A Suitable Boy

BBC ONE / iPLAYER  The BBC’s adaptation of A Suitable Boy arrived trailing a mild controversy in its wake: namely, is Andrew Davies, a white Welshman, really the most… well, suitable candidate to adapt Vikram Seth’s epic saga of post-partition India? What Davies does have, of course, is experience in wrestling mammoth historical doorstops onto the screen,Continue reading “A Suitable Boy”

Lily Cole: “It’s very hard to have ideals and fully live up to them. But that doesn’t mean ideals aren’t important.”

In 2010, Lily Cole received two invitations in the space of a week. One was to take part in a fashion show – the sort of high-profile catwalk parade that had helped make the then 22-year-old one of the most famous models in the world, with a multi-million pound fortune to match. The other wasContinue reading “Lily Cole: “It’s very hard to have ideals and fully live up to them. But that doesn’t mean ideals aren’t important.””

Don Black: “Did I ever write a song for my wife? Yes, all of them.”

A week after Don Black was admitted to hospital with Covid-19, a nurse happened to notice his hands. “She said, ‘they’re very soft – what do you do?’” the 82-year-old tells Weekend. “I said, ‘I write songs – Google me’. And I thought that was it. Anyway, when the day came for me to leave, theyContinue reading “Don Black: “Did I ever write a song for my wife? Yes, all of them.””

Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm

BBC FOUR / iPLAYER  A Welsh pig and dairy farm may sound like an unlikely rock and roll mecca – or, indeed, a fitting subject for a 90-minute TV tribute. But as this absolute gem of a rock-doc demonstrated, Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire has been the location for some fairly seismic moments in the historyContinue reading “Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm”

Imagine… This House is Full of Music

BBC One / iPLAYER Two years ago, Sheku Kanneh-Mason was performing at a royal wedding in Windsor Castle, watched by a global audience in the hundreds of millions. This summer, he’s playing his cello in the front hallway of his family’s Nottingham home, with occasional interruptions from the Amazon delivery man. Welcome to planet EarthContinue reading “Imagine… This House is Full of Music”

Nitin Sawhney: “You’re constantly confronting demons from your past.”

Spend half an hour in the company of Nitin Sawhney and you’ll quickly see why the word that crops up time and again in profiles of him is ‘polymath’. Over the course of a wide-ranging conversation with Weekend, the composer and multi-instrumentalist bounces from discussions of race and identity to a technical deconstruction of Western classicalContinue reading “Nitin Sawhney: “You’re constantly confronting demons from your past.””

Talking Heads

BBC ONE / iPLAYER While the impetus for remaking Alan Bennett’s classic TV monologues may have been a practical one (they’re easy to film with minimal cast and crew), (re)watching these stories of loneliness and isolation, it’s striking how thematically in tune with the times they are. Which I suppose might be slightly depressing, ifContinue reading “Talking Heads”

The Salisbury Poisonings

The Salisbury Poisonings plays like one of those high-octane crime thrillers where you turn to your other half and say, “Well that would never happen”. Except, of course, it did happen, in March 2018, when Sergei Skripal – a former Russian intelligence officer who had worked as a double agent for the British – and hisContinue reading “The Salisbury Poisonings”

My Brilliant Friend (S2)

SKY ATLANTIC My Brilliant Friend might just be the best TV series you’ve never heard of. Though critically lauded when it launched in 2018, HBO’s adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s 10-million-selling ‘Neaopolitan’ novels didn’t quite have the cut-through of a Chernobyl or Succession. That’s possibly because it’s in a foreign language, but might equally be because, unusually for a TV blockbuster,Continue reading “My Brilliant Friend (S2)”