sun 28/05/2017

BBC Four

The best TV to watch this week

So much to view, so little time... theartsdesk sorts the TV-wheat from the telly-chaff.Saturday 27 MayJane Austen: Behind Closed Doors, BBC Two – Lucy Worsley explores how the houses Austen lived in influenced her writing. This takes her to...

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Britain's Nuclear Bomb: The Inside Story review - 'power, politics and national identity'

In the midst of a general election campaign and with Euro-shrapnel flying around our ears, it’s an intriguing moment at which to revisit Britain’s history as a nuclear power. Although this film from BBC Science concentrated on the factual and...

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Mary Magdalene: Art's Scarlet Woman, review - 'lugubrious'

Mary Magdalene: Art's Scarlet Woman (BBC Four) is, says art critic Waldemar Januszczak, a film about a woman who probably never existed. "So why,” he asks, “are we so obsessed with her?” He delivers the answer in breathy, lugubrious tones as if...

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How To Be a Surrealist with Philippa Perry, review - 'exhilarating'

Anyone with even a passing interest in surrealism should watch Philippa Perry finding out How to Be a Surrealist and, in the process, creating an exhilarating and richly informative BBC Four film. In October 1924 the Surrealists opened an office in...

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Storyville: Life, Animated, BBC Four

Slipped out in the Storyville slot without much fanfare, Life, Animated is the Oscar-nominated documentary which won a theatrical release and rave reviews in the US and UK last year. It’s a horribly clichéd word, but heart-warming is the best way to...

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Life of a Mountain: A Year on Blencathra, BBC Four

Two years ago BBC Four had a film about a year in the life of Scafell Pike. Arriving at glacial pace is the sequel: Life of a Mountain: A Year on Blencathra. The star this time round is more of a best supporting character actor than a headline...

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Timeshift: Flights of Fancy - Pigeons and the British, BBC Four

Pigeons were described in this riveting programme as man’s best feathered friends, as well as an urban pest: the 35,000 of them that used to flock round Trafalgar Square deposited some 390 tons of unharvested guano – bird poo, in simpler words –...

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Sound of Musicals with Neil Brand, BBC Four

"Oh what a beautiful morning! Oh what a beautiful day!" Curly the cowboy sang in the opening scene of Oklahoma!, the first musical from Rodgers and Hammerstein (1943). In the midst of war here was sheer optimism and celebration set – with some nods...

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Vienna: Empire, Dynasty and Dream, BBC Four

Ebullient, prolific, loquacious and a charmingly enthusiastic historian both in print and for television, Simon Sebag Montefiore has turned his attention to the pivotal city of Vienna, nourished equally by the Danube and its central geographical...

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Young, Gifted and Classical: The Making of a Maestro, BBC Four

This is a documentary about a minority in a minority, a riff on young, gifted and black. And how better to attract both practitioners and audiences to classical music than by encouraging diversity? The totally startling statistic was that in the UK...

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Kew's Forgotten Queen, BBC Four

The indefatigable Victorian spinster Marianne North (1830-1890) is the most interesting artist you've never heard of. The upper-middle-class Ms North thought marriage a terrible experiment, and with her single state allowing her control of her...

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Gaga for Dada: The Original Art Rebels, BBC Four

If you’ve had half an eye on BBC Four’s conceptual art week, you’ll have noticed that the old stuff is where it’s at, with Duchamp’s urinal making not one but two appearances, equalled only by Martin Creed, that other well-known, conceptual stalwart...

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