fri 03/04/2020

BBC Four

The Art Mysteries, BBC Four review - secrets and symbols of Van Gogh's famous self-portrait

Presenter Waldemar Januszczak suffers from something very like Robert Peston Syndrome, which makes him bellow at the camera and distort words as if they’re chewing gum he’s peeling off the sole of his shoe. Nonetheless he has a knack for finding...

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Royal History's Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley, BBC Four review - is this version more valid than anyone else's?

Perhaps somebody at BBC Four has had a quiet word with Lucy Worsley, because in this first of a new three-part series she did hardly did any of her usual irritating dressing up. There had to be a bit, though. She appeared briefly as a monk carrying...

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Classic Albums: Tears for Fears, Songs From The Big Chair, BBC Four review - anatomy of an anthem

Roland Orzabal, co-founder and lead guitarist of Tears for Fears, laughs to himself often during this documentary — the latest in the BBC’s often-excellent, always-forensic Classic Albums series. “I agree, I agree, it sounds great,” says Orzabal. He...

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Stewart Copeland's Adventures in Music, BBC Four review - an essay on the emotional power of music

Drums away: Stewart Copeland, drummer with The Police and a score of other groups, composer for films, video games and operas, now beams enthusiastically at us from the small screen. He’s writer and presenter of this three-part Adventures in Music...

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Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle, BBC Four review - meticulous account of a haunting American tragedy

It happened 42 years ago, but the mass suicide of 900 people at the Jonestown settlement in Guyana is still an event that freezes the blood. They were members of the Peoples Temple, the semi-totalitarian cult founded by Jim Jones, who began as a...

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Martin's Close, BBC Four review - where did the scary bits go?

The series of short films, A Ghost Story For Christmas, became a Yuletide staple on BBC One in the 1970s. Most of them were adapted from the works of medieval scholar M R James, and drew their unsettling supernatural aura from the understated and...

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Charles I: Killing a King, BBC Four review - sad stories of the death of kings

This three-part series by historian Lisa Hilton is a follow-up to her previous effort from last July, Charles I: Downfall of a King (BBC Four). That examined his disastrous fall from power, and this first new programme opened just before Christmas...

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The Sinner, Series 2, BBC Four review - a white-knuckle ride into spiritual darkness

The first series of The Sinner in 2017 starred Jessica Biel as a disturbed woman who seemingly inexplicably stabbed a man to death on a beach, then could remember nothing about the crime. This second season on BBC Four finds Biel on board as...

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Country Music by Ken Burns, BBC Four review - grand history of fiddlers on the hoof

Ken Burns is the closest American television has to David Attenborough. They may swim in different seas, but they both have an old-school commitment to an ethos that will be missed when it’s gone – the idea that television is a place to communicate...

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Greg Davies: Looking for Kes, BBC Four review - touching insights into the story of Barnsley boy Billy Casper

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Ken Loach’s film Kes, and the 51st of A Kestrel for a Knave, the Barry Hines novel it was based on. The story of Barnsley boy Billy Casper who finds an escape from his painful home life and brutal schooling by...

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Arena: Everything is Connected - George Eliot's Life, BBC Four review - innovative film brings the Victorian novelist into the present

Gillian Wearing’s Arena documentary Everything is Connected (BBC Four) is a quietly innovative biography of an author whose works still resonate with their readers and the country within which she wrote. Wearing and George Eliot are a sympathetic...

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Rich Hall's Red Menace, BBC Four review - laconic comic referees the Free World versus Communism

Who won the Cold War? Nobody, according to comedian Rich Hall in this 90-minute film for BBC Four. His theory is that after the symbolic fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago, Russia and America merely “flipped ideologies”. The US government now...

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