Posts Tagged ‘bbc’

The Rack Pack | BBC iPlayer

11 January, 2016

Update: Luddites can see The Rack Pack on terrestrial TV during the World Snooker Championships c2130, 30 April at 10pm, 16 July, BBC2.

The first drama feature film for iPlayer is out on Sunday [ trailer | playlist ]. It’s about Alex Higgins and these men:

Detailing the complex relationship between Steve Davis and Alex Higgins, and the part played in it by Hearn, the sport’s ringmaster, the film is by turns hilarious and tear-jerking. Its re-creation of an era of quite magnificent sleaze is so precise you can almost feel your shoes sticking to the snooker hall carpets as you watch — Jim White, Telegraph

Delightful… What this is not is a cartoonish romp through snooker’s glory days. For the most part it is very moving. But despite all this, Shaun Pye, Mark Chappell and Alan Connor’s film is still a wonderful nostalgia fest for all us 1980s kids, hearing names you haven’t heard uttered for 30 years — Ben Dowell, Radio Times

Shifts beautifully between laugh-out-loud moments and characters pressing the self-destruct button — Alyson Rudd, Front Row, Radio 4

For 90 minutes of pure nostalgia, this takes some beatingHector Nunns, Times

…hilariously recounts the tension between the pair.
Hearn has seen the film and says it is ‘absolutely fantastic‘. He goes on: ‘It captures exactly the spirit of that time, the conflict between Davis and Higgins and the birth of modern-day commercial snooker. I had to rub my eyes sometimes; it was as though I was watching the real thing. It’s sensational.
‘The film is brutally honest.’ — Tom Parry, Boudicca Fox-Leonard, Mirror

Snooker is famed as the perfect TV sport, but it never looks as good as thisAndrew Collins, Guardian

Snooker fans will have tuned in to the final of this year’s Masters on BBC Two, but over on iPlayer a more thrilling portrayal of the sport was playing out — Rachel Ward, Telegraph

…the only puzzle about The Rack Pack is why the corporation [is] uncertain how to categorise what is simply superb dramaMartin Hoyle, Financial Times

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  • A film by Brian Welsh
  • Luke Treadaway, Will Merrick, Kevin Bishop, Nichola Burley, James Bailey
  • Created and written by Shaun Pye, Mark Chappell, Alan Connor
  • Producer Barney Reisz
  • Executive Producer Peter Holmes
  • Executive Producers Shane Allen, Victoria Jaye, Gregor Sharp

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Motörhead’s Ace of Spades | BBC News

29 December, 2015

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Here‘s a quickie Smashed Hits for the BBC News Magazine about Motörhead’s Ace of Spades:

Never mind what Lemmy said – with respect, Ace of Spades can be viewed as a metaphor. You could look at it as the Lemmy philosophy of living just how you want, in the full knowledge of the inevitable consequences.

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Charlie Brooker’s 2015 Wipe | BBC2

29 December, 2015

I am a proud member of Team 2015 Wipe, which is broadcast tomorrow.

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Bob Dylan’s Forever Young | BBC News

17 December, 2015

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A Smashed Hits piece for the BBC News Magazine about this year’s X Factor Winner’s Song, Bob Dylan’s Forever Young:

The Dylans decamped to rural New York state for some peace. They didn’t get it. The presence of Bob Dylan gave the tiny town of Woodstock such countercultural kudos that its name was given to an “aquarian exposition” – the famous 1969 festival in a neighbouring county which didn’t feature Dylan, but did bring half a million people into his back yard.

For some of them, “Dylan’s back yard” was no metaphor, and they never went away. The Dylans soon wearied of finding hippies in the trees around their home and Dylan became frightened that he might have to use his “clip-fed Winchester blasting rifle” to keep them from his family. Onwards, then, to an Arizona ranch.

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On Stage: Live From Television Centre | BBC4

14 November, 2015

BBC Television Centre

Tomorrow night, Live From Television Centre, a four-play theatrical collaboration with Battersea Arts Centre, is on BBC4.

I am proud to have made a contribution to the last part, Jess Thom‘s Broadcast from Biscuit Land, which also features Jess Mabel Jones and, fleetingly, me.

Broadcast from Biscuitland

Only Connect | BBC2

13 July, 2015

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Series 11 of Only Connect, with me in the question-editor chair, begins tonight on BBC Two at 8.30pm.

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Louie Louie by Richard Berry, and the Kingsmen | BBC News

30 April, 2015

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A piece about the origins of Louie Louie and the FBI’s investigation for the BBC News Magazine.

The Kingsmen noticed that their audiences now included middle-aged men in suits and shades and were soon questioned by the Feds, apparently being told: “You know we can put you so far away that your family will never see you again.”
They insisted that Louie Louie was innocent, but as ardently as they’d sought reds under the bed, and over the course of two-and-a-half years, the G-Men contrived a series of eye-wateringly unpalatable images and practices from Ely’s mumbles.

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Charlie Brooker’s Election Wipe | BBC2

30 April, 2015

I am a proud member of Team Election Wipe, the fruits of whose labours will be broadcast shortly before the polls open.

Charlie Brooker’s 2014 Wipe | BBC2

22 December, 2014

I am a proud member of Team 2014 Wipe, the fruit of whose toil will be on BBC Two on 30 December:

Update 29 Jan 2015: The new series of Weekly Wipe begins tonight:

Why Nick Drake’s is music of comfort, not of despair | BBC News

25 November, 2014

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On the 40th anniversary of Nick Drake‘s death, a short piece for the BBC News Magazine:

His first album, the pastoral Five Leaves Left, correspondingly begins with the lines: ‘Time has told me you’re a rare, rare find / A troubled cure for a troubled mind’.

The second, Bryter Layter, is purposefully upbeat and the last, Pink Moon, ends: ‘So look, see the sights, the endless summer nights / And go play the game that you learned from the morning’. This is music of comfort, not of despair; rebirth, not death.

Here’s the documentary mentioned, A Skin Too Few:

And there’s a John Peel version of my favourite track, Cello Song, at the Guardian.

The Beach Boys’ God Only Knows | BBC News

9 October, 2014

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A piece for the BBC about how Brian Wilson and Tony Asher composed God Only Knows.

These conversations were fractured. Wilson, who had been denied a childhood, would break off to show Asher his mechanical parrots or to watch episodes of Flipper, an “aquatic Lassie” series about a dolphin which invariably reduced him to tears.

In time, Wilson played Asher the pieces of music he had in mind for an album called Pet Sounds and Asher essayed some lyrics to fit the themes Wilson had in mind. When they got to God Only Knows, things didn’t start well. Wilson felt that “I may not always love you” was absolutely the wrong way to kick off a love song. Too negative, he insisted.

Indebted to Nick Kent’s The Dark Stuff, Kingsley Abbott’s Pet Sounds: The Greatest Album of the Twentieth Century, Timothy White’s The Nearest Faraway Place: Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys and the Southern Californian Experience and Brian Wilson’s Wouldn’t it be Nice: My Own Story (with Todd Gold (and Eugene E Landy)).

Only Connect — Now on BBC Two

28 August, 2014
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Series ten of Only Connect, with me in the question-editor chair, begins on BBC Two on Mon 1 September 2014 at 20:30.

Ary Barroso’s Aquarela do Brasil for BBC News

25 June, 2014
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A piece for the BBC News Magazine about Aquarela do Brasil:

One rainy night in 1939, he wrote the opening lines of Aquarela do Brasil (Watercolour of Brazil): “Brasil, meu Brasil brasileiro.” This translates as “Brazil, my Brazilian Brazil”. Never have four words been more Brazilian, before or since.

The censors had issues with some colloquialisms and a folksy reference to tambourines, but Barroso persuaded them that his “samba exaltacao” was modern and patriotic enough to meet their exacting requirements.

I thoroughly enjoyed Misha Glenny’s radio documentary The Making of Brazil, Bryan McCann’s book Hello, Hello Brazil: Popular Music in the Making of Modern Brazil and Scott L. Baugh’s reference work Latino American Cinema: An Encyclopedia of Movies, Stars, Concepts, and Trends. I am indebted; they are recommended.

My favourite versions:

And here’s that Disney, and Ze Carioca alive and well in 2014:

Stevie Wonder’s Another Star for BBC News

7 June, 2014
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A short-form piece for the Beeb on Stevie Wonder’s Another Star, the theme tune for the BBC’s World Cup coverage:

Another Star closes side four of Songs in the Key of Life – the very end of a four-album run in which Wonder relentlessly outdid himself. He had originally intended to follow his previous, Fulfillingness’s First Finale, with a sequel.

Fulfillingness’s Second Finale was to be a darker, socially conscious experience, but Wonder’s ambition overtook him, and he spent two years putting together a double album (with bonus single) instead.

No space this time for a collection of cover versions, so here they are.

With the Tokyo Philharmonic:

Salome De Bahia:

Caron Wheeler of Soul II Soul, Afrodiziak:

Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge:

And, of course, with Nile Rodgers and Daft Punk:

Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone for BBC News

2 May, 2014

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A brief thought on the auctioning of the lyrics for Like a Rolling Stone for the BBC News Magazine.

The Times They Are a-Changin’ owes not a little to the Sermon on the Mount’s “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”. That earlier Dylan could be reassuring, even. You can imagine The Times They Are a-Changin’ coming from a gospel choir. Like a Rolling Stone, from 1965, is anarchy, and Dylan sounds like he’s enjoying it.

Only Connect for BBC Four

14 April, 2014

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The new series of quiz show Only Connect starts tonight on BBC Four, with me in the question-editor seat.

Charlie Brooker’s 2013 Wipe for BBC Two

28 December, 2013

I am a proud member of Team 2013 Wipe, the fruit of whose toil will be on BBC Two tonight:

Update 6 Jan: And the second series of Weekly Wipe begins on Thu 9 Jan on BBC Two.

Elvis Costello’s Shipbuilding for the BBC

7 November, 2013

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A short-form Smashed Hits piece for the BBC News Magazine about Shipbuilding, pegged to the closure of the Portsmouth shipyards.

It would have sounded very different if Costello had written the song for himself – or written the music. Shipbuilding was originally a piano piece written by Madness’s producer Clive Langer for a gentler performer, Robert Wyatt. Langer bumped into Costello at a party and suggested they go out to his car and listen to a cassette of the tune. Costello subsequently called from an Australian tour to say he had “the best lyric I’ve ever written”. Wyatt’s song was made – and in 1983 Costello recorded it himself.

No room, sadly, for Chet Baker playing at London supper-and-jazz club The Canteen, approached by Costello and offering to play on EC’s version for scale. “I think we probably doubled it,” remembered Costello.

Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe for BBC Two

28 January, 2013

I am a proud member of Team Weekly Wipe, which starts on BBC Two on Thursday evening at 22h00.

Update 01-02-2013: Here’s the programme, while it lasts:

Charlie Brooker’s 2012 Wipe for BBC Two

1 January, 2013

I am a proud member of Team 2012 Wipe, the fruit of whose toil will be on BBC Two tonight:

Update 02-01-2013: Here’s the programme, while it lasts: