. The pair were unable to get legal aid and so faced the prospect of having to represent themselves in court. Keir Starmer was a young lawyer at the time and was keen to help – offering his services for free.

The initial ruling in the High Court went in part against Steel and Morris and they were told to pay £40,000 damages. But by 2005 the pair had won their appeal to the European Court for Human Rights – and McDonald’s faced a PR disaster.

Joining Kirsty Wark are the “McLibel Two”, Helen Steel and Dave Morris, along with barrister Timothy Atkinson who was part of McDonald’s legal team, and film-maker Franny Armstrong who spent a decade following the case.

Where Angels Fear To Tread (1991) Great Movies Classic 1.40pm
After a rich Edwardian widow impulsively marries a handsome but poor Tuscan dentist and dies in childbirth, her English in-laws try to gain custody of the baby.

Monday 11 April 2022

House of Maxwell (2/3) BBC2 9pm
The story of the latest in a long line of scandals to engulf the Maxwell family: the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell.

Worlds Collide – the Manchester Arena bombing ITV1 10.45pm
Featuring emotional contributions from the families of those who lost their lives, Worlds Collide: The Manchester Bombing marks the fifth anniversary of an attack that shocked the nation to its core. The two-part special uses new revelations to piece together the chilling timeline of that day and explores how, five years on, the truth of what happened that night is finally emerging.

Tuesday 12 April 2022

Putin: An Indispensable Tsar BBC RADIO 4 11am
Putin returns to the presidency to save Russia from the west.

Like him or loathe him Putin is a powerful and complex man

Wednesday 13 April 2022

The Invention of Poland: A nation without a state BBC RADIO 4 15:30
Between 1795 and 1918 there was no Poland, but the idea of Poland remained extremely strong. Travelling by bus and train around the south east, Misha Glenny and producer Miles Warde go in search of what kept Poland alive. With contributions from Professor Natalia Nowakowska and Timothy Garton-Ash. Part of the How to Invent a Country series for Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.

Europe’s Forgotten Dictatorships: The Regime of the Colonels (1/2) PBS America 9pm
In April 1967, fifteen colonels staged a coup and installed a dictatorship in Greece. This dictatorship was the last stage of a deep social division that had already begun in the Greek civil war.

Thursday 14 April 2022

Our Friends in the North BBC RADIO 4 2.15pm
Drama examining the politics and change across Britain from the Sixties to the Nineties seen through the varying fortunes of four friends.

World’s Collide continued ITV 9pm
Programme two re-lives the final minutes and seconds in the run up to the detonation and its aftermath, unravelling the emergency services’ response through the eyes of the victims and those first on the scene.

Europe’ Forgotten Dictatorships: The Era Salazar in Portugal (2/2) PBS America 9pm
The dictatorship in Portugal was the longest right-wing dictatorship in Europe in the 20th century. For 48 years, one personality had it all: António Oliveira Salazar.

And in other news

Pissarro: Father Of Impressionism
Ashmolean Museum Oxford
See a great review here

Selections by Pat Harrington and Henry Falconer


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