tue 23/04/2019

tv

The X Factor Xamined

theartsdesk

And so we reached the climax of Series 7, long awaited by cognoscenti but greeted with mounting apathy by non-believers. Though some had held out hopes for boy - infant? - band One Direction, it was live poll favourite Matt Cardle who ultimately romped home to victory.

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John Lennon's Love and Death: 30 Years On, Part 2

james Woodall

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John Lennon's Love and Death: 30 Years On, Part 1

james Woodall

The couples profiled in the series included the likes of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, Sartre and de Beauvoir, Monroe and Miller, and remoter figures from the German 19th century. Pop hadn’t made it onto the list, though I learnt, once embarked on the commission, that Lennon-Ono had been considered but no author found. In 1996, I happened to be in the right place (Berlin) at the right time.

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How To Start Schools and Influence People

Toby Young It's free: Toby Young introduces his son Freddie to Latin

"You do understand you'll have no editorial control? None. The BBC and Channel 4 are very clear about that. Control will rest solely with the broadcaster. There's absolutely no wiggle room." The speaker was Alan Hayling, editorial director of Renegade Pictures. We were sitting in Soho House and he was one of over 40 television producers who approached me last autumn with a view to making a documentary about my group's efforts to set up a Free School in west London.

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The BBC's new TV dawn for the Proms

Adam Sweeting Paul Lewis, Beethoven specialist and pioneering subject of the Q-Ball camera

For the couch-bound classical music lover, keeping up with the Proms is pretty straightforward. Step one: open bottle of agreeable claret. Step two: turn on Radio 3 and listen, or watch selected Proms on BBC Two or BBC Four. Or, indeed, catch up on the iPlayer. But needless to say, there's a colossal amount of work going on behind the scenes to make it all happen.

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Alan Plater, thinking aloud

Adam Sweeting Dramatist Alan Plater, enjoying a good yack

Alan Plater's final drama for television, Joe Maddison's War, is due to be screened on ITV this autumn. Fittingly, it gave the Jarrow-born Plater the opportunity to revisit his background in the north-east. The story is set on Tyneside during World War Two, and reflects the impact of the war on a closely knit group of working-class families. The cast looks a little like Plater's own extended family, since it includes Geordieland stalwarts Robson Green, Kevin Whately and Trevor Fox (...

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Alan Plater, 1935-2010

Jasper Rees Plater's republic: the cast of Z Cars

They don't make television writers like Alan Plater any more. He entered the profession when there was still an audience that could be relied upon to sit down in their millions and watch challenging drama from strands such as Armchair Theatre and The Wednesday Play. He made his name in that great academy of small-screen writing, Z Cars. Other than Dennis Potter, it's difficult to think of a writer who, though he also produced half a dozen novels and many stage plays...

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Interview: Martin Amis on 'The Whole Book-To-Film Department'

Jasper Rees

Martin Amis always had his own idea of who should play John Self, the anti-heroic slob narrator of Money. "The only regret I have in the whole book-to-film department,” he told me, “is that Gary Oldman never played John Self. We had a meeting with Gary and he was so unbelievably good, and so instinctively got the character and made me laugh so violently when he did it, that I thought that was a great shame.” Oldman was even prepared to go the extra mile.

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Latin Music USA, BBC Four

sue Steward Los Tigres del Norte, Grammy-winning Tex-Mex Superstars

Latin Music USA is a long-overdue exploration of the Latino influence on American popular music. The four-part BBC Four Friday-night series zooms in on the bicultural American populations rooted in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Mexico, but living in their original entry points, Miami, New York, LA and the Tex-Mex border. The series examines the lifestyles and politics behind the music and their impact in the US beyond Spanish-speaking neighbourhoods. “Each programme looks and feels...

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Interview: Jonathan Meades, Auteur-at-Large

Adam Sweeting

In his forbidding dark suit and heavy-framed sunglasses, declaiming his artfully wrought texts to camera with the ominous certainty of a hanging judge, Jonathan Meades is one of TV’s most unmistakable presences. While it may be lamentable that we don’t see him more often, it’s miraculous, in the current climate, that we see him at all.

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