Culture vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment

Saturday 9 July 2022

Britain’s Ancient Capital – Secrets of Orkney (1/3) 7.45pm PBS America

Orkney – seven miles off the coast of Scotland, and cut off by the tumultuous Pentland Firth, the fastest-flowing tidal race in Europe, is often viewed as remote. But recent discoveries there are turning the Stone Age map of Britain upside down. Rather than an outpost at the edge of the world, recent finds suggest an extraordinary theory – that Orkney was the cultural capital of our ancient world and the origin of the stone circle cult which culminated in Stonehenge.

A Hard Look At Soft Power 8pm BBC Radio 4

An interesting analysis of “Soft power”: the use of a country’s cultural and economic influence to persuade other countries to do something, rather than the use of military power.

My Life As A Rolling Stone: Keith Richards (2/4) 9pm BBC2

Keith Richards has lived a life of legend and in this documentary, he talks exclusively about his 60-year career as the lead guitar player in The Rolling Stones.

Richards’s brilliance as a songwriter and performer, along with his defiant hedonism, have made him a cultural hero to millions and helped to shape the whole idea of what rock ‘n’ roll means.

The film features a vivid archive of Richards’s extraordinary career, a soundtrack full of his classic riffs, and interviews with a stellar cast of musical idols.

Sunday 10 July 2022

The Beatles: Made on Merseyside 1pm PBS America

Few dispute that the Beatles defined 1960s music and popular culture like no other band, but how John, Paul, George, and Ringo made the journey from Merseyside teenagers to international pop stars is less known. Director Alan Byron’s documentary recounts the rise of the band as American rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues dragged post-war Liverpool into one of the most vibrant music cities ever with the Mersey Beat sound

Farewell My Lovely (1944) 11.05am Great Movies Classic

After being hired to find an ex-con’s former girlfriend, Philip Marlowe is drawn into a deeply complex web of mystery and deceit.

Mansfield Park 3pm BBC Radio4

Lin Coghlin’s 10-part adaptation of one of the great English classics by Jane Austen, starring Felicity Jones, Benedict Cumberbatch, and David Tennant.

Red Shelley – Reformer and Radical (2/2) 4pm BBC Radio 4

On the bicentenary of Percy Shelley’s death in 1822, Benjamin Zephaniah brings us his very personal take on Percy Shelley’s work.

Our Classical Century: 1918-2018 7pm BBC4

Our Classical Century celebrates the most memorable musical moments from 1918 – 2018. It is a season of programming on BBC Four, BBC Radio 3, and BBC Two. A host of well-loved guests & presenters guide us through the century in documentaries, features, and performances.

The U.S. flu epidemic of 1918 8pm Smithsonian

The 1918 influenza pandemic, commonly known by the misnomer Spanish flu was an exceptionally deadly global influenza pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza A virus. The earliest documented case was in March 1918 in Kansas, United States. Two years later, nearly a third of the global population, or an estimated 500 million people, had been infected in four successive waves. Estimates of deaths range from 17 million to 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million, making it the second deadliest pandemic in human history after the Black Death bubonic plague of 1346–1353.

Monday 11 July 2022

Ceausescu’s Children 11am BBC Radio 4

Today, the actor Ionica Adriana lives with her family in the North Yorkshire countryside – but her life could have turned out wildly different. Until the age of two-and-a-half, Ionica lived in an orphanage, in Transylvania, north-western Romania.

From 1965-1989, the Communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu enforced a strict set of policies to set about vastly increasing the Romanian population. But widespread poverty meant it was impossible for many Romanian parents to look after their newborn children – and so many ended up in state-run institutions, where they received little care and attention and were left in dirty clothes to feed and fend for themselves.

Ionica returns to Romania to uncover her past and the history of Ceaușescu’s barbaric orphanages. She explores what childcare and protection looks like in Romania today, and meets someone who grew up in the state system his entire childhood and has an emotional encounter of her own.

Where Angels Fear To Tread (1991) 10.55pm Great movies Classic

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.

Tuesday 12 July 2022

Britain’s Travel Chaos: How To Save Your Summer 8pm Channel 5

Documentary looking at some of the travel problems faced by British holidaymakers so far in 2022, hearing stories from people who have experienced holiday nightmares. Thousands of families have had flights canceled, and holidays ruined, but it’s not just the airline industry in crisis. The whole country has plunged into chaos with national rail strikes, ferry cancellations, relentless roadworks, and food and petrol prices skyrocketing.

A Very British History – Birmingham Irish 11pm BBC 4

Musician Angela Moran, whose grandparents were amongst thousands of Irish to move to Britain in the 1950s, tells the story of the Birmingham Irish through the memories of local people and rare archive footage.

Wednesday 13 July 2022

Sideways -A Nuclear Awakening 9am BBC Radio4

In this new mini-series from Sideways, writer and Times columnist Matthew Syed is calling for a nuclear awakening. Since the end of the Cold War, when relations between two of the world’s nuclear superpowers – the former USSR and the USA – seemed rosier, Matthew argues that many of us have slipped into a kind of comfortable amnesia about the presence of these destroyers of worlds.

Thursday 14 July 2022

Hollywood`s Brightest Bombshell – the Hedy Lamarr Story 7.30pm BBC4

While Hedy Lamarr was infamous for her marriages and affairs, this film rediscovers her not only as an actress but also as the co-inventor of 1940s wireless technology.

Bridge of Spies (2015) Film4 6.15pm

The performance by Rylance is masterful

During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers. See our review here

The Undeclared War 9pm C4 All episodes available on More 4

In 2024, a leading team of analysts buried in the heart of GCHQ secretly works to ward off a foreign cyber-attack on the country’s electoral system.

Friday 15 July 2022

Living with the Gods – Festivals 2.45pm BBC Radio4

Neil MacGregor focuses on special gatherings and how they shape a communal identity.

And on Netflix…

Better Call Saul Episodes releasing weekly on Netflix from Tuesday 12 July 2020

It’s time for the final six episodes of season six, the final ever set to air.

Selected by Henry Falconer and Pat Harrington

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