Why Poverty? Give Us the Money

Radio Times
Review by:
Mark Braxton

What begins as a diverting doc about Bob Geldof and Bono’s 30-year war on poverty becomes a hard stare at celebrity activism. The still shocking news footage of dying Ethiopians in 1984 was what propelled Boomtown Rat Geldof into action. Through a mop of greying hair, Geldof’s eyes
still blaze with missionary zeal as he recalls his fellow Irishman’s initial reluctance to come on board.

The £100,000 Geldof hoped to raise turned to millions, but it wasn’t enough. Live Aid followed in 1985, and 20 years on Live 8 tackled the repayment issue. But while Bob and Bono were stopped by the media for soundbites on Africa, some felt it wasn’t their job to do so...

Director Bosse Lindquist paints in the grey shades of the moral debate in an intelligent and balanced retrospective.

About this programme

Documentary by the Storyville team examining Bob Geldof and Bono's campaign to end poverty in Africa, which started almost 30 years ago when both had established themselves as stars in the music industry. Using archive footage and new interviews with the pair and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, the film scrutinises the effectiveness of celebrity-led activism and asks whether the two Irishmen have made a real difference to the continent's needy. Part of Why Poverty? season.

Cast and crew


Bob Geldof
Bill Gates


Bosse Lindquist
David Herdies