This new series is based on the acclaimed podcast of the same name. Each episode of Song Exploder features big-name musicians revealing how they brought one of their songs to life. Those in-depth interviews are interwoven with archival footage and raw recordings as each star breaks down their song layer by layer. Featured artists include Rock & Roll Hall of Famers R.E.M., who open up about the influences behind ‘Losing My Religion’, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, who delves into the creation of ‘Wait for It’ from Hamilton.
DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD
A lifetime of making documentaries has convinced award-winning filmmaker Kirsten Johnson of the power of the real. But now she’s ready to use every escapist movie-making trick in the book – inventing implausible ways for her 86-year-old psychiatrist father to die while hoping that the resulting cinema might help her bend time, laugh at pain and keep her father alive forever. Dick Johnson Is Dead is a darkly funny love letter from a daughter to a father, creatively blending fact and fiction to shine a light on how movies give us the tools to grapple with real life.
Just when you thought the world might have slipped beyond satire, a cult 80s show returns to take down the powers that be. Old favourite puppets like Thatcher and Major might be gone, but the Spitting Image team has a new generation in its sights: expect hideous, even-larger-than-life portrayals of world figures like Vladimir Putin and Greta Thunberg, and local favourites like Dominic Cummings and Tyson Fury. For now the only way to catch the reboot is via the BBC and ITV’s joint streaming service, BritBox.
ATTENBOROUGH: A LIFE ON OUR PLANET
This feature documentary tells the story of life on our planet by a man who’s probably seen more of the natural world than anyone else. Now 94, Sir David Attenborough has visited every continent on Earth, exploring the wildest places of our planet and documenting the living world in all its variety and wonder. Here, in a joint project with award-winning wildlife filmmakers Silverback Films and global environmental organisation WWF, he addresses the biggest challenges facing life on our planet, delivering a powerful message to future generations.
THE RIGHT STUFF
First, The Right Stuff was a monumental book by Tom Wolfe. Then in the early 80s Philip Kaufman turned it into an outstanding film. Now National Geographic is using an eight-part series to tell the remarkable story of the early days of the US space program. At the height of the Cold War, newly formed Nasa selects seven of the military’s best test pilots to become astronauts. Competing to be the first in space, the Mercury 7 achieve the extraordinary, inspiring the world to turn towards a new horizon of ambition and hope.
Available from 9th October
THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7
At the 1968 Democratic National Convention, a peaceful protest turned into a violent clash with police and the National Guard. The organisers of the protest – including Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden and Bobby Seale – were charged with conspiracy to incite a riot and the trial that followed was one of the most notorious in US history. Directed by The Social Network’s Aaron Sorkin, this big-budget dramatisation stars Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Mark Rylance, Jeremy Strong, Michael Keaton and many more famous faces.
Available from 16th October
CATCHING A SERIAL KILLER: SAM LITTLE
In this compelling true crime documentary, former prosecutor/investigative journalist Beth Karas follows Sam Little’s trail of terror. As she learns more about Little – a prolific US serial killer who confessed to murdering more than 90 women in 17 states – she hopes to figure out how he got away with murder for so long.
Available from 18th October
MY NEXT GUEST NEEDS NO INTRODUCTION WITH DAVID LETTERMAN
Legendary talk show host David Letterman has moved easily from the US networks to Netflix. The first couple of seasons of his My Next Guest Needs No Introduction saw him shooting the breeze with some superstars: Barack Obama, George Clooney and Jay-Z swung by for season one; Kanye West, Melinda Gates and Lewis Hamilton were among those in the chair for season two. Guests for this month’s four-episode third season include Kim Kardashian West, Robert Downey Jr, Dave Chappelle and Lizzo.
Available from 21st October
Armie Hammer is Maxim de Winter, a widower who bounces back from his loss and into the arms of a second Mrs Winter (Lily James). However, as they settle into life at his imposing family estate on a windswept English coast, it becomes clear that not everyone got over his first wife quite so quickly. Her spirit kept alive by sinister housekeeper Mrs Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas), elegant and urbane Rebecca casts a long shadow over the housekeeper. It’s a brave shout from director Ben Wheatley (Kill List, High-Rise) to take on a story that was once perfectly told on film by Alfred Hitchcock, but the younger Brit has an outstanding resumé and – now 80 years on from Hitchcock’s masterpiece – there’s surely room for an update.
Available from 21st October
Starving in the aftermath of a nuclear disaster, Leonora, Jacob and their daughter Alice are barely alive. One day, the local hotel invites survivors to attend a theatre play, with a meal included, as a charitable effort to help those in need. Left with no choice, the family of three decide to go to the hotel, where the director Mathias introduces the entire hotel as the stage. Attendees are given masks to help separate them from actors, but the play takes an eerie turn when audience members start to disappear. The line between reality and theatre quickly gets blurred, until Alice disappears in front of Leo and Jacob, and there’s no longer room for doubt: something is very wrong. Cadaver lands just in time for Halloween.
Available from 22nd October
ON THE ROCKS
Sofia Coppola (The Virgin Suicides, Lost In Translation) keeps it light in a new film that is exuberant love letter to New York and generation-clash comedy rolled into one. Laura (Rashida Jones) thinks she’s happily hitched, but when her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) starts logging late hours at the office with a new co-worker, she begins to fear the worst. She turns to the one man she suspects may have insight: her charming, impulsive father Felix (Bill Murray), who insists they investigate the situation. As the two begin prowling New York at night, careening from uptown parties to downtown hotspots, they discover the real focus of their journey is their own relationship.
Available from 23rd October
GUILLERMO VILAS: SETTLING THE SCORE
In the 70s, Argentina’s Guillermo Vilas was a global tennis star who won every major title except Wimbledon. This documentary looks at why he’s spent a significant amount of time and energy across subsequent decades campaigning to be recognised as the sport’s world No. 1. With the steadfast support of sports journalist Eduardo Puppo, Vilas has dived deep into the data covering men’s tennis from 1973 to 1978 to make the argument that he was unfairly displaced from the top spot.
Available from 27th October
THE MANDALORIAN: SEASON 2
Earlier this year, Jon Favreau finished filming the latest series of this Star Wars spin-off just as the pandemic took hold. Season two hits screens at the end of this month and picks up where season one left off. Beyond that, what happens next is a carefully guarded secret. Expect to learn more about Baby Yoda and his home world – and brace for the possible appearance of an old favourite from George Lucas’s original movies.
Available from 30th October
From Spaced to Shaun Of The Dead, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have given the world some of the best British comedies of the last few decades. The old mates have joined forces once more for Truth Seekers, which lands on Amazon Prime at the end of this month. After years of unremarkable stakeouts, an amateurish bunch of paranormal investigators experience a series of ever more terrifying happenings, prompting them to uncover an unthinkable, apocalyptic conspiracy. Check out the trailer here.
Available from 30th October
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