Culture Vulture (4th to 10th of February 2023): Our Guide to the Week’s Entertainment

Selections by Henry Falconer and Pat Harrington. Music by Tim Bragg. If you enjoy this podcast pleas subscribe.

Saturday 4th of February 2023

The Maltese Falcon 6am BBC RADIO 4 Extra

In 1928, San Francisco, private detective Sam Spade is thrust into a dangerous case when his partner is killed during an investigation. Sam immediately becomes suspicious of their mysterious client and believes that they are hiding crucial information about the case. However, things take a turn for the worse when he learns of a valuable black falcon statuette that is at the centre of the investigation. With motives becoming murkier and the stakes getting higher, Sam must use all his wits and skills to unravel the truth and bring the murderer to justice.

Great Continental Railway Journeys: Batumi to Baku 6.50pm BBC2

Michael’s journey begins in the picturesque port of Batumi on the stunning Caucasian Riviera. There, he immerses himself in the local culture, savouring the rich flavours of Georgian wine and exploring the stunning countryside. In his travels, he stumbles upon a hidden gem – a nineteenth century tea plantation tucked away in the West Georgian hills. This unexpected discovery leads him to the seat of power in Kutaisi, where the magnificent glass dome of the Georgian Parliament awaits. Built in 2012 when the Parliament was relocated from Tbilisi, the dome serves as a symbol of the city’s political significance and is a must-see attraction for visitors. Michael’s journey is a celebration of Georgia’s rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes.

North Sea Connection 9pm BBC4

The breath-taking beauty of Ireland’s west coast is the backdrop for a dark tale in North Sea Connection. Ciara is forced to confront the dramatic consequences of her brother Aidan’s dangerous decision to smuggle drugs by sea. The film explores the tension between the stunning scenery and the illegal actions taking place just out of sight. Aidan’s actions have far-reaching consequences and Ciara must navigate the dangerous waters to protect her brother and herself.

County Lines (2019 film) 1.30am BBC1

This is a powerful and intense drama that explores the dark world of child exploitation and drug trafficking. The film follows a teenage boy who becomes embroiled in the criminal underworld, and the devastating consequences that ensue. The film is well-acted, with strong performances from its young cast, and the direction is tense and unsettling. County Lines is a thought-provoking and deeply affecting film that shines a light on a pressing social issue

Sunday 5th of February 2023

The Citadel 6.50pm BBC RADIO 4 Extra

AJ Cronin’s ground-breaking novel about medical life before the NHS, dramatised by Christopher Reason.

Ku Klux Klan 10.45am,repeated 8.30pm PBS America

This episode deals with the history of the Klan from 1865 to 1944.

The Iceman (2012 film) 9pm Film4

The Iceman is a tense and thrilling crime drama that tells the true story of notorious contract killer Richard Kuklinski. The film is anchored by a powerful performance from Michael Shannon as Kuklinski, and the supporting cast is also strong. The direction is tight and the film effectively builds a sense of suspense, making it a gripping watch. The Iceman is a well-made and entertaining film that provides a fascinating glimpse into the life of a notorious killer.

Dunkirk (2017 film) 10pm BBC2

Dunkirk is a masterful war film directed by Christopher Nolan that tells the story of the evacuation of British and Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk during World War II. The film features breath-taking cinematography and a tense score, making for an immersive and suspenseful experience. The acting is strong, particularly from newcomer Fionn Whitehead, and the direction is skillful, with Nolan expertly interweaving multiple perspectives and timelines. It is a stunning and powerful film that showcases the best of what war films can be, and is not to be missed.

Walter Presents: Top Dog 11.15pm Channel 4

Walter Presents is a platform that offers a collection of the best European and World dramas on All 4. It is perfect for binge-watching and has been operating since January 2016. In February, Walter Presents has a new addition called “Top Dog” that will be available on Friday 3 February on All 4, and it will premiere on Channel 4 on Sunday 5 February at 11.15pm. “Top Dog” is a Swedish drama about two unlikely partners, an attorney named Emily and a convict on parole named Teddy, who are brought together by a mysterious disappearance. Emily and Teddy must work together in secret to find the kidnapped son of a prominent client. This drama stars Josefin Asplund, Alexej Manvelov, Gustav Lindh and more, and is in Swedish with English subtitles.

Monday 6th of February 2023

Putin v The West 9pm BBC2

From the 2014 annexation of Crimea to the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, this is a comprehensive account of a decade of tensions and confrontations between Western nations and Russia under President Vladimir Putin’s leadership. The story is narrated by key Western leaders who were at the forefront of these events, providing first-hand accounts of the strategies, negotiations, and decisions that shaped the course of events. These leaders offer a unique perspective on the events that have defined the relationship between the West and Russia in recent years, providing insight into the motivations, challenges, and consequences of their actions. Through their stories, we can gain a deeper understanding of the geopolitical dynamics that have shaped the world in recent years and the lessons that can be learned for the future.

Russia 1985 to 1999 10pm BBC4

In Russia, a sudden shift towards democracy is underway with a new plan to establish it overnight. Those in power claim it to be logical, yet it results in a destabilizing and frightening reality, where everyday life is thrown into chaos. At the same time, haunting visions of Russia’s imperial past begin to resurface. Despite widespread poverty and difficulty affording basic necessities, American cosmetic companies are teaching Moscow’s women how to smile.

Tuesday 7th of February 2023

Consent 10pm Channel 4

Consent is a new Channel 4 drama based on testimonies from young people from both state and private schools about attitudes towards sexual assault. The show tackles the issues of porn, lack of sex education, and conversations about consent. The drama is set in a fictional private school for aspiring leaders and focuses on the story of Archie, a wealthy white high-achiever, and Natalie, a black working-class scholarship student, who bond over feeling like outsiders. The story takes a dark turn when boundaries are crossed at a party and trust is broken, leading to an accusation against one of the school’s students. The lead roles are played by Lashay Anderson as Natalie and Tom Victor as Archie. The show highlights the need for education on acceptable behaviour and the importance of investment in schools.

Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool (2017 Film) 11.15pm BBC2

This is a touching and charming romantic drama based on the true story of the relationship between actress Gloria Grahame and a younger man. The film is anchored by fantastic performances from Annette Bening and Jamie Bell, and the chemistry between the two leads is electric. The film is well-directed, with a strong sense of style, and the screenplay is sharp and insightful. “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool” is a heart-warming and beautifully crafted film that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Wednesday 8th of February 2023

The Silk Road (Part 1 of 3) 9.15am repeated 2.15pm and 7.05pm PBS America

Starting in Venice, Dr. Sam Willis delves into how the city’s Renaissance architecture and art have been influenced by the East and the extensive exchanges along the Silk Road. He then travels to Xian, the ancient capital of China, where he goes back in time to recount the story of an emperor who, in his quest to secure horses for protection of his borders, made a crucial trade agreement that would change the course of history. In exchange for war horses, the emperor offered silk, considered the most valuable material at the time. This historic deal paved the way for the creation of a vast network of trade routes stretching across thousands of miles, connecting merchants, traders, envoys, pilgrims, and travellers.

Fortunes of War 10pm BBC4

The first four episodes of Alan Plater’s 1987 epic adaptation of Olivia Manning’s novels, which chronicles the wartime experiences of British Council expatriates Guy and Harriet Pringle, will be rebroadcast tonight. The lead roles are played by the impossibly youthful-looking Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson as Guy and Harriet Pringle, respectively. This sweeping adaptation offers a unique and captivating portrayal of the lives of British expatriates during the war and is a must-watch for fans of historical drama. The talented cast, engaging story, and vivid production design come together to create an unforgettable viewing experience that will leave audiences eager for more. So, don’t miss this opportunity to catch the first four episodes of this classic adaptation tonight.

Thursday 9th of February 2023

Israel – A Twice Promised Land (Part 1 of 2) 10.50am, repeated 3.50pm and 8.30pm PBS America

This first episode reviews the three decisive years that carved a Jewish state out of Palestine. Focussing on the period from the end of the Second World War through the UN vote on the Partition Plan in 1947, it concludes with Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948.

Friday 10th of February 2023

Classic Literature and Cinema 12 noon Sky Arts

The return of the programme examining film adaptations of great literary works, beginning with cinema depictions of dystopias.

The Grapes of Wrath (1940 film) 6pm Talking Pictures

This tells the story of the Joad family during the Great Depression. The film is based on John Steinbeck’s award-winning novel of the same name, and features strong performances from its cast, particularly Henry Fonda as Tom Joad. The film’s direction is powerful and the cinematography effectively captures the bleak and desolate setting. “The Grapes of Wrath” is a landmark film that remains an important and relevant commentary on social and economic issues, and is a must-see for fans of classic cinema.

Walter Presents: The Wall: Cover Your Tracks More4 9pm

A murder takes place in a small mining town in Quebec during the winter, causing turmoil among the population as everyone becomes a suspect. Detective Céline Trudeau investigates the crime and teams up with a young local policeman to solve the case. However, their investigation is complicated by the tension between them and Céline’s unexpected reunion with her estranged daughter. As they uncover the truth, the residents of the town are forced to confront their darkest secrets. The series, created by Patrice Sauvé, stars Isabel Richer, Alexander Landry and Maripier Morin.


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