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WEEKEND TV PREVIEW: The Secret Of Crickley Hall

Posted by Michael Moran
Michael Moran
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on Friday, 16 November 2012
Winter is the best time for ghost stories. That's why there's always an MR James on at Christmas. It's why we don't have Hallowe'en in July.

Stranded between the year's two spookiest holidays is The Secret Of Crickley Hall, (Sunday, 9pm). It may sound like a mysterious Noel Edmonds vehicle, but it is in fact a major three-part spine-tingler based on a James Herbert novel.



You can tell it's 'major' and 'three-part' because it's in absolutely no hurry to get anywhere. Like Don't Look Now it starts with every parent's worst nightmare. But for the rest of the hour it doesn't do a whole lot, just busies itself with setting things up for the next two weeks.

TONIGHT'S TV: David Bowie and the Story of Ziggy Stardust (10pm BBC4)

Posted by Michael Moran
Michael Moran
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on Friday, 22 June 2012

Pop music, and pop culture generally, changed forever in June 1972. When David Bowie And The Spiders From Mars performed Starman on Top Of The Pops they rewired the brains of a generation.

This documentary focuses on that extraordinary year when David Bowie managed to make three great LPs of his own – every one now acknowledged as a classic – and almost as an afterthought produce hit albums for two of his major influences and write a smash hit single for a third.

 

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WEEKEND TV: Julius Cæsar [BBC4, Sunday 24th, 8pm]

Posted by Michael Moran
Michael Moran
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on Saturday, 16 June 2012

We all know a little bit of Shakespeare. The plays of the world’s most famous Brummie supply practically every well-known English saying that didn’t come from their near-contemporary the King James Bible.

The plays, especially the histories, are quite often updated in production to emphasise their timeless relevance. That’s what the Royal Shakespeare Company’s artistic director Gregory Doran has done with Julius Cæsar.

 

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TONIGHT'S TV: The Secret History of Our Streets (BBC2 9pm)

Posted by Michael Moran
Michael Moran
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on Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The schedules are calf-deep in football at the moment, with the Euro 2012 tournament expanding to fill every minute of early-evening prime time.

Which is all very well, if you like football.

If not, there are a few isolated gems hidden away which might appeal. The Secret History Of Our Streets takes as a jumping-off point Charles Booth's socially-annotated 'poverty maps' of London, produced in the late 19th Century.

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TONIGHT'S TV: Tales Of Television Centre (BBC4, 9pm)

Posted by Michael Moran
Michael Moran
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on Thursday, 17 May 2012

BBC Television Centre was a one-of-a-kind institution. It served not only as the technical model for media facilities the world over but also a clearing-house of ideas that still form the basis of the best TV drama and comedy today.

It was also a sort of university, training some of the most able broadcasters and production staff we’re ever likely to have in the UK. So, understandably, quite a few people are sorry to see it go.

Tags: BBC, preview, TV

Meet the Romans, meet the critics, meet the celebrities.

Posted by Michael Moran
Michael Moran
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on Tuesday, 24 April 2012

By and large, I don’t tend to tell you about bad television here.

In a multichannel environment of sometimes bewildering choice, I try to use the privilege of seeing TV programmes earlier than most to pick the diamonds out of the dirt for you.

It seems unnecessary for me to point out where the rubbish is.

  

But I can’t tell you about everything that’s good. A case in point is Meet The Romans. A combination of a website redesign for The Lady and an inconveniently-scheduled half-term holiday meant that I didn’t find time to tell you about BBC2’s rather modern look at that already well-explored ancient civilisation.

Which is a shame, because it’s great.

It’s fronted by Professor Mary Beard. What she doesn’t know about The Romans isn’t worth putting in three one-hour television documentaries about the ordinary people of Rome.



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