The Backlisted podcast is a cheery voice in dystopian Britain

John Mitchinson and Andy Miller of the Backlisted literary podcast are on a mission to give ‘new life to old books’. If they were living in the dystopian world of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 that passion would put them on… Continue Reading →

Thomas Vinterberg serves up Another Round: BFI London Film Festival 2020

It is tempting to mix in a few drink-sodden clichés when talking about Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round (Druk), which I was lucky enough to see at the BFI London Film Festival 2020. This comedy-drama about four middle-aged Danish men experimenting… Continue Reading →

Spitting Image still has a cutting edge in 2020

COVID-19 has laid waste to the cultural landscape in 2020, but at least we haven’t missed the opportunity to see President Donald Trump ‘starring’ in the new Britbox series of Spitting Image. The 45th US President and his multi-functional, tirelessly… Continue Reading →

Minnebok, memories and mosaics: keeping a diary in the 1970s

For years I thought that the five-year diary (above, left) was my first attempt at keeping a daily record of my thoughts, activities and evolving taste in film, TV and books. It’s a handsome, leather-bound volume that lends itself to the… Continue Reading →

Prince Andrew’s interview upstages The Crown

I can’t wait to see how a future series of Netflix drama The Crown deals with Prince Andrew’s recent appearance on Newsnight. I wonder which A-list actor they will cast as (C-list) royal the Duke of York – a man… Continue Reading →

Learning Italian for middle-aged dummies

I don’t own a copy of Italian for Dummies or the ambitiously titled Italian All-in-One For Dummies. If either of these books can fulfil the publisher’s claim of ‘Making Everything Easier’, then it might be time to take the plunge…. Continue Reading →

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Desperate times call for ingenious measures – especially if you’re a writer who has gone out of fashion. That’s the premise of Can You Ever Forgive Me?, in which Melissa McCarthy gives a powerhouse performance as literary forger Lee Israel. In 1991… Continue Reading →

The Favourite: royalty through the keyhole

Director Yorgos Lanthimos’s bawdy, expletive-ridden historical romp, The Favourite, often feels as though it is veering off into Carry On film territory. Centring on the love triangle between Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz), and… Continue Reading →

You Must Remember This – misogyny, madness and monomania in Hollywood

I’ve forgotten where I first heard about You Must Remember This, ‘the podcast dedicated to exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century’. Despite that clunky tagline, this show, which is devised, written and presented with breathy enthusiasm by… Continue Reading →

The Mash Report could do better

BBC2’s ‘satirical and surreal news show’, The Mash Report, returned for a second series last Friday. Sadly, any evidence of improvement in this would-be comedy is about as hard to detect as progress in the Brexit negotiations. It remains an awkward mash-up… Continue Reading →

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