Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment

Saturday 3 September 2022

Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry at the BBC 9.30pm BBC2

Roxy Music on Top of the Pops in 1973

Clips from the BBC archive.

Bryan Ferry: BBC One Sessions 10.30pm BBC2

Bryan Ferry in concert at LSO St Luke’s in Shoreditch, performing classic Roxy Music tunes plus solo tracks from his back catalogue, including Let’s Stick Together, Avalon, and More Than This. He also debuts tracks from his album of Bob Dylan covers, Dylanesque, his interpretation of songs such as Simple Twist of Fate, Positively 4th Street, and Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues.

Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music: A Musical History 11.20pm BBC2

Formed in 1970, Roxy Music was the brainchild of art student Bryan Ferry. His advert in Melody Maker gathered the initial line-up which included guitarist Phil Manzanera, saxophonist Andy Mackay, keyboard player Brian Eno and drummer Paul Thompson.

This is an excellent documentary that traces the history of the band and their individual careers. The film features interviews with Sadie Frost, Glenn Gregory & Martyn Ware, Gaz Coombes, New Order’s Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert, Shaun Ryder, Alan McGee, Ana Matronic, and more. as well as concert footage and various other clips. It’s a must-watch for any fan of Roxy Music and/or Bryan Ferry.

Picture credit: AVRO, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en, via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday 4 September 2022

The Re-Union: Island Records 11.15am BBC Radio 4

Chris Blackwell first started Island Records in Jamaica in 1959 and launched some of the biggest and most influential artists across the musical spectrum. U2, Cat Stevens, Roxy Music, Fairport Convention, and Free were all signed to Island, but it was the label’s unique connection to Jamaica that helped popularise ska and reggae music throughout the world, as well as Jamaican born artists like Grace Jones, and British bands with links to the Caribbean such as Steel Pulse and Aswad.

Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals, Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear, and Sly and Robbie, all took refuge on Island – a record label that catered proudly to those who wanted to explore their creativity in an independent way.

Joining Kirsty Wark are Island Records founder, Chris Blackwell; Grammy winning Jimmy Cliff, the singer who became a star after the landmark film The Harder They Come; Mykaell Riley who was a founder member of British reggae act Steel Pulse; pioneer Jamaican ska musician Owen Gray; and Marcia Griffiths, a member of the I Threes who supported Bob Marley and the Wailers for many years, and whose hit Young, Gifted and Black, with Bob Andy, became an anthem for young Jamaicans.

The Vietnam War 3.35pm PBS America

Epic Ken Burns series which features interviews with 79 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war or opposed it as Anti-war protesters, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the North and the South. First 3 of 10 episodes. Unmissable

Stewart Lee: Snowflake 10.35pm BBC2

Lee tackles cancel culture, free speech, identity politics, and being ‘woke’, all from the position of being a self-confessed ‘snowflake’.

He takes on millionaire comedians baying for attention by pretending to be ‘canceled’, considers how it isn’t actually possible to ‘say the unsayable’, and argues free speech can’t always be entirely free, with the help of some selected quotes from writer and author Tony Parsons.

Afghanistan: The Lion’s Last Roar (1/2) BBC4 10pm

Eight years ago the British Army arrived in Helmand in Afghanistan confident they could keep the peace, defeat the Taliban and rebuild the impoverished province. Now Britain’s troops are leaving – 453 have given their lives. This two-part series tells the story of the conflict in Afghanistan and asks what has been achieved and whether, after such a bruising experience, the British have the will to fight in distant lands again.

Part one examines the buildup to the conflict and reveals a story of misplaced hope and confused aims that quickly led to the very real threat of a catastrophic defeat.

Monday 5 September 2022

Bhopal 1.45pm BBC Radio 4. Also Tues.- Friday at the same time.

As midnight approached on 2 December 1984, the giant Union Carbide India pesticide plant let loose a huge cloud of poisonous gas. The noxious mist spread from the factory across Bhopal and beyond.

More than 3,000 people died within the first two weeks of the leak, and many tens of thousands were to die later. Today, nearly 40 years on, people in Bhopal are still dying.

Bhopali journalist Rajkumar Keswani predicted the disaster, and repeatedly tried to warn the public. This five-part cinematic-style ­documentary tells the Bhopal story from Keswani’s perspective.

Crossing Continents: Nigeria’s oil thieves 8.30pm BBC Radio 4

Mayeni Jones meets the people involved in Nigeria’s vast illegal oil business.

Vietnam War (4/10) 8.35pm PBS America

The Boys From Brazil: Rise of the Nolsonaros (1/3) BBC2 9pm

A series that charts the rise to power of the populist politician Jair Bolsonaro.

Riot: The Week England Burned 9pm Channel 5

A look at the wave of unrest that hit cities across the UK in 2011, when buildings were torched, rioters threw fire-bombs and five people lost their lives. The documentary features powerful first-hand testimony from rioters, police officers, victims, and journalists, and uses footage from the four days to explore why a small protest in north London led to £500m worth of damage, hundreds of businesses destroyed and 2,000 people convicted, with some of the looters as young as 12.

Tuesday 6 September 2022

The Vietnam War 9.05pm PBS America (5/10)

Europe’s Forgotten Dictatorships (1/2) The Regime of the Colonels in Greece PBS America 10am

In 1967, fifteen Colonels staged a coup and installed a dictatorship in Greece.

Wednesday 7 September 2022

The Exchange: Breaking With Tradition 8pm BBC Radio 4

Emily and John both grew up in traditional religious communities. Both decided to leave. One has reconnected. They share their experiences and exchange a gift.

Europe’s Forgotten Dictatorships (2/2) The Era Salazar in Portugal 8.10pm PBS America

The dictatorship in Portugal was the longest right-wing dictatorship in Europe in the 20th century. For 48 years, one man had it all: Antonio Salazar.

James Joyce`s “Ulysses” 9pm BBC 2

Dr. Clare Hutton discusses the women who supported James Joyce and the publication of his landmark novel in a new BBC Arena documentary. Also available on BBC iPlayer shortly after broadcast: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001bvp2

The Vietnam War (6/10) 9.15pm PBS America

Thursday 8 September 2022

Russia 1917: Countdown to Revolution 6.30pm PBS America

The story of how Lenin, a stranger to Russia for nearly two decades took power in just a few months.

The Vietnam War (7/10) 8.40pm PBS America

Friday 9 September 2022

Remains of the Day (1993) 2.15pm BBC2

Mr. Stevens is a butler to Lord Darlington, who in the years leading up to the Second World War had great sympathy with Germany and hoped to retain the peace between Britain and the Nazis. Overseeing the running of the great house, Stevens is joined by housekeeper Miss Kenton.

In postwar Britain, Stevens gets a letter from Miss Kenton and decides to seek her out. From the Booker Prize-winning novel by Kazuo Ishiguro.

The Vietnam War (8/10) 8.45pm PBS America

The Pretenders: Radio 2 Live at Home 10.10pm BBC4

Stomping rock from Chrissie Hynde and company.

Arena: Alone with Chrissie Hynde 10.40pm BBC4

Arena spends the summer with supercool self-confessed rock chick, Chrissie Hynde – shopping for clothes in Paris, hanging out with Sandra Bernhard in New York, life in London, and a special trip back to her hometown of Akron, Ohio.

A thoughtful and intimate portrait of a ‘lone, hungry, irritable wolf’, featuring a glorious live performance at one of London’s newest venues.

Selections by Henry Falconer and Pat Harrington

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