Where politics and pop culture collide. Every month journalist Emma Burnell and Professor Steve Fielding discuss the way politics is interpreted through popular culture.
Mr Bates Vs The Post Office
In this episode Emma and Steve discuss one of the most consequential dramatisations of recent years. Described as 'Kafka meets Ealing Comedy' (Copyright Steve) this ITV drama shown between Christmas and New Year 2023/24 had politicians finally scrabbling to respond to the long-running scandal at the Post Office.
David Aaaronovich: The Fatal Flaw in Mr Bates Vs The Post Office https://davidaaronovitch.substack.com/p/the-fatal-flaw-in-mr-bates-vs-the
Emma's Substack: https://softleft.substack.com/
This month, to reflect on the death of Henry Kissinger, Emma and Steve look at 1964 film Fail Safe. Based on the same novel as Dr Strangelove, but definitely not played for laughs this film examines from the inside two sides trying and failing to avoid a nuclear confrontation.
This month Emma and Steve discuss the show that has had the political world more obsessed than with anything since The West Wing - Succession.
This tale of a family battling over the future of a media empire has obvious real-world parallels. But should we care as much as we do?
This month, Emma and Steve look at Brassed Off. It's a film about a colliery band, about music and community. It's also an explicitly anti-Tory film set 10 years after the Miners Strike and one year before the Tories were swept out of office by the 1997 Labour election landslide.
My Fair Lady
This month, Steve and Emma discuss the 1964 classic My Fair Lady. What does George Bernard Shaw's play and the musical based on it have to say about modern political themes of class or gender?
In a plot twist, this month Steve interviews Emma about her recent play Triggered.
What's On The (Ballot) Box?
Normally, political figures and popular culture should not meet. They'll only just start claiming 27-7 Feat. Captain Hollywood were Britpop or write a column trying to make a conspiracy out of the number of times that Comrade Dad has been repeated. Emma and Steve don't just know their stuff, though - they *like* their stuff, or at least like enough of it to know what they *don't* like. Wherever politics has been portrayed by popular culture, they'll talk about how far it succeeded as either, and with some surprising choices for subjects too. Will they get around to DC Comic's 'Prez', though??
Where politics & pop culture collide
I love a bit of political geekery and I love TV or film based on politics, so this has been great. Revisiting some of the best, like A Very British Coup and The Thick of It, through a contemporary political lens has been revealing. Given the background of the two presenters, we also get some nice insights from people who have been in the thick of it themselves.