Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment (26 November – 2 December 2022)

Highlights this week include Evita: The Making Of A Superstar, The Real Doctor Zhivago and Switch Off Something: Britain and the Three Day Week.

Saturday 26 November 2022

Oliver – Lagos to London (1/3) BBC Radio 4 3pm

Charles Dickens’ most political novel, the iconic Oliver Twist, is updated for today as a young Nigerian orphan begins an epic search for family and home.

Archive on four – FDR’s 4 Freedoms BBC Radio 4 8pm

In January 1941, American President Franklin D Roosevelt delivered an epic speech about the Four Freedoms that he believed to be vital for the post-war world: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from fear and freedom from want. These words became the basis for a global understanding of “human rights” and they also shed light on how the United States viewed itself and its global role at the dawn of the so-called “American Century.”

But could the US really live up to such lofty ideals? Do those four freedoms remain relevant as a goal for the international community? Or do they need to be reimagined for our own century?

With help from contributors such as FDR’s grandson, James Roosevelt, as well as former UN Human Rights Commissioner, Zeid Ra’Ad Al Hussein, Cambridge Professor of International History David Reynolds examines the genesis of the speech, its immediate impact, and its far-reaching consequences.

Jimi Hendrix: Vodoo Child BBC2 10.30pm

In Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child, experience the life and music of Jimi Hendrix like never before. This compelling documentary takes an in-depth look at the iconic guitar player, from his Seattle childhood, through the early days performing in small clubs to his meteoric rise to fame and his tragic early death. Featuring exclusive interviews and rare footage, Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child is a must-watch for any fan of Hendrix or rock music.

Sunday 27 November 2022

Alexandra – Britain`s Queen of Hearts C5 10pm

A profile of the little-celebrated and long-suffering Queen Alexandra.

Simon Scharma`s History of Now BBC2 9.15pm

Simon Schama reflects on a life in culture – and its enduring power in shaping our world. From The Handmaid’s Tale to The Thick of It, how has art defined what matters to us all?

Film Noir: Origins of Noir (1/3) Sky Arts 8pm

The exploration of the movie genre begins with a look at the origins of the cinematic term, stemming from pulp fiction crime novels and owing a visual debt to the German expressionist films of the silent era.

Monday 28 November 2022

8.30pm BBC Radio 4 Taiwan – Facing up to China

The Real Doctor Zhivago BBC4 9pm

Dr Zhivago is one of the best-known love stories of the 20th century, but the setting of the book also made it famous. It is a tale of passion and fear, set against a backdrop of revolution and violence. The film is what most people remember, but the story of the writing of the book has more twists, intrigue and bravery than many a Hollywood blockbuster.

In this documentary, Stephen Smith traces the revolutionary beginnings of this bestseller to it becoming a pawn of the CIA at the height of the Cold War. The writer of the novel, Boris Pasternak, in the words of his family, willingly committed acts of literary suicide in being true to the Russia he loved, but being honest about the Soviet regime he hated and despised. Under Stalin, writers and artists just disappeared if they did not support the party line. Many were murdered.

Writing his book for over 20 tumultuous years, Boris Pasternak knew it could result in his death. It did result in his mistress being sent to the gulag twice, but he had to have his say. This is the story of the writing of perhaps the bravest book ever published. It is the story before the film won Oscars and its author, the Nobel Prize. It is the untold story of the real Dr Zhivago – Boris Pasternak.

The 1965 film starring Omar Sharif follows at 10pm.

Tuesday 29 November 2022

Switch Off Something: Britain and the Three Day Week BBC4 9.35pm

Philip Glenister narrates a documentary about Britain and the Three-Day Week. In the winter of 1973-74, a confrontation between the big unions and the government took the country to the brink – and the government lost. Contributors include George Galloway, Tony Booth, Tony Benn and Simon Hoggart. A timely reminder as we are all being told that it is our patriotic duty to freeze this winter in the new aptly named Cold War (although many, through financial hardship, won’t have much choice).

Wednesday 30 November 2022

Alison Steadman Remembers: The Singing Detective BBC4 10pm

Alison Steadman looks back at Dennis Potter’s The Singing Detective, hailed as one of the most important and influential TV dramas ever made, and once described by Stephen King as ‘television’s Citizen Kane’.

From memories of happy times working with leading man Michael Gambon, and the pride of being involved in a piece that got the whole nation talking, to the stresses of being caught up in the controversy surrounding her character’s notorious outdoor sex scene, Alison brings her unique perspective to a series she ranks amongst her favourites.

Episodes follow.

Thursday 1 December 2022

Crossing Continents – Cold Calling Siberia BBC Radio 4 11am

A series focusing on foreign affairs issues.

Friday 2 December 2022

19.45pm The Savage Peace PBS America 9.45pm

A powerful documentary revealing the appalling violence meted out to the defeated in 1945. Using rare and unseen archive film, 1945: The Savage Peace tells a harrowing story of vengeance against German civilians, which mirrored some of the worst cruelty of the Nazi occupiers during the years of war.

Evita: The Making Of A Superstar BBC4 11pm

The story of one of the West End’s most celebrated characters is discovered by Suzy Klein. She explores the world of musical theatre as well as the colourful landscapes of Argentina.

Selections by Henry Falconer and Patrick Harrington


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