Culture Vulture: Our guide to the week’s entertainment (10 – 16 December 2021)

Saturday 10 December 2021

The Downing Street Doppelganger 3pm BBC Radio 4

It is 1922. Prime Minister Henry Bonar-Baldwin is gravely ill with a deadly virus. The inner circle around him doesn’t want the news to get out as it may precipitate a crisis. How can they give the impression that all is well and keep those pesky socialists at bay? Well someone has heard there is a Music Hall comedian who does an uncanny impersonation of Bonar-Baldwin. Riotous political romp starring John Thomson.

The People v J Edgar Hoover 10.15pm BBC Radio 4

An examination of the first director of the FBI’s power and influence.

1972: Munich’s Black September 1145pm Sky Documentaries

In this emotionally charged and multi-layered documentary, the events leading up to Munich’s Olympic massacre are reconstructed from different viewpoints. It weaves together deeply personal narratives with the attack’s political backdrop.

Bowie: The Man Who Changed the World 1.15 Talking pictures (2016)

Combining footage from interviews with the late great David Bowie and contributions from those who knew him personally, this documentary celebrates the illustrious life of one of the greatest artists to ever grace the stage. See the Counter Culture review here

Sunday 11 December 2021

Re-Union: The Maidan Uprising 11.15am BBC Radio 4

The Maidan Uprising. Kirsty Wark reunites a group of people caught up in Ukraine’s Maidan Uprising of 2013.

California Dreamin: The Songs of the Mamas And The Papas

This documentary blends full-performance clips, rare home movies, and exclusive interviews with the members.

Monday 12 December 2021

In Suburbia 11pm BBC Radio 4

In spite of the fact that so many of us live, and choose to live, in Suburbia, it’s still described as, at best a cultural backwater, and at worst a cultural desert. Indeed the cultural output of suburbia is often songs and novels and films that describe a striving to escape from this land between the city and the country, or in cultural terms between rural Idyll and Bohemia. Ian Hislop has long been fascinated by this cultural snobbery, and in three programmes he talks to leading cultural figures who either come from or celebrate Suburbia and Suburban life.

Hanif Kureishi, author of ‘The Buddha of Suburbia’ is a not-so-proud son of Bromley, comedian Lee Mack is the star and writer of the suburban comedy ‘Not Going Out’ which is now the longest-running sitcom on British television and still uses the familiar tropes of suburban aspiration, gentle class conflict, and stability to garner laughs, and JC Carroll of The Members is the composer whose punk anthem ‘The Sound of the Suburbs’ made the tedium of car washing and noisy neighbours a badge of honour. All of them discuss their mixed feelings about suburbia, if and how it’s changing, and why it remains a place where so many people aspire to live.

In this second programme in the series, Ian talks to Darren Evans, the suburban artist and JC Carroll tells him how The Sound of the Suburbs came to be written.

Tuesday 13 December 2021

Europe’s Forgotten Border 7.20pm PBS America

Between 1945 and 1989, hundreds of people lost their lives at the border between Czechoslovakia and the West. Thirty years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, justice is now being served.

Wednesday 14 December 2021

Blitzed: The 80s Blitz Kids’ Story 9pm Sky Arts

The story of the London venue that – amid a turbulent period – became the Soho equivalent of New York’s Studio 54.

Christopher Eccleston Remembers Our Friends In the North 10pm BBC4

Peter Flannery’s compelling serial tells the story of four friends from Newcastle upon Tyne over a period of 31 years, spanning 1964-1995. They learn about life and politics in their home country through personal experience while also dealing with major events that take place during this time frame. These include general elections, police and local government corruption, the UK miners’ strike (1984–85), and the Great Storm of 1987. Here one of the actors looks back on the controversial drama. It’s followed by the screening of a number of episodes.

Sicario (2015) 11.20pm Film 4

An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by a government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.

You can read our review here

Thursday 15 December 2021

Afghanistan: The Great Game: A Personal View By Rory Stewart 11.30pm on BBC4

First of two documentaries exploring the invasions of Afghanistan over the centuries.

Friday 16 December 2021

Net Zero – A Very British Problem 11am BBC Radio 4

The carbon savings we’ve made so far have been the easy ones. Comedian and environmental economist Matt Winning looks at the changes we need to make in Britain to reach net zero.

Selections by Henry Falconer and Pat Harrington


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