fri 29/04/2016

England

Travels with My Aunt, Chichester Festival Theatre

Smoking weed on the Orient Express. Drinking at a brothel in Paris. Tricking the military police in Istanbul. Smuggling a Da Vinci into Paraguay. As travel itineraries go, it’s certainly no Saga break. But then Graham Greene’s Augusta is no ordinary...

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Europe: Them or Us, BBC Two

The BBC opened its examination of the history of European togetherness with presenter Nick Robinson beaming at us from the top of those White Cliffs, looking out at the glistening sea which made us an island (until, of course, Mrs Thatcher supported...

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We Made It: Guitar Maker Brian Cohen

Tucked away in a warren of residential streets in the older part of Guildford, The Old Glassworks looks like a lock-up garage, and seems to have been designed to repel unwanted attention with a private force-field of anonymity. Once you've been...

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Strange and Familiar, Barbican

The Barbican has built a steady reputation for almost unclassifiable large-scale art exhibitions, particularly in architecture, design and photography: they have been underestimated pioneers, often working in areas themselves under-scrutinised. Thus...

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Peter Bowker on making 'The A Word'

Films, TV and books about autism often send me down memory lane; my older brother Timothy was one of the first children in the UK to be diagnosed with autism in the early 1960s, and I’ve kept a wary eye on how autism is portrayed ever since I can...

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Doctor Thorne, ITV

As the camera lingered lovingly over landscaped gardens and ravishing English countryside with a stately home parked squarely in the back of the frame, one could hardly avoid slipping into a Downtonesque reverie. Even more so when the assembled posh...

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Land of Hope and Glory, BBC Two

The weekly magazine Country Life was founded in 1897, and is now perhaps improbably owned by Time Inc UK. Its popular image among people who do not necessarily ever look at it is defined by the famous (or infamous) girls in pearls: those portraits...

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Churchill's Secret, ITV

When it comes to losing power, and powers failing, Michael Gambon has once again proved himself the ruler of choice. The actor who gave us his Lear when he was only just hitting his forties has had three decades of gurning and grouching to ready...

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Cats v Dogs, BBC Two

This slightly ludicrous programme is really a chance to see a charming range of dogs and cats, based on an assumption that by comparing cats and dogs we humans can decide which species is best. But best for what? As pets, domestic companions,...

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When Bowie Came to Beckenham

This extract from Mary Finnigan’s book Psychedelic Suburbia describes events leading up to the creation of the Beckenham Arts Lab, during the early period after David moved into her flat in Foxgrove Road, Beckenham in April 1969. The book was...

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Best (and Worst) of 2015: Television

It's hard to disagree with Matthew Wright, in his brisk analysis of the shortcomings of British crime drama (see below). He notes how flashes of inspiration are smothered by skimpy budgets and the timidity of commissioning editors. The disastrous...

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Harry Price: Ghost Hunter, ITV / Homeland, Series 5 Finale

Earlier this year, Sky Living showed The Enfield Haunting, a tale of eerie events in a 1970s council house. One of its stars was Timothy Spall, playing a paranormal researcher. Maybe he had a premonition that his son Rafe would carry on the family's...

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