Poker faces: Friends turned sarcasm into the default mode of conversation for a generation. Photo: Mr Photo/Corbis Outline
The hunting of the snark: Friends, 20 years on
By Andrew Harrison - 12 September 10:00

Twenty years ago, a new sitcom was described as “not very entertaining, clever, or original”. But Friends went on to shape the way we live now.

Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman attend a photocall ahead of the new BBC series of 'Dr Who' in Parliament Square on August 22, 2014 in London, England. Photo: Getty Images
The politics of Doctor Who: satire has always followed the Doctor through time
By Pete May - 10 September 17:24

In its use of political satire, from non-deviating Daleks to the Master infiltrating British politics, Doctor Who always been astute and often very funny.

Rebecca Root in the upcoming BBC sitcom “Boy Meets Girl”.
Is the tide turning for transgender actors?
By J Tebble - 09 September 9:27

J speaks to two trans actors in the UK, and asks if the landscape of acting and casting is becoming, slowly, more inclusive to trans people.

Peter Capaldi and a dalek. Photo: BBC/Adrian Rogers
Why Doctor Who is football, but for geeks
By James O'Malley - 08 September 12:02

In the same way that complete strangers can bond instantly over the latest football news, Doctor Who gives geeks an easy solution to awkward silences in conversation.

Peter Capaldi as the Doctor with the TARDIS in Parliament Square, London. Photo: BBC/Guy Levy
Why does Iowa like Doctor Who so much?
By Lea A Donovan - 05 September 9:34

A regional broadcaster in heart of the continental US has been repeating Doctor Who almost constantly since 1974. Why does the Midwest have such an attachment to a British sci-fi show?

Class acts: Mr Bispham in Educating the East End
School’s out: How the “Educating” franchise became predictable and cynical
By Rachel Cooke - 04 September 17:11

If this feels familiar, that’s because it is. Here are all the tired tropes, arranged for our middle-class delectation. 

Suit you, sir: to his adoring young fans, Savile, pictured on the set of Top of the Pops circa 1973, represented wacky style and wish fulfilment. Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images
How Jim fixed it: the strange, dark life of Jimmy Savile
By Rachel Cooke - 04 September 12:20

It is impossible to look back on the world of light entertainment in the Savile era and not come to the conclusion that it was strikingly weird.

James Alexander Gordon. Photo: BBC
Results, riffs and rhythms: Remembering James Alexander Gordon
By Antonia Quirke - 03 September 9:04

Listening to Jag was very much like listening to a musician in the zone.

Legends: Lauren Bacall with her then husband Humphrey Bogart and their son Stevie in 1951. Photo: Getty
Stardust memories: Lauren Bacall on Woman's Hour
By Antonia Quirke - 01 September 12:22

To mark the death of the actress, Woman’s Hour reran a thrilling 2005 conversation between Bacall and Jenni Murray. 

Diana, framed by some crafty editing. Photo: BBC/Love Productions
Diana was framed: why did the Great British Bake Off throw an innocent WI judge to the wolves?
By Caroline Crampton - 28 August 12:40

Accusations of a stitch-up are flying after the baking show’s most controversial episode to date.

Opulent: staff at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai
Don’t blame it on the bellboy: how India does hotels
By Rachel Cooke - 28 August 12:07

The Taj Mahal Palace, which looks like the bastard child of Sandringham and St Pancras Station, is India’s biggest and most epically decadent hotel. 

Moo closer: presenter Michael Mosley
Cattle royale: why red meat should be a treat
By Rachel Cooke - 27 August 10:00

Chicken is permitted to remain on the all-you-can-eat buffet, even if it has been produced in a vast shed containing 54,000 birds. Ditto mussels.

Let’s do the Time Lord again: Laurie Penny and Nicholas Lezard debate Doctor Who
By Helen Lewis - 22 August 16:38

With Peter Capaldi about to step into the Doctor’s shoes, two passionate Whovians talk to Helen Lewis about favourite companions, gender politics and missing theremins. 

Floella Benjamin is one of the stars who has given the issue more prominence of late. Photo: Getty
Making a permanent change to the representation of ethnicity on our screens
By Stuart Murphy - 21 August 11:29

Sky’s Stuart Murphy explains why the broadcaster has introduced targets to combat the absence of real change in BAME representation.

Idris Elba in the BBC’s Luther. Photo: BBC
What does it say about Britain that our best black actors have to go abroad to succeed?
By Musa Okwonga - 21 August 10:53

For a country that prides itself on its multiculturalism, our television is shockingly unrepresentative of what the UK is really like.

Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman, ready for action in the new series of Doctor Who. Photo: BBC/Ray Burmiston
The global force of Doctor Who: what does Britain’s biggest cultural export tell the world?
By Elizabeth Minkel - 20 August 16:35

In advance of Peter Capaldi’s debut as the Twelfth Doctor, the cast have been on a world tour, doing their duty to its global fandom. By exporting this British cultural institution, what are we saying about ourselves?

Igor Stravinsky walking down a London street, between rehearsals with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1964. Photo: Getty
Time out of mind: recollections from Stravinsky’s childhood
By Antonia Quirke - 18 August 10:00

His parents opposed the idea of him becoming a composer, pushing him bullishly towards the law. 

Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan in Masters of Sex. Photo: Showtime
Masters of Sex: a drama of sex, ambiguity and darkness
By Caroline Crampton - 14 August 16:25

This US cable drama about William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the American sex researchers who pioneered physiological study of human sexuality, just keeps getting better and better.

Unexpurgated! An early copy of Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover: Photo: Chris Drumm/Flickr
Lady Chatterley’s lawyer: Jeremy Hutchinson interviewed
By Antonia Quirke - 13 August 12:28

Once married to the actress Peggy Ashcroft, Hutchinson was known be a dashing, lyrical figure liable to quote poetry. 

Baby blue: midwife Vicky (Christine Bottomley) in Kay Mellor's new drama
Soapy and box-ticking: Rachel Cooke on Kay Mellor’s In the Club
By Rachel Cooke - 08 August 16:13

This is a plot so grossly overloaded, so swollen with coincidences, that it makes EastEnders look lithe and minimalist.

Paul Ready.
There are no clear answers in Channel 4’s conspiracy thriller Utopia
By Charlie Royle - 08 August 15:19

Channel 4’s Utopia is a complex and unpredictable thriller which refuses to give easy answers on the challenges of population growth.

Comedy in locomotion: Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot (1959)
Sax and spats: The Culture Studio reviews Some Like it Hot
By Antonia Quirke - 05 August 10:19

There’s such pleasure for the listener in hearing something you know being chewed over properly.

Structural adjustment, Westeros style. Photo: HBO
Game of Thrones: why Braavos is banking on regime change
By Peter Antonioni - 30 July 12:37

The Iron Bank of Game of Thrones embodies aspects of real-world institutions like the IMF, wielding its own form of power and backing those it feels support its interests.

Go team: John Craven (left) and the other presenters of Countryfile
Vintage cheddar: Countryfile – John Craven’s 25th Anniversary on BBC1
By Rachel Cooke - 29 July 10:14

While I understand the impulse to watch a show about otters and dry stone walling, I can’t understand the success of Countryfile at all. It’s so awful: so cheesy and laboured.

Photo: Getty
Whack down the alpaca poo
By Antonia Quirke - 25 July 12:57

The radio column.

Jacques Peretti.
Why does nothing last? The Men Who Made Us Spend on BBC2
By Rachel Cooke - 18 July 15:00

The Men Who Made Us Spend (Saturdays, 9pm) is a fascinating, well-researched series but be warned: it will make you want to punch the nearest wall. Plus: Britain’s Poshest Nannies.

Cave Italia: the Blue Grotto on the Isle of Capri. Photo: Getty
Filling the gaps: Outlook on the World Service
By Antonia Quirke - 17 July 16:40

No radio interviewer inserts themself quite so barmily into a dialogue like Matthew Bannister.

Knowledge is power: the winning Leicester team in 1963. Photo: Rex Features
Fingers on buzzers! University Challenge: Class of 2014
By Rachel Cooke - 10 July 15:54

University Challenge, which first aired in 1962, is an institution. Raiding its archive and interviewing students past and present makes for vivid social history.

Centre Court at Wimbledon. Photo: Getty
Thrilling in the name: Wimbledon on BBC Radio 5 Live
By Antonia Quirke - 10 July 11:58

Is it just me or is everyone enjoying saying the word “Kukushkin” rather a lot?

Dystopian future: a still from Bladerunner (1982)
The Bladerunner book: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep on Radio 4
By Antonia Quirke - 04 July 16:00

Jonathan Holloway’s adaptation rightly cherished many things that the film ultimately minimised, in particular the novel’s mourning of the extinction of various animal species.

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