Jamie’s American Road Trip: New York – Channel 4: Jamie Oliver – Big Love In The Big Apple

At last, the real Jamie Oliver is back! After hanging in ‘da hood in week one, and playing cowboy in week two, the Naked Chef returns to what he does best – cook. He’s not trying to play out a childhood fantasy or live the life he’s seen on TV; he meets, he greets, he investigates new tastes and, most importantly, whips up some inspiring dishes.

And here in New York there’s finally a real sense of cultures coming together, adding twists to dishes brought from the old country, and coming up with proper American cooking. Real food that real Americans eat, just not from some ubiquitous chain restaurant.

Nothing Posh Except The Nosh

The Big Apple also provides genuinely new dining experiences, as opposed to Manhattan’s latest “in” restaurant, where who you’re seen with is more important than the food. After a quick taste of Egyptian fare, complete with a visit to a “live” butcher, Jamie heads to an underground restaurant, literally run from somebody’s house and surrounded by barbed wire.

This is nobody’s idea of a Michelin-starred eaterie, but the friendly atmosphere and home cooking leave a big impression on Jamie. “The last restaurant I fitted out cost a million quid – you know, nice bogs, nice floorboards, nice window, nice etching … this looks like Louisiana after a hurricane. The place is not smart, but all the value is on the plate.”

All Hail The Chicken And Rice Man

And where there are immigrants, unfortunately, there is also poverty. Another bit of New York most definitely not on the tourist trail is Jackson Heights, home to dozens of illegal Columbian immigrants, many of whom are homeless. Luckily help is at hand in the form of George, himself a former “illegal”, who makes the half hour drive each …

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Movies About the Civil War

Everyone loves a great war movie, but for an American history buff, nothing beats an epic Civil War film. Ball gowns, plantations, and plenty of cannon fire have made for American cinematic magic. Here’s a rundown of some of the best North v. South showdown flicks out there.

Gone With the Wind

No Civil War movie list would be complete without paying homage to the movie who pitted Scarlet’s fiddle-dee-dee against Rhett’s not giving a damn, my dear. While the movie itself doesn’t actually have any battle scenes, it does portray the burning of Atlanta, and deeply delves in the effects of the war on Southern life. Oh, not to mention, it’s one of the greatest romantic movies of all time. Don’t forget to pick up Margaret Mitchell’s classic book on which the novel is based as well.


This movie feature Denzel Washington as a free slave serving in the Union army. I was about 10 when I saw this movie for the first time, and I wept, well, like a little girl. The movie also features cutie pie Matthew Broderick, who volunteers to lead a company of black soldiers, and deals with racists of both the blue and grey persuasions. It’s a good show, but don’t blame me if it makes you cry.

Red Badge of Courage

This 1951 classic stars Audie Murphy as the cowardly young man struggling to find his — .courage on the Civil War battlefield. It’s main redeeming quality is that it has spared countless students from actually having to read the Stephen Crane novel.


This film is a must see for Jimmy Stewart fans. Jimmy plays a Virginia pacifist farmer who refuses to engage in the war, until his son is killed. It’s like The Patriot, only no Mel Gibson, about 100 …

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Henry VIII: Mind of a Tyrant (Channel 4): David Starkey’s Investigation into the Making of a Bloodstained King

Is there anybody who doesn’t know about Henry VIII? In the history of Britain he is the one of, if not the, most famous (and infamous) monarchs for his problems with the church, the unsubtle approach he took to marital crisis and his obese appearance. The story of him and his six wives is known by most school children and there are countless films, books and television programmes chronicling his legacy.

Surely there’s nothing else to learn about the man but not according to David Starkey, TV’s top Tudor expert, in this “search for the real Henry”. Starkey has written numerous books and presented other shows about the Tudor king but here he attempts to dive into the mind of the man behind the legend to mark the 500th anniversary since his accession to the throne.

The Young Prince Henry VIII

Most of this first episode of Henry VIII: Mind of a Tyrant, which focused on the young Prince Henry before he became the autocratic ruler, featured a lot about his family and the political structure at that time more than the boy himself perhaps as a way of setting the scene for what is to come in this series.

But there were some interesting conclusions made in this opener. After his thorough investigation of early letters and documents held in library archives Starkey’s theory is that the transformation from a joyful youth to the bloodstained tyrant came from conflicts in his own family, saying that in the 16th century “politics and family are the same thing”.

Starkey sees the turning point as the moment his mother – who was also his teacher – died at childbirth when he was only 13. It could be viewed as a dull hypothesis to simply blame the parents and his loneliness when …

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