4 unmissable cultural offerings on our radar

From a 5-part anthology by Steve McQueen, to Arlo Parks' new LP, press play on our top TV and audio picks this December.


Why Small Axe is a joyous love letter to the Black British experience

Have you been watching Small Axe? Then join the club. 2020 is leaving us (thank GOD) on a majorly triumphant note – and let’s face it TV is one thing that has kept us all semi sane…

And it’s thanks to the genius of film director Steve McQueen that we have a five-part anthology to deep dive into. Each film is a beautifully told story; including what happened with the ‘Mangrove Nine’ to the show’s own writer Alex Wheatle’s account of the Brixton Uprising. They’re all worth watching and all dedicated to the spirit, resilience and courage of the British West Indian people.

On BBC One and iPlayer

Plug into Alison Hammond’s new life-affirming podcast

Alison Hammond podcast

The much-loved ITV presenter Alison Hammond has just announced her own podcast and all episodes in the first series have dropped at once. It’s the kind of news that’s guaranteed to give you the warm fuzzies.

The Brummie star said on Instagram: “Guess what? @ITV have given me my very own podcast - My Life In TV. YIPEE !! I’ll delve into the fave telly moments & memories of famous faces @emilyatackofficial @joeldommett@AJOdudu @MoTheComedian & @oliviajade_attwood

As one of the hosts of This Morning, Alison’s become a bit of a national treasure, having come a long way since her turn in Big Brother all those years ago – and this new podcast project is likely to cement her popularity further.

All episodes are available now from major podcasting platforms.

Arlo Parks gives us a taster of her debut album Collapsed in Sunbeams

Arlo Parks

The record doesn’t drop until 29 January 2021, but singer Arlo Parks has shared a new single called Caroline to whet our appetites.

Speaking about the LP the Londoner told NME: “My album is a series of vignettes and intimate portraits surrounding my adolescence and the people that shaped it. It is rooted in storytelling and nostalgia – I want it to feel both universal and hyper specific.”

Arlo – or Anaïs Oluwatoyin Estelle Marinho – is set to take her new music on tour next year. Fingers crossed corona restrictions don’t get in the way; we can’t wait!

Experience A Promised Land by Barack Obama on audiobook

Barack Obama - A Promised Land

It’s no surprise that the former President of the United States’ new book beat all the sales records. In fact, given Michelle Obama’s continued success with her own memoir, Becoming, they could almost take up a bestseller list on their own. Now it’s Barack’s turn once again to ride the book chart and this time he offers up insights into his time as President, as well as his personal life. He reveals how Michelle took time to accept his ambitions as well as opening up about his problem with smoking. We suggest you download the audio to get the full experience. Barack narrates it himself, and his smooth, calming voice will provide a wonderful sense of order in a chaotic and crazy world.

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