Categories / Film and TV

Retro TV W/C 4th December 2009

Brown_boston

Barry Murphy returns once more to trawl the TV and radio guides (so you don't have to), finding anything worth tuning into this week. All listings are for UK terrestrial TV, Freeview and national radio, with the shows running from Friday 4th December to Thursday 10th December 2009.

Highlights of the week

April 5th 1968, the morning after one of the most catastrophic moments in American history – the assassination of Martin Luther King. America's inner cities had begun to implode and in Boston there is a fragile peace. The mayor of Boston is about to cancel a long-scheduled James Brown concert to avoid confrontation – a potentially incendiary move – but after warnings he has a change of heart and asks if there is 'something James Brown can do to help', by accident realising that by televising the concert they could keep people indoors that night and prevent widespread rioting.

The Night James Brown Saved Boston (BBC 4. Friday 4th, 12.30am) tells the story of that amazing night and features rarely-seen footage of the Godfather of Soul's concert plus the personal recollections of James Browns band members, friends like activist Reverend Al Sharpton, personal manager Charles Bobbitt, Princeton University Professor Dr. Cornel West, Boston citizens, those who attended the concert, politicians (such as former Boston Mayor Kevin White) and Newsweek's David Gates. The Night James Brown Saved Boston tells the compelling story of an artist at the absolute peak of his powers using his artistry for the greater good.

On the radio this week, the 30th aniversary of the Rolling Stones infamous Altamont concert is remembered in Shedding Hippy Blood: the Altamont Story (BBC Radio 2. Saturday 5th, 10pm). Huey Morgan looks at the Rolling Stones's 1969 tour which culminated in a free but troubled December concert – with the Hells Angels handling security – held at Altamont speedway in northern California, just five months after the Stones' free Hyde Park concert and four months after Woodstock. Remembered as the concert with the fatal stabbing, it also signalled the Stones' shift to a bluesy, stadium-rock style that came to define the band's live gigs. With first-hand recollections by Georgia Bergman (Mick Jagger's personal assistant), tour business manager Ron Schneider, production manager Chip Monck, tour manager Sam Cutler, journalist Michael Lydon, photographer Ethan Russell, Guardian writer Eamonn McCabe and director Albert Maysles, who with his brother David chronicled the tour in their 1970 film Gimme Shelter.  

Friday 4th December

TV

On The Buses – ITV 3. 6.50pm – 7.20pm
Vintage 1970s comedy starring Reg Varney and Stephen Lewis.  

Rising Damp – ITV 3. 7.20pm – 7.55pm
Injured wrestler Spooner makes life hell for Alan and Philip.

Comedy Showcase: The Amazing Dermot – Channel 4. 10.35pm – 11.10pm
Flight of the Conchords star Rhys Darby plays the hapless illusionist and stage hypnotist.

The Night James Brown Saved Boston – BBC 4. 12.30am – 1.45am
The night after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, with America's inner cities bursting into flames, James Brown was scheduled to perform at the Boston Gardens. What happened there changed him forever. This documentary is an amazing look back at one heroic moment in James Brown's life as a performer, public figure and a man.

BBC Four Sessions – James Brown – BBC 4. 1.45am – 2.45am
Exclusive concert recorded for BBC Four in November 2003 featuring the late, great James Brown, full backing band, his wife and some very enthusiastic dancing girls.

Film: Vault of Horror (1973) – Film4. 1.55am – 3.45am
Terry-Thomas and Denholm Elliott star in this very enjoyable Amicus anthology horror from director Roy Ward Baker. In a large building, five men get into a lift heading for the ground floor, but instead it takes them to the sub-basement where they find themselves trapped and share visions with each other of their demise.

Film: Neil Young: Heart of Gold (2006) – Channel 4. 2.15am – 3.55am
Music documentary about Neil Young's two sell-out concerts at the Ryman Auditorium.

Radio

Desert Island Discs – BBC Radio 4. 9.00am – 9.45pm
Singer/songwriter Morrissey is Kirsty Young's castaway this week.

Saturday 5th December

TV

Film: Cool Hand Luke (1967) – Five. 4.55pm – 7.15pm
Classic prison drama starring Paul Newman. After being sentenced to two years on a chain gang, Luke Jackson is faced with the camp's daily routine. However, his resilience quickly antagonizes the gang boss.

Being Alan Bennett – BBC 2. 9.30pm – 10.30pm
A rare look at the life and work of one of our best-loved writers, filmed during and just after his 75th birthday in May this year. With access to key moments, including final rehearsals of his new play The Habit of Art, this delightful documentary celebrates the public and private sides of the prolific playwright. Part of a season of Bennett showing across the BBC this week.

Rod Stewart: One Night Only – ITV 1. 9.30pm – 10.45pm
The enduring singer performs some of his iconic hits, including Maggie May and I Don't Want to Talk About it, as well as showcasing his latest throaty interpretations of soul music's greatest numbers.

The Thick of it (7/8) – BBC 2. 10.30pm – 11.00pm
New. Series Three. In her desperate bid to find a major sports personality to be the face of the department's new Healthy Choices campaign, Nichola takes advice from Steve Fleming, the PM's new fixer.

Film: Ray (2004) – ITV 1. 11.00pm – 1.45pm
Oscar-winning drama about musical legend Ray Charles, starring Jamie Foxx. A poor black boy overcomes racial prejudice and drug addiction to become one of America's most revered and adored 20th-century singersongwriters.

Radio

Sounds of the 60s – BBC Radio 2. 8.00am – 10.00am
Brian Matthew spins two hours of hits, B -sides and album tracks.  

The Funk and Soul Show – BBC 6 Music. 6.00pm – 9.00pm
3 hours of funk, soul and blues presented by Craig Charles.

Bob Marley: the Chrysler Year – BBC Radio 4. 10.30am – 11.00pm
The world was almost deprived of the talents of Bob Marley. In 1966 he was short of money and, leaving Jamaica, he went to live in the United States. There he became a night-shift work at the Chrysler car plant in Wilmington, Delaware. BBC reporter and reggae fanatic Jonathan Charles tells the story of Bob Marley's wilderness year.

Shedding Hippy Blood: the Altamont Story – BBC Radio 2. 10.00pm – 11.00pm

Huey Morgan looks at the Rolling Stones's 1969 tour which culminated in a free but troubled December concert – with the Hells Angels handling security – held at Altamont speedway in northern California, just five months after the Stones' free Hyde Park concert and four months after Woodstock. Remembered as the concert with the fatal stabbing, it also signalled the Stones' shift to a bluesy, stadium-rock style that came to define the band's live gigs. With first-hand recollections by Georgia Bergman (Mick Jagger's personal assistant), tour business manager Ron Schneider, production manager Chip Monck, tour manager Sam Cutler, journalist Michael Lydon, photographer Ethan Russell, Guardian writer Eamonn McCabe and director Albert Maysles, who with his brother David chronicled the tour in their 1970 film Gimme Shelter.  

Sunday 6th December

TV

Film: Please Sir! (1971) – Film4. 4.45pm – 6.45pm
Spin-off from the TV sitcom. When the pupils from Fenn Street School get the chance to go on a trip to the countryside, Bernard Hedges (John Alderton) makes sure his class is included despite his colleagues' disapproval. Classic British romp featuring Duffy, Frankie Abbott, Maureen & the gang. With a groovy theme song from Cilla.

A Day Out – BBC 2. 6.05pm – 6.55pm
Alan Bennett's 1972 drama about a group of cyclists who leave Halifax behind for a day in the country. Starring Brian Glover.

Film: Happy Go Lucky (2007) – Channel 4. 9.00pm – 11.20pm
Drama directed by Mike Leigh, starring Sally Hawkins. Chirpy and irrepressible London primary school teacher Poppy decides to take driving lessons when her bike is stolen. This brings her into contact with instructor Scott, whose stressed and bigoted outlook on life couldn't be more different to her own.

Film: The Blues Brothers (1980) – ITV 4. 10.30pm – 1.15am
Cult musical comedy starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as brothers Jake and Elwood Blues, who reform their band to raise money for their old orphanage, which is threatened with closure. Featuring a cast of r 'n' b heroes including Cab Calloway, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Steve Cropper and Duck Dunn.

Radio

The House That Jazz Built – BBC Radio 4. 1.30pm – 2.00pm
Celebrating 50 years of Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, Paul Merton explores the origins of the famous venue and examines its impact on the world of music. Recorded on location
at the club, the programme features interviews with leading jazz artists Salena Jones, Ian Shaw, Jay Phelps and James Pearson and features music and archive from personalities associated with the venue.

Monday 7th December

TV

On The Buses – ITV 3. 6.50pm – 7.20pm
Vintage 1970s comedy starring Reg Varney and Stephen Lewis.  

Rising Damp – ITV 3. 7.20pm – 7.55pm
Miss Jones reports a prowler in her room to the police and it is not long before an inspector calls.

Film: Dreamgirls (2006) – Film4. 9.00pm – 11.35pm
Musical drama based on the Broadway show, starring Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson. Three singers from Detroit known as the Dreamettes are discovered by ruthless manager Curtis Taylor Jr who quickly puts them on the path to success. But Taylor's decision to change their style and his favouritism of one particular member soon causes friction among the girls.  

The Beatles: on Record – BBC 4. 11.05pm – 12.05am
This documentary, featuring rare footage and musical out-takes, charts the musical development of The Beatles at Abbey Road Studios from their first single, Please Please Me in 1962 to the LP Abbey Road in 1969. Narrated entirely by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and their producer George Martin, the film looks at how their innovative use of recording techniques, instrumentation and song structures contributed to a hugely successful body of work.

Film: The Black Windmill (1974) – ITV 1. 11.35pm – 1.30am
Spy thriller starring Michael Caine. While on a secret mission, agent John Tarrant learns that his son has been kidnapped but is then suspected of treachery when the ransom is received.

BBC 4. 12.05am – 1.05am
How The Beatles Rocked the Kremlin: Storyville – Examining how the band's music may have contributed towards the fall of the Soviet Union, and the influence The Beatles had on changing the views of many who lived there.

Radio

Lead Belly: a Secret History of Rock and Roll (1/2) – BBC Radio 2. 11.30pm – 12Midnight
Singer Eric Burdon mark's yesterday's 60th anniversary of the death of folk-blues legend Lead Belly. This first installment explores the 12-string guitarist's poor roots and his music's debt to chain gang and prison experiences.

Tuesday 8th December

TV

Film: Carry On Behind (1975) – Channel 4. 1.40pm – 3.25pm
Bawdy comedy starring Elke Sommer, Kenneth Williams etc. Russian archaeologist Anna Vrooshka joins Roland Crump to investigate the remains of a Roman encampment. But mayhem follows the discovery that the "dig" is located next to a caravan site filled with holiday-makers.

On The Buses – ITV 3. 6.50pm – 7.20pm

Vintage 1970s comedy starring Reg Varney and Stephen Lewis.  

Rising Damp – ITV 3. 7.20pm – 7.55pm
Rigsby tries to drum up support for his local election candidate, but finds his lodgers have other ideas about who should represent their interests.

Auf Wiedershen, Pet – ITV 4. 9.00pm – 11.10pm
Double bill of the classic comedy drama. The lads turn up at the wrong Spanish villa.

Film: Office Space (1999) – Film4. 9.00pm – 10.45pm
A group of downtrodden workers rebel against their boss in this very funny satire on office politics. Written and directed by Mike "King of the Hill" Judge.

Imagine… Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound – BBC 1. 10.35pm – 11.30pm
The American singer/songwriter and human rights campaigner talks about her 50-year career. Topics include her unconventional upbringing, her stage fright, and her relationships with Bob Dylan and husband David Harris.

…Sings The Beatles – BBC 4. 11.30pm – 12.30am
A look back through the BBC's archives at memorable covers of classic Beatles songs. Included are a performance of Day Tripper by Sandie Shaw, The Carpenters' rendition of Help!, the reinvention of I Am the Walrus by Oasis and Joe Cocker's chart-topping interpretation of With a Little Help From my Friends. Plus Paul McCartney's solo performance of Lady Madonna.

Radio

Monty Python's Wonderful World of Sound (1/2) – BBC Radio 2. 10.30pm – 11.30pm
Mighty Boosh stars Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding tell the story of Monty Python's comic LPs, which allowed fans to hear the wacky troupe's sketches repeatedly in an era far predating the arrival of home video. On hand are Python stars Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam, who discuss the making of the world's first "three-sided LP", upsetting John Denver and giving farming in the middle ages its groove back. Plus songwriter Neil Innes, composer Dave Howman and others.

Wednesday 9th December

TV

On The Buses – ITV 3. 6.50pm – 7.20pm
Vintage 1970s comedy starring Reg Varney and Stephen Lewis.  

Rising Damp – ITV 3. 7.20pm – 7.55pm
Alan lures a woman up to his room, but an appearance by her father soon puts paid to his dreams of romance.

Thursday 10th December

TV

On The Buses – ITV 3. 6.50pm – 7.20pm
Vintage 1970s comedy starring Reg Varney and Stephen Lewis.  

The Professionals – ITV 4. 7.00pm – 8.00pm
An important summit meeting is jeopardized by security problems.

Rising Damp – ITV 3. 7.20pm – 7.55pm

Rigsby tries fasting for three days.

Casino: the True Story – Five. 8.00pm – 9.00pm
The factual events behind director Martin Scorsese's compelling crime drama from 1995 are revealed in this historical documentary. The film was based on 1970s Las Vegas, whose casinos were ruled by the Chicago Mob – one of whose key men was the ruthless and murderous enforcer Tony Spilotro. His role was to protect the Mafia's take or "skim" from light-fingered employees, and he did so with a vengeance. It took a highly organized FBI infiltration to bring his downfall and to expose the criminal tentacles flowing through the city's underbelly.

The Thick of it (7/8) – BBC 4. 11.35pm – 12.05am
New. Series Three. In her desperate bid to find a major sports personality to be the face of the department's new Healthy Choices campaign, Nichola takes advice from Steve Fleming, the PM's new fixer.