Archive for Culture Vulture

Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment

Sunday 27 February 2022

Soundtracks: Songs That Defined History 1:00 (1/8)

This fascinating series continues with “Out, Loud and Proud”. A look at the growth of the gay rights movement and how music has played a vital role in promoting tolerance of sexual diversity.

Desert Island Discs BBC RADIO 4 11:00

I listen to Desert Island Discs every week. It’s just one reason I support the BBC and public service broadcasting. It reminds me of all the good things the BBC does. This week Professor Nick Webborn, Chair of the British Paralympic Association and Professor of Sports and Exercise Medicine, shares the soundtrack of his life with Lauren Laverne.

Peaky Blinders BBC1 21:00

It’s the end of the road for this great TV show with this season (6). The good news though is that there is a stage show and a film coming. The Peaky Blinders movie will begin filming in 2023 and the stage show, titled Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby, is coming to Birmingham in the UK this September, then London and other UK locations later.

The new episodes show Tommy Shelby pitted against the charismatic Fascist politician Sir Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin) once more in what is sure to be a tense showdown. “Dark as f**k” is how Cillian Murphy (Thomas Shelby / Exec Producer) described season 6 in an interview with Esquire. “I think it’s going to be very intense,” Murphy previously told Rolling Stone. “The word we keep using is ‘gothic’. Yeah, it’s going to be heavy!”

Sadly Helen McCrory who played Polly so brilliantly will be absent as she died. The cast and crew ant this to be a tribute to her. I’m sure all fans will want that too.

Louis Theroux’s Forbidden America: Porn’s Me Too (3/3) BBC2 22:00

Louis head to LA as the porn industry grapples with its own wave of #MeToo.

Frank Skinner on Muhammad Ali BBC2 23:00

I like Frank Skinner and am a big fan of Ali so this is a no-brainer. I will be interested to see how far Frank delves into Ali’s membership of the Nation of Islam, relationship with Malcolm X and opposition to the Vietnam war.

Monday 28 February 2022

Thomas Chatterton: The Myth of the Doomed Poet BBC4 20:30

One of the first, if not the first, to die in a lonely garret of a drug overdose, was 17-year-old poet-forger Thomas Chatterton. His career really took off after that but did he take his own life in an act of creative despair? “Give me a Chatterton attic,” wrote Dylan Thomas. Michael Symmons Roberts set out to interrogate the myth of the poet as doomed risk-taker.

Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes Sky Documentaries 21:00

Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes tells the story of the nuclear power-plant explosions at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukrainian SSR on 26th April 1986.

The two explosions happened after a routine test at the power plant went wrong. The explosions released more than 400 times more radiation than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.

Emmy Award-winner and James Jones uses newly discovered footage filmed at the nuclear plant during the disaster coupled with deeply personal interviews of those who were there.

The synopsis says: “From a ten-year-old schoolboy to a Russian general, the film details how the lives of millions of people were transformed and how their memories of that fateful night and the aftermath have haunted them since.”

Tuesday 1 March 2022

Danny Dyer on Harold Pinter Sky Arts 00:10

Taken under his wing following roles in films like 1997’s Human Traffic, Pinter cast Dyer in several of his plays. Now, years after Pinter’s death, Danny takes a look back at his mentor’s work (including exploring the effects the Cold War had on his plays) and the profound influence he had on his life.

Wednesday 2 March 2022

Your Body Uncovered with Kate Garraway (1/6) BBC2 20:00

Your Body Uncovered with Kate Garraway on BBC2 shows us a minor medical miracle. Just imagine that we could better understand our health conditions simply by looking inside our own bodies. Now, this groundbreaking new BBC2 series allows patients to do just that, thanks to some incredible state-of-the-art 3D technology. Each week, presenter Kate Garraway meets patients with everyday medical conditions and, together with consultant Dr Guddi Singh from Trust Me, I’m A Doctor fame, guides them through an immersive journey inside their own bodies to help better understand their illnesses.

The fall of Singapore BBC RADIO 4 09:30

In February 1942, Singapore fell to the Japanese. Tens of thousands of Commonwealth soldiers became prisoners of war. Most were set to work in prison camps across South East Asia. Witness is a great way to learn about history and it is very accessible. This episode lasts only 14 minutes but covers its subject well.

Thursday 3 March 2022

Split Up in Care: Life Without Siblings BBC3 22:00

Thousands of children have been separated from their brothers and sisters by the UK care system. Ashley John-Baptiste hears from those whose lives have been changed forever.

Friday 4 March 2022

AI: A Future for Humans The Reith Lectures Stuart Russell – Living With Artificial Intelligence (4/4) BBC RADIO 4 21:00

Stuart Russell suggests a way forward for human control over super-powerful artificial intelligence. If you missed the first three fret not as you can hear them here.

The Atom and Us PBS America 21:50

Take an action-packed tour through the history of one of the most controversial subjects of the 20th century – nuclear power – as told by those who experienced it first-hand. Focusing on events in the US, UK, France and Germany, it charts its social and political development from the early days of post-war atomic euphoria, through to the struggling ‘nuclear renaissance’ of the present day.

Looking ahead…

I’m not that interested in the Superbowl but I tuned in to watch the entertainment which included the Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power trailer. It is expected to last for five seasons. It stars Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Joseph Mawle, Lenny Henry, Peter Mullan and Saint Maud star Morfydd Clark.

Selections by Pat Harrington

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Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment

Tuesday 22 February 2022

Today is a good day for those who, like me, have an interest in industrial history and science. I want to highlight three programmes.

Fred Dibnah’s Made in Britain: the road to steel city BBc4 7.30pm

The former steeplejack visits a forge in Sheffield.

Rigs Of Nigg BBC4 9pm

The story of how over 5,000 workers came together in the Cromarty Firth during the 70s to create structures previously thought to be unbuidable and to withstand elements considered unsurvivable.

The secret Science of sewage BBC4 10pm

How renewable resources and undiscovered life are being found in sewage.

Wednesday 23 February 2022

Sex Revolutions: The Right to Pleasure Sky Arts 12am (1/2)

An exploration of the effect of the sexual revolution on society from the 1950s to the 2000s, from contraception, feminism and LGBT isssues to censorship and sexual eductation.

Thursday 24 February 2022

The Big Freeze: Winter ’63 Channel 5 9pm

The Big Freeze began on December 24, 1962, when a belt of rain over northern Scotland turned to snow and it continued for 10 weeks leading to the coldest recorded winter since 1739. Temperatures dipped to such extremes that rivers and even stretches of the sea froze. In Braemar, the temperature fell to -22.2C on January 18, 1963. Joanna Lumley recalls being snowed in a boarding school in Kent for Pete Waterman John Craven and Gloria Hunniford are among the celebrities sharing their memories.

The Third Man (1949) BBC4 8pm

Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime.

Friday 25 February 2022

Inside culture with Mary Beard: Women on top (1/5) BBC2 7.30pm

Mary Beard explores how thousands of years of stories and images stereotyping women have shaped our thinking and what this means for women who are in positions of power today.

And on Netflix

Vikings Valhalla season one is available from Friday 25 February. It’s a spinoff of the hit Netflix show Vikings. A hundred years have passed and a new generation of legendary heroes arises to forge its own destiny — and make history.

Selected by Pat Harrington with assistance from Henry Falconer

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Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment

Sunday 13 February 2022

The Murder of Emmett TIll

Emmett Louis Till was a 14-year-old African American who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955, after being accused of offending a white woman in her family’s grocery store. His death eventually helped to motivate the civil rights movement.

Louis Theroux’s Forbidden America: Extreme and Online (1/3), BBC2 9pm and then on BBC IPlayer

In this first episode exploring the impact of the internet and social media on controversial areas of US society, Louis looks at the influencers of the “new far right”. These include Nick Fuentes, a 23 year old YouTube star who is Theroux’s main subject. Fuentes seems to be a blend of social media influencer and white nationalist provocateur for the social media age. His hallmark is advancing racist themes while offering shelter behind the idea that it is “just a joke”.

As one of Fuentes’ followers says, “I’m not a political guy. I’m just a gamer, a comedian. Making edgy jokes on the internet is punk rock.” Theroux describes this grim, nihilistic “comedy”“playing at being racist while actually being racist and then accusing opponents of having no sense of humour.”

The Most Beautiful Boy In The World, BBC4 9pm

The sad story of Bjorn Andreson who starred as Tadzio in Visconti’s adaptation of the book by Thomas Mann, Death in Venice (1971).

Marianne and Leonard: Words of Love (2019), BBC4 10:35pm

Read David Kerr’s review on Counter Culture

An in-depth look at the beautiful but tragic relationship between the late musician Leonard Cohen and his Norwegian muse Marianne Ihlen.

I missed this when it was out at the cinema so I’m looking forward to watching it now. I’m a big fan of Leonard Cohen as is my colleague David Kerr who wrote a review here.

Monday 14 February 2022

A Room With A View (1985), Film4 6:45pm

When Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) and chaperone Charlotte Bartlett (Dame Maggie Smith) find themselves in Florence with rooms without views, fellow guests Mr. Emerson (Denholm Elliott) and son George (Julian Sands) step in to remedy the situation. How will Lucy’s life change as a result of this…?

Rise of the Nazis (1/3), BBC2 9pm

At the peak of his power, Hitler now faces fellow ruthless dictator Stalin. He tries to deceive Stalin with a plan to invade Britain, all while preparing an attack on the Soviet Union.

Desperate Romantics (1/6), BBC4, 10:30pm

The Guardian described this mini-series like this back in 2009: “Some costume dramas like to revel in the difference between Victorian times and our own; Desperate Romantics is one that likes to emphasise the similarities. Great young painters they may be, but as they are presented here, the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood are also randy young careerists who move with alacrity from brothel to easel.” Could be fun! More serious programmes precede it on the same chanel from 8pm.

Tuesday 15 February 2022

Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby (5/6), BBC2 9pm

As a cost of living crisis hits us in the UK why not escape to the luxury of the Qasr Al Sarab in the UAE? One person can stay for two nights from just £1,011. Then there are flights… Perhaps, I will just watch the programme and just dream of palatial comfort in this luxury desert resort? I wonder if I should turn my heat up!

The V&A Present Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser (2021), Sky Arts 1230

Delve into the journey of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland through its origins and reinventions over the last 157 years in this immersive show. See my review of this great film here.

Wednesday 16 February 2022

Fred Dibnah’s Made in Britain : The Source of Iron, BBC4 730pm

Fred reaches Cumbria where iron ore was once mined on a large scale, and enjoys the Lake District on a friend’s steam boat. It’s then on to the Florence Mine.

Thursday 17 February 2022

Boeing’s Fatal Flaw, PBS America 7:35pm

346 lives were lost as a result of two accidents and the entire Boeing 737 MAX fleet was grounded. Why?

Friday 18 February 2022

Chasing Ghislaine: Sins Of The Father, Quest Red 11pm

To pull back the veil on Ghislaine Maxwell’s mysterious past, Vicky Ward starts by profiling the complex life of her evil media mogul father, Robert Maxwell.

Selections by Pat Harrington with assistance from Henry Falconer.

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Culture Vulture: Our guide to the week’s entertainment

Saturday 5 February 2002

Soundtracks: Songs That Defined History 11pm Sky Arts

The Berlin Wall and the fall of Communism charted through music. This looks like a very interesting series which I’ve missed. There are eight episodes in Season 1 and I will definitely catch up on them all. One that particularly interests me is Episode 3, Kent State and the Vietnam War: “The politically driven songs of Neil Young and Buffalo Springfield take on new meaning following the Kent State massacre.”

Sunday 6 February 2020

An Inspector Calls 1.45 pm Drama Channel

A classic. An Inspector interrupts a wealthy family’s dinner party to tell them that a young woman has committed suicide.

Hampstead 6.55 pm Film 4

I’m a big fan of Brendan Gleeson who stars in this alongside Diane Keaton. When a widow meets a man living wild on the Heath romance blooms but then his shack comes under threat.

Sorry We Missed You 10 pm BBC 2

After taking a job as a delivery driver, Ricky ends up trapped in a vcious circle.

Versus: the life and films of Ken Loach BBC Two 11:30 pm

A biographical documentary in which Ken Loach reflects on his often controversial career with comments from colleagues friends and family.

Monday 7 February 2020

Mysteries of mental illness 1/4 PBS America 7:35 pm

The attempts across generations to unravel the mysteries of mental illness, including its causes and treatments.

This episode, Evil or Illness, examines ancient conceptions of mental illness and the establishment of psychiatry. People living with mental illness also tell their stories.

The Outsiders 9 pm Talking Pictures TV

A story of rivalry and hardship between two gangs of young men. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

Tuesday, February 8 2002

Mysteries of mental illness 2/4 PBS America 7:35 pm

This episode, Whose normal?, explores how science and societal factors are deeply entwined with shifting definitions of mental health.

White Riot Sky Arts 9 pm

The film tells the story of Rock Against Racism formed in 1976 as part of a drive by the Socialist Workers Party and others to combat the rise of the National Front.

Wednesday 9 February 2022

Mysteries of mental illness 3/4 PBS America 7:35 pm

This episode, The rise and fall of the asylum, follows the origin and downfall of mental asylums in America.

Thursday February 10 2022

Mysteries of mental illness PBS America 1230 am 4/4

This episode, The New Frontiers, looks at modern treatments.

Mary Beard’s Forbidden Art BBC2 9 pm 2/2

I missed the first episode of this two parter (Vile Bodies, which concerned how artists have shown ‘forbidden’ aspects of the human body) so I am playing catch up using BBC Iplayer. In this episode Mary Beard explores how artists challenged viewers to confront ideas and opinions which for all sorts of reasons we would rather not face up to. She examines artwork ranging from the etchings of Otto Dix (banned by the Nazis) to the paintings of artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman. With the culture wars and censorship so prevalent in our own society it will be interesting to compare and contrast then and now.

Selected by Pat Harrington with assistance from Henry Falconer

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Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment

Saturday, 29 January 2020 2BBC

The BBC have lots of treats tonight for fans of musicals

Big Night of Musicals by The National Lottery BBC 7 pm

Jason Manford hosts the special concert featuring performances from the cast of some of the most popular musicals playing in the West and touring around the UK.

Elaine Paige at the BBC BBC Two 8:30 pm

A selection of performances by the West End Star including Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, Memory and I Know Him So Well featuring really seen clips from he earliest days.

Evita: The Making of a Superstar BBC Two 9:30 pm

Suzy Klein travels into the world of musical theatre and also Argentina to discover the story behind one of the West Ends most celebrated characters. In Argentina she finds out how this champion of poor became an icon.

Elaine Paige: I’m still Here BBC Two 10:30 pm

Highlights of the Farewell concert at the Royal Albert Hall

Apostasy BBC2 11:30 pm

See our review here

Sunday, 30 January 2022

Lilies of the Field BBC2 3:30 pm

Sidney Potier in 1968

Sidney Potier died earlier this month at the age of 94. This is the film which made history as the first black person to win an Oscar for best actor. Homer Smith a good-natured unemployed construction worker. He encounters of group of nuns who believe he was sent by God to build them a chapel.

Sky Arts 7 pm The Beatles, Hippies and Hells Angels

The inside story of Apple Corps the Beatles multimedia corporation that became one of most colourful outlandish and chaotic companies that ever existed

Revolution in Colour 1909 to 1918 PBS 6:25 pm (1/2)

The struggle for Irish independence in the early 20th century.

In the Heat of the Night BBC Two 10 pm

Great performances from Sidney Potier as Virgil Tibbs who is accused of murder by a bigoted lawman in the American deep south and Rod Steiger as Gillespie the Sheriff.

Monday 31 January 2022

Channel 4 10 pm

Race and medical experiments: what’s the truth?

Why is there vaccine hesitancy amongst ethnic minorities? This documentary reveals a toxic history of racially charged experiments contributing to a mistrust of science. From enslaved women used in surgical experiments to the CIA’s fake vaccination program to obtain DNA samples.

Friday, 4 February

The story of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive BBC4 9 pm

Background to the relationship break-up hit that became an anthem.

And on Amazon Prime Video…

Reacher is available from Friday, 4 February 2022. When retired Military Police Officer Jack Reacher is arrested for a murder he did not commit, he finds himself in the middle of a deadly conspiracy full of dirty cops, shady businessmen and scheming politicians. With nothing but his wits, he must figure out what is happening in Margrave, Georgia. The first season of Reacher is based on the international bestseller, Killing Floor by Lee Child.

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Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment

Two big dramas are out this week: Trigger Point from ITV on Sunday and The Responder on BBC One on Monday so look out for those.

On Netflix Snowpiercer returns from 25 January, 2022. It’s season three of the political thriller which is based on the 2013 film of the same, as well as the novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette. Is it possible to survive outside of the train? And can eight people do enough to start a revolution on the train, bringing down Mr. Wilford (played by Sean Bean) once and for all? These are the plot questions that season 3 will be asking. Episodes will be available every Tuesday for 10 weeks after the first episode airs.

Viewers in the U.S. waiting for season 3 to come to Netflix will be disappointed. In America, HBO Max is the streaming home for the new season, with episodes not expected to drop on the platform until January 2023.

Saturday 22 January 2022

Bowie: The Man Who Changed The World Talking Pictures 11:10 pm

2016 documentary remembering and celebrating the life of David Bowie with contributions from those who knew him. You can see the Counter Culture review here.

The Man Who Fell to Earth Talking Pictures 1:05

I love this film. I’m a big Bowie fan and the story is made for him with his obsession with aliens and being the other. Thomas Jerome Newton travels to Earth to get water for his dying planet. He starts a high technology company to get the billions of dollars he needs to build a return spacecraft. Gradually he is first blocked and then corrupted by the world around him.

Sunday January 23 2022

Trigger Point ITV 9 pm (1/6)

Bomb disposal officers Alanna Washington and Joel Napkins are called out to investigate a potential bomb factory on a London housing estate but there is no sign of the bomb makers…

Monday January 24 2022

The Responder BBC One 9 pm

It will be interesting to see which of the two dramas beginning this week proves most popular – Trigger Point or The Responder. The Responder has police officer Chris struggling to keep a grip on his mental health and marriage as he’s offered a path to redemption in the form of young heroin addict.

Citizen Hearst PBS America 8:40 pm (1/2)

From humble beginnings at the San Francisco Examiner in 1887 William Randolph Hearst built his media empire and then political power. He was also the inspiration for Orson Welles Citizen Kane. I must confess that I don’t know that much about Hearst so I’m keen to learn more about this influential figure. PBS America gets the same kind of flack as the BBC does in the UK but this type of programme shows the value of public broadcasting from an educational viewpoint.

Tuesday 25 January 2022

The Decade the Rich Won BBC Two 9 pm (1/2)

Not everyone felt the harsh pinch of austerity following the financial crash of 2008. Some were able to rake it in profiting from taxpayer funded bail outs. How did they do this? This two-part documentary seeks to answer that question.

As you might expect on burns night there is a lot on the bard…

Maya Angelou on Robert  Burns BBC Four 9 pm

Writer and poet Maya Angelou goes on a pilgrimage to Burns country in Scotland. contains

Inside the Mind of Robert Burns 10 pm BBC Four

Explores the complex brain of Robert Burns a poetic genius with contradictory attitudes to women politics and slavery. Includes performances of his work from the Burns Cabaret.

Robert Burns: No Holds Bard Sky Arts 7 pm

A witty documentary exploring the life and Legacy of Robert Burns. Enthusiasts and celebrity fans share their thoughts on the work of the celebrated Scottish poet.

Wednesday January 26 2022

Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story Sky Arts 12 am

This film by John Brewer tells the story of Mick Ronson the influential guitarist behind David Bowie’s (arguably) greatest run of albums.

Looking slightly ahead

Tuesday 1 February 2022 sees the start of Chinese New Year with festivities traditionally lasting for 16 days. It’s a celebration of the new year according to the lunar calendar and is sometimes called the Spring Festival. For those interested this is a Water Tiger year in the Chinese Zodiac with all the fluidity you expect from that element!

Selected by Pat Harrington

Please add your suggestions on current entertainment or comment on the events or programmes we’ve featured

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Culture Vulture: Our pick of the week’s entertainment

Monday 17 January 2022

Frank Bowling’s Abstract World BBC Four 12 am

A discussion with the artist Frank Bowling who became the first black member of the Royal Academy in 2005 focusing on a major retrospective of his work at Tate Britain.

Who ever heard of a black artist? BBC Four 12:30 am Britain’s hidden art history looking at the work of groundbreaking British artists of Asian and African descent.

Loving Vincent (2017) Film 4 12:30 am

A young man comes to the last hometown of painter Vincent van Gogh (Robert Gulaczyk) to deliver the troubled artist’s final letter and ends up investigating his last days there. Comprising entirely of animated oil paintings this is probably the most beautiful film I’ve ever seen.

Wednesday 19 January 2022

Stacey Dooley: Stalkers (1/2) BBC1 11:05

Stacey explores the most common type of stalking (by ex-partners). She meets victims and perpetrators including a pilot claiming heartbreak and a stalker just out of prison who says he’s determined to change his ways. With one in two convicted stalkers going on to reoffend it’s on a knife edge.

And on Netflix soon

I’m looking forward to Ozark season four which will be available from Friday, the 21st of January on Netflix. Ozark tells the story of a financial adviser who drags his family from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks, where he must launder $500 million in five years to appease a drug boss. Can he escape the clutches of the Cartel?

Munich: The Edge of War is available on the same date. Based on a Robert Harris bestseller it’s an espionage driver drama set in 1938. As the country totters on the brink of war a British civil servant must persuade his German counterpart and old Oxford pal to betray his country.

Selected by Pat Harrington

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Culture Vulture – our guide to the week’s entertainment

Tuesday 11 January 2022

Kurt Weil: Street Scene, Sky Arts 12.30 am

Street Scene is an opera by Kurt Weill (music), Langston Hughes (lyrics), and Elmer Rice (book). Written in 1946 and premiered in Philadelphia that year, Street Scene is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1929 play of the same name by Rice. The Maurant’s occupy a squalid tenement house and tensions are rising. It’s time frame is two sweltering days in 1946.

Thursday 13 January 2022

Go Vegggie and Vegan with Matt Tebutt, Channel 5, 7 pm

Meat-eaters may pick up some healthy tips here in a programme which isn’t just for us Vegetarians/Vegans. The series kicks off with a vegetararian reinvention of spaghetti Bolgnese with chopped mushrooms and walnuts.

Friday 14 January 2022

The Rolling Stones: Crossfire Hurricane, BBC4, 9pm

This biopic follows the Stones from blues mad teens to international stardom. It’s followed by a fly on the wall documentary about the band (The Rolling Stones: Totally Stripped) and then The Rolling Stones at the BBC. A binge fest for Stones fans.

Mae West: Dirty Blonde, PBS America, 8:40 pm

Mae West achieved great acclaim in every entertainment medium that existed during her lifetime. This is 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.

The Manipulate Festival, Scotland’s annual celebration of innovative puppetry, visual theatre and animated film, is in Edinburgh (28 January – 5 February). See What’s On here.

Fokus: films from Germany (11-31 January 2022). We really are spoilt for choice when it comes to festivals in Scotland. Of the seven films featured I’m most looking forward to Curveball. A True Story. Unfortunately. This looks at the lies and absurdity of the weapons of mass destruction claims. Screenings at Filmhouse, Edinburgh; Dundee Contemporary Arts; Glasgow Film Theatre; Belmont Filmhouse, Aberdeen; Shetland Arts, Lerwick; Eden Court, Inverness; Ayr Film Society; and Goethe-Institut, Glasgow.

Full programme at

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Culture Vulture: Our guide to the week’s entertainment

Sunday 2 January 2022

Anything Goes: The Musical BBC4 9 pm

Filmed at London’s Barbican (where I worked while a student!). Cole Porter knew how to write songs and this contains some of my favourites: Anything Goes, You’re the Top and I Get a Kick Out of You. Anything Goes is set aboard an ocean liner bound from New York to London. Billy Crocker is a stowaway in love with heiress Hope Harcourt, who is engaged to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Nightclub singer Reno Sweeney and Public Enemy Number 13, “Moonface” Martin, aid Billy in his quest to win Hope. Sutton Foster, Robert Lindsay, Felicity Kendal and Gary Wilmot star in this production.

Monday 3 January 2022

Art on the BBC: Salvador Dali BBC4 9 pm

(1/4) Art historian David Dibosa delves into the BBC archives to create a TV hisotry of one of art’s greatest entertainers, Salvador Dali.

How to Be a Surrealist BBC4 10 pm

“Melting clocks, lobster telephones – the perplexing images of surrealist art are instantly recognisable to millions. But for psychotherapist Philippa Perry the radical ideas which inspired the original artists are often overlooked. In this film, Philippa takes us on a playful journey into the unconscious to discover the deep roots of surrealism in the political upheavals of 1920s Europe and new ways of understanding the human psyche.

Among her surrealist adventures, Philippa sets up her own Bureau of Surrealist Research on the streets of Paris and invites members of the public to tell her their dreams, she uncovers the role of women in the surrealism movement and has a go at being an artist’s muse herself, rolls up her sleeves to try some surrealist techniques with art critic Adrian Searle, and puts on a screening of Dalí and Buñuel ‘s famous film Un Chien Andalou for a group of unsuspecting art students.” – BBC

Tuesday 4 January 2022

Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man Sky Arts 8:30 pm

A revealing documentary about the great singer/songwriter set around a tribute concert to him in Sydney in 2005.

Thursday 6 January2022

Andy Warhol’s America BBC2 9 pm

(1/3) How Warhol both glorified and critiqued American culture. This charts his rise from poverty and obsurity in Pittsburgh to wealth and fame in New York.

Friday 7 January 2022

The British Invasion: Small Faces Sky Arts 7 30 pm

I’m a big fan of the Small Faces. This features interviews with original members and performances of classic hits including Itchycoo Park and Lazy Sunday. I’m hoping my favourite, Tin Soldier (1967) will feature. It’s also one of my favourite YouTube videos – who says ‘white men can’t dance’?

Selected by Pat Harrington

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Culture Vulture Xmas Special

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Rodin in his time Sky Arts 6 am

A documentary that looks at the life of Rodin through his writings and correspondences set against the political-cultural and artistic backdrop of 19th-century Europe.

Great Expectations (2012) BBC2 11:45 pm

Orphan Pip rises through high Society with the assistance of a mysterious benefactor. Pip tries everything to win the heart of the rich cold-blooded Estella in this classic Dickens tale. Stars Helena v Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes.

Thursday 23 December 2021

The Polar Express Sky Showcase 6 pm

A great animated movie. See our review here

Lucy Worsley’s Christmas Carol Odyssey BBC4 1130 pm

Lucy reveals the surprising stories behind our favourite Christmas carols.

Rumpelstilzche Sky Arts 11:45 pm

A miller boasts to the king that his daughter can spin straw into gold, and the monarch tells her life is forfeit on the third time she fails. She despairs until a strange man appears, offering to spin straw into gold in exchange for a gift. A production of the fairy tale by dance company Ballet Boyz, with Jane Horrocks in the title role, alongside Tanya Reynolds and John Marquez. Stage adaptation of the German fairy tale written by Willhelm Grimm.

Friday 24 December 2021 (Christmas Eve)

Spitting Image: Christmas Special ITV 10 pm

A special Xmas episode of the puppet-based satirical sketch show. Elton John meets Brad Pitt, Nicola Sturgeon shares a Glasgow kiss under the mistletoe, Phoebe Waller-Bridge pens the Queen’s Speech and Tom Cruise saves Christmas.

American Oz

Like my fascination with Alice, I’ve always been fascinated by Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz. This documentary explores in two parts the life of L. Frank Baum the writer of the American classic ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’. And yes you read it right the book has ‘Wonderful’ but not the classic 1939 film. I’m looking forward to seeing how they handle his political views, which were decidedly mixed! I also want to see what the documentary says about the supposed hidden meanings in the Oz stories. Baum was often asked whether his stories had hidden meanings, but he always replied only that they were written to “please children”.

Saturday 25 December 2021 (Christmas Day)

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga Cheek to Cheek Sky Arts 9 pm

Cover art from the album Cheek to Cheek. The cover art can be obtained from Interscope Records.

A television performance at the Rose Theatre supporting their collaborative studio album Cheek to Cheek. Cheek to Cheek consists of jazz standards by popular composers such as George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, and Irving Berlin. It was inspired by Bennett and Gaga’s desire to introduce the songs to a younger generation since they believed these tracks have a universal appeal. I’m pleased that Gaga and Chrissie Hynde have, separately, recorded Jazz standards for a new generation to appreciate and enjoy.

Sunday 26 December 2021 (Boxing Day)

A Very British Scandal BBC1 9 pm

Who doesn’t like a great scandal? This three-parter tells the story of Margaret Sweeny who meets the dashing (and married) Ian Campbell, future Duke of Argyl.

Selected by Pat Harrington

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