Television

A tale that is close to home

Author: 

Rosalind Robson

When the dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale was published in 1985, its author, Margaret Atwood, was concerned about the growing strength of Christian fundamentalism in US politics. Unfortunately her story is still very relevant, in fact more relevant, thirty years later.

A review of The Handmaid’s Tale on Channel 4.

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The inspirational art of Buffy

Author: 

Carrie Evans

On 10 March 1997 something was created that changed my world forever. This is not using hyperbole to illustrate a point. Buffy the Vampire Slayer shaped my world. Unfortunately for me (or fortunately depending on context) I’m not the only person who feels this way. Which is why Buffy has launched a thousand think-pieces.

Buffy’s originality still stands up today because it took every cliché and trope and turned them on their heads.

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Meet the Lords? Abolish the Lords!

Author: 

Simon Nelson

Meet the Lords was the BBC’s three-part series on the inner workings of the House of Lords. At its most critical it showed how few peers bother doing anything, although a large proportion still claim their full allowance. For the most part the programme was a tribute to the work of the £300-a-day “unsalaried” parliamentarians with no democratic mandate.

The House of Lords may have recently amended Brexit legislation for the good, but any serious radical, socialist and pro-working class Labour Government would find itself forever hampered by the existence of the second chamber.

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Making garish pantomime of the colonial imaginary

Author: 

Ira Berkovic

By the time of its fourth episode, the point at which this review was written, Taboo, which had occasionally teetered on the edge of greatness, had collapsed into rather grotesque pantomime. The aloofness of Tom Hardy’s performance, which in earlier episodes had given his character, James Delaney, a brooding malice, is petering out into ridiculousness, as he growls his way through a script peppered with faux-profound cliches (“There is business afoot tonight” he says, climbing into a carriage.)

A review of Taboo (BBC).

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Taboo's transgressions fail to engage

Author: 

Daniel Randall

Daniel Randall reviews Taboo, currently airing on the BBC.


By the time of its fourth episode, the point at which this review was written, Taboo, which had occasionally teetered on the edge of greatness, had collapsed into rather grotesque pantomime.

A review of ‘Taboo’, a new BBC drama set in Regency London.

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John Berger and seeing politically

Author: 

Hugh Daniels

Since the death of John Berger on 2 January the bourgeois press has squirmed over the task of commemorating a major public figure who was also a lifelong Marxist. Some have responded by simply attacking him.

As demonstrated in his seminal 1972 BBC TV series (and accompanying book) Ways of Seeing, John Berger shared the period’s wariness about the dangers of seductive ideologies. However he responded by encouraging us to locate contradictions and complexities within our experience of the world, rather than keeping our distance.

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Al Jazeera’s phoney scandal

Author: 

Keith Road

The “scandal” over the activitiesof pro-Israel groups in the UK and their links with the Israeli embassy uncovered by Al Jazeera is largely manufactured.

Al Jazeera’s story got blanket news coverage after the main protagonist in their undercover footage, Shai Masot, a minor Israeli Embassy official, resigned. Masot was caught on camera saying he would like to see Junior Foreign Minister Alan Duncan removed.

We should oppose the lobbying and espionage of governments and organisations who want to promote harmful ideas. But we should do this consistently, and not just for those instances where it is connected with Israel.

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Al Jazeera’s phoney scandal

Author: 

Keith Road

The “scandal” over the activitiesof pro-Israel groups in the UK and their links with the Israeli embassy uncovered by Al Jazeera is largely manufactured.

Al Jazeera’s story got blanket news coverage after the main protagonist in their undercover footage, Shai Masot, a minor Israeli Embassy official, resigned. Masot was caught on camera saying he would like to see Junior Foreign Minister Alan Duncan removed.

We should oppose the lobbying and espionage of governments and organisations who want to promote harmful ideas. But we should do this consistently, and not just for those instances where it is connected with Israel.

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History minus the workers

Author: 

John Cunningham

Normally I wouldn’t have bothered with Sebag Montefiore’s three-part documentary on Vienna (broadcast December 2016). His approach to his topics is somewhat predictable and conservative. But when I lived in Hungary for nine years I tasted some of the splendours of the architecture and the cultural inheritance of the Hapsburgs, not to mention its many contradictions and unpleasantries, in Budapest, Pécs and elsewhere.

A review of Vienna: Empire, Dynasty and Dream, BBC4.

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“While cowards flinch and traitors sneer….”

Author: 

Cathy Nugent

Paul Mason was on the Daily Politics (BBC2 12 noon) today.

He said, “I have never been to a Momentum meeting”. Then went on to have a lot to say about it. Specifically, “If Jill Mountford [National Committee member of Momentum] is not allowed into the Labour Party and I cannot see her being… and remains basically an expelled member of the Party and remains in Momentum I will not remain in Momentum.”

Paul Mason says expelled Labour members should not be in Momentum...

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