fri 28/02/2020

BBC Four

The Troubles: A Secret History, BBC Four, finale review - peace at last, but at what price?

This terrifying but gripping BBC Four series about Northern Ireland’s savage sectarian war reached its conclusion with a meticulously detailed account of how hostilities were eventually brought to a close by the Good Friday Agreement, which came...

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Spiral, Series 7, BBC Four review - hard-hitting return of our favourite French cop show

And welcome back to our favourite French cop show – perhaps our favourite cop show from anywhere, in fact – which has raced into its seventh series (on BBC Four) with some typically grimy storylines about death and lowlife in a very de-romanticised...

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Studio 17: The Lost Reggae Tapes, BBC Four review - a perfectly paced tale of world-shaking basslines and human frailty

If there was ever a documentary that needed you to have good speakers on your TV setup – or good headphones if you're watching on computer or tablet – this is it. It maybe goes without saying that reggae needs good bass reproduction to appreciate,...

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Spotlight on The Troubles: A Secret History, BBC Four review - Ulster's bitter sectarian war revisited

“The Troubles” is a polite euphemism for the ferocious storm of sectarian violence and political chaos which convulsed Northern Ireland for 30 years, before being brought to a close by 1998’s Good Friday Agreement. Irish journalist Darragh MacIntyre...

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Cindy Sherman: #untitled, BBC Four review - portrait of an enigma

Cindy Sherman predicted the selfie, so goes the claim. From our current standpoint, it is all too easy to analyse her many hundreds of photographic self-portraits made since the late 1970s as cultural forebears of the digital medium. What this BBC...

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Looking for Rembrandt, BBC Four review - painter's biog is a mini-masterpiece

This final episode of BBC Four's Looking for Rembrandt, exploring the life and work of the Netherlands’ greatest painter, was a mini-masterpiece in itself. We rejoined the story in the mid-1650s, when Rembrandt found that his days of popular acclaim...

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Rock Island Line: The Song That Made Britain Rock, BBC Four review - the early dawn of Britpop

If you were a fan of “Rock Island Line” when it became a pop hit, you’d have to be at least in your mid-70s now. In 1956, Paul McCartney heard Lonnie Donegan perform it live in Liverpool, and Paul’s rising 77. How many below that age know it is moot...

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The Beatles: Made on Merseyside, BBC Four review - when the Fab Four were five

Documentaries about the 20th century’s most fabled quartet keep coming. There’s no special call for The Beatles: Made on Merseyside (BBC Four), which looked at the group’s Liverpool beginnings, though at a stretch it could be argued that in the 50th...

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Showbands, BBC Four review - an Irish cultural phenomenon explained

Ask most people what a showband is and they’ll give you a blank look. But ask any Irish person (or those born in the Irish diaspora) who is north of 50 and they will probably look misty-eyed. For between the late 1950s and 1980s showbands were a...

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Safe Harbour, Series Finale, BBC Four review - too much message, not enough drama

Picture this. You’re sailing in the Timor Sea with family and friends on your luxurious yacht, hoiking the occasional plump fish out of the ocean to provide a ready meal washed down with Aussie plonk, when you suddenly chance across a decrepit,...

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Don McCullin: Looking for England, BBC Four review - a hard look at home

A picture is worth more than a thousand words, never more so than with the photographs of Don McCullin. The octogenarian photographer’s black-and-white imagery made the Sunday Times colour supplement the talk of international media in the 1970s....

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Black Lake, Series 2 Finale, BBC Four review - Swedish chiller fails to thrill

A bunch of young-ish people stuck in a rambling house in the middle of nowhere, a hatchet-faced senior citizen guarding a hoard of murky secrets, assorted missing persons, a derelict sanatorium, lots of creepy noises and no telephones… hang on, isn’...

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