Robert Hanks

Robert Hanks is a freelance writer and broadcaster.

i Newspaper
 
TheIPaper
The Independent around the web

Television Review

YEARS AGO, I remember reading a letter in a newspaper from a reader disgruntled by young people who carried on as if they had invented sex; in fact, the reader continued, he personally had invented sex some years previously. The impulse to claim sex as a novelty appears to be universal and ran riot in the first part of The Sexual Century (ITV).

Television Review: Into Africa with Henry Louis Gates

IT'S ALWAYS healthy for traditional orthodoxies to have to fight for their place in the sun. So you can't overestimate the usefulness of a series like Into Africa with Henry Louis Gates (Sat BBC2), which sets up against Eurocentric versions of history an African alternative, in which the "Dark Continent" is a place of sophisticated, ancient civilisations, monumental buildings and huge wealth.

Television Review

IN THE SOPRANOS (C4), Tony Soprano has started to be bothered by paintings. In his psychiatrist's waiting-room, he gazes at a pastoral landscape with a barn, and sees only the shadow of something hidden in its gloomy interior; at his girlfriend's house, a Hockney swimming-pool seems to be nothing but a portrait of the darkness lurking at the back of the changing hut. In addition, a fellow gangster is in hospital with cancer, but Tony won't admit he might be dying; and he is further unmanned by an encounter with a Hasidic Jew who would rather "go down with the ship" than give in to threats.

Television Review

IT'S POSSIBLE that this country is ready for Ally McBeal (C4). Last week, the new series was heralded by a feature, McBeal Appeal, analysing the attraction of the fey attorney, presented by Davina McCall. McCall also presents Streetmate, a brash programme in which men and women are encouraged to go up to perfect strangers in the street and ask them out; so this was roughly like getting EastEnders' Mike Reid to present a programme on the evanescent charm of the haiku.

Television Review

WHILE THE first 25 minutes of Saving Private Ryan set new standards of realism in the depiction of spurting blood, severed limbs and gaping wounds, in one respect at least Spielberg proved squeamish: amid all the slaughter of Omaha Beach, all the sweat and trembling, there was hardly a cigarette in sight. Compare actual footage of D-Day, and you see every- body puffing away as if their lives depended on it.

Robert Hanks' Television Review

WHEN The Moral Maze tried to make the jump from radio to television, it fell flat on its face. But that hasn't stopped television producers looking to it for inspiration, perhaps inspired by the knowledge that Ian McEwan won the Booker with a novel apparently concocted entirely from left-over Moral Maze dialogue. Now they have come up with Life Support (BBC1), a drama series about a medical ethicist evidently inspired by, but rather prettier than, The Moral Maze's Dr David Cook. I suppose we should be thankful that, so far, we've managed to avoid television dramas inspired by The Moral Maze's Dr David Starkey.

Robert Hanks' Television Review

YOU DON'T have to look far to find precedents for The Sopranos, C4's new drama about a modern-day Mafia family. There are clear echoes of Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather films in the way the series meditates on the kinship between the institution of the family and the institution of the Family, the way organised crime is equated with American life. Early on in the first of the two episodes broadcast last night, Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), the anxious Mob boss at the centre of the narrative, was trying to describe his mid-life crisis to a psychiatrist: "Lately, I get the feeling that I came in too late, that the best is over." To which she replied: "Many Americans get that feeling."

Television Review

AT THE beginning of The Secret Life of Twins (BBC1), Robert Winston rated twins "amongst... the most valuable people in the world, because they help us understand what makes us who we are". This seemed overstated, but twins do encourage that sort of thing - they bring out the part of us that wants life bigger, gorier and freakier.

Television Review

WHEN IT comes down to it, an awful lot of sitcoms are about girls sharing a flat. Sometimes there are twists to the situation - in Man About the House one of the girls turned out to be a man; in Golden Girls they were all senior citizens. At other times, the situation is absolutely pure, as in Girls on Top and, the most recent addition to the genre, Babes in the Wood (ITV).

Television Review

GENERALLY SPEAKING, it seems clear that secrecy - as in obsessive state secrecy, etc - is bad, while privacy - as in protection of privacy - is good. But drawing the line is not always easy, and what seems laudably private from one angle, looks culpably secret from another. When doctors Margaret Jack- son and Mary Barton began pioneering work in artificial insemination by donor (AID), in the late 1930s, it was plain to them that the whole process needed to be kept under wraps.
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home