TV tonight: take a night off from Brexit to revisit the MPs’ expenses scandal

There’s gentle daytime drama starring Larry Lamb, while Alan Partridge and Fleabag offer up new episodes. Here’s all the best TV to watch this evening Ten years ago, the Daily Telegraph published a series of revelations about the extent and nature of MPs’ expenses claims that rocked Westminster and eroded the faith of the public in their elected representatives. Emily Maitlis takes us back through the timeline of the scandal, its twists and turns, with fresh revelations from key players and insight into how the public anger it caused may have influenced the result of the Brexit referendum. David Stubbs Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Victoria series three review – sit back and enjoy the soapy ride

As light Sunday-night entertainment, the endlessly unsubtle Victoria does the trick … just don’t even think about fact-checking the plot After two series, I have realised that the key to truly enjoying Victoria (ITV) is to put a ban on spending an hour or so after each episode looking up the answers to the many questions you might have about historical accuracy. Nobody is pretending this is a documentary, after all, so typing things such as, “was victoria in labour when chartists stormed palace”, followed by “did chartists storm palace”, followed by “jenna coleman contact lenses” never leads to any satisfaction, more a raising of the eyebrows. Victoria is at its light, good-looking, Sunday evening best when you can sit back and enjoy the soapy ride. It is easier not to have all the facts, or at least to ignore them, for an escapist hour or so. It is 1848, and Victoria is heavily pregnant with yet another child; of the five she has already, the two eldest are sentient, while the others are silent window-dressing. She does not, however, have time to put her feet up. There is trouble brewing abroad, at home and within her own family, and Victoria is losing patience with Lord Palmerston, the foreign secretary, upon whom she is focusing much of her polite crossness and gentle disdain. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

How to cut and look after your nails correctly

Keep them short, don’t be afraid to file – and remember to moisturise Nails should be kept fairly short. The longer they are, the more easily they are damaged – especially your fingernails, if you work with your hands. If they are fine, you can use a normal clipper; for anything thicker – usually toenails, but sometimes fingernails – you will need a heavy-duty version. Use a nail file for shaping, or if it hurts when you clip your nails. You don’t need to use it in just one direction, but do file gently to avoid damage. Fingernails should be given a curve, while toenails should be cut straight across, to prevent ingrowth. You can cut a little down the sides of your toenails, especially if you are prone to ingrowing toenails, to take them away from the skin. If you have persistent problems with an ingrowing toenail, you will need to see a doctor. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

The Dodow: the latest sleep aid looks like a wheel of brie – I wake up starving

This unpronounceable LED device claims to help those with insomnia – I give it a whack and prepare to bust some ZZZs This week we turn our attention to a light metronome, called Dodow, that claims to be able to train your brain to fall asleep. This sounds similar to the fantastical pseudo-science that promised us x-ray specs 30 years ago, but stick with it. The LED device projects a ring of blue light on to the ceiling that shrinks and expands. Synchronising your breathing with it stimulates the baroreflex, a physiological mechanism that slows the metabolism and the secretion of neurotransmitters. Basically, breathe in and chill out. Dodow is “designed by insomniacs”, which doesn’t sound like something to boast about. Whenever I check my phone after a sleepless night, the Notes app is full of unfathomable fragments that struck me as very important at 3am. Stuff such as “Velcro is immortal” and “Am I making blood all the time?” Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Motorway meals: how 60 years of the service station has shaped how Britain eats

The first service station opened in Watford Gap in 1959 – and the motorway meal was born. What does its evolution tell us about British tastes, past and present? On a drizzly day, Britain isn’t looking – or tasting – its best. I’m at Watford Gap services on the M1, the country’s first service station on the country’s first motorway, both 60 this year (although the restaurant opened in 1960). “If you want to see Britain, go to Watford Gap,” David Lawrence had told me. “If you want to taste Britain, go to Watford Gap.” I want to do both of those things. Lawrence is an associate professor at Kingston University whose PhD was Motorway Service Areas, Their History and Culture. He has written two books about them as well. I think you could safely describe him as Mr Service Station. “Dr Service Station,” he corrects me, before I head to Watford Gap. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Local Hero review – oil-movie gem strikes a salty musical note

Royal Lyceum, EdinburghBill Forsyth’s bittersweet comic drama about a Scottish village’s fight with an oil firm sheds its whimsy in this tougher version, scored by Mark Knopfler It is 1983 and there is an American in paradise. Mac arrives in Ferness, a coastal village in north-west Scotland, cradling two briefcases and an injured rabbit. He has flown in from Texas and is in need of a drop of the hard stuff, whisky, and rather more than a drop of the black stuff – oil. Mac’s energy firm wishes to buy the village and beach, and build a huge refinery in their place. But will the villagers sell? What price, if any, can one put on home? These are questions posed by Local Hero, a new musical based on Bill Forsyth’s beloved 1983 film. Adapting it for the stage has brought two challenges, the first physical. Much of the original’s poetry came from simply pointing the camera at sea and sky. It was easy to understand how Mac could fall in love with and be changed for the better by such a place. Who wouldn’t be? Such beauty has moral force, and director John Crowley enjoys reasonable success in suggesting it through effects – sunsets, the aurora borealis – projected on to a planetarium-like screen. The darkened auditorium stands for the horizon and lapping Atlantic; during ballads, singers stare out, yearning, above the audience’s heads. It helps that most who see this production in Edinburgh will have personal experience of that landscape. They will know the ache of a Highland twilight, the way that sorrow is an invisible band in the colour spectrum. This cannot be relied upon when the show transfers to London next year. Related: Mac’s back: Scotland’s treasured Local Hero is reborn as a musical Continue reading… [hmp_player]