The week’s best arts and culture reads – including an interview with Gilbert & George and an archive piece from 1964 on ‘the menace of the Beatles’.

Can Doctor Who survive an older leading man?
Elaine Teng | New Republic | 28 August 2014
Doctor Who takes on a new body each time his old one is worn out; which allows a new actor, most recently Peter Capaldi, to step into the role. For the past decade the Doctors have been youngish boyfriend-figures. Capaldi is an oldish father-figure, reaching out to an older audience. “If we can’t accept that, then we are not true fans. It’s a bold move, one that marks a crossroads for the mainstream success of nerd culture”.

YouTube: Hollywood’s hit factory
Felix Gillette | Business Week | 28 August 2014
Big-time media companies learn to love YouTube. Disney, Warner Brothers and others are building and buying YouTube channels which mix amateur and professional content from many contributors, much as Huffington Post does in journalism, reaching millions of viewers. The strategy relies on exploiting the amateur talent; which, for the time being, seems happy to be exploited in exchange for a wider audience.

Gilbert & George on religion, art and politics
Mary Lane | Wall Street Journal | 28 August 2014
Brief but entertaining interview with George Passmore and Gilbert Proesch, once the enfants terribles of British art, now relatively stately septuagenarians, and admirers of Margaret Thatcher: “Deregulation is good for art. You couldn’t just be a free artist in the UK before her. You had to teach your whole life, and work within a rigid system. We think artists take her deregulation and opening-up of the museum system for granted.”

The menace of Beatlism
Paul Johnson | New Statesman | 28 August 2014
The New Statesman reaches into its archives and pulls out a plum from 1964, which should serve as a caution to cultural critics for all time. Paul Johnson, later the NS editor, denounces the Beatles: “At 16, I and my friends heard our first performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. We would not have wasted 30 seconds of our precious time on the Beatles”. This was, apparently, the “most complained-about piece” in the paper’s history.

Did Tony die at the end of the Sopranos?
Martha Nochimson | Vox | 27 August 2014
David Chase is tired of being asked the question. So he has decided, finally, to answer it. The answer is … I won’t spoil it for you; and the (subsequently disputed) revelation forms a very brief part of a long and excellent profile of Chase, his art, his influences, and his invention of “auteur television”. Luis Buñuel features prominently among the influences; as do Carlos Castaneda, Orson Welles, and Edgar Allen Poe.

The troll slayer
Rebecca Mead | New Yorker | 25 August 2014
Profile of Mary Beard, classics professor at the University of Cambridge, media personality, and “role model for women of all ages who want an intellectually satisfying life”. She has written a dozen books; broadcasts regularly; and “produces scholarly papers and book reviews by the pound”. Her public stance against sexist abuse in mainstream and social media has brought her wider fame as a British “feminist heroine”.

A unified theory
James Gleick | New York Times | 22 August 2014
Vikram Chandra, a computer programmer before he was a writer, has produced “an unexpected tour de force”, Geek Sublime, which “looks deeply, and with great subtlety, into the connections and tensions between the worlds — the cultures — of technology and art”. You can write – but can you code? The book may be pigeon-holed as an update of CP Snow’s Two Cultures, but it is more and better than that.

For more articles worth reading, visit The Browser. If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter