Television

The whole narrative of Dynasties was too suspiciously shapely. Image: BBC NHU

How does David Attenborough know what the monkeys are thinking?

17 November 2018 9:00 am

The opening episode of BBC1’s Dynasties — the new Attenborough-fronted series from the Natural History Unit — introduced us to…

Making a Murderer 2's mesmerising dea ex machina Kathleen Zellner

Thanks to Making a Murderer, Wisconsin’s bovine incompetence has been exposed

10 November 2018 9:00 am

I wonder if Wisconsin has any idea what an international embarrassment it has become? By rights it ought to be…

Alexander Skarsgard as Becker in BBC1's The Little Drummer Girl

Lucky the director of Little Drummer Girl is an ‘auteur’ or you might call the first episode corny

3 November 2018 9:00 am

The Little Drummer Girl (BBC1, Sunday) is the new John le Carré adaptation from the production company that brought us…

Former Syrian President Hafez al-Assad and his wife Anisa with his children (l-r) Maher, Bashar, Bassel, Majd and Bushra. Photo: Louai Beshara/ AFP/ Getty Images

How did mild-mannered eye doctor Bashar al-Assad end up a mass murderer?

27 October 2018 9:00 am

‘How did this mild-mannered eye doctor end up killing hundreds of thousands of people?’ someone wondered about Bashar al-Assad in…

Kazuo Ishiguro winning the Booker Prize in 1989. Photo: Alex Lentati/ Associated Newspapers/ REX/ Shutterstock

An enjoyably gossipy whisk through half a century of fierce rivalries and bruised egos

20 October 2018 9:00 am

At the beginning of Barneys, Books and Bust Ups: 50 Years of the Booker Prize (BBC4), Kirsty Wark’s voiceover promised…

The new Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker is a delight – but the script isn't

13 October 2018 9:00 am

You won’t be aware of this because the BBC has been keeping it very quiet. But the new Doctor Who…

Impeccably – and intriguingly – unclear: BBC1’s The Cry reviewed

6 October 2018 9:00 am

It’s a radical thought I know, but I sometimes wonder what it would be like if a new TV thriller…

Forget the BBC – only Channel 5 does proper documentaries these days

29 September 2018 9:00 am

What a load of utter tripe Bodyguard (BBC1, Sundays) was. Admittedly, I came to it late having missed all the…

Easy rider: Jodie Comer as Villanelle in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Killing Eve

Camp, preposterous and weirdly good fun: Killing Eve reviewed

22 September 2018 9:00 am

After the all-conquering success of Fleabag — her brilliant dark comedy about a smart but rudderless young woman in London…

It’s trash of course, but high-octane, watchable trash: John Krasinski and Wendell Pierce in Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (Amazon Studios)

Gloriously macho: Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan reviewed

15 September 2018 9:00 am

This week’s guilty pleasure is Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (Amazon Prime). It’s trash, of course, but very well done, high-octane,…

Sharp practice: Olivia Cooke and Claudia Jessie in Vanity Fair

Bad news for fans of good TV drama – there’s three more corkers to keep up with

8 September 2018 9:00 am

This week was bad news for fans of good television drama series — mainly because there’s now three more of…

The rough, simple and cheerily thick lifeguards of Bondi Rescue. Image: Mojo Down Under

All the good non-fiction that was ever on TV was made by middle-aged men

1 September 2018 9:00 am

All the good non-fiction things that were ever on TV — from Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation to David Attenborough’s Planet Earth…

I had no idea how fascinating rubbish could be: The Secret Life of Landfill reviewed

25 August 2018 9:00 am

Not the most beguiling of titles, I admit, but The Secret Life of Landfill: A Rubbish History (BBC4, Thursday) was…

Holidays in Hell – Such A Pleasant Getaway from the BBC

18 August 2018 9:00 am

Apparently there’s a new ‘character’ on University Challenge. I wouldn’t know. Last year, I vowed never again to raise my…

Full of bog-standard, if annoyingly effective, emotional manipulation: The Foreign Doctors Are Coming reviewed

11 August 2018 9:00 am

Surprising I know, but judging from The Foreign Doctors Are Coming (Channel 4, Tuesday), Britain mightn’t be such a bad…

Did Ed Balls mean to make a documentary on the joys of Trump’s America?

4 August 2018 9:00 am

The thing I most regret having failed ever to ask brave, haunted, wise Sean O’Callaghan when I last saw him…

A proper old-fashioned stinker: ITV’s The Bletchley Circle – San Francisco reviewed

28 July 2018 9:00 am

After just one episode, The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco (ITV, Wednesday) seems certain to stand out from the crowd. In…

Channel 4 doesn’t do ‘news’ in any meaningful sense of the word – it’s pure propaganda

21 July 2018 9:00 am

When President Trump refused to take a question from a CNN reporter at the Chequers press conference last week, I…

The lost girls: Irma Leopold (Samara Weaving), Miranda Reid (Lily Sullivan) and Marion Quade (Madeleine Madden) in Picnic at Hanging Rock

Po-faced but worth sticking with: Picnic at Hanging Rock reviewed

14 July 2018 9:00 am

According to the opening captions in Picnic at Hanging Rock (BBC2, Wednesday), ‘the infamous events’ it depicts ‘began whena mysterious…

The great thing about the World Cup is you don’t even have to watch it to enjoy it

7 July 2018 9:00 am

Even though I don’t watch much football I love the World Cup because it’s my passport to total freedom. I…

Fury and excitement – how the journalists at the New York Times have coped with Trump

30 June 2018 9:00 am

Back when his country was controlled by the USSR, the Czech writer Milan Kundera pointed out that ‘Union of Soviet…

Eagles of Death Metal performing at the Bataclan theatre in 2015 a few moments before the attack by Islamic terrorists. Photo: AFP / Marion Ruszniewski / Getty Images

More gripping than any scripted thriller: November 13 – Attack on Paris reviewed

23 June 2018 9:00 am

There were 1,500 punters in the audience when Eagles of Death Metal played their fatal gig at the Bataclan theatre…

Exhilaratingly original, C4’s Flowers is much more than just a ‘dark comedy’

16 June 2018 9:00 am

On Wednesday, BBC Four made an unexpectedly strong case that the human body is a bit rubbish. Our ill-designed spines,…

Why is this Israeli drama such a hit with Palestinians? Because it tells the truth

9 June 2018 9:00 am

‘The rule in our household is: if a TV series hasn’t got subtitles, it’s not worth watching,’ a friend told…

The terrific cast of BBC2's King Lear (BBC/Playground Entertainment/Ed Miller)

Understated and heartbreaking: BBC2’s King Lear reviewed

2 June 2018 9:00 am

I recently came across a theory of the American poet Delmore Schwartz’s that Hamlet only makes sense if you assume…