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17 articles

Handmade Glass and Handmade Metal – doing things nice and slow, and not a breathless voiceover in evidence

1 hour ago

BBC4’s week-long slow season has got off to a terrific start with two films reminding us that gripping factual TV doesn’t need distracting incidental music and annoying narration

I dream of a world where making a cake isn’t described as someone’s “toughest challenge yet” and where the simple act of having a job interview doesn’t require an operatic underscore. These once-original tropes are now stirred into the recipe for almost every programme; the Msg of popular factual entertainment, making the information easier to swallow but causing a furry buildup that slowly prevents the free passage of ideas, like the fat-balls that clog our sewers.

A bright spark at BBC4 decided to turn this greasy tide, for a week anyway, with a season called BBC4 Goes Slow, offering seven evenings of output stripped bare of narration, incidental music and the editorial tinkering usually found in contemporary television. »

- Julia Raeside

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Struggle Street reality TV series promo lands Sbs in hot water – video

1 hour ago

A promotional video for a new TV series on families living in the western Sydney suburb of Mount Druitt has been pulled by Sbs after local leaders complained it was derogatory and not representative of their area. Produced by Keo Films Australia, the show debuts on Sbs on Wednesday evening. Sbs said the show did not seek to be representative of Mount Druitt as a suburb Continue reading »

- Guardian Staff

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Tuesday’s best TV

2 hours ago

Bread is dissected on Inside the Factory: How Our Favourite Foods Are Made, celebrities run a Victorian inn on 24 Hours in the Past and one man’s waste is another man’s treasure in Wastemen. Plus: Women rule the roost in police drama No Offence and 20 Moments That Rocked Britain charts the past 50 years

Endosperm may sound like something from sci-fi, but it’s actually a crucial ingredient in white loaf-making, as Gregg Wallace and Cherry Healey discover during this new three-parter looking at the mass-production of food. First up: bread – from the fields to your breakfast table, via a vibrating, juddering, non-stop process. How do you get 28 tonnes of white powder out of a truck? All is revealed here. Continues Wednesday with a visit to a chocolate factory. Ali Catterall

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- Ali Catterall, Hannah J Davies, Julia Raeside, Ben Arnold and David Stubbs

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Searing criticism: Bake Off’s Mary Berry not a fan of Blumenthal’s restaurant

7 hours ago

TV presenter admits The Fat Duck is not a preferred eatery and reveals her TV habits have been affected by soap operas’ recent move to grittier territory

Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant has been named one of the world’s best – but Mary Berry has admitted that she is not its biggest fan.

The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, was awarded its third Michelin star in January 2004 but Berry, known for her role as a judge on The Great British Bake Off, told the Radio Times that she preferred more humble cuisine.

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- Press Association

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Sbs reality show Struggle Street betrays vulnerable people, says missionary

9 hours ago

Residents were told they’d be shown making a difference, says community leader who talked to producers casting new docudrama in western Sydney

Jon Owen says he trusted Sbs would not betray the families it filmed for six months in the impoverished western Sydney community where he serves as a Christian missionary.

But after initially meeting with the film-makers trying to find the Mount Druitt families featured in the Sbs show Struggle Street, the community leader says he is horrified by the series, which will debut on Wednesday night.

Related: Benefits Street – poverty porn, or just the latest target for pent-up British fury? | Charlie Brooker

If you’re making a documentary about people trying to make a difference then why did you need to show them farting?

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- Amanda Meade

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What we learned from this weekend’s TV: women were in the world wars, too

18 hours ago

We saw the effect of combat through female eyes in Anzac Girls and Home Fires, Sheridan Smith told the tale of Lisa Lynch’s cancer in The C-Word, and dogs danced the night away in Sunday Night at the Palladium

I don’t know. You wait ages for a wartime drama featuring wimmin’s narratives and two come along at once. Anzac Girls (Friday, More4) was gripping and moving with just a hint of a sense of humour. Set in north Africa in 1915, this six-part series focuses on the role of the nurses from Australia and New Zealand in the Gallipoli campaign, in which 8,000 Australians lost their lives. It’s too early to tell whether the historical brushstrokes here are going to be too broad (pitting snobby, bullying Brits against can-do, plucky Aussies), but the signs are good. Alice (Georgia Flood), initially cold and difficult, turned out to be a complex, »

- Viv Groskop

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A hung parliament: bad for politics, but cultural gold

20 hours ago

Our current political quagmire could be the greatest thing for British culture since the 1970s – a magnificent epoch in art

We may be on the edge of political chaos. The prospect of a hung parliament and weeks of negotiation to launch another coalition or minority government confronts Britain with a harsh truth. The age of national confidence and strong governments – of left, right or centre – is over. We are back in the ungovernable quagmire that was Britain in the 1970s.

But will it really be so bad?

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- Jonathan Jones

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Which scary films and TV shows have kept you awake at night? | Open thread

20 hours ago

Did The Enfield Haunting’s tale of a poltergeist leave you sleepless last night, or have other chilling classics kept you staring at the dark?

Did you get any sleep last night? Or did you watch the first episode of new drama The Enfield Haunting? After last night’s premiere of the show – about a family that believes their house is possessed by a poltergeist, based on a true story from the 1970s – viewers took to Twitter to discuss how much it had terrified them, and their fear that they would be unable to nod off. This morning, some returned to social media to report that when they had eventually succumbed to sleep, they’d been awoken by fear.

Which films and TV shows have left you unable to sleep? Is it one of the usual suspects – A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, The Exorcist – or something more unexpected? And »

- Open thread

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Ophelia Lovibond’s favourite TV

23 hours ago

The W1A and Guardians Of The Galaxy star on her Bridalplasty horror and why she would like to bring back Fawlty Towers

Inside No 9. I did the first episode of the first series. So well-structured. Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton are able to create full, robust characters that you are completely committed to immediately. They’ve got so many more swimming around in their brains that we’ve got to look forward to seeing.

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- Gwilym Mumford

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Nick Helm: ‘If it wasn’t for Alice Cooper, I wouldn’t be doing what I do’

23 hours ago

From hair metal stars to Sid James and Batman, the stand-up reveals the men who made the man-child

You’ve already seen Nick Helm in BBC3’s Uncle, in which he plays the slackerish title character, incapable of maintaining a relationship with anyone other than his pre-adolescent nephew. But now the leather-larynxed comic is returning to the channel with Heavy Entertainment, a Stewart Lee-style showcase for what he does onstage. If you’re uncertain about the distinction, Helm himself is very clear: “The Nick Helm in Uncle is a prick. And the Nick Helm onstage is a cunt.”

Helm’s stand-up is not what you’d call conventional. He bellows out self-aggrandising pomp-rock numbers. He recites poetry. He yells jokes punctuated by pyrotechnics. He perspires a lot. You might assume that this fusion of rock and comedy is entirely without precedent. But Helm assures us that all manner of »

- James Kettle

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Counter-documentaries: when subjects of investigation go on the attack

23 hours ago

There’s a new trend in film, as organisations targeted by documentary-makers – such as the Church of Scientology – produce films discrediting their accusers. But are they enriching or endangering the discussion?

Recently Louis Theroux revealed that the Church of Scientology is looking to neutralise his forthcoming documentary about them by producing their very own film about him. In the Us there’s a saying that “the best defence is a good offence” and L Ron Hubbard, the founder of the religion, was a believer: “Don’t ever defend, always attack,” he once instructed his followers.

It’s not surprising then, that such “counter-documentaries” are a staple of the Church. They’ve done one on John Sweeney, the Panorama presenter who memorably lost his cool while interviewing Scientology’s then chief spokesman; they’ve done one on CNN’s Anderson Cooper and they’re likely to do one on any public »

- Fred Wagner

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Logies 2015: embracing the madness on TV's night of nights

3 May 2015 11:16 PM, PDT

For all the focus on women and what they are wearing on the red carpet, truth is they are under-recognised in the Australian television industry

It’s 2.15pm on Sunday and I’m standing on the first floor of the Crown Promenade hotel in Melbourne alongside dozens of other journalists, celebrity publicists and television presenters, all there to cover the 57th Logies.

I’m new to this game, so I approach one of the media staff, introduce myself and ask her where online journalists are supposed to go. “Follow me,” she replies.

Related: Gold Logie winner Carrie Bickmore uses speech to draw attention to brain cancer

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- Melissa Davey

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The C-Word review – a wonderful testament to a woman who faced cancer with honesty, verve and wit

3 May 2015 11:00 PM, PDT

Sheridan Smith’s portrayal of Lisa Lynch captures her warmth, humanity and inspirational courage

A young woman wakes up somewhere nice and sunny, on a hot holiday with her fella. She goes down to the swimming pool, dangles her feet in the water. Then she is floating on the lilo, in a bikini – pool-ready body – headphones on, listening to Down with the Trumpets by Rizzle Kicks. Not just listening; singing – shouting – along, exuberantly. “We don’t wanna be lousy, or shameless, but we’re running round like we’re brainless …”

Chances are you won’t have come to The C-Word (BBC1, Sunday) not knowing what it’s about, not knowing that it’s based on Lisa Lynch’s book that resulted from her blog that resulted from her finding out she had cancer. So you probably think – as I did – that this holiday scene comes from pre-c happy days. After all, »

- Sam Wollaston

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Monday’s best TV

3 May 2015 11:00 PM, PDT

Primary school pupils get a taste of an election in Vote for Me, while two families get a taste of a different kind in How the Other Half Eat. Plus: David Attenborough and others share memories in Ve Day: Remembering Victory, and mental health campaigner Jonny Benjamin recalls the day a stranger saved his life

What happens when you give Year 6 pupils in a London primary school the chance to run for headteacher? Stacey Dooley sets the candidates thinking about their manifestos, though they go all wibbly after a visit from Wolfblood’s teen idol Bobby Lockwood. It’s soon back to business, however, as 30 candidates are whittled down to three, who will compete for votes throughout the week. Popular policies are chicken on the lunch menu and hot chocolate for all, as the children get a taste of how an election works. Hannah Verdier

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- Hannah Verdier, Ali Catterall, Graeme Virtue, Andrew Mueller, Ben Arnold and Jonathan Wright

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The Block, House Rules, Reno Rumble – haven't the fan-zombies had enough?

3 May 2015 9:21 PM, PDT

The home renovation show is as much a new TV format as Frankenstein’s monster cobbled out of other people’s rotting dead bits is a newborn baby

Well Block me sideways and Block the Blockie: Nine’s The Block has finished, in case you hadn’t Blocked it. And cor blimey, if watching buildings get sold for money is your kind of thing, this was definitely a good example of that thing happening.

Related: The Block brings the house down for Channel Nine's ratings and advertisers

Related: Logie awards 2015: frocks and frolics on the red carpet – in pictures

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- Jazz Twemlow

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Mad Men recap: season seven, episode 12 – Lost Horizon (warning: spoilers)

3 May 2015 8:15 PM, PDT

Sterling Cooper has been devoured by McCann, and the chances of the company’s staff holding their own seem increasingly unlikely

Spoiler alert: this blog is published after Mad Men airs on AMC in the Us on Sundays at 10pm Et. Do not read on unless you have watched season seven, episode 11 (which airs in the UK on Sky Atlantic on Thursday 7 May at 10pm)

After Sterling Cooper ceased to exist after being swallowed last week by its parent company, McCann, we’re beginning to see our Mad Men and Women go their separate ways. This really is the end.

If you want us just ask Frank in the studio, he’ll ask Bobby in traffic and he’ll tell Carl the associate creative director.”

Roger: Even if your name’s on the damn door you should know better than to get attached to some walls.

Peggy: Well hopefully I »

- Will Dean

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Game of Thrones recap: season five, episode four – Sons of the Harpy

3 May 2015 7:00 PM, PDT

There’s another death, Jon Snow fends off a sneaky attack, and Stannis is winning us over – if we disregard that business about murdering his brother

Spoiler alert: this blog is published after Game of Thrones airs on HBO in the Us on Sundays and on Foxtel in Australia on Mondays. Do not read on unless you have watched season five, episode four, which airs in the UK on Sky Atlantic on Monday at 9pm. Also please avoid posting spoilers from leaked episodes, and from the books.

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- Sarah Hughes

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17 articles

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