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Dominic Sandbrook: Let Us Entertain You Premieres on BBC-4 4 November 2015

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AIRDATE: Wednesday 4 November 2015 at 9.00pm on BBC Four

Episode 1 (of 4)

Dominic Sandbrook returns for another of his indepth and never less than riveting accessible documentary series.

In the years since the end of the Second World War, Britain has been a nation in decline: the loss of Empire, the collapse of industry, and the decline of political and economic influence in world affairs. However, there is one arena in which we can legitimately claim superpower status – our popular culture.

In the post-war years, Britain’s cultural contribution has been second to none, from music and fashion to art, film, literature and theatre. James Bond to Agatha Christie, Andrew Lloyd Webber to John Lennon, it is through our culture that the world now sees us.

In four one-hour episodes for BBC Two, historian Sandbrook argues that this is a contribution anchored firmly in our own past. A uniquely British culture, reflecting uniquely British values and outlooks which were first forged and articulated during the Industrial Revolution and the Victorian era. The same impulses, the same concerns, the same ambitions that drove our Victorian forbears remain the engine of our modern culture today.

In the first episode of Let Us Entertain You, Dominic examines the way in which culture has become our newest export – and a key part of our identity on the world stage. He argues that it is an industry every bit as much as shipbuilding or textile production: a commodity that has been manufactured, marketed and exported. And, like the industrial revolution, ours is a cultural revolution that has flourished in the old industrial regions, and has drawn heavily on the former connections of Empire. London may be a global cultural capital, but British culture owes as much to the industrial north and the echoes of our imperial past as it does to the South East.

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Episodes

Hazell: Hazell and the Suffolk Ghost (ITV 31 May 1979, with Meg Davies)

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Hazell and the Suffolk Ghost

In Hazell and the Suffolk Ghost our intrepid hero pays a visit to the seaside when an accountant, Peter Harlow, calls him in over a cottage he has been left in a will. He has no idea why he has been left the cottage but since he has taken over ownership more than a few strange things have been happening.

Hazell stays at the cottage for a few days and manages to find no small amount of comfort when Harlow’s wife Stephanie turns up (Harlow himself is in New York). Although there is clearly something spooky going on it’s definitely man made and it doesn’t take Hazell too long to work it out.

The episode was a rare outing outside of London for the series, it was filmed in the East Anglian village of Walberswick and surrounds. Although all the interiors were filmed in studio of coure.

classic quote
I may be common but I’m not stupid

production details
UK / ITV – Thames / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Thursday 31 May 1979

Writer: Richard Harris / Production Design: Philip Blowers, Peter Elliot / Director: Mike Vardy

Series: Hazell Season 2 Episode 7

cast
Nicholas Ball as Hazell
Michael Gaunt as Peter Harlow
John Woodnutt as Vicar
Desmond Llewellyn as Bell
Richard Simpson as Weaver
Meg Davies as Stephanie Harlow
Desmond McNamara as Tel
Peter Woodward as Gregory Summers
Joy Steward as Mrs Summers

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Blake’s 7: Breakdown (BBC-1 6 Mar 1978, with Julian Glover)

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Blake’s 7: Project Avalon (BBC-1 27 Feb 1978, with Glynis Barber)

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