Robert Hanks

Robert Hanks is a freelance writer and broadcaster.

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Books: Los Angeles, put simply and horribly

PAPERBACKS

Television Review

WHAT MOST people don't appreciate is the sheer inconvenience caused by having Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). On Horizon: Mistaken Identity (BBC2), Sue explained that she had up to 10 different personalities (you wouldn't have thought it was something you could be so vague about). Apart from everyday bickering about what to eat and where to go, she had more dislocating experiences: once, she came back from holiday to discover that one of her "alters" had chucked in her old job for a new one, and Sue didn't even have her new office address.

Television Review

WHAT I always say is: "Where there's muck, there's meta-phors." Towards the end of Modern Times: Treasures from the Tip (BBC2), Jason Jones, a waste-management officer for Southend-on-Sea, remarked: "You do start getting some funny ideas... the fact that all these goods that we get during our lives, and work for, end up in a hole in the ground. It's like us at the end of the day."

Television Review: Small Potatoes

RIGHT, I'VE got this straight now: the programme about testicular cancer was part of a new series on Channel 4 called Embarrassing Illnesses. Small Potatoes (C4) was something entirely different: a sitcom - no, let's get the jargon right - a slackcom about "an underachieving video-shop assistant". That's as opposed to all the driven, focused video-shop assistants you come across.

Television Review

After I reviewed Staying Lost (C4) three weeks ago, a reader who works nights in a hostel in King's Cross wrote to scold me for my scepticism, suggesting that the reason I had a problem with the series was that I couldn't bear to believe it.

Television Review

TELEVISION HAS tended in recent years towards an unsentimental, "red in tooth and claw" view of nature, and just lately it has been getting worse. We've had a proliferation of dangerous wildlife programmes - O'Shea's

Television Review: EastEnders

TELEVISION, WHICH you would think was the supreme here-and-now medium, is obsessed with the idea that things ain't what they used to be. Everyone is trying to re-create the past. On last night's EastEnders (BBC1), Melanie was trying to recapture the magic with Steve; Ricky and Sam were waxing nostalgic about what everybody seems to agree was an appalling marriage; and Mark was getting misty-eyed over his ex-wife.

Television Review

LET'S START with the good news: and that is that advertisers don't actually sidle up to six-year-olds in the playground and say "Here's a fiver - nag your mum". The bad news is that this is about the only thing they don't do.

Television Review

LET'S START with the good news: and that is that advertisers don't actually sidle up to six-year-olds in the playground and say "Here's a fiver - nag your mum". The bad news is that this is about the only thing they don't do.

Television Review

ONCE THE Vikings roamed the whale-road in their longships, seeking new lands and strange adventures, plunder and a good death. It was in that spirit that, in Secrets of the Ancients (BBC2), Robin Knox-Johnston and a crew of Norwegian archaeologists set sail in the longship Borgundknarren across the North Sea to Shetland - trusting, like their Viking ancestors, to the winds to drive them, the sun to steer them. Plus, obviously, an engine for when the wind was in the wrong direction and a satellite navigation system for when they got lost.
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Day In a Page

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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

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Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

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Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
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Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
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11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
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Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker