wed 20/06/2018

BBC Four

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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Below the Surface, BBC Four review - terror in Copenhagen

Read Adam Sweeting's review of the Below the Surface Finale After recent experiences with the likes of McMafia, Troy and Collateral, mysteriously moribund affairs apparently designed by a committee of box-ticking zombies, many a viewer will turn...

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Spiral, Series 6 Finale, BBC Four review - hot fuzz hit new heights

Happily, there’s hope for Spiral junkies – as series six ends, we bring you news that series seven has just gone into production. This is just as well, because these last dozen episodes have been an object lesson in how to make TV drama for the mind...

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Hits, Hype and Hustle: An Insider's Guide to the Music Business, BBC Four review - how gigs got big

The “insider’s guide to the music business” tag attached to Hits, Hype and Hustle: An Insider's Guide to the Music Business (BBC Four) dangles the carrot of all kinds of clandestine scams being exposed, such as extortionate recording contracts,...

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Spiral, Series 6, BBC Four review - grime pays in the City of Light

We’ve seen some “interesting” series filling BBC Four’s celebrated Saturday evening slot recently, which if nothing else have prompted plenty of below-the-line discussion. Happily, we can now turn our backs on all that and hail the return of the ace...

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Eric, Ernie and Me, BBC Four review - he brought them sunshine

To misquote Marx (Karl, not Groucho), comedy repeats itself, the first time as farce, the second time as a tragedy. The early days of broadcasting bred comedians whose work lives on in the nation’s marrow. But being Frankie Howerd or Kenneth...

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