Second world war

A solid costume drama but Dame Helen has been miscast: Catherine the Great reviewed

5 October 2019 9:00 am

It’s possibly not a great sign of a Britain at ease with itself that the historical character most likely to…

Enjoyably contrived: BBC1’s Baptiste reviewed

23 February 2019 9:00 am

What’s the best way to start a six-part thriller? The answer, it seems, is to have a bloke of a…

Atravesty: Sky Atlantic's remake of Das Boot. Photo: Sky Germany / Nik Konietzny / Bavaria Fiction GmbH

Like getting Banksy to repaint the Sistine Chapel: Sky Atlantic’s Das Boot reviewed

16 February 2019 9:00 am

‘I know, let’s repaint the Sistine Chapel. But this time we’ll get it done by Banksy.’ Perhaps this wasn’t the…

The man who never cried

9 February 2019 9:00 am

It was odd listening to Jim Al-Khalili being interviewed on Radio 4 on Tuesday morning rather than the other way…

Joanna Murray-Smith as Patricia Highsmith in Switzerland at the Ambassadors Theatre. Photo: Robbie Jack/ Corbis via Getty Images

Intelligent, unfussy, literate – the West End needs more plays like this: Switzerland reviewed

1 December 2018 9:00 am

I know nothing about Patricia Highsmith. The acclaimed American author wrote the kind of Sunday-night crime thrillers that put me…

French President Emmanuel Macron during a wreath laying ceremony in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on November 11, 2017 during the Armistice Day commemorations marking the end of the first world war

France’s second world war shame

17 November 2018 9:00 am

The monument to this French village’s war dead is a plain white stone block with the head of a grizzled…

Colonel Claus Schenk Count von Stauffenberg

Hitler’s would-be assassins were, themselves, Nazi war criminals. Why celebrate them?

21 July 2018 9:00 am

Hitler’s would-be assassins should not be fêted

The dumbing down of the Reith Lectures

30 June 2018 9:00 am

It’s been a heavyweight week on Radio 4 with the start of the annual series of Reith Lectures and a…

Were all those young lives lost at Normandy in vain?

2 June 2018 9:00 am

I’m back in New York and digesting the five glorious days spent in Normandy. What was the fighting all about,…

The other side of D-Day

19 May 2018 9:00 am

Omaha Beach, Normandy I am standing in a German cement bunker having walked through a large gaping hole caused by…

Premier performance: Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill

Andrew Roberts’s guide to Churchill on screen

13 January 2018 9:00 am

Andrew Roberts on the challenges of playing Churchill

A non-sniggering look at the latest developments in the lucrative sex-robot market

2 December 2017 9:00 am

This week on Channel 4, we watched a cheery 58-year-old American engineer called James going on a first date. He…

Cover illustration for the magazine Garm 1944, by Tove Jansson

A chance to see the Moomins’ creator for the genius she really was: Tove Janssons reviewed

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Tove Jansson, according to her niece’s husband, was a squirt in size and could rarely be persuaded to eat, preferring…

Rarely has the West End seen such a draining and nasty experience: The Exorcist reviewed

11 November 2017 9:00 am

The Exorcist opened in 1973 accompanied by much hoo-ha in the press. Scenes of panic, nausea and fainting were recorded…

Don’t believe the sales figures – DVDs are thriving

4 November 2017 9:00 am

According to the accountants’ ledgers, DVDs are dying. Sales of those shiny discs, along with their shinier sibling the Blu-ray,…

Narvik harbour, March 1940

The ruthless coup that put Churchill in power

21 October 2017 9:00 am

Lord Woolton put it best: ‘Few people have succeeded in obtaining such a public demand for their promotion as the…

Robert Harris: We’re living in a Goebbels-style propaganda culture

14 October 2017 9:00 am

Robert Harris on fake facts, his new novel – and why totalitarianism is in the air again

Anthony Powell, by Henry Lamb (1934)

Anthony Powell gets the superb new biography he deserves

30 September 2017 9:00 am

Hilary Spurling impressively captures the essence and the spirit of Anthony Powell, his writing and his era, says Philip Hensher

Claudio Magris’s Blameless is seriously unreadable

5 August 2017 9:00 am

The first thing to say about Claudio Magris’s new novel is that it is, in an important sense, unreadable. There…

Festival time, Serbian style: playing the trumpet in Guca

Why everyone is flocking to Serbia's brass-band festival

29 July 2017 9:00 am

When brass instruments with button-operated valves were introduced in the first half of the 19th century, music-making changed. Once requiring a…

However brave it is, Dunkirk lacks an emotional core

22 July 2017 9:00 am

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk has already been described as ‘a masterpiece’ and ‘a glorious, breathtakingly vivid triumph’, but we need to…

French Chasseurs d’Alpin en route to Norway, 1940

The disaster of Norway, 1940: Anatomy of a Campaign reviewed

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Amid the shambles that was the Anglo-French campaign in Norway in April and May 1940, a French officer observed that…

Plywood at its most curvaceous, acceptable and collectible: Alvar Aalto armchair, 1930 (left), and moulded plywood chair by Grete Jalk, 1963

How plywood helped us win the second world war

8 July 2017 9:00 am

The V&A’s Plywood show has much to teach us about human nature, says Tanya Harrod

Well-acted, badly written and poorly directed: Churchill reviewed

17 June 2017 9:00 am

The star of this film is the music, composed by Lorne Balfe. I really liked it, which was just as…

Star quality: competition design for the Roman Catholic cathedral, Liverpool, by Denys Lasdun, 1959

The greatest buildings Liverpool never built

10 June 2017 9:00 am

Liverpool has not treated its architects well. Stephen Bayley takes a tour of the bits of the city that were – regrettably – never built