Television

Big politics, real lives

Author: 

Ed Mustill

It’s tempting to think of the The Village as the BBC’s anti-Downton. Set during roughly in the same time period as everyone’s favourite High Tory soap opera, the two shows were bound to draw comparisons, but they are totally different beasts.

While Downton Abbey approaches the class system of early 20th century England with a sort of Things-Were-Better-Then gentility, at times The Village has been so bleak that it has drawn inevitable criticism for being a cover for lefty, kitchen-sink agitprop.

A review of The Village, the BBC series now available as a DVD box set.

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Bringing sex out of the closet

Author: 

Gemma Short

A TV drama that combines social commentary about a divided and changing America with fraught relationships, plenty of sex, and 50s outfits, Masters of Sex is a gripping watch.

Now in its second series, Masters of Sex is the story of Bill Masters and Virginia Johnson, who in the late 50s embarked on an ambitious and daring study of human sexuality. Initially shunned for their work by most of the medical establishment, the series focusses on the struggles they faced both professionally and personally to get funding and recognition, and how their own attitudes changed along the way.

A review of Masters of Sex (Channel Four).

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We all belong to Glasgow

Author: 

Charlotte Seleus

The Glasgow girls, are a group of school students from Drumchapel High School in Glasgow, who in 2005 took it upon themselves to campaign for the release of their friend Agnesa Murselaj, a Roma girl from Kosovo who was detained by immigration police in a dawn raid.

Agnesa’s whole family were placed in Yarls Wood detention centre and faced deportation back to a country where Roma people faced persecution.

A review of Glasgow Girls (15 July, BBC3).

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UKIP: whose favourite party?

In the run up to the May European elections, UKIP have been getting a lot of attention.

In the run up to the May European elections, UKIP have been getting a lot of attention.

A new book, Revolt on the Right, by academic Matthew Goodwin and Robert Ford highlighted why the interest in UKIP. The book argues, more or less convincingly, that UKIP is now similar to, and as stable as other “radical right” populist parties around Europe (such as the Freedom Party of Austria, the Swiss Peoples Party or France’s Front National).

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Labour councils and bedroom tax

On 10 February, Channel 4 screened a ‘Dispatches’ documentary on “bedroom tax”.

On 10 February, Channel 4 screened a ‘Dispatches’ documentary on “bedroom tax”.

Many Labour councillors appeared on the programme denouncing the Government’s measures. Some of them even detailed how they were doing the bare minimum required of them by law to implement them. Our main priority is to protect our tenants, they said.

The Labour Party has pledged to scrap the tax on coming to power.

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End sweatshops! Support Bangladeshi workers!

When Rana Plaza, a multistorey building housing garment factories, collapsed in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka in April 2013 the focus of the world media was on the conditions of Bangladeshi workers.

It seemed that a turning point might be reached in their fight for rights. But a new investigation by ITV journalists, featuring the campaigning NGO Labour Behind the Label, has shown that little has changed for the better.

A review of Exposure: Fashion Factories Uncovered (ITV, 6 February 2014).

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Why socialists should have nothing to do with Russia Today

Thom Hartmann is a prominent left-wing radio broadcaster from the USA. I first came across him when he interviewed me at a conference in Washington and was promptly told by everyone just how prominent he is. He describes himself as a “democratic socialist” and his nationally-syndicated radio show has an estimated 2.75 million listeners. George Galloway needs no introduction to a left-wing audience in the UK.

Russia Today is a mouthpiece for the Putin state and Russian imperialism, argues Eric Lee.

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Surveying homophobia

A review of Out There (Stephen Fry and Fergus O’Brien, BBC, 2013)

In this two part documentary, Stephen Fry and the director Fergus O’Brien set out to survey what the situation is for LGBT people around the world.

A laudable task, and a good way to use your celebrity. In some ways the documentary lives up to its good intentions to expose homophobia across the world; the interviews with victims and survivors of some of the most extreme consequences of homophobia moved me.

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