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TV

Workers or Shirkers? Ian Hislop’s Victorian Benefits on BBC Two

Last week, a new documentary entitled Workers or Shirkers? Ian Hislop’s Victorian Benefits premiered on iPlayer. In keeping with the witty, sardonic style of Hislop’s historical investigations of Victorian and Edwardian England, the film sees the news pundit explore the colourful and contentious history behind an issue that for generations has been a mighty hot […]

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Comment

Boycotting is a democratic staple – the government ban is blatant censorship

Last week, the UK government announced new rules to stop “politically motivated” boycotts of Israel by local councils, with clauses that leave open the possibility of restricting the right to participate in boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) for trade unions, charities, and even student unions. Whatever your views on the state of Israel, denying British […]

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Culture Literature

Harper Lee: 1926-2016

Harper Lee, the internationally best-selling author of To Kill A Mockingbird, passed away on Friday 19th February at the age of 89. She spent her entire life in Monroeville, Alabama, and for the most part in the same house in which she died in her sleep, after enjoying a life best characterised by two words: […]

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Culture Theatre

Theatre is lagging far behind film in LGBT+ representation

Art, literature, cinema, and performing arts have seen a striking increase in LGBT+ themes and characters. Often these have challenged stereotypical depictions of queer individuals or dismissed in favour of more realistic, more three-dimensional, living, breathing, progressive queers. But there have been people left behind, people whose story is masked by this triumphalist narrative. What […]

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TV

BBC Three on Elton John

This week, BBC Radio 6 welcomed the writer of the biggest-selling single of all time for an autobiographical romp when it hosted Sir Elton John. The 67-year-old declares: “Music has been my companion since I was three years old”. Kicking off with Sir Elton’s refreshing self-assessment as a ‘hoarder’ of records, he maintains that his […]

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TV

Coming Oot! A Fabulous History of Gay Scotland

This week, BBC One Scotland broadcast a television programme that charted the story of Scotland’s gay community from 1945 to the present day. A rich combination of testimony, archive, interviews and historical research, Coming Oot! A Fabulous History of Gay Scotland is a rare feat in documentary programming. Touching without being sentimental, and evidence-driven without […]

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TV

Frank and the Golden Era of Radio

This Monday, BBC Radio Two welcomed Paul Gambaccini to explore the radio career of musical legend Frank Sinatra. ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’ enjoyed prominence during the golden age of radio in America, and what emerges is a tale of Sinatra’s variety as a performer. Not only a pioneer singer, he also found success as an actor, […]

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Comment

Scientology and the universality of religious freedom

Last week, a Moscow high court declared that Scientology does not comply with the country’s federal law on religious freedom, and therefore is ineligible for any protections under Russian law. Freedom of religion rests on a presumption of state neutrality, whereby the state sets aside evaluative judgements on any given denomination, however nutty or commercialised, […]