Archive for Culture Vulture

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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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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Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment (12 – 18 November 2022)

Highlights this week include a re-showing of Terror on PBS America, The People`s Piazza: a History of Covent Garden on BBC2 and the Netflix series Fifa Uncovered.

Saturday 12 November 2022

Inferno: The Great Fire of London 7.35pm C5

When the Great Fire of London began in 1666, it was the largest fire in the city’s history. Burning for four days and nights, the fire destroyed over 13,000 homes and businesses. In this riveting new documentary, Inferno: The Great Fire of London, explore the events that led to the fire and the what followed. Featuring eye-witness accounts and expert interviews, Inferno: The Great Fire of London is a fascinating look at one of England’s most devastating disasters.

Stories from Ukraine (1/2) 9.45pm BBC Radio 4

The first half of an original story about a young couple traveling Ukraine and finding the quirks that make it ‘The’ Ukraine. Their adventures lead them across the landscape filled with oddities, anger and tenderness, where they find each other and the beauty of the small things.

Sunday 13 November 2022

The People`s Piazza: a History of Covent Garden 9pm BBC2

Telling the story of one of the nation’s best-known public spaces, the Covent Garden Piazza, from its early years as a playground for the aristocracy, through decline and dereliction to eventual rebirth, TV historian, presenter and StoryTrails Executive Producer David Olusoga steps back in time to explore the iconic piazza’s tumultuous history. Over four centuries the Covent Garden Piazza has been a market, a meeting place, and a site of protest, performance and renewal. In this documentary David Olusoga explores its history, and with the help of a host of experts and eyewitnesses, conjures up the ghosts of the past – market traders, orphans, artists and activists.

Young, Black and Right-Wing 10pm C4

Zeze Millz explores what it means to be young, Black and right-wing in Britain. She meets right-wing groups, uncovers their views, and considers where she is on the political spectrum.

Monday 14 November 2022

Against the Odds. Wales – the 64 year Wait ITV 12.05

The story of the Wales national football team’s journey to the 2022 World Cup, as they attempt to defy the odds, unite a nation and realise their World Cup dream. Featuring contributions from Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Chris Coleman

Terror: the Bombing of the King David Hotel (1/6) 9.50pm PBS America

The 22nd of July, 1946. The headquarters of the British Army in Palestine is located in the luxurious King David Hotel. Members of the Irgun, the Jewish resistance movement, smuggle milk churns packed with explosives into the hotel and hide them in the basement. Thirty minutes later an enormous explosion brings down the entire south wing of the hotel. Ninety-one people die. Two years after the explosion the British leave Palestine and the state of Israel is established. What significance did the friendship between the leaders of the Irgun and the Irish Republican Army have? How did a famous play staged on Broadway and starring Marlon Brando contribute to the Zionist cause? And how do three daughters look back upon their fathers’ involvement in the attack on the hotel?

Tuesday 15 November 2022

How to win the World Cup 6pm BBC Radio 4

David Conn investigates how Qatar won the right to host the World Cup bid and why it matters.

Terror: Algeria 1956 (2/6) 9.50pm PBS America

A young Algerian woman visits a bar in the European quarter of Algiers. She orders an ice cream, plants a bomb under her chair and leaves.

Wednesday 16 November 2022

Terror: Munich 1972 (3/6) 5,35pm PBS America

Members of the Black September movement attack the apartments of the Israeli Olympic delegation. Immediately, the TV cameras switch from the sport to the hostage drama.

The Missing Hancocks 8am BBC Radio 4 Extra 8am

Long-lost, classic Hancock’s Half Hour comedies, freshly recorded. Written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson and starring Kevin McNally as The Lad Himself.

Thursday 17 November 2022

Philomena (2013) 9pm BBC4

A world-weary political journalist picks up the story of a woman’s search for her son, who was taken away from her decades ago after she became pregnant and was forced to live in a convent.

Michael Dobbs Remembers… House of Cards

Author, politician and member of the House of Lords Michael Dobbs looks back on the TV drama that had 90s Britian hooked on political intrigue and infighting. Followed by four episodes of the drama from 10.30pm to 2am.

Terror: Bologna Station 1980 (4/6) 5.35pm PBS America

A suitcase is left in Bologna Central Staion. An explosion rips the station apart, killing 85 people and injuring 200. Who is responsible?

The English 9pm BBC2

Last Thursday I watched the first (of six) episode of The English on BBC2. Lady Cornelia Locke (Emily Blunt) arrives in Kansas from England, seeking revenge on the man she blames for her son’s death. • There, she meets Mr Watts (Ciarán Hinds), who is torturing Eli. She tries to buy his safety but is beaten for her trouble. It becomes clear that news of her vengeful intentions has gone before her and that Watts is under instructions to kill her. The murder will be pinned on Eli.
One semi-mutual rescue and at least four bloody deaths later, their fates – along with his quest and her revenge narrative – have become firmly intertwined. A great start and I will be watching Episode 2: Path of the Dead with interest.

Friday 18 November 2022

Britain`s Communist Thread (1/3) 11am BBC Radio 4

Historian Camilla Schofield explores a century-long thread of communism in Britain.

Like fascism, we often think of communism as alien – as an external threat – a threat to the British way of life. But what happens if we challenge that a little – and think about communism as a British story?

Terror: USS Cole 2000 (5/6) 5.35pm

The American naval vessel USS Cole docks in Aden, Yemen to refuel. Twom men in a small boat rame the ship at full speed.

And Streaming

In Mammals — a new six-part series for Amazon Prime Video by playwright Jez Butterworth — the professional schmoozer and occasional actor stars as Jamie, a harried chef launching his own fine-dining establishment. But his family and friends are left with a bad taste in their mouths on the opening night as Jamie very publicly reveals that his wife and muse, Amandine (Melia Kreiling), has been cheating on him. Playwright Jez Butterworth’s Amazon series is all too eager to remind us that humans are essentially animals

Fifa Uncovered — Netflix series asks why Qatar was awarded the World Cup

A Netflix docu-series featuring contributions from investigative journalists, lawyers, and former Fifa grandees (including disgraced four-term president Sepp Blatter). Over four episodes, the show provides a fascinating, thorough and dispiriting account of the corruption that has beset world football’s governing body for decades, culminating in a 2015 FBI-led criminal indictment of 14 Fifa officials.

Selections by Henry Falconer and Patrick Harrington

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Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment (5 – 11 November 2022)

This week’s highlights include a new documentary on the Hacienda club, 2015 film The Lady in the Van and A Very British History: The Jews of Leeds.

Saturday 5 November 2022

Our Archive Century – Science (2/3) 8pm BBC Radio 4

Lord Winston and Maggie Aderin-Pocock celebrate a century of the BBC Archives and what they have to tell us about our national relationship with science and scientists.

The Hacienda: The Club That Shook Britain 10.15pm BBC2

This new documentary shows how the Manchester nightclub, which ran from 1982 to 1997, not only changed the attitudes of a generation but launched a whole new chapter in music.

Sunday 6 November 2022

The Coming Storm: The Mid-Terms 1. Groomers 1.30pm BBC Radio 4

As America goes out to vote for the first time since the tumultuous aftermath of the 2020 election, Gabriel Gatehouse is back in the deep undergrowth of the US political scene, in a bid to understand where the dark energy underpinning the January 6 assault on the Capitol is going now.

One thing the QAnon conspiracy theory about a satanic cabal of paedophiles is morphing into is a grassroots political movement against ‘groomers’ – the idea that LGBTQI+ sex educators and trans healthcare advocates are indoctrinating young people into a sexualised culture.

The battleground is America’s school boards and the prize could be a galvanised Republican base with a new crusade. At a conference in Miami of thinkers shaping the future ideas of the right, Gabriel finds the issue top of the agenda, especially for Florida governor and presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis.

And across the country, a slate of candidates linked to QAnon is running for office – how will they fare?

(see also series podcast on BBC Sounds)

A Very British History: The Jews of Leeds 12.25am BBC4

Film-maker Simon Glass explores his family history and tells the story of the Yorkshire Jews in the early 20th century. Thousands of migrants arrived by boat on the east coast of England and lived in a run-down slum area of Leeds known as the Leylands. Simon discovers stories hardship and anti-Semitism, but also success and progress as many Jews moved out of the Leylands to the more affluent suburbs. He also travels to eastern Europe where he makes a shocking discovery about what happened to his relatives who did not migrate to Britain.

Monday 7 November 2022

Understand: the Economy – Inflation 1.30pm BBC Radio 4 (also Tuesday – Friday)

Understanding inflation will help you understand why your shopping is getting more and more expensive and why prices rarely seem to come down.

Italia 90 – When Football Changed Forever (2/3) 9pm C4

As the England team progress through the rounds, their fate is in the balance on and off the pitch, with undercover British police hiding in plain sight.

The Royal Mob 9pm Sky History

Told through the eyes of Queen Victoria’s granddaughters – the Hesse sisters, and their passionate and doomed love affairs across Europe’s Royal courts – the series lifts the lid on the family tensions which set cousin against cousin and saw millions plunged into the bloodiest war the world had ever known: a world in which the chink of champagne glasses gives way to the blast of bombs, war and murder.

Tuesday 8 November 2022

Mariupol: The People’s Story 9pm BBC 1

At the beginning of the war in Ukraine, most of the 430,000 residents of Mariupol fled. In this powerful documentary, the city’s people tell their story of bravery, loss and determination.

Louis Theroux interviews (3/6)

In this episode, Louis meets Dominic Harrison aka singer and musician, Yungblud, often regarded as one of the UK music scene’s brightest stars.

Louis joins Yungblud in the USA, on the last two nights of a whirlwind tour. Along the way, Louis meets fans who follow their hero with almost religious intensity, attracted to his brand of emotionally-charged music.

In a Paris hotel, during the European leg of his tour, Louis and Yungblud sit down to discuss a range of topics – including his mental health, his sexuality and his response to outspoken critics.

Louis also travels to Doncaster to spend time with Yungblud and his family, where they discuss a turbulent upbringing.

Wednesday 9 November 2022

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted UK 8pm National Geographic

Gordon explores England’s rugged Jurassic Coast and discovers culinary secrets buried in his own back garden. He leaps off cliffs for seaweed, milks a water buffalo in order to make mozzarella, and kayaks through choppy seas to pull massive lobsters from the water. With his former protégé, Paul Ainsworth, serving as both guide and challenger, Gordon will have to dig deep in the final cook to prevent the student from becoming the master.

Secrets and Deals: How Britain Left the Middle East 9pm BBC4

In 1971, Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE ceased to be part of Britain’s empire in the Middle East and became fully independent states. This film, a collaboration between BBC News Arabic and BBC News Persian, uncovers the secrets that lay behind the process of decolonisation.

Unapologetic 11.05pm Channel 4

A late-night topical discussion programme that doesn’t hold back. Yinka Bokinni and Zeze Millz host as Black guests talk freely about the big issues of the day and what’s new on social media.

Thursday 10 November 2022

Ukraine: War and Words 11.30am BBC Radio4 FM

Michael Goldfarb reports from the cultural front line in Ukraine as authors, agents and translators work flat out to bring Ukrainian writing to a global readership.

The Lady in the Van (2015) 9pm BBC4

The true story of Miss Shepherd, an eccentric woman of uncertain origins, who ‘temporarily’ parked her broken-down van in writer Alan Bennett’s London driveway for 15 years.

The English 9pm BBC2 (1/6)

Emily Blunt and Chaske Spencer are two lost souls in search of meaning in this 1890s-set six-part Western drama

Friday 11 November 2022

Missing Isaiah Berlin 9pm BBC Radio 4

Twenty years after the death of Sir Isaiah Berlin, Jonathan Wolff goes in search of the public intellectuals of today. Where are they and does it matter if they no longer exist?

And in Edinburgh…

We’re approaching that time of year again – the Radical Book Fair is BACK Nov 10th – 13th at the Assembly Roxy in Edinburgh. The theme for 2022 is: Our Fight!

Under this headline the organisers hope to bring together conversations on togetherness, solidarity and resistance in a time of endlessly intersecting crises, inspiring visions of strengthened communities across divides. In what ways must we come together at this moment, under new and old threats? What harnessed power might be possible when we do?

Like previous years, the fair will be made up of book stalls, activist stalls, events, workshops and more, ranging from topics such as mutual aid and policing to grief and making art as resistance. There will also be plenty of joy-giving performances and word-smithery.

Selections by Patrick Harrington and Henry Falconer

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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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Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment (22-28 October 2022)

Highlights this week include: Britain’s Big Cat Mystery, The Missing Hancocks: Prime Minister Hancock on BBC Radio 4 and Jimmy Carr Destroys Art.

Saturday 22 October 2022

Three Days in June: The Story of the D-Day Forecast PBS America 7.30pm

For a few tense days in June 1944, the success of the greatest military invasion the world had ever seen depended on weather readings taken by Maureen Sweeney at the remote Blacksod weather station on Ireland’s west coast.

Sunday 23 October 2022

Afghanistan’s Top Porn Star Channel 4 10.15pm

Afghanistan’s top porn star Yasmeena Ali shares her story. From fleeing the Taliban, to surviving her father and uncle’s murder plot, Yasmeena has defied all the odds to pursue her career.

The Murder of Emmett Till PBS America 10.50pm

In August 1955, a 14-year-old Black boy allegedly flirted with a white woman in a grocery store in Money, Mississippi. Emmett Till, a teen from Chicago, didn’t understand that he had broken the unwritten laws of the Jim Crow South until three days later, when two white men dragged him from his bed in the dead of night, beat him brutally and then shot him in the head. Although his killers were arrested and charged with murder, they were both acquitted quickly by an all-white, all-male jury. Shortly afterwards, the defendants sold their story, including their tale of how they murdered Till, to a journalist. The murder and the trial horrified the nation and the world. Till’s death was a spark that helped mobilize the civil rights movement. Three months after his body was pulled from the Tallahatchie River, the Montgomery bus boycott began.

Kings of Coke (2022) Sky Documentaries 9on

A ragtag gang of Irish bank robbers from Montreal rose to become one of North America’s most feared criminal organizations.

Monday 24 October 2022

A Bloody Legacy: The War Continues (1/2) PBS America 6.15pm and 10.50pm

Having been dominated by the defeated empires of Russia, Germany and Austro-Hungary, the peoples of Eastern Europe had hoped for self-determination at the end of WWI. But it soon unfolded that armed conflict didn’t end at all – on the contrary. Poland fought against Russia and chaos prevailed in the Baltic States as well.

Today’s Ukraine was split up between Poland and Russia. This gave rise to an underground movement led by Stepan Bandera, a man who is still revered as a national hero in West Ukraine. When Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, Bandera saw an opportunity for his independence movement. His troops take up arms to fight alongside the Wehrmacht. As German soldiers occupied today’s Lemberg in West Ukraine, pogroms were carried out against the Jews – allegedly with the participation of Bandera’s Ukraine nationalists.

Foyle’s War ITV3 10pm Monday-Friday, 24th-28th October

Another chance to catch the much-loved World War II-set mystery drama series, starring Michael Kitchen as the razor-sharp Hastings detective Christopher Foyle. Foyle is unhappy not to be on the front lines of the battle against Britain’s enemies, but he soon learns that the role he plays is in no way a small one as the war has intensified the heinous nature of domestic crime carried out against innocent people

America: The War Within ITV 11.05pm

In advance of America’s crucial midterm elections on 8 November 2022 Robert Moore examines widespread fears for the sanctity of the country’s political system.

Moore – named Journalist of the Year for his reporting of the storming of the US Capitol in January 2021 – investigates whether an attempt is now being made by Donald Trump and his Republican supporters to ensure their 2020 defeat and the “stolen” election never happens again.

Moore explores the machinations on the ground in contested electoral battlegrounds – from the deserts of Arizona to the remote mountains of Montana, where both sides cry foul over what seems to be an increasingly vulnerable electoral system.

With faith in the system becoming seriously undermined, and violent rhetoric becoming the norm, are we witnessing the demise of democracy in the world’s ‘greatest superpower’? This film will explore a country at a crossroads and ask whether it risks being destroyed from within.

Tuesday 25 October 2022

The Missing Hancocks: Prime Minister Hancock (4/8) BBC Radio 4

Tony Hancock in 1963

Hancock stands for Parliament, with no success whatsoever. But in his dreams he’s swept to power on a landslide, and the country salutes….Prime Minister Hancock.

Jimmy Carr Destroys Art Channel 4 9.15pm

Is it okay to burn artworks, even if Hitler painted them? This is the question being posed by Jimmy Carr Destroys Art. It seems that Channel 4 has bought a painting by the dictator as a prop in this televised debate, where participants will decide if Jimmy should destroy it using a hammer and various other implements. Also under the hammer, as it were, will be works by convicted sex abusers Rolf Harris and Eric Gill, and other ‘problematic’ artists. Where will people draw the line?

Frankie Boyle’s New World Order (1/7)

A welcome return for this darkly funny programme but how will he find anything in current UK politics to mock?

Wednesday 26 October 2022

Talking Pictures: Time to Remember 7.30pm

A gang of jewel thieves rob a house which has just become empty following the recent death of it’s rich lady owner. The robbery is not a complete success and one of the gang hides the jewels in the house as he’s about to be captured.

Voices of Ireland (2/2) 9pm Sky Arts

Voices of Ireland explores the works of some of Ireland’s most famous novelists, poets and playwrights.

Thursday 27 October 2022

Inside Russia: Putin`s War At Home ITV 10.45pm

Friday 28 October 2022

Britain’s Big Cat Mystery BLAZE 9pm

Feature length documentary exploring the unusual phenomenon of the UK’s sightings of large cats. The Beast of Bodmin, the Highland Panther and the Fen Tiger, myth or reality?

Selections by Henry Falconer and Patrick Harrington

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Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment (15-21 October 2022)

Highlights this week include programmes on T S Eliot, the classic film Brighton Rock and the return of Gangs of London.

Saturday 15 October 2022

Mae West Dirty Blond PBS America 10.20pm

The first major documentary film to explore West’s life and career, as she “climbed the ladder of success wrong by wrong” to become a writer, performer and subversive agitator for social change.

Who Killed the KLF? Sky Documentaries 9pm

In the 1990s, the KLF were one of the most successful pop groups in the world. They had a number 1 album, a best-selling single, and even won a Brit Award. But then, in May 1992, they shocked the music industry by announcing their retirement. Two years later, on 23 August 1994, they made an even bigger splash by burning one million pounds sterling. This new documentary investigates the reasons behind the KLF’s seemingly bizarre behaviour. Through interviews with former band members, friends, and experts, the film tries to get to the bottom of one of pop music’s biggest mysteries. Who killed the KLF? The answer may surprise you.

Re-union: The Maidan Uprising BBC Radio 4 10.15pm

Kirsty Wark brings together a group of people who, in 2013, led the protests in what became known as Ukraine’s Maidan uprising.

Sunday 16 October 2022

Return to T S Eliotland BBC4 7pm

AN Wilson explores the life and work of TS Eliot. From the halls of Harvard University to a Somerset village, via a Margate promenade shelter, he follows the spiritual and psychological journey that Eliot took in his most iconic poems. From The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock to The Waste Land and from Ash Wednesday to Four Quartets, Wilson traces Eliot’s life story as it informs his greatest works.

The Four Quartets, Starring Ralph Fiennes BBC4 8pm

A performance of T S Eliot’s poetic masterpiece.

Monday 17 October 2022

Country Music Rub (Beginnings -1933) (1/8) Episodes 2-5 follow Tues-Fri. PBS America 8.25pm

So-called ‘Hillbilly music’ begins to reach a wider audience.

Analysis: How Xi Jinping Did It BBC Radio 4 8,30pm

How China’s President Xi Jinping took control of his party and his country.

Tuesday 18 October 2022

Devil’s Advocate: The Mostly True Story of Giovanni di Stefano Sky Documentaries 7pm

Giovanni di Stefano was once known as the Devil’s Advocate, and it’s easy to see why. A quick-talking lawyer with a silver tongue, di Stefano has represented some of the world’s most notorious criminals, including Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milošević. He’s also been accused of being a con artist, a fraudster, and a danger to society. But despite his checkered past, di Stefano remains an enigmatic and intriguing figure. In this documentary, filmmakers Tony Montana and Antonello Sarno explore di Stefano’s complicated life story, from his humble beginnings in Sicily to his current status as a criminal mastermind. Along the way, they interview di Stefano’s friends, foes, and victims, painting a picture of a man who is both charming and dangerous in equal measure. If you’re looking for a true crime story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, Devil’s Advocate is a must-watch.

Recently re-discovered episode of Hancock`s Half hour BBC Radio 4 6.30pm

A lost episode of 1950s radio show Hancock’s Half Hour recently found and restored.

The episode, the only one to feature the actor and comedian Peter Sellers – who was standing in for Hancock’s regular collaborator Kenneth Williams – is from the first series of the sitcom and is called The Marriage Bureau.

It aired in February 1955 and has never been repeated, according to the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society.

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Why the Industrial Revolution Happened Here BBC4 8pm

A key factor in the Industrial Revolution was knowledge. Britain’s political system encouraged scientific thought and freedom to try out scientific and business ideas.

Liverpool Narcos Sky Documentaries 9-11pm

Back-to-back showings of all three parts of Liverpool Narcos, he fascinating documentary series from Sky that tells the story of how a group of drug dealers from the city became some of the most powerful and feared criminals in the country. The series follows their rise to power, their bloody battles with rivals, and their ultimate downfall. With unparalleled access to the family members and friends of the dealers, as well as law enforcement and government officials, Liverpool Narcos provides an inside look at some of the most notorious gangs in recent history. If you’re looking for an edge-of-your-seat true crime story, this is it.

Thursday 20 October 2022

Brighton Rock Talking Pictures 6.05pm

In Brighton in 1935, small-time gang leader Pinkie Brown murders a journalist and later desperately tries to cover his tracks but runs into trouble with the police, a few witnesses, and a rival gang.

Jewish G.I.s of World War Two PBS America 7.15pm

This is the profound and remarkable story of the 550,000 Jewish Americans who served their country in World War II. These brave men and women fought for their nation and for Jewish people worldwide. Like all Americans, they fought against fascism, but they also waged a more personal fight – to save their brethren in Europe. Jewish servicemen were also among the first to assist the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps liberated by American troops. After years of struggle, these soldiers emerged transformed, more powerfully American and more deeply Jewish, determined to continue the fight for equality and tolerance at home.

The Bottom Line – U.K.`s Defence Industry BBC Radio 4 8.30pm

Evan Davis chairs a round table discussion providing insight into business from the people at the top.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Film4

See the Counter Culture review here

Friday 21 October 2022

Ten Years of the Digital Human BBC Radio 4

With a decade of peeking down every dark alleyway of the internet The Digital Human has a unique archive of our lives lived online; how we connect to one another, how we explore and express who we are and how we accept these new technological innovations into our lives often without question. Aleks selects the most revealing and thought provoking stories from the back catalogue to see how far we’ve come and where our technologies might be taking us.

Gangs of London Sky Atlantic 9pm

Sky Atlantic’s “Gangs of London” is a gritty, action-packed series that follows the lives of London’s criminal underworld. The show’s focus on violence and crime gives it a dark and dangerous edge, and the cast of characters is both corrupt and fascinating. From ruthless gangsters to crooked cops, “Gangs of London” paints a picture of a city controlled by corruption and power. The show’s second season is even more intense than the first, with new villains and plenty of twists and turns. If you’re looking for a gripping drama with plenty of action, “Gangs of London” is definitely the show for you.

Gaming Wall Street 9pm Sky Documentaries

In this series, director Tobias Deml tries to get to the bottom of how Redditors turned a video game retailer into a financial frenzy.

Selections from Henry Falconer and Pat Harrington

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Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment (8-14 October 2022)

Highlights this week include the welcome return of Babylon Berlin, Edible Insects and Out of Sight Out of Mind showcasing artwork created by people with mental health conditions.

Saturday 8 October 2022

39 Ways to Save the Planet: Better Blocks 2.45pm BBC RADIO 4

Concrete blocks are the foundations of the modern world but they could be greener. Tom Heap meets the team turning waste dust and carbon dioxide into building materials.

The A-Z Of Horror Movies 11pm Sky Showcase

Peter Serafinowicz explores horror films while special guests watch some of the genre’s most terrifying clips. Definitely one to record for Hallowen viewing!

Detroit (2017) BBC1 11.35pm

Fact-based drama set during the 1967 Detroit riots in which a group of rogue police officers respond to a complaint with retribution rather than justice on their minds.

Sunday 9 October 2022

A Point of View: Trickle Down 8.48am BBC RADIO 4

From King Lear and Deuteronomy to bankers’ bonuses and universal credit, Howard extols the concept of sufficiency and concludes that trickle down economics simply doesn’t work.

Hansa Studios: By The Wall 1976-1990 Sky Arts 1.30am

The story of the legendary Hansa studios in Berlin, which used to overlook the Wall and has hosted many well-known acts including David Bowie, Iggy Pop, U2 and Brian Eno.

It’s Black History Month so there is some programming around that theme. See some selections below:

Children Of The Carribean Revolution With Lindsay Johns BBC4 10pm

In this high-concept visual essay, writer and broadcaster Lindsay Johns reframes the history of the Caribbean to tell a new story. Not the traditional narrative of suffering and adversity but a celebratory one of superheroes and epic wars, unceasing resistance and never-ending rebellion, told through the stories of four inspirational leaders and their modern-day spiritual descendants.

Each of the four accounts represents a heroic figure, whose life should, arguably, be more widely known and more comprehensively taught. But it is more often the case that such lessons are only found in the kinds of Saturday or supplementary schools established and maintained by the Black community from the 1970s onwards in order to compensate for the partial history their children are taught in British schools. Stories such as that of the Jamaican rebel heroine, Queen Nanny of the Maroons. Born in Ghana in the 17th century and brought to Jamaica as a slave, she escaped into the Blue Mountains and joined the rebel Maroon community, where she rose to become a feared military leader, eventually beating the British into submission by winning autonomy for the Maroons to govern their own areas.

At the end of the 18th and into the 19th century, in what is now present-day Haiti, we meet Toussaint Louverture, the son of a king captured in the West African kingdom of Doheny. He began life as a slave himself but went on to become one of the most learned, loved and celebrated revolutionary leaders the world has ever known, beating the French, Spanish and British, and helping to found the first and only independent state ever to be born of a slave revolt.

Jumping to the 20th century and the former French Caribbean colony of Martinique, where Frantz Fanon was born. We learn about the man who fought with the Free French against the Nazis before qualifying as a psychiatrist and going to Algeria, where he diagnosed the psychological trauma of colonialism and inspired liberation leaders across the world. He fought with the Algerians against their French masters and wrote two landmark books – Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth – as well as surviving multiple assassination attempts before dying of leukaemia in 1961 at the age of 36.

Finally, we learn about Walter Rodney, the Guyanese academic who showed that African freedom fighters and their Caribbean brothers and sisters were really the same people, united by a common struggle. Rodney became a hero of the Pan-African liberation movement before his early death, killed by a bomb in the Guyanese capital Georgetown in 1980 at the age of 38. In exploring these incredible lives, the film takes us on an odyssey through space and time, connecting these revolutionary giants and often neglected figures with ordinary people living today in Britain, one of the most multicultural nations on earth.

Whoever Heard Of A Black British Artist 11.30pm BBC 4

A look at the work of groundbreaking British artists of Asian and African descent.

Monday 10 October 2022

Britain’s Secret Islands (1/4) 9pm Sky History

Join a voyage to Farne Islands, home to seals and seabirds, early Christian communities and one of the first landing sites for Norse raiders.

Parasite (2019) Film 4 11.15pm

Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.

Tuesday 11 October 2022

The Life Scientific: Why study sewage? 9am BBC RADIO 4

Leon Barron monitors pollution in our rivers, keeping tabs on chemicals that could be harmful to the environment and to our health. He’s also gathered intelligence on the behaviour of millions of Londoners by studying the water we flush down the loo. His analysis of sewage revealed, for example, just how much cocaine is consumed in London every day. And he’s helped the Metropolitan Police to crack crimes in other ways too, inventing new chemistry tools that can be used by forensic scientists to uncover clues. At school he had no idea he wanted to be an analytical chemist but a short work experience placement at the fertiliser factory convinced him that this kind of detective work was fun.

Wednesday 12 October 2022

The Secret Rules of Modern Living: Algorithms 8pm BBC 4

Without us noticing, modern life has been taken over. Algorithms run everything from search engines on the internet to satnavs and credit card data security – they even help us travel the world, find love and save lives.

Mathematician Professor Marcus du Sautoy demystifies the hidden world of algorithms. By showing us some of the algorithms most essential to our lives, he reveals where these 2,000-year-old problem-solvers came from, how they work, what they have achieved and how they are now so advanced they can even programme themselves.

The Elon Musk Show 9pm BBC2

Just how did multibillionaire Elon Musk go from getting bullied as a child to becoming one of the most successful and controversial men in the world? This series from 72 Films – the people behind Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story – tells the story of the Tesla tycoon’s incredible journey.

A United Kingdom (2016) 11.30pm BBC2

The story of King Seretse Khama of Botswana and how his loving but controversial marriage to a British white woman, Ruth Williams, put his kingdom into political and diplomatic turmoil.

Thursday 13 October 2022

T.S. Eliot: Into ‘The Wasteland’ 9pm BBC2

An exploration of TS Eliot’s The Waste Land, in its centenary year, that for the first time uncovers the personal story behind Eliot’s creation of his celebrated poem.

Friday 14 October 20222

Edible Insects 3.10pm PBS America

From crunchy crickets to nutty fly grubs, NOVA takes a tasty look at insect foods and how they could benefit our health and planet. Keep an open-mind! Insects are a common food source in many parts of the world, and they offer a number of benefits. Insects are a rich source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, and they have been eaten by humans for centuries. In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in edible insects, as they offer a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional meat sources. Insects are also high in unsaturated fats and low in cholesterol, making them a heart-healthy option. It’s clear that they have the potential to play a vital role in improving human health as this programme demonstrates.

Babylon Berlin (1/12) Sky Atlantic 9pm

Babylon Berlin is back for a new series, and this time it’s bigger than ever.

The show has become a global sensation, and with good reason – it’s a thrilling look at the underbelly of 1920s and 30s Berlin. The show has been a hit in Germany, drawing an average of five million viewers per episode, and has been sold to over 150 countries.

Babylon Berlin is a historical crime drama which tells the story of Gereon Rath, a young police detective who is transferred from Cologne to Berlin and becomes embroiled in the city’s dark underworld. Vikjer Bruch stars as Rath, and the show has been praised for its lavish sets and stunning cinematography.

The third season of Babylon Berlin has just been released and it has already been hailed as one of the best yet. The season picks up shortly after the end of the second, with Rath struggling to keep his grip on power amid the chaos of the Weimar Republic. He must also contend with new threats both internal and external, as well as his complicated relationship with Charlotte Ritter (played by Liv Lisa Fries).

And at exhibition

Out of Sight Out of Mind to October 30 at Summerhall, Edinburgh

Out of Sight Out of Mind 2022 presents artworks by 200 people who have experience of mental health issues and celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Picture and selections by Pat Harrington

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Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment (1 October – 7 October 2022)

Highlights this week include: Moonlight, a documentary on the 1978 Winter of Discontent and a debate on Britain on Strike.

Saturday 1 October 2022

I See You: Poetry, Porn and Me 11:30pm BBC RADIO 4

Last year, poet Helen Mort discovered that images taken from her social media page had been uploaded to a porn website.

Users of the site were invited to edit the photos, merging Helen’s face with explicit and violent sexual images. This is deepfake pornography.

In I see You: Poetry Porn and Me, Helen reclaims her voice as she reflects on this experience and charts the journey she has taken to come to terms with being a victim.

Unable to get support from the law – as deepfakes are not illegal – Helen navigates a new path for herself.

She speaks to storytellers, vocal coaches, tattooists and others on this journey, which interrogates how we look at women’s bodies, and the way women are valued and in turn, value themselves.

Weaving between poetry and interviews, the programme follows Helen through the different stages of letting go, rediscovering her voice and restoring some control over what happened to her.

Sunday 2 October 2022

The Coming Storm (4/8) Q Drops 1:30pm BBC RADIO 4

QAnon and the plot to break reality…

In Oct 2017 Donald Trump says something weird in a room full of military figures: “Maybe this is the calm before the storm.”

A few weeks later a poster on 4chan who calls himself Q starts to tell a crazy story about a coming storm, in which Trump is engaged in an epic battle against a cabal of satanic paedophiles who have hijacked the American Republic.

A group of bloggers mainstream the theory and it starts having a life of its own with real world consequences. Qanon is born. But who is directing it?

1978: Winter Of Discontent 9pm Channel 5

The story of the period of industrial action that changed the face of Britain between November 1978 and February 1979, with contributions from Esther Rantzen, David Hamilton, Carole Malone, and Alastair Stewart. With the worst weather in a decade, 13 million days were lost due to strikes, resulting in thousands of schools closing, hospitals only admitting emergency patients, and the dead not being buried.

The RMT rail union (followed by Aslef and TSSA) in the privatised railways and the Communication Workers Union in privatised BT and Royal Mail are leading the fightback for workers today. Ballots of public sector workers are being prepared in local government, universities, teachers, civil servants and most likely NHS workers and firefighters. Although the situation unions face today is in many ways different there are lessons to learn form the 1978 and 1979 strikes.

There is a very good article from the Socialist Party on the strikes old and new here.

Pariah: The Lives and Deaths of Sonny Liston 9pm Sky Documentaries

A look at the life and death of the iconic boxer, who died from a supposed overdose eight years after becoming heavyweight champion of the world.

Monday 3 October 2022

Analysis: What’s the point of street protest? 8:30 BBC RADIO 4

Is a protest march worth your effort? About a million people attended the Stop the War street protest in 2003. About half a million had marched to protest against the fox hunting ban a year earlier. More recently, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to demonstrate against the decision to leave the EU. Nonetheless, the Iraq war happened, the hunting ban remains and Britain did leave the EU. James Tilley, a professor of politics at Oxford, finds out if street protests achieve anything, why people take part and what effect they have on politicians and voters.

The American Civil War 11am, 4.25pm, 8.50pm PBS America (Episode 1, 3 showings)

The American Civil War Ken Burns documentary series aired on PBS is an in-depth, comprehensive look at the causes and effects of the Civil War. The series features interviews with historians and Civil War experts, as well as archival footage and photographs. The documentary provides a detailed account of the events leading up to the Civil War, the battles fought during the war, and the aftermath of the conflict.Further episodes at the same times Tuesday-Friday. Not to be missed.

Britain On Strike: The Debate 9pm Channel 5

Jeremy Vine moderates a discussion about the current wave of strike action and how it affects the public. He hears the stories of those affected by the strikes, from small businesses to daily commuters, while those participating and union leaders explain why they believe such measures are necessary.

The Walk-In (1/5) 9pm ITV

The new ITV drama “The Walk In” tells the story of Michael Collins, a far-right activist who becomes an informer for the Hope Not Hate political pressure group/charity. Collins is played by Stephen Graham, who is best known for his roles in “This Is England” and ” Boardwalk Empire “.

The drama follows Collins as he comes to terms with his new role, and soon finds himself in over his head as he attempts to infiltrate a violent extremist group. With tensions high and the stakes ever-growing, Collins must decide where his loyalties lie: with the far-right extremists or with Hope Not Hate.

Here at Counter Culture we will reserve judgment on how far the story is “true” and how nuanced the story is till after we’ve seen all five episodes.

Tuesday 4 October 2022

What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali 9pm Sky Documentaries

What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali has earned some excellent reviews.

The Hollywood Reporter called it “a vivid and fascinating portrait of a career”, while the Chicago Sun-Times said that “the greatness of What’s My Name is that if you’re young and you know very little of Muhammad Ali, this would be the perfect place to start learning about him — but if you remember Ali in his prime and you’re well-versed in his history, it’s still a must-see television event”.

Wednesday 5 October 2022

Head-on: Rugby, Dementia and Me 9pm BBC2

Ex-rugby player Steve Thompson’s life has been turned upside down by a diagnosis of early onset dementia. Steve and his family attempt to come to terms with the condition.

Back Seat Drivers 1am BBC RADIO 4

The historian Steven Fielding explores one of the most rarified jobs in British politics: ex-Prime Minister. As Boris Johnson joins the five other former premiers, at the age of 58, Steve asks politicians, journalists, advisers and historians what ex-PMs should do – and how they actually approach this strange role in public life.

Since the Second World War, former Prime Ministers have engaged in Long Sulks, made Occasional Decisive Interventions and – in Margaret Thatcher’s famous phrase – tried to be Back Seat Drivers. Only one – the man who was PM when Johnson was born – has ever returned as a minister. But, as Steve explores, the early twentieth century offers some more surprising precedents. So could Johnson ever return – and if not, what positive roles are open to him and his select band of colleagues, with their unique depth of experience at the top of British politics?

Thursday 6 October 2022

Muhammad Ali: A Life In Pictures 8pm BBC4

Muhammad Ali is one of the most photographed men in history. But just a handful of iconic shots and private snaps reveal a new story: an extraordinary life through a unique lens.

Ali (2004) 9pm BBC4

A biography of sports legend Muhammad Ali, focusing on his triumphs and controversies between 1964 and 1974.

Moonlight (2016) 11.30pm BBC4

A thought-provoking and inspiring film

A young African-American man grapples with his identity and sexuality while experiencing the everyday struggles of childhood, adolescence, and burgeoning adulthood. See our review here. and watch the official trailer here.

Friday 7 October 2022

We Are England: Coping In Construction 7.30pm BBC1

Alfie and his scaffolding gang have seen first-hand the mental health struggles of colleagues in construction. Now they’re joining forces with other workers to make a difference.

Britain`s Evicted Kids 7.30pm Channel 4

Dispatches lifts the lid on the reality of life for thousands of families across the country at risk of eviction, and how losing a home impacts the youngest members of our society

Bowie at the BBC 9pm BBC4

Clips from the BBC archive giving an overview of David Bowie’s career from 1964 to 2016, blending interviews and performances from music programmes, documentaries and chat shows.

David Bowie Finding Fame 11.30 BBC4

Part three of Francis Whately’s Bowie trilogy, telling the story of how David Robert Jones became David Bowie, how Bowie became Ziggy Stardust and how Ziggy became immortal.

Selections by Henry Falconer and Patrick Harrington

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Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment (24 – 30 September 2022)

Saturday 24 September 2022

39 Ways to Save the Planet: Big Drop Energy 2:45pm BBC RADIO 4

A big weight and a very, very deep hole. The team behind Gravitricity think they have found a solution to a serious problem with renewable energy.

Diana Dors: Britain’s Blonde Bombshell 9pm Channel 5

The highs and lows of Diana’s career as one of Britain’s most celebrated screen actors. Alongside contributions from her surviving family, friends, fans and co-stars.

Berlin 1945 (1/3) 10.35pm BBC4

Journey back in time to Berlin’s most fateful year – 1945 – through the eyes and voices of those who experienced it – ordinary German people and the Allies who entered the city.

Sunday 25 September 2022

The Booze, Bets and Sex That Built the World (1/3) 9pm Sky History

Divulges surprising origin stories of the American alcohol, gambling, sex, and tobacco industries and the ambitiously notorious entrepreneurs who built some of history’s biggest fortunes on the nation’s cravings.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) 10pm BBC2

A young man searches for home in the changing city that seems to have left him behind.

Monday 26 September 2022

The Scramble for Rare Earths (1/5) 13:45 BBC RADIO 4

Misha Glenny explores the world of rare earth metals. They’re vital for the future of technology and the green transition but some see China’s monopoly as a serious challenge.

Tuesday 27 September 2022

Sensationalists: The Bad Girls and Boys of British Art (1/3) 9pm BBC2

Rebellious, provocative and unapologetic. The Young British Artists crashed the 90s art scene, making Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst and others household names. This is their story.

Storyville Welcome to Chechnya – The Gay Purge 10.30pm BBC4

A Storyville documentary that lays bare Chechnya’s deadly war against its gay citizens and reveals the bravery of those running rescue missions to protect the republic’s LGBTQ community.

Wednesday 28 September 2022

This England 9pm Sky Atlantic

Drama based on the first months of Boris Johnson’s time in office as the country grappled Covid-19 and Brexit and Johnson himself struggled with a personal and political life wracked by controversy.

Thursday 29 September 2022

Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes Episode (9/10) 10.45pm BBC RADIO 4

Medusa is the only mortal in a family of gods and monsters. She leads a happy and sheltered life with her Gorgon sisters, who treasure her, On a visit to Athene’s new temple, she is raped by Poseidon and her life changes forever. Athene is furious, and rather than punishing Poseidon for the crime, she curses Medusa. Her hair is replaced with a writhing mass of snakes and her gaze turns anyone she looks at to stone. The power cannot be controlled: Medusa can look at nothing without destroying it. She is condemned to a life of shadows and darkness. And then Perseus comes on a quest in search of a Gorgon’s head.

Susannah Fielding reads the new novel by Natalie Haynes – the Women’s Prize-shortlisted author of A Thousand Ships and presenter of Radio 4’s Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics.

All episodes available online.

Friday 30 September 2022

Archive on 4: Paul Verhoeven’s American Futures 8pm BBC RADIO 4

Ken Hollings, in the company of director Paul Verhoeven and many of his key collaborators, explores the American futures depicted in Robocop, Total Recall and Starship Troopers.

Selections by Pat Harrington

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