The death of TV

A while ago, a therapist advised me to go out less and stay in and watch TV more. Having avoided the world of block-streaming until then, I took her advice and immediately found great pleasure in my new pastime. There was so much to watch, and it was all so absorbing and pleasantly addictive. The

Riveting and heart-wrenching: BBC1’s Time reviewed

‘Only with women’ is a phrase used by more cynical TV types for a show that takes something that’s been done before with men, but by changing the gender of the characters can pose as ground-breaking. It sprang to mind this week when both of BBC1’s big new dramas unblushingly took the only-with-women approach; the

Shocking: Channel 4’s Partygate reviewed

If there were special awards for Most Subtlety in a Television Drama, Tuesday’s Partygate would be unlikely to win one. You could also argue that, in contrast to most of its characters, it didn’t really bring much to the party. And yet, in a rare challenge to the law of diminishing returns, the more it

A Picasso doc that – amazingly – focuses on how great he was

Earlier this year, the Guardian took a break from arguing that ‘cancel culture’ is a right-wing myth to ask the question, ‘Should we cancel Picasso?’ He is, after all, ‘the ultimate example of problematic white guys clogging up the artistic canon’. Given the programme’s title – and the BBC’s increasing loss of nerve – you

Why I’m addicted to Australian MasterChef

Why is Australian MasterChef so much better than the English version? You’d think, with a population less than a third of ours, the smaller talent pool would make the Antipodean edition look like thin gruel. But a bit like with the cricket and the rugby, size clearly isn’t everything. UK MasterChef now resembles one of

Enthralling: BBC4’s Colosseum reviewed

In the year 2023, the Neo-Roman Empire was at the height of its powers. A potentially restive populace was kept in check using a time-honoured technique known as ‘Bread and Circuses’. The ‘Circuses’ part consisted of a remarkable piece of technology in which spectacles could be beamed directly into the homes of the citizenry, filling

University Challenge deserves Amol Rajan

I wish I could say that Bamber Gascoigne would be turning in his grave at what has happened to University Challenge. But unfortunately, I understand from people who knew the Eton, Cambridge, Yale and Grenadier Guards historian, playwright, critic, polymath millionaire and scion of the upper classes that he chose to compensate for his privilege