Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment

Saturday 23 July 2022

Genius of the Ancient World: Socrates 7pm BBC4

Genius of the Ancient World has proven to be one of the most popular programmes on BBC4. Socrates explores the life and work of the ancient Greek philosopher. The series was first aired in 2015, and it quickly became one of the most-watched programmes on the channel. Socrates is presented in an accessible and engaging way, and it provides viewers with a fascinating insight into the life and work of one of the most important thinkers in history. If you’re looking for something educational and entertaining, then BBC4’s Socrates is definitely worth a watch.

My Life as a Rolling Stone 4/4 Charlie Watts 9pm BBC2

When Charlie Watts died in 2021, the world lost a true legend of rock and roll. For 60 years, he was the heartbeat of the Rolling Stones, laying the foundation for some of the most iconic songs in rock history. His unrivaled precision and style made him one of the most sought-after drummers of his generation, and his influence can still be heard in today’s music. In this film, a stellar cast of musicians comes together to describe Charlie’s brilliance as a drummer and his unique persona. Through vivid archive footage and a soundtrack of classic Stones tracks, we explore the legacy of one of the greatest drummers of all time. Thank you, Charlie, for everything. You are truly missed.

The Hector. From Scotland to Nova Scotia 10.25pm BBC4

In 1851, a ship carrying Scottish immigrants set sail for Nova Scotia. The ship was called the Hector, and on board were more than 170 people, hopeful for a new life in Canada. Unfortunately, the journey was not an easy one. The ship was battered by storms, and several of the passengers became sick. Despite these challenges, the Hector arrived safely in Halifax after 17 days at sea. The passengers on board were some of the first Scots to settle in Nova Scotia, and their story is told in this programme. Today, the Hector is remembered as a symbol of hope and perseverance, and its legacy continues to be felt in Nova Scotia.

Sunday 24 July 2022

Bend It Like Beckham 6.45pm E4

A vibrant, funny film, Bend it Like Beckham explores culture clash and gender stereotypes with wit and humor. An Indian family living in London tries to raise their soccer-playing daughter in a traditional way, but Jess’ dream is to play professionally like her hero David Beckham. Her skills on the field are impressive, but her traditional mother is convinced that soccer is not an appropriate activity for a young lady. Meanwhile, Jess’ elder sister Pinky is preparing for an Indian wedding and a lifetime of cooking the perfect chapatti. As the two sisters negotiate their different dreams, they discover that they have more in common than they thought. With a great soundtrack and delightful performances, Bend it Like Beckham is a feel-good film that will leave you smiling.

Monday 25 July 2022

The American Diplomat 8.30pm PBS America

In PBS America’s The American Diplomat, host Nicholas Kralev interviews current and former diplomats to get their insights on the art of diplomacy. In each episode, Kralev situates diplomacy in the context of specific historical events and challenges that diplomats have faced. Through these interviews, Kralev shines a light on both the successes and failures of diplomacy, offering viewers a nuanced understanding of this complex field. The American Diplomat is an enlightening and entertaining show that is sure to interest anyone who wants to learn more about the world of international relations.

Myanmar: The Forgotten Revolution 11.05pm Channel 4

Evan Williams Productions is back with another investigative documentary, this time focusing on the mass killings that have taken place in Myanmar. The film features exclusive video footage and eye-witness accounts of three major incidents, including the Saffron Revolution in 2007 and the more recent violence against the Rohingya people. Myanmar: The Forgotten Revolution is sure to be a controversial and thought-provoking watch. However, it is also an important reminder of the brutal reality of life in Myanmar for many people. Williams does not shy away from uncomfortable truths, and his film is all the better for it.

Revolutionary Road 11.15pm BBC 2

If you’re in the mood for a thought-provoking film, then Revolutionary Road is a great choice. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, this 2008 film tells the story of a young couple living in the suburbs of 1950s America. While at first, their life seems perfect, the strain of conformity starts to take its toll. As they both grow increasingly unhappy, they begin to wonder if there’s more to life than what they’re currently experiencing. Revolutionary Road is a powerful film that will leave you wondering about the choices you make in your own life.

Tuesday 26 July 2022

Augmented 8.20pm PBS America

When Hugh Herr was just 17 years old, he suffered a devastating climbing accident that left him without legs. Herr was an experienced climber, and the accident occurred while he was attempting to scale a challenging route. After months of hospitalization and rehabilitation, Herr was fitted with prosthetic legs. However, he quickly became frustrated with their design. The limbs were bulky and uncomfortable, and they restricted his mobility. Determined to find a better solution, Herr embarked on a journey to invent more effective prosthetic devices. Over the years, he has created a number of innovative limbs that have improved the lives of countless amputees. Now Herr is teaming up with an injured climber to help her regain her ability to climb. Together, they are proving that even severe injuries need not be insurmountable obstacles.

Wednesday 27 July 2022

Berlin’s Nightlife 11.30am BBC Radio 4

Berlin is famous for its clubbing scene, which has long been a breeding ground for creative and countercultural expression. However, the future of the scene is now in jeopardy, as rising rents and gentrification threaten to drive clubs out of business. In addition, the city’s strict noise regulations make it difficult for clubs to operate without running afoul of the law. To survive, Berlin’s clubbing community will need to find ways to work more closely with the state. One possibility is to create special “club zones” where noise restrictions are relaxed. Alternatively, clubs could band together to negotiate better deals with landlords and city officials. Whatever the solution, it’s clear that Berlin’s clubbing scene faces challenges in the years ahead. But with a little creativity and unity, it can surely find a way to keep the party going as this programme shows.

Secrets Of The Lost Liners: SS Normandie 9pm Sky History

The SS Normandie was designed to be the grandest, most luxurious ship afloat. She had all the latest Art Deco features, including a grandiose main staircase and a magnificent dining room with a ceiling painted to look like the sky. She also had state-of-the-art safety features, including watertight compartments and fireproof materials.

Despite all of these features, the Normandie met with disaster. In 1942, she was being refitted in New York for use as a troopship when a fire broke out. The fire spread quickly, and the ship capsized. The fire was initially blamed on sabotage, but it was later determined to be an accident. However, the rumors of sabotage have never been completely extinguished. To this day, the Normandie remains one of the most famous ocean liners in history.

Thursday 28 July 2022

Bette and Joan: Talking Pictures 8.30 BBC4

In the golden age of Hollywood, two actresses came to embody the power and glamour of Tinseltown: Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Both Oscar winners, both box office favourites, their successes helped bankroll their movie studios. And both married four times. They had so much in common but hated each other. Their rivalry was the stuff of legend, playing out both onscreen and off. But despite their differences, they shared a respect for each other’s talents. In an era when actresses were often treated as little more than commodities, Davis and Crawford refused to be typecast or sidelined. They demanded roles that would challenge them, and they refused to compromise their vision for their films. In doing so, they changed the course of Hollywood history. As Talking Pictures host Elwy Yost said of them, “Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were two of the most powerful, uncompromising women in an industry not known for its strong-minded women.” Thanks to their groundbreaking work, today’s actresses owe a debt of gratitude to Davis and Crawford.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? 9pm BBC4

Baby Jane Hudson was a child star who enjoyed a brief moment of fame in the 1930s. Her career came to an abrupt end, however, when she was involved in a tragic accident that left her younger sister disabled. Baby Jane’s decline into obscurity and madness was chronicled in this 1962 film, which starred Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. The film was a critical and commercial success, and its portrayal of Jane as a narcissistic, delusional woman helped to establish Davis as one of Hollywood’s most talented character actresses.

So what ever happened to Baby Jane? The answer may lie in the fact that the movie is simply too disturbing for modern audiences. The story of two aging sisters who torment each other may simply be too dark and twisted for today’s viewers. In addition, the movie’s outdated attitudes towards mental illness and disability make it difficult to watch. Nonetheless, in the decades since its release, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? has become a cult classic, with many fans appreciating its campy, gothic atmosphere.

Friday 29 July 2022

Huey Long 1pm PBS America

Huey Long was one of the most controversial and divisive figures in American politics. A flamboyant demagogue from Louisiana, he rose to power in the early 1930s on a wave of populist fervor. Huey Long served as the 40th governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932 and as a U.S. senator from 1932 to 1935. His “Share Our Wealth” program proposed redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor, and he quickly became a thorn in the side of President Franklin Roosevelt. Although he was ousted from the Democratic Party and ultimately assassinated, his legacy continues to resonate today. The film also includes interviews with some of Long’s family members and closest associates, who provide personal insights into the man behind the legend. This promises to be a fascinating look at one of the most colorful characters in American history.

Thomas Jefferson 3.10pm PBS America

As any history buff knows, Thomas Jefferson was one of America’s Founding Fathers and the third President of the United States. He was also a prolific writer, philosopher, and inventor. In addition, Jefferson was a passionate advocate for democracy and civil rights. All of these accomplishments make Jefferson an extremely interesting figure, and PBS America’s “Thomas Jefferson” documentary does an excellent job of exploring his life and legacy. The film features interviews with historians and Jefferson experts, as well as footage of historical sites associated with Jefferson. It’s a must-see for anyone interested in American history or the life of one of America’s most iconic leaders.

Russia 1917 – Countdown to Revolution 6.25pm PBS America

On March 8, 1917, Russia was a powder keg ready to explode. The country had been at war for three years, the economy was in shambles, and the people were angry and hungry. On that fateful day, a group of women marched on the streets of Petrograd to protest the lack of bread. The police tried to disperse the crowd, but the women would not be silenced. Their demonstration quickly turned into a full-blown revolution, and within days the czar was forced to abdicate. The Russian Revolution had begun.

PBS America’s “Countdown to Revolution” is a fascinating look at the events leading up to this pivotal moment in history. The documentary interviews key participants in the revolution, including members of the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks, as well as everyday citizens. It also features archival footage of the demonstrations and riots that engulfed Petrograd in those fateful days of March 1917. “Countdown to Revolution” is must-see viewing for anyone interested in this defining moment in world history.

Stalin: Inside The Terror 7.40pm PBS America

Seen through the eyes of those who knew him best, “Stalin: Inside The Terror” is a haunting portrait of one of the most ruthless dictators in history. Through archival footage and interviews with Stalin’s family and closest aides, the film explores how he rose to power and kept control over the Soviet Union through a reign of terror. Viewers will gain a unique insight into Stalin’s private world, including his dark sense of humor and his love of dogs. The film also sheds light on Stalin’s relationship with his wife, who was forced to live in fear of her husband’s wrath. By providing an intimate look at the man behind the monster, “Stalin: Inside The Terror” offers a chilling glimpse into the mind of a madman.

And on Disney+ from Tuesday 26 July

Santa Evita

We are big fans of Eva Peron here at Counter Culture so we’re looking forward to seeing Santa Evita.

Santa Evita is the story of a body with no grave and the legend that was born from it. In 1955, a military coup in Argentina overthrew then President Juan Domingo Perón and hid Evita’s body for 16 years to prevent it from becoming a symbol against the regime. When Evita’s body was finally discovered, it was embalmed and put on display for the public. Today, her preserved body lies in Eva’s body was later buried in the Duarte family tomb in La Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, and her legend has only grown in the years since her death. Santa Evita captures the imagination of both locals and tourists alike, who flock to see her enigmatic corpse. For many, she represents the power of the people and the fight for justice. Her story is one of tragedy and triumph, and her legend will continue to live on for years to come.

Selections by Pat Harrington and Henry Falconer


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