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Graham Parker: Don’t Ask Me Questions

Fri Mar 15, 10-11.35pm, BBC4

We’ve always cherished BBC4’s willingness to document the niche, the marginal and the under-appreciated. But the channel’s Friday night music slot has been trying our patience of late. This latest offering reinforces the growing sense that BBC4 is becoming a wilfully conservative, dad-rock ghetto. There’s nothing wrong with this film per se. If you’re a fan of the chugging, blues-rock stylings of Aviator-clad, pre-punk avatar Graham Parker, you’re in clover.

But a really striking music documentary will force a viewer to engage with something previously unconsidered, open up new trails to follow. This feels too long, too peripheral and too indulgent to really preach to anyone but the choir. Parker and his recently reformed band are likeable company, making agreeable music with the greatest of earnestness. But do we really need to hear about their present lives as librarians, jobbing session musicians and teachers? Is this really enough to hold the attention of the uninitiated? Probably not.