Television

The best documentary series of the past decade

21 October 2017 9:00 am

Any rival reality-TV makers watching Channel 5 on Thursday will, I suspect, have been both mystified and slightly embarrassed at…

Stop whatever you’re doing and watch Suburra

14 October 2017 9:00 am

I know I keep saying that in Decline of the West terms we’re all currently living in Rome, circa 400…

BBC1's The Last Post is not for those who like their TV fearless and innovative

7 October 2017 9:00 am

BBC1’s latest Sunday-night drama The Last Post, about a British military base in Aden in 1965, feels like a programme…

Someone in the BBC will be watching W1A, thinking ‘that’s a great idea (going forward)’

23 September 2017 9:00 am

On Sunday night, Holliday Grainger was on two terrestrial channels at the same time playing a possibly smitten sidekick of…

Kevin Hanchard as Rev. Gregoire and Tim Roth as Sheriff Jim Worth in Tin Star, which is like the rejected first draft of a really bad movie by Quentin Tarantino

I really wouldn't bother watching Sky Atlantic's Tin Star

16 September 2017 9:00 am

Tin Star, the latest Sky Atlantic drama, has a comfortingly familiar premise: Jim Worth (Tim Roth), an ex-detective from London…

One of the best new shows of the autumn: Mitchell and Webb’s Back reviewed

9 September 2017 9:00 am

I had planned to review David Mitchell and Robert Webb’s new Channel 4 sitcom Back without constantly referring to their…

Beyond belief: Sam Otto as Jalal in Peter Kosminsky’s The State

The State was gripping, moving and shocking – but it came at a moral cost

2 September 2017 9:00 am

No, The State (Channel 4) wasn’t a recruiting manual for the Islamic State, though I did feel uneasy about it…

Autistic endeavour: Keir Gilchrist as Sam in Atypical

Funny, sympathetic Netflix series on autism won’t please the righteous

26 August 2017 9:00 am

Most new Netflix series are greeted not merely with acclaim, but with a level of gratitude that the returning Christ…

Why foreign TV series are so enjoyable – the sex is better

19 August 2017 9:00 am

Valkyrien (C4, Sunday) is the hot new Scandi-noir series, which is being billed as Norway’s answer to Breaking Bad. In…

Netflix is great because (unlike the BBC) it doesn’t ram its politics down your throat

5 August 2017 9:00 am

All this week I have been trying, with considerable success, to avoid being bludgeoned by TV programmes telling me in…

A drama that really does show how much better Britain is today compared to 50 years ago

29 July 2017 9:00 am

As you may have spotted, the BBC is marking the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of male homosexuality with an…

Game of Thrones should have at least arranged for Ed Sheeran to be stabbed

22 July 2017 9:00 am

I’m a bit worried about Game of Thrones (Sky Atlantic). Not seriously worried: there’s too much money invested, too much…

How true are true-crime documentaries?

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Channel 4’s Catching a Killer offered the rare TV spectacle these days of a middle-aged white male copper leading a…

Why braindead filth like Love Island is such a breath of fresh air

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Melvyn Bragg on TV: The Box That Changed The World (BBC2, Saturday) was just what you would have expected of…

Watch a sobbing landlord confess his capitalist crimes on BBC1

1 July 2017 9:00 am

It’s not unusual to see a pop concert on TV where teenage girls and a group of middle-aged men are…

Sky Atlantic’s Riviera is fine if all you want is the TV equivalent of a computer screensaver

24 June 2017 9:00 am

‘Riviera is the new Night Manager,’ I read somewhere. No, it’s not. Riviera (Sky Atlantic, Thursday) is the new Eldorado…

A pile of old tosh – but undeniably fun: Poldark reviewed

17 June 2017 9:00 am

At one uncharacteristically low-key point in Sunday’s Poldark — back for a third series on BBC1 — Ross (Aidan Turner)…

Hippies gave us wonderful things, but they left an evil legacy too

10 June 2017 9:00 am

There’s an incredibly addictive old iPhone game called Doodle God where you effectively invent civilisation from scratch by combining basic…

The Handmaid’s Tale is a liberal fantasy of the right

3 June 2017 9:00 am

On the face of it, the two new big drama series of the week don’t have a great deal in…

In rock 'n' roll you need an accountant more than talent

27 May 2017 9:00 am

Birds have been giving me a lot of grief of late. There’s Tappy — the blue tit who has built…

BBC1’s Three Girls is a harrowing, believable & brave account of the child-grooming scandal

20 May 2017 9:00 am

I’ve often thought that a good idea for an authentic TV cop show would be to portray the police as…

The bemused protagonist with a stupid name: Ricky Whittle as Shadow Moon in American Gods

This isn’t drama as most of us understand it: American Gods reviewed

13 May 2017 9:00 am

Since completing season two of the brilliant Narcos, I’ve been unsuccessfully looking for a replacement serial drama that is more…

1932. Right, John Cockcroft adjusts a pump at the Cavendish Laboratory's atom splitter. Left, Ernest Walton sits working in the detector of a Cockcroft-Walton generator.

Britain’s Nuclear Bomb: The Inside Story was as good as its word – I wish it was longer

6 May 2017 9:00 am

Like most documentaries, Britain’s Nuclear Bomb: The Inside Story (BBC4, Wednesday) began by boasting about all the exclusives it would…

However much you may loathe the fakery of reality TV, you cannot but admire the editing

29 April 2017 9:00 am

The other day I had a very dispiriting conversation with a TV industry insider. It turns out that everything you…

Please don’t let the dark secret in C4’s latest thriller be child abuse again

22 April 2017 9:00 am

Psychological thrillers — or ‘thrillers’ as they used to be known — have become almost as ubiquitous on television as…