Mess hall: Tiggy (centre) faces up to reality with Denise and Vinny
Are posh people filthier than us? Yes - but their stories matter, too
By Rachel Cooke - 02 July 14:31

I wondered if there had ever been a lover. Had her parents been kind? When she cared for her ailing father, who had dominated whom?

Incredulous: Not the face Sandra Bullock was making as Steve Wright introduced her. Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Sandra Bullock visited the studio - but Steve Wright kept talking as though she wasn't there
By Antonia Quirke - 02 July 13:59

“Sandra Bullock is quite simply the world’s most successful actress,” he informed Sandra Bullock.

Sandi Toksvig welcoming her guests for her last News Quiz. Photo: BBC/Lucy Eliot-Higgitt
Black tie, BBC “bias” and blubbing: at Sandi Toksvig’s last News Quiz
By Caroline Crampton - 26 June 15:33

The host of BBC Radio 4’s News Quiz is stepping down after nine years to go into politics. Caroline Crampton was there at her last recording.

The Seattle Music Project, designed by Frank Gehry. Photo: REX
Alan Yentob's TV tribute to Frank Gehry was so in thrall, it was embarrassing
By Rachel Cooke - 25 June 14:23

The Gehry worshippers were like fashion editors at a Prada show, only minus the clothes, handbags and hair.

Alistair McGowan as Jimmy Savile. Photo: Helen Maybanks
A terrifying, sweaty memory: Alistair McGowan's dark turn as Jimmy Savile
By Mark Lawson - 19 June 12:02

McGowan's performance demonstrates the combination of eccentricity and intimidation that allowed Savile first to lure his victims and then to disguise his abuse of them.

Ginger nut: Chris Evans in his TFI heyday.
Thank f*** it's over: Chris Evans' TFI Friday is still awful, twenty years later
By Rachel Cooke - 18 June 16:59

TFI Friday was quite nasty at its edges: it gave off a strong whiff of bullying and low-level belligerence. The male graduate population of north London seemed not to notice this.

Game of Thrones: Trust me, if SPOILER were really dead, they'd have died in episode 9
By Jonn Elledge - 18 June 12:15

The sudden death in the last scene of Monday's Game of Thrones was a cliffhanger, nothing more.

Stephen Mangan in Sky Arts' Birthday. Photo: Sky Arts
The Mumsnet bloggers left me queasy – but Birthday is still excellent television
By Rachel Cooke - 11 June 18:29

I loved Birthday, but the bloggers were mostly unable to see beyond personal experience in the matter of art.

TS Eliot, whose Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock has its centenary this year. Photo: Chris Bacon/AFP/Getty Images
On the air, the actors come and go: how the establishment adopted T S Eliot
By Antonia Quirke - 11 June 18:13

It's the quickest shortcut to gravitas. T S Eliot has been stolen by actors, like burglars with the crown jewels.

Amy Schumer in April 2015. Photo: Robin Marchant/Getty Images for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival
Why everyone is talking about Amy Schumer
By Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett - 09 June 12:48

She’s a feminist comedian who doesn’t shy away from ridiculing women. She reaches millions of viewers on the internet without breaking a sweat. Oh, and she’s just really, really funny.

Cracks up: Anthony Andrews and Cara Theobold in The Syndicate.
The (utterly batty) Syndicate is the gift that keeps on giving
By Rachel Cooke - 04 June 17:41

I would love to have been in the meeting when Mellor pitched this version of her drama.

Caroll Spinney (left, wearing legs) with Big Bird architect Kermit Love. Photo: © COPPER POT PICTURES
How Big Bird got to Sesame Street
By Erica Wagner - 04 June 13:42

Caroll Spinney has been playing Sesame Street's star for 46 years. I Am Big Bird shows the man behind the feathery mask.

Handel, who new research suggests has invested in the slave trade. Photo: YouTube screengrab
In Search of the Black Mozart: A revealing look at Handel's investment in the slave trade
By Antonia Quirke - 04 June 11:54

The programme slowed palpably to accept the age-old information that people who create beauty aren’t always good and frequently don’t even come close.

Joivan Wade and Lenny Henry at the Hackney Empire in 2014. Photo: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images
Lenny Henry: There is only one certain way to smash the black glass ceiling in television
By Lenny Henry - 29 May 14:26

The television industry is 94 per cent white and, like some bad washing detergent commercial, it seems to be getting whiter all the time.

Indian Muslims seek blessings on Eid al-Fitr at the shrine of Sufi Muslim poet Amir Khusro. Photo: Tengku Bahar/AFP/Getty
In search of a Sufi saint on Radio 4’s Incarnations: India in 50 Lives
By Antonia Quirke - 29 May 9:38

As we advance through the series, its cities and centuries sounding like some powerful exclamation, what is happening more subtly is a sense of the country cohering as a nation.

Ruth Wilson as Alison and Dominic West as Noah in "The Affair". Photo: Showtime
The Affair is weirdly, unnervingly unsexy - but I'm addicted
By Rachel Cooke - 29 May 9:36

Dominic West and Ruth Wilson are wonderful actors, but no one can claim that The Affair is Mad Men-style high art.

Professor Andre van der Merwe (L) who carried out the transplant. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
A radio programme on the world's first ever penis transplant had me staring at the radio
By Antonia Quirke - 21 May 17:04

The interviewer, Matthew Bannister – generally known for keeping conversations moving dizzyingly ever forwards – was unusually quiet.

Marc Warren plays The Gentleman in Jonathan Strange. Photo: BBC
1864 and Jonathan Strange both suffer for being modern
By Rachel Cooke - 21 May 16:27

Jonathan Strange is an oddly lacklustre affair, aimed, it seems to me, at a generation brought up on Harry Potter.

French twist: Anaïs Demoustier stars as Claire. Photo: IMAGE.NET
Dark comedy The New Girlfriend is a ravishing portrait of a family after death
By Ryan Gilbey - 21 May 15:43

The films of François Ozon are polymorphously perverse.

BBC4’s “canal trip” nearly doubled the channel’s viewership. Photo: BBC
You loved the BBC’s “phantom ride” up a canal. So join me on a phantom walk . . . down an alley
By Will Self - 21 May 10:12

Our licence fees pay – in part – for two hours of lackadaisical nostalgia and lazy nature-gawping. 

Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) during her wedding to Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon). Photo: HBO
It’s time to stop defending the rape scenes in Game of Thrones
By Sarah Ditum - 19 May 15:13

It’s hard to think of any satisfactory way for Game of Thrones to proceed now, short of Daenerys unleashing her dragons and barbecuing every man in the Seven Kingdoms.

The set for The Vote. Photo: Channel 4 Screengrab
Channel 4's The Vote was dull - especially compared to the real drama of election night
By Rachel Cooke - 14 May 16:03

For thrills, I would take that exit poll over Judi Dench and Jude Law any day.

Anthony Sher. Photo: Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images
From Falstaff to Loman: behind the scenes with Antony Sher
By Antonia Quirke - 14 May 16:00

It seems that Sher is never not speaking on the radio or being spoken about. 

Waiting for a sign: the young lovers in Slaboshpytskiy’s drama
Sign language film The Tribe defiantly refuses to meet the hearing world halfway
By Ryan Gilbey - 14 May 15:57

Hearing audiences might feel that they are being kept at arm’s length and they would be right.

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