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Reviews >


Cry from the heart

SO OFTEN, nowadays, are we re­­minded of forgotten histories, that we are prone to forget what we already knew. Britain’s Black Past (Radio 4, weekdays) has presented us with profiles of late-18th- and early-19th-century char­acters whose ethnicity and careers appar­ently force us to reconfigure our views of British history

Busy doing nothing

AS I write this, the news is all about internet trolls and new legal powers to curb derogatory hash­tags. It has all the hallmarks of “Something must be done” legislation: recent stories of online bully­ing have provoked a media furore, and somebody in Government has decided that this is a great opp...

Divided by faith

AT THE conclusion of his ex­­cellent two-part survey Sunni-Shia: Islam divided (Radio 4, Monday of last week), Tarek Osman delivered a judgement that might have sounded chilling had it not come from such a level-headed commen­tator

Wireless music

WHEN televisions began to colonise the living rooms of the modestly waged, the prognosis for radio was held to be dire. By the mid-1960s, it was thought, it would be only the blind who would be engaged by the wireless

Signs of busyness

YOU have locked yourself out of your house. You call a locksmith, who sweats over the job for two hours, and charges you £200. But he’s worked hard, and you can get into your house; so you give him a cup of tea and a tip. But what if you got a locksmith who managed to get the job done in ten minutes...

Trial by jury

IT IS through our imagined conflicts that we reveal our most intimate anxieties and prejudices. Thus, in the jury-room battle that, in the BBC’s PR, “gripped the nation” on Sunday, devotees of The Archers (Radio 4) were presented  with their perfect heroes, and incarnations of their deepest aversions

Eye of the beholder

YOU do not have to like them to laugh with them. That is the only consolation one might have taken from The Reunion (Radio 4, Sun­day), in which some of the founding fathers of Private Eye gathered to tell Sue MacGregor how it all started

The lie direct

WHAT is the first lie you told that was parentally approved? Was it that you liked the multi-coloured socks that Granny gave you for Christmas? That your uncle’s disco dancing was cool? We learn to tell “white lies” from an early age

The meaning of life

HUMAN beings are constantly in search of meaning, especially those whose job it is to pitch ideas to commissioning editors at the BBC. The condition has a name: pareidolia; and it explains why people believe Elvis is still alive and living in an isolated studio lot, alongside all that faked moon-lan...

Low-quality work

ON AN occasion which is usually fuelled by the most indulgent and hyperbolic rhetoric, David McCullough’s graduation speech to the Class of 2012 at a Boston high school must have seemed especially bracing: “You are not special. You are not exceptional"

Godless gathering

IT MIGHT have been pure happen­stance; or perhaps it was a carefully planned, if understated, moment of irony. But, as Mark Vernon’s doc­umentary on the Sun­day As­­sembly (SA) movement, Swap­ping Psalms for Pop Songs (Radio 4, Friday), came to a close, I could have sworn I heard the congre­gation chanting “I want to be like you” from Disney’s The Jungle Book

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Not the comfy chair!

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Sun 23 Oct 16 @ 14:20
Rainbow LGBT flags cut down again from north London church

Sun 23 Oct 16 @ 13:03
C of E Renewal and Reform: @MadsDavies looks into the new way of distributing grants from the Church Commissioners