Category Archives: TV And Radio

Horizon: Defeating Cancer, BBC Two, review

imageTerry Ramsey reviews the latest episode of BBC Two’s Horizon series, which explores ways of defeating cancer and the patients receiving the treatments.

As far as I am aware, there is no award for Best Cancer Hospital in the World but if there were, the Royal Marsden in London would be a contender. Horizon: Defeating Cancer (BBC Two) was a fascinating documentary that started off looking like it would simply be an account of the hospital’s treatment of three patients, Ray, Phil and Rosemary. But it was that and so much more, as it opened up the complex science behind the latest cancer treatments, as well as highlighting what they mean to people on the receiving end. “I am over the moon,” said Ray on hearing his treatment had worked. Phil’s wife was likewise delighted at her husband’s all-clear. “We have got a few more years to do caravanning then, haven’t we?” she said.

Land of the Lost Wolves, BBC One, review

imageLouise Gray reviews Land of the Lost Wolves on BBC One.

In Washington state in the US, wolves were driven to extinction 70 years ago but against the odds they are coming back across the border from Canada. Land of the Lost Wolves (BBC One) explored the love/hate relationship between the locals and these beautiful animals.

While biologists are hoping this marks a comeback for the wolf in the western states, with the territory they use spreading as far south as Mexico over the next few decades, hunters are twitching their triggers. Ranchers claimed the wolves threaten their grandchildren as well as their livestock and are ready to “shoot, shovel and shut up” – even though it is illegal to kill one.

The film would have made particularly fascinating viewing for animal lovers in Scotland, where there are serious suggestions that wolves should be reintroduced in the Highlands.

Return to the Falklands, ITV1: ”The Paras had killed with bayonet as well as bullet”

imageWar reporter Michael Nicholson recalls his memories of the Falklands after returning to the Islands for a new ITV film.

Exactly 30 years ago, at the end of a very bloody conflict, I left the Falklands never expecting to go back. Returning to a war zone is the oddest mix of excitement and sadness. But nostalgia can be a very assorted package and in the Falklands it is especially so.

All the other wars I have covered have been other people’s wars. But in 1982, in those 10 weeks and 8,000 miles away in the South Atlantic, I was reporting a war among my own people, alongside British soldiers fighting on behalf of a few thousand islanders who were defiantly British.

Rights Gone Wrong?, BBC Two, review

imageDid Andrew Neil prove that human rights laws are failing us? James Walton reviews BBC Two’s timely documentary.

Just in case he wasn’t unpopular enough already, Rights Gone Wrong? (BBC Two) suggested that Adolf Hitler is also responsible for our inability to get rid of Abu Qatada. As the programme explained, the European Convention on Human Rights – which has prevented Qatada’s deportation — was drawn up in 1950 to ensure that no European nation ever went the way of Nazi Germany again. Any citizens who thought their governments were behaving unjustly could now appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Rihanna is not a good role Model

imageWill Young very openly and bluntly said that Rihanna is not a good role model for young girls in music because the lyrics of her music doesn’t empower young girls. Young girls need to listen to those lyrics that are empowering.

Will Young also admitted that Rihanna is a brilliant pop star but her lyrics need to empower young girls which they don’t.

He said: ”I don’t think Rihanna is a massively great role model for women, her lyrics aren’t empowering”.

Top Gear, series 18, episode 7, BBC Two, review

imageRachel Ward reviews the final episode of the current series of BBC Two’s Top Gear

Thanks to Dave (the TV channel, not Cameron), I’ve seen my fair share of Top Gear episodes. This, the last of the series, was the one with Slash, Kimi Raikkonen, and golf. I must admit that much of this 18th series has passed me by, mainly because (sorry super fans) I’m usually tuned into Dancing on Ice on ITV1 – an adrenalin-fuelled activity of a very different kind.

The Voice: a first look

imageThe BBC has released three videos to promote The Voice, its new Saturday night talent show set to launch later this month on BBC One

The BBC has released three preview videos ahead of the launch of its major new talent show at the end of March.

The Voice is already a mega-hit in 30 different countries around the world. The US version is the top-rated show on American TV.

The BBC spent £22 million acquiring British rights from the show’s Dutch creator, John de Mol, whose production company has also been behind shows such as Big Brother and Deal or No Deal.

Wonderland: Granny’s Moving In, BBC Two, review

imageMichael Deacon on the unforgettable Wonderland film about the blackly comic wretchedness of ageing.

Philip Larkin was terrified of dying. Then again, he was also terrified of living to old age. I think that’s probably what you call a lose-lose situation. As it turned out, he died at only 63, so he at least escaped the latter of those two fates.

At 50 he’d written “The Old Fools”, about what he imagined it must be like to start losing your mind; the poem is empathetic, appalled, and chilling. “Perhaps being old is having lighted rooms/ Inside your head, and people in them, acting./ People you know, yet can’t quite name… That is where [the old] live:/ Not here and now, but where all happened once./ That is why they give/ An air of baffled absence, trying to be there/ Yet being here…”

Booking.com France


Posh actors have it easier, says Downton Abbey footman
Working class actors are being squeezed out of the profession by “posh” actors who can afford to live without a regular wage, according to one of the stars of Downton Abbey.

Rob James-Collier, who plays Thomas the footman in the ITV period drama, said that those from privileged backgrounds have the “comfort blanket” of family wealth to fund their ambitions.

He likened the early years of an acting career to other professions in which only middle-class offspring can afford to do unpaid internships.

“You have to work for a year with no money. How on earth are you going to finance that?” he asked, adding that he had fought hard to make it as a “working class lad”.

Emilia Fox on her lesbian romance in Upstairs Downstairs

imageBenji Wilson talks to Emilia Fox about her role as a lesbian alongside Alex Kingston in the new series of BBC One’s period drama Upstairs Downstairs

Last year, someone tried to steal Emilia Fox’s identity.

“I got a text from my bank, saying your request to change your mobile phone number has been accepted. I rang the bank, gave my address as a security code and they said, ‘As of two days ago that’s not your address.’ Someone was about to suck my life away. They’d actually gone in to the bank, with my signature, as me.”

HomeAway.co.uk


HomeAway, the world’s #1 choice for holiday homes, with 1 million holiday home listings across a global family of sites.
We help families and friends find the perfect accommodation for their dream holidays together by connecting them with homeowners.

Heidi Thomas: ‘My dramas are the new Sunday lunch’

imageThe writer of the wildly successful ‘Call the Midwife’, ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ and ‘Cranford’ explains their broad appeal.

For me, one of the most enjoyable aspects of the success of Call the Midwife has been the passionate and positive feedback from viewers. I don’t read reviews, but I’ve been hugged by strangers in the street (they looked a bit embarrassed afterwards), and the day after the first episode was broadcast I looked out of my window to see the man next door give me a massive two-thumbs up as he went past. It made me cry.

Top Gear, series 18, episode 4, review

imageAndrew Marszal reviews episode four of the latest series of BBC Two’s Top Gear

At some point during the endless cycle of offensive jokes, demands for apologies and “boys will be boys” refusals, somebody at the BBC seems to have decided enough is enough, because tonight’s episode of Top Gear (BBC Two) seemed intent on being as congenial and helpful as possible.

Aquino confirms dating Korean TV host

image“We’re seeing each other,” Aquino answered when asked at the tailend of a news briefing the real score between him and the radio talk show host and TV anchor.

The reporters cheered the President, “Yihee.”

Pressed on how long they’ve been seeing each other, the President  invoked his right to privacy.

Aquino, 51, has been linked to various women, many of them younger than him.

Roger & Val Have Just Got In, BBC Two,

image“I’d like to keep it as bleak as possible,” said Val at the start of the return of Roger & Val Have Just Got In (BBC Two), and it felt like we were getting a hefty nudge from the scriptwriters. It’s going to be bleak, we like it bleak, they seemed to be saying. Which was presumably a message aimed at newcomers to the programme, because anyone who watched the first series would need no reminding that Roger & Val Have Just Got In is rather like a trip across the Russian steppes.

Downton Abbey, Christmas special, ITV1, review

imageDownton Abbey, Christmas special, ITV1, review
Sarah Crompton reviews the Christmas day special of ‘Downton Abbey’ and is relieved to find the love story perfectly wrapped up for Christmas.

So now the last eye has been wiped, the last heart string wrung: Downton Abbey (ITV1) has delivered the consummation devoutly to be wished. That handsome, kind-hearted Matthew has got down on one knee in front of Lady Mary in the gently falling snow, and she has agreed to be his wife.

Slow Moving Millie: ‘Morrissey said it was delightful’

imageNeil McCormick meets Amelia Warner, the singer behind the John Lewis commercial.

Amelia Warner is the voice of the Christmas ad that is dividing the nation. You must know the one I am talking about. The new TV campaign for the John Lewis department store chain features a cute child waiting impatiently for Christmas, while Warner’s dreamy version of the Smiths’ Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want plays in the background. So far, so mawkish.

Only it turns out he’s waiting to give his parents a present because, of course, ’tis better to give than to receive (as long as you are giving something from John Lewis, presumably).

Why studio audiences do no favours to radio comedy

Gillian Reynolds assesses some of the changes Radio 4 Controller Gwyneth Williams has made and reviews the week’s radio, including the new Radio 4 panel game Dilemma and The Weirdstone of Brisingamen (Radio 4).

image

Gwyneth Williams, Radio 4’s Controller, is adamant. She is, she told Feedback (Radio 4, Friday, repeated Sunday) “editorially driven”, convinced that she is right to have extended The World at One by 15 minutes because “we need it”. So far, Feedback’s correspondents don’t agree. What was the point, said one, of the “dull and pointless” interview with Bill Gates? Why, asked another, was economist Vicky Price quizzed more on the break-up of her marriage (to Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change) than economics?

Radio 4 protected in BBC cuts

image

The BBC is to protect high-quality output such as news, drama and Radio 4 from its forthcoming cuts programme by seeking heavy savings from mass-market services such as BBC Two and Radio 1, the corporation will announce this week.

Mark Thompson, the Director-General, will on Thursday reveal the contents of his Delivering Quality First strategy, which will see the corporation announce cuts of around £700 million to the £3.5 billion it currently spends each year.

The savings are necessary after the BBC agreed to freeze the licence fee for six years, and take on the funding of the World Service from the Foreign Office.

Half of the cuts, some £350 million, will come from productivity and efficiency savings, with executives warning that rank and file BBC staff face a “painful” few months. Around 2,500 jobs will be cut from the corporation’s 17,000 employees, with back-office areas such as human resources, marketing and legal departments hardest hit.

The Marvellous Mrs Beeton, with Sophie Dahl, BBC Two, review

imageKylie O’Brien reviews The Marvellous Mrs Beeton, with Sophie Dahl, on BBC Two.

Could someone have a quiet word with Sophie Dahl? Cheekbones like Sabatier knives and a smile wide as a Bath Oliver biscuit do not a great presenter make, and last night’s effort – The Marvellous Mrs Beeton, with Sophie Dahl (BBC Two) – was damp as undercooked pastry.

It could be that a lot of charm goes a very little way, as last month’s request for £500,000 to save her grandpa Roald’s shed proves (what was the Today programme thinking? That we’d all chip in a fiver to save a millionairess model, wife to multimillionaire musician Jamie Cullum, not to mention the Dahl estate, from coughing up, simply because Sophie asked us nicely?). It didn’t wash.

Life and Fate: vivid, heartbreaking, illuminating and utterly brilliant

imageRadio 4’s eight-hour adaptation of Vasily Grossman’s epic Life and Fate represents the pinnacle of radio drama

Everything about Vasily Grossman’s novel, Life and Fate is epic. It’s 900 pages long. It was deemed so dangerous when published in 1959 that the KBG arrested the book itself, and even confiscated the typewriter ribbons Grossman had used. Praise from its fans is dizzying, with the book described by many as the most important of the 20th century. And Radio 4 has this week for the first time ever given all of the station’s drama slots – bar The Archers – over to an eight-hour dramatisation of it.

Andrew Marr, on Feedback last week, recalled the moment Mark Damazer – the former Radio 4 controller who was responsible for this immersive approach to the drama – pressed a copy of the novel onto him, saying, “If you want to be a serious person, you have to read this book”.

From The Fades to Misfits – is youth drama leading the way?

image

Fantasy series The Fades joins Misfits, Skins and Being Human in demonstrating that youth drama is among the most bold and innovative on TV

“It was about a boy who investigates ghosts that live in pipes with his Grandad,” says writer Jack Thorne of the very early drafts of his BBC3 fantasy series The Fades. “It was shit”. Fortunately the show that the Skins and This is England scriptwriter did eventually come to complete – the first episode of which aired last night – is weird, off the wall, annoying in places and with a bit too much wisecracking. But far from shit.

The Fades, BBC Three, review

image

Michael Deacon reviews episode one of The Fades, BBC Three’s new fantasy horror serial.

In The Fades, BBC Three’s new fantasy horror serial, our teenage hero Paul (Iain de Caestecker) wets the bed. Still, at least he has an excuse: during the night he’s haunted by terrifyingly intense visions of apocalypse. Oh, and when he’s awake he can see dead people.

That last sentence may sound eerily similar to the premise of M Night Shyamalan’s 1999 film The Sixth Sense (as indeed Paul’s best friend pointed out to him), but there’s a bit more to it than that: one of these spirits (or “Fades”) is on a murder spree.

So far The Fades is promisingly tense, and should appeal to fans of Being Human (also on BBC Three). Its appeal to others depends on their ability to stomach the exposition.

Radio makes us happier than TV – so cut out those webcams

imageTo quote the song from which Lady Gaga took her name: radio – someone still loves you. Lots of people, in fact. A study has found that listening to the radio boosts our happiness by 100 per cent, and our energy levels by 300 per cent, much greater increases than we get from watching TV or surfing the web. Those of us in Team Marconi rather than Team Logie Baird won’t be surprised by this.

First the pictures are better. Romping through the fields of your own imagination is much more uplifting than being told exactly how a scene or a character looks. And second (this is why radio will always be such a significant factor in most people’s day-to-day lives) – you can do other things while you’re listening to it. Consuming TV and the internet are sedentary activities.

TV review: Perfect Couples; Happy Endings

Friends was a joy. Sad, then, that E4 has replaced it with two formulaic comedies

image

If you’ve ever wanted to witness a terrifying race to the bottom, in which wit, charm and belly laughs are supplanted by something distinctly sulphurous, allow me to introduce you to E4’s new Thursday night sitcoms. The channel stopped showing repeats of Friends on Sunday, and the rush to replace it brought forth two formulaic shows, each featuring three young men and three young women wisecracking in a fashion that made that previous Friends rip-off, How I Met Your Mother, look positively Wildean.

The joy of watching Friends was that for all the ridiculous scenarios – Phoebe believing her mother had been reincarnated as a cat, say – there was something essentially believable about the characters. Also, likable. They could easily have fallen into sexist stereotypes, with Joey as a boorish bloke, and Rachel as a hot airhead, but they never quite did. All had spirit and charm, and the women were just as friendly with the men as they were with each other. The two sexes weren’t presented as entirely different species.

Radio head: Covering the riots

In times of trouble it seems people turn to the radio for impressive detail and context The radio has barely been off since Saturday.

image

Television news might have the dramatic pictures, but radio does the detail and context swiftly and impressively. And it seems that in times of trouble, we turn to radio in even greater numbers: LBC yesterday reported an unprecedented 20,000 calls to the station in 24 hours.

Some of the calls making it on air will stay for a while with anyone who heard them. Nick Ferrari – whose strong style suited the shocking grimness of the morning’s news – spoke to Helen, a musician who had to flee her flat in Ealing when the shop downstairs was looted.

Terry Wogan shows how to sign off

Terry Wogan’s graceful and whimsical goodbye was a victory for him as the nation’s court jester – and for BBC Radio 2 Sir Terry Wogan’s whimsical announcement yesterday morning that he will be stepping down from his hallowed Radio 2 breakfast slot left me and his millions of listeners, I’ll wager, with a sense of relief at the manner of his departure.

image There seemed no rancour in Wogan’s words to sully his achievements. It is never easy to say goodbye, but he is bowing out graciously, at the top of his game, and without moaning, at 71. To have done anything less would have undermined his status as the nation’s court jester.

The manner of Wogan’s gentle easing out is also quite unlike the bad tempered mood that marked the ousting of Radio 2’s other knight, Sir Jimmy Young, back in 2002.

Strictly Come Dancing 2011: who will be on the dancefloor?

Strictly Come Dancing is back with another batch of famous faces aiming to waltz, foxtrot and salsa their way into our hearts September is upon us, the nights are drawing in, and the X Factor is in full swing – it’s time to dust off Bruce Forsyth and let Tess Daly’s cleavage spill forth in HD for a new series of Strictly Come Dancing!

image

Series nine kicks off on BBC1 this Saturday, with a new batch of celebs warming up their rictus grins and attempting to waltz, foxtrot and salsa their way into the nation’s living rooms.

So who’s tripping the light fantastic this year? The celebrities will be unveiled on the One Show on Tuesday night, but according to reports in the Sun, this year will bring the usual mix of soap has-beens, TV actors of yesteryear, sports stars and daytime TV randoms. Surprisingly, I’ve heard of all but two of the starting 14 celebs; a significant improvement on previous years. Either I’m becoming more celebrity aware, or they’ve raided the 1980s and 90s in a big way.

Harry’s Arctic Heroes, BBC One, review

Benji Wilson reviews the first part of Harry’s Arctic Heroes (BBC One), in which Prince Harry accompanies four wounded soldiers on a polar expedition; plus Channel 4’s one-off drama Random.

image

As I sit here typing, knowing that my greatest struggle today will probably consist of changing a printer cartridge, the scale of my admiration for the severely injured soldiers who decided to trek to the North Pole in last night’s Harry’s Arctic Heroes (BBC One) is somewhere approaching intergalactic.

Four British soldiers, all badly wounded in Afghanistan, set out on an unsupported walk to the Pole. Their injuries had smashed them to bits both physically – two arms and a leg amputated; a broken back and 32 operations between the four of them – as well as mentally. Every one of them just wanted to be back soldiering; they never will.

Saudi Arabia takes step to build world’s tallest tower

Saudi Arabia is set to start work on building the world’s tallest skyscraper in a bid to outdo Gulf neighbour Dubai, which inaugurated its own record-breaking skyscraper less than two years ago.

image

The Saudis awarded a more than $1 billion contract for a spire that will soar two-thirds of a mile high, to be named the Kingdom Tower. It will have a Four Seasons hotel, serviced apartments, luxury condominiums and offices, encompassing, in all, about 5.4 million square feet.
Saudi Arabia takes step to build world’s tallest tower: The Kingdom Tower
A model of the world’s tallest tower to be built in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

Eastenders or the Archers, Woman’s Hour or Loose Women, which medium do you prefer?

image

Over coffee this morning I discovered that a new colleague is, like me, a huge fan of radio. We fell into passionately comparing likes, dislikes and must-listen shows and, at the end of a mammoth discussion about the virtues of Radio 4 (even if that Sunday night 40th birthday programme, 4 at 40, did go on far, far too long and boringly), my companion muttered something about telly and then looked a bit abashed. “I don’t suppose you watch much,” he said. It was clearly meant to be a compliment, and testimony to my long-standing, ultra-purist radio allegiance. Given that I had spent last night glued to The Restaurant on BBC2, and will do the same tonight for the “challenge” show, I rather choked on the flattery.

Show Me the Funny – and the unfunny

A contest between 10 jobbing standups is more MasterChef than The X Factor bringing as much awkwardness as laughter

image

It was only a matter of time before standup got its own The X Factor. So we should be thankful that ITV’s Show Me the Funny isn’t as crass as it might have been. A contest between 10 jobbing standups, to win £100,000, a live tour and a DVD deal, the show starts tonight with the first heats in Liverpool. It’s full of blowhard guff about how scary standup is to do, and what a tough crowd Scousers are. And, like The X Factor, it promotes a narrow idea of its artform. But it’s watchable enough, and not without modest insights into the life and work of the professional joker.

TV review: Show Me The Funny and British Masters

Show Me The Funny? You get a lot more laughs from Karren, Nick and Lord Sugar

image

The first and last time I laughed during Show Me The Funny (ITV1) was when the world’s only half-Welsh, half-Spanish comedian introduced himself to his audience. “Buenas tardes. I am Ignacio Lopez,” he began. “Some of you may recognise me as the barman you slept with in Magaluf a couple of years ago.”

Miraculously, he channelled both halves of his noble heritage: Tom Jones’s understandably smug expression before being showered with knickers; and Antonio Banderas’s cross-species sexual braggadocio in Shrek. You remember, when he voiced Puss in Boots and propositioned Cameron Diaz’s princess.

Only a fool would dismiss the BBC’s ‘Mixed-Race’ season as PC box-ticking

imageYesterday the BBC announced their new “Mixed-Race” season of programmes to be screened in the autumn. From a documentary on singer Shirley Bassey to a programme on race, sex and empire, the series will explore what it means to be mixed-race in Britain today.

Only a fool would dismiss this season as an exercise in multicultural box-ticking. Britain in 2011 has proportionately the largest mixed-race population in the Western world and it continues to rise. This reflection of contemporary society soon to be on our screens is both exciting and necessary.

Radio makes us happier than TV – so cut out those webcams

imageTo quote the song from which Lady Gaga took her name: radio – someone still loves you. Lots of people, in fact. A study has found that listening to the radio boosts our happiness by 100 per cent, and our energy levels by 300 per cent, much greater increases than we get from watching TV or surfing the web.

Those of us in Team Marconi rather than Team Logie Baird won’t be surprised by this.First the pictures are better. Romping through the fields of your own imagination is much more uplifting than being told exactly how a scene or a character looks. And second (this is why radio will always be such a significant factor in most people’s day-to-day lives) – you can do other things while you’re listening to it. Consuming TV and the internet are sedentary activities. Radio, on the other hand, can be listened to while changing a nappy, slicing a courgette, hoovering the stairs or (if you’re particularly talented) all three at the same time. A stimulating programme makes you quicker at domestic tasks, therefore more productive, therefore happier and more energetic. I hate ironing – yet if I do it to BBC Radio 5 Live’s Drive programme it becomes bearable. Better still do it to a music station: you can iron in time to the beat.

Green Lantern: ‘Joyless garbage’, say American critics

£100million blockbuster The Green Lantern is savaged by critics as film receives its Hollywood premiere.

image

The Green Lantern, which cost £100million to make and stars Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, had its American premiere last night in Hollywood – but the American critics have given it a critical mauling. Here’s what they are saying:

“As summer garbage goes, The Green Lantern can’t go fast enough. Even in the brainless world of cinematic comic books gone bad, it’s as bad as it gets—a dumb, pointless, ugly, moronic and incomprehensible jumble of botched effects, technical blunders, and cluttered chaos. Oh yes. It is also – did I forget to mention? – boring.”

“Remember when big, summer blockbusters were fun — when they were a light, clever and entertaining escape? That notion apparently eluded the makers of Green Lantern, a joyless amalgamation of expository dialogue and special effects that aren’t especially special.’

Do you like good music? Watch Abbey Road Debuts

image

Here’s some exciting news for music fans. Abbey Road Debuts, a new show stepping into the barren land of British music television, starts tonight. Readers, I think our sadness over the death of Top of the Pops is about to be assuaged. And those reruns of TOTP from 1976 that were announced last week do not constitute a “return” of the programme.

It will be similar to TOTP in that it includes new music, an audience and a high profile presenter (Tom Ravenscroft, the diverse BBC6 music DJ and son of the late John Peel).

Also, it will be a place from which new artists are talked about and filter into the wider cultural consciousness.

Eurovision 2011: Live Blog

imageJoin in my live Eurovision Song Contest blog by commenting below, emailing me at neil.midgley@telegraph.co.uk, or finding me on Twitter – @neilmidgley.

23.28 Someone’s just tweeted that there are only 58 hotels listed on TripAdvisor for the whole of Azerbaijan. Eurovision’s just taken on a whole new post-Soviet dimension… Goodnight all!

23.19 Some of the crowd are on the pitch… We’re off to Azerbaijan next year. Good evening Baku!

I’m black, I love Radio 4, and I don’t want to be patronised

imageI’m a black British (mixed-race) Londoner, and that’s precisely the reason I love Radio 4. If I want ragga music, grime or grammatically tortuous inane patois, I can easily tune into a myriad of local pirate radio stations, or even into the BBC’s very own Radio 1Xtra – the official “yoof” black music station, which specialises in moronic “street” drivel set to the latest syncopated beats.

We should remember that, as much as I would like to hear more non-white talent and ethnic minority interest stories on Radio 4, we still live in a country which is 94 per cent white. For better or for worse, I happily accept that.

BBC Radio 3’s decision to broadcast live concerts is music to my ears

imageThe news broke yesterday that BBC Radio 3 will start to broadcast “live” concerts again after a four-year hiatus. But not just a few celebrity events dotted here and there: no, every weekday evening for 46 weeks of the year we will be able to tune in to a happening event as it happens.

Sesame Street and Friends ‘pumping out left wing messages

Sesame Street, Friends and Happy Days are being used to promote secret left wing messages, according to a new book.

imageConservative columnist and author Ben Shapiro accused television executives and writers of pushing a liberal agenda in several high profile American television entertainment shows.

His book “Primetime Propaganda” will show how the “most powerful medium of mass communication in human history became a vehicle for spreading the radical agenda of the left side of the political spectrum,” according to the publishers HarperCollins.

Today’s radio highlights

The best radio programmes on BBC, commercial and digital stations chosen by Gillian Reynolds, the UK’s top radio critic.imageMONDAY 30 MAY

Afternoon Play: Corrinne Come Back and Gone

Radio 4FM, 2.15pm

This is Lenny Henry’s first play for Radio 4 and it is a powerful piece, especially for a Spring Bank Holiday afternoon. Corrinne (Claire Benedict, excellent in the part) left Jamaica years ago, in flight from a brutal husband. Now he’s dead and she’s free to go back to see the three daughters she had to leave behind. They’re grown up now, with lives, families and fears and hopes of their own. Each has strong things to say to Corrinne. But there are still ways in which they can learn from each other, once they can find the courage to be honest.

Is there too much crime drama on TV?

image

BBC1 chief Danny Cohen justified the decision to axe Zen by claiming there were too many crime series on our screens. So are there – and which would you kill off?

On Wednesday BBC1 controller Danny Cohen defended his decision to axe Zen, starring Rufus Sewell, on the basis that television already has too many male detectives and crime dramas. “You can’t keep on doing everything if you want to bring in new things. I felt that we risked having too many male detectives, and arguably we have had maybe too much crime,” Cohen said.

A week listening to … Classic FM

image

Despite its smorgasbord of celebrity DJs, a self-promoting Classic FM manages to retain a soothing quality – until David Mellor turns up Because my dentist plays Classic FM in her surgery, I will forever associate it with a rather painful series of root canal treatments. But I too have employed it for its soothing properties – tuning in as a last ditch attempt to calm frayed nerves on long family car journeys. It never works but due to Classic FM’s land-grab of the dial between 100 and 102MHz its often the only station my temperamental car radio can pick up. Not that we ever stay listening for long – I think eight minutes is our record before the quest to find a bit of Rihanna or Lady Gaga starts up again.

Your royal wedding-free viewing schedule

image

Can you avoid the wall-to-wall coverage of Will and Kate’s big day and still fit in a full day of bank holiday viewing? Follow our guide to dodging all talk of tiaras..

Hopefully you won’t need this guide. Hopefully the weeks and months of suffocating royal wedding coverage will have sufficiently conditioned you. By now, you should have a finely honed instinct to change channels at the merest hint of a crown or a veil or some bunting or the phrase “street party” or Huw Edwards’s face.

Chris Lilley returns with Angry Boys

Chris-Lilley-as-Mr-G-in-S-007

Star and creator of We Can Be Heroes and Summer Heights High will be back on UK screens this summer. Will you be watching?

Neighbours, Kylie, Home and Away, Prisoner Cell Block H, Dame Edna, John Torode. Australia has made its mark on television history, but it hasn’t always been pioneering. Then Chris Lilley came along. And now the creator and star of We Can Be Heroes and the immense Summer Heights High is returning to our screens with a new 12-part series, Angry Boys – you can watch a trailer for it here – a co-production between the Australian network ABC and HBO which will be shown on the BBC in the summer.

Today’s radio highlights

GILLIAN-REYNOLDS_1767541c

The best radio programmes on BBC, commercial and digital stations chosen by Gillian Reynolds, the UK’s top radio critic.
Gillian Reynolds, the UK’s top radio critic.
Stephen Hird
By Gillian Reynolds 5:00PM BST 15 Apr 2011

Full TV and radio listings

Today’s TV highlights

jesus_1877463c

The day’s best TV programmes on BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Freeview, Freesat, Sky and cable as chosen by the Telegraph’s critics.
The Story of Jesus
Image 1 of 5
The Story of Jesus Photo: BBC
8:30AM BST 22 Apr 2011

Full TV and radio listings

Gearbest TS - BT35A08 Bluetooth 3.0 Car Audio Music Receiver with Handsfree Function Mic
TS - BT35A08 Bluetooth 3.0 Car Audio Music Receiver with Handsfree Function Mic only $2.99