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Film and TV

Ridley Road

Rory Kinnear and Agnes O’Casey in Ridley Road

Ridley Road is like “a sip of champagne after weeks of supermarket cola”, says Carol Midgely in The Times. We’re in 1962. The far right is on the march in London. The anti-fascist 62 Group is trying to bring down “preening psychopath” Colin Jordan (Rory Kinnear) and his National Socialist Movement from the inside. Local working-class residents say “Let’s take our country back” at protest meetings, after being shunted into local high-rises. Plot twist: a beautiful Hitler-saluting woman (Agnes O’Casey) is a Jewish infiltrator. “Woah.”

Yawn, says Anita Singh in The Daily Telegraph. “As for the period details: not brilliant.” It’s a London drama clearly filmed nowhere near London – the buildings are all wrong. The budget doesn’t seem to have stretched far enough to cover extras for “underpopulated crowd scenes”. Soho wasn’t officially swinging in 1962, “but surely it wasn’t as dead as this”?

Ridley Road is on BBC1, Sundays at 9pm, and on iPlayer. Watch a trailer here.

But is it true? Nazism was not on the rise in 1962, and the exaggeration of Colin Jordan’s importance is ridiculous, says Peter Hitchens in the Daily Mail. He was “a national figure of fun, not a potential Führer”. Almost nobody turned up to support his pro-Hitler rally on Trafalgar Square, but sensible Brits pelted him “with pennies, tomatoes and rotten eggs… an overwhelmingly hostile crowd of some 2,000”.

Dave Chappelle: The Closer

Lester Cohen/WireImage

American comedian Dave Chappelle’s stand-up is “like watching somebody use a chainsaw as a letter opener”, says Eric Deggans in NPR. People accuse him of “punching down” and he does. But “one of the most brilliant stand-ups in the business” is unrepentant. “Gay people are minorities until they need to be white again,” he says in his sixth Netflix special, The Closer. “If slaves had oil and booty shorts on, we might have been free 100 years sooner.” The message to those who call him transphobic or homophobic is: “Race trumps all.”

This isn’t satire, says Micha Frazer-Carroll in The Independent. It’s just vile. Chappelle has poked fun at racists so brilliantly that Netflix agreed to pay him $20m a show. But now marginalised “trannies” are his punchbags. A friend warned: “Careful, Dave – they after you.” Replies Dave: “One they or many theys?” I did spot a few people in the middle of the crowd who were clearly having a horrible evening. “As everyone laughs along, their faces are stone cold in protest.” Netflix has been deluged with requests to pull the show. Some of its staff have walked.

“And guess what? They’re all wrong,” says Andrew Sullivan in The Weekly Dish. Far from being outdated, The Closer is slightly ahead of its time. “I sat with another homo through the whole thing, stoned, laughing our asses off – especially when he made fun of us.” The way the elite media portrays us, “you’d think every member of the BLT community is so fragile we cannot laugh at ourselves”. Chappelle is doing what comics are meant to do: taking the “increasingly weird” piety of the powers that be “and detonating them all”.

Dave Chappelle: The Closer is on Netflix. Watch a trailer here.