James Walton

Has Jonathan Lethem read every book ever published?

1 April 2017 9:00 am

According to Martin Amis in The Information, the last person to have read every book ever published was Coleridge. Faced…

Brenda Blethyn as DCI Vera Stanhope 'wearing the kind of hat not seen since the glory days of All Creatures Great and Small'

DCI Vera Stanhope may well be the most implausible cop on TV

25 March 2017 9:00 am

As we know from all those newspaper articles and actress interviews, there’s a scandalous lack of high-profile British TV dramas…

Fans of investigative journalism should avoid Channel 4’s How’d You Get So Rich?

11 March 2017 9:00 am

Fans of tough investigative journalism should probably avoid Channel 4’s How’d You Get So Rich? Presenter Katherine Ryan’s main tactic…

‘SS-GB’ takes the commitment to the crepuscular a lot further than most

A drama set in Nazi-occupied Britain really shouldn’t be this dull: BBC1’s SS-GB reviewed

25 February 2017 9:00 am

Rival law-enforcement agencies arguing about which of them should investigate a murder has, of course, been a staple of crime…

The game butcher, with dead rabbits and live, caged ones beneath. (Scene from the 1840s)

How many slaves existed in George V’s Britain?

18 February 2017 9:00 am

Oddly enough, one of the most historically influential pieces of British writing has turned out to be an essay that…

A portrait of group delusion: BBC1’s The Moorside reviewed

11 February 2017 9:00 am

With the Shannon Matthews story, it’s not easy to accentuate the positive — but BBC1’s The Moorside (Tuesday) is having…

On the waterfront: The Deep, Hull

How Hull won me over

4 February 2017 9:00 am

James Walton finds a lot to love about this year’s City of Culture – even on a bleak January weekend

‘Blimey! How did they think of that?’ said no one about BBC2’s Our Dancing Town

14 January 2017 9:00 am

‘Blimey! How on earth did they think of that?’ is unlikely to be anyone’s response to Our Dancing Town (BBC2,…

Unprecedentedly odd: BBC1’s The Entire Universe reviewed

31 December 2016 9:00 am

As you’ve probably noticed, TV critics spend a lot of their time trying to identify which other programmes the one…

Would BBC1’s The Missing blow it in the concluding episode – like so many thrillers before it

3 December 2016 9:00 am

BBC1’s The Missing has been one of the undoubted TV highlights of 2016. Yet, even thrillers as overwhelmingly thrilling as…

Our love-hate relationship with television

26 November 2016 9:00 am

While I’ve read plenty of books worse than Television: A Biography, I can’t immediately think of any that were more…

Stanley Gibbons – the womanising stamp-collector

19 November 2016 9:00 am

If I tell you that on Monday there was an hour-long documentary about the history of stamp-collecting, then you probably…

Is Channel 4’s Humans in danger of losing its heart?

5 November 2016 9:00 am

In 2015, the first series of Humans (Sunday) was apparently Channel 4’s most watched home grown drama since The Camomile…

Distinctly corny: ITV's Tutankhamun reviewed

22 October 2016 9:00 am

The discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb may well be one of the 20th century’s great stories — but naturally that doesn’t…

Sebastian Barry

Sebastian Barry’s sensitivity to anguished humanity is too self-regarding

15 October 2016 9:00 am

The McNulty family in the novels of Sebastian Barry have a definite claim to be one of the unluckiest in…

Why do doctors think Down’s children are a disaster to be avoided at all costs?

8 October 2016 9:00 am

At my wife’s first 12-week scan, I was expecting — and duly got — that much-documented sense of thrilled wonder…

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…

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 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…

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…

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…