Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment (19 – 25 November 2022)

Highlights this week include Kubrick By Kurbrik, Bad blood: the Story of Eugenics on BBC Radio 4 and The Ice Cream Wars.

Saturday 19 November 2022

Hendrix – Everything but the Guitar BBC Radio 4 8pm

When you think of Jimi, you think of the guitar. But there are so many other remarkable layers to consider. On what would have been his 80th birthday, it’s time to do just that.

Apocalypse Now: Final Cut (1979) 11pm BBC2

In 1969, U.S. Army Captain Benjamin L. Willard is sent on a secret mission to Cambodia to kill Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, who has seemingly gone insane and now commands his own Montagnard troops inside neutral Cambodia. These forces ae conducting hit-and-run missions against the Viet Cong and NVA. Is Kurtz insane? Or are we not yet ready to understand him? Will Willard be able to fulfil his mission?

The Ghost of Richard Harris Sky Arts 9pm

This candid Sky Original documentary recalls the life of the legendary actor, poet and singer Richard Harris, whose distinguished career has sometimes been overshadowed by his reputation as a “hellraiser”.

The documentary explores the colourful and turbulent life of the Irish actor – as told by Richard Harris himself. His voice – the ghost of the title – is drawn from many sources. These include some previously unheard tapes recorded by Irish journalist Joe Jackson, whose interviews with Harris took place over a period of 15 years. The film also features unseen sand intimate family footage from the Harris Estate. Perhaps, he is best known to younger generations for playing Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films, but Richard Harris also left a legacy of some remarkable movies. In this film, he is remembered by some of those who knew him well. They include his three sons: Damien, Jared and Jamie – as well as those who worked with him, such as Vanessa Redgrave, Russell Crowe, Jim Sheridan and Phil Coulter. The film explores Harris’ complex, flawed genius and his unique and multiple talents. He was, after all, a chart-topping singer and an acclaimed poet – as well as an actor whose career spanned the decades and who earned his first Oscar nomination in the 1960s (for This Sporting Life) and his last in the 1990s (for The Field).

Sunday 20 November 2022

Louis Theroux: The City Addicted to Crystal Meth W 10.30pm

This 2009 documentary was filmed in Fresno, California which has one of the highest number of crystal meth users in the United States. It had mixed reviews. The Times said “Theroux risks becoming the Alan Whicker de nos jours, a tourist with a typewriter, peering into these other lives but rarely getting dirty himself.” The Guardian called the work “an extraordinary film, a sad portrait of a very different California”. I (PH) thought it was very moving and powerful but decide for yourself!

Monday 21 November 2022

Woman’s Hour BBC Radio 4 10am

Woman’s Hour looks at stalking in England and Wales, ten years on from the law change.

Bad blood: the Story of Eugenics BBC Radio 4 4.30pm

Eugenics is born in Victorian Britain, christened by the eccentric gentleman-scientist Sir Francis Galton. It’s a movement to breed better humans, fusing new biological ideas with the politics of empire, and the inflexible snobbery of the middle-classes.

The movement swiftly gains momentum – taken up by scientists, social reformers, and even novelists as a moral and political quest to address urgent social problems. By encouraging the right people to have babies, eugenicists believed we could breed ourselves to a brighter future; a future free from disease, disability, crime, even poverty. What, its proponents wondered, could be more noble?

The story culminates in the First International Eugenics Congress of 1912, where a delegation of eminent public figures from around the world gather in South Kensington to advocate and develop the science – and ideology – of better breeding. Among them Winston Churchill, Arthur Balfour, the Dean of St Pauls, Charles Darwin’s son, American professors and the ambassadors from Norway, Greece, and France: a global crusade in motion.

But amidst the sweeping utopian rhetoric, the darker implications of eugenic ideas emerge: what of those deemed ‘unfit’? What should happen to them?

David Baddiel: Jews Don’t Count Channel 4 9pm

The writer and comedian looks at antisemitism and the progressive left. From theatre to football, Baddiel explores a political blindspot with Stephen Fry, Miriam Margolyes and Neil Gaiman.

Tuesday 22 November 2022

Boarding Schools – the system that rules Britain BBC Radio 4 4pm

Is there a future for boarding schools? Writer Nels Abbey examines the psychological, political and societal effect of the system globally and hears from a range of voices.

Tomorrow’s Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction (2/4) BBC4 10.50pm

Dominic Sandbrook continues his exploration of science fiction by looking at its obsession with alien invasion, from all-out assault to sinister hidden threats. The first episode, Space, is available on BBC Iplayer.

Wednesday 23 November 2022

The Ice Cream Wars (1/2) BBC2 9pm

In the early 1980s, Glasgow was a tale of two cities. While its leaders encouraged residents and visitors to see Scotland’s biggest city as ‘Miles Better’, refreshed with trendy bars and restaurants, its housing schemes became a battleground in criminal warfare. Gangsters found themselves fighting over an unlikely commodity – ice cream vans and the lucrative routes to be found in each of the city’s sprawling new schemes, such as Easterhouse and Ruchazie. The schemes housed thousands but gave them little access to shops, pubs or other facilities. With little alternative, ice cream vans thrived and evolved to sell a range of goods, making so much money that they attracted the attention of the city’s gangsters.

Adrian Dunbar: My Ireland Channel 5 8pm

The Line of Duty actor, who plays Superintendent Ted Hastings in the popular show, will explore more of his Co Fermanagh roots in this series.

‘Adrian Dunbar: My Ireland’ will see the actor travelling to some of his favourite locations across the island, where viewers will get a ‘rare glimpse’ into his childhood in Enniskillen.

Thursday 24 November 2022

How The Other Half Live C5 9pm

Brian goes on a personal quest as he explores our relationship with money and wealth

Bobby Robson – More than a Manager ITV4 9pm

Sports documentary directed by Gabriel Clarke and Torquil Jones. Featuring an A-list cast, this is a definitive portrait of one of sport’s most inspirational figures.

Kubrick by Kubrick Sky Arts 9pm

This unique documentary is composed entirely of archival footage and photographs, accompanied with the voice of Stanley Kubrick – taken from a series of interviews with French film critic Michel Ciment – giving us the keys to understanding his work. It gives a voice to one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema, as well as one of the most enigmatic.

Sheri Linden of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “As a look at Kubrick’s methods, madness and burning intelligence, Kubrick by Kubrick is fluent and discerning”. Eric Kohn of IndieWire said “Kubrick by Kubrick lingers in the restless ingenuity at the heart of the filmmaker’s work – a palpable desire to find new storytelling possibilities each time out”.

Friday 25 November 2022

Past Forward – a Century of Sound BBC Radio 4 9pm

Greg Jenner dives into the BBC archive to explore what it says about who we are now.

Agatha Christie: Lucy Worsley On The Mystery Queen (1/3) BBC2 9pm

A life as dramatic as her work. Lucy Worsley discovers the origins of Agatha Christie’s macabre magic – and with some compelling characters, uncovers carefully concealed secrets.

Selections by Henry Falconer and Patrick Harrington

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