James Walton

National Treasure: Robbie Coltrane (Photo: Getty)

Clearly intended as an Important Piece of TV – but is it?: C4’s National Treasure reviewed

24 September 2016 9:00 am

The closing credits of National Treasure (Channel 4, Tuesday) contain the usual disclaimer that any resemblance between its characters and…

Natural high: John Sebastian’s acoustic set at Woodstock, 1969

A great retro shop with a dreary message: V&A’s You Say You Want a Revolution? reviewed

10 September 2016 9:00 am

Back in the high optimism of the 2008 presidential campaign, one of Barack Obama’s more extravagant hopes was that ‘the…

Vogue's Editor-in-Chief Alexandra Shulman

BBC2’s heroic attempt to poke an unwanted nose into the world of British Vogue

10 September 2016 9:00 am

With documentary-makers these days, it can be hard to tell the difference between faux-naivety and the real thing. (Personally, I…

Sacred ground: Elvis at Graceland, 1957

Memphis is a dream destination for music lovers – but how long will this last?

3 September 2016 9:00 am

The bad news for old rock’n’rollers is that there’s not much time left to stay at Heartbreak Hotel — these…

The 80s with Dominic Sandbrook

The true queen of the Eighties wasn't Thatcher – it was Delia, according to the Beeb

13 August 2016 9:00 am

Proof that someone has really made it as a TV historian comes, I would suggest, when they join the likes…

Carol White as Cathy and Ray Brooks as Reg star in Cathy Come Home by Jeremy Sandford 'The Wednesday Play', 1966

Was 1966 really as grim as this BBC4 documentary suggests?

30 July 2016 9:00 am

In the song ‘All the Young Dudes’, David Bowie gamely tried to reassure the youth of the Seventies that, despite…

Child genius, Mog

Prodigies and pushy parents: Child Genius reviewed

16 July 2016 9:00 am

On Tuesday night on Channel 4, a stern male figure peered over his glasses (as equipped with one of those…

Lord George-Brown collapses outside the Palace of Westminster in 1976 after announcing his resignation from the Labour party. His fall was widely assumed to be the result of his heavy drinking

How drunk do we want our MPs?

9 July 2016 9:00 am

In 1964, a newly elected Labour MP was put in charge of the House of Commons kitchen committee. (An unpromising…

Colin Morgan as dashing Nathan Appleby

Poldark meets The Exorcist: BBC1’s The Living and the Dead reviewed

2 July 2016 9:00 am

It’s sadly possible to imagine that The Living and the Dead was sold to BBC1’s commissioning editors as ‘Poldark meets…

The New Gypsy Kings (Photo: BBC)

A Gypsy documentary that alternated between the eye-opening and the hair-raising

18 June 2016 9:00 am

In his latest documentary for the This World series, the Romanian film-maker Liviu Tipurita could have been forgiven for treading…

Radiohead's Thom Yorke performs at The Roundhouse (Photo: Getty)

We want them not to give us what we want: Radiohead at the Roundhouse reviewed

4 June 2016 9:00 am

Radiohead have been at the top of the musical tree for so long now that it’s easy to forget what…

Matt Lucas in A Midsummer Night's Dream

BBC1’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream seems deliberately designed to flush out purists

4 June 2016 9:00 am

Spoiler alerts aren’t normally required for reviews of Shakespeare — but perhaps I’d better issue one before saying that in…

Lord Rosebery at Goodwood Racecourse, 1964 (Photo: Getty)

Ferdinand Mount picks out the plums nicely

21 May 2016 9:00 am

Book reviews, John Updike once wrote, ‘perform a clear and desired social service: they excuse us from reading the books…

Sir David Attenborough on  the quest of the Komodo Dragon,1956 (Photo: BBC)

David Attenborough used to steal the animals he found in the jungle and take them home

21 May 2016 9:00 am

Let me start this week with an admittedly hard quiz question: in 1954, how did the sudden illness of Jack…

Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby

Even the sternest Leavisite critic would find it hard to resist BBC2's Peaky Blinders

7 May 2016 9:00 am

The big returning show of the week began with servants laying out the silverware at a large country house in…

Inside the Portland Hospital

Downton Abbey with epidurals: BBC2's Five Star Babies reviewed

23 April 2016 9:00 am

Five Star Babies: Inside the Portland Hospital won’t, I suspect, have been a hard sell to BBC2’s commissioning editors. Childbirth…

Bob Geldof enjoys WB Yeats (Photo: BBC/Fergal O'Reilly)

BBC4’s Bob Geldof on WB Yeats was one of the best literary documentaries I’ve seen

9 April 2016 9:00 am

In recent years there’s been a fashion for arts documentaries presented by celebs rather than boring old experts — presumably…

George Harrison and Eric Clapton perform at the Concert for Bangladesh, 1971 (Photo: Getty)

Was 1971 really the best ever year for music?

2 April 2016 9:00 am

According to David Hepworth, the year he turned 21 was also the year when ‘a huge proportion of the most…

tv

Line of Duty thinks – rightly – that there’s drama in the subsections of police acts

26 March 2016 9:00 am

Which is better, British TV drama or American? A couple of years ago, merely asking the question would have had…

The usual suspects: ‘Doctor Thorne’ brings us a reliable selection of frock-coated and corsetted British thesps

Doctor Thorne is pleasantly undemanding viewing

12 March 2016 9:00 am

Every now and then, a costume drama comes along that’s so daringly unconventional as to make us re-examine our whole…

Phil Lynott performs with Thin Lizzy (Photo: Getty)

Phil Lynott, from Dublin teenager to rock'n'roll burnout

27 February 2016 9:00 am

It’s often said that there are only seven basic plots in literature. When it comes to biographies of rock stars…

Tom Hiddlestone is The Night Manager

BBC1’s The Night Manager verges on parody

27 February 2016 9:00 am

The Night Manager (BBC1, Sunday) announced its intentions immediately, when the opening credits lovingly combined weapons and luxury items. ‘Blimey,’…

Vinyl, Sky Atlantic

Verging on the corny: Martin Scorsese’s Vinyl reviewed

20 February 2016 9:00 am

Vinyl (Sky Atlantic) — the much-anticipated series, co-produced by Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger, about the 1970s New York record…

Joan Bakewell, 1966 (Photo: Getty)

Joan Bakewell: on socks, fridge magnets, teddy bears and such stuff

13 February 2016 9:00 am

I don’t know if this counts as name-dropping, but I recently interviewed a boyhood friend of Elvis Presley’s in Tupelo,…

Psycho-in-chief: James Norton as Tommy Lee Royce in ‘Happy Valley’

Murder, rape, sheep abuse: you won't feel short-changed by BBC1's Happy Valley

13 February 2016 9:00 am

Judging from its website, Hebden Bridge’s tourist office considers the fact that BBC1’s Happy Valley is filmed in the town…