The War Against the BBC is a timely and myth-busting book for an age of disinformation and government doublespeak.

Penguin books

Why, I often ask, would anyone want to castrate a globally renowned and respected super-brand that represents British soft power throughout the world, especially in a post-Brexit era when the term ‘Global Britain’ is banded around with such optimistic fervour? Patrick Barwise and Peter York investigate the charges made against the BBC to reveal “how an unprecedented combination of hostile forces is destroying Britain’s greatest cultural institution”.

The ‘war’, as they see it, is essentially two-fold. The first is a political…


Mark E Smith — Blackburn King George’s Hall, 22nd September 2002

It has been a few weeks now since Mark E Smith’s death and to most seasoned Fall fans it can’t have come as much of a surprise. His lifestyle and work ethic indicated a short but highly productive life. During the last 35-odd years I’ve spent much of my waking life proselytising to all and sundry about the brilliance of Mark E Smith and The Fall to a largely unresponsive, apathetic audience and with limited success. This was highlighted when, in the hours after the announcement of his death, my social media feeds went crazy with messages from people whom…


Pat Phelan — Guns, violence and murders

It was in the early 1970s that I first started to regularly watch Coronation Street (the UK’s longest running soap opera). This was after my school drama teacher said it had some of the best acting and script writing on television. Acknowledged at the time as the ‘classic’ era, with its strong, distinctive female characters such as Hilda Odgen, Bett Lynch and Elsie Tanner, ‘Corrie’ has been a part of my life ever since. …


The story of two TV Tower photographs

The recent examination of the cold war era through the depiction of early 1960s Berlin in the 2015 film Bridge of Spies and the drama series Deutschland 83, reminded me of a visit I made to the city in 1986 and again in 2008. On both occasions I took a photograph from the same vantage point — the visitor’s platform of Berlin’s TV Tower near Alexanderplatz. I recently placed them side-by-side. This is the story of how I came to take them.

Today it’s hard to imagine the absurdity of East and West Berlin. West Berlin was a small western…


Eight years that influenced my life

I’ve written this tribute nearly a week after David Bowie’s death. It’s only now that I’ve felt able to put my feelings into words. While his death was a shock, nothing prepared me for the shock of my own emotional response and the concealed depth of feeling I held for this man. Never before have I been so moved by the death of one of my heroes. The passing of creative heroes, such as Warhol, Lou Reed and Lennon, all resonated with sadness and reflection but I just moved on shortly after. Bowie, I now realise, is very different. Unlike…

Tim Riley

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