James Walton

Back in Time for the Weekend, BBC2

Back in Time for the Weekend gives the 1950s its usual kicking

6 February 2016 9:00 am

When the time comes to make programmes looking back on the 2010s, I wonder which aspects of life today will…

Prime suspect: Steven Avery, whose case is the subject of the Netflix documentary ‘Making a Murderer’

Netflix's Making a Murderer is fascinating - but is it true?

30 January 2016 9:00 am

On the face of it, the Netflix documentary serial Making a Murderer should only take up ten hours of your…

Derren Brown's Pushed to the Edge

A morally dubious mix of Candid Camera and Fawlty Towers: Pushed to the Edge reviewed

16 January 2016 9:00 am

Never a man tortured by self-doubt, Derren Brown introduced his latest special Pushed to the Edge (Channel 4, Tuesday) as…

Cypress swamp alongside the river

Mississippi and the Delta are the high-tar, full strength Deep South

2 January 2016 9:00 am

Explore Mississippi and the Delta before they’re rebranded, says James Walton

Stanley Tucci as Captain Hook with the crew of the Jolly Roger

Dreams don’t have to make sense - but TV dramas do: Peter & Wendy reviewed

2 January 2016 9:00 am

On the face of it, ITV’s Peter & Wendy sounded like a perfect family offering for Boxing Day: an adaptation…

What a performance! Frank Skinner as Champagne Charlie

Victorian music-hall comedy wasn’t funny. Why pretend it was?

5 December 2015 9:00 am

Let’s start this week with a joke: ‘You know Mrs Kelly? Do you know Mrs Kelly? Her husband’s that little…

Dusty Springfield at the Royal Variety Performance in 1965 (Getty).

Everything you always wanted to know about Sixties pop —and more

28 November 2015 9:00 am

It might seem an odd choice, but after reading Jon Savage’s new book, I think if I had a time…

Dominic Sandbrook's 'Let us entertain you'

Why most four-year-olds deserve to be sectioned

7 November 2015 9:00 am

The first episode of Let Us Entertain You (BBC2, Wednesday) definitely couldn’t be accused of lacking a central thesis. Presenter…

Is The Last Kingdom UK's answer to Game of Thrones?

The Last Kingdom is BBC2’s solemnly cheesy answer to Game of Thrones

24 October 2015 9:00 am

The opening caption for The Last Kingdom (BBC2, Thursday) read ‘Kingdom of Northumbria, North of England, 866 AD’. In fact,…

Wayne Rooney with his wife Coleen (Photo: BBC)

Was BBC1’s Rooney show more scripted reality than documentary?

10 October 2015 9:00 am

Close to the Edge (BBC4, Tuesday) feels very much like an idea conceived during a particularly good night in the…

Middle-England Gothic: Anna Maxwell-Martin as Merrily Watkins in Midwinter of the Spirit

ITV’s Midwinter of the Spirit is a satisfying example of Middle-England Gothic

26 September 2015 8:00 am

For years, Ian Fleming was famously self-deprecating about the James Bond books. (‘I have a rule of not looking back,’…

Novel romance: Richard Madden as Mellors and Holliday Grainger as Constance Chatterley

Guns, tools and toffee apples - but no nudity: BBC1’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover reviewed

12 September 2015 9:00 am

It’s hard to know whether the actor James Norton was being naive or disingenuous when he claimed in publicity interviews…

Prince William of Gloucester

How many royal cliches can you fit into a single Channel 4 documentary?

29 August 2015 9:00 am

In 2011, the Daily Mail carried a long story about how the Queen’s cousin Prince William of Gloucester, who died…

Michael Mosley prepares for a cardiac scan (Photo: BBC)

Is medical screening bad for your health? Michael Mosley dons a pair of ‘dignity shorts’ to find out

15 August 2015 9:00 am

When the link between tobacco and lung cancer was first established in the early 1950s, one obvious question arose: should…

Life in Squares, BBC2

Bohemian conformity can be just as suffocating as any other type: BBC1’s Life in Squares reviewed

1 August 2015 9:00 am

On all those comic lists of the world’s shortest books (Great Italian War Heroes, My Hunt for the Real Killers,…

Cake Bakers and Trouble Makers: Lucy Worsley’s 100 Years of the WI

Lucy Worsley reveals - yet again - that there’s more to the WI than jam and Jerusalem

25 July 2015 9:00 am

Some revelations, it seems, are capable of being endlessly repeated while still remaining revelations. Think of all the books, articles…

All aboard Joanna Lumley's Trans-Siberian adventure

Joanna Lumley is ‘thrilled’ by everything, even being spanked by a Mongolian shaman, in her new Trans-Siberian Adventure

18 July 2015 9:00 am

For keen students of China, this week’s television provided yet more proof that Deng Xiaoping’s decision to open the country…

The Sex Pistols stole the introduction to ‘Pretty Vacant’ from Abba’s ‘SOS’ (Photo: Getty)

Copyright: the great rock’n’roll swindle

4 July 2015 9:00 am

For a music fan, the quiz question, ‘Who wrote “This Land is Your Land”?’ might seem laughably easy. Yet if…

Jeff Koons and Alan Yentob with Koons' Rabbit, 1986

As blatant rip-offs go, this one is shaping up nicely: Odyssey, BBC2, reviewed

4 July 2015 9:00 am

This week’s Imagine… Jeff Koons: Diary of a Seducer (BBC1, Tuesday) began with Koons telling a slightly puzzled-looking Alan Yentob…

Channel 4’s new sci-fi series Humans

Heroically unoriginal: Channel 4’s Humans reviewed

20 June 2015 9:00 am

You’d think scientists might have realised by now that creating a race of super-robots is about as wise as opening…

Freddie (Ian McKellen) and Stuart (Derek Jacobi) ©ITV

Imagine if Are You Being Served? had starred Laurence Olivier: ITV’s Vicious reviewed

6 June 2015 9:00 am

Monday saw the return of possibly the weirdest TV series in living memory. Imagine a parallel universe in which Are…

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, BBC1

A bit silly: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell reviewed

23 May 2015 9:00 am

BBC One’s 2015 choice of Sunday-night drama series is beginning to resemble the career of the kind of Hollywood actor…

Cop out: Paul Abbott's latest drama No Offence stars Joanna Scanlan, Alexandra Roach and Elaine Cassidy

Channel 4’s No Offence reviewed: ‘hugely entertaining and wildly unconvincing’

9 May 2015 9:00 am

With Clocking Off, Shameless and State of Play among his credits, Paul Abbott is undoubtedly one of the most respected…

BBC's Head of Values, Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) and Will Humphries (Hugh Skinner) (Photo: BBC)

W1A reviewed: so pitch-perfect as to be profoundly depressing

25 April 2015 9:00 am

Ever since the days of Tony Hancock, many of the best British sitcoms — from Dad’s Army to Fawlty Towers,…

Author Irvine Welsh Photo: Getty

Taxi ride to the dark side: a thrilling blast of full-strength Irvine Welsh

11 April 2015 9:00 am

Irvine Welsh, I think it’s safe to say, is not a writer who’s mellowing with age. His latest book sees…