Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment (29 October – 4 November 2022)

Highlights this week include a reshowing of The Balkans In Flames on PBS, How To Survive A Dictator With Munya Chawawa on Channel 4 and a film from 2005 – Woman In Gold – based on the true story of Maria Altmann, an Austrian Jewish woman who escaped the Nazis and found a home in the US, from where, in 1999, as an old woman, she began a sensational legal campaign to reclaim from the Austrian government several paintings stolen from her family by the Nazis.

Saturday 29 October 2022

Mysteries of Mental Illness 11.50am PBS America

Mysteries of Mental Illness explores the story of mental illness in science and society. The four-part series traces the evolution of this complex topic from its earliest days to present times. It explores dramatic attempts across generations to unravel the mysteries of mental illness and gives voice to contemporary Americans across a spectrum of experiences.

How the BBC Began 7pm BBC2

A two-part documentary that will truly appeal to history-lovers – it takes a look at the first 50 years of the corporation, encompassing its origins on radio before becoming an early TV force to be reckoned with.

The Balkans In Flames 6.15, 7.20 and 8.30pm

A reshowing of this three-part documentary. See the Counter Culture review here

Leonard Rossiter: Comedy Great 8.35pm Channel 5

A household name in the ’70s. I (PH) loved his characters in The Fall And Rise of Reginald Perrin (as Perrin) and (as Rigsby) the sleazy landlord in Rising Damp. And who can forget his hilarious adverts for Cinzano Bianco with Joan Collins?

Sunday 30 October 2022

The Maastricht Treaty 2.45pm BBC Radio 4

In this programme Robert Carlyle returns to the controversial Maastricht Treaty of 1992 which transformed Europe into a political union rather than just an economic one. This unleashed a civil war in the Conservative Party which has echoed down the ages and arguably resulted in Brexit. David Davies MP was in the thick of that battle as Chief Whip to Prime Minister John Major. He takes us back to pivotal moments of that drama when the future of the country hung in the balance and the consequences of which we’re living with today.

Monday 31 October 2022

The Threat to U.S. Democracy 1.45pm BBC Radio 4

Owen Bennett-Jones explores the threats facing America’s electoral system. How close has Russia come to hacking US voting software? Can American citizens still trust the system?

Nazi Hunters: The Real Walk-In 11.05pm ITV

Billed as the ‘real’ story of Matthew Collins the former fascist following up on the drama just ending.

Citizens of Boomtown: The Story of the Boomtown Rats 10pm BBC4

See the Counter Culture review here

Italia 90: When Football changed Forever 9pm C4

Italy 1990. On the eve of the most watched World Cup ever, Sardinia is preparing for battle, waiting for England football fans and the players to descend on the island.

It’s a watershed moment for the team, the travelling fans, and the nation back home. The coming weeks will determine the future of English football. But how did it come to this?

Tuesday 1 November 2022

Louis Theroux Interviews: Dame Judi Dench (2/6) 9.15pm BBC2

Last week Louis interviewed Stormzy in his laid-back, engaging style. I learned a lot about Stormzy as he opened up about his faith and desire for a fulfilling family life. Stormzy also explained why he had funded scholarships for just black kids. I liked what he had to say. I’m looking forward to this interview with Judi Dench.

Wednesday 2 November 2022

How Green Was My Valley (1941) 10.10pm BBC4

At the turn of the century in a Welsh mining village, the Morgans, he stern, she gentle, raise coal-mining sons and hope their youngest will find a better life.

Hostages 9pm Sky Documentaries

This four-part docuseries illustrates how, in 1979, a group of Iranian student activists stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking over 60 Americans hostage.

Thursday 3 November 2022

How To Survive A Dictator With Munya Chawawa 10pm Channel 4

Munya goes on a journey exploring the life of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, one of the world’s most notorious tyrants, looking for the man behind the monster

If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) 9pm BBC4

A young woman embraces her pregnancy while she and her family set out to prove her childhood friend and lover innocent of a crime he didn’t commit.

Woman In Gold (2015) 10.50pm BBC4

Maria Altmann, an octogenarian Jewish refugee, takes on the Austrian government to recover artwork she believes rightfully belongs to her family.

Friday 4 November 2022

Bat Superpowers 6.15pm PBS America

Understanding bats, their long life spans and why they are resistant to the very diseases they carry such as Ebola and MERS, as well as other diseases like cancer. See the Counter Culture review here

The First World War PBS America 2.40pm, 7.20pm and 10.55pm

Shackled to a corpse: the conflict on the Eastern Front.

Lies, Politics and Democracy PBS America 8.30pm

FRONTLINE “examines how officials fed the public lies about the 2020 presidential election and embraced rhetoric that led to political violence”.

Selections by Henry Falconer and Pat Harrington

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