The Northman (2022)

(15)
2h 17m
Director
Robert Eggers
Stars
Alexander Skarsgård Nicole Kidman Claes Bang

The Northman is a star-studded production.

The Northman tells the story of Amleth, a young prince of a Norse king who goes into exile after his father is killed by his uncle, Fjölnir (Claes Bang), who then usurps Amleth’s kingship and marries his mother. As Amleth leaves he vows to avenge his Father by killing Fjölnir and saving his mother, Queen Gudrún (Nicole Kidman). After being raised abroad by Viking raiders as a berserker, Amleth, with the help of a Slavic slave-woman, Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy), seeks out his uncle in Iceland and mete out revenge. Robert Eggers co-wrote the script with Icelandic poet and author Sjón.

Eggers’ film is very, very violent. It made me wonder how this brutal film got a 15 certificate. It seems that violence is kind of OK with UK censors but portrayals of sex are considered more of a problem. What does that tell you about our society? The harsh, bleak life depicted in the film is probably accurate. The depictions of violence are also probably accurate. What interests me is that the consequences of this violence (as in other films) are distorted. Recovery times for serious injuries are skipped over. In one scene Amleth is badly tortured but seems to regain full health almost miraculously.

Neil Price, a British archaeology professor who specialises in the Viking Age, was brought in to advise on The Northman

He says, “This is by far the most accurate depiction of the Viking Age I’ve ever seen. I was on set during pre-production when they were in the process of bringing all of this to life and I found it overwhelming – I’ve never seen this level of attention to detail in an historical film before.”

Alongside that realism there are strong supernatural themes centering on fate and destiny as well as hallucinogenic/dream sequences. It’s a heady blend.

I found this a disturbing film to watch but also a beautiful one. Amleth’s life is filled with horror, sorrow, and bitterness. He is twisted by his desire for revenge. Even his relationship with Olga fails to redeem or transform him. The theme repeated time and time again is that a man cannot escape his fate. Let’s hope that bleak message is not true.

The beauty to be found in this film is the way it is shot, the music by Sebastian Gainsborough and Robin Carolan and the spectacular scenery.

Watching the film left me undecided and with many questions. It’s certainly worth seeing. In fact I will have to watch it again before I can say I really understood it!

Reviewed by Pat Harrington

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Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment

Saturday 14 May 2022

Profile: Michelle O’Neill BBC RADIO 4 19:00

Who is Michelle O’Neill?

The Sinn Féin deputy leader set to become the first nationalist first minister of Northern Ireland. Mark Coles profiles Michelle O’Neill.

This Cultural Life: Jarvis Cocker BBC RADIO 4 19:15

Singer-songwriter and Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker talks to John Wilson about his cultural influences.

Sunday 15 May 2022

File on 4: Locking Up the Sick BBC RADIO 4 17:00

Reporter Annabel Deas discovers that nearly half of all seriously mentally ill prisoners who need hospital treatment are refused the treatment they need.

Monday 16 May 2022

Empire of Pain: A Good Name (1/10) BBC RADIO 4 FM 9:45an
The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe

Patrick Radden Keefe’s investigative book explores how the Sackler family acquired their phenomenal wealth and their role in America’s opioid crisis. Kyle Soller reads.

Elon Musk: Superhero or Supervillian? Channel 4 9pm

Using rare archival footage, the film digs into the South African–born Tesla and SpaceX owner (pictured), whose flamboyant PR stunts, eagerly promulgated visions of techno-futurist utopias and incessant Twitter trolling have made him one of the most omnipresent public figures in the contemporary world.

Tuesday 17 May 2022

Inflation and the cost of living crisis: The Long View BBC RADIO 4 9:00am

Jonanthan Freedland returns with the Long View of Inflation, comparing today’s gathering cost of living pressures with inflation peaks in the 1920s and 1970s.

Wednesday 18 May 2022

HMP Belmarsh: Maximum Security Channel 5 9pm

Sunil Patel: An Idiot’s Guide to Cryptocurrency: How to Get Rich off Crypto Alone BBC RADIO 4 11pm

In a desperate bid to become rich, comedian and broadcaster Sunil Patel attempts to live off cryptocurrency alone.

Thursday 19 May 2022


In Our Time: Comenius BBC RADIO 4 9

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Czech man who tried to use education to build a better understanding between the peoples of Europe who were otherwise divided by religious wars.

Friday 20 May 2022

A Brief History of Progress BBC RADIO 4 12:04

American satirist Joe Queenan follows up his programmes on blame, shame and truth with a question that has troubled many of us in recent years – has progress come to a halt? Beginning with the end of the Neanderthals, Queenan charts the ascent of man with the help of some surprising guests including Emma Garland, Terry Jones, Bertrand Russell and Edith Hall.

Queenan tackles all the major areas of concern, including progress and nature, progress and money, and progress and war.

“I think it’s inevitable that men will gather together and club each other to death,” he says. “I don’t think you can pin that one on women. If women were running Afghanistan things would be great.”

Selected by Pat Harrington

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Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment

Sunday 8 May 2022

Jazz All Stars: Cheltenham At 25 BBC4 8pm

Gregory Porter, Paloma Faith, Joe Stilgoe, Vanessa Haynes and Tommy Blaize, alongside new artists, perform some of the greatest jazz hits of the past 120 years.

Afghanistan: No Country for Women ITV 10.15pm

British-Iranian correspondent Ramita Navai powerfully exposes the reality of life for women under Taliban rule in Afghanistan: No Country for Women. In this documentary for ITV’s Bafta-winning Exposure strand, Navai secretly films in a jail where she discovers women being held by the Taliban without trial or charge, their fate often unknown to their families.

Ramita Navai uncovers evidence of Taliban officials using violence to forcibly marry young girls, as she accompanies an underground network of female activists on dangerous missions to rescue women hunted by the Taliban and joins a women’s protest that is broken up by their security forces.

Over the course of six months, ITV’s Exposure has investigated the Taliban’s treatment of women – and uncovered abuses that have never been reported before. Speaking Dari, one of the main languages of Afghanistan, Ramita Navai gains access to rarely visited areas undetected, gathering evidence.

In northern Afghanistan the team investigated reports that women had been disappearing without trace since the Taliban gained power. Highly-placed contacts told Navai the women had been jailed by the Estegabaarat, the Taliban Intelligence Service, for so- called ‘moral crimes’, such as travelling without a male relative. They alleged the arrests were being kept secret. “The Taliban want international recognition. They want to show women are OK and they do not have problems.”

Filming with a hidden camera, the team gained access to a major prison where they suspected the missing women were being held. They discovered around forty of the women huddled in a courtyard, with others in nearby cells. Those Navai spoke with said they were held without trial or charge.

Later, a few families negotiated the release of their daughter and the programme follows them as they are reunited with their families. They described being tasered and beaten, adding that officials pressured them to marry Taliban fighters. They resisted but one girl told Navai, “They detained other girls, 5 or 6 days after us, and they forced them to marry Talibs to get their freedom.”

The programme speaks to Najia Soroush who founded Radio Sada-e-Banowan, the Voice of Women. Although she is the station director the Taliban have decreed she must visit only when the offices are empty. None of her female staff have been able to return to work and she says she receives threats. She said: “Before we had programmes with music. Girls could host live talk shows and there was laughter. Before, a girl could joke with a boy, but we can’t do that anymore.”

In the capital, Kabul, the team join an underground network of young women who live in hiding, operating secret safe houses for those on the run from the Taliban. The team follows the network on a risky mission to rescue an exhausted and frightened woman and her family. Before the regime, the woman was a journalist and the Taliban are now hunting for her. She showed Navai a recent picture of her brother, whom she says the Taliban had branded with a red-hot poker in an attempt to force him to reveal her whereabouts. She tells Navai, “You wouldn’t do this to an animal but they do it to humans. Why? Because I am a journalist.” Navai meets other women who say relatives have been tortured, as the Taliban search for them.

Navai tells Government spokesperson Bilal Karimi about what the team have found. He denies these things can have happened and says they are ‘lies’ and ‘baseless claims’. “We tell everyone that you must follow Islamic standards. We will never allow our men to commit such indecent acts. Other countries should not impose on us what is good for them. We have our own culture, interests and values. The international community must now allow us to build a government for ourselves.”

Monday 9 May 2022

Beyond Belief: Fierce and Feminine: Kali and Shakti BBC RADIO 4 16:30

Visiting the British Museum to see a brand new sculpture of the fearsome Hindu Goddess Kali, Ernie Rea explores the idea of Shakti, a divine feminine force.

Fergal Keane: Living With PTSD BBC2 9pm

BBC Special Correspondent Fergal Keane has covered conflict and brutality for more than 30 years.

From Kigali to Baghdad to Belfast, he was always at the heart of the story and became a trusted BBC face, known for reporting with humanity and extraordinary empathy. But off screen, Fergal struggled to keep another story from overwhelming him. He was suffering from an acute form of post-traumatic stress disorder. In 2020, Fergal went public with his diagnosis of PTSD.

In this film, Fergal lays bare its impact on himself, and others like him. Fergal explores how post-traumatic stress disorder led him to consider withdrawing from conflict reporting in a personal new film for Horizon. Fergal also investigates the latest scientific thinking behind PTSD and its treatment.

Tuesday 10 May 2022

Escher: Journey Into Infinity Sky Arts 7pm

Narrated by Stephen Fry in M.C. Escher’s own words, ESCHER: JOURNEY INTO INFINITY is an exploration of the Dutch artist’s life and world-wide influence on modern art and popular culture today.

Wednesday 11 May 2022

Just One Thing – with Michael Mosley: Take a Nap

Michael embraces the joys of an afternoon nap. It’s not a lazy snooze, it’s a brain booster! Here’s how napping can help your heart, improve your mood and enhance your memory.

Other episodes I’ve so far listened to include one on the benefits of dark chocolate and another on restricted eating times and health. Check them out on BBC Sounds.

Thursday 12 May 2022

The History of the Red Army: The Great Patriotic War (1/2) PBS America 8.35pm

Created by Trotsky in 1918, the Red Army abandoned its egalitarian and democratic ideals to repress civil revolts. Stalin, worried about the power of the army, launched a purge of officers, the beginning of the ‘Great Terror’ of 1937-38. As a consequence, the Red Army was a shadow of its former self when Germany invaded the USSR in 1941 and it took all the energy of General Zhukov, the Resistance and the Allies to overcome the Nazis. On its way to Berlin, the Red Army discovered the extermination camps. Germany surrendered on May 2, 1945

Friday 13 May 2022

The History of the Red Army: The Cold War (2/2) PBS America 8.35pm

After the Second World War, the soldiers of the Red Army fell into disgrace. As the Cold War began, Khrushchev rehabilitated the Army for purely repressive purposes, and revolts were suppressed in blood. Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, the USSR and the Capitalist Bloc jockeyed for position. Meanwhile, as Russia entered the 1970s the living conditions of the Red Army’s soldiers deteriorated. The long intervention in Afghanistan definitively undermined the Soviet system, and at the end of 1991 the USSR disappeared. Today, the Red Army is purely symbolic, caught between nostalgia and nationalism.

And also….

Theatre

Red Ellen, Lyceum Theatre (Edinburgh) till May 21 2022

This remarkable new play, from Caroline Bird directed by Lyceum Artistic associate Wils Wilson, tells the inspiring and epic story of Ellen Wilkinson, Labour MP, who was forever on the right side of history, forever on the wrong side of life.

Caught between revolutionary and parliamentary politics, Ellen fights with an unstoppable, reckless energy for a better world. Running (quite literally in some cases) into the likes of Albert Einstein and Ernest Hemingway, she battles to save Jewish refugees in Nazi Germany; campaigns for Britain to aid the fight against Franco’s Fascists in Spain; and leads 200 workers in the Jarrow Crusade, marching from Newcastle to London to deliver a petition to end unemployment and poverty. She serves as a vital member of Churchill’s cabinet, and has affairs with communist spies and government ministers. But, despite all of this, she still finds herself – somehow – on the outside looking in.

This is the story of Ellen Wilkinson.

Selections by Pat Harrington

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Nova: Bat Superpowers

Bats are generally given a bad reputation in our popular culture – associated with evil and implicated in deadly epidemics such as COVID-19. This documentary, however, will encourage people to think differently about bats.


Common Fruit Bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus) flying in Israel

There are around 1421 living bat species that exhibit an incredible diversity in ecology, longevity, sensory perception and immunology. Bats (mammals like us) have superpowers.

Can we learn from bats and harness those powers in humans? Numerous questions still remain regarding the genomic basis of these spectacular features but scientists are making progress. This documentary introduces us to these scientists and their work. Viewers are taken on a journey from caves in Thailand and Texas to labs around the globe.

Bat1K is one group of scientists we are introduced to. They are sequencing bat genomes, further uncovering the genetic basis of bats’ rare and wonderful superpowers.

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, and the Center for Systems Biology, Dresden, Senior Author, says: “Our genome scans revealed changes in hearing genes, that may contribute to echolocation, which bats use to hunt and navigate in complete darkness. Furthermore, we found expansions of anti-viral genes, unique selection on immune genes, and loss of genes involved in inflammation in bats. These changes may contribute to bats’ exceptional immunity and points to their tolerance of coronaviruses.

Bat1K, a global consortium of scientists dedicated to sequencing the genomes of every one of the 1421 living bat species, has generated and analyzed six highly accurate bat genomes that are ten times more complete than any bat genome published to date, in order to begin to uncover bats’ unique traits.

The hope is that ultimately, studying bats will help researchers understand the genetic basis of longevity, a better immune system and other key factors. Let’s just think about longevity for a moment.

Humans are considered relatively long-lived animals, tending to live about four times longer than most other mammals when adjusted for size. But bats can far exceed that. Some species can live 40 years – eight times longer than similarly sized mammals — which is why scientists have long sought to understand bats as a model for healthy aging. If we lived as long as bats, adjusted for size, we could live 240 years.

Longevity is just one way, as this documentary points out, that the study of bats might help us. It’s a tantalising prospect.

Reviewed by Pat Harrington

Picture Credit: Original photo: אורן פלס Oren Peles Derivative work: User: MathKnight, CC BY 2.5 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

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Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment

Saturday April 30  2022

Spartacus [1960] ITV4 4.15pm

The plot is straightforward. The slave Spartacus survives brutal training as a gladiator and leads a violent revolt against the decadent Roman Republic, as the ambitious Crassus seeks to gain power by crushing the uprising.

We love Spartacus partly because of the history behind the film. Trumbo became the first blacklisted writer to use his own name when he wrote the screenplay for the film. It’s a film that examines the spirit of revolt against injustice. Trumbo, who was persecuted for his Communist Party membership and views, might be making some digs at the House of Un-American Activities Committee in the movie! At the end, when the Romans finally defeat the rebellion, the captured slaves refuse to identify Spartacus. As a result, all are crucified.

Miles Davis: Birth Of The Cool BBC2 10pm

“Miles Davis: Horn player, bandleader, innovator.  Elegant, intellectual, vain. Callous, conflicted, controversial. Magnificent, mercurial. Genius. The very embodiment of cool. The man with a sound so beautiful it could break your heart.

The central theme of Miles Davis’s life was his restless determination to break boundaries and live life on his own terms. It made him a star—it also made him incredibly difficult to live with, for the people who loved him most.  Again and again, in music and in life, Miles broke with convention—and when he thought his work came to represent a new convention, he changed it again. Miles’s bold disregard for tradition, his clarity of vision, his relentless drive, and constant thirst for new experiences made him an inspiring collaborator to fellow musicians and a cultural icon to generations of listeners. It made him an innovator in music—from bebop to “cool jazz,” modern quintets, orchestral music, jazz fusion, rock ‘n’ roll, and even hip-hop.   

Featuring never-before-seen archival footage, studio outtakes, and rare photos, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool tells the story of a truly singular talent and unpacks the man behind the horn.”

https://www.milesdavismovie.com/

Sunday May 1 2022

Prisoner C33 BBC4 9pm

Oscar Wilde is confined in Reading Gaol. His younger self appears, and the two men wrestle with the humiliation of Wilde’s fall from celebrity to convict because he loved a man. At Reading, Wilde was reduced from a highly-acclaimed writer and wit down to a code.

He had cell number C33. He later used this as a pseudonym under which the Ballad of Reading Gaol was first published as well as signing letter ‘Prisoner C33’. 

The Importance of Being Oscar BBC4 10.10pm

A star-studded account of Oscar Wilde’s glittering and controversial career before his trial for homosexual crimes and tragic fall from grace.

Monday May 2 2022 

Belgrano. Part One BBC RADIO 4 2.15pm

Forty years on from the Falklands War the BBC revisit the true story of Clive Ponting, a top civil servant, who leaked documents about the sinking of the Argentinian Cruiser, General Belgrano. Ponting was put on trial but sensationally acquitted by the jury despite his breach of the Official Secrets Act.

The drama examines what drove Ponting to turn his back on Whitehall and why he walked free from court despite the judge directing the jury to convict him. The writer, Richard Monks, drew on Government Papers, newspaper reports, interviews and court transcripts as well as Ponting’s own account for the drama.

The Long View of the Future: The Harms of Social Media BBC RADIO 4 9pm

Jonathan Freedland explores historical parallels to the concerns around social media today, including the press in the 19th century and the rise of the motor car in the early 1900s.

Tuesday May 3 2022

Belgrano. Part Two BBC RADIO 4 2.15pm

The drama continues.

Novels that Shaped our World: The Class Ceiling BBC4 9pm

This episode deals with class in all its shapes and sizes, from all sides of the class divide, in the UK, USA and India.

Wednesday May 4 2022

The 1951 Festival of Britain BBC4 11pm 

Documentary telling the story of the 1951 Festival of Britain, which in a period of austerity showed how to carve out a bright new future through design and ingenuity.

Kicking Off: The Rise and Fall of the Football League BBC2 930pm

Thursday May 5 2022

The Kubrick Test BBC RADIO 4 14:15

The story of a young actor’s encounter with legendary film-maker Stanley Kubrick, with Henry Goodman playing the cinematic genius and Kerry Shale as himself.

Friday May 6 2022

Billie: In Search of Billie Holliday BBC4 9.30pm

Documentary showcasing American legend Billie Holiday, capturing her depths and complexity through the voices of those who knew her best.

The Girl on the Motorcycle [1968] GREAT! movies classic 1.25AM

A married woman leaves her husband and zooms off on her motorcycle to see her lover. Very 60s.Marianne Faithfull on a Harley-Davidson – what’s not to love!  

Selections by Henry Falconer and Patrick Harrington

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Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment

Saturday 23 April 2022

Eastern Front 1914-18 PBS America 6.40pm
Often forgotten given the emphasis on the Somme, Ypres etc. that the First World War was sparked by events in Eastern Europe, for which it had massive consequences.

Stalin: Inside the Terror PBS America 9.10pm
Filmed extensively in Russia, this film reveals the life of a man who came to amass colossal power and exert malign influence over his country for more than 20 years. Stalin emerged as the true victor of the Second World War, having gained a vast Empire in the East. But victory over the Germans was not enough, and his attitude towards the West was fuelled by his growing paranoia. Access to a wealth of new material allows us to glimpse behind Stalin’s granite mask into his extraordinary private world.

Sunday 24 April 2022

The Beatles – the touring years 1962-66 Sky Documentaries 6.50pm
A compilation of found footage featuring music, interviews, and stories of The Beatles’ 250 concerts from 1963 to 1966.

Falklands – Islands of Secrets ITV1 10.15pm
In 1980, two years before the war that made the islands famous, a young Royal Marine called Alan Addis walked out of a bar in the Falkland Islands and vanished into thin air.
The mystery of his disappearance has remained unsolved for more than forty years.

Following the discovery of a trove of evidence left behind by Alan’s late mother, Marcel Theroux embarks on a journey to uncover the truth of what happened on that August evening four decades ago.

Monday 25 April 2022

The Post Office Scandal BBC1 8pm
Between 2000 and 2014, the Post Office prosecuted 736 sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses – an average of one a week – based on information from a recently installed computer system called Horizon.

Some went to prison following convictions for false accounting and theft, many were financially ruined and have described being shunned by their communities. Some have since died.

After 20 years, campaigners won a legal battle to have their cases reconsidered, after claiming that the computer system was flawed.

This programme examines one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in UK history.

Navalny BBC2 9pm
A portrait of the Russian opposition leader.

Tuesday 26 April 2022

Twelve Angry Men (1957) Film 4 12.45pm
The jury in a New York City murder trial is frustrated by a single member whose sceptical caution forces them to more carefully consider the evidence before jumping to a hasty verdict.

On Assignment ITV1 10.55pm
The deepening divisions between India’s Hindus and Moslems.

Wednesday 27 April 2022

The Balkans in Flames (1/3) PBS America 2.10pm and 6.35pm
Series on the origins and course of the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s. See our review here.

Calm with Horses (2019) Film 4 9pm
Douglas ‘Arm’ Armstrong has become the feared enforcer for the drug-dealing Devers family, whilst also trying to be a good father. Torn between these two families, Arm’s loyalties are tested when he is asked to kill for the first time.

Thursday 28 April 2022


The Balkans in Flames (2/3) PBS America 2.05pm and 6.35pm

Bat Superpowers PBS America 8.50pm
Could the source of the world’s deadliest viruses hold the secret to a healthier and longer life? Bats have a sinister reputation as potential sources for some of the deadliest disease outbreaks: Ebola, MERS, SARS, and most recently, SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the COVID-19 global pandemic. Yet scientists are discovering new evidence that bats are biological marvels and may hold a key to longevity. Not only are these airborne mammals the fastest recorded flyers in the sky, they’re resistant to the diseases they carry and have freakishly long lifespans for their tiny size. So, what’s their secret? Could bats’ unique flying abilities be tied to their super-charged immunity? And what else can we learn from their peculiar biology? From caves in Thailand and Texas, to an infested bell tower in France, to labs around the globe, NOVA meets the scientists who are decoding the superpowers of the bat.

Friday 29 April 2022

The Balkans in Flames (3/3) PBS America 1.35 and 6.50pm

Ozark returns on Netflix. Season 4, Part 2 will contain seven episodes and marks the conclusion of the Emmy Award–winning series, which originally debuted in 2017. There’s no telling what’s in store for Marty Byrde and family but it’s sure to be compelling.

Josephine Baker Sky Documentaries 8pm
Chartering her life and career from 1920s Paris.

RADIO – all available for at least 4 weeks on BBC Sounds

Sunday 24 April 2022

Letter from Ukraine BBC RADIO 4 11.45am
Ukrainian writer Andrey Kurkov gives a personal account of daily life in war-torn Ukraine.

Monday 25 April 2022

Start the Week -The Age of the Strongman Leader BBC RADIO 4 9.00am
Gideon Rachman, Judy Dempsey and Christopher de Bellaigue discuss authoritarian leaders, with Tom Sutcliffe.

Walking with the ghosts of the Durham Coalfield BBC RADIO 3 10.45pm
A meditation on Bill Martin’s poetry of pits, Buddhist-inspired pilgrimage and the post-industrial landscape once inhabited by the Haliwerfolc.

Tuesday 25 April 2022

Putin: The Ultimate Insult BBC RADIO 4 11am
False flags, brutal military tactics and aspirations of greatness – Putin’s approach to the war in Syria, as he tries to prove Russia is still a power-broker in the Middle East.

Thursday 26 April 2022

What’s Left of Kerouac? BBC RADIO 4 11.30am
Searching for Jack Kerouac one hundred years after his birth in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Selections by Henry Falconer and Pat Harrington

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Culture Vulture: Our guide to the week’s entertainment

Saturday 16 April 2022

Easter from King’s. Choir of King’s College Cambridge 2022 BBC2 6.20pm
Music and readings for Holy Week and Easter from the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, with the world-famous choir directed by Daniel Hyde.

Siege of Masada Smithsonian 8pm

This fascinating documentary, seeks to examine the accuracy of the event that took place in 70 C.E. in which approximately 960 Jews sought refuge in the mountains of Masada. Even though the Jews were outnumbered 10-to-1, they managed to survive for several months against the Roman army. According to one report by Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian, 960 people were killed and 7 captured.

The Jewish people took their lives rather than be captured by the Roman army, according to Josephus. He explained that Eleazar Ben Yair, one of the leaders, told the group that “a glorious death is preferable to a life of infamy.”

Queens of Country: The Hits and the Heartbreak Channel 5 9.15pm
Wall-to-wall music from the undisputed Queens of Country. Featuring a mixture of legendary performances, rarely seen archive and iconic videos, take in all your favourite country classics.

Sunday 17 April 2022

1922 the birth of Now. Louis Armstrong leaves New Orleans for ChicagoBBC RADIO 4 2.45 pm
Louis Armstrong’s move to Chicago is akin to James Joyce’s from Dublin to Paris, from entrenchment to cultural emancipation.

The Beatles – made on Merseyside PBS America 9.15pm
Few dispute that the Beatles defined 1960s music and popular culture like no other band, but how John, Paul, George and Ringo made the journey from Merseyside teenagers to international pop stars is less known. Director Alan Byron’s documentary recounts the rise of the band as American rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues dragged post-war Liverpool into one of the most vibrant music cities ever with the Mersey Beat sound.

Opera Italia. History of Italian Opera BBC4 10.20PM
Series tracing the history of Italian opera presented by Antonio Pappano, conductor and music director at the Royal Opera House

Monday 18 April 2022

Crossing Continents: Russia’s Unwelcome New Exiles BBC RADIO 4 8.30pm
President Putin’s war/special militiary operation against Ukraine has sent hundreds of thousands of Russians into exile, for political or economic reasons. In Georgia, some now help Ukraine. But they’re not always welcome.

House of Maxwell (3/3) BBC 2 9.55pm
The story of the latest in a long line of scandals to engulf the Maxwell family: the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell.

Mae West: Dirty Blonde PBS America 9.55pm
Dive into the life and career of groundbreaking writer, performer and subversive star Mae West. Over a career spanning eight decades, she broke boundaries and possessed creative and economic powers unheard of for a female entertainer in the 1930s.

Comedians Giving Lectures Dave 10pm
Sara Pascoe challenges fellow comedians to deliver an inspiring lecture on a random topic of her choosing. They are given the title of a real lecture but not the content, their oratory skills are judged by experts in the topic.

Tuesday 19 April 2022

Novels that shaped our world; A Woman’s Place BBC 4 9pm
Ever since Samuel Richardson’s novel “Pamela’, published in 1740, the novel has been a predominantly female literary form, offering far more opportunities to women writers than any other and consistently turning a powerful lens on the full range and depth of women”s lives.

Iran- Iraq War (1/4) PBS America 9.55pm
This powerful and gripping series examines the course of the Iran-Iraq War over eight long years, the unprecedented slaughter on both sides of the conflict and the damaging legacy it has left on the region.

Better Call Saul (season six releasing on Netflix from today)
The core of this season is the moral fall of Kim Wexler.

Wednesday 20 April 2022

The Lady and the Dale (1/4) Sky Documentaries 9pm
“The Lady and the Dale” explores the story of mysterious entrepreneur Elizabeth Carmichael, a trans woman who rose to prominence when she released a fuel-efficient three-wheeled vehicle during the 1970s gas crisis.

Thursday 21 April 2022

Chivalry Channel 4 10pm
Steve Coogan stars as a producer who has to detoxify his film in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Also features Sarah Solemani, Wanda Sykes, Sienna Miller, Lolly Adefope, Robert Lonsdale and more. This promises to be either really good or really bad!

Friday 22 April 2022

Lost art of the churches BBC RADIO 4 EXTRA
Curator Paul Bayley discovers forgotten examples of important 20th century modernist visual art in British churches.

The art in our churches might surprise you

Selections by Patrick Harrington and Henry Falconer

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Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment

Sunday 10 April 2022

The Re-union – Libel case McDonald’s v critics BBC RADIO4 11am

It was in 1994 that McDonald’s began a libel case against a postman and gardener from London. It took a decade for the case to be resolved, making it the longest-running libel case in English legal history.

In the late 1980s, Helen Steel and Dave Morris, based in London, were active campaigners for Greenpeace and had distributed a leaflet that questioned the fast-food giants’ claims that their burgers were both healthy and good for the environment.

McDonald’s took offence and began a case against them. The pair were unable to get legal aid and so faced the prospect of having to represent themselves in court. Keir Starmer was a young lawyer at the time and was keen to help – offering his services for free.

The initial ruling in the High Court went in part against Steel and Morris and they were told to pay £40,000 damages. But by 2005 the pair had won their appeal to the European Court for Human Rights – and McDonald’s faced a PR disaster.

Joining Kirsty Wark are the “McLibel Two”, Helen Steel and Dave Morris, along with barrister Timothy Atkinson who was part of McDonald’s legal team, and film-maker Franny Armstrong who spent a decade following the case.

Where Angels Fear To Tread (1991) Great Movies Classic 1.40pm
After a rich Edwardian widow impulsively marries a handsome but poor Tuscan dentist and dies in childbirth, her English in-laws try to gain custody of the baby.

Monday 11 April 2022

House of Maxwell (2/3) BBC2 9pm
The story of the latest in a long line of scandals to engulf the Maxwell family: the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell.

Worlds Collide – the Manchester Arena bombing ITV1 10.45pm
Featuring emotional contributions from the families of those who lost their lives, Worlds Collide: The Manchester Bombing marks the fifth anniversary of an attack that shocked the nation to its core. The two-part special uses new revelations to piece together the chilling timeline of that day and explores how, five years on, the truth of what happened that night is finally emerging.

Tuesday 12 April 2022

Putin: An Indispensable Tsar BBC RADIO 4 11am
Putin returns to the presidency to save Russia from the west.

Like him or loathe him Putin is a powerful and complex man

Wednesday 13 April 2022

The Invention of Poland: A nation without a state BBC RADIO 4 15:30
Between 1795 and 1918 there was no Poland, but the idea of Poland remained extremely strong. Travelling by bus and train around the south east, Misha Glenny and producer Miles Warde go in search of what kept Poland alive. With contributions from Professor Natalia Nowakowska and Timothy Garton-Ash. Part of the How to Invent a Country series for Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.

Europe’s Forgotten Dictatorships: The Regime of the Colonels (1/2) PBS America 9pm
In April 1967, fifteen colonels staged a coup and installed a dictatorship in Greece. This dictatorship was the last stage of a deep social division that had already begun in the Greek civil war.

Thursday 14 April 2022

Our Friends in the North BBC RADIO 4 2.15pm
Drama examining the politics and change across Britain from the Sixties to the Nineties seen through the varying fortunes of four friends.

World’s Collide continued ITV 9pm
Programme two re-lives the final minutes and seconds in the run up to the detonation and its aftermath, unravelling the emergency services’ response through the eyes of the victims and those first on the scene.

Europe’ Forgotten Dictatorships: The Era Salazar in Portugal (2/2) PBS America 9pm
The dictatorship in Portugal was the longest right-wing dictatorship in Europe in the 20th century. For 48 years, one personality had it all: António Oliveira Salazar.

And in other news

Pissarro: Father Of Impressionism
Ashmolean Museum Oxford
See a great review here

Selections by Pat Harrington and Henry Falconer

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Counter Culture: our guide to the week’s entertainment

Saturday 2 April 2022

Rap Gets Real BBC RADIO 4 15:30
Once considered part of the problem, can rap music help change black men’s attitudes towards mental illness? Guvna B looks at the genre’s changing representation of mental health.

Sunday 3 April 2022

Analysis: The Dictator’s Survival Guide BBC RADIO 4 21:30
A handbook on the strategies autocrats use to survive in office. James Tilley finds out how authoritarians manage to suppress opposition and remain in power.

Arena: All the world’s a screen BBC4 22:45
An exploration of the history of Shakespeare’s plays, from the silent era to the modern day featuring archive interviews with movie directors including Laurence Olivier, Orson Welles, Franco Zeffirelli, Kenneth Branagh and more.

Monday 4 April 2022

Hybrid Humans by Harry Parker: Becoming Hybrid BBC RADIO 4 09:45 (1/5)
Harry Parker’s new book tells the story of how his life changed after losing his legs to an IED in Afghanistan. As he grapples with a new identity and disability, he is introduced to a world of robotics and technological advances in medicine and wearable devices that have possibilities for what a body can be, now and in the future. Today, Harry recounts the months of recovery following the moment that he stepped on a bomb.

Harry Parker was in his twenties when he stepped on an IED while serving in Afghanistan in 2009 which altered his life in an instant. Here he takes us on his own personal journey as he grapples with an acquired disability and a new identity. At the same time he explores the little known and fascinating history of prosthetics, and the extraordinary advances in medicine and technology designed to ameliorate the effects of disability, illness and injury, from cochlear implants to wearable robotic suits, or exoskeletons. We’ll also find out about the multi-billion pound industry involved in rehabilitating the body, and how invention, art and creativity play their part.

Harry Parker is the author of the acclaimed novel, Anatomy of a Soldier. He joined the army when he was twenty-three and served in Iraq in 2007 and Afghanistan in 2009. He is now a writer and artist.

Tuesday 5 April 2022

Positive Thinking: Citizens’ Assemblies BBC RADIO 4 09:00
Sangita Myska asks if citizens assemblies are the way to strengthen democracy in Britain.

Wednesday 6 April 2022

Ingenious: The Warrior Gene BBC RADIO 4 09:30
Is there really a gene that makes some people more violent than others? And should some criminals get a lesser sentence because of what’s in their DNA? Dr Kat Arney investigates.

Thursday 7 April 2022

One, Two, Three (1961) GREAT! movies classic 18.45
In West Berlin during the Cold War, a Coca-Cola executive is given the task of taking care of his boss’ socialite daughter.

One, Two, Three is a rarely screened Wilder film treat

Terrorism and the Mind: Talking to Terrorists BBC RADIO 4 20:00
What are researchers learning about the prevalence of mental illness among convicted terrorists, and the role it plays in their actions? Raffaello Pantucci investigates.

Friday 8 April 2022

Punk Sky Arts 23:15 (1/4)
The series continues with an exploration of the birth of a form of punk so extreme it has been dubbed hardcore, embraced by The Germs, Bad Brains, Black Flag and more.

And in other news…

“Star Wars” fans, like me, will have to wait just a bit longer to see Ewan McGregor back in action as Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The upcoming “Obi-Wan Kenobi” series has delayed its premiere from Wednesday, May 25, to Friday, May 27. The first two episodes of the limited series will air on Disney Plus that day.

Selections from Pat Harrington

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Culture Vulture: our guide to the week’s entertainment

Monday 28 March 2022

Making History; the storytellers who shaped the past. From Herodutus to the present. BBC RADIO 4 9.45am and next 4 days.

Inside Art: Van Gogh At the Courtauld Gallery Sky Arts 7:00pm
Kate Bryan pays a visit to the London venue to tour an exhibition bringing the full span of Vincent van Gogh’s self-portraiture together.

Pay Freezes 1970s-2008 BBC RADIO 4 8pm
With labour shortages and the cost of living back as big issues for the first time in years, Phil Tinline traces the ups and downs of the politics of pay in Britain.

The Court of Putin BBC RADIO 4 8:30pm
Tim Whewell examines the changing face of decision-making in Putin’s Russia and asks if anyone can say no to its president.

Can the UK ever be a low- tax economy again? BBC RADIO 4 8.30pm

The Rhythm Section Film4 9:00pm
A woman seeks revenge against those who orchestrated a plane crash that killed her family. Blake Lively and Jude Law star.

Panorama: Beyond Reasonable Doubt, Britain’s Rape Crisis BBC1 9:00pm
Filmed over the course of 18 months, this edition of Panorama examines why so few reported rapes in England and Wales result in a conviction. It follows five cases and the detectives leading them to find out why it’s so difficult to bring perpetrators to justice.

Spotlight 11:40pm BBC2
A team of journalists investigate an attempt to cover-up child abuse in the Catholic Church. See our review here.

Tuesday 29 March 2022

Banned!: The Mary Whitehouse Story BBC1 9:00pm
In 1963, armed with just a typewriter, a Midlands housewife began a 30-year battle against the permissive society. But how successful was the original ‘cancel culture’ warrior?

Wednesday 30 March 2022

Putin, Russia and the West BBC4 9:00pm (1/4)
How the great Soviet superpower, crushed and humiliated, has been resurrected in the form of Vladimir Putin’s new Russia.

Up the Junction – The Wednesday Play BBC4 10pm
Up the Junction. The Wednesday Play . Classic play by Nell Dunn about three working-class young women who live, work and play in Battersea.

Addresses some of the major social issues of the day

Thursday 31 March 2022

Our Friends in the North. (1/10) BBC RADIO 4 2.15pm
Peter Flannery’s adaptation of his award-winning 1996 drama chronicling the lives of 4 friends from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Tolkien Film4 9:00pm
The formative years of the orphaned author J.R.R. Tolkien as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school.

Friday 1 April 2022

Punk Sky Arts 10:45pm (2/4)
The Ramones visit to London.

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