American politics on show

The Big show: The inauguration of America's 46th president, Joe Biden, is on Thursday, January 21. Below: Emily Mortimer in The Bookshop.

The Big show: The inauguration of America's 46th president, Joe Biden, is on Thursday, January 21. Below: Emily Mortimer in The Bookshop.


ABC, 3.30am, January 21

The US gets a new leader next week, and barring any unforeseen catastrophes, it will be beamed live to Australia.

Politics in America has become anything but boring under President Donald Trump. The recent Congressional vote on accepting the results of the electoral college turned from a traditional non-eventful procedure into a live riot featuring citizen invaders.

The rumblings from official channels point to another huge citizen turnout to voice their objections to the official swearing-in of Joe Biden as president.

As a news event, coverage will be across the spectrum. But take note, the ABC has scheduled coverage for two-and-a-half hours.

I've been getting my coverage lately directly from The Washington Post website, which, with video coverage and simultaneous analysis by well-informed journalists, often right in the action - is rather refreshing.



Oh my, how easy it is to forget everything that President Trump has done as president of the US. I don't mean accomplishment-wise, I mean bull-in-a-china-shop-wise.

The insults, the public intimidation, the theatrical behaviour in front of crowds, the strange effort at detente with Kim Jong-un ...

This excellent series includes dozens of insiders who were there for the drama,the theatre, the politics - the show, if you will. Rudy Guliani, Steve Bannon, John Bolton, Stormy Daniels, Sean Spicer. Yes, some were minor players, but geez, they played it well. And miraculously, they don't seem to be stained by Trump's antics.

It will certainly be interesting to see how this all looks with the passage of time. The last four years has been such a whirlwind, it's great to see it all play out before our eyes again. But we're going to need a break pretty soon.

On the other hand, considering all the events that have taken place since Donald Trump lost the election in November, there's enough material for the series to run for a few more seasons.

And new characters keep popping up all the time, although most of those congressmen we've been watching are pretty dull fodder.

The Bookshop

SBS on Demand

This is a little movie, done well.

Based on a novel, The Bookshop, by Penelope Fitzgerald, it focuses a spirited, open-minded woman, Florence Green (Emily Mortimer) who decides to open a bookstore in a small English seaside village.

Set in 1959, she finds herself battling for the hearts and minds of townspeople. And, fighting against the town's political establishment, led by none other than Violet Gamart (Patricia Clarkson).

It's tough going, but she doesn't shy away, becoming the first to offer the controversial new novel, Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov in her store.

Bill Nighy also features as an eccentric property owner, Edmund Brundish, and prolific reader of books, becoming one of the few people in the town that Mortimer creates a genuine friendship with. Mortimer introduces Nighy to the writing of Ray Bradbury, who he embraces enthusiastically.