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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The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
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Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
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What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
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How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
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Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
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A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
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Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
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The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?