thu 21/10/2021

BBC Four

The Winter's Tale, RSC, BBC Four review - post-war poise colours a solid production

It has been a hard coming for this RSC Winter’s Tale. Erica Whyman’s production was cancelled by the virus days before its premiere last spring, with plans to stage it in the autumn frustrated by the second lockdown. This broadcast version,...

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Spiral, Series 8 Finale, BBC Four review - justice is done in stormy climactic episodes

If this had to be the end of Spiral, the final episodes of Series 8 (BBC Four) at least ensured that justice was done. We saw evidence that on occasion lawyers may be human after all, and there was even the somewhat disorientating semblance of a...

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Spiral, Series 8, BBC Four review - dark days in the City of Light

The discovery of a grotesque murder is the traditional way to begin a new series of Spiral, and this time around the cadaver belonged to a young Moroccan boy, nicknamed Shkun. He’d been beaten to death with an iron bar and stuffed into a laundromat...

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First Person: Paul Bullock on making BBC Young Jazz Musician 2020

Producing music programmes for TV with live performance during the past few months has not been without its challenges, but somehow doing so right now feels more important than ever – both for the pleasure it brings audiences and as support for the...

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Being Beethoven, BBC Four review – from grubby kid to grumpy genius

Documentaries like this one make me sentimental for a time, until about 25 years ago, when classical music was a more or less weekly presence on terrestrial TV. Now fast disappearing from view altogether, on mainstream media and in school...

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Storyville: Welcome to Chechnya, BBC Four review - trauma, tension and resistance

David France’s revelatory film may have been subtitled “The Gay Purge”, but from the start it was clear this wasn’t just another documentary from Russia charting the increasing pressure faced by that country’s queer community. Since “propaganda” of...

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The Hidden Wilds of the Motorway, BBC Four review - mysteries and marvels of the M25

The nightmarishness of the M25 motorway is well known, especially if you get stuck on the Heathrow section on a wet Sunday night, but as she perambulated around the motorway’s circumference for this idiosyncratic BBC Four documentary, naturalist...

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New Music Lockdown 12: Glastonbury Festival Special

This morning at 9.00 AM would be when Worthy Farm opened its gates to the hedonistic hordes. The weather is scorchio and Glastonbury 50 would have been such a party. Instead, that will all be Glastonbury 2021. So right now, those who love their...

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Tutankhamun in Colour, BBC Four review - amazing enhanced images bring fabled Pharaoh to life

Tut in colour, and he is! The new painstaking technique of colourising vintage black and white photographs and film was touchingly exploited in this documentary for BBC Four to narrate the most thrilling and best-known archaeological discovery ever...

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Unprecedented, BBC Four review - perspectives on the pandemic

This short series of new dramas (on BBC Four) by a group of leading playwrights was commissioned by Headlong and Century Films, a week before the virus lockdown was announced on 23 March, and represents an artistic first response to a situation...

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'If they had been any closer my face would have misted up': filming 'Men at the Barre'

“That’s Marcelino Sambé, he’s wonderful,” said the artistic administrator of the Royal Ballet as I followed her down one of the many corridors that weave throughout the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. “He’s a newly promoted Principal, a very...

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Arena: The Changin' Times of Ike White, BBC Four review - musical mystery becomes personal

The most obvious comparison for The Changin’ Times of Ike White (BBC Four) is 2012’s Searching for Sugar Man, with its story of a potential star having vanished into thin air at the brink of fame and fortune. The documentary began in the usual way...

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