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Television

Martha Kearney: on course to make her first proper wildflower honey

Without a strong woman in charge, bees are doomed — just like us

Television

God bless the BBC. And I’m not being entirely sarcastic here. There are some things the BBC does very well and one of them, sadly, was The Review Show, its monthly critical round-up of theatre, film, books and new art… Read more

Opinionated and recalcitrant: Oona Chaplin as Kitty Trevelyan

Gas gangrene, shell shock and flinty women: BBC One's new Sunday night offering is no soother

Television

Sunday nights. What are they for? Eggs. Tea. Toast. Nerves about the week ahead. Something comforting on TV.  But comfort comes in many forms. For some, it’s twee life at Downton Abbey. For others, it’s the thrill of Homeland. With… Read more

Shameless libertarian-right-leaning agitprop: Martin Durkin and Nigel Farage on Channel 4

The EU is worse than you thought

Television

For me, by far the most surprising revelation in Martin Durkin’s documentary Nigel Farage: Who Are You? (Channel 4, Monday) was just how astonishingly vast, unwieldy, authoritarian, interfering, undemocratic, sclerotic, and sinister the European Union actually is. As a Eurosceptic,… Read more

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in ‘Game of Thrones’. Photo: Home Box Office

Game of Thrones tells the story of Britain better than most histories

Television

A young pretender raises an army to take the throne. Having recently learnt of his father’s beheading, the adolescent — dashing and charismatic and descended from the old kings of the north — vows to avenge him. Despite his youth,… Read more

My Life: Theodore Hall, James Yuen and Faramade Bashoron

Eton vs snobbery

Television

One of the stranger things about Eton is its near-total lack of class snobbery. Yes, all right, you still get the occasional away match where their supporters will chant at the opposition ‘You’ll be working for our Dads’ but that’s… Read more

EDL Girls, Amanda, Gail and Antonia Photo: BBC

If BBC3 was allowed to keep its hits, perhaps it wouldn't be getting booted online

Television

So BBC3 will be online-only from next autumn. If the Beeb had presented this news as the channel being the first one to take the daring step of migrating to the internet, instead of it being booted out to save… Read more

Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey in True Detective

Is True Detective worth sticking with? The jury's out

Television

I’ve got this brilliant idea for a major new cop series. It’s called Chalk and Cheese and, though you won’t have guessed this from the title, it’s about these detective partners who couldn’t be more different. Why, they’re like two… Read more

Bendor Grosvenor searches for the lost portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie

A quietly stunning quest for Bonnie Prince Charlie

Television

What if Bonnie Prince Charlie, as he swept down from Scotland towards London to lay claim to the throne, hadn’t lost his nerve at Derbyshire but had instead pressed on — and won? What would Britain be like today? In… Read more

Storage Hunters Lori and Brandon with auctioneer Shawn Kelly

The TV shows my children allow me to watch at half-term

Television

Half-term again, so naturally all my TV viewing plans have gone out of the window. In some households — my bearded Victorian brother Dick’s, for example — parents still cleave to the old-fashioned values whereby a sofa-blocking child in front… Read more

Joachim Klaus leads the raid on the Jonkhere bank in Salamander

So long, Scandinavia. Bonjour, Benelux! 

Television

So long, Scandinavia. Bonjour, Benelux! BBC4, your subtitle-friendly channel, has filled the hole left by Nordic-noir The Bridge with Belgian crime drama Salamander (Saturday). At first, I thought this might involve a series of murder mysteries set in Flemish country… Read more

Colonel Muammar 'Mad Dog' Gaddafi Photo: Getty

How did Colonel Gaddafi get away with such evil for so long?

Television

What a vile piece of work Colonel Gaddafi was. For some of you, perhaps, this will be a statement of the glaringly obvious. But I suspect there will be many others for whom, like me, this week’s Storyville documentary on… Read more

A comforting combination: WWI and Jeremy Paxman (Photo: BBC)

Jeremy Paxman's Great War is great. But is 2,500 hours of WW1 programming too much?

Television

Why are we so fascinated by the first world war? As its 100th anniversary approaches, we’re already mired in arguments about whether for Britain it was a ‘just war’ or a ‘pointless sacrifice’ of millions of lives. I don’t see… Read more

Great Sunday evening viewing: Maimie McCoy as Milady in ‘The Musketeers’

The Three Musketeers is a triumph - because, like Game of Thrones, no one is safe

Television

‘Pshaw!’ That was my first reaction to news of the BBC’s new ten-part Sunday night adaptation of The Three Musketeers. After all, wasn’t it about a fortnight ago I was in the Gaumont in Redditch watching the classic 1973 movie… Read more

Will she or won’t she kill the President? Ellen Sanders’s family on tenterhooks

After Sherlock, TV will never be the same again

Television

You know the holiday season is over when, instead of being torn between The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing on a Saturday night, you have to choose between The Voice and Splash!. The good news for The Voice is… Read more

Nick Robinson: fronting a critique of — or apologia for — immigration policy?

James Delingpole: 'The Truth About Immigration' is anything but

Television

Immigration. Were you aware that this has become a bit of a problem these past ten years? I wasn’t, obviously, because like all credulous idiots I get my news from a single trusted source, the BBC, and as a result… Read more

Together again: Holmes (Martin Freeman) and Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch)

Is Sherlock starting to suffer from ADD?

Television

Sherlock’s not dead. A good thing, since on New Year’s Day BBC1 launched its third series of Sherlock, and it’d be inconvenient if the three episodes didn’t have Sherlock. Last season, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Holmes stood on a building rooftop, dramatic… Read more

Birgitte-Hjort-Sorensen

Is this the real First Lady of 'Borgen'?

Television

I meet Birgitte Hjort Sorensen in a plain office near the Donmar Warehouse in the West End. She’s warm, sharp and engaging, and her fast-flowing English is adorned with the odd Eurotrash platitude. Her American twang owes itself to the… Read more

Arctic Convoys with Jeremy Clarkson Photo: Oskar Strom

Jeremy Clarkson brings Yuletide joy to the Delingpole household

Television

So I’m looking at the seasonal TV schedules trying to find something — anything — to watch. Britain and the Sea? Probably very well done, but David Dimbleby is such a dangerously feline, OE-manqué, Flashmanesque, living-embodiment-of-the-BBC closet pinko that reviewing… Read more

Besieged by troubles: Anne Reid (Celia) and Derek Jacobi (Alan)

Are events in Last Tango in Halifax too bad to be true? 

Television

Does love run out when life runs out? Or does it intensify, touching and changing all around it? Two series now on our screens make a strong case for the latter —  one is about love striking in old age,… Read more

Down to earth: Gary Bell QC

Gary Bell is the real rudest man in Britain - and he's on your side

Television

Gary Bell is the rudest man in Britain. I have known the bastard for years and no one —move over, lightweight Starkey — comes even close to matching his bluntness, his tastelessness, his heroic urge to offend at all costs… Read more

An adventure in space and time Photo: BBC

Why doesn't Doctor Who travel far from Britain? 

Television

If I could go back in time, I’d watch Doctor Who from the very first episode. I wasn’t born in Britain, and with the 50th anniversary of the series hurtling towards us like an Earth-bound Tardis, I’m wondering if I… Read more

(Photo: BBC)

James Delingpole: Is the fight against environmentalism the new Cold War?

Television

Gosh it isn’t half irksome when someone who went to the same school as you but is considerably younger than you ends up doing dramatically better than you. But hats off to Dominic Sandbrook: his new series Cold War Britain… Read more

Gareth Malone (Picture: Pete Dadds/BBC)

Come to the Spectator office, Gareth Malone, and hear our 'Carmina Burana'

Television

They’re now televising proceedings from the Court of Appeal. Great. As if I didn’t have enough to do already, keeping tabs on Strictly Come Dancing and EastEnders, I now have to monitor what’s happening within the hallowed judicial temples of… Read more

Donald Payne in A Very English Education, BBC2 Photo: BBC/Patrick Smith

James Delingpole: All students need a 'sense of entitlement' — ask my fundie friend Rupert 

Television

‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,’ said John Lennon. Quite apposite from a man who — presumably — meant to spend a ripe old age staging increasingly embarrassing art happenings with Yoko Ono, rather… Read more

Davis (David Mitchell) and Neil (Robert Webb) (Picture: BBC)

Will the women of The X Factor stop perving?

Television

Will the women on ITV’s The X Factor (Saturday) stop perving? I suppose there are two ways to tackle the issue of gender equality — one is to dictate that nobody mention sexuality at all; the other is to make… Read more

Love interest: Sarah Solemani

James Delingpole: The Wrong Mans leaves me gasping with exhilaration and glee

Television

Among the criticisms rightly levelled at the BBC are that its commissioning editors are overcautious, unimaginative, unadventurous and over-reliant on star names and proven formulae. So I really didn’t have much hope for The Wrong Mans (BBC2, Tuesday), the latest… Read more

Dr Lucy Worsley presents A Very British Murder

Introducing the celebs of Victorian reality TV

Television

Did Dr Jekyll turn into Jack the Ripper? Besides becoming evil Mr Hyde, did Robert L. Stevenson’s fictional creation morph into the serial killer who terrified Whitechapel? In a way, he did. A stage version of Stevenson’s novel was playing… Read more

breaking_bad

Can you trade love for wealth? The economics of Breaking Bad

Television

It has been the social-science equivalent to the Large Hadron Collider, the most expensive and most awe-inspiring experiment of our time. Like Cern’s particle collider, it started in 2008 and this week, just six months after the Geneva researchers confirmed… Read more