wed 24/10/2018

BBC Four

Barneys, Books and Bust Ups, BBC Four review - the Booker Prize at 50

You had to keep your eyes skinned. Was that Iris Murdoch or AS Byatt, Kingsley Amis or John Banville, Margaret Atwood or Val McDermid – maybe, even, Joanna Lumley? Tables as far as the eye can see, dressed with white tablecloths and crowded with...

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Classic Albums: Amy Winehouse - Back to Black, BBC Four review - suffering turned into song

Formats are second nature to TV: the BBC and Eagle Rock’s Classic Albums will run and run. Like all formats, there’s always the risk that the medium becomes the message, and content suffers under the weight of form. But Classic Albums at least...

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Murder in Soho: Who Killed Freddie Mills?, BBC Four review - cold case solved?

They don’t make boxers like Freddie Mills any more. A granite lump of grinning charisma, he had a brow and jawline straight from a kids’ cartoon and, despite his humble origins and thuggish contours, a charmingly well-to-do voice. Mills was light...

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Hidden, Series Finale, BBC Four review - a whydunnit, not a whodunnit

Some contend that this Snowdonia-set mystery was a Scandi hommage too far, a mere recycler of gloom-shrouded riffs familiar from the likes of The Bridge or The Killing. Well yes, there was that element to it, but if you stuck with it it grew into...

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Duran Duran: There's Something You Should Know / A Night In, BBC Four, review - chaps on film

Forty years on. You could have got attractive odds on Duran Duran still being here when, on a yacht carving the seas off Antigua, a cream-suited Simon Le Bon mimed “Rio” astride an unapologetically phallic bowsprit. “A ripple in a stagnant pool,”...

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Hidden, BBC Four review - a death in Snowdonia

Nordic shmordic. Why travel to Scandinavia to get your dark, disturbing mysteries when you can find them in Wales? You even get subtitles for an extra frisson of otherness.Hidden (or Craith in Welsh) stems from the same BBC Cymru Wales/S4C...

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Africa: A Journey Into Music, BBC Four review - too little, too late?

BBC Four is the TV music equivalent of those oldsters music mags like Q and Mojo. Have there been five, or is it six, documentaries about Queen on the channel? You can sense the commissioners feeling with this new series they have now done...

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Jazz Ambassadors, BBC Four review - the cool war

As the ice hardened in the Cold War of the mid-1950s, and the USSR mocked the USA for both its supposed barbarism and racial segregation, the representative from Harlem, Adam Clayton Powell Jr, had a bright idea. Instead of competing in the cultural...

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Jeff Beck: Still on the Run, BBC Four review - a legend without portfolio

As Aerosmith’s guitarist Joe Perry put it, “there’s a certain amount of fuck you-ness in everything Jeff does.” Perhaps it’s this which has allowed Jeff Beck to achieve the rare feat of surviving into his seventies as what you might describe as a...

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Law and Order, BBC Four review - not a fair cop

In the late 1970s the British establishment sustained a bloody nose. Roland Huntford published his debunking of Captain Scott and Anthony Blunt was outed as the Fourth Man, while the Old Etonian Liberal party leader Jeremy Thorpe was tried for...

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Boy George and Culture Club: From Karma to Calamity, BBC Four

The title signalled what was coming so clearly, it may as well have been called When Bands End Badly: the two camps, the arguments and sniping and the eventual collapse of Culture Club’s US and UK tour to promote an album of new material. It’s...

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Below the Surface, Series Finale, BBC Four review - tense and twisty to the bitter end

In the previous couple of episodes, some light began to seep into the subterranean gloom of the Copenhagen kidnappers, or at any rate onto their identities and motivations. The military theme with which Below the Surface opened, with Philip Norgaard...

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