How can anyone resist The Piano?

One challenge facing any novel, drama or film about the Holocaust is to restore its sheer unimaginability. In Thomas Keneally’s Schindler’s Ark – filmed, of course, as Schindler’s List – when news reaches Krakow of what’s happening in Auschwitz, Keneally pauses for some editorialising. ‘To write these things now,’ he says, ‘is to state the

Danny Dyer’s new C4 programme is deeply odd

Who do you think said the following on TV this week: ‘I love being around gay men – seeing a group of men expressing themselves the way they do is beautiful’? The answer, perhaps unexpectedly, is Danny Dyer, whose admittedly convincing schtick as the world’s most Cockney bloke was applied to the question of contemporary

Grey, gloomy, and utterly joyless: Ripley reviewed

If you’ve spent any time gawping at Netflix over the past half-decade or so, you’ll already know that human culture has reached its final, perfect form. We made a good effort with cave paintings, epic poetry, theatre, literature and the rest of them, but the apex of culture is the bingeable, episodic rabbit-hole Netflix documentary

Dramatic, urgent and intriguing: BBC1’s This Town reviewed

After conquering the world with Peaky Blinders (and before that by co-creating Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?), Steven Knight was last seen on British television giving us his frankly deranged adaptation of Great Expectations. Happily, he’s now returned to form with a show that, while not a retread exactly, is definitely Peaky-adjacent. In This

Was Carrie Fisher really ‘a genius’?

‘People throw the word “genius” around a lot,’ said a talking head on BBC2 this week, ‘but she was a genius, truly.’ If it wasn’t for the heading on this column, I suspect it might have taken you a while to guess the unquestionable genius being referred to here. But then again, for Carrie Fisher:

Workmanlike romp: Sky Atlantic’s Mary & George reviewed

If there’s such a thing as a workmanlike romp, then Mary & George might be one. This drama about political and sexual shenanigans during the reign of James I certainly has all the scheming, racy dialogue and nudity that any romp-lover could wish for. At the same time, there’s the slightly awkward sense that it’s

Evocative and immaculate: Netflix’s One Day reviewed

One Day is a bestselling novel with a simple but effective premise: a delightful, made-for-each-other couple meet on their last day at university, narrowly miss getting off with one another, then continue narrowly to miss getting off with one another every year for 14 years until finally, eventually they do. Actually, I’m not sure about

The unique hell of being a wartime bomber pilot

Some years ago I did a short series of interviews for The Spectator with war veterans about their combat experiences. Most had found them exciting, fulfilling, even enjoyable: ‘I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!’ said infantryman Mike Peyton, who likened it to doing the black ski run at Tortin in Verbier. But the

Gladiators was never good TV

I’m sure there’s a Portuguese word which describes ‘enforced nostalgia for a thing you never enjoyed in the first place’. Whatever it is, it applies in spades to BBC1’s reboot of Gladiators, which we’re now told was one of the landmarks of 1990s Saturday TV entertainment but which I don’t recall fondly one bit, despite