Saturday Review

Saturday Review

Tom Sutcliffe and guests discuss the week’s cultural highlights on BBC Radio 4.

  • Updated:
    Weekly
  • Episodes available:
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Recent episodes (10)

  • V+A Cast Court, Big Eyes, City of Angels, Kureishi/Murakami/AN Wilson, Mapp and Lucia 20 Dec 14

    Sat, 20 Dec 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    London's V+A Museum has reopened the Weston Cast Court,housing lifesize casts of statuary & artefacts from around Europe. It includes the museum's largest items, can it draw their largest crowds? Larry Gelbart's City of Angels is revived at London's Donmar Warehouse. A musical which garnered awards galore 25 years ago in its original run, will this production be a winner? Tim Burton's new film Big Eyes is about 1960s housewife Margaret Keane whose paintings of waifs with enormous dark eyes were wildly commercially successful. Small Books: We look at 3 very short works. Hanif Kureishi, Haruki Murakami and AN Wilson all have stories to tell, that they feel are best-suited to new diminutive formats. The BBC has remade EF Benson's Mapp and Lucia in sumptuous style; is it a new classic? Tom Sutcliffe is joined by Meg Rosoff, Deborah Moggach and John Carey. The producer is Oliver Jones

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  • Treasure Island; Electricity; Black Mirror; The Hot Country and Dolls' Houses

    Sat, 13 Dec 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Treasure Island is The National Theatre's seasonal offering, full of pirates, parrots and seaspray. How does it play to the various audiences who come to the theatre at Christmas? Electricity is a film starring Agyness Deyn whose character deals with her epilepsy as she tries to find a community to be a part of. Charlie Brooker is back with a one-off feature-length Christmas special of Black Mirror on C4. It's a worrying look at a future world that may be closer to the present than we expect - guaranteed to inject some darkness into the joviality of Christmas. Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Robert Olen Butler's new novel is The Hot Country; a historical thriller set in Mexico 1914 with a hardbitten journalist as hero. The V+A has an exhibition of Dolls' Houses a world of wonder in miniature. How do they reflect the society of the children for whom they were made? Tom Sutcliffe is joined by Deborah Bull, Neil Brand and Misha Glenny. The producer is Oliver Jones

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  • Men Women and Children, Hope, William Blake, Olive Kitteridge, End of Days 6 Dec 14

    Sat, 6 Dec 14

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Jason Reitman's latest film Men Women & Children is a lighthearted look at the way the internet has become woven into everyone's existence. Hope is a new play by Jack Thorne at the Royal Court Theatre about a cash-strapped Labour council trying to balance its books and do the least harm in the face of cuts. William Blake was a printmaker, painter and revolutionary poet and is now the subject of an exhibition at the Ashmolean in Oxford. The show attempts to reveal how he acquired and developed his skills and to show his legacy. HBO's new 4 part mini-series, Olive Kitteridge is based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and stars Frances McDormand in a tale of marital affairs, crime and tragedy in a small American town. Acclaimed novel End of Days by German author Jenny Erpenbeck explores a multi-narrative story of a family whose destiny could spiral in many directions. Tom Sutcliffe is joined by Charlotte Mendelson, Kate Mossman and Michael Arditti. Produced by Oliver Jones

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  • William Gibson, Marco Polo, Chimera,Tate Photography, Concerning Violence film 29 Nov 14

    Sat, 29 Nov 14

    Duration:
    43 mins

    William Gibson's novel The Peripheral is set in 2 dystopian futures filled with drugs, 3D printers, high-tech surveillance and other legally dubious practices. When readers are immersed in a completely new universe how do they orientate themselves? Netflix newest production is an epic series telling the story of Marco Polo; full of spectacle, does it have substance or is it an Oriental Game of Thrones? London's Gate Theatre is staging Chimera - a play about DNA, genetic inheritance and kitchens. Tate Modern's exhibition Conflict Time Photography looks at the relationship between photography and sites of conflict over time. Concerning Violence is a documentary that deals with the struggle for independence of former colonies - is violent rebellion the most effective way to gain freedom? Tom Sutcliffe is joined by Bidisha, Jim White and Alice Jones. The producer is Oliver Jones

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  • Institute of Sexology, What We Do in the Shadows, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Robert Edric, Legacy 22 Nov 14

    Sat, 22 Nov 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    London's Wellcome Institute has a new exhibition entitled The Institute of Sexology which it describes as "a candid exploration of the most publicly discussed of private acts". How will our reviewers tiptoe gently around the explicit nature of what's on show? What We Do In The Shadows is a New Zealand vampire comedy film about a group of bloodsucking flatmates (a 'dracumentary' if you will). Who does the washing-up and vaccuuming in the house of the undead? Behind The Beautiful Forevers is David Hare's new play at the National Theatre, based on the non-fiction book by award winning author Katherine Boo. It deals with life death and hope in a Mumbai undercity. Robert Edric’s latest book explores the life of Branwell Bronte - brother of the more famous sisters. Legacy is a new Danish TV police programme. What is it about ‘Scandi Noir’™that keeps gripping UK audiences? Tom Sutcliffe is joined by Helen Lewis Pat Kane & Amanda Craig. Producer: Oliver Jones

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  • Rose Tremain; The Imitation Game; Wildefire; Allen Jones; Remember Me 15 Nov 2014

    Sat, 15 Nov 14

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Rose Tremain's latest book is a collection of short stories called The American Lover; how do her short stories compare to her novels? Benedict Cumberbatch plays the WWII codebreaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. How successfully does it breathe new life into the biography of a private man? Roy Williams' new play Wildefire, deals with 'the precarious world of modern policing'; how does a good copper stay good when her world turns nasty? British artist Allen Jones is probably best known for 3 works he created 45 years ago; Hat Stand, Table and Chair. An exhibition at London's Royal Academy looks back at his career. Do accusations that his early work demeans women still hold sway in the more broadminded 21st century? Michael Palin returns to a British TV series for the first time in more than two decades in Remember Me on BBC1 - a supernatural thriller.

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  • DV8: John, Interstellar, Peter Carey, Gold at Buckingham Palace, Puppy Love, 08 Nov 14

    Fri, 7 Nov 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Peter Carey's latest novel, Amnesia follows a disgraced Australian journalist hired to write the life story of a hacker activist who wrote some code that unlocked prisons around the world. DV8 Physical Theatre Company's show "John" at The National's Lyttleton tells the tale of a man who grows up in an extremely abusive family and who- as an adult - seeks comfort and company in gay saunas. Christopher Nolan's new film Interstellar stars Matthew McConaughey as a former NASA astronaut whose job is to save the human race from extinction...not a simple subject, even for such an accomplished director. The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace has an exhibition called Gold, which displays some of Her Majesty's astonishing artefacts around that theme. Puppy Love is the latest project from Joanna Scanlan and Vicky Pepperdine (who made the award- winning Getting On comedy series). This deals with the world of dog training.

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  • Nightcrawler, Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Richard Ford, Science Museum, The Passing Bells 01 Nov 14

    Sat, 1 Nov 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Nightcrawler is a movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal about the ambulance-chasing camera crews who film at the site of traffic accidents and sell the footage to TV stations. 'Tis Pity She's a Whore at London's Globe Theatre was written in the early 1600s and the plot includes incest which made it extremely controversial then as now. Richard Ford's new book Let Me Be Frank With You is a collection of short stories featuring Frank Bascombe, a character getting older and dealing with the mess of life in all his imperfect glory. The Queen recently opened The Information Age gallery at London's Science Museum; it's the first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies. The Passing Bells on BBC1 follows the lives of two young WW1 army recruits: one English, one German as they take part in and are affected by the conflict.

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  • Grayson Perry, Fury, Harlem Dream, Per Petterson, The Missing 25 Oct 14

    Sat, 25 Oct 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Grayson Perry's new exhibition at London's National Portrait Gallery is called "Who Are You". Through pots and paintings, a hijab and tapestry it explores the nature of identity. Brad Pitt's latest film Fury follows a tank crew towards the end of WW2, when a rooky soldier joins the grizzled old conflict-hardened team in the hell of war. London's Young Vic Theatre plays host to Dance Umbrella 2014. We review Harlem Dream - a work by young British choreographer Ivan Blackstock. Norwegian writer Per Petterson's 2003 novel Out Stealing Horses won widespread acclaim. His newest 'I Refuse' has been hailed as a masterpiece in Norway. And every parent's nightmare - a child disappears on a family holiday overseas - is the plot of BBC1's new drama The Missing, which stars James Nesbitt.

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  • Here Lies Love, Palo Alto, Life Story BBC1, Being Mortal, Germany at The British Museum, 18 Oct 14

    Sat, 18 Oct 14

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Here Lies Love is David Byrne and Fatboy Slim's disco musical that tells the life story of the former First Lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos, from poverty to the Presidential Palace. Gia Coppola is the grand-daughter of Hollywood titan Francis Ford Coppola and her debut film Palo Alto has just been released in the UK. David Attenborough's ninth 'Life' series begins on BBC1 this week. Life Story follows animals from all over the world on their journey through life. US surgeon and writer Atul Gawande's latest book Being Mortal is about how to make the inevitable process of dying as good as possible. To celebrate 25 years since the fall of The Berlin Wall, The British Museum's major new exhibition 'Germany: Memories of a Nation' tries to encapsulate 600 years of German history.

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