Stealing Van Gogh review – a fascinating look at ‘the most shocking art crime of the 21st century’

Andrew Graham-Dixon comes over all Raymond Chandler as he jets around Europe tracing the footsteps of stolen paintings

‘It’s shortly before 8am in central Amsterdam on Saturday 7 December 2002,” says Andrew Graham-Dixon, speaking urgently, striding purposefully along the pavement in his overcoat towards the camera. “A van pulls up, two men unload a ladder and pack some tools into a bag. They leave the vehicle, looking for all the world like two regular workman on a cold winter’s day … ”

Hang on. This is Andrew Graham-Dixon, the art historian, right? Why has he gone all The Cook Report on us? Because he is telling the story of a crime, “the most shocking art crime of the 21st century” no less. And he is thoroughly relishing it, by the looks of things.

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Giorgio Locatelli: new cookbook, new TV show, new lease of life

With his first cookbook in six years and The Big Family Cooking Showdown on BBC2, Britain’s favourite Italian chef is finally getting over the explosion that shut Locanda Locatelli for months

The only four spaghetti recipes you will ever need, by Giorgio Locatelli

If the 55-year-old chef Giorgio Locatelli suddenly seems everywhere– as a judge on the Bake Off rival, The Big Family Cooking Showdown, which began on BBC2 last week; promoting a new cookbook, Made at Home, his first for six years; the return in the new year of his much-loved travel documentaries with art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon – there’s a reason for that. It has come from a plan he made almost three years ago, with his wife and business partner Plaxy, when he thought his career was over.

In November 2014, Locanda Locatelli, his Michelin-starred restaurant in central London, blew up. There was a gas leak and,
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Clive James: ‘I’ve done a mental survey of TV arts presenters and can’t find any I hate’

It was a miracle on the scale of Lucy Worsley not dressing up as Queen Elizabeth I

Were I a would-be TV presenter in search of a role model, Andrew Graham-Dixon would fit the frame. As well as wielding copious explanatory powers about art, he comes over as quite butch, with such non-effete features as a vigorously sane hairstyle and powers of elocution not even half as crazy as some other arty presenters we could name. In the opening chapter of his BBC mega-series, The Art Of France, he was not afraid of the bold statement: “Like every great country, France has always been a mongrel nation.”

This was especially bold because it suggested that Japan, for example, had never existed. Even today, it is almost impossible for a foreign artist, or indeed a foreign anything, to take up residence in Japan, whose intellectuals will tell you unblushingly that the
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The Secrets of the Mona Lisa review – is this really the story of the century?

Andrew Graham-Dixon’s documentary about Da Vinci’s masterpiece is full of big claims, but does prove to be revealing – literally

No one can accuse Andrew Graham-Dixon of underselling his film The Secrets of the Mona Lisa (BBC2). He’s on the hunt for the truth about Leonardo’s masterpiece, embarking on an investigation that will take him on a trip around the world “with exclusive access and extraordinary encounters”. There will be revelations that “will change everything we thought we knew about history’s most enigmatic work of art”. And “all of this together marks an extraordinary moment in the history of art but, more than that, it is quite simply one the stories of the century.”

Bloody hell, bring it on, then; how does this story go? Well, once upon a time in Florence a man painted a picture of a woman. So far so not changing everything
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How Grayson Perry has revolutionised art on television

The artists new series Who Are You? combines talkshow with art documentary, and even adds investigation to the mix. Its a mould-breaking combination

While other art forms have been happy to find a shape and stay with it the form of most contemporary plays and novels would be recognisable to Shakespeare or George Eliot broadcasting is always on the lookout for new formats.

As the medium heads towards its centenary, though, certain fundamental structures have been largely unchanged for decades, such as the chatshow or the art documentary, in which an expert stands in front of a canvas and explains it. The ghosts of Eamonn Andrews and Kenneth Clark would understand immediately the genre in which their televisual descendants Graham Norton and Andrew Graham-Dixon are working.

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TV highlights 24/01/14

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Fa Cup Football | Room 101 | Italy Unpacked | Born To Be Wild | Stella | Doomsday: World War One | Steve McQueen: Are You Sitting Uncomfortably – A Culture Show Special

Fa Cup Football: Arsenal vs Coventry City

7pm, BT Sport 1

The first game in a hefty weekend of fourth-round action, though its Friday night staging (for TV purposes) has been rounded on by those who claim the competition is rapidly losing its lustre. Coventry – forced to play in Northampton because of a dispute between club owners Sisu and Coventry council – haven't enjoyed the most auspicious of seasons, but a victory over Arsenal here, while highly unlikely, would certainly provide succour for cup romantics. Gwilym Mumford

Room 101

8.30pm, BBC1

A new series of mock-Orwellian oratory hits Friday night, with Joan Bakewell, Roisin Conaty and Richard Osman attempting to sneak their bugbears past Room 101 bouncer Frank Skinner. Irritants in the dock of discontent tonight include customer-service surveys,
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TV highlights 17/01/2014

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Jamie And Jimmy's Friday Night Feast | Paul Tortelier At The BBC | An Island Parish | Italy Unpacked | Born To Be Wild | Mob City | Played | NBA Basketball: New York Knicks v Los Angeles Clippers

Jamie And Jimmy's Friday Night Feast

8pm, Channel 4

Great mates Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty continue their guide to filling recipes and Diy cookery tips, as well as saving regional dishes from extinction, such as Lancashire's Tosset cake, which they put back on the map this week. Last week saw Jimmy fashion a tandoor from a flowerpot and a dustbin, and in episode two the hog roast fan has equally unorthodox designs on a wooden crate. Meanwhile, Jamie teams up with Sienna Miller for a lesson in Tuscan duck ragu. Hannah J Davies

Paul Tortelier At The BBC

8pm, BBC4

Petroc Trelawny introduces highlights of the BBC's archive of Paul Tortelier, the flamboyant and influential French cellist,
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TV highlights 10/01/2014

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Jamie And Jimmy's Friday Night Feast | Robson's Extreme Fishing Challenge | Kangaroo Dundee | Italy Unpacked | Born To Be Wild | The Weight Of The Nation | Live At The Electric | Basketball: Brooklyn Nets v Miami Heat

Jamie And Jimmy's Friday Night Feast

8pm, Channel 4

New series in which the two chums show how to make "blow-out" food that's perfect for weekends with mates. Jamie's on typically ebullient form, all "Shamone!" and "Rice and peas!" as he teaches Usain Bolt how to cook his favourite jerk pork and dumplings. Yes, it does grate, but the food looks mouth-watering, especially his "ultimate steak" and potatoes. Jimmy, meanwhile, creates a tandoor oven using a bin and a flower pot, and everything that comes out of it looks delicious. Hannah Verdier

Robson's Extreme Fishing Challenge

8pm, Channel 5

Robson Green breaks out his boilies and waders for another set of extreme fishing challenges, the first finding him
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Brian Sewell: the BBC's factual television is an insult to the nation

Acerbic art critic Brian Sewell has denounced most factual TV as disgracefully dumbed-down – particularly on the BBC. Television writer Michael Hogan begs to differ

Michael Hogan: Brian, your speech at the recent Sandford St Martin Trust awards for religious broadcasting said TV was blighted by "ever-increasing vulgarity and ever-lower intellectual levels". Strong words. Did you have a particular programme in mind?

Brian Sewell: Nothing and everything. Now it all conforms to a formula. Even Islam: The Untold Story (C4), to which we gave one of the awards, immediately descended into a travelogue and became virtually indistinguishable from anything in which Michael Palin rambles around. Religious broadcasting, all broadcasting, ought to be better than that. We looked at David Suchet's In the Footsteps of St Paul and again, it just turned into a travelogue. Someone in the city of Tarsus said, "St Paul's father was a tentmaker here.
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TV highlights 18/04/2013

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Live Americas Cup World Series | The British Animal Honours 2013 | Brushing Up On – British Tunnels | Maureen Lipman: If Memory Serves Me Right | Could We Survive A Mega-Tsunami? | Playhouse Presents: Hey Diddly Dee | A Night At The Rijksmuseum | Nashville

Live America's Cup World Series

1pm, Sky Sports 3

Coverage of the final curtain-raiser event for this year's America's Cup challenge, which will be held off San Francisco from July. In this week's event, nine teams will race around a course off the coast of Naples. The catamarans involved in this event make for more spectacular television than most sailing, but this remains a sport perhaps more involving to do than to watch. Britain is represented by the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club, captained by recently retired Olympic champion Ben Ainslie. Andrew Mueller

The British Animal Honours 2013

8pm, ITV

Across the nation, animals prepare their furry little disappointment faces and get ready to clap their paws bitterly,
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TV highlights 11/04/2013

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The Masters – Day One | Being Human USA | Climate Of Doubt | Tomorrow's World: A Horizon Special | The High Art Of The Low Countries | The Sex Clinic | Jodia Marsh: Bullied | One Mile Away

The Masters – Day One

7pm, Sky Sports 1

The first day of the 77th Masters tournament, live from Augusta National Golf Club. Bubba Watson wore the winner's green jacket home last year and will be hoping to do so again, though the bookmakers don't fancy his chances overly. The resurgent Tiger Woods is favourite to win his fifth Masters, which would put him one victory away from sharing the top of the honour board with Jack Nicklaus. He will be pursued by a stellar field including Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy. Andrew Mueller

Being Human USA

9pm, Watch

First instalment of the remake of the much-loved BBC series, which takes the action from Bristol to Boston, Massachusetts. Flatmates
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Dogging Tales collars nearly 2m viewers | TV ratings - 5 April

Channel 4 documentary on 'peculiarly British pastime' pulls in bigger audience than new Hilary Devey show The Intern

Channel 4 documentary Dogging Tales proved a hit with nearly 2 million viewers, rather more than tuned in to its new show The Intern featuring former Dragons' Den star Hilary Devey.

Dogging Tales, which featured hidden camera footage and interviews with dogging enthusiasts wearing animal masks, attracted 1.9 million viewers, an 11.3% share of the audience, between 10pm and 11.15pm on Thursday.

The Intern, in which Devey sends out young hopefuls to work with a prospective new employer, could only manage 1.3 million viewers, a 5.6% share, between 9pm and 10pm. It was down 14% on Channel 4's slot average over the past three months.

The Intern nearly lost out to ITV2's Peter Andre: My Life, which had 1.2 million viewers, a 5.3% share, also between 9pm and 10pm, 55% up on the channel's slot average.

Not much of
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Farewell, BBC TV Centre. You were Britain's very own Disneyland | Stewart Lee

Having been home to everyone from Roy Castle to Richard Stilgoe, the closure of the BBC TV's old magical headquarters is a sad day for British culture

Last week I attended the ceremonial destruction of BBC TV Centre, which was enthusiastically blown to pieces in a controlled nuclear explosion by a delighted David Cameron. With one hand on the detonator and the other jiggling in his pocket, David Cameron was flanked by representatives of the principal faith groups, as well as leading commercial broadcasters, free-market economists, wealthy pornographers, and a child who had won a hopping competition. The prime minister triumphantly flobbed a final Green Ernie into the crater, before it was filled with a celebratory cocktail of toxic waste, liquid concrete and dogs' messes.

A Red Arrows flypast drowned out the band of the Coldstream Guards, playing a rousing rendition of Phyllis Dillon's Don't Touch Me Tomato, a personal
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TV highlights 06/02/2013

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Live International Football | Nature's Microworlds | Brain Doctors | Africa | People Like Us | The Culture Show | Sons Of Anarchy

Live International Football

7pm, ITV

Snipping the ribbon on the Fa's 150th anniversary celebrations, England play host to Brazil for the first time since the South Americans helped unveil the refurbished Wembley. A Brazil side coached by former Chelsea fall guy Luiz Felipe Scolari will be looking to make it nine consecutive matches without defeat against England, while Roy Hodgson's side will be seeking their first victory over Brazil since 1990. For the record, Wales have beaten Brazil more recently than that. Mark Jones

Nature's Microworlds

8.30pm, BBC4

Continuing the series looking at complex and unique microworlds around the planet. Tonight, we explore Africa's oldest desert, the Namib, created, as narrator Steve Backshall decorously puts it, "by an 18-million-year feud between the African coastline and the full force of the Atlantic ocean." Stunning
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TV highlights 18/01/2013

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Italy Unpacked | Great Night Out | Glen Campbell: The Rhinestone Cowboy | Stella | The Last Leg | Hard

Italy Unpacked

9pm, BBC2

It's homecoming time as, for the latest leg in their Italian journey, chef Giorgio Locatelli shows Andrew Graham-Dixon around his home region of Lombardy. The overarching theme is how the people of the area, plugged into the rich markets of industrial northern Europe, value innovation and engineering know-how. The journey to Milan, for instance, takes the duo along the A8, the world's first motorway. There's a dark side to all this modernity, though, as Graham-Dixon holds forth on Futurism founder Marinetti's links with fascism. Jonathan Wright

Great Night Out

9pm, ITV

There's been room for a while in the schedules for a show that reflects the relentless mickey-taking that bonds groups of young males, and this is it. Set in Stockport, amid the world of pub outings, iffy jobs and the faintest hint of recession,
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TV highlights 11/01/2013

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First Time Farmers | John Bishop's Only Joking | Italy Unpacked | Great Night Out | Stella | Imagine: Dame Shirley Bassey: The Girl From Tiger Bay

First Time Farmers

8pm, Channel 4

First of a series looking at farming life through the eyes of the younger generation, the first triumvirate of tractor boys under scrutiny being three friends from Herefordshire. Robbie wants to reverse the fortunes of his mum's struggling pig farm, Ed finds himself leaving a career in the City to return to his roots, while Nick is trying to escape the family farming business. Compared with the reality show trope of hapless youth struggling with modest setbacks, it's a refreshing look at how well twentysomethings muck in when livelihoods depend on it. Mark Jones

John Bishop's Only Joking

8.30pm, Sky1

John Bishop's new vehicle is a resolutely family-friendly throwback to the days of The Comedians, when TV standup
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Your next box set: Medium

This underrated supernatural police procedural stars the excellent Patricia Arquette as Allison Dubois, part psychic investigator, part suburban mum

Think of Patricia Arquette and you very likely think of her role as kickass callgirl Alabama in the 90s cult classic True Romance – directed, of course, by the mighty Tony Scott, who died last weekend. Since 2005, though, Arquette has been quietly starring in underrated supernatural police procedural Medium.

Arquette's character Allison DuBois is a psychic medium working for the district attorney in Phoenix, Arizona. She dreams about crimes, sometimes before they have happened, gets given clues by ghosts, can talk to dead people – and eventually persuades the authorities to use her abilities to their advantage. Which all sounds pretty preposterous, until you realise it is based on a real-life Allison DuBois, a "psychic profiler" who really did work in law enforcement and serves as consultant on the show. Writer Glenn Gordon Caron,
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TV highlights 16/03/2012

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The Culture Show | Helen's Polar Challenge For Sport Relief | Modern Family | Arena: George Harrison – Living In The Material World | The Walking Dead

The Culture Show

7pm, BBC2

Even by Culture Show standards, tonight's episode covers plenty of ground. Alastair Sooke chats with sculptor Anthony Caro ahead of his retrospective at Chatsworth House, and Andrew Graham-Dixon meets octogenarian collector Rose Lee. Get set, too, for Irvine Welsh talking punk literature, an interview with Philip Glass protege and composer Nico Muhly, plus Arlene Phillips on Reasons To Dance, and old soul rebel Kevin Rowland tells Mark Kermode about the return of Dexys. Jonathan Wright

Helen's Polar Challenge For Sport Relief

8.30pm, BBC1

Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton continues to show no regard for her personal safety as she embarks on a 500-mile trek across Antarctica for Sport Relief. She has already paddled the Amazon for it. Honestly, couldn't it ask anyone else?
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TV highlights: 27/01/2012

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How The Brits Rocked America: Go West | Stella | Cash in China's Attic: A Culture Show Special | Celebrity Big Brother: Live Final | Naturally Obsessed | New Girl

How The Brits Rocked America: Go West

9pm, BBC4

Among the many unhelpfully high watermarks set by the Beatles was the idea that it was possible to "break America" – that's to say, for a group to create the same drama and impact in the Us as they had done in the cinemas and bingo halls of the UK. The info available for this three-part series leans rather colonially on the "British Invasion" angle, but there were many ways to be received: greeted at the airport like the Beatles, welcomed at the festival like the Who, or run out of town on a rail, like the Sex Pistols. John Robinson


9pm, Sky1

Stella's still being pursued by the handsome boxer/decorator but has no idea why.
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Sicily Unpacked succeeds where many travelogues fail

Much of Sicily Unpacked's charm comes from the ability of its presenters Andrew Graham-Dixon and Giorgio Locatelli to forget the camera

Just when we thought there was no life left in the TV travelogue, along comes one that is so good it could revive the whole genre. Sicily Unpacked – BBC2's Friday-night road-trip starring art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon and Michelin-starred chef Giorgio Locatelli – might have looked like another celebrity-led vehicle, but it has proved to be inspirational.

Succeeding where many travelogues fail, the programme has introduced us to the food, art and culture of Sicily in a manner entirely different from the hyperbolic exclamations and stereotypical views so infuriatingly common in other travel shows. In Locatelli and Graham-Dixon the BBC has found two intelligent guides who generously share their knowledge, painting a vivid image of centuries of life on the island.

When Locatelli says Giacomo Serpotta's stucco decorations in Palermo's
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