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Music Nation is the best TV show about music in years

42 minutes ago

These late-night Channel 4 documentaries explore local Diy subcultures, from Asian rave to Glasgow’s indie underground. It’s a reminder of what we might be missing out on

Watching Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways on the iPlayer has prompted a certain ambivalence. That isn’t down to the final five minutes of each episode, which seem to imply that whichever rich musical heritage Dave Grohl has spent the previous 55 minutes celebrating has essentially culminated in five minutes of generic, sensitive-frat-boy pop-grunge. Well, it is partly that. But it’s something more profound and elusive, too.

British TV doesn’t know what to do with music. As an essentially middle-aged medium, TV doesn’t trust its own ability to live in the aesthetically fragmented and technologically bewildering present. So it looks to the past. In music TV, power has become concentrated in the hands of a specific demographic. Remember £50 man, »

- Phil Harrison

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Bollywood star Veena Malik handed 26 year sentence for 'blasphemous' wedding scene

1 hour ago

TV and film actor issued the jail term in Pakistan, alongside husband and owner of a media conglomerate for ‘malicious acts’ of blasphemy against Islam

The actor Veena Malik has expressed anger at a 26-year jail term handed down by a Pakistani court after she acted in a scene loosely based on the marriage of the prophet Muhammad’s daughter.

The same sentence was extended to her husband, and to Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, owner of the Jang-Geo media group which broadcast the TV show. All three were ordered to surrender their passports and fined 3m rupees (£8,000).

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- Catherine Shoard

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Clive James: It's awkward I'm still alive

1 hour ago

Writer and broadcaster, who wrote a poem earlier this year predicting he would be dead by autumn, says he’s embarrassed he is still here

Clive James has lost none of his arch wit or charm, despite his long fight against leukaemia. The writer and broadcaster, who wrote a poem earlier this year predicting he would be dead by autumn, says he’s embarrassed that he is still here.

You’ve raised a very awkward point – I may have put myself in an embarrassing position here

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- Monkey

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Confessions of a Doctor review – when GPs were men and (mostly) right

5 hours ago

Real-life doctors-and-nurses escapades, sherry evenings, cricket, and bags of lovely drugs: it really was different being a doctor in the 1960s and 70s

If last week’s Confessions of a Copper was Gene Hunt’s Life on Mars, only for real, then Confessions of a Doctor (Channel 4) is Carry on Doctor: the Documentary. To begin with anyway, then it turns into an entertaining yet also serious look into how general practice and the role of the Gp has changed in the past half-century or so.

In the good old days (the 1960s), doctors were men and nurses were women, and they used to play Doctors and Nurses, the adult version. “We tried to concentrate on what the patient was saying but there were lots of distractions,” says Robert here. “Marvellous, wonderful stuff.”

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- Sam Wollaston

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TV highlights 27/11/2014

5 hours ago

American Football: NFL Thanksgiving Games | Choccywoccydoodah | Life Story | The Fall | Britain’s Bloodiest Dynasty | Nigel Slater’s Icing On The Cake | Scandal | Babylon

As tradition dictates, the NFL’s triple bill begins at Detroit’s Ford Field, where the Lions, enjoying an impressive season, take on underachieving Nfc North rivals Chicago Bears. Then it’s over to Dallas’s vast At&T Stadium, where the Cowboys battle for Nfc East supremacy with the Philadelphia Eagles (9.15pm). Finally, in the late game (1.15am) current Superbowl champions Seattle Seahawks visit the San Francisco 49ers. Gwilym Mumford

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- Gwilym Mumford, Hannah J Davies, Jonathan Wright, Julia Raeside, Ben Arnold, Bim Adewunmi, John Robinson

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The Apprentice 2014: episode eight – as it happened

14 hours ago

Last week the Big Apple and fizzy drinks did for Lauren. This week we were down to nine and the promise of a Tudor battle reenactment. Shields at the ready, everyone …

9.59pm GMT

It’s the Mystery Item Treasure Hunt round! Woop woop!

“You basically just stole that diamond!”

9.57pm GMT

In the Cab of Steely Determination, an unrepentant James basically recites the lyrics to Destiny Child’s I’m A Survivor.

9.56pm GMT

Lord Sugar isn’t fooled. This isn’t Notting Hill.

Dapper Laughs is canned for the second time this month.

9.55pm GMT

I may have veered off from his actual words towards the end there.

But that was the gist, at least. It was actually quite moving.

9.55pm GMT

Dapper Laughs gives his big redemptive speech.

“I’m in this big wide world on my own,” he says. “And the reason I’m here is because I want someone like yourself, »

- Tom Meltzer

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Come on, Britain – it’s the 21st century. Stop this obsession with social class | Hadley Freeman

17 hours ago

I have lived here for 25 years, but still I’m baffled by this fixation with background, schools and cutlery

The whole “fiddling while Rome burns” cliche was getting a bit old – almost 2,000 years old, to be precise – so we should all be grateful for BBC2’s bafflingly pointless documentary series about Tatler magazine, Posh People: Inside Tatler, for updating the analogy. So please readjust your inner literary device, Britain: for “fiddling while Rome burns”, please substitute with “worrying about which piece of cutlery to use for eating a pear while life passes by”.

This was one of the concerns raised by a member of Tatler’s pink-cheeked staff, and it was – thankfully – quickly resolved by a copy of Debrett’s, with which each Tatlerite is equipped upon being hired. No, you have not slipped through a time-space continuum, this is the 21st century.

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- Hadley Freeman

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Paul Vaughan obituary

18 hours ago

Broadcaster loved for his mellifluous voice on radio and television

I first heard the voice in Oxford in the late 1940s during a college production of King John. “Now, say, Chatillon, what would France with us?” The words were those of Shakespeare’s slimiest monarch, but the voice could have been that of Henry V. It belonged to Paul Vaughan, who has died aged 89. What I heard that night later became known to millions as the “Horizon voice” on BBC2. Bold, articulate, and trustworthy as the Bible, it was the perfect disguise for a royal conman. And although Vaughan, in his many years as a voiceover virtuoso, declared that he would never employ it in the service of tobacco, warfare or the Conservative party, he would have had no difficulty in convincing the wariest of listeners that rattlesnake venom was a wholesome as mother’s milk.

The voice was his prize accomplishment, »

- Irving Wardle

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Are You The One? The dating show where science meets sexy

19 hours ago

As MTV’s competitive dating show comes to an end, Latoya Ferguson tries to decipher the show’s ‘love algorithm’ and see if binary love actually exists

No reality subgenre is further removed from the real world than the dating strand. Of course dating can be serious, but when you’re good-looking and placed in atypical situations with a gaggle of equally hot potential suitors (and unlimited alcohol), there’s an art to it.

Actually, when it comes to MTV’s competitive dating show, Are You the One?, there’s more of a science to it. It’s the science of “perfect matches”, a mysterious algorithm that makes as much sense as the ones that match people on OkCupid. Ten men and 10 women live together in a house while trying to figure out which person the algorithm has judged to be their match. They have 10 weeks and 10 opportunities to figure »

- LaToya Ferguson

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Talkshows roundup: Lorde seals Taylor Swift friendship at Shake Shack

19 hours ago

What did you miss on the late night talkshows? Meghan Trainor’s Thanksgiving carols and Wu-Tang Clan bringing da ruckus to Letterman

Fallon’s booking style sometimes throws up unlikely bedfellows and last night was a good one. An iconoclastic pop star (Lorde) and an iconoclastic outspoken talkshow host (O’Reilly) both graced the grey couches. Lorde talked about her relationship with Taylor Swift, which apparently started with a bunch of flowers and a meal at Shake Shack, and the night at a pre-Grammy party where Lorde pretended to be Swift’s manager. Oh, and she revealed she managed to knock together the collaboration-heavy soundtrack to the Hunger Games in two months.

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- Lanre Bakare

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The Legacy completes an unofficial Scandi-drama trilogy

20 hours ago

The outstanding new Danish drama joins The Killing and Borgen in challenging some of the prejudices of British TV commissioners

If you’re seeking a template for successful family reunions, don’t look to drama set in Denmark. A son grieving his father’s murder is appalled to find the funeral baked meats served cold at his mother’s re-marriage to his uncle in Hamlet, while, in Festen, a father’s 60th birthday party is ruined by his children accusing him of sexual abuse.

Shakespeare’s play and Thomas Vinterberg’s film surely were in the mind of writer Maya Ilsøe and director Pernilla August when they were making The Legacy (Wednesday, Sky Arts), which adds a third work about disastrous Danish clan gatherings and also completes, in British TV terms, another unofficial trilogy, following Borgen and The Killing as high-profile imports from Dr, Copenhagen’s equivalent of the BBC. »

- Mark Lawson

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Yes Please by Amy Poehler review – ‘beefs, advice and memoir’

22 hours ago

The American comedian is so likable that she can be forgiven for this ‘non-book’

Comedian and actor Amy Poehler spends several pages of her new book complaining about how difficult it is to write a book. “Authors pretend their stories were always shiny and perfect and just waiting to be written,” she writes. “The truth is, writing is hard and boring and occasionally great but usually not.” Her latter point is true; the former, not so much. Grumbling about writing is the main form of exercise engaged in by many authors (hey, it does get the pulse up). But, as gruelling as it is to write a book, it’s still not entirely clear that is what Poehler has done.

Yes Please arrives on printed pages sandwiched between cardboard covers and is currently lodged in the No 2 spot of the New York Times bestsellers list, so technically, yes: it is a book. »

- Laura Miller

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This woman's thumbs are the biggest YouTube stars you've never heard of

23 hours ago

Mysterious toy-unboxer DC Toys Collector – formerly DisneyCollector – was the most popular YouTube channel in October with 400m views

News that YouTube network Maker Studios has added five toy review channels to its stable of creators is the latest reminder that toys are one of the most popular yet most under-the-radar categories on Google’s video service.

Well, under the radar for people who aren’t parents, at least.

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- Stuart Dredge

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Is The Missing so powerful because it preys on our deepest fears?

23 hours ago

As the harrowing drama about the search for a missing child reaches its halfway point, the horror of the mundane has become too much to bear for some

An infant goes missing. The parents embark on a frantic search in order to find them. As a premise for a show, the absent child looms large in modern drama, from Broadchurch to BBC4’s infuriating Amber. But The Missing defies expectation, through its provocative and searching treatment of the subject matter.

The story follows Tony and Emily Hughes (played by James Nesbitt and Frances O’Connor) and the search for their son Ollie, who goes missing in 2006. It carries the echo of several real life cases, the unflinching suggestion of trafficking, and of the most controversial TV characters in recent memory: Vincent Bourg (Titus De Voogdt), a paedophile who grows more and more human with each episode.

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- Priya Elan

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The Paedophile Next Door; Psychobitches – TV review

25 November 2014 11:00 PM, PST

This disturbing and upsetting film gave an overview of the history of paedophilia – but the real subject was Eddie

What a curious, uncomfortable film The Paedophile Next Door (Channel 4) was, though I suspect that was largely the point. Historian and documentary-maker Steve Humphries made a convincing case for treating paedophiles before they offend, a radical solution to what he thinks is a problem far larger and more widespread than we can comprehend – let alone contain. In Germany, there is already a campaign to get inactive paedophiles to come forward for treatment. In the UK, paedophiles must offend before they have access to the same assistance. In a triumph of brave and considered logic, Humphries eventually concludes that this must be the better option: to acknowledge and prevent, where possible, rather than ignore, and then punish.

This was an admirably calm conclusion, but it took hard work to get there. »

- Rebecca Nicholson

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TV highlights 26/11/2014

25 November 2014 10:00 PM, PST

One Day International Cricket: Sri Lanka v England | Waterloo Road | The Apprentice | Confessions Of A Doctor | Ten Years Old & Living In Poverty: Through A Child’s Eyes | Freak Show | The Legacy | Music On 4: Music Nation

Preparations for England’s World Cup heat up with a marathon schedule of one-day internationals, opening here with a seven-match series against Sri Lanka. Hopes remain high for Alastair Cook’s team following this summer’s Test series victory over India. Prolonged periods of consistency have lately been lacking from England’s Odi game, but with the lengthy fixture list tailored to tightening their one-day form, this could make for an intriguing series. Mark Jones

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- Mark Jones, Hannah Verdier, Gwilym Mumford, David Stubbs, Ben Arnold, Bim Adewunmi and Rachel Aroesti

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Bob Dylan private show: is a gig better alone, or do you need a crowd?

25 November 2014 8:14 PM, PST

Bob Dylan has given one lucky TV presenter a one-on-one performance. But in an age of social media, are we ever truly alone?

Bob Dylan performs concert – for just one person

A Swedish television presenter has managed to wrangle a personal, one-on-one gig from Bob Dylan for a TV series exploring whether we humans experience performance differently on our own or with a crowd of people.

Sure, I’ve done the odd thing under the guise of “work purposes”, like buy a new pair of shoes before an important meeting, but I’ll give Fredrik Wikingsson credit where credit is due. No one’s gone this far to try and get one of the best things to ever happen to a music fan in the world ever – a private Bob Dylan concert – under the pretence of wanting to “learn something” for a TV show.

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- Myf Warhurst

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Sherlock: back in period costume for BBC Christmas special

25 November 2014 1:19 PM, PST

BBC tweets image of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman about to start filming 2015 Christmas episode

The BBC have released a picture of the stars of Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, in Victorian garb for the first time, suggesting that time travel – or at least fancy dress – will play a part in 2015’s Christmas special.

The special is due to start filming in January, with a full season of the show to be screened the following year.

#221back #Sherlock #notkidding pic.twitter.com/iTfDqfJI0R

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- Guardian staff

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Utopia picks up an Emmy but still won’t be back on Channel 4

25 November 2014 9:44 AM, PST

Pity the plaudit givers who still believe in Utopia. The show will not be returning to British screens on Channel 4, despite garnering an international Emmy 2014 on Monday evening for best drama. The second season of the series by Dennis Kelly, developed by Kudos, a part of Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine Group, finished its run on UK screens in August. The show won an Rts craft and design nod for the first series in 2013 and was nominated for best drama at the Rts awards earlier this year. The second season of the show was one of three international Emmy winners from British shores. While Channel 4 is not returning to Utopia, the broadcaster occupied an awards version of its own imagined state, with its documentary series Educating Yorkshire picking up best non-scripted entertainment at the Emmys. “Both Utopia and Educating Yorkshire have been defining pieces in the creative renewal of Channel 4, »

- Monkey

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The day when rap went vegan and Don Draper stared at an egg

25 November 2014 9:03 AM, PST

This is Guide Daily: abseiling into the abyss of Tuesday’s pop cultural product

Coming up: rap diets, dystopian futures and indie fringes

Keep it tweet: @guideguardian

5.01pm GMT

If you’re in Newcastle, go and headbang to Mastodon at the O2 Academy or swoon to the rarefied indie-rock of Merchandise at The Cluny.

If you’re in Glasgow, sign up for an emotional mauling from Sharon Van Etten at The Art School.

4.01pm GMT

Parks & Rec’s Nick Offerman is becoming an indie video regular. Here he is pretending to be German while fronting the new video from Portland twee team Decemberists. Coincidentally, it’s the first song of theirs I’ve vaguely enjoyed.

3.13pm GMT

James Franco and Seth Rogen continue their bromance in this new trailer for The Interview, out here in Feb. On this evidence, it doesn’t look like their finest work – and didn »

- Sam Richards

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