Category Archives: Uncategorized

We gotta get out of this place: Small town boys & the curse of pop stardom

“I used to scrump apples in the grounds here here,” says Jim Dale, smiling that boyish smile as we sit for our interview in a grand medieval manor house. Now a country house hotel it used to be a school … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Education, Media, Music, Radio, TV, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Young, British and Imam-in-Training: Who we met and why

There were two things producer Georgia Catt and I tried to do with this half hour documentary for Radio 4. One: avoid random isolated Muslim voices claiming to speak for a majority saying  “That’s not Islam” about anything problematic, like … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Media, Politics, Radio, Religion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

Shylock: A Traveller in Time

The film producer Davina Belling once said of Jonathan Pryce that she always uses him as a lesson for actors “not to count their lines when they’re offered a role. He had 20 lines in the whole film [Breaking Glass] … Continue reading

Posted in Comedy, Culture, Film, History, Media, Theatre, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Desert worlds: JG Ballard, Lawrence of Arabia, Dune & the story of Ishmael

My latest Something Understood for Radio 4 on Sunday April 19th was conceived as a sequel  to The White North Has Thy Bones, about our fascination with the Arctic and the North West Passage. Together with producer Natalie Steed we … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Film, Music, Radio, Religion, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

Serial killer stories: From Burke and Hare to Tales Of The Grim Sleeper

It was late, I was tired and I needed cheering up and I found this great comedy on TV that I’d never seen before which did just the job. Burke and Hare, directed by John Landis in 2010 and starring … Continue reading

Posted in Comedy, Crime and Justice, Film, History, journalism, Media, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sixty years on: Has Cinderella on film got trapped in The Valley of the Dolls?

I rather enjoyed the new live action Disney Cinderella. We’re reviewing it on Front Row on Monday Mar 23rd. But the issues raised here still stand. Imagine Cinderella as a anti social tomboy with cropped black hair who acts well, just … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Culture, Film, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

The Bronte heroine who hated bouquets

For this week’s Something Understood producer Lucy Dichmont was keen to explore the elaborate Victorian coded language of floral bouquets. Unexpectedly I found myself pulling out memories and stories that I’ve been carrying around for decades. I’ve also created a … Continue reading

Posted in Gardening, Music, Radio, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Frozen? That’s not feminism

My daughter finally got me to watch Frozen recently. I think she’s sorry she did. Though I sense 13 year old girls are watching it with a sense of irony and a  kind of knowing detachment in the way my … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Film, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

While the flame is strong: Pop and politics (Kingston Uni class notes)

This a list of suggested reading and films to follow on from my lecture for  Dr Rupa Huq’s 2nd year sociology module on Monday March 2nd 2015 11am. The title of course comes from The Young Ones (1961). It’s open … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Film, Kingston University class notes, Music, Politics, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Shopping and Voting: What Hong Kong’s identity crisis reveals about the state of Britain

All photos copyright Samira Ahmed. No re-use permitted. This column first appeared in The Big Issue Magazine. Available from street vendors or take out a subscription here.  I’m standing on the high peak of the Dragon’s Back trail, under a … Continue reading

Posted in Business/Economics, Culture, Politics, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment